Conversation between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON Founder-Acharya, Professor Dürckheim, German Spiritual Writer, Professor Pater Porsch and Dr. P.J. Saher, June 19, 1974, Schloss Rettershof, Germany
Absolute Truth realized in three aspects
PRABHUPADA: I’ve heard you are teaching yoga system?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: No, not yoga. Rather, I am professor of philosophy and psychology.
I spent the war in Japan. My mentor is Master Eckhart, the great Germany mystic of the 1300’s. In Japan I encountered Zen, and rediscovered the same Truth; once again I saw there is only one Truth. Returning from Japan, I rejected all offers to a renewed professorship, and began in a small valley in the mountains of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) to work and to write books, and people came, and today we have there what you would call a little ashrama, mostly about fifty, sixty persons living there, coming, going—no patients, just people who try to discover their real self, nothing else.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: That’s our work we are trying to do.
PRABHUPADA: So Absolute Truth is realized in three aspects. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.11]. Some realize the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, others realize the Absolute Truth as localized Paramatma, situated in everyone’s heart, and the final realization is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So we are cultivating the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna. Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28]. So which aspect you are cultivating, the Paramatma or the impersonal Brahman or the Personality of Godhead?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: You can’t help cultivate all three in the long run.
PRABHUPADA: No, all three are one. But it is the angle of vision only. Just like a mountain—somebody from distant place looking, hazy clouds, something. The mountain is the same, but from long distance one realizes as hazy cloud. Little more nearer, they realize something green. And if somebody goes on the mountain, he realizes the mountain and the animals and the residential place, everything. The objective is the same, but the angle of vision different. So in India or everywhere, some realize the Absolute Truth as impersonal, without any variegatedness.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: As Buddhists do.
PRABHUPADA: Buddhists, they, I think, they… Yes, you are right, impersonal. But their philosophy is to stop all kinds of realization. Nirvana. Realization they do not want. They want to stop realization, to become zero. Is it not that?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: To become? I didn’t understand.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Zero, yes. Well, zero from the point of view of the alter ego, but this zero is everything from the outside. From the point of view of the natural ego it’s zero, but once you touch it, it’s the plenitude, everything. But it’s beyond something and everything, as far as I understand it.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, it is beyond. That beyond is realized, as I explained to you, in different angle of vision. Some, impersonal, without any variety, and some, localized Paramatma, and some, the Supreme Being. As you are sitting, I am sitting, we are talking, so the Absolute Truth is a person, Supreme Person, Supreme Being, and we approach Him, talk with Him, sit with Him, play with Him. That is Krishna realization. First of all, negation of the material varieties, then impersonal realization, then localized realization, then personal realization. Just like a diseased man. First of all cure, then healthy activities. A diseased man has got activities. He also eats, he also sleeps, he also evacuates, but all troublesome. Therefore, being disgusted, he wanted to make everything zero. But if he hears that again sleeping, again eating, again evacuating is healthy life, he thinks it is something like his diseased condition. But healthy life is different from diseased life. So some philosophers, they are trying to negate this diseased condition only, without any realization of healthy life. So I think Buddha philosophy is called nirvana, negation of this diseased condition of life, pains and pleasure. Am I right or wrong?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: You are certainly right. We see the… It is a big… In our work, as I see it, to realize that what from one point of view seems too bad, bad, for instance, illness or dying, what the natural ego does not like, if you go through, it’s also the threshold to quite a different reality.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, different it is. The same example, as I gave you: In diseased condition the reality is something, and healthy condition, the reality is something else. But if we compare the reality of healthy life with the realities of diseased life, that will be a misconception.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The dead, person who is dead.
Understand first of all that you are not the body
PRABHUPADA: We take this body—dead always. This body is actually dead. Just like this microphone is made of iron. It is iron. When it is working, responding, at that time also it is iron. And when it is out of order, does not work, it is also iron. Similarly, this body is working on account of the living force within. When the living force is out, it is called dead. But actually it is dead always. The living force is the important thing. That is making him alive. Actually alive or dead, it is dead matter. But the living force is the active principle. That is distinguishing this body as dead or alive. But factually it is dead always.
That is the beginning of instruction, Bhagavad-gita: “Arjuna, you are lamenting for this body, but the body is dead.” Ashochyan anvashochas tvam prajna-vadamsh cha bhashase [Bhagavad-gita 2.11]. So unless we know that… The dead body is not the subject matter of study, either [whether] it is in working order or it is in dead order. The subject matter of study is the active principle which makes the dead body moving. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. [Aside, to Satsvarupa:] Read that portion.
sri bhagavan uvacha
ashocyan anvashochas tvam
prajna-vadamsh cha bhashase
gatasun agatasumsh cha
“Translation: The Blessed Lord said, While speaking learned words you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.” [Bhagavad-gita 2.11]
PRABHUPADA: What is your opinion about this?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I ask a question? How do you teach your disciples to become aware of this force which is not matter, that makes matter alive?
PRABHUPADA: That active principle, life, or living soul.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes, how do you teach them to become aware of it? You see, now I listen, and that is, if you like, first a philosophy which contains the truth. I don’t doubt it. But how to make feel?
PRABHUPADA: It is very simple thing. Just like a body is moving, and body is not moving. So there is an active principle which makes the body moving, and when it is absent, it is not moving. Now, the question will be: “What is that active principle?” Athato brahma jijnasa. First of all let him distinguish what is the difference between this dead body and living body. If a student is unaware of it, he can see that on account of the active principle, the body is changing, the body is moving, and in the absence of the active principle, neither the body changes, neither moves. Just like in our childhood we used to think that the gramophone box, there is a man, and he is speaking from the box. This is a childish suggestion only, but similarly, anyone can think that within this body there is something which is making the body moving. It is not very big philosophy.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: No, that’s quite clear.
PRABHUPADA: Anyone can understand. So our students are taught on the principle of Bhagavad-gita that the body is always dead. The body is simply just like a machine, a big machine. This machine, it is dead, but as soon as I push the button it works. Similarly, the body is dead, but within the body, the life or the active principle, so long it is there, it is responding. Just like we are talking. I am asking my student, “Come here.” He comes. But as soon as the active principle is out, I will ask him for thousands of years, “Come here”—he will not come. It is very simple to distinguish. Now, what is that active principle, that is a separate subject matter to understand. And that is the beginning of spiritual knowledge. This is our learning.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I ask a question? It is quite clear for our rational mind, I can understand there is a dead body, and there must be something in him, enough to make it alive. Now, the conclusion, I say there are two things, that my question was how he becomes aware in himself as an experience, not as conclusion, because I realize that on the inner way it becomes important more and more to feel deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper realities. That’s why in my little work I make a distinction between the body you have and the body you are. The English language says, talks about “somebody” and “something.” “Somebody” means a person. So the body you are. It’s the whole of the gestures wherein you express and you present and you miss or you realize your real self. So the body you are. Usually if you go to a doctor he sees only the body you have. He tackles it like a machine. If somebody with shoulders like this, he says, “Well, you must make exercises.” If somebody comes to me with shoulders like this, I say, “The body you are, you have no confidence in life. So get an attitude of confidence.” So he gets to know the body he is, not only the body he has, which doesn’t at all touch at your wisdom.
PRABHUPADA: No, as I say, the active principle, I am also the active principle. As I say, the dead body and the living body, difference is, when the active principle is not there, it is dead body. Similarly, I am also the active principle. So ‘ham, so ‘ham: “I am the same active principle.” Aham brahmasmi: “I am Brahman. I am not this material body.” That is self-realization. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na shochati na kankshati: [Bhagavad-gita 18.54] “When one is self-realized, then he is jolly.” Prasannatma. He is never morose. He is jolly. Na shochati na kankshati: “He has no lamentation, no hankering.” Samah sarveshu bhuteshu: “He is equal to everyone, man, animal and everything.” And mad-bhaktim labhate param: [Bhagavad-gita 18.54] “Then devotional life begins.” So without self-realization, there is no question of devotional life. Or those who are engaged in devotional service, they are all… Just like these boys, my students, they are trained up how to be always in devotional service. So one who is engaged in devotional service, he is supposed to be already self-realized. Because he has understood “what I am,” yes. And then he sticks to devotional service. Otherwise, he cannot. If one thinks, “I am this body,” then he cannot be engaged in devotional service, or he cannot stick. He knows that “I am part and parcel of God. So my duty is to serve God.” This is self-realization. And then he engages himself in devotional service.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I say, master, that when you say he knows, you don’t speak about this knowledge.
PRABHUPADA: Which knowledge?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: You came already… You say “believe and by this know that I am participating in the great divine person.” And yet I didn’t experience it.
PRABHUPADA: Why not experience? He knows that “I am that active principle.” Everyone knows that “I am not this body.” When I say, “This is my finger,” I don’t say, “I, finger.” So “I,” what “I”? That realization, self-realization, that “I am part and parcel of God.” So that he knows, that “I am part and parcel of God. So therefore my duty is to serve God.” So they are engaged in serving God. So this serving God, or devotional service, is stated in the Bhagavad-gita… [to Satsvarupa:] Find out that verse, that:
mam cha yo ‘vyabhicharena
sa gunan samatityaitan
So unless one is self-realized, he cannot be engaged in the service of the supreme self. Ordinarily, a master and a servant, a servant knows that “I am engaged by the master. He is giving me food. He is giving me shelter. He is giving me everything for his service.” So he is careful in his service. This is a material example. Similarly, self-realization is ultimately, as I taught you, that, first impersonal Brahman, then localized Paramatma, and then the yogis, they realize the localized Paramatma. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pashyanti yam yoginah [Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.13.1]. The yogis, they observe the Supersoul within himself, and they meditate upon Him. [to Satsvarupa:] What is that verse?
mam cha yo ‘vyabhicharena
sa gunan samatityaitan
“Translation: One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.”
