excerpt from morning walk conversation, Durban, October 13, 1975:
PRABHUPADA: Material enjoyment means implicated in unnecessary activities. If people are satisfied with plain living, then these things are not necessary: go into the ocean, find out oil, then bring it in the port, then distribute it, so many, one after another. That, this kind of civilization, they think it is advanced. And to live very plainly, minimizing this unnecessary activity, they think it is not civilization.
PUSTA KRSNA: Primitive.
PRABHUPADA: Primitive, yes. But primitive meat-eating is continued. That is not to be stopped, primitive drinking and meat-eating.
PUSTA KRSNA: …it is misdirected and simply based on sense gratification, has no purpose. So people may question us that we are putting forward a civilization which India had practiced for thousands of years.
PRABHUPADA: Why you speak of India?
PUSTA KRSNA: Well, because when we speak of Vedic culture, at least contemporarily speaking, people think of India. Even few hundred years ago, all the acharyas…
PRABHUPADA: All right, India. Then?
PUSTA KRSNA: So then the point is that they criticize that how we can preach such a civilization to the Western countries if even it’s not working in India today. Although theoretically it’s perfect, practically it’s not working.
PRABHUPADA: No. Practically, because you have preached your culture in India; therefore they have lost their own culture. The Western, the Britishers were there for two hundred years and they preached. Their policy was to kill the Indian culture. Because that report of Lord MacCauley, after studying Indian situation, the report was to the Parliament that “If you keep India as Indian, then you will not be able to rule over them,” so therefore there was regular policy to kill Indian civilization. And because they were on the governing power, they could do it. Therefore India lost its own culture and became victimized by the Western culture. This is the position. Just they are learning how to eat meat, how to drink wine, how to dress them with coat and pant, how to go to the hotel, illicit sex—these things are…
PUSTA KRSNA: Imported.
PRABHUPADA: In India it was unknown. They did not know. In our childhood we have seen that they did not know how to drink tea even.
PUSTA KRSNA: Tea?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Nobody would drink tea, no family. We have seen it. And for drinking, for drinking tea, drinking wine, regular propaganda was done. There was a tea assessment committee. These foreigners, they began to grow tea in India, in the beginning for exporting to Europe and America. Later on, they began to pay some tax to the government. That was known as tea assessment committee. The tea assessment committee, in order to popularize drinking tea, they used to hold stall, just like here in park and public places, and they would prepare very tasty tea and distribute free.
PUSTA KRSNA: Free.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And advertise, “If you drink tea, then you will not feel very much hungry. Your health will be improved,” and so on, so on. In this way they distributed pamphlet and were giving free. Just like we distribute prasadam, they used to distribute very tasteful tea, and people liked it: “Oh, it is very nice.” Then they began to drink. Vigorous propaganda. And culturally… In our school days, one Mr. N. Ghosh was bribed by the Britishers, and he wrote one book, England’s Work in India. So all the… just like Sati rites…
PUSTA KRSNA: Sati rite.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. [He wrote] that “Later on, after the death of husband in some places the wife was forced to go to the fire, so the Britishers stopped it. And they introduced railway for going to the pilgrimage,” and so many… “and they constructed bridges to make easy to go from one country to another.” And people took it very seriously, that British government is very nice. And they were publishing in outside country that “India is uncivilized. We are making them civilized. And as soon as they are civilized, then we’ll hand over the charge to them. That is our noble mission.” And they were exploiting. All raw materials were being taken away and the necessities of India, especially cloth, were being supplied. And the local weavers, their hands cut off. So many things they were tainting. And everything bad. Just like Jawaharlal Nehru. He became a first-class victim.
PUSTA KRSNA: First-class?
PRABHUPADA: Victim of European propaganda. He used to take “Anything Indian, bad. Anything Indian, bad.” Not only he. Later on, all the so-called educated persons, they took it for granted that “Whatever is done in London, that is first-class, and whatever is Indian original, that is all bad.” And they [the British] controlled the native princes. So many things. It is a big history, how they killed India’s original culture. And then Hindu-Muslim riots, friction, fighting between Hindus and Muslims and dividing them.
PUSTA KRSNA: You said that the British instigated the Muslims.
PUSTA KRSNA: How did they do that?
PRABHUPADA: Oh, nowadays you pay somebody, and he will do anything. So they appointed this Jinnah. They found that he was a very, intelligent lawyer. He was in the Congress. So there was dissension—there must be. So once this Jinnah was to be the president of the Congress, and the Patel, he frustrated. So Jinnah became angry, and at this moment the Britishers took him in. He was a very intelligent barrister. So they instigated that, “You form a party, Muslim league. And whatever money is required for propaganda, we shall pay.” So regular subscription was raised from all big, big British companies, mercantile, to pay him: “Whatever money, you organize the Muslims against the Hindus.” And he did it.
PUSTA KRSNA: Jinnah, he was Muslim.
