Wanted: First-class Man

excerpt from Room Conversation with author Judith Wax and her husband, Sheldon Wax [1], managing editor of Playboy Magazine, July 5, 1975, Chicago (Read complete conversation online at prabhupadabooks.com)

If you train a boy to become first-class man, he can become first-class man. If you don’t train, then he will become a debauch, criminal, disturbing. So we are training in the Gurukula to become first-class men. This is our aim. Unless in the society an ideal first-class man, then how one will become, or follow the ideal?

Creating ideal character

SRI GOVINDA DAS: They [Mr. and Mrs. Wax] would like to interview you and tape record possibly for using in one of their magazines.

PRABHUPADA: Jayatirtha, you can come here. If required, you will reply. What is that?

JAYATIRTHA: This is the article that Mrs. Wax has written, and it was published in Harper’s. It’s one of the big national magazines. It’s about Gurukula.


JAYATIRTHA: It’s nicely written.


JAYATIRTHA: It’s called “Raise Your Hand if You’re an Eternal Spirit Soul.”


MRS. WAX: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here. Because I wrote the article about Gurukula [2], I’m interested in what has happened there. I was there last summer. Do you have plans for other schools? And what is happening with Gurukula now? Is it standing?


JAYATIRTHA: She wants to know what our plan is for Gurukula, whether we want to start other Gurukulas in other places.

PRABHUPADA: We want to raise first-class man. Try to understand. The present society, we are creating fourth-class men. Therefore we are not in very happy condition. We want to raise the fourth-class man to first-class man. First-class man means with qualification who can control the mind, control the senses, always very cleansed and truthful, very simple, full of all kinds of knowledge, practical application in life, then to have full knowledge of God, these are the characteristics of first-class man. So at the present moment everyone is a fourth-class man. So we want to get some first-class men. That is required. Because there is no ideal, first-class man, therefore people are becoming full of crimes. You have seen the article in the Time? “Crime, Why and What to Do?” That is the concern of the materialistic society. So we are trying to raise a group of men who will be ideal. Just like our devotees. You will find their characters different from all others, at least in your country. They do not have illicit sex, they do not eat meat, they do not have any intoxication, even smoking or taking tea, they do not indulge in gambling, they chant holy name of God, lead very simple life. So we are creating first-class men. There is need. It is not that everyone will become first-class man, but at least a section of man must be first-class so that others can see that what is the ideal character of man. So this Gurukula means from the childhood age we are training them so that in future it will be easier. That is the purpose of Gurukula.

MRS. WAX: The four natural divisions… I understand that at Vrindavana, that that will be an example to American society, but how can the four natural divisions of man be translated into American society?

PRABHUPADA: It has to be. If you don’t, then you must suffer with all these criminals. That is natural. Just like in your body there is head, and there is arm, and there is belly, and there is leg. The head is the most important part. Why? Why not all legs? Why there are different divisions? Similarly, in the human society, if we want to make it perfect, there must be head, there must be arm, there must be belly, there must be legs. So leg can walk, but leg cannot do the work of brain. So at the present moment we have got all walking men, no brain. Therefore the society is in chaotic condition. There is no brain in the society. That is the defect of modern civilization. In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated, chatur-varnyam maya srishtam guna-karma-vibhagashah [Bhagavad-gita 4.13]. According to quality and work, there are four divisions. Four divisions. So similarly, four divisions must be there: a group of men, first-class; a group of men, administrators; a group of men, food producer; and a group of men, general worker. So the brain is the chief. If your body… There are other parts, but if your head is cut off, then what is the use of other parts? If your hand is cut off, you can live. If your leg is cut off, you can live. But if your head is cut off, then finished. So that is lacking in the present society, no brain how to guide, so that whole human… If the brain is there, then it can guide. It can ask the hand to work in a certain way, the leg to work in certain way, to eat in a certain way. Then the health of the whole body will be quite competent. But if there is no brain, then everything… Just like a man becomes mad when the brain is not working.

MRS. WAX: Who will decide what the propensities are, Prabhupada?


JAYATIRTHA: Who is to decide whether a person is first-class, if they are a brahmana or whether they are kshatriya or vaishya?

PRABHUPADA: The book of knowledge. You can read Bhagavad-gita. Find out, shamah damah titiksha.

JAYATIRTHA: [reads:]

shamo damas tapah shaucham
kshantir arjavam eva cha
jnanam vijnanam aästikyam
brahma-karma svabhava-jam

Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness—these are the qualities by which a brahmana works. [Bhagavad-gita 18.42]

PRABHUPADA: This is first-class. Now shamo damah… Shamah means controlling the mind, mind is always peaceful. You can train. Then controlling the senses. Then truthful. Then full of knowledge, practical application of knowledge in life. These are the qualifications of first-class man. Everything is there. If you train a boy to become first-class man, he can become first-class man. If you don’t train, then he will become a debauch, criminal, disturbing. So we are training in the Gurukula to become first-class men. This is our aim. Unless in the society an ideal first-class man, then how one will become, or follow the ideal? There is no ideal.

Now what is the idea of first-class man now? Can I ask you? What is your idea of first-class man? Whom do you call first-class man?

JAYATIRTHA: Do you know any first-class men?

