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Holistic, Wholesale Solution

by Hansadutta das

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Spiritual Training

This chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is a completely spiritual activity. It is not material. Although the chanting of Hare Krishna seems almost childishly simple, three words repeated in a 16-word mantra, the fact is that this sound vibration is not material. It is a completely spiritual vibration on the absolute platform, as opposed to the material platform where everything is relative, and on the absolute platform, the name and the substance are identical. The sound of a thing and the thing itself are identical. There is no difference, and there is no discord. Whereas in the material world, everything is in discord: the name "water" and the substance water are not identical. The process of chanting this sound vibration is the recommended method for reviving our original Krishna Consciousness.

Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. It is not a ritual. It is not a religion. It is not a faith. It is a science, just like engineering or digital computers or chemistry or medicine--these are sciences, material sciences, and one must be trained systematically by an authorized professor in an authorized institution such as Harvard or Stanford, and one has to accept the standard texts and do the work. In the Bhagavad Gita this principle is explained:

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah
In every field, the same procedure applies. The translation of this verse is:
Just try to learn the truth by approaching a bona fide spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render him all kinds of service. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth. When you have thus seen the truth, you will know that all living beings are in Me and are Mine.
This is true for any subject matter. If we want to master it, we must find an expert, an authority, and we must submit to him. Suppose you want to become a musician. You must find out a master musician, a recognized master, and you must submit, you must be inquisitive, and you must be prepared to do everything he orders, or dictates. Inquiry, submission and service. You cannot challenge him; if you do, you will be dismissed. This principle of inquiry, submission and service or surrender is present everywhere. When a man wants to find employment, he must be prepared to surrender and submit. He can't come and challenge or boast. He must be very inquisitive, submissive, and most of all, he must be prepared to do anything and everything that is required of him. Then when the master, or the boss is pleased, he rises up. It is simply a question of satisfying the higher authority. This is true in commercial life, in social life, in military life, student life, even in home life. The children must be submissive, they must be inquisitive, and they must do service (chores). Of course, now in the present time we find that these things have been neglected, because people are becoming irregular and dull. They are becoming dull because they are indulging in forbidden things like meat eating, intoxication, illicit sex and gambling. Therefore they are losing their intelligence, they are losing their determination, and the whole society is deteriorating and degrading.

But anyway, the original verse was tad viddhi pranipatena. If we want to make progress in spiritual life, we must accept someone who has actually mastered spiritual life, someone who actually has a spiritual life. If he does not have a spiritual life, it is useless. Just learning from a professor of academic knowledge is useless. Theoretical knowledge of business is useless. You must go to someone who has actually accumulated millions of dollars, serve him, and he will show you or reveal to you how business is done. Therefore generally, the university study is a waste of time, because the professors are actually not successful in their field. They have accumulated academic or abstract or theoretical knowledge, but they have no actual success in their own fields of business administration, so forth and so on. The best way to learn a thing is to find out who is the topmost. Suppose you wanted to be a filmmaker. You would go to Steven Spielberg, and you would say, "I will do anything for you, anything you ask. I simply want to serve you, because you are the best, and from you I am sure I can learn everything I need to know about filmmaking." That is the process. That of course was the old process in Europe, and even in America: the Master-Apprentice system. The apprentice was sent to the residence or workshop of some master craftsman, and the student was accepted on the grounds that he had to do all the bidding of the master. If he was reluctant or rebellious, such a student could not hope gain the confidence of the master. Even in the relationship of boy and girl, or man and a woman, the woman tries to satisfy and please the boy or the man. And the man, when he is pleased, is prepared to give protection and shelter and support.  In this way, it becomes a very happy and harmonious relationship.  But nowadays people are misled, and they are taught that man and woman are equal, and "Why should I serve this man? I can do anything he can do!" In the words of the song: "Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you." That is a competitive relationship, so there is no happiness. It may sound very up to date and modern, but it is not a question of one being inferior and one being superior; it is the natural psychology in every relationship that someone is the leader, and someone is the follower. Someone gives protection, and someone accepts protection. And this principle is especially true in spiritual life. If we want a spiritual life, we must first give up our false prestige, thinking that "I know everything, I can know by research, by experiment, by reading books." No, you can't. You must go to the person who has actually darshanah, meaning he has seen the truth. Not that he has simply read it in a book and can repeat by quotation, like a professor in the class. No, he has seen the truth. Darshanah, tattva-darshanah. Tattva means truth, and darshanah means seen. He has seen, and he can guide us in practical life, how to make progress towards that seeing, towards that darshan. This is the basic principle of Krishna Consciousness.

