One gentleman told me a story that one Christian priest went to preach Christian religion in Sheffield. Sheffield, where is it? In England? So the workers, laborers, he was preaching amongst them that "Lord Jesus Christ will save you. If you don't take shelter of Lord Jesus Christ, then you'll go to hell." So first of all he, "Who is Jesus Christ? What is his number?" That means he, they thought, "Jesus Christ must be one of the workers, and every worker has a number, so what is his number?" So "No, Jesus Christ, he's son of God. So he has no number. He's not worker." Then "What is hell?" Then described, "Hell is very damp, very dark," and so on, so on. So they were silent. Because they are working in the mines. It is always dark and damp. (laughter) (Prabhupāda laughs) So what is the difference between hell and this, what is called, mine? They were silent. But when the priest said, "There is no newspaper," "Oh, horrible!" (laughter) There is no newspaper.
The miners understood there is no newspaper in hell
Conversations and Morning Walks
1968 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: There was one clergyman lecturing in a Sheffield coal-mine that, "If you don't worship Jesus Christ, then you will go to hell." So first of all one man asked him... First of all, the clergyman inquired, "Do you know Jesus Christ?" So they were silent. So one of them inquired, "What is his number?" They thought that "Jesus Christ must be one of us," I mean to say, workers in the mine. So he must have got a number. "So what is his number?" Then the clergyman could understand that "To whom I am speaking." So then he explained, "Oh, Jesus Christ is not one of you. He is son of God. He has come to deliver you. If you don't worship Him, then you will go to hell." Then one of them said, "What is hell?" Then he described, "It is very dark, moist, and so on." So they were silent, because they work in the mine. (laughter) They were silent. "What is this hell? It is all right." Then the clergyman thought how to impress them. Then, after a few minutes, he said, "No. The hell is very dangerous." "How?" "There is no newspaper." "Oh, horrible." (Laughter) Because in your western countries everyone is fond of newspaper. So he stressed, he hit the point, that "There is no newspaper." So we have to hit to the point that there is no tax-man.
1971 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: There was a story that the priest was describing about the hell, so they did not respond. But when he said, "There is no newspaper," then, "Oh, it is horrible." (laughter) Other conditions—that it is dark, it is very moist, and so many things described. But they were miners, they know that these things are happening daily, so what is the wrong in the hell? Then he stressed, "There is no newspaper." Then they will, "Oh, it is horrible." (laughter) So, according to one's taste the hellish conditions should described.
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prajāpati: As soon as we define what demoniac civilization is, then no one will support us because they'll see that they themselves are demons.
Prabhupāda: Yes, because they are demons they cannot understand. Just like one Christian priest went to some quarters, mine, gold mine. So he was describing that "If you do not worship Lord Jesus Christ, you will go to hell." So they asked, "What is hell?" So when he began to describe—"It is always wet. It is dark. There is no sufficient air, so on, so on"—they could not understand what is hell because they are already in the hell, in the mine. They could not make any distinction that darkness is a very horrible thing. Similarly, these demons they cannot understand what is demonism.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: "No, no, Jesus Christ is son of God. He was... (break) If you don't worship him, you will go to hell." So they enquired, "What is that hell?" He began to... "It is very dark and moist and so on, so on..." They did not reply because they are working in the mine. So this is the position. This is the position. People are kept in so much darkness, they do not know what is hell, what is heaven, what is God, what is misery. They do not mind. They are accustomed to all these things.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: That is another thing, but generally. We do not derive any benefit from those. People read it, especially in the Western counties. If there is no newspaper it is hell. I told you this story? Yes. You can repeat that.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: The preacher was preaching to the coal miners that if they were not good, they would go to hell, and in hell it was very cold. So they were thinking, "So it is very cold in the mine." Then he was saying that it is very dark in hell. "But it is very dark in the mine." Then he said "And there are no newspapers." "Oh, how horrible, what a horrible place that must be."
Prabhupāda: When they heard in the hell there is no newspaper, then came to the idea, "Oh, it is horrible." Otherwise, cold, dark, "Oh, this is our custom. We are already accustomed to these habits, we are working in the mine. So don't make any distinction between hell and our present residential quarters. But if there is no newspaper, certainly that is hell."
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The Christian conception of salvation was more one of being saved from hell rather than an attraction for some transcendental reality.
Prabhupāda: Christian conception... Mass of people, they do not know what is hell because they are living in the hell already. That was the story. When hell was described, he was undisturbed, but when he was informed that there was no newspaper in hell then he became... "Horrible. How one can live there without newspaper?" So so far hellish condition is there now...