MRS. WAX: I can’t find any in the society. [laughs]

PRABHUPADA: That is the defect. We have no idea who is first-class man. Everyone is drunkard, everyone smoker, everyone is gambler, everyone is illicit sex, where is first-class man? So in the absence of first-class man there must be criminals. So there is a need of first-class men, first-class men and second-class men. Third-class, fourth-class, fifth-class, they are automatically there. So at the present moment fourth-class, fifth-class men. Third-class is also very scarcely found, and there is no question of first-class, second-class. But as in the full body we require brain, we require arm, we require belly, we require leg… Everything is required for different purposes of work. But at the present moment there is no place for the first-class men. When we ask our students that “You become free from all these four classes of sinful activity: no illicit sex, no meat-eating,” people laugh: “Oh, why you are asking?” They do not know what is the ideal man. They think, “Illicit sex, what is wrong there? Meat-eating, what is wrong there?” They do not know what is right and wrong. Therefore all fourth-class men. They cannot understand even what is the value of these things. So you cannot be happy with fourth-class men. At least there must be a section, first-class men. That we are trying to create, a first-class man from this Gurukula.

MRS. WAX: The ten-year-old boys who left Gurukula and went to Vrindavana and then went to Mayapur, what will they…? They will be trained in the divisions there and come back?

PRABHUPADA: No, that is the ideal: mind completely controlled, senses completely controlled, truthful and simple life. In this way they will be trained up gradually. And we have got one hundred books like that [indicating Bhagavad-gita As It Is]. If they read all these books and if they are trained up in their character, then they will be, in future, first-class men.

MRS. WAX: Would you comment on the current political situation in India, what’s happening right now?

PRABHUPADA: Yes, that will happen everywhere because there is no first-class man.

MRS. WAX: So it doesn’t matter if Narayana is successful?


MRS. WAX: None of them are first-class people is what you’re saying?

PRABHUPADA: They are politicians. That also… All of them are fourth-class men. The fighting is between two sections of fourth-class men. They do not know what is first-class man. Although the Bhagavad-gita is there, they do not know, neither do they care. Just like I was telling. When we propose that “No illicit sex, no meat eating,” they laugh, “Hah! What is that?” But when they are put into trouble they say, “What to do?” When there is crime they say, “What to do?” They do not know how to tackle the situation because they are all third-class, fourth-class men. They do not know. They become disappointed.

Woman is never independent

MRS. WAX: I realize that we’re all considered spirit souls. But can a woman be first-class if she…

PRABHUPADA: Anyone can become first-class. Woman can become first-class if she is chaste and very much attached to husband. And if the husband is first-class, she becomes first-class. Because woman’s duty is to follow husband. So if the husband is first-class, the wife is first-class, if she sticks to the husband.

MRS. WAX: But she can never be first-class unless she has a first class husband?

PRABHUPADA: No, she is first class by following faithfully husband. And if the husband is first-class, then woman is first-class.

MRS. WAX: Could a woman be a temple president?

PRABHUPADA: Yes, why not?

MRS. WAX: Glad to hear it.

PRABHUPADA: But because women are less intelligent, they should remain dependent on first-class father, first-class husband, and first-class son. Then she is first-class. That is the injunction. Woman should remain dependent in childhood upon first-class father, in youthhood upon first-class husband, and in old age upon first-class son. Woman is never independent. If she becomes independent, her life is not very good. She must agree to remain dependent on first-class father, first-class husband, and first-class son—three stages.

MRS. WAX: She must become dependent on her son because her usband would ideally become a sannyasi. Is that…?

PRABHUPADA: Yes. You will find that Kapiladeva is instructing mother. That picture you can show her. Third Canto? You see the picture in the cover? The first-class son is instructing mother. Her husband has taken sannyasa and gone away. The son, first-class son, is instructing mother. That is the book. You will find full instruction to the mother. You can read one of the passages. You can read, Nitai, what He is instructing to His mother. The mother is questioning, and son is answering.

NITAI: [reads:] Sri bhagavan uvacha…

PRABHUPADA: The mother first of all inquired? No.

NITAI: Uh, you want me to start there?

PRABHUPADA: Devahuti? The mother’s name is Devahuti. And the son is celebrated as “son of Devahuti.” The son is famous with the mother’s name. And mother is taking instruction from the son. This is ideal society.

NITAI: [reads:]

devahutir uvacha
nirvinna nitaram bhumann
yena sambhavyamanena
prapannandham tamah prabho

Devahuti said: I am very sick of the disturbance of my material senses, for because of this sense disturbance, my Lord, I have fallen into the abyss of ignorance.

Tasya tvam tamaso ‘ndhasya…

PRABHUPADA: There is no purport of Devahuti?

NITAI: [reads:]

Here the word asad-indriya-tarshanat is significant. Asat means “impermanent,” “temporary,” and indriya means “senses.” Thus asad-indriya-tarshanat means “from being agitated by the temporarily manifest senses of the material body.” We are evolving through different statuses of material bodily existence sometimes in a human body, sometimes in an animal body—and therefore the engagements of our material senses are also changing. Anything which changes is called temporary, or asat. We should know that beyond these temporary senses are our permanent senses, which are now covered by the material body. The permanent senses, being contaminated by matter, are not acting properly. Devotional service, therefore, involves freeing the senses from this contamination. When the contamination is completely removed and the senses act in the purity of unalloyed Krishna consciousness, then we have reached the sad-indriya, or eternal sense activities. The eternal sensual activities are called devotional service, whereas temporary sensual activities are called sense gratification. Unless one becomes tired of material sense gratification, there is no opportunity to hear transcendental messages from a person like Kapila. Devahuti expressed that she was tired. Now that her husband had left home, she wanted to get relief by hearing the instructions of Lord Kapila.