And just this chanting of the Holy Name in itself requires a humble and submissive attitude. Not puffed-up like "Oh, what is this? This is a waste of time. I could have a drink, or I could make some money, but this chanting is wasting time." If someone just chants the holy name of Krishna, that in itself is the very beginning of his spiritual life. And if one continues chanting the holy name of Krishna and hears about Krishna, and does something for Krishna, even Krishna says, "If anyone offers Me with love and devotion, a glass of water, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, I will accept it."

Someone will say, "What is this? Accept a glass or water, a fruit, a leaf?" Yes, this is the principle. Just imagine, if somehow or other in ordinary affairs you could approach a great powerful personality like George Bush, and offer him a glass of water, and he accepted it. Instantly, your stature, your prestige would take on a significance that it didn't have before, simply because he accepted something from you.

Now generally, sometimes we find in business dealings that two parties come together--one of them is very wealthy like Bill Gates, whereas the other party may be just a junior in the field--and they go to dinner. Now, a normal person will think that Gates is so rich, he should pay for the dinner. But the intelligent person would not think like that; he would think, "I will pay for the dinner." Because it is the natural relationship of the dependent to serve the superior. That is natural.

And we are dependent. We are all dependents. We are all ultimately dependent on Krishna, because everything in our life comes from Him. Our very own body which we are so proud of and attached to … even that we have received from a higher agent: our father and mother. The clothes you are wearing … you did not make them. The carpet we are sitting on … you did not make it. You did not make this house, the TV, the lamp, the food that you eat, the bed that you sleep in, etc. There is actually nothing that you can claim that you are the proprietor. But we are thinking, "I am the proprietor, I am the master, and I am the enjoyer." Actually we are the servants, and ultimately we are the servants of Krishna. Everyone is the servant of God, because everything is provided by Him, everything is maintained by Him, and everything in the end rests in Him. Material consciousness is just the opposite. The material conception is that "I am the master, I am the enjoyer, and everything is made for my satisfaction," and therefore our lives are always full of disappointment, frustration and failure. This is the diseased concept of "I, me and mine." Actually nothing belongs to us. Everything was here before you arrived, before you came out of the womb of your mother, and it will remain after you vanish into the air of oblivion.

Part and Parcel of the Whole

Krishna Consciousness is the life which revives our eternal relationship with God, and all other things are included in that life. It is not a life of negating this and accepting that.  No. Spiritual life includes material life, just as light includes the shadow. But in the shadow there is no light. When the substance moves, the shadow moves automatically. So life is the basis of everything, and when life is withdrawn, then matter is useless, exactly as when the electric current is withdrawn, all the lamps in the world won't give us a spark of light, or as without a driver, the car will sit for a hundred years, and will not move.

So similarly, this body is simply like a dress.In fact, in the Bhagavad Gita it is said, "As a person gives up an old and useless dress and gets a new dress, the soul gives up an old and useless body and gets a new body." This is the principle of reincarnation, or the transmigration of the soul. In Sanskrit it is called samsara, or the cycle of birth and death. It is a perpetual cycle; it never stops, unless one actually becomes fully conscious of the fact "I am not this body; I am the living force, the spirit soul within this body, and I am part and parcel of the Supreme Living Force, Krishna, just as my finger is part and parcel of this body, and the relationship of this finger, or of any other part, is that of dependence upon the whole."

The finger depends on the body; the body doesn't depend on the finger. If this finger is cut off and lying on the ground, it will be useless. Or if one part of the machine is removed and is thrown on the ground, that part will have no value.  But that same part--let's say a spark plug--when it is in its right place within the machine, it is very valuable. Similarly, when this finger is in its right place, and is acting under the direction of the whole body, it is very beautiful and very valuable. All the parts of the body serve the whole. When there is danger, my hand immediately rises up to protect me. When there is hunger, my hand brings food to the stomach. If there is an itch, my hand will scratch it.  If I need something, my hand will pick it up. My hand cannot see this microphone, so how does the hand know? It is because the eyes give it guidance. This is our connection with, or our interrelationship with Krishna. Krishna is the whole, and we are the part. The part's business is to satisfy the whole, not to dictate to the whole. Like on a tree there are many leaves, with each leaf depending on the whole. The leaf cannot dictate to the tree, the tree dictates to the leaf.