PRABHUPADA: This is our process.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: A long way to get there.
PRABHUPADA: And the process is going on. The chanting the holy name of Krishna… by this process they fully realize that, the master, the Supreme Being, and engage themselves always. These European, American boys, they are all educated. Not… In your country, of course, the young men…
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: They are educated too.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. So they are always engaged in devotional service. So unless there is some realization, how they can engage their time in this way? They are not fools who waste their time. Already as young men, they do not have any material attachments. They follow strictly four fundamental principles: None of my students maintains illicit sexual relations; none eats meat, fish or eggs, but only Krishna prasadam; none take intoxicants like tea, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs; and none gamble. They live this life, although they are born in another country—not India, and although they grew up under completely different circumstances. How could they give up all these things if they had not found a higher taste? How could they be otherwise satisfied? Bhakti means that one has no more interest in unnecessary material things. Not that they do not eat, but they do not eat the generally usual, so-called delicious things for the satisfaction of the tongue. In order to eat, they do not commit cruel actions to kill, as for instance, animals; they are content with what God gives them. Tyena tyaktena bhunjitah. It is said in the Vedas: “Eat that which is your designated portion.” God says, “You are human being. You can eat. I have given you fruits. I have given you vegetables. I have given you food grains. I have given you milk, very nutritious, palatable, containing all vitamin ABCD. And why should you kill animals? Why should you give trouble to the others?” This is self-realization, that “Here is another self. The same active principle is working there. The body is different. Why shall I kill him?” So they have realized it. Samah sarveshu bhuteshu. Equal vision to all living entities, that the self, that active principle, is working in the fish, in the insect, within the tree, within the plant, within the animals, within the birds and within me. This is self-realization. That active principle is soul, and the soul is migrating from one body to another as you are migrating in childhood from babyhood to boyhood, boyhood to youthhood. So the soul is the same. The body is different. The body is material and the soul is spiritual. When one comes to this understanding, that is self-realization.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I put a question, master? On the way there should be progress, inner progress. How to realize that there is a progress? I would say one thing is very important. There are three sufferings in the world of mankind: fear of annihilation, despair if you are taken by something which is absurd, and loneliness, if you are alone. These three sufferings in the world for the natural being. I realize that you make a decisive step on your inner way when you feel life in the very moment when you have to die, when you feel the great meaning in the very moment when you are just having despair, and when you feel the great love of the person God exactly while you are a lonely in the world. And I have realized that we are now in a very decisive moment in the western world because for the first time in the history of mankind, the western people, in Europe and the States, start to take seriously certain experiences, inner experiences, where this truth is revealed. In all times, as far as I see, the great condition of the east, they knew about those experiences where death loses its terrifying character and becomes the threshold to some bigger life. And I always see with also my disciples, as soon as they learn to go through some kind of death, they awake on a new level. So I will say if people are in my place and after a week, they still sleep very well, then I have made a mistake. About that sleep, just to realize something in overcoming their usual needs, their usual fears, their usual habits, in order to touch inwardly another level, and then suddenly they realize there is some quite different principle at work as they see usually in their natural mind.
PRABHUPADA: So that different principle, for a devotee is already realized. Because a devotee never thinks of this body, that “I am this body.” He thinks “I am…” aham brahmasmi: “I am spirit soul.” So without that realization, there is no question of devotional life. So that is first understood. That instruction is being given by Krishna to Arjuna, that “You are considering very seriously on this body, but a learned man does not take this body very seriously, either dead or alive.” That is the first realization. So everyone in this world, they are concerned with this body, dead or alive. When alive, they take care of the body in so many ways, and when dead they erect big statue upon it. So that realization is this body. When it is alive, very nicely dressed, nicely groomed, nicely everything on account of this body, and when dead, then again the statue, the tomb, that’s all, but missing the active principle. He is taking care of this body even after death by erecting very nice memorial, but he has no knowledge where the active principle has lost. That is ignorance.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: When I was a young man, I was four years in the World War. Forty-eight months almost in the foremost front. And I was one of the two officers…
PRABHUPADA: In First World War? First World War?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: World War I, 1914 to 1918.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Yes.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: And I was one of the two officers who were not wounded in my regiment. And there I met death again and again. And I saw people just killed next to me. Suddenly it was out. It was just only as you say, the body without soul. But I realized also in myself, that when death was near and you had accepted death, accepted to die, then you realized something which has nothing to do whatsoever with death.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That is self-realization.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: So this marked me very much. It’s the very beginning of my inner way, these four years of World War.
PRABHUPADA: There is a verse. Narayana-parah sarve na kutashchana bibhyati [Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.17.28]. If one is God realized soul, he is not afraid of anything. Svargapavarga-narakeshv api tulyartha-darshinah. So actually, if one is self-realized, he is no more fearful or concerned with the bodily necessities of life. That is liberation. Just like as you mentioned sleeping. Sleeping also, a bodily necessity. When you are tired, you sleep. That is bodily necessity. But it is not spiritually necessary. About the Gosvamis it is said, nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau: “Conquered over sleeping, eating, mating.” That is also one of the symptoms of
self-realization. These things are necessities of the body. So the more one is advanced in self-realization, these things will be minimized: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. And gradually it will come to nil because this is bodily necessities. Self, the active principle, that is different. The active principle necessity is different. That is Krishna consciousness, God consciousness. But these are bodily necessities: eating, sleeping, mating. So, so long this body is there, of course, we must eat, we must sleep. That is required. But the more we advance, these necessities diminished. Yes. Bhaktih pareshanubhavo viraktir anyatra syat [Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.42]. Then sleeping will be considered a waste of time. A self-realized man goes to sleep. He thinks that “I am going to waste so much time, because still I am subjected to the necessities of this body.” He regrets.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The progress of self-realization is a sequence of experiences, isn’t it, of inner experiences?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The progress of self-realization is a progress of inner experiences.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: And I do believe that at the actual moment still, the treasure in the European peoples, the different peoples, who went through the war, through concentration camps, through battlefields and bombing nights, are hidden in their hearts certain moments when death was near and they were wounded and nearly torn in pieces. Because they had a certain experience they survived. And again and again, when I give a lecture, I have two or three people, waiting, telling me, “Now you just reminded me an experience long ago, ten days ago, two months ago, when I thought I was a little bit crazy, and now I understand it has been the experience, perhaps the most important of my life, on which I should have built my future inner way.” And these experiences are still there. And once people understand, they don’t need a war and a battleship and a concentration camp and a bombing night to take serious certain inner experiences when they are suddenly are touched by this divine reality, and they suddenly feel that this bodily existence is not lasting at all.
PRABHUPADA: That’s it. That we can experience every night.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes, exactly.
PRABHUPADA: When we dream, my body is left on the bed and I go somewhere. That we experience, that I am separate from this body. At that time I forget my, this body is lying down on the bed. I am acting in a different atmosphere. So and again, in daytime, I forget that at night I was in a different body, and I went to such and such place or on the sky I was flying. I forget. At night I forget this body and at daytime I forget that body. But I am existing. Therefore I am not this body. I am existing in this body and that body, but that body I have forgotten, and this body I forget. So this is a structure on my mind only. Actually I am different from the mind. And that is self-realization. That is described in the Bhagavad-gita. Indriyani parany ahur indriyebhyah param manah [Bhagavad-gita 3.42]. [to Satsvarupa:] Find out this verse. Manasas tu para buddhir buddhes tu yah sah. That’s it. It is in the Third Chapter, I think.
indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah
“Translation: The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he, the soul, is even higher than the intelligence.” [Bhagavad-gita 3.42]
PRABHUPADA: This is description.
Time is eternal
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I put a question to the question of time, the meaning of time? I think there are two ways to look at time and to look at eternity.
PRABHUPADA: Time is eternal. Time is eternal, but we calculate time, past and present and future, according to my temporary material existence. Just like a small ant. The ant’s past and present is different from my past and present. I am a human being. I live for hundred years. So my past and present is different from the ant who lives for, say, a few hours.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Is different from?
PRABHUPADA: From the ant, a small living entity. And similarly, Brahma, his past, present, is different because he has done millions and millions of years as one day. So the time is eternal, but according to our condition, occupying the time and space, we calculate past and present and future. Otherwise time itself is eternal.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Well, now I question you. You see, talking about eternity, there are two meanings or concepts at the same time. The one is that the finite life is going on infinitely, infinity, millions of years. That is one way to think about eternity.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But there is another one.
PRABHUPADA: Eternity means, we say, no beginning no end. That is eternity.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Isn’t there also this other one, when, for instance, Christ says, “I am before Abraham was,” this “I am.” There is one kind of eternity which has nothing to do with past and future at all, which is beyond past and future.
PRABHUPADA: Past and future is concerned with this body.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Is concerned with this body. It is concerned, exactly, with this body and with this ego, with regard to which there is a before and an after, up and down. And if you take away this ego, what’s there, what’s left?