PRABHUPADA: He was neither Muslim nor Hindu. He was an intelligent barrister coming from the… His father, means not real father, his father was Parsi, and he kept one Mohammedan girl. So Jinnah was the issue of this.
So if you make propaganda and pay money to go against the Hindus and incite them… gradually it developed. And the money was being paid by the Britishers. And he saw that money is coming. He had no feeling, national or… He wanted money, that’s all. For money you can purchase anything nowadays.
PUSTA KRSNA: Why did the British build all so many railroads?
PRABHUPADA: For drawing raw materials from villages and bringing to the Calcutta, Bombay ports and export to their country, because their country did not produce anything. They were starving. Still England, London, is maintained by importing goods from Africa, India, here, there. They have no food there. They can grow some potato, maybe. Potato only. That was the reason for expanding their empire. They had no food at home, England. They were manufacturing cotton cloth. That cotton was not grown in their country. It was brought from Egypt. They manipulated things in such a way. In America also they wanted to do that, but Americans, just understanding, separated. George Washington. In America I have heard that each family was to maintain a British soldier. You know that?
PUSTA KRSNA: No, I didn’t know that.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And they brought tea from India and other places and were selling it in America. Their whole policy was exploit the whole world and bring money in London. That’s all. And one who will do that, he will be honored by the state, given Earl of some small village. It has no value. Earl of this whole place, Lord of this. (laughter) A few acres of land and he is Lord of Chelmsford. And they will be given big, big post—governor, viceroy.
PUSTA KRSNA: Why did Nehru, though? He was so closely associated with Gandhi, and Gandhi was for getting the foreign products out. Why did Nehru go so much against that policy? Why did Nehru?
PRABHUPADA: No, Nehru, he was searching after some big post. That’s all. All these political agitators, they want the big post, that’s all. You give them big post, and they will be satisfied. They will no more agitate. Political agitators means they want some prize post from the government. That’s all. Make them some minister, and they will be no more agitator.
PUSTA KRSNA: But he is considered to be very religious man in the eyes of the masses.
PUSTA KRSNA: Nehru.
PUSTA KRSNA: Yes. I know one Gujarati school, they have a book. And in the book it is taught that Gandhi, Nehru…
PRABHUPADA: That is propaganda.
PUSTA KRSNA: Yes.
PRABHUPADA: That is propaganda.
PUSTA KRSNA: It’s just in the last fifty years or so that especially the Indian culture has been squashed and perverted by the British.
PUSTA KRSNA: Is that because of mass communication, Prabhupada? Is that because of mass communication?
PRABHUPADA: Mass communication or no…
PUSTA KRSNA: Radio, and things like this?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, if you want to make mass communication, you can do anything. Due to industrialization, all intelligent men, they came to the city. In the village it was deserted. So there was no improvement in the village, and people preferred to come to the city—means industry, business. So India’s basic principle was village life. Now that is lost. The intelligent class men—brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya—they left villages for earning more money in the cities, and only the shudras, less intelligent class of men, and less than shudras, they remained. So what they will do? Villages became deserted. Still you’ll go and see in Indian villages, especially in Bengal, so many big, big palatial buildings, they are lying vacant.
PUSTA KRSNA: In the villages?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Because the proprietor left and the poor cultivators, shudras, they are accustomed to live in cottages. India’s civilization was based on village residence. They would live very peacefully in the villages. In the evening there would be bhagavata-katha [reading or speaking about Sri Bhagavan, Krishna]. They would hear. That was Indian culture. They had no artificial way of living —drinking tea, and meat-eating and wine and illicit sex. No. Everyone was religious and satisfied by hearing—what we are just introducing—Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Puranas, and live simple life, keeping cows, village life as it was exhibited by Krishna in Vrindavana. Krishna, if He liked, He could have lived in the cities.
So the education was meant for teaching people to hate everything Indian.
PUSTA KRSNA: Hate everything Indian.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That was the policy of education. So as soon as one became graduate and educated, he began to hate everything of Indian origin, and if he would get some clerk’s business, service in some office, his life was successful. That is still going on. So our car is here?
PUSTA KRSNA: It’s just up here, Srila Prabhupada.
PRABHUPADA: The brahmana became by caste brahmana. He will do everything nonsense and still, he remains a brahmana. But you can introduce the original Vedic culture in this Europe and America. You have understood. You can do it. By this material civilization they will never be happy, and it is risky. That they do not know. They do not believe in the transmigration of the soul. So irresponsibly… Or just like these elderly persons, how they are wasting time.
PUSTA KRSNA: Just sitting on the beach.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Not only sitting, they have no other engagement. They do not know how human life should be utilized. They do not know. They are simply taking consideration of the body, running or skating or this or that, but they have no other engagement. They do not believe that there is soul and that soul’s business is first business. They do not know that, neither they do accept it. They are under nature’s law. It’s very simply explained in the Bhagavad-gita: dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara. By nature’s law you have to change your body. It is evident. Still, they will not believe. We’re changing body every moment, and they will say, big, big professors, that after the body is finished, everything is finished. This is ajnana [ignorance]. And that is going on as education, whole world. “It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss.” The whole world is in ignorance, so we are giving them wise instruction, but they are thinking, “These people are crazy men, that’s all.”