PRABHUPADA: So this full book is the answer and question between mother and son. So, although she is mother, she has given birth to the child, but she has become now dependent on this child for good instruction. This is ideal society.

MRS. WAX: Thank you for answering my questions.

PRABHUPADA: Hare Krishna. [to disciples:] Give them prasadam. Hare Krishna.

Bhagavad Gita: God’s instructions for the world

INDIAN GUEST: How do you advise Indians who are here and who have fallen to some extent in the materialistic world? They did not leave… Basically, they left their homes, most of them, to educate themselves. When they came here, they educated themselves, and they don’t want to go back. Basically, they have fallen into the materialistic world. What advice you render them so that they get out of these clutches and go back and serve here or in the country but they should be devotional to the Almighty God?

PRABHUPADA: So there is no question of here and there. You can become advanced in spiritual life anywhere if you follow the principles. That we are teaching. We are opening centers all over the world. You take the advantage of our teaching, our books, our center. Then it will be all right. They are following, these Europeans and American boys. They are young boys. They are giving up meat-eating. Do you give up meat-eating? Why, Indians, you should learn meat-eating? They are giving up, and you are learning to eat meat. This is the lesson, that these foreigners, they were accustomed to eat meat from the childhood, they are giving up, and you are eating meat. This is the instruction. Indians are drinking. They are giving up drinking. The lessons are already there. There is no question why. The lessons are already there, books are already there, the centers are already there. You learn and make your life purified. Where is the difficulty? There is no difficulty. When we say, “No meat-eating,” it is meant for everyone. Anyone who wants to become first-class man, it is necessary for him. And there is no question of Indian, European, American. You are committing so many sinful lives, and you want to become happy—that is not possible. Now this paper Time is puzzled: “Crime and What to Do?” But they do not know… [break]

GUEST: …Here in America they are fighting to become independent. And also abortion. They are fighting that the abortion should be there. Now this your message, is conveyed through the reporters and I would like the reporter to assess the reaction from the masses here, whether Gurukula is sponsoring for the women liberation and equal rights…

PRABHUPADA: No, no, you are asking solution of the question who is already in darkness. You should take instruction from Bhagavad-gita. You are asking women who are supposed to be dependent, and you are asking question from them. To answer will not be from them. The answer, the standard answer, you have to take from the book of knowledge, Bhagavad-gita. Then the answer will be perfect.

JAYATIRTHA: But if the people complain that we send our children to Gurukula at five, but their children they kill before they have a chance to be born. And they say that we are inhumane.


JAYATIRTHA: The people in general, they say that we are inhumane because we send our children at five to Gurukula. But they do not think that they are killing their own children before they have a chance to be born.

PRABHUPADA: Yes, therefore we say there is no first-class men to guide. They are killing child within the womb. They are not given chance to come out and see the light. And we are putting children at five, so we are criminal. They are denying the right of birth. So these things are happening because there is no first-class brain. Yes?

MR. WAX: In your many visits around the world do you see a desire among many men to try to improve, to become first-class men?

PRABHUPADA: Yes, in your country there are so many.

MR. WAX: Is there a great desire around the world? We here are a small group.

PRABHUPADA: Everywhere, everywhere. In Africa also.

MR. WAX: There’s hope for our world today?

PRABHUPADA: Oh, yes. Otherwise, why we are trying unless there is hope? We are not hopeless. If you train… If you can train a monkey to dance according to your will, why not human being? You can train even a tiger in the circus; he will act as you desire. It is the question of training. If the animal can be trained, why not a human being? You must know how to train. That knowledge is lacking, how to train. That we are giving, this Krishna consciousness movement.

INDIAN GUEST: Swamiji, I’ll ask one last question. What advice do you give to a man of family? I am taking my case, I have four children, and they are, their ages, between six and thirteen. I have to see that they grow up nice, I have to see that they educate themselves so that they are as according to you… I don’t know. I don’t call myself first-class, second-class, third-class. As you said, there are no first-class men, second-class men. But then how, apart from making them first class that they should follow the religious…?

PRABHUPADA: No, no, if you become first-class, then they will follow you. You remain last-class, and how you can train your first-class? [laughter] In the shastra it is said, “Unless you can create first-class man, don’t beget children.” Pita na sa syaj janani na sa syad gurur na sa syat, na mochayed yah samupeta-mrityum. It is the duty of the father to raise his children first-class. Otherwise he should not become a father. That is contraceptive. Just like Vasudeva and Devaki. Formerly they were Vasus and they were asked by Brahma to create progeny. So the husband and wife, they practiced austerities very severely. So then God appeared before them: “What do you want?” And they said that “We can enter into family life provided You become our son.” No, “If we get a son like you.” Then God said, “Where is second person like Me? So I shall become your son.” Then, in next life, Devaki got Krishna as her child. So every father and mother should take this vow, that “Unless our children become first-class, we don’t want children.” This is ideal. What is the use of begetting cats and dogs? You must have first-class children. That requires tapasya. So at least we should follow the standard, how to raise our children to become first-class.