There is a story: two leaves fell in love, so they decided to get together, and they left the tree to have an intimate relationship. But they withered up and dried, and were blown away. So this is material life. We are all like leaves separated from the tree of Krishna. We are trying in vain to establish a relationship with the other separated leaves of love, friendship and society. But the result is always grief and frustration. You cannot find anyone … if you ask anyone, "Are you happy?" "No." No one is happy. They simply make show, "Yes we are very happy." Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston, [who just split up the day before this lecture was given!--Transcriber's note] and all the stars are on the magazine front cover, smiling, and they're looking very nice. It appears like yes, they are happy, and we also can have such happiness. But there is no happiness. It is simply pretend. Real happiness is when the living entity comes back to its original, pure Krishna Consciousness, its spiritual life. Then all the necessities of material life are included. It is just like if you are in need of 10 dollars, and you approach a wealthy person who says, "Oh no, you take this hundred dollars." The hundred includes the ten! Similarly, spiritual life includes material life. Spiritual life is so exciting and satisfying that those things which were my ideals in material life become insignificant. They lose their importance, because we see things in their proper perspective.

Purify and Clarify

So, this chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare is very simple, almost childish and silly. But it is the most powerful and most authorized process for reviving our original, pure Krishna Consciousness. This is because the sound "Krishna" is identical with Krishna, and by associating with Krishna, you become Krishna-ized. You become purified, your heart will become clean. The word mantra is comprised of two Sanskrit words: man means"mind", and tra means "to deliver". Our mind is always saturated with so many plans and hopes and fears and anxieties, which are all based on preserving this body, and securing eating, sleeping, defending and mating. When you chant the holy names of Krishna, and hear the sound vibration, in Sanskrit it is shravanam-kirtanam. Shravanam means to hear. First you have heard it. Now, when you repeat, "Krishna", that is kirtanam. Shravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam…. Smaranam means "to remember". You will remember automatically. As your mind becomes clean, you will remember Krishna. It is not something to believe, like chanting the rosary, or waving some candles and incense, and ringing some bells and imagining. No. It is scientific. To chant the Holy Name of the Lord, and simply associate with Him by sound, your heart and your mind will become cleaned. Like a mirror covered in dust. Sometimes we go up into the attic, and find a mirror has been there for so many years that you can't see the reflection, because there is so much dust. But if you take a cloth and wipe it, then everything will be clear.

At present, our minds and our hearts are covered with the dust of the material conception of life: "I am this body, I am rich, I am black, I am white, I am intelligent, I am a man, I am a woman", on and on, and "I want this, I want that, I hate him, I love him", etc. Our heart is completely covered, and covered also is our natural spiritual joy, which is the quality or nature of the soul, exactly as sugar is naturally sweet (no one adds sweetness; sweet is the nature of sugar, it is its natural characteristic). Similarly, joyfulness … brahma-bhutah prasannatma no sochati na kanksati samah sarveshu bhuteshu mad-bhaktim labhate param. When you come to this point of brahma-bhutah prasannatma--prasannatma means joyful--you will become joyful. And what is the sign of that joyfulness? You will never hanker or lament. Everyone is hankering, "I want this, I want that car, I want that job, I want that boy", etc. Hankering, hankering. That is one symptom. And lamenting, "Oh, I lost my boyfriend, I lost my money, I lost my job, I lost my apartment, I lost my looks", etc. Everyone is hankering and lamenting. This is the symptom of material existence--hankering and lamenting. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma means that this hankering and lamenting will evaporate, because you will see, "I am not in need of anything, and whatever needs I have will be provided by Krishna." Your intelligence and your consciousness will become clear, and you will see things as they are.

Do You Dare to Live?

It's not that you have to believe what I say, or even believe what Krishna says. But if you practice chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare regularly, everything will be revealed to you on a need-to-know basis. Just as the child is regularly eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and sometimes he doesn't want to eat, but the mother says, "No, you must eat", and imperceptibly he's growing, and one day he sees that he has grown up. Imperceptibly. So imperceptibly, if you chant the Holy Name of Krishna regularly, and read Krishna's words, and take Krishna prasadam, your spiritual life will rise just as the sun rises in the morning. Before we see the sun rise, the sky becomes lighter and lighter, more and more, and then at some point, we see that the sun is coming up.