PRABHUPADA: That is pure ego. Now I am born Indian, say, seventy-five years ago, or seventy-eight years ago, and I have got this Indian body, I have got this false ego that “I am Indian; I am this body.” This is misconception.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: That is one way to look at time.
PRABHUPADA: Time is there, but because I have got this temporary body, I am thinking past, present, future. The temporary body will vanish. I shall get another temporary body. Then again my begins past and present. So therefore this is called illusion. Time is eternal. It has no beginning, no end, but we transmigrate from one body to another. We are calculating, miscalculating, past, present, future.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes, time has no beginning and no end. But time in this second sense has nothing to do with beginning and end.
PRABHUPADA: It has no end, beginning, no end. The beginning and end is of this body. And in relationship with this body, we are calculating past, present, future.
Stripping away false identification
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But without this body, you wouldn’t become conscious of what is beyond body.
PRABHUPADA: I am conscious always. Just like in sleep, I am getting different body, but still I am conscious. And daytime, that sleeping body is gone; still, I am conscious. That consciousness is impure on account of our contact with this temporary body. So when you come to the pure consciousness, that is Krishna consciousness.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But as an experience, the pure consciousness as an experience, has to have a background which is not pure consciousness. Otherwise it could become…
PRABHUPADA: No. Pure consciousness is actually you are. Just like water. Water is pure. When it is comes from the sky, it is clear crystal water. But as soon as it touches the ground, it becomes muddy. Similarly, we soul, spirit soul, we are pure. As soon as we come in contact with this matter, material existence, we become impure. And there are three stages of impurity: goodness, passion and ignorance. So all of them are impure. Unless one comes to the spiritual consciousness—he may be a very nice man—he is infected with the impurity of goodness. He is thinking, “I am very big man, I am very…” That is also impurity. And another man does not know what he is, just like animal, all the animals. That is also impurity. When both of them will come to the clear consciousness that “I am part and parcel of God; my duty is to serve God,” that is Krishna consciousness. So long he identifies with this material consciousness, he is impure. Just like people are fighting: “I am German,” “I am Englishman,” “I am this,” “I am that,” “I am black,” “I am white,” “I am brahmana,” “I am shudra“—so many, designations. These designations are impurity. Just like sometimes the artists, they manufacture some statue naked. In France I saw, naked. They take it this naked statue is pure art, not dressed. Similarly, when you come to the nakedness of spirit soul without this designation of this body, “I am American,” “I am German,” “I am this,” “I am that,” that is purity.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But the meaning of the impure is to be the background of the consciousness of the pure without any experiencing the suffering in the impure.
PRABHUPADA: The consciousness is covered by impurity, just like your health is covered by disease, and the symptom is fever. But that is a covering. That is not your healthy state. Similarly, my consciousness, when I think that “I am American,” “I am German,” “I am this,” “I am that,” “I am that,” that is impurity. And when he thinks that “I am neither German, neither American, nor this nor that. I am part and parcel of God,” that is pure consciousness.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But in order to get there, to feel that one is neither this nor that, one must have suffered by first having thought that one is this or that.
PRABHUPADA: That suffering is just like you suffer in the dream. You are attacked by a tiger. There is no tiger. Actually there is no suffering. But on account of ignorance, you are thinking, “The tiger is eating me.”
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes, but this is a very good example because the dream of the tiger comes very often. And it always means that you are pursued by some of your inner instincts, yourself. So you discover in the image of the tiger something which is not right in yourself.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that experience is also material. That is not spiritual experience. That experience is going on continually so long we are materially attached. Because in the material world we are constantly changing our body. Your experience in childhood is different from the experience at this time. So as we are changing our body, we are getting different experiences, and all those experiences are photographed within the mind. And they sometimes come out and make an intermixture, and we see dreams and so many contradictory things. This is going on, mental speculation. That is hovering on the mental plane. That is not spiritual plane. That, it is stated:
indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
buddhes tu yah paratah sah [Bhagavad-gita 3.42]
So we have to transcend the platform of intelligence also. Then we come to the platform of spiritual realization. That is instructed in the Bhagavad-gita. … So our real business is how to become free from all these designations. Yes. Then we come to the real consciousness. That real
consciousness is that “I am eternal. God is eternal. I am part and parcel of God. My duty is to serve God. And now I am serving also. I am not free from service, but I am serving under designation.” Just like you went to fight, because you designated yourself that “I am German.” This is an example, that “I must fight, give service to my country.” Somebody is thinking, “Give service to my community” or “to my family.” Or if there is nobody else, at least “to my dog.” So this is going on. So we have to close all these designations and become pure and serve God. And that is self-realization.
sevanam bhaktir uchyate [Chaitanya-charitamrita
Pure consciousness translated into action
Just like Arjuna. Arjuna was put into the battlefield… You have read Bhagavad-gita, I think? this Bhagavad-gita?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes.
PRABHUPADA: So he was thinking in terms of designations, that “I am… I belong to the same family. The other side, they are my cousin-brothers. They belong to the same family. So why shall I fight? Let them enjoy.” From material point of view it is very good man. But Krishna condemned him. Ashochyan anvashochas tvam prajna-vadan: [Bg. 2.11] “You are talking very high words, but you are fool number one.” That is the first, because he was talking on the platform of this bodily concept of life. But after hearing Bhagavad-gita, when he understood that “I am not this body; I am eternal servant of Krishna; my duty is to obey the orders of Krishna,” then he fought. Superficially, he remained the same soldier. But in the beginning he was a soldier for his designation of this body, and later on, he became a soldier to carry out the order of the Supreme. That is the difference. So when we act to carry out the orders of the Supreme, that is self-realization, not for this body.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: There is only one way toward peace, through self-realization of those who are responsible.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Self-realization, that is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that one should understand that “I am not enjoyer. Nobody is enjoyer.” That is false. They are trying, endeavor, for enjoying this world, and that is false. Real enjoyer is the Supreme Lord. We are trying to occupy this land, that land. “This is Germany. This is England. This is France. This is India. This is my land, worshipable. Land is worshipable. It is my land.” But he should know that no land belongs to us. Everything belongs to God. And this is a fact. The land is not created by us. The ocean is not created by us. Then why should we claim, “This is German ocean, and this is English ocean”? This is all false imagination. So when it comes to this understanding, that “Nothing belongs to us…” The United Nations, they are fighting for the last twenty years, but they are fighting on the false ground because everyone is thinking, “This land is mine. I must protect it.” So they have no self-realization, and there is no peace.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: As soon two, two men who are realized, there is no war. There is a very wonderful story. When the Emperor of Japan took over the leadership again after having been for six hundred years only the High Priest. Now he wanted to be again the emperor. And he was submitting one dainu [?] after the other one. Only one resisted in Tokyo. General of Tokyo did not submit to the emperor and didn’t allow anybody to come in to negotiate. So the emperor was very troubled. He said, “Should I burn down Tokyo? I wouldn’t like to do it.” And then his young sword [?] master asked him—he was a realized man—”Do you permit me to just ride in this town and see the great general?” And he said, “Yes, you know the guards do not permit.” “Let me do.” He sat on horseback and just rode through. The guards, like this, let him pass. He announced himself to the great general. General said, “Yes, with him I am going to talk.” And the general himself, being a self-realized man said, “Well, all right.” In twenty minutes things were in order, and they submitted gently, and without a single shot, peace was established. Because two men of a high level of self-realization met.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. So that is our point, that if we understand—every one of us—realize that we are all servant of God or sons of God, that everything belongs to God, so we can use our Father’s property for our maintenance as much as we require, not more than that, so if we think like that, that is Krishna consciousness, and there will be no more war, everything peaceful.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: In my work I always feel the great difficulty again and again. That is also there. It’s a great difference to believe that you are the son of God and to feel it and to experience it. As long it’s only a belief, it’s well meaning doing. How to prepare the conditions by which disciples might feel it? That’s all of my daily work.
PRABHUPADA: We are publishing all these books, what is spoken by Krishna or His representative. We don’t speculate, because already there is so much profound knowledge given by Krishna and His representative. There is no necessity of researching. If we simply take advantage of things which are already there, we become perfect. I have published about fourteen books like this.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Incredible, incredible. What a thing!
[Enter professors from the Theological University of Koenigstein, among them the spiritualist Professor Pater Felix Porsch, and Dr. P.J. Saher, author of Eastern Wisdom and Western Thought and Zen Yoga]
GERMAN DEVOTEE: Srila Prabhupada, these gentlemen are professors from the Theological Philosophical University at Koenigstein. And this is Doctor Saher. He is the leader for the Society of Yoga and Integral Philosophical Studies in Germany.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. It is very fortunate to see so many big men at a time. So we were also talking to this doctor about this philosophy, how human civilization should be conducted. I was explaining to Professor that at the present moment, not at the present moment, always in this material world, we do not know what is the goal of life. We have got different philosophies, different mode of life, because we do not know what is the goal of life. If the goal of life is realized, then everything is solved. Now it is very good fortune that you are all present. What is the goal of life? That is my submission. Human life is there, human intelligence is there. So what is the goal of life to achieve? The goal of life cannot be different. That is one. That is, we take from Vedic literature, this goal of life is to understand what is God. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.31]. … So we are missing the point, that we do not know what is the goal of life. Different persons, different philosophers, they have got different proposition of the goal
of life. Similarly, different politician also. But we think the goal of life is one, to understand God. Then everything is solved. Self-realization. [pause]
And we are writing all these books. These books will be finished in eighty volumes. And already we have published fourteen volumes only. And small books also, many, about two dozen. But our only writing is the goal of life, Krishna.
