Atreya Ṛṣi: ...there's a great different between that and what we know today as Christians. They're designations. We are not talking...
Prabhupāda: That is another point. The thing is that Christ came to preach the message of God. So therefore, to become actually Christ conscious means God conscious.
O'Grady: God conscious, exactly. And to become God conscious means...
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa conscious.
O'Grady: To become self conscious.
O'Grady: To be conscious of who you are yourself.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. God consciousness includes self consciousness. But self consciousness is not God consciousness. God consciousness includes self consciousness, but self consciousness is not God consciousness.
O'Grady: Well, it may be.
O'Grady: You may achieve recognition of the God that's in yourself, of that aspect.
Prabhupāda: When you are God conscious...
O'Grady: Without being pantheistic, you mean?
Prabhupāda: Just Like if you come in front of the sunlight, the sun consciousness is there, which includes your personal conscious... you also see. In the darkness you cannot see. At night you do not see even your hands and legs. But if you come in front of the sun, or light, then you see the sun and see yourself. So without the sunlight, without God consciousness, self consciousness is incomplete. But God consciousness makes self consciousness very clear.
O'Grady: Well, a lot of young people that we meet in our teaching profession, we don't try to teach them any kind of didactic salvation. But we do try to direct them towards an awareness of what is best and what is most good for them and what is most spiritually nourishing in the world about them, in so far as the system allows us. And I speak of my friend Michael and we here. And the one condition or emotional state—because very frequently the students are not mature enough to be in a spiritual condition, they are in a emotional condition rather than a spiritual one—what we are faced with, is the basic question of "Who am I?" "What is it all about?" "Why am I here?" "Why should I be here"? "Who are you, and who the hell are you to tell me what to think or what to read or what not to read? Why should I read Shakespeare? Or why should I read Saint Augustine? Or why should I listen to Mozart? I prefer Bob Dylan," and these kind of questions which seem to emanate from a very disillusioned state of mind, an insecurity, an uncertainty, and a lack of credibility in the total structure of things as they are. And so we're frequently faced with not just directly having to answer these questions, as I said didactically answering them by saying in a catechismic sort of way: "Who am I?" "You are..." "What am I doing here?" "You are doing this here," which one can do, of course, also.
O'Grady: And so, rather than present the kind of answers that one could present if one was trained in oneself originally... And one who is first of all trained, then one has to untrain oneself, and then one trains oneself from that experience basically. This is my way of seeing it. And then one tries to help others through this course with the same process. Do you think that we should tell them more directly, or... Well, the basic question is how to handle the problem of modern education.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Our Vedic process is... There are so many questions, as you have already explained. Somebody thinks, "Why I have come here? And what is the purpose? What you are?" So many questions. Questions should be answered by the perfect. Therefore the Vedic injunction is tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) "In order to take answers of all these questions one must approach the bona fide spiritual master."
O'Grady: One must...?
Prabhupāda: Approach the bona fide spiritual master.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Approach.
O'Grady: The bona fide spiritual master. If you have none, what do you do?
Prabhupāda: No, there is.
O'Grady: If you are told that Mr. Nixon is the bona fide spiritual master, what do you do?
Prabhupāda: No, we have got standard. Who is bona fide spiritual master? Just like... The one line, you have heard only one line, that bona fide spiritual master, "You must approach the bona fide spiritual master." But who is bona fide spiritual master? Then that next question. That is also answered, that bona fide spiritual master means tad-vijñānārtham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham (MU 1.2.12). This is the qualification of bona fide spiritual master. What is that? Śrotriyam. Śrotriyam means who has heard from the bona fide spiritual master. A bona fide spiritual master is he who has taken the message from bona fide spiritual master. This is the... Just like a medical man is he who has taken the knowledge of medical science from another medical man.
O'Grady: Just like Christ took this knowledge from the Holy Ghost.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And anyone. Yes. Similarly, bona fide spiritual master means who is in the line of successive spiritual master. The original spiritual master is God. So then one who has heard from God and he has explained the same message to his disciple, then the disciple is bona fide spiritual master—if he does not change. That is our process. We take lessons. We hear from Kṛṣṇa who is the perfect, God. And that is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2).
