are best social worker Press
Conference, July 16, 1975, San Francisco
Jayatirtha: The first question which you
can address yourself to on a general basis is "What is Krishna
Prabhupada: So this
photograph will go on? [Cameras clicking]
Jayatirtha: Just for a few
Prabhupada: Let it be
finished. Otherwise, attention will be diverted. [break]
Bhakta das: ...photograph,
we'd like to introduce the Founder-Acharya, spiritual master of the
entire Krishna consciousness movement, His Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who founded this movement in 1966,
coming here to America from Calcutta. Now His Divine Grace has very
kindly once again come to San Francisco to lead us in this holy
Rathayatra Jagannatha cart parade. And we will ask him the questions
that you have written down, and he will answer those questions, like
that. So the first question, Srila Prabhupada, is "What is this Krishna
one lives forever.
Every living creature is subjected to four basic miseries, beginning
with birth, continuing into old age and disease, and ending in death.
No one wants to be miserable - everyone wants to be happy - but
nature functions in such a way that no one can be happy.
Ignoring this basic truth, modern thinkers, politicians, scientists,
educators and artists are all struggling against the stringent laws of
nature. They think by material adjustments they will find the happiness
they hanker for. In spite of all comforts and the advancement of
science, economics and politics, no one is happy - if for no other
reason than that life is temporary. more
Prabhupada: Yes. Krishna
consciousness movement means that every one of us is in some type of
consciousness: "I am American," "I am Indian," and, "It is my
property," "America is my property," "India is my property." But we say
that "Everything is Krishna's property." Krishna is the... Krishna,
God, when we say Krishna, we mean God. God is the original proprietor.
And He is, therefore, the supreme enjoyer, and He is everyone's friend.
If we understand these three things, then we become peaceful. If all
the nations in the United Nations assembly accept that everything
belongs to God, then their quarrel between one nation to another nation
immediately stops. But present fighting is that two hundred years ago
the Americans were mostly in Europe. Now they have migrated and
claiming America is theirs. So we think always that "All land belongs
to God." Just like this big ocean. Who has created this ocean? Man has
not created. Therefore, if God has created, then God is the proprietor.
Take land, water. These are the material elements. Who has created such
vast sky? That is also material. So we think in that way and try to
find out the answer from authoritative sources. That is Krishna
Bhakta das: One question is,
Srila Prabhupada, "How do you view the spiritual change which is coming
Prabhupada: America, or any
other part of the world, we are all spiritual being. We cannot be
satisfied only with the bodily necessities of life. Naturally there is
question, "What I am? I am simply this body or something else?" That
question naturally comes in human mind. That is very good. A dog cannot
think like that. Therefore in the human life it is necessary to
question: "What I am? Why I am put into miserable conditions of life? I
do not want it, but it is forced upon me. If there is any remedy, what
is that remedy?" These questions are very big questions. So unless you,
a human being, is awakened to these questions, he is no better than
Bhakta das: Srila Prabhupada,
what effects are the Krishna consciousness movement having on the
Christian-Judaic culture or the traditional religious culture?
Prabhupada: We are speaking
of religion. Religion means to know God and to love God. So does the
Christian-Jewish religious system deny this? Then where is the
difference? If Christian religion is meant for understanding God and
try to love Him, the same thing we are preaching. The same thing,
Jewish religion may be preaching. And where is that religion who denies
the supremacy of God? What is that religion? Is there any religion in
the world who denies the supremacy of God? We say, "Religion means the
laws given by God." This is our definition. Therefore we must know what
is God, what are His orders, and we must carry out the order and what
is the end of carrying out such orders. If we try to understand these
three or four things, then we are religious. If there is no attempt to
understand what is God and what is His order and how we are acting,
what is the goal of our life, then where is religion? That is not
religion. Religion means these four principles: What is God, what we
are, what is our relationship with God, and act accordingly and achieve
the goal of life. This is religion. So any religious system which does
not consider all these things, that is not religion. That has been
explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, kaitavah. Kaitavah
means cheating. Religion means these things, wherever these things are
there, that is religion, these enquiries. This is the subject matter of
Vedanta-sutra, where it is said, athato
brahma jijñasa: "Now the human life is meant for
enquiring about the Supreme." So that is religion.
Jayatirtha: Srila Prabhupada,
would you comment on opposition to the Hare Krishna movement in this
Prabhupada: No, why they
should oppose? What is the reason? If they are Christian or Jewish,
religious men, so we are advocating, "You chant the holy name of God,"
so why there should be objection? Is there any reason for such
objection? What is the objection?
Reporter (1): Some of the
objections are that the followers of the Hare Krishna sect are, on the
streets or in the airports, are bothering people.