Authoritative knowledge vs belief and experience
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I come back once to my question, master, the relationship between belief and experience? Because this is a great question for us today, especially also in the religious circles, and theologians, the priests and the monks.
PRABHUPADA: No, believe the authority. That is the… That is better than experience.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes. That is what in our country is… I have very much to do with people who are living in monasteries or churches and so on.
PRABHUPADA: … Belief..
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: They realize that now belief which is not faith has to be, well, renewed by real experiences. And, you see, we have so many priests today who say they can’t pray anymore. They lost the connection because of so much formalism and so much traditional beliefs. And they are looking for a new source and new beginning in their hearts, and they don’t believe what you tell them. They just want to feel it, to experience it. And there is a big change today in this direction, and there is a… big movements. You see all these trends today to learn meditation. It’s only one longing to feel something and not only to believe. That is the situation now very much in Germany, isn’t it so?
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes, it is.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. So thing is that, first thing is that you have to believe, but whom to believe? If the person whom I believe, if he is perfect, then my belief is perfect. And if I believe a person who is not trustworthy, then there is no meaning of this belief. Therefore we have to find out the person or the statement which are to believe. That is accepted in the Vedic culture, that the knowledge in the Vedas, that is perfect. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet [Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12]. If one is perfect in Vedic knowledge… Veda, Veda means knowledge, perfect knowledge. So that belief is perfect. Just like we are believing Krishna. Krishna is accepted as the perfect, the supreme perfect. So far we Indians are concerned, there are acharyas, just like Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya. Actually these acharyas are controlling the Indian culture. So all of them are unanimous to believe Krishna, the supreme perfect person.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I ask a question, master? You see, the belief, the understanding, is always depending on the level of the one who wants to understand, and that’s the level of our quite natural, normal mind of the usual general person. And there is another level where certain experiences open the door to some deeper consciousness. And, as you know, one of the key words of the Christian religion is in the Gospels, that you have to turn around, to the metanoia, to pierce through a certain skin to get quite another level.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: And from this level the heaven opens to those who didn’t understand what the heaven means. They thought it was behind the clouds. You see, there is a natural way to look at God, and this natural way to look at God is lost as soon as people go through the rational mind. And then there is no other way out but to have a personal initiated experience. We talk about initiation. When people are capable to go through a certain death and to discover another level, and only… And so, the great wisdom which you are talking about, I am sure that it also touches people on two levels. There is the ordinary man and he might believe, but there is a deeper level where things start to change yourself, to transform yourself in deeper experiences.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That is… That is the beginning of instruction in the Bhagavad-gita. The beginning of knowledge…
GERMAN LADY: Excuse me. Would you please explain for some people who don’t speak English here in German because we don’t know all of your words.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes, but I didn’t want to interrupt the master.
PRABHUPADA: No. I have no objection if somebody translates into German.
HANSADUTTA: Vedavyasa can translate. [German translation follows.]
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Do you permit me to repeat it in German? For those who are present here?
Getting out of bodily existence
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Yes. [German translation] [break] So Krishna begins the first understanding,
dehino ‘smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanah jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati [Bhagavad-gita 2.13]
Yes. [Aside, to Satsvarupa:] What is the translation?
“As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.”
PRABHUPADA: And now…
HANSADUTTA: [Aside, to Vedavyasa:] Translate.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, translate. [German translation given] This is the basic principle of knowledge, that “I am not this body. I am the active principle within this body.” Then further knowledge can be understood. This is the beginning of knowledge, that “I am not this…” At the present moment everything… That I was explaining to the professor, that we are accepting this body as self, and self-interest means this bodily interest. Explain this. So the whole trouble is on the platform of this misconception that “I am this body.” Therefore Krishna begins from this platform what is knowledge. First of all one must know that “I am not this body.” When he understands this basic principle of knowledge, then further knowledge can be advanced. That is explained very nicely step by step in this book Bhagavad-gita.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I ask a question? If you give us this wisdom, don’t you meet now in the western world an opposition from the Christian side where the key word that this faith becomes a body, this faith becomes flesh.
PRABHUPADA: That’s all right. We accept it.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The incarnation. How do you understand incarnation?
PRABHUPADA: Now, this question, that spirit develops the skin, you said?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Spirit? You see I have very often… I saw the difference.
HANSADUTTA: The spirit becomes flesh.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The spirit becomes flesh.
PRABHUPADA: That’s it. So this we can experience, that as soon as the spirit is entered into the womb of the mother, they develop skin and the child develops body. So this is very practical, that first of all, not that simply by sexual intercourse a child is born. Then every the time sexual intercourse would have caused pregnancy. No. Unless the spirit soul is there, there is no question of developing body. Therefore it is natural that the spirit soul creates this flesh and bone and other things and develops into body. There is no difficulty to understand.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes, but I think the professor was asking how in our time in the case of a word, as far as spirit becoming flesh, not in the face of an ordinary child. I think I have understood your point?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes, in principle. You see sometimes, it seems to me—I might be wrong—that there is one difference between Eastern wisdom and Christian way to think that whereas in the Eastern way, we have to become rid of our body, to be liberate from our body, whereas Christian sense means to realize the spirit within the body.
PRABHUPADA: Now, what is our suffering?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I am sure it can be reconciled, but I am interested to know how do you see this question.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, yes. That everyone can understand. It is very easy. Now, just like we have already heard from Bhagavad-gita that I am the spirit, I am within this body. So my sufferings are on account of this body. This is a fact. Because I have entered into this body, material body, there are my sufferings. Therefore my business should be how to get out of this body. Is it
clear or not?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes.
PRABHUPADA: So this incarnation means I am spirit soul, I have entered this body. Now I can, next life I can enter into another body. It may be dog’s body, it may be cat’s body or it may be king’s body. So the standard of suffering is there either in the king’s body or in the dog’s body. And the standard of sufferings is enunciated, birth, death, old age and disease. These are our sufferings. So in order to get out of these four kinds of sufferings—there are many kinds; these are the main kinds—we have to get out of this body. That is the problem.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Through many lives…
PRABHUPADA: Many life or this life. In this life you understand that “My sufferings are due to this body. Then how to get out of this body?” If you acquire this knowledge, you know the tricks, then you get immediately.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: May I say that way, that you say, if you, for instance, or I want to go out of this body, it doesn’t mean that I will have to kill my body, but to realize that my spirit is independent from my body.
PRABHUPADA: No, no. There is no question of killing. You be killed or not killed, you have to go out of this body and accept another body. That is nature’s law. That you cannot avoid. It is not necessarily that first of all you have to be killed. No.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: No. Certainly not. But I have tried to become independent from my body.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, you can become.
WOMAN: There I see some points in common with the Christians.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Lady says that there are some common points with the Christians who also certainly want to become independent from this body which wants material life only.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. It doesn’t matter whether it is Christianity or Hinduism or Muslim or… Knowledge is knowledge. Wherever knowledge is available, you must pick up. So knowledge… Now let us explain, that knowledge has no color. Knowledge is knowledge. It doesn’t matter whether Christianism or Hinduism or Mohammedan. Now, this is a knowledge, that every living entity is imprisoned within this body. This knowledge is equally good for Hindus, Muslim, Christian or everyone. There is no question of Christianism or Hinduism.
The soul is imprisoned within this body, and the problem is birth, death, old age and disease on account of this body. But we want to live eternally, we want full knowledge; we want full blissfulness. To attain that goal of life, we must get out of this body. This is the process. [break]
Difference between the human being and lower forms
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: The question arises whether the thesis is correct. It seems to me there is a large misunderstanding due to non-acceptance of humans as they are, and an attempt to escape this human existence. I can naturally imagine a pure spirit, and I am very much reminded of Hellenic philosophy, even the Gnosis, which naturally regarded the body as dungeon, from which spirit had to be released in order to come to the full realization of God. But that is not human beings. Human means the single unit of body and soul. It would be a misunderstanding to see therein a community with the Christianity, because if we have at all such a thing in Christianity, then it stirs up Gnosis, Gnostizismus from Hellenic influence long ago, from Manichaeismus, and so on. In the Christian sense it is the goal of the life to use our body and its capabilities well; that is the goal. Not that we don’t use, because then I do not see the point of it, why wouldn’t we draw the conclusion to kill our body immediately, to release our spirit at once?
VEDAVYASA: [translates, then sums it up:] …stress on this point that we are existing in a body but we should accept our existence as human being.
PRABHUPADA: Existence as human being, you want. So do you think human being is existing in this body is perfect?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: No, I don’t believe it is perfect. In that you are right. We suffer under it; but that is our current condition, and it does not make much sense to speculate how humans could be, if we were released from the body. We must resign ourselves now to our life, how we came into the world.
VEDAVYASA: [translates] So he says yes, he accepts our life now is not perfect, that we are conditioned. But he says we shouldn’t construct an ideal human being, but we should accept our life as it is now.
PRABHUPADA: No, no. The thing is that you are not perfect. Therefore the idea should be how to become perfect.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: As humans or as soul? If I want to become perfect as humans, in which measure I can do that, and that I can see that? Where are liberated humans in this sense?
VEDAVYASA: [translating] So he asks, “How to become perfect, as human being or as spirit?” Because he sees now only human beings. So this is the problem how to become perfect as human being, not as spirit.
