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My question has to do with karma-yoga in the outer world, for instance, in New York City. From what I understand, your disciples do not pursue the professions. Is that correct?

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"From what I understand, your disciples do not pursue the professions" |"Is that correct" |"My question has to do with karma-yoga in the outer world, for instance, in New York City"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

No, we are also, we are also karma-yogī. We are also eating, we are also sleeping.
Interview -- March 5, 1975, New York:

Reporter: Have you realized the highest truth yourself?

Prabhupāda: Certainly.

Reporter: You have?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Reporter: At what age did you realize God?

Prabhupāda: I can deliver to you also.

Reporter: Pardon me?

Prabhupāda: I can deliver to you also if you want.

Reporter: My question to you is at what age did you realize God?

Prabhupāda: God is a person like you and me. The difference is that we are also persons. We are many, and God is one, leader. Now, what is the difference between this one and we many? He maintains all these many, and we are maintained by Him, but He is also a person like you and me. Do you follow?

Reporter: Yes, I do, but Swamiji, my question to you was a bit more pointed than that. I appreciate the answer you just gave me, but at what age did you realize the highest truth? At what physical age...?

Prabhupāda: There is no question of age. Realization of God should be educated from the very beginning of life.

Reporter: Oh, I understand that, Swamiji. My question to you was at what age did you yourself in this physical incarnation realize the highest truth?

Prabhupāda: Of course, we were born in a very nice family. My father educated me in this way. So practically from the very beginning of our life we were educated in this way.

Reporter: Oh, no, I understand that. I mean at what time did you have your own personal realization, Swamiji? At what age?

Prabhupāda: Well, that I can say from the age, say, four or five years.

Reporter: At the age of four or five years?

Prabhupāda: Yes. That's a fact.

Female Reporter: Swami, is there a chance that all your followers can realize the highest truth?

Prabhupāda: They have already done. They have already done. Otherwise, I am Indian, I am poor man. Why they are after me? You Americans, you are rich men. So I have not bribed them. These young boys, they are educated, qualified. Why they are after me unless they have realized?

Reporter: Swamiji, I have one other question for you, please. By definition, it seems to me anyway, and I think to other observers, and sympathetic observers at that, that you have asked your spiritual children to leave the outer world in the West and to go deep within the heart of ISKCON, within your heart and the heart of the Supreme, to accomplish what you've set as their goal. What about outer service to humanity in this incarnation?

Prabhupāda: This is the best humanity's service. They were all fools and rascals and we educated them for spiritual understanding. The material... If I think "I am this body," then I am no better than cat and dog. That is going on. "I am American." "I am Indian." "I am Hindu." "I am Muslim." "I am Christian." Only this bodily relationship. But suppose you have come to me, can I ask you whether you are body or something else?

Reporter: Swamiji, perhaps the deficiency is in my question. Let me rephrase the question, if you'll permit. And I realize there isn't much air to breathe. Hare Kṛṣṇa. But I will make the question brief. My question has to do with karma-yoga in the outer world, for instance, in New York City. From what I understand, your disciples do not pursue the professions. Is that correct?

Prabhupāda: No, we are also, we are also karma-yogī. We are also eating, we are also sleeping.

Reporter: Oh, no, I understand that. I'm speaking in terms of outer service to people who are not in your mission. Other than preaching the truth of Kṛṣṇa, is there any other outer service to humanity?

Prabhupāda: That will include everything. If we make Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then he becomes perfectly educated. We do not require to... Just like if you pour water on the root of the tree, the water reaches everywhere. And if you pour water on the leaf, on the twig, or on the branch, it does not go anywhere. It is localized. So at the present moment, service is a particular departmental service, not all-including. So, to educate people in Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to educate him all round.

Reporter: I understand, Swamiji. Again the deficiency is obviously with my question. My question relates to service to the outer world by your disciples.

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained...

Reporter: Yes, but...

Prabhupāda: That if you pour water on the root of the tree, the service reaches everywhere.

Reporter: How is that manifesting?

Prabhupāda: Manifested? That's like if you eat and give the foodstuff to your stomach, then you realize that you have got energy in every part of your body.

Reporter: Yes, I've understood your words, and I'm grateful for them, but again the problem, obviously, is with me and not with you. But the question still remains, what about being of material service. Material service, not just spiritual service?

Prabhupāda: It is material service, as I showed. If you put foodstuff in your stomach, all the parts of your body feel energetic. That is material service. That is not spiritual service. Spiritual service (is) beyond that. Similarly, the center is God. If you understand God, then you understand everything.

Reporter: Understood, Swamiji. But your disciples do not build houses, they don't work in hospitals, they don't perform—as far as I know, and I could just be swimming in ignorance here—as far as I know, they do not perform service to the outer world other than offering free meals at the temple and preaching the word of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: I, I quite follow. That is your ignorance. Because you do not know that what is the real service. You do not know. Do you know what is real service?

Reporter: The answer should come from you and not from me.

Prabhupāda: Yes. The real service is... Suppose you open hospital. You can cure for the time being some disease, but can you give me, can you give him any assurance that he will not die? Can you protect him from death? In spite of your all big, big hospitals, can you protect humanity from death, from birth, from old age, from disease? Can you?

Reporter: Physically, of course not, only spiritually.

Prabhupāda: Ah. That we are giving. That we are giving you, that no more death, no more birth, no more old age, and no more disease.

Reporter: But couldn't your disciples perform all the wonderful things that you have them do and at the same time provide outer material service?

Prabhupāda: They are doing. They are doing. What they are not doing? They are doing all service. We have got this body. We have to maintain this body. We are doing everything. We are also eating, we are also sleeping, as you are eating, we are sleeping. Where is the difference? We also allow sex, but not illicit sex. We allow eating, but no meat-eating. That is the difference. We are also eating, as you are eating. We are sleeping, as you are sleeping. Where is the difference?

Reporter: Perhaps only in some perceptions.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Reporter: Perhaps only in some perceptions.

Prabhupāda: That's all.

Reporter: Thank you, Swamiji.

Prabhupāda: There is no difference.

Reporter: Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya! (end)