At the present moment, people cannot understand even that there is life after death. Most people. There is life after death—they cannot understand, even big, big professors, big, big learned scholars. Everyone is thinking, “This body is accidental and when the body will be finished, everything is finished.” That is the general understanding. But Bhagavad-gita, you read. It is said, na hanyate hanyamane sharire: [Bhagavad-gita 2.20] “After the destruction of the body, the soul is not destroyed.” Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani anyani grihnati aparani: “Just like when our dress becomes old enough not to be used, then we accept another dress, similarly, when this body is old enough, not workable, then we accept another body.” [Bhagavad-gita 2.22] These things are there. But who is trying to understand it?

At least all our Indians, those who are born in India, wherefrom Bhagavad-gita has come out, at least they should understand. But they are not understanding. They are interpreting Bhagavad-gita in their own way. This is the difficulty. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is, and people are taking advantage of that.

So first-class man, he knows what is Bhagavad-gita and tries to apply the teachings in practical life. Then you become first-class. In the Bhagavad-gita you will find first-class eating, first-class life, second-class eating, second-class life, third-class… Everything is there. So people should be trained up.

Economic question? That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, annad bhavanti bhutani [Bhagavad-gita 3.14]. You produce food grain, anna, sufficiently. So there is immense land still. Say, in America, so much land is without any utilization, in Africa, in Australia. They are not being properly utilized. People are complaining, “Overpopulation.” Now countries which are overpopulated, they are not allowed to utilize the vacant land, neither people are being trained how to produce food grain. They are being trained up, technology, to produce motor tire. And nobody is interested to produce food grain. So without taking food grains, they are killing animals, and they are eating, short cut. They do not know killing of animals is sinful activity. This is the… Man is advanced; we can grow food. This killing of animals is for the non-civilized society. They cannot… They do not know how to grow food. They were killing animals. When man is advanced in his knowledge and education, why they should kill? Especially in America, we see so many nice foodstuffs. Fruits, grains, milk. And from milk, you can get hundreds of nice preparations, all nutritious. In our New Vrindaban we are doing that—rabri, pera, burfi. The other farmers are surprised that from milk such nice preparation can be prepared.

So instead of teaching them—you Indians, you know how to utilize milk and prepare so many nice preparation,—you are learning how to eat meat. Why? So if you forget your culture and if you become victimized, that is your fault. You should teach them how to utilize milk. And if the cows are kept jubilant, they will deliver double milk. They know, “We shall be killed,” they are always depressed. Therefore milk is not properly supplied. So that is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that during Maharaja Yudhisthira’s time the cows were so jubilant that milk was dropping from the milkbags, so much so that the pasturing grounds became muddy with milk. So if you keep… Killing of cows means utilizing the blood in different form. The milk is also another transformation of the blood. So if you take milk sufficiently and prepare nice foodstuff, then it is equally beneficial like the meat from health point of view. But one must know the art, learn to keep the cow living; at the same time be benefited by the blood. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita you will find this word krishi-go-rakshya. Go-rakshya. This animal has to be protected. Not other animals it is mentioned. And go, cow. So those who are meat-eaters, they can eat nonimportant animals. But cows should be given protection. This is the instruction. But in the western country the cows are specially being killed. Now the reaction is war, crime, and they are now repentant. And they will have to repent more and more.

Karmic reactions and transmigration

JAYATIRTHA: So the wars and the crime are a direct result of the cow slaughter?

PRABHUPADA: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It is a wholesale reaction. All these crises are taking place. They are killing their own child. Own child means that child is criminal; therefore it is being killed within the womb. Nature will take action. Prakriteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvashah [Bhagavad-gita 3.27]. You are not independent. So if you work independently, then you will have to suffer. The law of nature is there. You cannot avoid it. If you infect some disease, you must suffer from the disease. You cannot avoid it. This is the law of nature. Law of nature is working in such a way that as you are infecting… Karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-janma-yonishu. Find out this verse. Why there are varieties of life. One is tree, one is cat, one is dog, one is human being, one is blind, one is lame, one is educated, one is foolish—why? Why the difference, varieties? And that is answered in the Bhagavad-gita, karanam guna-sango ‘sya: “As you are infecting the modes of material nature, you are getting your birth.” Otherwise, how you can explain by nature there are so many varieties of life, 8,400,000 species of life?

JAYATIRTHA: You mentioned several times that those persons who are guilty of abortion, then they also enter a womb, but they never leave it alive. They’re also killed within the womb.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. That means… That child is killed means it must take another birth. Again in the womb it will be killed. Again another womb. This is going on. Mudha janmani janmani [Bhagavad-gita 16.20]. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, “Birth after birth they will be put into the darkness of life.”

NITAI: [reads:]

purushah prakriti-stho hi
bhunkte prakriti-jan gunan
karanam guna-sango’sya

The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil amongst various species. [Bhagavad-gita 13.22]


NITAI: [reads:]

This verse is very important for an understanding of how the living entities transmigrate from one body to another. It is explained in the Second Chapter that the living entity is transmigrating from one body to another just as one changes dress. This change of dress is due to his attachment to material existence. As long as he is captivated by this false manifestation, he has to continue transmigrating from one body to another. Due to his desire to lord it over material nature, he is put into such undesirable circumstances. Under the influence of material desire, the entity is born sometimes as a demigod, sometimes as a man, sometimes as a beast, as a bird, as a worm, as an aquatic, as a saintly man, as a bug. This is going on. And in all cases the living entity thinks himself to be the master of his circumstances, yet he is under the influence of material nature. How he is put into such different bodies is explained here. It is due to association with the different modes of nature. One has to rise, therefore, above the three material modes and become situated in the transcendental position. That is called Krishna consciousness. Unless one is situated in Krishna consciousness, his material consciousness will oblige him to transfer from one body to another because he has material desires since time immemorial. But he has to change that conception. That change can be effected only by hearing from authoritative sources. The best example is here: Arjuna is hearing the science of God from Krishna. The living entity, if he submits to this hearing process, will lose his long-cherished desire to dominate the material nature, and gradually and proportionately, as he reduces his long desire to dominate, he comes to enjoy spiritual happiness.

