Sandy Nixon: I have questions which... I am going to be putting together a book on spiritual masters that have influenced or that are influencing Americans today. Also in a mini-article, I'd like to put the same thing together with just those very few that are the most important, for New York Times Magazine. And also I'm doing an article for a Philadelphia magazine on Seers of Higher Consciousness. So particularly with our book in mind, these questions are to let people know what Kṛṣṇa consciousness is about. So sometimes I'm going to be asking you questions, and most of the time I might be able to answer them myself, or it might be a question which I know the answer to, but I'm going to have to ask you it as if... It might sound as if I'm stupid, but it's what I'm going to do.
The first question could be a very long... I've got fifteen questions. If I could get them all answered, I'll feel just great. The first one is very basic: What is Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa means God, and we are all connected with Kṛṣṇa, God. God is the original father. Therefore we have got intimate connection with Kṛṣṇa. So we have forgotten it, what is Kṛṣṇa, what is my connection with Him, what is the aim of life. All these questions there are. And when one becomes interested with such questions, he is called Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Sandy Nixon: How did Kṛṣṇa consciousness develop?
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is already there in everyone's core of heart, but due to one's material conditional life, he has forgotten it. So this process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra means to revive that consciousness. It is already there. Just like a few days ago these American, European boys and girls, they did not know who is Kṛṣṇa. But now you have seen yesterday how their whole..., that procession, throughout the whole procession, how they were chanting and dancing in ecstasy. So do you think that is artificial? No. Artificially nobody can chant and dance for hours together. That means the awakening of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It was there; by the bona fide process, it is now awakened. That is explained,
- nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-bhakti sadhya kabhu naya
- śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
- (CC Madhya 22.107)
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness is dormant in everyone's heart. So when he comes in contact with devotees, that is awakened. Just like to be attracted by a young girl or young boy, it is there in the child. That small child, it is there. And when he will be young, then it will be awakened. It is not that artificial something. So in association it is awakened. The potency is there already, but in good association, by hearing about Kṛṣṇa, one is awakened to the status of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Sandy Nixon: What is the difference between Kṛṣṇa consciousness and Christ consciousness?
Prabhupāda: Christ consciousness is also Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but people do not follow the rules and regulation of Christianity. Therefore they are not awakened. The commandments of Christ, they do not follow. Therefore they do not come to the standard of consciousness.
Sandy Nixon: What is unique about Kṛṣṇa consciousness that separates it from other religions? Is it a religion?
Prabhupāda: Religion means primarily to know God and love Him. That is religion. And nobody knows God, and what to speak of loving Him. Nobody is trained up how to know God and how to love Him. They are satisfied by going to the church: "O God, give us our daily bread." That also not everyone goes. So the Communist says that "You don't go to the church. Bread we shall supply." So poor, innocent persons, they get bread elsewhere, so they do not go to church. But nobody is serious to understand what is God and how to love Him. Nobody. Therefore in Bhāgavatam it is said it is cheating religion. I profess some religion, but I do not know what is God and how to love Him. So that type of religion is cheating.
Religion means to know God and love Him. But generally, a man does not know what is God, and what to speak of loving Him? So therefore that is cheating religion. That is not religion. But so far Christian religion is concerned, there is ample chance of understanding God, but they do not care for it. Take, for example, the commandment is "Thou shall not kill." But in the Christian world, best slaughterhouses are maintained. So how they can become God conscious? They disobey the commandments, do not care what Lord Jesus Christ has ordered. So this is not only in Christian religion. Every religion it is going on. It is simply rubber stamp: "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian." And none of them do know what is God and how to love Him.