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What is the most attractive and suitable name (of God) here in this material country?

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"What is the most attractive and suitable name here in this material country"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1969 Conversations and Morning Walks

Now, take for example the Muhammadan name Allah. Allah means the greatest. So God is greatest. So that greatest conception is this Brahman conception. And so far Christian, I don't think they have got any particular name.
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 12, 1969, Columbus, Ohio:

Allen Ginsberg: Okay. So the problem I was posing before is, which I leave open, I don't know. What is the most attractive and suitable name here in this material country?

Prabhupāda: Now, take for example the Muhammadan name Allah. Allah means the greatest. So God is greatest. So that greatest conception is this Brahman conception. And so far Christian, I don't think they have got any particular name. They say God.

Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Lord, God. That is the basic one.

Prabhupāda: Controller. God means controller. Is it not?

Allen Ginsberg: What is the etymology of God? Do you know?

Hayagrīva: I don't know.

Prabhupāda: God is the equivalent of īśvara. Īśvara means controller.

Allen Ginsberg: Then the Jews, which were my background, had a prohibition...

Prabhupāda: Jehovah.

Allen Ginsberg: They had Jehovah, but they had a prohibition of pronouncing the highest names. 'Cause they felt that God was imageless, and therefore should not be pronounced or painted. My background is I guess what would be impersonalist.

Hayagrīva: The Jews are personalist.

Allen Ginsberg: Well, what are they? Impersonalists or personalists?

Lady: Impersonalists. They believe in just the Absolute. That's all.

Prabhupāda: That was the difference in Jesus Christ. He was a personalist.

Devotee: Hasidics are personal.

Allen Ginsberg: Yes. They put their devotion into the rabbi or the guru. The ancient Hebrew... I guess you must know about that. The ancient Hebrew teaching was that the name of God should never be pronounced.

Prabhupāda: Now we come to know...

Allen Ginsberg: J-H-V-H.

Prabhupāda: Anyway why God's name...

Allen Ginsberg: Pictures should not be made. Pictures should not be made. Because it would limit God to human conception.

Prabhupāda: That is another thing. That is in Muhammadan. That means God is not material. That is the idea. Because here the idea is when I make something image or picture, that is material. So there is a prohibition of accepting God as material. But if you go to a higher stage, then you'll understand that if God is everything then there is no material. That is Vaiṣṇava philosophy. If God is everything, then where is material? He is spiritual. Material means when you cannot understand God. That is material. Everything is sky. When it is covered by cloud we call it is cloudy. Similarly, cloud has no existence. It comes only to cover sometimes, but the sky is eternal. Similarly, God is eternal. When you are covered by some māyā, you cannot see, you cannot understand God, that is material. So any philosophy which does not help understanding God, that is material. That is material. Otherwise, there is no material. Where is material if God is everything? Sarvam khalv idam brahma. You see?

Hayagrīva: All spirits.

Prabhupāda: All spirit. All the sky. Everywhere is sky, but when it's covered it is called cloud. Similarly when God is covered by some nonsense ideas, then it is material. Otherwise, there is no material. Therefore those who are too much absorbed in materialistic way, there is a restriction but don't attempt. Because he will be to think that God's name is just like my son's name my daughter's name. Therefore that restriction.