In the grip of material nature

PRABHUPADA: They are trying to dominate the material nature, the so-called scientists. But they do not know that they are under the domination of material nature. They are forgetting that. If you are more powerful, if you are dominating me, how I can dominate you? That they do not know, that we are under the domination of material nature. Janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi [Bhagavad-gita 13.9]. The domination is manifest by four things: birth, death, old age, and disease. I cannot dominate my birth, death, old age, and disease and I am trying to dominate over nature. Just foolishness. Big, big scientist, did he dominate over death, Professor Einstein? Did not he die? Why he could not find out any means that he will not die? What is the meaning of the science? If you are dominated by the laws of material nature, how you are thinking that you shall dominate over material nature? When death comes can you dominate? “No, no, I am scientist. Just wait.” No, you must die immediately. So where is your domination? You are dominated by material nature. That is the mistake of the present society, that everyone is being dominated by the material nature, and the so-called scientist is trying to dominate over material nature. How it is possible? Therefore it is said,

daivi hy esha gunamayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ya prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

[Bhagavad-gita 7.14]

Find out this verse. [aside:] Just wait. [gets up and leaves room] [break] So you have read that verse, daivi hy esha gunamayi?

NITAI: No. [reads:]

daivi hy esha gunamayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it. [Bhagavad-gita 7.14]


NITAI: [reads:]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has innumerable energies, and all these energies are divine. Although the living entities are part of His energies and are therefore divine, due to contact with material energy, their original superior power is covered. Being thus covered by material energy, one cannot possibly overcome its influence. As previously stated, both the material and spiritual natures, being emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are eternal. The living entities belong to the eternal superior nature of the Lord, but due to contamination by the inferior nature, matter, their illusion is also eternal. The conditioned soul is therefore called nitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned. No one can trace out the history of his becoming conditioned at a certain date in material history. Consequently, his release from the clutches of material nature is very difficult, even though that material nature is an inferior energy, because material energy is ultimately conducted by the supreme will, which the living entity cannot overcome. Inferior material nature is defined herein as divine nature due to its divine connection and movement by the divine will. Being conducted by divine will, material nature, although inferior, acts so wonderfully in the construction and destruction of the cosmic manifestation. The Vedas confirm this as follows:

mayam tu prakritim vidyan mayinam tu maheshvaram.

Although maya [illusion] is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Maheshvara, the supreme controller.

Another meaning of guna is rope; it is to be understood that the conditioned soul is tightly tied by the ropes of illusion. A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself—he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated. Therefore, only Lord Krishna, or His bona fide representative the spiritual master, can release the conditioned soul. Without such superior help, one cannot be freed from the bondage of material nature. Devotional service, or Krishna consciousness, can help one gain such release. Krishna, being the Lord of illusory energy, can order this insurmountable energy to release the conditioned soul. He orders this release out of His causeless mercy on the surrendered soul and out of His paternal affection for the living entity who is originally a beloved son of the Lord. Therefore surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is the only means to get free from the clutches of the stringent material nature.

The words mam eva are also significant. Mam means unto Krishna (Vishnu) only, and not Brahma or Shiva. Although Brahma and Shiva are greatly elevated and are almost on the level of Vishnu, it is not possible for such incarnations of rajo-guna (passion) and tamo-guna (ignorance) to release the conditioned soul from the clutches of maya. In other words, both Brahma and Shiva are also under the influence of maya. Only Vishnu is the master of maya; therefore He can alone give release to the conditioned soul. The Vedas confirm this in the phrase tvam eva viditva or “Freedom is possible only by understanding Krishna.” Even Lord Shiva affirms that liberation can be achieved only by the mercy of Vishnu. Lord Shiva says:

mukti-pradata sarvesham vishnur eva na samshayah.

There is no doubt that Vishnu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone.

Human life distinguished from animal life by inquiry

PRABHUPADA: So everything is explained. If anyone wants to take advantage of it, he can take. We have got fifty books like this. Those who are interested in the science and philosophy of Krishna consciousness, they can read all these books. Otherwise, one can chant Hare Krishna, That will also help.