O'Grady: But then, you see my poor old father, living in the west of Ireland, a simple man, at his age, seventy now, your generation, he has gotten to the point at his age where he says, "Well, they tell me, the priests they tell me ultimately it's God who knows. But I want to know who told God."
O'Grady: And then he comes to me and asks me and says, "You went to school and you read big books. Tell me who told God." And so I have no answer.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the difference between God and me.
O'Grady: That's the difference between being seventy and thirty-nine.
Prabhupāda: No. There is no question of... That is explained in the..., that Bhāgavata, Brahma-sūtra, who is God, first of all. Who is God?
O'Grady: Who told God?
Prabhupāda: No, no. First of all, "Who is God?" Then we shall ask, "Who told God?" (chuckles) That God... That is the Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now we should enquire about God, what is God, who is God." Unless you know who is God, how can you raise the question, "Who instructed God?" If you do not know God, then the question does not arise, "Who instructed God?" Is it not? Yes. So therefore God is explained in the Brahma-sūtra, janmādy asya yataḥ: (SB 1.1.1) "God is He from everything comes, emanates." That is God. That God is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, janmādy asya yataḥ: (SB 1.1.1) "The Supreme Being from whom everything emanates." Now, what is that Supreme Being? What is the nature of the Supreme Being? It is a dead stone or a living being? That is also explained. Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ sva-rāṭ (SB 1.1.1). "That God is fully cognizant of everything, directly and indirectly." Unless He is fully cognizant of everything, directly and indirectly, He is not God. So then the same question comes, as you said, that "Who taught God?"
O'Grady: Yes, that's the man I want to meet.
Prabhupāda: That is answered, sva-rāṭ. "Independent." That is God.
Prabhupāda: Independent. He is fully independent. He does not require to take lessons from anyone. That is God. That is God. If anyone requires to take lesson from other, he is not God. Who does not require to take lesson from other, that is God.
O'Grady: Where does human love enter into it?
Prabhupāda: Everything is there. Because love is also coming from God. So we are being part and parcel of God, there is part and parcel manifestation of love because the original love is there in God. Because nothing can exist. Nothing can exist if it is not in God.
O'Grady: Therefore we love.
Prabhupāda: The love is also there in God.
O'Grady: But God is not love?
Prabhupāda: God is love. God is everything.
O'Grady: Oh, yeah. Then love is God.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
O'Grady: Our manifestations of love are manifestations of God.
Prabhupāda: Ah... Because we are part and parcel... Just like son born of a particular father, he has got the symptoms, so because there is loving propensity in God and we being part and parcel of God, therefore we have got this loving propensity. This is the conclusion. Unless the loving propensity is there in God, where we get it?
O'Grady: Maybe it's generated in you by the need...
Prabhupāda: No, there is no question of "maybe." It must be, must be.
O'Grady: Oh, very... Yes, I accept the strong word.
Prabhupāda: Yes. There is no question of... Because we have defined God, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). God is He wherefrom everything emanates. That is God. So love, love or even fight. The fighting propensity is also there in God. And loving propensity is also there in God. But His fighting propensity and loving propensity—absolute. Just like in the material world we have got experience, fighting propensity is just opposite the loving propensity. But in God, either fighting propensity or loving propensity, they are one and the same, therefore He is absolute. That is the meaning of absolute. Just like we get from śāstras. The so-called enemies of God who is killed by God, he also attains perfection.
O'Grady: Yes, the vengeful... Yes, that I understand, the avenging God of Biblical imagination as against... Is it possible to do it all on your own, alone?
Prabhupāda: No. Therefore the Vedas say, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). Abhigacchet means "he must." It is not possible alone. This word, this abhigacchet, this verb, is used in Sanskrit grammar... This is called vidhiliñ form of verb. So vidhiliñ form of verb is used when there is a..., matter is a must. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet, samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyam. And that is the Vedic version. Therefore... You have read Bhagavad-gītā. You will find Arjuna was talking with Kṛṣṇa. Then, when the things were not solved, perplexed, Arjuna surrendered himself, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam. Find out this verse.
