John Nordheimer: What is the role of women in Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: There is no distinction between men and women.
John Nordheimer: I keep hearing about certain propensities women have that would separate them from propensities men have.
Prabhupāda: Well, it is still man's duty to become the husband and woman's duty to become the wife; so these propensities are there. But all this can be adjusted. I have many students and am getting them married, and they are living peacefully and advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Not that everyone is brahmacārī. We have many gṛhasthas and children. In this way the propensities of the women and those of the man are adjusted. A man wants a woman, and a woman wants a man, so we say, "All right, take it. Live peacefully, but don't change partners." We don't allow divorce; once they're married there is no separation. Nor do we allow boys and girls to live together as friends. If a man wants a woman and a woman wants a man, they should become united by marriage, live peacefully and advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is our proposal. In this way all facilities are there in this movement. Our program is to make people become godly, and everyone should help us. Every sane man should help this movement for the good of society.
John Nordheimer: What about the United States government?
Prabhupāda: Yes, it should come forward. My students here are all United States citizens. I have not imported them from India. They are Americans, and they are in difficulty. So why shouldn't the government come forward? Their character is being formed, and they are becoming God conscious by participating in this movement. The government is spending millions of dollars to stop LSD and other drug intoxication, but my students are giving up everything simply by following my word. So why isn't the government coming forward to help me?
John Nordheimer: They don't care about the people, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: But don't they want good for their own men? I am stopping American boys and girls from taking LSD and other drugs, and the government is spending millions of dollars to do this. It is only practical that they come forward to support this movement.
John Nordheimer: Understanding is needed, for I know some of the misconceptions that exist about your movement.
Prabhupāda: Are the misconceptions cleared?
John Nordheimer: I hope so.
Prabhupāda: Yes, we invite everyone to come here to listen to our philosophy, take prasādam and sing and dance with us. This program is very nice. We do not make distinctions in human society. We do not say that we shall serve the Indians and not the Americans or the Americans and not the Africans. We are going everywhere with this movement. We take all human beings to be part and parcel of God. Not only human beings, but every living entity—animals also.
John Nordheimer: How many followers do you have?
Prabhupāda: Well, this is a very difficult job, naturally. We don't have a large number of followers. As soon as you try to sell a diamond, you cannot expect many customers. Nonetheless, a diamond is a diamond, even if there are no customers. The number of customers is not the test. The customer must pay the value of the item. In this society we propose that you give up illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. When people hear this, they go away saying, "Oh, Swamiji is very conservative." But I cannot become liberal and tell everybody, "Go ahead and do all nonsense and you can become God conscious." I cannot possibly recommend that. Therefore my first condition is that if someone wants to become my student he has to follow these four regulative principles. Consequently I do not have many followers, but I do have a select few. Because they are select, they will bring about a revolution in the world. One moon is sufficient to dissipate darkness. If there is one moon, there is no need for millions of stars. It is useless to expect a large number of followers. We want only one good follower. If I can get one man to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, I will consider my mission fulfilled. If you talk to whatever small number of followers I have, you will find that they talk better than any great philosopher, better than any scientist or politician. That is the quality of my students. What's the point in talking nonsense? One's words may be simple, but they should be valuable. Every day your employer is printing so many newspapers. On Sunday, especially, the paper is so big that one can hardly carry it. But after reading it an hour, people throw it away. Here is this book, Bhagavad-gītā, and people keep it and read it for a lifetime, and in this way it has been read for the past 5,000 years. Give such literature that will be taken and kept forever.
John Nordheimer: (laughing) It's already been suggested that we (the New York Times) are not divinely inspired. At any rate, this book-
Prabhupāda: If one gets a diamond, he possesses something valuable. But in this civilization you are simply making plastic plates and plastic cups. Indeed, in Japan I have seen pasteboard homes. And everyone is thinking that he is advanced. Formerly people used to have golden and silver utensils, but now they have plastic ones, and still they are very proud to be so materially advanced. What is your position? You have a bunch of paper and think, "I am a millionaire." What is the value of that paper? Is that not cheating? However, if we possess gold or diamonds worth a million dollars, that is actual wealth. But we are educated in such a way that we think we are millionaires by paper only. As soon as there is some catastrophe, millions of such dollars could not buy bread. This actually happened in Germany; millions of marks could not purchase one piece of bread. All this is going on in the name of advancement of civilization, and the real purpose of life, God consciousness, is missing. So every thoughtful man should come forward to understand this movement and take it seriously. Why are the people being misled? We just have to try to understand this philosophy, the basic principles of God consciousness.