The human civilization means everyone shall try to become first-class man. This is human civilization, not to remain like animals. That attempt is lacking now. Here the civilization is that the dog is jumping or running, and human being is running in a motor car, and he is thinking he is more civilized than the dog. But the business is running. That’s all. The dog is having sex on the street, and the human being is having sex in a very nice decorated apartment and therefore he is civilized. But the business is the same. The dog is eating on the floor and the human being is eating in a very nice table, nice dish, and therefore he is civilized. But the business is eating. The dog is trying to defend itself by barking or by teeth and jaws, and the human being is trying to defend the society by atom bomb, but the business is defense. Therefore shastra says, ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam cha samanyam etat pashubhir naranam: “This business of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending is common to the animal and to the man.” The man, if he does not understand what he is, why he is suffering this material tribulations, then he remains cats and dogs. The cats and dogs, they cannot question, but human being can question. And he should take the answer from these books of knowledge. That is human life. Otherwise, so far eating, sleeping, sex and defense, that is common for the dogs and man. There is no difference. He is doing in his own way, we are doing in our own way, but the business is the same. So human being must go above these four businesses, the fifth business. The fifth business is how to understand God. Otherwise, the bodily four businesses, that is common. Even an ant, it is also eating. It is going from this place to that place: “Where is a grain of sugar?” And we are also running in car this way and that way: “Where is eating?” The hog is also running: “Where is stool? Where is stool?”

[A child makes some sound, and Prabhupada inquires about him:] Is he chanting mantra? That small…

JAYATIRTHA: Yes, he’s chanting nicely.

PRABHUPADA: Thank you, Hare Krishna. Just see. He is being trained up. Just see how he is taking lesson. So it is possible. So from childhood, if he is trained up, then in future he will become first-class man.

JAYATIRTHA: Sometimes people complain that we don’t give our children any right of free choice, that we train them in our own way.

PRABHUPADA: This is nonsense, to give free choice to the child. This is nonsense. Child should be protected. That is intelligence. That is the wrong type of consciousness. According to Vedic civilization, a child, a woman, a brahmana, a cow, and an old man—they should be given protection. Not freedom, but protection.

JAYATIRTHA: At the same time in that Time article it discussed that about fifty percent of the crime was done by children under eighteen, and people are afraid even to go to the schools.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. They are not educated properly. Not only that they have given photograph: the children take small…, yes, weapon, knife. And examination is held under police vigilance. This is the education.

MRS. WAX: Some of us are parents of devotees and when you came to America nine years ago, eight years ago…


MRS. WAX: …some young people were attracted to the message and responded and joined Krishna consciousness. Is there a special reason? What explanation do you have why some…?

PRABHUPADA: Yes. The special reason was… That was published in one paper, Voice East. What is that?

DEVOTEES: Village Voice.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. They wrote a very big article that “We thought God is dead but Swamiji has brought God in his kirtana.” They wrote this article. They found God’s presence in Hare Krishna mantra. This Brahmananda, he was attracted first.

MRS. WAX: The first one?

BRAHMANANDA: One of the first ones.

MRS. WAX: Really?

PRABHUPADA: His photo was published in New York Times, dancing. He and another boy… [laughter] Yes. He and another boy, Achyutananda—he is now in India; he is also sannyasi—these two boys were dancing hand to hand, and this was published in New York Times.

MRS. WAX: What I’m asking is why could he understand?

PRABHUPADA: Then you ask him how, he’ll reply. [laughter]

MRS. WAX: Why did you?

PRABHUPADA: Why he became attracted and began to dance. He is present here. I did not ask him to come and dance.

BRAHMANANDA: Well, I was just… I cannot say exactly why. I was searching, however. I was looking for something better than what I was doing.

PRABHUPADA: His father predicted that “This boy will become a pious man. He is not going to take up my business.” [laughter] His father is a very big, rich man running on factories. But he was disappointed that “This, my child, will not be a factory worker.” Is it not? You tell.

BRAHMANANDA: Yes. Actually we also say that it is Prabhupada’s grace that he came here and he actually delivered a process which is nothing of his own manufacture. This chanting of Hare Krishna is a bona fide transcendental process. And Prabhupada has delivered it purely. So therefore it has great effect. Although it seems that there are only a few of us who are actually taking to this movement, we consider that we are representative of the whole world. Actually this movement has now spread all over the world. I myself have been in Africa, and the movement is even taking effect there. So we see that our movement is very important, and we have members from practically every country, every religion, every kind of social group in the world. Therefore we see a great scope for this movement. And at the present moment we are not getting so much help from governments, authorities, so many groups that could offer especially financial help. We’re having to do everything by ourselves. So therefore our facilities are limited. If we had more facility, certainly this movement would grow far more than it is now.

PRABHUPADA: Upendra. You can take it. So try to understand this movement and write more and more articles and educate your countrymen. That will be very nice.

MRS. WAX: My son is educating me. That’s what you said.

PRABHUPADA: That’s nice.

MRS. WAX: You said that’s the proper…

PRABHUPADA: Yes, son should be so nicely educated that he can teach his mother also. That is nice. Some of the parents of my disciples, they come to congratulate, give me thanks. And some of them to curse me [laughter], that “You have spoiled our children.” [laughing] Brahmananda’s mother is very angry. [laughter]

MRS. WAX: She’s very angry?

BRAHMANANDA: She has given myself and also my brother.

MRS. WAX: Oh, your brother too.


PRABHUPADA: When she came to see me I asked, “Mrs. Bruce, you have got money. Give me some money.” So she became angry: “I have given my two sons.” [laughter]

MRS. WAX: Your brother joined after you?

BRAHMANANDA: Just a month after.

MRS. WAX: Are there any more?

BRAHMANANDA: One sister. She’s never…

MRS. WAX: Never walked out. [laughter] …

Timeless knowledge

MRS. WAX: I’ve noticed that there are different dates given to when the Vedas began, the beginnings of the Vedas. Some historians and authorities say one thing and I’ve seen many different figures. What is the accurate time they were spoken.

