Ian Polsen: There is a magazine called Studies in Comparative Religion which is published in this country, which I feel...
Prabhupāda: That will not help you.
Ian Polsen: No, but the reason why I mention it is that I think it is a magazine that Your Grace might contribute to, to propagate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Because it's based on three principles: principles of traditional religion, the principles of spiritual guidance from a spiritual master, and the invocation of the name of God. There is great similarity there, and I think that the few people who read that magazine could be reached through the magazine.
Prabhupāda: What is the name?
Ian Polsen: It is called Studies in Comparative Religion. And I can leave the... I have no interest in this magazine except that I subscribe to it.
Prabhupāda: Hm. Comparative religion, from our point of view, that there cannot be many religions, cannot be many religions. Religion means... We define religion as the law given by God. So we understand from Bhagavad-gītā that God says, Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ, mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru: "Always think of Me, become My devotee, offer your obeisances unto Me." So any religion that has no conception of God, how he can think of God? If I think of something, that something must be known to me; otherwise how can I think of it? If I imagine something, that is not wanted. My imagination of God... God is not a thing to be imagined by me. He is a concrete thing. Therefore according to our philosophy, any so-called religion which has no conception of God, that is not religion. That is simply mental speculation. We accept that religion means the law given by God. But if you do not know what is God, what is His law, then where is religion? Therefore in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that all types of pseudo religion is rejected. You can ask any religious man, "What is your conception of God?" he cannot give any clear conception. So far we are concerned, we can immediately give conception of God—His name, His address, everything. That is the difference. Strictly speaking, we do not accept any system of religion as bona fide. They are all rejected. That is not religion. They do not know what is God. What is that religion? Strictly speaking, that is not religion. But if we speak publicly, they will be angry. So this comparative study of religion, we don't believe in it, because there is no religion. Where is the scope of comparative study?
Devotee: Nothing can compare.
Prabhupāda: There is no religion. Strictly speaking, simply some dogmas, maybe some moral principles. That is another thing. But moral principles we have to transcend. We don't say that don't follow moral principles. But even they do not follow the moral principles. Then what is the..., where is the religion? Just like Christian religion, it is said that "Thou shalt not kill." But everyone is killing. So nobody's... Factually, religion means conception of God and the words of God, all over the world. Just like good citizen means he knows what is the government and what is the law of government. He is following. Similarly, religious person means he must know what is God and what are the words of God. So our principle is that we follow the words of God. God says, God says that "Always think of Me." So who can object to this, if he's seriously about religion? Why one should not think of God always? God says that "You think of Me." But if you have no idea of God, how you'll think of? We have God, Kṛṣṇa, here. We can think of His form. We are busy in His service. We are not only thinking; we are trying to become His devotee. We are serving, trying to serve Him. Rising early in the morning, offering maṅgala-ārati, then prayers, then reading His message, trying to apply in our life as far as possible. We are not perfect, but we are trying to follow the instruction of God. This is our life. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakta mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru. So you have studied that magazine. Can you give me any idea, what do you think about religion? What is religion?
Ian Polsen: Religion to me means more now that I have come in contact with Kṛṣṇa consciousness than it did before. It means self-realization. It means realization of my relationship with the Supreme.
Ian Polsen: It is to understand that and to realize it to the limit of my intelligence.
Prabhupāda: Say... So first of all you have to realize what you are; then you can understand what is your relationship with God. And according to that relationship with God, when you act, that is religion. That is religion.
Ian Polsen: And one needs guidance.
Prabhupāda: Yes. First of all we have to know ourselves. To know ourselves means self-realization: "I am not this body. I am spirit soul." Then what is this spirit soul? Naturally, part and parcel of God. Therefore as spirit soul my duty is to serve God. That is religion, plain thing. Just like this finger is part and parcel of my body. It is serving me. That is healthy condition. If there is any pain—"Oh, this finger cannot scratch. I'm feeling pain"—that is irreligion. So long the part and parcel of my body, the finger, cannot serve me, it is not normal condition. So every living being is part and parcel of God. So long he's unable to serve God, that is his material condition. But as soon as he's engaged actually in the service of God, that is his real liberated position. Same example: If the finger is diseased, it cannot serve. But when it is serving, that is healthy condition. Similarly, we living entities, we are part and parcel of God. When we are not engaged in the service of the Lord, or God... Everyone is engaged to some service. Somebody's serving his family, somebody's serving himself, somebody's serving his government, somebody's serving so many things. And somebody's serving even cats and dogs. So these are all mad condition. So when he turns to God... Service he must give. Nobody can say, "I'm not serving anybody." That is not possible. You must be serving somebody. Just like you are serving government, he is serving some office, because service is our nature. So we are not happy because the service is misplaced. When the service is rightly placed, then it is our normal condition. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that "You surrender unto Me." That is real liberated condition. So our mission is serving God. In this way, that people are suffering on account of their godless life. So we are making propaganda that "Serve God, then you will be happy." We know why he's suffering. The same example: The finger in diseased condition cannot serve me. It has to be treated when there is some pain. Suppose this, the nail, I apply some medicine, cure it so that it can serve me. So the whole world is suffering because he's not fit to serve God. So if he becomes fit to serve God, then all the suffering will be gone. The same example again: When the finger is fit to serve, that means it has no disease. And so long it is diseased, there is pain, it cannot serve.