Spiritual life is not some imaginary thing. It is real. It is actually the only thing that is real. Other things are all shadows of the spirit, the shadows of the soul. This body is like a 3-dimensional shadow of the soul, and because we are in ignorance or in the darkness, we have accepted this body as the most beautiful thing--"Oh, I love my body". We look in the mirror, we comb our hair, we put on nice perfumes and nice clothing, we have a nice car, a nice apartment, we have friends, and we are busy always with the body. But I'm not this body. So however nice the body may be, "I am not this body". Therefore, no amount of pampering, and taking care, or showing off, no matter how famous you may be, and no matter how many people are adoring you, like Elvis, or Marilyn Monroe, or Bob Dylan, etc. They had so many hundreds and millions of fans adoring them, but they were miserable. Why? Because "I am not this body". So you are adoring my body, but I'm not the body, and I'm not getting any satisfaction. I met John Lennon in 1969, and he was miserable. He had to sneak out at night in disguise so he could have some normal time alone, and get away from all of his sycophants.

So, it is very easy, just chant Hare Krishna. You will see. Make an experiment. Of course, there are many other things: it is a very big subject matter, and this is just in a nutshell. If you simply do this chanting, and try to understand who is Krishna, what is Krishna, there are many literatures and books you can read. Everything--all of your desires will be fulfilled. It is not that "Oh, I have to live like a beggar". It is not like that. One has to live as spirit soul, not as a body. Now we are living as this body, but I am not this body, therefore there is no happiness, no satisfaction.

Best of Both Worlds

Vedic Culture was all-inclusive, and was carried out in such a way that no matter what station of life a person was in, everyone was accommodated. It covered all aspects of living, and in a way that was the most efficient, practical, simple and utilitarian. Everything from raising children and family life to how to behave, and what are the "do's and don'ts", but the focus was always kept on the ultimate need, which is when this body is finished, I don't return and again go through the same course unnecessarily.

For example, I have a car. But I know that I am not the car. Who is more important? The car or the driver of the car?

Lauren: The driver of the car.

Hansadutta: Right. But does that mean that I will neglect the car? No, it doesn't. I have to check when to put oil, when to put gas, when to rotate the tires, how to keep the car clean, and how to get the license and the insurance. I have to take care of all that, because the car is a machine or an instrument that helps me. Do you see? But if I simply become absorbed in the car, and I lose sight of where I'm going, what my car's purpose is--to take me from here to New York…. You know, when we were kids growing up in New York, we got our cars, and we were driving around the block all day, just showing off, like, "Hey look, I got a car!" Because we had nowhere to go, we didn't know what the goal was. So in the same way, the body is a car, and you have to take care of it. The whole Vedic Culture gives very, very detailed and extensive knowledge about how to do that, not just how to do it, but how to do it in the most efficient, effective and pleasing way.

Coming to a Dead End

Crista: Kind of coming off what you just said about the physical nature of our bodies and our existence sometimes may produce kinds of awakenings. For instance, I have heard about a lot of people who have had near-death experiences. They got hit by a car, and they almost died in the hospital, struggling with the body to heal, and through this realizing more the spiritual nature--"Wow, I can die any day", and that suffering kind of produces an awakening. Is there kind of a relationship there?

Hansadutta: Oh there is of course, and I don't say there is absolutely nothing. I hope you didn't misunderstand it. But that experience doesn't last very long. Why? Because people in general--especially western people--do not have a systematic program of education which establishes… Just as we learn to read and write, we learn arithmetic and it develops up to geometry, trigonometry, all the way up… There is no system to address this basic issue: the difference between my body and my self, the difference between matter and spirit. There is just a haphazard, you know, maybe some testimonial of somebody, like you said, who got hit by a car, had a near-death experience and saw something extraordinary and had some insights, and so he wrote a book, and bingo that's it. But there is no system, there is no culture that addresses the fact that, hey, everyone is going to die! Everyone will become old, everyone will get diseased, and what happens when I leave this body? It's a blank, zero.

People simply guess, "Well, I'll go to nirvana, I'll become a zero, maybe I'll come back again." It's all just blank.

Modern Education: Disinformation and Misinformation

And this is the purpose of education. The purpose of education is first and foremost to know what I am, where did I come from, what am I doing, why am I here, what is the goal, and what happens when death takes place. What happens? Do I just evaporate? Do I go on? And if I go on, how do I go on? Is there a controller behind this grand Universal set up? Or is it just a big bang? I mean the western idea… they teach the kids it's just a BANG. That's absurd!

