Therefore people vote, “All right, you become president.” And he is advertising: “Reelect me! Reelect me!” That means he is a servant. But he is thinking, “I am the master.” That is illusion, māyā. One who is controlled by māyā thinks himself the master while he is a servant. But a devotee never thinks, “I am the master,” only “I am Kṛṣṇa’s servant.” That is mukti, liberation. A devotee is never controlled by false thoughts. He knows his position – svarūpena vyavasthitiḥ. Mukti, liberation, means to be situated in one’s own constitutional position as a servant of Kṛṣṇa. So if I know that I am a servant of Kṛṣṇa, that is my liberation. And if I think that I am the master, that is bondage. This is the difference between liberated life and conditioned life. So these Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees are
So even if prasādam is very spicy to others, it is very palatable to the devotee. What is the question of spicy? Kṛṣṇa was offered poison, real poison, by Pūtanā Rākṣasī. But He is so nice that He thought, “She came to Me as My mother.” So He took the poison and delivered her. Kṛṣṇa does not take the bad side. A good man does not take the bad side – he takes only the good side. Just like one of my Godbrothers: he wanted to make business with my Guru Mahārāja [spiritual master]. But my Guru Mahārāja did not take the bad side. He took the good side. He thought, “He has come forward to give me some service.” Bob: Let us say some devotee has some medical trouble and cannot eat a certain type of food. For instance, some devotees do not eat ghee because of liver trouble. So should these devotees also take all kinds of prasādam? Śrīla Prabhupāda: No, no. Those who are not perfect devotees may discriminate. But a perfect devotee does not discriminate. Why should you imitate a perfect devotee? So long as you have discrimination, you are not a perfect devotee. So why should you artificially imitate a perfect devotee and eat everything? The point is, a perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. Whatever is offered to Kṛṣṇa is nectar. That’s all. Kṛṣṇa accepts anything from a devotee. “Whatever is offered to Me by My devotee, I accept.” The same thing is true for a pure devotee. Don’t you see the point? A perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. But if I am not a perfect devotee and I discriminate, why should I imitate the perfect devotee? It may not be possible for me to digest everything because I am not a perfect devotee. A devotee should not be a foolish man. It is said: kṛṣṇa ye bhaje se baḍa catura. So a devotee knows his position, and he is intelligent enough to deal with others accordingly.
have read that in life there are three guṇas – passion, ignorance, and goodness. I was wishing that you would explain this somewhat, especially what is meant by the mode of ignorance and the mode of goodness. Śrīla Prabhupāda: In goodness you can understand things – knowledge. You can know that there is God, that this world was created by Him, and so many things, actual things – the sun is this, the moon is this – perfect knowledge. If one has some knowledge, even though it may not be perfect, that is goodness. And in passion one identifies with his material body and tries to gratify his senses. That is passion. And ignorance is animal life – in ignorance, one does not know what is God, how to become happy, why we are in this world. For example, if you take an animal to the slaughterhouse, it will go willingly. This is ignorance. But a man will protest. If a goat is to be killed after five minutes but you give it a morsel of grass, it is happy because it is eating. That is ignorance.
They have not come to that sense. They have taken it very easily: “Let Lord Jesus Christ suffer, and we’ll do all nonsense.” Is it not? Bob: It is so. Śrīla Prabhupāda: They should have been ashamed: “Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us, but we are continuing the sinful activities.” He told everyone, “Thou shalt not kill,” but they are indulging in killing, thinking, “Lord Jesus Christ will excuse us and take all the sinful reactions.” This is going on. We should be very cautious: “For my sinful actions my spiritual master will suffer, so I’ll not commit even a pinch of sinful activities.” That is the duty of the disciple. After initiation, all sinful reaction is finished. Now if he again commits sinful activities, his spiritual master has to suffer. A disciple should be sympathetic and consider that for his sinful activities his spiritual master will suffer. If the spiritual master is attacked by some disease, it is due to the sinful activities of others. Therefore the injunction is “Don’t make many disciples.” But we do it because we are preaching. Never mind, let us suffer; still we shall accept these disciples.
Bob: What kind of yogic process must I do to find out – to feel this information – to feel the soul inside? Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, there are many different yogic processes, but for this age this process is very nice. Bob: Chanting. Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Bob: Through this I can feel not only God outside but God inside? Śrīla Prabhupāda: You’ll understand everything of God – how God is inside, how God is outside, how God is working. Everything will be revealed. By this attitude of service, God will reveal Himself. You cannot understand God by your endeavour. Only if God reveals Himself. For instance, when the sun is out of your sight at night, you cannot see it by your torchlight, or any light. But in the morning you can see the sun automatically, without any torchlight. Similarly, you have to create a situation – you have to put yourself in a situation – in which God will be revealed. It is not that by some method you can order God, “Come. I will see You.” No, God is not your order-carrier. Bob: You must please God for Him to reveal Himself. Is that correct? Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Śyāmasundara: How do we know when we are pleasing God? Śrīla Prabhupāda: When we see Him. Then you will understand, just as when you eat you do not require to ask anyone whether you are feeling strength or your hunger is satisfied. If you eat, you understand that you are feeling energy. You don’t need to inquire from anyone. Similarly, if you actually serve God, then you will understand, “God is dictating to me. God is there. I am seeing God.” Śyāmasundara: Or God’s representative.
