Guest (5): Your Grace, all of us who are attached to a transcendental religion, I think we face a common problem, and I would like to hear you say how you see the answer to the problem: the problem of evil. If I put it in these terms, that all energy, all reality, is from God, the spiritual and the material. And material is good when we use it towards God consciousness, use it properly. But the thing that makes a difference is ourselves, the way we consciously use things differently. And the trouble is that in this consciousness, this is how we come closest to God, our consciousness in itself. Now, some people would say that the source of evil is individual consciousness, our consciousness as persons. Others would have other ways of answering. I was wondering how you yourself would say.
Prabhupāda: Individual consciousness and the supreme consciousness, God and we... We are all also the same principle. God is also living being, we are also living being, but He is the supreme living being. That is stated in the Vedas. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). Nitya means eternal. God is eternal; we are also eternal. But because we have fallen down in this material existence, we have forgotten our eternity; we are changing body. We are thinking, "I am this body." This is our misgivings. But God does not fall down. He is eternal. We are also eternal, but because we are very small fragment, sometimes we fall down. Therefore God's another name is Acyuta—"Never falls down." We cyuta, we fall down sometimes. When we fall down, then God comes to save us. So this is the difference between God and us, that we are also eternal and God is also eternal. We are also cognizant, God is also cognizant. In this way, qualitatively, you will find God and we are the same. But quantitatively we are different. So far consciousness is concerned, I am conscious about my bodily pains and pleasures, you are conscious about your bodily pains and pleasures. You are not conscious of my bodily pains and pleasure, I am not conscious of your bodily pains. But God is conscious of your consciousness and my consciousness and everybody. That is the difference between God and you and me. He knows what is pains and pleasure within you, He knows what is pains and pleasure within me or any living entity. He knows everything. Therefore He is all-cognizant, all-powerful, almighty. He knows everything. That is explained in the... Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ (SB 1.1.1). He is cognizant of everything. He knows everything. In the Bhagavad-gītā also He says that "I know past, present, future everywhere." So consciousness is there. One is the supreme consciousness, and the other is this limited consciousness. So far we are concerned, our consciousness is limited, and so far God is concerned, His consciousness is unlimited. But we are both conscious. So far consciousness is concerned, the quality is one. But one, just like a drop of sea-water, Pacific Ocean. The taste is the same, salty, but a drop of water is very insignificant... (break)