I mean everything in this room… right? It has been put in its place by you or your friend, very deliberately for some reason. It's not just… like… there. There was no bang. There was very hard work and deliberate design. You had to pay money to buy it, and on and on. So if such a small little space like this… you want to keep it in equilibrium and harmony and make it pleasant, then the universe? The entire Universe with all of its creatures and planets and seasons… there was just a bang? Everyone accepts that? No one protests? The very watch that I wear is nothing but a little instrument that is mapping the movement of the sun. If it takes so much energy to make this little measuring apparatus, then it took no energy to make the sun and keep it in orbit so precisely? And the moon and the tides?

This is our education? And then you wonder why kids are becoming lunatics? Their need and their urge to know is being stifled and frustrated. It's absurd. [Gesturing to Jim] He knows. He's a teacher. He goes. The kids are like animals. You might as well go to a zoo. The animals are better behaved. And when we allow ourselves to hear about these things--Krishna Consciousness and Vedic literature--then we begin to see that yes, modern education is absurd. Of course it's absurd. Then you can recognize why the problems we see in the world exist. They exist because the approach, or the system of education, in the most fundamental way, is completely blind. Nothing is taught about the goal of life. What's the goal? Nobody knows that there's a goal. Nobody knows that there is even life; they simply say when somebody dies, "He's gone." Where did he go? What do you mean: "he's gone"? He (his body) is right there. "Well," they say, "Some chemical…", so Prabhupada says, "So bring the chemical, and inject it, make the dead man come to life. You can't do it."

We are living in an environment or a society that is completely devoid of God Consciousness. That is the basic problem. And it's not a "believing". You can say, "I don't believe in God," but everyone has a God. Your God might be your husband. It might be President Bush. It might be your employer. Or the landlord who says, "It's time to pay the rent." But everyone must submit. The problem is: instead of accepting one Supreme Personality of Godhead, we have accepted so many Gods: the landlord is my God, the boss at work is my God, and the policeman chasing me down the road because I went too fast--he is a God. Everyone is ruling over me to some degree. So Krishna consciousness means, "Hey, if I have to submit, then let me submit to the Supreme, and get the supreme benefit. Simple. Why should I submit myself endlessly to persons who can't help me? It's a common sense thing.

When Prabhupada was in Moscow he met… (This was when Moscow was still in the grip of the strong Communist Rule) He managed to get an invitation from some big professor, Professor Katovski. In the course of the conversation, Prabhupada said, "What is the difference between me and you? You say that there is no God. You reject God, but you have accepted Lenin. And we accept Krishna. So Lenin is your God, and Krishna is our God. Now we have to compare, who is actually Supreme, which God is Supreme, what is the qualification of God."

So it is not because someone says, "I don't believe in God", therefore he is free and he can do anything. No one is free. Everyone is under the grip of material nature. You have to eat, you have to sleep, you have to defend. Everyone. You are being driven day and night. You can't say, "Oh I'm not going to sleep." You will. You're not going to eat? You will. My daughter used to say, "Bubby, I don't think I wanna grow up. I always want to be a child." And I said, "You have to grow up." We are in the machinery of the material nature. The sun is rising, the moon, the tides, the seasons are changing, everything is moving. The ladies have got their monthly cycles. We're simply being driven by the material nature, which is under the control of Krishna. And to say there is no God is absurd.

Crista: Well, science has shown spontaneous generation is impossible, so the life source is obviously somewhere else.

Hansadutta: Right, so instead of obstinately resisting, we should just accept Krishna. They can't see that everything is under the Superior Power. Just the fact that you are born… you are pushed out of the womb at a certain time like toothpaste. And at some point, you have to die. So if they (the scientists) are so powerful, then why not check it? Why can't they check it? Why can't you bring the dead man back? Why can't you produce an Einstein? You had one Einstein. Make another one. You can't make even a mosquito. They make a big airplane, but God is making a tiny airplane like a mosquito, millions flying all around, and they reproduce--make two machines, male and female, they combine and make another machine. This is God. We have to become bedazzled and enchanted with God's energy, and not write it off as primitive and foolishness, because even one atom is incomprehensible. Let them produce an atom; they cannot. They cannot produce anything. All they can do is destroy.

