Father Tanner: But in the West, you know, your priest is generally made a priest in his early twenties. Then he has thrust upon him the role of the wise man, which he doesn't always seek.
Prabhupāda: Just like these boys, they are very young, twenties, between twenty to thirty. So they are made here brahmacārī, and some of them are sannyāsī, but they are strictly following these principles. Because they are young men, there cannot be any concession that he can become intoxicants, he can indulge in meat-eating. No.
Father Tanner: But would you think of a young man as wise man? Isn't it normal that a young man is working his way towards wisdom?
Prabhupāda: The wise man becomes by knowledge, not by age. Even an old man, if he has no knowledge, what is...? He is not wise man. Wise means one who has attained knowledge. He may be young, he may be old. It doesn't matter. Vidyatvaṁ vayasā vinā. In Sanskrit word, that one becomes elderly without being advanced in age. That means he knows the knowledge. Therefore he is elderly. An elderly person means advanced in knowledge, not by age.
Father Tanner: Hm. But, you see, knowledge and attainment aren't the same thing. You know, I may know that it is wrong to be an alcoholic, and maybe I am not actually, physically an alcoholic, but it doesn't mean to say that interiorally I have cleansed myself of all addiction. The fact that you are not drinking for a year doesn't mean to say that you have overcome the intoxicant urge if that is in you, although you know it is wrong.
Prabhupāda: No, this argument is not very strong. Just like one foodstuff, freshly made, it is fresh. But if somebody argues that if it remains four days more, it will become bad, that is surmisation. Now it is fresh. We take it fresh. What will happen in future, that is no consideration. In future, everyone may fall and everyone may become elevated. But we have to take his present situation, what he is at present.
Father Tanner: But couldn't it be the difference between appearance and reality?
Prabhupāda: This is reality. If at the present moment he is free from all sinful activities, that is reality. In future, everyone is susceptible to fall down. If he does not carry the principles strictly that proneness is there. But that is not consideration. What he is at present, that is consideration.
Father Tanner: But what he is at present may be an accident.
Prabhupāda: Why accident? Which is actually happening, why it is accident?
Father Tanner: Well, for instance, if you take a man shipwrecked on an island alone, he is not in any sense taking part in impure love, or illicit love. But it doesn't mean to say that he is free from all desire for illicit love.
Prabhupāda: No. Nobody's free. But so long he acts nicely, he's nice.
Father Tanner: So it is the action, rather than the, no, the exterior rather than the interior.
Prabhupāda: No, interior... Well, of course, everyone has got interior tendency, but by practicing actually, exteriorally, that interior also is reformed. It is, by external behavior, the interior behavior also becomes fixed up. By practice. Therefore there is regular class so that he may be purified internally and externally. Sa bāhyābhyantara-śuciḥ. Yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ sa bāhyābhyantara-śuciḥ. If you constantly remember the Supreme Lord, so you become automatically purified, internally and externally. Because the Lord is absolute, so if we chant the Lord's holy name, the name is also Lord. He has no difference between His name and Himself.
Father Tanner: Well, you see, we make a difference between the law and the spirit of the law, or the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. And we can say a man can keep the letter of the law without in any way keeping the spirit of the law.
Prabhupāda: No, that is materially difference. But spiritually...
Father Tanner: Spiritually, that is different.
Prabhupāda: No. Spiritually, the Lord and His name, the Lord and His form, the Lord and His quality, They are all identical.
Devotee: No, but there's a little misunderstanding. Prabhupāda is saying "Lord." Not...
Father Tanner: Oh, you're saying "Lord." I'm sorry. I was saying "law."
Prabhupāda: No, no.
Devotee: Law, law, the command, law.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Lord.
Father Tanner: Yes. You can have the letter of the law...
Prabhupāda: No, I'm not speaking of law. I'm talking of Lord.
Father Tanner: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So Lord and Lord's name, They're the same, identical. Just like we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So this Kṛṣṇa name and the Kṛṣṇa person, identical. Because the Lord is absolute. In the material world, the world of duality, the name is not the substance. If you require water, simply by chanting "Water, water," your thirst will not be quenched. You require the substance water. But in the spiritual world, the Lord and His name, the same thing. If you chant the Lord's name, Kṛṣṇa, or any name of Lord, that is identical with the Lord. Therefore by chanting the holy name of the Lord, you are associating with the Lord. And as soon as you associate with the Lord, you become purified. Because Lord is all-pure. Just like if you associate with fire, you become warm. Similarly, if you constantly associate with the Lord, you remain purified. Therefore our principle is they are always chanting... Just like we are... I am chanting also. (Holds up beads) Or reading some book. Or talking with you about Kṛṣṇa. So we are always connected with Kṛṣṇa, or God. In all our activities... The whole house, you'll see, they are engaged in some sort of work which has connection with Kṛṣṇa. There is no other work. So nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe. Anything attached with God, that is also godly.