PRABHUPADA: Why you are sticking to human being although it is imperfect? Why you are sticking to human being? You are accepting this human being is not perfect, and still, why you are sticking to this imperfect life? Now, in what way you like this human form of body? What is the purpose?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: For me the body is a means for communication and a means to express my spirit. I may be able myself to connect perhaps in the spirit with someone, but he is unaware of it. Thus however, with this body, I can enter into communication with him.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] So he says his body is just an instrument of communication, and through this body he can communicate with other people.
PRABHUPADA: So this is also possible by the birds and beasts. They also talk: “Kichu, kichu, kichu, kichu.”
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: There probably is a difference. As far as I know in the animal psychology, animals do not recognize each other also probably not each other, and they do not have self realization. That applies only to the higher primates. That there is such a communication of the spirit with the help of the body with the animals, I do not know, and if there is such a phenomenon, well, I do not have anything against it. I believe, however, that the degree of communication between humans and animals is probably completely different.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He thinks there’s a great difference between the talking of birds and bees and our talking.
PRABHUPADA: Why difference? They are talking in their community, you are talking in your community.
HANSADUTTA: No, he [Professor Pater Porsch] has said a very good point. He said there is a difference because an animal has no self-consciousness. He does not understand what he is in essence.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That is the real point. That is the real point, that you can try to understand what you are. The birds and beasts, they cannot understand. That is the difference. So our human effort should be utilized for that realization, not to act like birds and beasts. Therefore the Brahma-sutra, Vedanta-sutra, instructs in the beginning, athato brahma jijnasa: “This life is meant for inquiring about the supreme spirit or Absolute Truth.” That is the aim of this life, not like birds and beasts, simply talking and eating and sleeping, but extra responsibility, extra intelligence is there to understand the Absolute Truth. You take the Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, first part, yes. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa nartho yash cheha karmabhih.
SATSVARUPA: [To Prabhupada, looking for the verse:] It’s not here. First part is not here.
PRABHUPADA: No. First of all find out from the index this verse. Jivasya
tattva-jijnasa nartho yash cheha karmabhih. Kamasya nendriya-pritir labho jiveta yavata, jivasya tattva-jijnasa yash… Kamasya nendriya-pritih [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.10]. Have you found?
SATSVARUPA: Chapter Two, verse 10. But the verse is not here. It is in the first volume.
DEVOTEE: Someone is bringing.
PRABHUPADA: So he has gone?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is explained, that how this human form of life should be utilized, these necessities of life, not for to complete the necessities. Necessities of life, they are already supplied by God. Just like the birds and beasts, they are getting their necessities of life. They have no organization or no business, no factory, but they are getting their necessities of life. So Bhagavata says this is not the problem, to acquire only the necessities of life. The only business is to inquire about the Absolute Truth. That is human life. [to Satsvarupa:] Read this verse.
labho jiveta yavata
nartho yash cheha karmabhih
“Translation: Life’s desires should never be aimed at gratifying the senses. One should desire to live only because human life enables one to inquire about the Absolute Truth. This should be the goal of all works.” [Srimad-Bhagavgatam 1.2.10]
PRABHUPADA: Te… what is that? Jivasya tattva-jijnasa, inquiring about the Absolute Truth, that is the only business of human being.
Bodily conception a false premise
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Now may I put a question? Just I think there is one way to reconcile. This was given just now as a Christian view or of the other side, as far as the body is concerned, because I think there are three consciousness, conscience of body. The one looks only at health, the second one only of beauty, but the third one we are never talking about has to look to transparence of our body consciousness, to become transparent in a way that in our body and through our body we might look for the Absolute Truth.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: That this goes together.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. So the thing is that if my life is based on false conception that “I am this body,” so the bodily appreciation of beauty or any other thing, that is also false. That is also false. If I am not this body, then anything conceived in relation with this body, that is false.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: That is perhaps not completely like that, because we see the body usual in health or beauty, and to that extent we remain certainly attached to the body, but there is also a third possibility: that the body is experienced as transparency to something different.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He says that usually we see the body in connection with beauty or health. But there is another possibility, to use the body as a transparent medium to conceive the Absolute Truth.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is explained here. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa. That means with this body you should not waste your time like the birds and beasts but utilize it for inquiring about the Absolute Truth. That is reality.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Not only to the Absolute Truth, but to communicate together. Think of the smiling of a child, its first communication between man. It’s not only the body as instrument for the eternal truth but under, among us.
PRABHUPADA: So that you have to learn, how with this body you can utilize your energy to understand the Absolute Truth and reestablish your relationship with the Absolute Truth.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Is it a waste to use this body to do good for others? If I smile, if I am pleased, if I express something, is that a waste of energy?
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He says it’s a waste of our energy if we try to do good for others, if we smile and be kind…
PRABHUPADA: But you cannot do good to others because you do not know what is good. You are thinking of good in terms of your body, but body is false. Therefore the conception of goodness is also false.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: I cannot accept that the body is false.
PRABHUPADA: No, no. I withdraw that word false. But it is not you. It is false in this sense, that you are accepting this body yourself, but that you are not. Just like…
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: But I live my identity with the body.
PRABHUPADA: With the body. But the body is false, false in this sense, that you are not this body. You are simply… Just like I am occupying this apartment, but I am not this apartment. I am different from this apartment. This is understanding. So if you take interest of the apartment and you forget yourself, that is false. If I simply decorate this body, apartment, and I don’t eat, then what is the… This is false attempt, that we are trying… This is called. In the Bhagavata it is said that apranasya hi dehasya mandanam loka-ranjanam. Now, this body, just you or I, everyone, we are nicely dressed. But if the life is gone from the body, if you dress the body, is that very good intelligence? You have understood? That I am dressing, so long my life is there, I am dressing very nicely this body, but when the body is dead, if you dress the body or somebody or your relative dresses nicely, it is very good intelligence? [break]
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: To be frank, this example seems erroneous—comparing a room, which I inhabit, to the body and its relationship with the soul.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] …example of this comparison with a room and the body is not very good because, he says…
PRABHUPADA: But because he does not know that he is not this body.
VEDAVYASA: Yes, but he says because if we go out of the room, the room remains as it is, but if we go out of the body, the body doesn’t remain. So he says there must be an intimate connection between the soul and the body.
PRABHUPADA: No, “remains” means in the same way. Just like if I leave this room and it remains here, in a few years time it will be destroyed. Similarly, if you leave this body, in a few hours… It is a question of hours and years.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: As long as we live, soul and bodies comprise a unit!
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He’s saying that this body is, the soul is a unit.
PRABHUPADA: The soul is different from the body.
VEDAVYASA: Yes, but at the same time, he says there must be a very intimate connection of, actually a oneness of body and soul. That is what is now.
PRABHUPADA: No, no.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: As long as we are alive.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That is not oneness. Just like this room is important so long I am living. Otherwise it has no importance. As soon as soul is gone from the body, even the body is very dear, I throw it away.
VEDAVYASA: He doesn’t want to separate.
PRABHUPADA: But you must separate. [laughter] As soon as your death comes, your body will be kicked out by your relatives.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I think the difference is now just one, that Professor Pater Porsch spoke about our lifetime, that during our lifetime there is an intimate unity between life and soul, as we experience it, and he now has no doubt that the soul is something different of the body, and when soul goes out, there is no life anymore.
DR. P.J. SAHER: May I please add one thing? Perhaps it makes a difference if the person thinks “I am the spirit. I have a body.” or he thinks, “I am a body, and I possess a soul.” That is an important point.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, yes. That is his mistake, that he is body and he possesses soul. But not that. He is soul; he is covered by this body. Another example. Just like your coat. So long you use it, it is important. And if you don’t use it, it has no importance. But if he takes coat is very important… Important, it is important, so long you use it. But if you don’t use it—it is torn—you throw it away. You take another coat.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Can we not also say that self and not self must separate, either in death involuntarily, or through destiny.
PRABHUPADA: Must separate, must separate.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Either through death or destiny.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is called death. You separate from this body; you accept another body. This period is called death. So the body which you occupied previously, that is false now. Now the body which you have occupied now, that is important now. So you are giving stress on the body which I am changing after few years. That is the problem, misunderstanding.
How to find God: chant His Holy Name
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I think it would be important for us all to know what you would say to the question How to realize the last truth, and what do you mean by realize the eternal truth?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: I would like to give an example from the Gospel of John, in order to see the similarity. There it means, and that is a quasi definition: “It is eternal life that we recognize you.” The life consists of recognizing the Father.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He said that in the Bible it is said that our aim should be to know the Father.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Not only the aim, but the life consists in this: to know the Father, God, by this… [indistinct]
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: That is exactly what you say, that real life, real eternal life, means nothing but to recognize the Father in the son.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is real business. And we have created so many unnecessary, superfluous business. We have set aside the real business, to know the father. And that is the mistake of this civilization.
HANSADUTTA: Professor Dürckheim’s question was: “Very simply, what is our way or what is our method to realize the highest truth, the absolute truth?” What is our process?
PRABHUPADA: The simplest method is to associate with the Father, or the Absolute Truth. By association. This association can be possible. God, His name, His form, His pastimes, His abode, His paraphernalia—everything is God, because absolute. First of all you should understand this Absolute Truth. Just like here in the relative world the name of a person is different from the person. But in the absolute world the name and the person the same. So we are teaching or preaching this, that you chant the holy name of God, you associate immediately with God. And if you associate immediately with God then gradually you become godly. The example is, just like you put one iron rod in the fire it becomes warm, warmer, warmer and, at last, red-hot. When it is red-hot, it is no longer iron rod, it is fire. Similarly, if you simply associate with God then gradually you become Godly or or all the qualities of God. Then you understand God and your life becomes perfect.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Do you mean communion with God by way of the holy name of Krishna?