But when someone is removed from karmic influence, does he still get sick? Śrīla Prabhupāda: No. Or, even if he gets sick, that is very temporary. For instance, this fan is moving. If you disconnect the electric power, the fan will move for a few moments. That movement is not due to the electric current. It is due to – what is it called? Śyāmasundara: Momentum. Śrīla Prabhupāda: Momentum. But as soon as the momentum is gone, no more movement. Similarly, even if a devotee who has surrendered to Kṛṣṇa is suffering from material consequences, that is temporary. Therefore, a devotee does not take any material miseries as miseries. He takes them as Kṛṣṇa’s, God’s, mercy. Bob: That attitude seems possible only for a perfected
He lives nearby and speaks English fairly well. When he was young he worshiped Kālī [a popular demigoddess] every day very rigorously. But when the floods came and the people saw hardship, he lost faith and now he has no religion. He said he now finds his happiness in trying to develop love among people. I couldn’t think of what to say to him to add God and religion to his life. He said that after he dies “maybe I’ll become part of God, maybe not,” but he can’t worry about it now. He said he’s tried various religious experiences, but they didn’t work. One reason I ask this is because when I go back to America, a lot of people I come across are like this. They see that religion, like his worship of Kālī or other kinds of religion they’ve experienced, doesn’t work. And I don’t know what to say to them to convince them it’s worth trying. Śrīla Prabhupāda: Do not try at the present moment. You first of all become convinced, and then try to convince others. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instruction is that you can improve the welfare of others when your own life is a success: bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra First make your life perfect. Then try to teach others. Bob: The devotees have told me that without consciousness of Kṛṣṇa all the time, you cannot be happy. But at times I feel happy. Śrīla Prabhupāda: At times. Not always. Bob: Yes. Śrīla Prabhupāda: But if you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, you will feel happy always. Bob: They implied that you cannot feel happy without
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Reduce it. A boy is trained as a student up to age twenty-five, restricting sex life. Brahmacārī. So, some of the boys remain naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī [celibate for life]. Because they are given an education and they become fully conversant with spiritual knowledge, they don’t want to marry. And even if they do marry, sex life is restricted. But the basic principle is that one cannot have sex life without being married. Therefore in human society there is marriage, not in animal society. But people are gradually descending from human society to animal society. They are forgetting marriage. That is also predicted in the śāstras [scriptures]. Dāmpatye ’bhirucir hetuḥ: in the Kali-yuga [the present age of quarrel], eventually there will be no marriage; the boy and the girl will simply agree to live together, and their relationship will exist on sexual power. If the man or the woman is deficient in sex life, then there is divorce. So, for this philosophy there are many Western philosophers like Freud and others who have written so many books. But according to Vedic culture, we are interested in sex only for begetting children, that’s all. Not to study the psychology of sex life. There is already natural psychology for that. Even if one does not read any philosophy, he is sexually inclined. Nobody is taught it in the schools and colleges. Everyone already knows how to do it. [He laughs.] That is the general tendency. But education should be given to stop it. That is real education.
The Māyāvādī philosophers think that if Kṛṣṇa is everything, then Kṛṣṇa’s separate identity is lost. That is material thinking. For example, by my drinking this milk, little by little, when I finish there is no more milk; it has gone to my belly. Kṛṣṇa is not like that. He is omnipotent. We are utilizing His energy continually; still He is there, present. A crude example: a man begets many children, but the man is still there. It’s not that because he has produced many children he is finished. Similarly, God, or Kṛṣṇa, in spite of His unlimited number of children, is still there. Pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate: “Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa is never finished. Kṛṣṇa is so powerful. Therefore He is all-attractive. This is one side of the display of Kṛṣṇa’s energy. Similarly, He has unlimited energies. This study of Kṛṣṇa’s energy is only one side, or a portion only. So in this way, if you go on studying Kṛṣṇa, that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is not a bogus thing – “maybe,” “perhaps not.” Absolutely! It is!
Still, you cannot say that sunshine is not the sun. Without the sun, where is the sunshine? But at the same time, it is not the sun. It is the sun and not the sun – both. That is our philosophy. Acintya-bhedābheda – inconceivable difference and nondifference. In the material sense, you cannot conceive that a thing is simultaneously positive and negative. But that is the spiritual reality. And because everything is Kṛṣṇa’s energy, Kṛṣṇa can manifest Himself from any energy. Therefore, when we worship Kṛṣṇa in a form made of something – of earth, stone, metal, or something like that – that is Kṛṣṇa. You cannot say that it is not Kṛṣṇa. When we worship this metal form of Kṛṣṇa [the Deity form in the temple], that is Kṛṣṇa. That’s a fact, because metal is an energy of Kṛṣṇa’s. Therefore, it is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa is so powerful that He can present Himself fully in His energy. So this Deity worship is not heathenism. It is actually worship of God, provided you know the process. Bob: If you know the process, then the Deity becomes Kṛṣṇa?
We have seen many rich persons, many powerful persons, many famous persons, many beautiful persons, many learned and scholarly persons, and persons in the renounced order of life unattached to material possessions. But we have never seen any one person who is unlimitedly and simultaneously wealthy, powerful, famous, beautiful, wise and unattached, like Kṛṣṇa, in the history of humanity. Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a historical person who appeared on this earth 5,000 years ago. He stayed on this earth for 125 years and played exactly like a human being, but His activities were unparalleled. From the very moment of His appearance to the moment of His disappearance, every one of His activities is unparalleled in the history of the world, and therefore anyone who knows what we mean by Godhead will accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is equal to the Godhead, and no one is greater than Him. That is the import of the familiar saying “God is great.