Here we continue a conversation between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the mother of one of his students,
along with a Jesuit priest. It took place in the garden at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near London, England, on July 25, 1973.
Mother (to Srila Prabhupada): Yes, Father, I understand you are educated on a different platform, as you say no doubt a most sublime and spiritual platform. But aren't you still drawing upon your basic educational background for translating your books?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That's all right.
Mother: Isn't that a great joy to you?
Srila Prabhupada: For translating of books, it does not require so much education. Of course, that is required when the purport of the translation is given. Otherwise, the real thing is culture. The essence of education is culture. Simply money-making education for maintain-ing this body that education will not satisfy any more. Just as I told you: Despite all arrangements for education, why are the young men turning out to be hippies? That is my question.
Mother: Oh, but not your followers. Your followers are not being hippies people who follow you. Therefore, you've got the people whom you could help to become cultured like you.
Srila Prabhupada: So my father educated me in a different way. Therefore, I have come to this stage. My father never allowed me even to drink tea.
Mother: Well, I'm disappointed in you. I came to see you because I felt that, being so cultured, you would want all your boys to have this culture and to have this, to have the best . . .
Disciple: Thanks to Srila Prabhupada, we've got this culture.
Mother: Oh, but you haven't, you see. You're all young boys.
Disciple: No. Your culture we don't have.
Mother: But you're not mature yet.
Disciple: But the culture that Srila Prabhupada has this culture he's giving to us.
Mother: Yes. But you're not mature. It takes years to be-come mature. Hurt, pain, happiness, everything together. You find God? Yes, I've found God. We all . . . I feel very close to God, and I feel very happy. But I would also still wish to be educated. And fortunately, I was given the chance to have an education, and I don't misuse it.
Srila Prabhupada: Education means to know God. That is education. In our Vedic culture, the high-class man is called a brahmana.
Srila Prabhupada: Brahmana. You know that.
Mother: Brahmana. Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: So who is a brahmana? One who knows God he is called a brahmana. Therefore, the culmination of education is to understand God. That is education. Otherwise, to get education about how to nicely eat, how to nicely sleep, how to nicely have sex life, and how to defend this education is there even in the animals. The animals, also they know how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life, and how to defend.
Mother: Yes. It seems to worry you this sex life. I mean . . . we don't take . . .
Srila Prabhupada: No, no, no. I'm not worried.
Mother: . . . any notice if . . . It fits into its place.
Srila Prabhupada: This is also necessary. This is also necessary. But these four types of branches of education are not sufficient for a human being. A human being above all this education, he must have the knowledge of how to love God. And that is the perfection of life.
Mother: Yeah. Well, Michael was taught that when he was very small. The Jesuits saw to that.
Srila Prabhupada: Knowing how to love God that is perfection.
Mother: The Jesuits certainly did.
Srila Prabhupada: So to understand how to love God, there must be a religious system. In every civilized human society it doesn't matter whether the system is Christianity or Hinduism or Muhammadanism or Buddhism the religious system is there, along with the education about eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. That other education is there in the animal society. So a human being is distinct from the animal when he has education about how to understand God and how to love Him. That is perfection.
So that is now wanting. Our Krsna consciousness movement is not depriving people of their education. You get education about how to eat, how to sleep, and that's all right. But side by side, you take education about how to know God and how to love Him. That is our proposition.
Mother: Yes. I agree with you.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Mother: Yes, I agree with you every time.
Srila Prabhupada: We don't say that you stop all this education. No.
Mother: No, I don't agree with you there. No, Father. No, no. No, no.
Srila Prabhupada: We don't say.
Mother: No, I think these young men here must . . .
Srila Prabhupada: You can go on with your industries. You can go on with your university. But side by side, you become competent to know what is the nature of God and how to love Him. Then your life is perfect.
Mother: I could mention a lot of persons that are still very close to God and brilliant men in science. Where would we be without our scientists, without our doctors, medicine? They all have to go to university and get a degree before they . . .
Srila Prabhupada: That I say. You get a degree.
Mother: Yes, but we need them.
Srila Prabhupada: You get.
Mother: Yes. Well, the some of your boys could be doctors.
Srila Prabhupada: But simply becoming a doctor of medical science will not save me. Unfortunately, these men do not believe in the next life.
Mother: Oh, yes they do. I go to . . . I had a doctor who came to church and Michael knows him every Sunday. A very good man.
Srila Prabhupada: Mostly. I have spoken with many educated persons. In Moscow I was talking with Professor Kotofsky. He said, "Swamiji, after this body is finished, everything is finished." But he's a big professor. Generally, even if they do believe in the next life, they do not believe in it very seriously. If we actually believe there is a next life, then we must be prepared: "What kind of next life am I going to have?"
Mother: Yes. Well, Father . . .
Srila Prabhupada: Because there are 8,400,000 forms of life. The trees are also forms of life. The cats and dogs they are also forms of life. And there are higher, more intelligent persons in the higher planetary systems. They are also forms of life. The worm in the stool that is also a form of life. So, calculating all of them, there are 8,400,000 species of life. So I am going to have a next life. Tatha dehantara-praptih we have to change out of this body and go to another body. So our concern should be, "What kind of body am I going to get next?"
Mother: I agree for some people to you especially to think of this, because you are a leader of your Vedic religion. But for everybody to do that where would we be? We couldn't all sit down and think all the time.
Srila Prabhupada: But where is that education?
Mother: But we . . . you can also work and think.
Srila Prabhupada: No. We work. I mean to say, where is that education in the university to prepare the student for the next life?