PRABHUPADA: If you can find out what is the accurate time of this cosmic creation, then you will find the date of Vedas. Can you find out when it was created? Have you got any statistics?

MRS. WAX: No, none. I was hoping you did. [laughs]

MR. WAX: How old is the Hare Krishna chant?

PRABHUPADA: As old as this creation.

MR. WAX: [indistinct] …if you get any statistics, let me know.

BRAHMANANDA: It shows the limitation of our scientific knowledge that we don’t even know the accurate date of the cosmic manifestation.

PRABHUPADA: So far Krishna consciousness is concerned, you can take it: since five thousand years, when Krishna was present, He gave this instruction. But it existed before Krishna’s instruction. About forty millions of years ago He gave this instruction to the sun-god. That is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita [4.1]:

imam vivasvate yogam
proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha
manur ikshvakave ‘bravit

So if we take up the statement of Bhagavad-gita, then five thousand years ago this was spoken for the second time, and first time it was spoken forty millions of years ago. Therefore it is permanent, not that something new. It is existing eternally. Sometimes we are missing, and sometimes we are accepting, but it is existing eternally. You cannot trace out the history. Our calculation of history means we are trying to make the eternal time relatively limited with our life. But the time is eternal. We are changing our forms of life many, many million times, but the time is there. So the calculation of past, present, future is relative according to the duration of my life. An ant’s past, present, future is not the same past, present, future as of human being. The past, present, future is relative according to the duration of life and body. So Brahma’s past, present, future and our past and present, future is not the same. So time is eternal, and past, present, future is calculation of relative knowledge. That is not correct.

JAYATIRTHA: Like the frog in the well.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. A frog in the well is thinking, “This is the limit of water.” [laughter] And if you say there is Atlantic Ocean, he cannot understand it. He will think, “What is that?” “Oh, it is very big.” “How much? Is it three feet? It is four feet?” “No, no, very big.” “Five feet?” “No, no, still…” “Six feet?” So he is calculating in that way, “Four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” but Atlantic ocean is beyond his conception. So these are all Dr. Frog’s philosophy. Yes. And the so-called philosophers, they are Dr. Frog. [laughter] We consider them as Dr. Frog. Some of my students who are doctors, they are now trying to give up their job because they are understanding this is all false knowledge. Yes.

Becoming attached to Krishna

DEVOTEE: Srila Prabhupada, because you are presenting this knowledge so purely, then it’s possible for the common man to understand this knowledge without chanting and following the four regulative principles.

PRABHUPADA: That is not possible. That is not possible. Cheto-darpana-marjanam [Chaitanya-charitamrita Antya 20.12]. You have to cleanse the mirror of your consciousness, then the reflection will be properly viewed. If you keep it dirty, then it is not possible. Therefore we require first-class men to understand this philosophy, not the fourth-class man. If you keep him fourth-class man, it is not possible.

DEVOTEE 2: We are giving these books to so many common men. Then the books will attract them to perhaps chanting and following the regulative principles.

PRABHUPADA: Yes, if they read. Even if they touch. That is the difference between this book and ordinary book. Even they touch and they read one line and says, “Oh, it is very nice,” he makes a step forward. If he simply says this word, “Oh, it is very nice,” that is sufficient to bring him. Therefore I am trying to push. He has paid some money. He will then say, “What these nonsense have written. Let me see.” [laughter] And if he sees and says, “Oh, it is very nice,” then the beginning is immediately. Therefore we are trying to push. At least let him say, “It is very nice.” The Kartikeya’s mother, the practical experience… The Kartikeya, when he used to go to see his mother, the mother was going to dance, ball dance, and she would not speak: “All right, sit down. I am coming.” She used to go out. The same mother gradually, in the association of her son, became Krishna conscious. So at the time of death she asked Kartikeya, “Is your Krishna here?” and she died immediately. This is the effect. So anta-kale, she remembered Krishna, so her life was successful. She inquired like this, “Is your Krishna here?” And immediately died. So she got the benefit of her son’s Krishna consciousness. You can ask Kartikeya also. She said that.

JAYATIRTHA: Yes, he told me that story.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. So all the mothers of my disciples, they will get salvation because she has got nice son like…

JAYATIRTHA: All the mothers will get salvation.


MRS. WAX: Oh, good. [laughter]

DEVOTEE 3: What about the fathers?

PRABHUPADA: Father also. Both the father and mother. Because they are father and mother of a Vaishnava devotee, so they will be taken special care. You’ll find from the Prahlada Maharaja’s description. Even a father like Hiranyakashipu, he got salvation because Prahlada was son.

DEVOTEE: Srila Prabhupada, it seems strange that so many parents who are engaged in meat-eating and illicit sex and intoxication and gambling, could have a son who would become a Vaishnava.

PRABHUPADA: Therefore they will get the advantage of the son. Somehow or other, they have produced a son, Vaishnava, so the son’s activities will react upon the life of the parents. Because naturally the sons think of the father and mother, that is beneficial for them. However one may be renounced, he cannot get rid of family affection. That is natural. So the Vaishnava son sometimes thinks of the father and mother. So they are getting the benefit.

DEVOTEE: So sometimes the attachment is beneficial, then?