PRABHUPADA: Holy name of God.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Of God.
PRABHUPADA: If you don’t like to chant “Krishna” you chant in your own way. Chant the name of God. If you know the name of God chant it. If you do not know then take it from me. [laughter] We are recommending to chant the holy name of God. If you know, you chant that name and if you don’t know then take it from me. It is explained by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that God has many thousands of names or God has no name. No name means He has, He has got so many thousands of millions of names that you cannot say, “This is only God’s name.” This is one sense. But how God names are understood? The God names are understood by His action. Just like we say “Krishna”. Krishna means all-attractive. God is all-attractive. God is attractive for the Hindus, for the Muslim, for the Christians, for everyone. Therefore, being all-attractive, there’s a Sanskrit word of all-attraction, Krishna. This is the explanation of the attributes of God. Similarly, if you’ve got similar name which explains the attributes of God, that is also God’s name. I think Lord Jesus Christ said “God, hallowed be Thy name.”
SATSVARUPA: The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”
PRABHUPADA: So He has name. You find out what is His name and chant it. And if you do not know, then take it from us. That is all. He has name. He has name. He’s not without name.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: May I comment? It seems to me nearly the same opinion as given in the Old Testament of the Jewish religion. If Christ says, “Hallowed be Thy name”, or if it means, “the names of God be glorified”, then it implies no definite name is given on account of awe and reverence before God, so it is only an expression to say “in Thy name”. When Moses asked, “What is Your name?” There was no other answer other than “I am, who am. I have actually no name like the gods and idols.” The meaning is to have power over a god if His name is known.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He says from the Old Testament that Jesus said, “Hallowed be Thy name,” so he didn’t say a particular name because, he says, God has actually no name because if we…
PRABHUPADA: So how He can be no name? He says, “Hallowed be Thy name.” He has name. Therefore he says like that.
VEDAVYASA: But there’s no name in the Bible…
PRABHUPADA: That doesn’t mean… He might not have mentioned, or you have not noted. But when he says, “Hallowed be Thy name,” there must be the name. Therefore I said if you don’t know the name, you take it from us. That is intelligence. Why should you say that there is no name. He says the “Hallowed be Thy name.” There must be name but you do not know.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Name of God, this expression actually stands for God in Judaic tradition, because one wants to keep respectful distance from God.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He thinks that it’s purposely done not to say the name of God, to…
PRABHUPADA: Because there is name, you find out.
VEDAVYASA: He said that when it says, “Hallowed be Thy name,” it’s meant in this way: that there’s no mention of a particular name to be respected…
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Yes. So that we say that God has no particular name. But according to His action His name is there. Just like Krishna. Krishna is not the name. Krishna means all-attractiveness.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Just as Buddha is not a name.
PRABHUPADA: Hm. Because He’s man of knowledge, therefore He’s called Buddha.
DR. P.J. SAHER: The one who has reached…
PRABHUPADA: Buddha. Buddha means one who has perfect knowledge.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Buddha is not a name of somebody, yes.
PRABHUPADA: Just like you say, “Hallowed be Thy name.” President. President. Now the president has a name but you do not know. But the president must have a name. [German]
DR. P.J. SAHER: Has the name a special esoteric meaning? And is the technique of chanting the name, has this a special hidden purpose that the unenlightened…
PRABHUPADA: No, not hidden but open, because Absolute is not different from His name. Therefore when you chant the name of the Absolute that means you associate with the Absolute. And as soon as you associate with the Absolute you become purified.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Like iron in fire.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that’s right. [break] …Vedic injunction: harer nama harer nama harer nama eva kevalam, kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha [Chaitanya-charitamrita Adi-lila 17.21]. For your perfection you simply chant the name of the Lord—harer nama, harer. Harer means of the Lord and nama means name. Thrice. Just like we give stress three times, “You do it. You do it. You do it.” This is a good stress. Similarly, the shastra says harer nama harer nama harer nama, nama eva kevalam, simply chant the Lord’s name. Kalau, in this age of Kali. Nasty eva, nasty eva, nasty eva gatir anyatha. There is no other alternative for self-realization, no other alternative for self-realization, therefore stress should be given for everyone to chant the holy name of the Lord. Kali means the age of quarrel, the age of quarrel. This age is simply for fighting and quarrel. They’re not interested to understand the Absolute Truth. But they’re interested in fighting and quarreling. Therefore this age called Kali. Kali means fighting.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The answer to the question thus, how you find out God, is: sing or speak the name of God, Krishna.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Will you please be so kind as to further elucidate your technique of that one chants the name of God and will you please be so kind as to elucidate further in some particular way or what comes, what should be done in relation to that or how it is, how it is formulated in that, in that total, in that complete system of your reverent teachings?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. This is the bhakti-marga, means, the first thing is shravanam, hearing. Just like these books are being written to give chance people to hear. That is first business. If we don’t hear about God we simply imagine something. No. We must hear about God. We are publishing eighty books like this, simply to hear about God. Then when you hear perfectly then you can describe to others. That is called kirtanam. Shravanam, kirtanam. And when the process goes on hearing and chanting or describing… kirtanam means describing. Just like our, this whole society is hearing from these books and they’re going out to describe. This is called kirtana. Then by these two process, hearing and chanting, you remember, smaranam. That means remembering, you always associate with God.
DR. P.J. SAHER: So at all times, “Remember Me.”
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Yes. Shravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam pada-sevanam [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23]. Then worshiping the Deity, to offer flowers to the lotus feet of the Lord, to garland, to dress, pada-sevanam, archanam vandanam, offer prayer, dasyam, serve. In this way, there are nine different processes.
DR. P.J. SAHER: We have a similar thing in the Christian.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Christian method, the offering prayer. That is bhakti, that is bhakti.
GUEST: What is the meaning of Kali-yuga?
PRABHUPADA: Kali-yuga means fight. Nobody is interested to understand the truth, but they’ll simply fight, “In my opinion, this.” I say, “My opinion, this.” You say, “His opinion.” So many foolish opinions and fight within themselves. This is the age. No standard opinion. Everyone has got his own opinion. Therefore there must be fighting. Everyone says, “I think like this.” So what is your value, your thinking like that? That is Kali-yuga. Because you have no standard knowledge. If a child says the father, “In my opinion, you should do like this.” Is that opinion to be taken? If he does not know the thing, how he can give his opinion? But here, in this age, everyone is prepared with his own opinion. Therefore it is fight, quarrel. Just like the United Nation, all the big men go there to become united, but they’re increasing flags. That’s all. Fighting, it is a society of fighting only. The Pakistan, the Hindustan, the American, the Vietnam. It was meant for unity but it is rendered into fighting association. That’s all. Everything. Because everyone is imperfect, anyone should give his imperfect knowledge.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Do you mean the Kali-yuga exists all the time?
PRABHUPADA: No. This is the period when foolish men have developed so many. Instead of making solution the fighting increasing. Because they have no standard knowledge. Therefore this Brahma-sutra says that you should be eager to inquire about the Absolute Truth. Athato brahma jijnasa. Now the answer, next quote, is that Brahman, or the Absolute Truth is that from which, or from Whom, everything has come. Athato brahma jijnasa, janmady asya yatah [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1]. Now you find out where is the source. Everyone is trying to find out what is the ultimate cause. That should be the aim. That… if you follow these philosophical quotes then your fighting will stop. You’ll be sober. This verse also athato jijnasa. Athato jijnasa means to inquire about the Absolute Truth. Sit down, because there should be a class of men, very intelligent class of men in the society who are discussing about the Absolute Truth and they will inform others, “This is Absolute Truth, my dear friends, my dear…” Should do it like this. That is one thing. But here everyone is absolute truth. That is fighting.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Hasn’t it always been believed—as Plato said—that the King should be wise, and the wise should be King?
VEDAVYASA: [translating]…was the always the desire of mankind to find… [indistinct] he says the kings should be wise and the wise men should be kings.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The desire is not crucial, but the knowledge. The desire is everywhere the same, but the knowledge is different.
VEDAVYASA: [translating] So he said that this was always the desire but…
PRABHUPADA: But thing is that this desire is there everywhere. But whose desire is standard? That should be understood. Everyone is desiring. But whose desire is to be followed? What is the actual, factual desire? That is to be understood. Unless you do not know what is the standard of desire, then this fighting will go on. You desire, I desire…
VEDAVYASA: …saying that knowledge is important also…
PRABHUPADA: No, no. Knowledge, that is described. Knowledge is according to the quality of the person. If the man is a debauch, what is the value of his knowledge? We cannot take up the knowledge that’s given by a debauch. The perfect human being is described. Shamo damas titiksha, arjava. [to Satsvarupa:] Find out.
WOMAN: [speaks in German]
VEDAVYASA: [translating] She says that we cannot have heaven on earth.
VEDAVYASA: We cannot have heaven on earth simply by our desiring it.
