Prabhupāda: I was ordered by my spiritual master to do this work, so on his order I came in 1965. That is the beginning of this. I came alone with no help, no money. Somehow or other (laughs) I started.
Interviewer: How did you attract people? You landed in New York...
Prabhupāda: My attraction is this chanting. That's all.
Interviewer: Did you stand on street corners and chant?
Prabhupāda: Yes, I had no magic. Just like others. They say some..., show some magic. I never showed any magic.
Interviewer: No, I understand that.
Bali-mardana: Thompkins Park.
Prabhupāda: By Thompkins Park I was chanting, and these boys gradually came. First picture was published by the New York Times. Then we started branches in San Francisco, in Montreal, Boston. And then Los Angeles. In this way...
Interviewer: So you just chanted in Thompkins Park, and people came?
Prabhupāda: Yes, I was underneath a tree. I think that picture was published by that Voice, very big article, published.
Interviewer: What did you have to offer then. If you were chanting in the park and I said "What are you doing? Why are you chanting? What's your thing here?"
Bali-mardana: He said what did you have to offer.
Rāmeśvara: He said, "If someone had come up to you while you were chanting and said, 'Why are you doing this? What are you offering?' How would you have replied."
Prabhupāda: They came... Naturally they came and joined me and began to dance, that's all. That is the beginning.
Rāmeśvara: But what if they asked you, "What is this all about?"
Prabhupāda: No, this is for spiritual realization. If you chant, then, gradually, you realize yourself that you are a spiritual being; you are not this body. Then his spiritual life begins. Actually human life is meant for spiritual realization, and if one does not spiritually realize his identity, then he remains an animal. That is the difference between animal and man. Man is supposed to be spiritually realized.
Interviewer: How is that spiritual dimension realized?
Prabhupāda: One has to realize that he's not this body, he's spirit soul, and the spirit soul is within the body, and after annihilation of this body, the spirit soul is transferred to another body. So there are 8,400,000 different forms of life. And we have to transmigrate to any one of these forms. So today I am in American body or Indian body, very comfortably situated, but at the time of death my particular mentality will transfer me to a particular type of body. Exactly like if a man infects some contagious disease he has to develop that disease. It is very subtle material laws. So similarly, we are composed of gross body and subtle body. The gross body is made of this earth, water, air, fire, ether, like this. And the subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and ego. And the spirit soul is within that outward gross and subtle bodies. When the gross body is annihilated, the subtle body, mind, carries the soul to a similar body as he was thinking at the time of death. It is, example is given... Just like the flavor of a rose garden is carried by the air or the bad odor of a filthy place is also carried by the air, similarly, mind, intelligence carries me to a particular type of body as I was absorbed in thought at the time of death.
Interviewer: What is the ultimate?
Prabhupāda: Ultimate is that you are spirit soul, you are being materially engrossed, you are creating different situations and you are being transferred to different bodies. That is different situations.
Interviewer: But for what purpose and to what end? What's the final end?
Prabhupāda: Yes, so final, that unless you are spiritually realized, you do not know what is the final end. The final end is that we are part and parcel of God. Somehow or other we are in contact with this material atmosphere. So our final aim is to go back to home, back to Godhead. Unless we know this and we practice how to return back again to Godhead, then we have to remain within this material world, transmigrating from one body to another. Therefore the human intelligence is meant for understanding the spiritual identity and the goal of life and act accordingly. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is an educational movement to enlighten the people from gross ignorance to the highest enlightenment of spiritual understanding.
Interviewer: Is it an internal educational process or external?
Prabhupāda: It is internal but externally... Just like externally, behavior makes internal inclinations. If you associate with some bad company, the internally also you develop bad propensities. And if you associate with good company, then internally you develop good propensities. So internally, externally, they are interrelated. By external behavior we influence our internal energy. And by internal atmosphere we get the external body.
Interviewer: I'm trying to find out whether the consciousness lies within us, brought out...
Prabhupāda: Yes, consciousness... Consciousness will be... Because... Just like sunshine and the sun. Similarly, the soul means consciousness. It is just like sunshine. The soul is very small particle, but it is shining as consciousness.
Interviewer: So we can allow it to fulfill itself or not.
Bali-mardana: He wants to know, is this consciousness within us.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So long the soul is there, the consciousness is there.
Bali-mardana: Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Prabhupāda: Not Kṛṣṇa cons..., immediately Kṛṣṇa conscious. Consciousness is there. Just like so long the soul is there, you pinch any part of your body—you'll feel pain. That is consciousness. And when the soul is gone out of the body, If you cut the hand, there will be no consciousness.
Rāmeśvara: Did you mean to ask whether the ultimate state of consciousness is within us that has to be brought out?
Prabhupāda: No, consciousness is already there.
Rāmeśvara: He meant the dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is that...
Prabhupāda: That is original consciousness.
Rāmeśvara: So that is within us.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Rāmeśvara: And it needs to be brought out.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Interviewer: And how is that brought out?
Prabhupāda: That is brought out by this process. You have to go under some process. Just like a man can be made unconscious and again conscious under some process. If you... What is called?
Prabhupāda: Anesthetic, he becomes unconscious. Then, another process, we can bring him to conscious.
Interviewer: All right, let me ask a rather long question. Let's assume that all human beings have an innate ability to speak, and depending upon the circumstances they find themselves in when they are very small, they will learn Sanskrit, they will learn English, they will learn French, they will learn Chinese. What... Now, if I were Chinese, I would say, "Well Chinese is the best language." I would have a, you know... I could take a different mode on what's the best way to communicate.
Prabhupāda: No, Chinese...
Interviewer: Now, in terms of your movement, you're bringing out consciousness, which I would analogize...
Prabhupāda: No, I say...
Interviewer: To the ability to speak. Now, how is your path or your way different from (or) better than others?
Prabhupāda: No, but there is no question of "better than others." It is the only thing.