PRABHUPADA: Yes. What is this Krishna consciousness movement? We are trying to be attached with Krishna. This is our movement. Instead of having attachment with this whole material world, we are turning to transfer the attachment to Krishna. Find out this verse,

mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-ashrayah
asamshayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tach chrinu
[Bhagavad-gita 7.1]

The whole movement is how to increase attachment for Krishna. Yes, read.

NITAI: [reads:]

sri-bhagavan uvacha
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-ashrayah
asamshayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tach chrinu

Now hear, O son of Pritha, Arjuna, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full…” [Bhagavad-gita 7.1]

PRABHUPADA: “With mind attached to Me.” This Krishna consciousness movement means to keep the mind attached to Krishna. That is success. That yoga we are practicing, how to keep the mind attached to Krishna. Then it is successful. Our mind is attached to something. Without attachment, mind cannot be free even for a moment. So the bhakti-yoga means how to transfer the attachment of mind to Krishna, that’s all. That is Krishna consciousness. You are working, you are rendering your service without any charges, without any profit—why? Because your mind has been attached to Krishna. Otherwise what business you have got to work for Krishna consciousness movement without any remuneration? You are all American boys. You are qualified. You can earn thousands of dollars. But why you have given up? Because you are attached to Krishna. Param drishtva nivartate [Bhagavad-gita 2.59]. You have found better attachment; therefore you given up. So that is Krishna consciousness. We are attached to so many nonsense things. When we wind up all these attachments and concentrate
on Krishna, then life is perfect. That is wanted. We are not going to sacrifice attachment. But we are trying to transfer the attachment from matter to Krishna. Then our life is successful. But that attachment is very rare.

manushyanam sahasreshu
kashchid yatati siddhayeya
tatam api siddhanam
kaschid vetti mam tattvatah
[Bhagavad-gita 7.3]

So our business is… spiritual master’s business is, how to help the disciple to transfer the attachment. It is not that we are creating an attachment artificially, no. The attachment quality is there. But it is being mixed up with material things. And if you purify this material contamination, then the attachment become pure, and that is Krishna consciousness.

Just like the water falls from the sky. It is distilled water. And as soon as it is in touch with the ground it becomes muddy, dirty. Again that water, if you distill, again it becomes distilled water, as good as the rain water, original. Therefore bhakti means sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam [Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 19.170]. All the dirty things of designation should be cleansed. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam. When the mind is cleansed, nirmalam, without any dirty thing, then you can begin bhakti immediately, Krishna conscious. Hrishikena hrishikesha-sevanam bhaktir uchyate [Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 19.170]. So bhakti means cleansing process. Originally, distilled water from the sky, in touch with the ground, it is muddy. You filter it or distill it; it becomes original. The consciousness is there, but it has become muddy. You cleanse it; it is Krishna consciousness.

Therefore we say, “Don’t do this. Don’t do this.” Don’t mix again muddy things. It has already become muddy. Your business to cleanse it, and again if you make it muddy with addition of other nonsense things, then it will be delayed. When you ignite fire, you require dry wood. But if you ignite fire, at the same time pour water, then how it will burn? Don’t pour water. Therefore we have so many “don’ts.” “Don’ts” means that you are burning the fire. Go on. Don’t add water. And that is “don’t.” If you ignite fire, at the same time add water, then how it will burn? Water is the counter-ingredient of fire. If you want to extinguish fire, then add water. But if you want to prolong the fire burning, then you should not add water. So this material enjoyment, illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, gambling, one should be free from these water-like things while you are in the fire of spiritual consciousness. Don’t bring these things. You cannot go on burning the fire, at the same time adding water. Then it will be useless waste of time. Anartha upashamam. Anartha upashamam sakshad bhakti-yogam. Bhakti-yogam means anartha, unwanted things, upashamam, subsiding. This is anartha.

Just like we don’t eat meat. Are we dying for want of meat? But they have taken it that without eating meat they will die. This is nonsense. And they are maintaining so many slaughterhouses, committing sinful life, only for misunderstanding. They do not see that “Here are some persons. They do not eat meat. They look very bright-faced. Why should I eat meat?” Anartha, unnecessarily, simply for the taste of the tongue, they are committing so much sinful activities. So just we are teaching, “Just control your tongue.” That is called shamah damah.” Because the tongue wants something, I have to eat, give it—that is not human civilization. If I control my tongue-tongue wants this thing; I say, “No, not this thing; you take this thing,”—then you are master. You are master of the senses. Otherwise you are servant of the senses. Because some of my senses want something… That is natural. But if I can control: “No, this not. This,” that is called shamah, damah. And if I become victim of the dictation of the senses, then I cannot make progress in my spiritual life; I am third-class, fourth-class man. Mind wants to steal something. If you can control, “No, why stealing?” Then you are master. [END]

1. Judith Wax and her husband, Sheldon Wax were also parents of one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. This meeting with Srila Prabhupada took place in Chicago, 1975. Just four years later both Mr. and Mrs. Wax together left this world when the airplane they had boarded, bound for Los Angeles, crashed on takeoff and killed everyone on board. (source: Chicago Tribune) Back to text

2. Traditionally, gurukula is a school and ashram in which young boys are trained up under the tutelage of a preceptor in the principles of spiritual life and side by side study Sanskrit language and the Vedic literature. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada started up a Gurukula in Dallas, Texas for the young children of his disciples. It was a boarding school, and apart from their studies, the students participated in the regular daily spiritual practices, joining the adults to rise early to chant and attend morning arati and class in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Back to text

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