PRABHUPADA: No. Just like there are intelligent class of men, they sit together. They do not fight. Still you can. Men… because the example is there. But that requires qualification. Therefore what is that qualification?
shamo damas tapah shaucham
kshantir arjavam eva cha
jnana, vijnanam astikyam
“Translation: Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, calmness, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness. These are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.” [Bhagavad-gita 18.42]
PRABHUPADA: That is the qualities of the highest intelligent class of men. So if you do not find such qualities, how his knowledge should be perfect? These are the qualities.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Are we also all convinced of it?
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He doubts that everyone is convinced about that.
PRABHUPADA: Eh? Eh?
VEDAVYASA: He’s doubting if we should convince them of that.
PRABHUPADA: Well, who is not self-controlled, he’ll not be convinced because he’ll think that he’s rebellious, “I can do anything what I like. I can eat whatever I like.” Now how he will like this idea of self-control?
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But one question, you see. These virtues have been always stressed by Christian churches also, exactly the same. But then today we realize that the virtues are on one level with the vices. But there’s something different. If you pass through the [indistinct] step you get somewhere, you see where we can understand, for instance, if Christ says “Let the dead bury their dead.” A phrase like this appeals to a different level. So I think as long as you…
PRABHUPADA: No. It is not different level.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I said that these virtues were always demanded by Christ and the Church. But virtues in the sense of the ethics are on one level with the vices. And we hear again and again sentences, which break through this level of the virtues and vices, if it says of Christ, “leave the dead to bury their dead…”, “I have not come to bring peace but the sword…”. There is thus one level..
PRABHUPADA: The advice is given according to the time, person. So if people follow Lord Christ and, I mean to say, instruction that is also perfect. But they do not follow.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: They do not…
PRABHUPADA: They do not follow.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Sure…
PRABHUPADA: That’s it. Otherwise either you follow Bhagavad-gita or Bible as they are, then you become gradually perfect. The difficulty is they do not follow. And still they’re claiming “I am Christian.” “I am Hindu.” “I am this.” “I am that.” Rubber stamp. No qualification but rubber stamp. This is the defect.
First of all acquire this material qualification. Then talk of spiritual. Just like I think in the university if one wants to learn about law he must be graduate first of all.
DR. P.J. SAHER: In India. Yes.
PRABHUPADA: So you, first of all become graduate, then talk of law books. Similarly, you first of all become a brahmana. Then you understand about Brahman, Absolute Truth. Without becoming brahmana how you can understand? [break]
SATSVARUPA: [reading from Bhagavad-gita:]
“According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me, and although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.” [Bhagavad-gita 4.13]
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Your message, I think, will be very much appreciated by the youth of today in the western part of the world who say to the adults, “You have educated us to go to maintain our position in the world, to do something useful for the community and to behave nicely. But you never, but you never asked us who we are and who we should become [indistinct].” This is the problem.
PRABHUPADA: That is the beginning of our talk, that you are spirit soul.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I beg your pardon.
PRABHUPADA: You are spirit soul, not this body. That is the beginning of our talk.
Will you take the shortcut or detour?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: It seems to me that a large difference nevertheless shows up here. You speak of the gradual process of the self implementation, of acquiring the brahmanical qualifications. I am missing out whether it is not possible, directly, by God’s grace to be illuminated and to become pure, without itself…
VEDAVYASA: [translating] He [Professor Pater Porsch] said that your answer that we are not this body, that we are spirit soul, it is not our real answer to our actual problem.
VEDAVYASA: He said that if you said that we are fleeing, fleeing from the actual problems which we have now…
PRABHUPADA: Actual program, the actual program is there.
VEDAVYASA: He’s speaking of the gradual process of self-realization. First of all…
VEDAVYASA: We are speaking of the gradual process of self-realization, first adopting these brahminical qualities and going further and further. So he asks if he’s missing, if it’s not possible to become illuminated at once by God’s grace, to become converted without undergoing these…
PRABHUPADA: Chant Hare Krishna. That will do.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Without that?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, you haven’t got to undergo this or that. Simply chant and it will… you’ll become perfect. So, easiest. But still they will not accept. That is the difficulty. When you give the easiest way they won’t accept. Easiest way is we are recommending the chant the holy name of God. Do it.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The separation of soul from this body is thus the larger misunderstanding.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Therefore I ask also with reservation!
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The simplest way.
PRABHUPADA: Not that you chant the name of Krishna. You have got your name of God, you chant that. Begin that.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: There I have still another question.
PRABHUPADA: Then how can I help you? There is [indistinct]. You do not know. So our recommendation is, not my recommendation, from the Vedic literature, authoritative recommendation and the Bhagavad-gita, satatam kirtayanto mam yatantash cha dridha-vratah [Bhagavad-gita 9.14]. Everything is there. You begin. Therefore I said in this age so many things is impossible to be done. But you begin chanting the holy name of God. Where is the difficulty?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: To know the name, because I…
PRABHUPADA: To know. Why you are doubtful? There is name. If you do not know take it from us. [chuckling] Why you deny that?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: There are thousands and millions of…
PRABHUPADA: That’s all right. Here is one name. Why don’t you take it?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: No. I say millions of names. I’m looking for the name and…
PRABHUPADA: Yes. But if I’ve given you the name, why don’t you take it?
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: Because I’m not convinced that is the right name.
PRABHUPADA: That is your misfortune. [everyone laughs] That is your misfortune. Yes.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: God does not have a name for me, but Jesus gave me the nature.
PRABHUPADA: How can I help? You do not know the name. If somebody is informing you, “Here is the name,” he still will not take. That is your misfortune. What can be done? A misfortunate man cannot be helped. That’s right. So here is the authority. Satatam kirtayanto mam.
satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantash cha dridha-vratah
namasyantash cha mam bhaktya
“Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship me with devotion.” [Bhagavad-gita 9.14]
Judge a thing by the result
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: …and when I was in Africa I saw the people are looking for the name and chanting like you chant. But they have a complete different idea of thought. My question is how can I know what is the right thing? From where do you know this?
PRABHUPADA: But, as a human being you can study what you have seen in Africa and where you are seeing here. There’s much difference.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: I mean, my question only I saw the people singing…
PRABHUPADA: No, just like these boys and girls, they are coming from Jewish group or Christian group. They have not come from India. Now how they’re chanting and enjoying—you can see.
PROFESSOR PATER PORSCH: No, I mean the intention was the same. They’re looking for [indistinct]
PRABHUPADA: [indistinct] …you have to see the resultant study.
DR. P.J. SAHER: I was quite surprised.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And ask them to induce to chant any other name, they’ll not do that. Phalena parichiyate, you have to study by the result of the activity, not theoretical.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes. That would be the criterion for me.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes, that’s the same what the Christian criterion when St. Paul speaks. They had the same…
PRABHUPADA: No. We say that you follow Christian principle, you become perfect. But the difficulty is nobody follows anything. He follows his own opinion. That’s all. “In my opinion.” What you are, your opinion? That is the difficulty. Yes you can take.
VEDAVYASA: Srila Prabhupada, in the Bible there are a lot of statements regarding chanting, instructions that people should chant the holy name of God. Like in the Old Testament it says from the morning to evening you should chant the holy name of God.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That is the business in this age. Chant the holy name of God.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Whatever you do, do in the name of Jesus Christ, the Bible…
PRABHUPADA: That’s all right. You take this in the name of Jesus Christ.
HANSADUTTA: Prabhupada, would you like to take your prasadam now?
PRABHUPADA: Not now. Later. The simplest method: chant the holy name of the Lord. That’s all.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Should this chanting be loud? Or can it also be half loud, whisper or silently, mentally? Does it play any difference? Does it make any difference?
PRABHUPADA: If you chant loudly then others can hear. They also take benefit.
VEDAVYASA: Should we translate?
VEDAVYASA: Should we translate?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Even the birds and beasts they will hear and be benefited. Therefore loud chanting is recommended. So that even the birds, beasts, trees, plants, they can hear.
DR. P.J. SAHER: I seldom saw so many happy faces as today, this evening, below.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. That is the case. In America also the ladies and gentlemen ask them, “Are you Americans?” Because they do not see Americans with such nice face. One Christian priest—I was going from Los Angeles to Hawaii—so he came to talk with me. He inquired “Swamiji, how is that your disciples look so bright?” He inquired. Yes.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Without drugs.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And one Christian priest he showed one pamphlet that these boys, they’re our boys but before this they’re not coming to the church. They do not want to ask anything about God. Now they’re mad after God. How is it? He admitted, “They’re our men.” And I give you another example. In our Los Angeles temple—this was a church, big church—but it was not going on. It was being closed. And it was sold to us. And now you go and see there is daily thousands of… the same men, the same place. The crowd is so… Why? I have not brought all these men from India. Judge. Unless it is something sublime, how they’re accepting it? And they’re all young boys. Not that they have become old, therefore they’re seeking after God. [everyone laughs] And young men have got so many aspirations, they go to the restaurant to smoke, to enjoy girlfriend, boyfriend, these… They have given up everything.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: And they are working in the society, they are working…
PRABHUPADA: We are working, we are writing these books and selling them. That’s all. This is our work.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: I see.