We're all here, just devouring. We come out of the womb, and we start to devour the breast milk, then the pabulum, just devouring, devouring, devouring, and you can produce nothing. You don't know anything. You don't know where you came from, you don't know where you are. You're floating in outer space, don't know where you're going. We are all in ignorance. We are in the dark. These are not clichés. This means that the human being has the brain, has the potency, and has been given the facility to understand his higher nature, but it's not being utilized. Godless leaders are misleading us. They just keep the children in school, like you keep cattle on the range, and then farm them out to factory work, and send to the war field. Why do our boys go to the war field? "I'm an American", "my country". The Iraqis are also thinking, "I'm an Iraqi", "this is my country". So this is the cause, and it's taking place individually, 2 boys on the street duke-ing it out, and it's taking place within the family with divorce, it's taking place communally between the blacks and the whites and the Hispanics, Jews and this and that, and it's taking place nationally, internationally. The whole environment is in conflict. I'm sure you have seen these nature shows, like Animal Planet. What do you see there? How one beast devours another. That is the law of material nature. But the spiritual law is not like that. That is a material, beastly nature. We are exhibiting our animal, beastly nature: eating, sleeping, mating, defending, lording it over. Everyone wants to be the lord of everything. Even little children cry, "It's mine, it's mine," and start fighting over some toy. Spiritual life means to go above this current of beastly life, "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" and "might makes right". We have to come to the platform where we are not meant for a beastly struggle for existence and lording it over. We are meant for love. Love what? Love of God, because I am part of God.

My hand loves my body, because it‚s part of my body. When the hand takes food, it doesn't eat the food; it brings the food to the stomach. That means my hand is serving itself by serving the whole. This is the principle. Now we are being encouraged not to serve, but to be the master. You can be the president of the United States. We are being encouraged to be animals. And this is not a "belief" thing. This is very easy to understand. Who can deny it? You can say, "I don't believe in death"… you don't believe, but you will die, and before that, you'll be an old lady. Right now, you are very young. You are looking very nice, a nice young lady, but you'll be an old bag. [Laughter]

Jim: It's a fact!

Lauren: Now, now, now.

Connie: Hansadutta you're talking about me again. [More laughter]

Hansadutta: [To Connie] You're getting younger every day.

Lauren: May I ask a question? I'm very curious about places like New Vrindavan in West Virginia… at what age do they explain the concept of death to the children?

Hansadutta: 5 years old. Kaumara acharet prajno, dharman bhagavatan iha. From the tender age of childhood it should be taught--Bhagavat dharma, Krishna Consciousness. Just as you teach your children ABCDE, they should be taught from 5 years old, because they can understand. We treat children as if they are morons, so they become morons. However you treat a person, they will become. Because our nature is dependent.Those who are role models--the father, the mother, brothers, sisters--if they treat the children like animals or like morons or like they have no potency, then they won't exhibit the potency. It's as simple as that. Children are just like video cams. Whatever you put in front of them, they absorb it. Then later on, when they mature, they learn to discriminate and analyze and rationalize. But at first they just absorb, like a surveillance camera. So if you put nonsense in front of them, they become nonsense. You let them watch TV day and night, play video games, then that's what they become. If you smoke and drink, then they smoke and drink, because that's all they know. They simply repeat. American advertisers know this, and it's pathetic and heartbreaking. The government knows this too, with their little sound bytes about the War on Terror, and it's dangerous, because now Bush is taking the entire country off to war, and spending our money.

Lauren: So tragic, because I see… and I know there are other school teachers in the room… I have a big concern with the school system. I'm kind of lucky because I don't have to deal with "the system" so much because I'm a pre-school teacher, but I feel such the fact that children really have a lot of neglect in terms of being able to develop their spiritual life, and considering the fact that between 0-5 years old, your brain develops most of who you are going to be, and it's such a critical time, but there are these rules about what you can and can't do, and what's OK to say. [You can't talk about God, death and dying in the classroom.]

Hansadutta: The important thing is that because everyone is part and parcel of God, the easiest time to understand it is when you are small, when your mind and your heart is not cluttered with anger and greed and lust and envy, when the patterns of social and economic life have not clouded their minds. They simply accept it--bingo, finished, no problem. But this is not happening. Even a dog feels a sense of awe and reverence for something great. When there is a flash of lightning or thunder, they feel, because we are dependent by nature. That is deliberately being withheld in the education system.

The only result you can expect is that you are creating a society of animals. They may be very nicely dressed, but they behave like animals, especially in this country, because everyone is a meat eater--everyone. Everyone is an intoxicator, and now gambling is becoming a standard thing, inducing everyone into a type of lunacy that you can get something for nothing. It's madness. You can't get anything for nothing, because the law of nature is that you can only get according to your past karma, no more, no less.

Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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