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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acharya of the world-wide Hare Krishna Movement, Brahma Sampradaya Acharya

Srila Prabhupada

The following conversation between Srila Prabhupada and disciples took place on March 14, 1974,  in Vrindaban, India. 

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Prabhupada: ...If it comes to the notice of the government that [we're] maintaining ourselves by production of food, they'll like very much...

Devotee: Feeding...

Bhagavan: ...The society would go to the gurukula [school where children learn under the direction of the spiritual master], and there it would be decided what their work would be?

Prabhupada: Yes. First of all there should be an instructor on the spiritual life, then according to his position ... Our spiritual life is meant, we should always remember... But for management we have to make divisions. That is...

Devotee: Actually the whole society could be Vaishnava [dedicated to worship of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead].

Prabhupada: Ah. They're Vaishnava. But because they have got to live in the material world, there must be division of work. If everyone wants to become the brain, who will act as leg? That is also required. If everyone says, "No, no, I'm not going to do the work of leg. I want simply to work as..." No. It is needed. The brain is needed, the hand is needed, the belly is needed, the leg is needed. So that we have to divide. Who will work as brain, who will work as hand, who will work as leg...The main aim is how to maintain this body perfectly, fit. That should be the aim, how the society will go on nicely. And for management, this hand, leg, brain, belly must be divided. Just like there's slight difference, those who are directly engaged in temple worship and those who are going to sell books. Apparently there's difference, but basically there is no difference. Like that. If one can sell books nicely, why he should be, I mean to say, engaged in the temple worship? He can do better work in that way. But there is no difference between selling the books and temple worship. Or washing the dish. There's no difference, because it is all transcendental. Just like angani yasya sakalendriya-vrittimanti. [Brahma Samhita 5.32: "He has all the potencies of all the senses in all parts of His transcendental body."] Krishna's hands and legs, there's no difference. You've read this verse?

Hansadutta: Yes, angani yasya sakalendriya...

Prabhupada: But still leg and hand.

Madhudvisa: Srila Prabhupada?

Prabhupada: Hm.

Madhudvisa: Krishna says, Ya idaà paramam guhyam [Bhagavad-gita 18.68]. Prabhupada: Hm.

Madhudvisa: He says: "Those who repeat this message of Bhagavad-gita, are most dear friends to Me, and there's no one more dear to Me than he..."

Prabhupada: Hm.

Madhudvisa: Wouldn't that indicate that a preacher is higher than a worker?

Prabhupada: Yes, this is preaching, this is preaching. You help. Suppose you are preaching, and if I help you... Just like I'm preaching, you're helping. You are also preaching.

Atreya Rsi: Also this building is preaching.

Prabhupada: This is also preaching. So it is not that preaching means simply talking. Preaching means everything. The construction is also preaching. The designing is also preaching. Everything is... Otherwise what is the use of spending so much money if it is not preaching?

Devotee: Jaya.

Hansadutta: Yeah. (break) Everything that has to do with propagating Krishna...

Prabhupada: Yes.

Hansadutta: ...in any way.

Prabhupada: That is preaching. Just like... Nava-vidha-bhakti [Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 15.107: "Nine process of devotional service"]:

shravanam kirtanam vishnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
archanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam
[Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23]
["Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service."]

They're all perfect, but it appears shravana, hearing, is different from kirtana. Or kirtana is different from smaranam or pada-sevanam or arcanam. But they're all perfect. So one should be engaged either in shravanam, kirtanam, smaranam—as he's fit. This is the... Suppose I cannot speak, kirtanam, but I can hear. That is as perfect. Ah? Shravanam kirtanam vishnoh. So one may argue that "Speaking is better than hearing." No. Both ways, either hearing or speaking, they're the same thing. Because it is for Krishna. Shravanam kirtanam vishnoh [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23]. In our society every work is transcendental: for preaching. Every work. But one must be engaged with some work.

Hansadutta: That's important...

Prabhupada: That is important. Otherwise every work is preaching. See that everyone is engaged.

There was an advertisement by the railroad department, their monogram was a wheel of carriage and they have written that every employee of the railroad should see that the wheel is running on. Wheel is running on. Now suppose in the office the clerks are working, so how they will see the wheel is running on? Because in the office of railway there is some complaint, there is some claim, there so many things... But that is depending on their wheel. So they should expedite their business so that wheel may not stop, it must go on. It is very nice instruction. So the wheel is going on. Suppose some station has asked for ten wagons immediately, and that requires the sanction of the divisional superintendent. That is his office. So the clerk should help the progress that immediately the sanction is done. Then the wheel will go on. Do you understand? So everyone can help that the railway wheel is going on. Although apparently it will appear that "What this clerk has to do with the wheel going on?" Is it clear?

Bhagavan: So there's so much to do in Krishna's service, everyone can be engaged in some...

Prabhupada: Yes, that everyone should know... Suppose one is engaged in cooking prasadam. You should see that nice prasadam is served to the worker, quickly, so they can take prasadam, be healthy and go on preaching. So he is helping preaching by cooking. Just like you are working and the brain is also working, "Go this side, go that side, the car is coming." Brain says, the... "Leg, come this side." Everyone is working. The leg is working, the brain is working, the hand is working, the tongue is working. But the business of the tongue and business of the leg is different. The aim being, the central point being Krishna, to help, to serve Him, then everything is work, absolute.

The Mayavadi philosophers, they cannot understand it. They think that "Krishna is working like ordinary man. How He can become God? It is maya. Therefore Krishna is also maya." Therefore we called them Mayavadi.

Bhagavan: A leader must be very expert so that people would be happy in their engagement.

Prabhupada: Everyone should be expert. The leaders must be expert and the worker must be expert so that they may follow the instruction of the leader. If the leader says something and the workers, "Hm, I shall consider it, later on," then how the leader will execute his leadership? Both of them should be cooperating and know that "We are all working for Krishna."

Atreya Rsi: ...We are not lazy like Mayavadis.

Prabhupada: Yeah. Aham brahmasmi. "I have become now Brahman—stop work. Eat and make your belly..." You see how Mayavadi sannyasi... Ah. [Prabhupada gestures; devotees laugh] They think that "Now I have become Brahman, I have nothing to do. [Prabhupada laughs] I have become Narayana." "If you've got nothing to do, then why you are eating?" And for one chapati you'll find there are many Mayavadis. They're busy simply collecting chapatis. [devotees laugh]

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