PRABHUPADA: We have no other… Even in the Indian Parliament, the question was raised that “How is that this international society is spending lavishly? What is their income?” There is a rumor that Americans are sending these CIA, what is this? [everyone laughs] Rascal people, they think the CIA has come to dance and chant Hare Krishna. [everyone laughs] So, of course the reply was given that we have no information that these people are CIA but we know that they are maintaining themselves by selling their literature and public contribution. That’s all. And we have got 102 centers like this. This is not very… If you go to our Los Angeles center, New York center and other, Vrindavana center and Navadvipa center, not less than 200 men are there always. And we are providing with their food, shelter. We give education to their children. We are getting them married. We don’t allow these boys to live as friends. No. “You get yourself married.” Yes. Here is a girl, Kausalya. I picked her from Hawaii. Now you can ask what she was and what she is now. Now she’s married. She’s happy. She has everything here. Life is there. [pause] Hare Krishna. So I think you are all learned gentlemen, you should give us support and cooperate with this movement. It is very nice movement. That is my request to you.
SATSVARUPA: May we take your leave, Srila Prabhupada?
PRABHUPADA: No. You sit down. I do not… I can talk all night. [devotees laugh] Because it is Krishna’s talk that is your [indistinct] already. Satatam kirtayanto mam [Bhagavad-gita 9.14]. Why do you stop? Satatam. Go on. Continuous. What is that? Satatam means?
PRABHUPADA: Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantash cha dridha-vratah, namasyantash cha mam… [Bhagavad-gita 9.14].
Platform for world cooperation
DR. P.J. SAHER: In what way can we support, or cooperate with your movement? In what way can we offer optimal benefit to your movement?
PRABHUPADA: That is a simple thing. You chant Hare Krishna. That’s all.
DR. P.J. SAHER: No. I mean in a further, in an extended way. For example…
HANSADUTTA: Yes. We have got a life membership program which can be… you can participate in that way.
PRABHUPADA: You can become a life member and read all these books and chant Hare Krishna. There is no loss. Suppose you chant Hare Krishna, there is no material loss on your part, but if there is any gain, why don’t you take it?
DR. P.J. SAHER: No, my question was perhaps a little, not quite clear. Many of us here, myself felt, represent not only our personal selves but are here on behalf of certain institutions, and we are active in some form or other of public service, these gentlemen probably also. And in what way, for example, would we serve your movement by giving a clear explanation about the aims of your activity, for example, removing prejudices and supporting Sanskrit studies and the better distribution of the Bhagavad-gita in this form, in such ways, perhaps?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. We are writing these books for distribution.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes. Yes. Yes, I’ve already suggested that one.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And they are not manufactured knowledge. They are standard knowledge, Vedic knowledge, I am explaining for understanding of the people in general. Each word is being explained. Here is my dictaphone. I am sitting here. So as soon as I stop talking, I shall write immediately. At night also, I get up at two o’clock, one o’clock, and write these books.
HANSADUTTA: Prabhupada came to United States in 1965, and this movement was started in 1966, ’67, and since that time, he has published about twenty books like this, including Bhagavad-gita, Chaitanya-charitamrita.
PRABHUPADA: And what is the number of books sold last year?
SATSVARUPA: Four million.
PRABHUPADA: Four million copies.
DR. P.J. SAHER: May I please put a question before I forget. I heard from our, or I read in the invitation that this center is not only a center, as such, but something more. It should also be an ashrama and also a forest university in the tradition of the ancient times.
DR. P.J. SAHER: A kind of a university also.
PRABHUPADA: Oh, yes. Yes.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Like Indian and allied sciences, Vedic sciences.
PRABHUPADA: My idea is that all our centers should be self-supported. We do not like that idea that for your support you have to go 100 miles to get your bread. That is a very dangerous drawback. You produce your food locally and then support yourself. The main problem is what to eat, where to sleep. So we get some place and support ourself by producing our own food. We have already begun in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, and similarly in other centers, we are producing our food, grains, vegetables, fruits and milk. That is sufficient. But we don’t kill any animals. That we don’t do.
DR. P.J. SAHER: But will this center also be a place of learning for Sanskrit studies and allied topics?
PRABHUPADA: Oh, yes. We are educating our children in Dallas. We have got very good institution, Sanskrit and English, and they are reading these books. That is sufficient. If they read these books, all different department of knowledge will be acquired. Kasmin tu bhagavo vijnate sarvam idam vijnatam bhavati. Yes. You can play a little record. Last night…
HANSADUTTA: This morning’s recording?
DR. P.J. SAHER: May I please ask, there is also room for physical yoga exercises while chanting of the God’s names?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, but we are exercising by dancing.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes, of course. [tape of Prabhupada singing is played]
PRABHUPADA: Make little louder. [tape plays for about five minutes of Prabhupada singing prayers to the six Gosvamis] What are these pictures?
HANSADUTTA: These are pictures of our society’s activities in the temples.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Very constructive and very… So much success in a relative very short time, if you began in 1966.
DR. P.J. SAHER: And during the Bangladesh crisis you also…
PRABHUPADA: Yes, anyone came; we fed. That much… There were many refugees, so we fed them.
DR. P.J. SAHER: But that automatically answers the question of this gentlemen also, the body in the service of other people, you see…
PRABHUPADA: No, we give food. Anyone come and take food. Here also. There is no question of Bangladesh. Let anyone come and take food. In our Mayapura center we especially give food distribution on Saturday and Sunday. At least five thousand people come. So all humanitarian work is included.
WOMAN: Thank you very much.
PRABHUPADA: Hare Krishna. Thank you. [some guests leave] So now we have come to Germany. You cooperate and make it a great success for the general benefit of the whole humanity. We have got arts, music, literature, culture, food, everything.
DR. P.J. SAHER: I think it will also help to quite a considerable extent for the removing of prejudices and for a better understanding of…
PRABHUPADA: No, this is the only platform where all people, all religion, all culture, can unite. This is the only place, Krishna consciousness. We practically see how they are becoming successful. In Africa also, within the villages they are responding.
DEVOTEE: [showing Srila Prabhupada’s books] This is Spanish, Chinese.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Even in Chinese.
PRABHUPADA: Japanese also. And Hindi.
DEVOTEE: Italian, French. Hindi also we have. Bengali, Gujarati.
DR. P.J. SAHER: But I also noticed on the faces of the devotees downstairs that many or several faces were, we would say in the West, sublimated, that the facial features showed that a certain form of sublimation had taken place.
PRABHUPADA: Even children are learning how to dance, how to offer obeisances, how to chant, how to clap. They are also learning, small children.
DR. P.J. SAHER: And I think that it comes at the right time so that people may not be misled into juvenile delinquency, all of those “easy riders” and motorcycles and adolescent criminality. They find creative outlets for their energies also as a by-product.
PRABHUPADA: No. We are teaching… Of course, we do not defy this modern advance of material civilization. We don’t say that. But this is our main business, that is, jivasya tattva-jijnasa, to inquire about the Absolute Truth.
DR. P.J. SAHER: So can you not say that this knowledge is an atma-vidya, that we are trying to come to the knowledge of the atman.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Atma, self.
PRABHUPADA: Oh, atma, yes. Tattva-jijnasa means atma-jijnasa.
DR. P.J. SAHER: That is why it is also correct to translate the term krishna-arjuna-samvara [?] as a kind of metaphysical knowledge, philosophical knowledge.
PRABHUPADA: No, whole knowledge. Metaphysical, physical, everything is there.
DR. P.J. SAHER: In the Gita it also, a verse, that “Four kinds of persons seek Me…”
PRABHUPADA: Ah, yes. Chatur-vidha bhajante mam.
DR. P.J. SAHER: “The man who seeks knowledge.”
PRABHUPADA: Yes, yes, chatur-vidha. And similarly, there are four kinds of rascals. Chatur-vidha. No. Na mäà dushkritino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah [Bhagavad-gita 7.15]. Everything is there.
DR. P.J. SAHER: But, perhaps, that could be also a question, that Graf Dürckheim has in mind, I think, perhaps, when he asked the question about belief, etc. Perhaps he also thinks that we are living in a period of, where, because of the technological construction of society, rational knowledge is appreciated and, for example, ten years ago non-rational knowledge in Germany, actually, or in Europe was highly suspected. We had lived through a period of positivism, and people in our universities even wanted to abolish the word consciousness. They even wanted to abolish the word psychology on the basis, on the presumption that there is no such thing as a…
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: But this time is over.
DR. P.J. SAHER: Yes.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: The modern times are not modern anymore.
DR. P.J. SAHER: I agree with you, but just think how the world was only a few years ago.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Yes. And especially if you talk about the rational, the really German tradition is the irrational. So now this is coming back now, rediscovering their own past slowly.
PRABHUPADA: So long they do not come to the standard platform, they will accept this sometimes and that sometimes. This will go on, changing.
DR. P.J. SAHER: No, but I meant it differently. Can it not be that average man in the street… I don’t mean… Yes, it was, of course, in Germany. Man in the street now is infected from the…
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: Absolutely, yes.
DR. P.J. SAHER: And he thinks that in order to give a rational presentment … [break]
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: …I realize that the closer members engaged, really, in this work of distributing books and chanting, wearing the white robes and shaving the heads, they are the closer participants I suppose. And then have you also members of your movement which are simply in their work, in the community, in the world? Or is…
PRABHUPADA: No, we invite everyone.
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: You invite. But as far as members are concerned, to become a member of your movement…
HANSADUTTA: Yes, we have people in all walks of life. For example, we have the [German]. He is a life member. And all people…
PROFESSOR DURCKHEIM: He’s simply a member?
HANSADUTTA: Yes. He is a member, he supports the movement, he follows the principles himself, he appreciates the philosophy, but he has his responsibility in the society. He acts as a member of the society and he is a member. But his lifestyle is Krishna consciousness. [END]