Bob Cohen: Is the time that I'm going to die, and everybody going to die, is this preset before they're born? Do I have, when I'm born, do I have a certain given lifespan?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: And he cannot change that?
Prabhupāda: No. He cannot change, but Kṛṣṇa can change.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: If he commits suicide, if somebody commits suicide, that is also preset?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Not preset. That you can do, because you have got little independence. It is not natural to commit suicide. It is unnatural. So, because we have got independence, we can go from nature to unnature, and we shall be prepared for that. Just like a prisoner cannot go out of the prisonhouse naturally, but somehow or other he arranges to jump over the wall and goes away. Then he becomes again criminal, for farther (indistinct). Naturally, the prisoners cannot go out of the prisonhouse. Somehow or other, he manages to go out. That means he becomes again criminal. He will be again arrested, and his term of imprisonment will be increased, or he will be punished more. So naturally we cannot violate the destiny, but if we do it, then we suffer(?). But our destiny can be changed by Kṛṣṇa when we are Kṛṣṇa conscious. That we do not do, but Kṛṣṇa will do. Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: (BG 18.66) "I shall give you protection." So that change takes place for my protection by Kṛṣṇa. There are two stages: nondevotee and devotee. The nondevotee is under the control of material nature, and devotee is under the direct control of Kṛṣṇa. Just like a big man. In the office there are many employees, they are controlled by different departmental superintendent. But the small man at home is controlling his children directly. The controller, he is controller both in the office and factory and home, but at home he is controller directly; outside home he is controller indirectly. But he is controller always. Similarly, God is controller always. When one becomes devotee, he is controlled directly by God. When he is nondevotee, he is controlled by His agent, māyā. But he has to be controlled. Just like every citizen of America is controlled by the government. When he's all right, his civil department controls him. When he's not all right, then the criminal department controls him. But he cannot say that "I am not controlled." That is not possible. If somebody says, "I am not controlled," he is not sane. He is crazy. Everyone is controlled. So either you be controlled directly by God or you be controlled by his agency. Being controlled by māyā, you spoil your life. That means you remain in the material existence, one after another. You simply change your body. But if you give yourself to be controlled by God, then after this body you go back to home, back to Godhead. Then your life is successful. You cannot be without being controlled. That is not possible. Therefore one who is intelligent, he puts himself under the control of God directly. That is intelligence. And that is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) "After many births of struggling, or speculation, one surrenders unto Me." Vāsudevaḥ sarva..., "Kṛṣṇa, You are everything. So I am.... Accept me. I am now fully surrendered unto You, and You control me." Because I am controlled. So, so long I am being controlled by these rascals, so there is no benefit. I'm controlled. I have been controlled by my senses. So under the control of the senses, I have served family, so-called family, society, country, nation, up to serving the dog, but nothing has given me the satisfaction. Therefore now I have got sense, good sense. I put myself under Your power. Instead of being controlled by dog, let me be controlled by God. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You have not seen, man, how he is controlled by a dog, in the street? The dog stops, passes stool. "Yes, I stand." Is it not? He's passing stool, his urine, and the master is thinking, "I am master," but he's being controlled. That is māyā. He has become servant of dog, but he is thinking that "I am master of dog." This is māyā. This is māyā. So unless one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, one cannot understand. We can understand that this rascal is being controlled by this dog, but he's thinking that he is the master. We can understand.