"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?"
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
Srila Prabhupada at SF Rathayatra, 1975[Posted April 20, 2007]

Zero Without God

Press Conference - San Francisco, July 16, 1975

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

We 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 consciousness movement?"

Prabhupada: So this photograph will go on? [Cameras clicking]

Jayatirtha: Just for a few moments.

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 consciousness movement?"

Krishna Consciousness in a Nutshell

What is Hare Krishna all about? Hansadutta das

No 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 material 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 consciousness.

Bhakta das: One question is, Srila Prabhupada, "How do you view the spiritual change which is coming in America?"

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 animal.

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 country?

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? [laughter]

Reporter (1): Yes. That's a fact.

Prabhupada: These are all manufactured things.

Reporter (2): Could you tell me how much you do derive from the airport solicitations in the United States?

Prabhupada: That I do not know, but we sell, on the whole, about $300,000 worth, books, every month.

Reporter (2): At airports alone?

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 approximately?

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 increasing?

Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Definitely.

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 happen...

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! [laughter]

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 is.

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 movement?

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 morning.

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. [laughter]

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 Lord.

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 this time.

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?

Prabhupada: Jñana-yoga is helping bhakti-yoga. But bhakti-yoga is not dependent on jñana-yoga. So therefore we are giving directly jñana-yoga.

Bhakta das: Is there any last questions perhaps? Thank you very much.

Press Conference - Zero Without God/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
©2007 - Hansadutta das
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