PUSTA KRSNA: How were the leaders, though, of India so weak when the British first occupied that they allowed this all to take place?
PRABHUPADA: There was no Indian leader. They were occupied by the Mohammedans. They were deteriorating. Yes. Besides that, Indian mass of people, they were never trained to become nationalists. They thought, “Let anyone become king. It doesn’t matter. We… Let us live peacefully, and whatever tax is due we shall pay. That’s all.” When the Mohammedans came, the people did not think that these are foreigners. “It does not matter, Mohammedan, Hindu.” But they did not think so far that gradually it will deteriorate. Even Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he favored the British government because they did not interfere with the religious affairs.
PUSTA KRSNA: (entering car) Bhaktivinoda Thakur. Over the Muslims?
PRABHUPADA: No, Britishers. The Muslims interfered. They wanted to propagate Islam. Not all, some of them. But Britishers, although they were spreading Christianism, still, outwardly they were neutral about religious affairs. So Bhaktivinoda Thakur preferred that. “Britishers are good. They do not interfere with our religious affairs.” So the idea is that India—you may say primitive or whatever you want—they wanted to make progress of the soul. They did not care who is ruling. So “Whatever tax is due we shall pay. Let us do our own business.” That was India’s attitude. They never thought in terms of nationalism. That was never educated. Nationalism was unknown to India. They never taught it.
BHARGAVA: Why did Krishna allow the Muslims to enter and do so much damage to the Vedic culture?
BHARGAVA: Why did Krishna allow the Muslims to enter and do so much damage to the…
PRABHUPADA: Krishna is your father’s servant that you do something wrong and Krishna has to check it? Is your Krishna your father’s servant? Then why do you ask this question? If you allow somebody to cut your head, has Krishna to come to save you? Why do you ask this nonsense question? You are Krishna conscious. Samo ’ham sarva-bhuteshu. If you cut your own head, what Krishna will do? In the same term, nationalism, as Vedic culture is Krishna’s national affair, your disease is there. Why Krishna will come to save the Vedic culture? What business He has got? If you are spoiling it, then why Krishna will come? Spoil, and suffer. Again, the same question in a different way, “Why India? Why Krishna?” as if Krishna is Indian. Krishna is Indian? Then why do you ask this question, that “Krishna will come to save India’s culture?”
BHARGAVA: Not the Indian culture but the Vedic culture, Krishna’s culture.
PRABHUPADA: Vedic culture, He has given, Bhagavad-gita. Why don’t you accept it? You don’t accept; then suffer. He has given His instruction. The government gives you the law. Now, when you violate, the government will come to stop you? You violate and suffer. Why do you expect that “When I violate the laws, the government men will come and stop me?” Why do you expect like that? Eh? The government can give you the law book. You consult and do accordingly. You’ll be happy. And if you don’t, against, the government man is not coming to stop you. You do and suffer. Krishna says, “Whenever there is discrepancy, I come.” That is general, not for India. Vedic culture is not for India. It is for everyone.
PUSTA KRSNA: It’s just that people have taken India as a model of our philosophy, and sometimes people judge our philosophy by India’s practical application.
PRABHUPADA: That is a fact. India was practically following the Vedic culture. That’s a fact. But now they have given up, so what Krishna can do? They have been victimized. So if you give up your own culture…
PUSTA KRSNA: But this propaganda is going on even here, that anything which is Indian is inferior, and anything which is European is good.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is the propaganda always. That is going on. That I already explained, that this was the propaganda of the Britishers, “Anything Indian is bad.” You see, they wanted to stop our Ratha-yatra in London as soon as they saw that it is becoming popular. Even in India the government doesn’t want that Krishna consciousness movement should go ahead. It is the demonic principle—Krishna should be cut down. That is the way of demonic civilization. Stop Krishna consciousness. Now we are preaching, “No illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating.” Do you think people like it?
PUSTA KRSNA: No.
PRABHUPADA: Everyone is against this movement. So who is coming to save us? Nobody is coming. Krishna is saving. Otherwise it would have been stopped long, long ago. I was thinking that “As soon as I shall propose all these things, immediately these American people will ask me to go back home. Instead of go back to Godhead, “You go back to India.” (laughter) So it is Krishna’s kindness that you, a few boys and girls, have accepted this principle. Otherwise who likes this? Nobody likes. Nobody likes. Lord Zetland flatly said, “Oh, it is impossible.” This is the life and soul of the modem civilization. just see the advertisement—sex. You see, illicit sex. Who would like our movement? Nobody likes. What is this picture means? Sex, that’s all. So many advertisements—wine advertisement, meat-eating, gambling, everything. The modern life is going on the basis of these four principles of sinful life, and we want to stop it. Nobody likes it. Still, we are selling so many books and people are hearing us.