Nitāi: Text seven.
- pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
- yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me
- śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
- (BG 2.7)
"Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness."
Prabhupāda: Yes. That... Here is the question, "confused."
O'Grady: I am the first statement. "I am confused about my duty," that what is the... Thank you.
Nitāi: "...and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am..."
O'Grady: This duty, this duty, is this duty to the self or duty to others or duty to the state?
Prabhupāda: He is confused because he was a kṣatriya, soldier. A soldier's duty is to fight with the enemy. So Kṛṣṇa was advising him, "The opposite party is your enemy. You are a kṣatriya. Why you are trying to become non-violent? This is not good." Therefore he says, "Actually I am now confused. So in confusion I cannot take the right conclusion. I therefore accept You as my spiritual master. You just give me the proper lesson." This is the point. So they were friends. Still, he was confused. So in chaotic condition, in confusion status of life, we must approach the person who is in full knowledge of the things. Just like you go to a lawyer, you go to a physician; similarly, every one of us in the material world, we are confused. Therefore we must go to the spiritual master who can give us real knowledge.
O'Grady: Right. So, therefore, for example, I am very confused.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Atreya Ṛṣi: He is confused.
O'Grady: Very confused.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So you must approach a spiritual master.
O'Grady: And you make a decision, therefore to try to sort this confusion, to make some...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Spiritual master means who solves all confusion. That is spiritual master. When one is confused, he goes to a spiritual master, and the spiritual master's duty is to save him from all confusion. That is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple. If the spiritual master cannot save him from confusion, then he is not spiritual master. That is the test.
- trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam
- prāptasya kalyāṇa-guṇārṇavasya
- vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam **
This whole world is confusion, just like a blazing fire in the forest. When there is forest fire, all the animals become confused, "Where to go? How to save life?" It is very good example. When there is fire in the forest, all the animals become confused. Similarly, this material world is just like a blazing fire in the forest. Everyone is confused. Now how the blazing fire in the forest can be extinguished? You cannot take there your man-made fire brigade. That is not possible. Neither bucketful of water. So in this confused state of the human society you cannot manufacture the solution. The only solution is that when there is rain from the cloud on the forest fire, then it is extinguished. That is not in your hand; that is mercy of God. So spiritual master means who has received the mercy of God and he can deliver to the confused man. Then the solution is there. This is very good verse, saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya **. One who has received mercy of God, he can become spiritual master. He can deliver the mercy of God.
O'Grady: A friend, for example, yes.
Atreya Ṛṣi: A real friend.
O'Grady: Well, if one says he's a friend, that's how he feels. A friend is a friend. There's no question of...
Atreya Ṛṣi: True well-wisher.
O'Grady: There's no question of being half-real friend or unreal friend. A friend is a friend.
Prabhupāda: Yes, the best friend is the spiritual master because he saves from the blazing fire of confusion. That is best friend.
O'Grady: The problem is to find this friend. The problem is to find this spiritual master.
Prabhupāda: No, there is no problem. The problem is if you are sincere. Yes. That is stated. Because actually you have got problems, but God is within your heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). God is not far away. God is within your heart. So if you are sincere, then God will give you spiritual master. If He knows that now you are sincere, then He will give you a spiritual master.
O'Grady: O.K. Thank you. That I know.
Prabhupāda: Therefore God is called caittya-guru, the spiritual master within the heart. And the physical spiritual master is God's mercy. If God sees that you are sincere, He will give you a spiritual master who can give you protection. He will help you from within and without, without in the physical form of spiritual master, and within as the spiritual master within the heart. That is stated,
- īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
- hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati
- bhrāmāyān sarva-bhūtāni
- yantrārūḍhāni māyayā
- (BG 18.61)
All our questions are answered in the Bhagavad-gītā very nicely.