Prabhupada: The airport
itself is a botheration, so much sound, so much accident. So why this
little botheration they cannot tolerate? That means intolerance. It is
full of botheration, and because we are chanting, they very much
disturbed? We don't chant in the airport, but we ask people that "Here
is a very good book. You will benefit. If you like, you can take." So
what is the wrong there? Tell me what is the wrong? If I give you
something very nice, is that, I mean to say, wrong? You read any book.
We have got fifty books. You find out any fault in that. If we are
distributing something, bad literature which is against the social
welfare, then you can object. But you see. Bring all our books here,
and you will see. Any page you open and you will find something good.
Why you are denying to distribute such literature for the benefit of
the people in general? What is the wrong there?
Reporter (1): One of the
things that people say is that the devotees are asking for donations,
not just distributing books but asking for money, that that's a bother.
Prabhupada: But he pays. If
he feels botheration, why does he pay? One who feels botheration, he
does not pay. But one who thinks that "Here is a nice book. All right,
let me take it," why you take this botheration? If it is botheration,
how they are purchasing? They are paying their money, hard-earned
money. Do you think they are bothered at the same time they pay?
Reporter (1): Yes. That's a
Prabhupada: These are all
Reporter (2): Could you tell
me how much you do derive from the airport solicitations in the United
Prabhupada: That I do not
know, but we sell, on the whole, about $300,000 worth, books, every
Reporter (2): At airports
Prabhupada: I do not know.
Devotees: That's everywhere,
all over the world.
Bahulashva: Here in San
Francisco we distribute 1,000 of these magazines per day.
Reporter (2): What is the
budget of the movement in the United States annually? How much do you
need to operate?
Prabhupada: Our program is
whatever collection is there, half is spent for our establishment—we
have got about more than one hundred centers all over the world—and
half we spend for reprinting the books. That's all.
Reporter (2): How many
members in the United States? I'm told two thousand. Is that correct
Prabhupada: That they can say.
Jayatirtha: Well, our
published figure is that worldwide membership is ten thousand. How much
of that is in the United States isn't exactly broken down.
Reporter (2): I did a story
on this movement five years ago and the figure at that time was two
thousand in the United States also.
Prabhupada: It is increasing.
Reporter (2): It is
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Jayatirtha: I said that the
worldwide figure is ten thousand.
Reporter (2): Yes, I
understood. Could you tell me how old you are?
Jayatirtha: He wants to know
your age, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: After one month I
will be eighty.
Reporter (1): Eighty?
Prabhupada: Eighty years old.
Reporter (2): What will
Prabhupada: I was born in
1896, now you can calculate.
Reporter (2): What will
happen to the movement in the United States when you die?
Prabhupada: I will never die.
Devotees:Jaya! Hari bol!
Prabhupada: I shall live for
my books, and you will utilize.
Reporter (2): Are you
training a successor?
Prabhupada: Yes, my Guru
Maharaja is there. Where is my photo of Guru Maharaja? I think... Here
Reporter (2): Why does the
Hare Krishna movement not engage in social protest?
Prabhupada: We are the best
social worker. People are fools and rascals. We are teaching them nice
idea of God consciousness. We are the best social worker. We will stop
all crimes. What is your social work? Producing hippies and criminals.
That is not social work. Social work means the population must be very
peaceful, wise, intelligent, God conscious, first-class man. That is
social work. If you produce some fourth-class, fifth-class, tenth-class
of men what is social work? We are producing that. Just see. Here is
first-class man. They do not have any bad habit, illicit sex,
intoxication, meat eating, or gambling. They are all young men. They
are not addicted to all these things. This is social work.
Bhakta das: Srila Prabhupada,
they want to know what will be the political effect of the Hare Krishna
Prabhupada: Everything will
be polished if Hare Krishna movement is taken.
Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñchana sarvair gunais tatra
samasate surah [Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.12]. If this
God consciousness is spread, then everyone will be brilliantly
qualified. And without God consciousness, the so-called education as we
were discussing in the morning, there is no value in it. Simply they
are talking. What is the subject matter we were talking?
Bahulashva: Psychology this
Prabhupada: The result is the
students are falling down from the tower in disappointment. And they
are protected with glass.
Bahulashva: In the bell tower
on Berkeley campus students in the 60's would jump from that tower to
kill themselves. So they put glass there to stop the students from
jumping. So Prabhupada was explaining that is their education, that
after getting their education, they have to jump to commit suicide.
Prabhupada: This is not
education. Vidya dadhati namrata. Educated means he is
humble, gentle, sober, full of knowledge, practical application in life
of knowledge, tolerant, control of the mind, control of the senses.
That is education. What is this education?
Reporter (2): Are you
attempting to form a college?
Prabhupada: Yes, that is my
next attempt, that we shall educate according to classification.
First-class, second-class, third-class, up to fourth-class. And then
fifth-class, sixth-class, that is automatically there. So first-class
men, there must be, at least in the society, an ideal class of men, and
that is one who is trained up for controlling the mind, controlling the
senses, very clean, truthful, tolerant, simplicity, full of knowledge,
practical application of knowledge in life and full faith in God. This
is first-class man.
Reporter (2): Will this
college be quite different from our conventional college which has a
great emphasis on athletics, I mean, football teams and...
Prabhupada: Well, an
education... A highly educated man does not require athletics. He
requires good brain. Just like high-court judge, he requires a good
brain, not a big gigantic body.
Bhakta das: Srila Prabhupada,
what is the significance of the chant which everyone who has been
around the Hare Krishna movement has heard? What is the significance of
chanting Hare Krishna?
Prabhupada: Chanting means
the holy name of the Lord. The Lord is absolute. His name is not
different from Him. So if you chant properly or improperly even, then
immediately you be in touch with God. And as you become in touch with
God, you become purified. So as you become purified, you know, actually
you can see perfectly what is the aim of your life, how the human form
of life should be utilized. These thing will be revealed. This is the
process of chanting. Try to understand. Chanting the holy name of the
Lord means the name of the Lord and the Lord, God, is not different.
Just like the sun and the sunshine is not different. Wherever there is
sun, or wherever... Sun may be 93 million miles away from us, but by
the sunshine we can appreciate sun. Similarly, God may be long, long
away from us, but if we chant His holy name, immediately we become in
contact with Him. This is the purpose of chanting the holy name of the
Bhakta das: Srila Prabhupada,
one press man wanted to know what is this Rathayatra festival? Why is
it going on over here in the western world?
Prabhupada: Well, that is the
mistake. If God is the proprietor of everything, He is also proprietor
of the western world. Is there any dispute? If we say, "God is the
proprietor of the western world," what is the wrong there? Is there
anything wrong? Who will answer this.
Jayatirtha: Nothing wrong.
Prabhupada: So if the western
world has forgotten God and He comes to remind him, where is the wrong?
Reporter (3): Is that the
significance, then, of the festival, to remind people of God?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. This is
the significance. Jagannatha. Jagannatha. Jagat means the whole
universe, and natha means the lord or the proprietor.
Reporter (3): What is the
purpose of the large carts and other things you use?
Prabhupada: Large car means
God is very great, He requires very great car. [laughter] Why should He
go in a small car? [laughter]
Bhakta das: Srila Prabhupada,
there was one question. They would like to know why is it that the
children are separated from their parents and sent to Gurukula?
Prabhupada: And what is the
benefit of remaining with the parents to become hippies? For training.
We are trying to train first-class men. So if, from the very beginning
of life, one is trained... That is the Vedic civilization. Kaumaram
acharet prajño dharman bhagavatan iha. "One should be
trained up to become God conscious from the very beginning of life," kaumara.
Kaumara means after five years. Up to five years the children may
have all freedom. Whatever he likes, he may do. But when he is five
years old, he must be under training. That is the old system. Gurukula
means to send the boy, especially boy, not the girl, to be trained up
at the place of the spiritual master or teacher. Just like what is that
public school? They also send their small children to the public
school. Montessori? What is that?
Bahulashva: Montessori school.
Prabhupada: Yes, the small
children are trained up. It is something like that.
Bhakta das: I think you've
answered this question, but he wants to know how will Krishna
consciousness affect all the religions and politics of the world at
Prabhupada: The thing is that
any system you take, without God consciousness it is zero. Just like
hundreds and thousands of zeros, if you put together, the value is
zero. But if you put one, the value increases immediately. That one is
God. So either in politics or in sociology or philosophy, religion,
everywhere, if there is no God sense, it is all zero. That is going on.
Therefore, despite all advancement of education, economic development,
people are in chaotic condition, they are not satisfied, and everything
is being tried to make it very nice. The United Nations is there,
working for the last thirty years, but there is no solution because it
is all zero without God. Bring God and everything will be nice. Take
any question, just like economic question. There is now very acute,
especially in our country. Now, the God says that "Your economic
problem will be solved like this." What is that? Annad bhavanti
bhutani: [Bhagavad-gita 3.14] "You produce
sufficient quantity of food grains." Annad bhavanti bhutani:
"Then both the animals and man will sufficiently eat, and they will be
satisfied." What is the wrong there? You must have sufficient food.
Then annad bhavanti bhutani. And anna, producing anna
[grains], you require cloud in the
sky. And that is produced by yajña [sacrifice].
So one after another. So people must be satisfied first of all by
eating sumptuously. So instead of producing food grains, you are very
much busy for producing motor tires. So motor tire will not make the
hungry people satisfied. So everything is there, practical, whatever is
advised in the Bhagavad-gita.
Bhakta das: Prabhupada, one
more question before we break for prasadam. That is, why do we
practice bhakti-yoga instead of jñana-yoga?
is helping bhakti-yoga. But bhakti-yoga is not
dependent on jñana-yoga. So therefore we are giving
Bhakta das: Is there any last
questions perhaps? Thank you very much.