This exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples took place during a morning walk in Denver, Colorado, on June 28, 1975.
Srila Prabhupada: Wherever my books are distributed profusely, our work is successful. People are in gross ignorance, taking this temporary material body and temporary life as everything. A very horrible situation. But these books give scientific self-knowledge from the Vedas, knowledge of our actual, spiritual self and our eternal life.
Disciple: But sometimes, Srila Prabhupada, troublemakers come along. In Denver we have to deal with several bogus groups that have made their world headquarters here. One group is led by a chubby self-styled guru who claims he's God. You've seen their magazine, I think, with this fat man dressing like Krsna and even sporting a peacock feather and a flute.
Anyway, these groups put out tons of propaganda. All impersonalism, atheism. "God isn't really a separate person God is simply everything and everyone. You are God. We are God. And mainly, our leader is God."
Srila Prabhupada: So make propaganda against them very vigorously. These Vedic texts and this disciplic succession both come from Lord Krsna Himself. We have got sound footing. What do these nonsensical rogues have? Show that they are all nonsense, bogus. This fat rogue is God, and his rascal followers are worshiping him as God? This rascaldom is going on in such a cultured, sophisticated city? This rogue is being worshiped as God?
Disciple: Well, to be fair, the local people are disgusted with him. They don't like him at all.
Srila Prabhupada: I'll issue a challenge: "I shall kick this rascal in the face, and if he is God, let him punish me." I am prepared. Let this rascal come out and meet me in public. I shall kick him squarely in the face. Let him do whatever he likes I am prepared. If he is God, let him kill me by his mantra or by his will. Only then shall I accept him as God. This is my challenge. "I shall kick him in the face in public, and if he is God, let him punish me."
And as for his followers, "You are such fools that you are accepting this scoundrel as God? You belong to America, a nation advanced and sophisticated in so many ways. And yet you have become such utter fools and rascals?" We shall challenge like that. "This rogue has come to cheat you. How have you allowed yourselves to become so easily cheated and befooled?"
Disciple: This supreme being was recently indicted for smuggling, and now there's a warrant out for his arrest.
Srila Prabhupada: All right, so this is my challenge: "Now there is a warrant out for the arrest of the all-powerful one. So? Does he have the power to nullify it? Everyone knows that God is great. Ishe great? And yet we have to believe he is God? God is such a cheap commodity that you have accepted this pathetic person as God? What is this nonsense blindly accepting some rascal as God?
"At the same time, we give you people some credit, since at least you are inquiring about God. But inquire about God through His authorized channels of education, this Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya disciplic succession and this Vedic literature."
[On seeing a museum of natural history in the park:] This is a nice park, but what is this natural history exhibition? "Natural history" means Darwin's bogus theory of evolution. People have become captured by this evolution propaganda. That's all. The whole modern civilization is based on Darwin's bogus theory of evolution.
But common sense dictates, How far back can we trace history with any accuracy? Can we trace the history of the sun when it was created, when it came into existence? Can Darwin give us the history of the sun, of the moon, of the sky?
Where is the history? There is such a history, in the Vedic literature. But where is your history? You simply imagine, "There was a chunk, and it exploded and somehow became manifested as the sun and moon and so on and so forth. And gradually these dull material ingredients developed consciousness and ultimately produced living, conscious beings like us. No need for the soul or the Supreme Soul, the creator." What is this nonsense? How, actually, did this cosmic manifestation come into existence? "There was a chunk." What other nonsense do you want us to believe?
[Chuckling.] You will find a nice example in one of the texts I have translated today from Srimad-Bhagavatam: Just as a prostitute tries to befool people by changing her appearance, so the material nature changes her appearance to befool us. Bogus gurus, pseudo scientists. And we are so foolish that we are trying to establish a long-term relationship with this prostitute. We are trying to become her husband. Has anyone ever become happy by becoming the husband of a prostitute?
Therefore, Canakya Pandita says, dusta bharya satham mitram bhrtyas cottara-dayakah/ sa-sarpe ca grhe vaso mrtyur eva na samsayah: "If one has a wife who is a prostitute, a friend who is a hypocrite, a servant who is an upstart, or a home with a snake in it, he will die." He will die; there is no doubt about it. His life will be spoiled. This is Canakya Pandita's verdict.
Canakya also says, mata yasya grhe nasti bharya capriya-vadini/ aranyam tena gantavyam yatharanyam tatha grham: "If at home a man does not have an affectionate mother or a wife who speaks sweetly if, rather, his wife speaks very hotly then he should give up that home at once and go to the forest. Actually, for him, home is no different than the forest." [Chuckles.] How intelligent.
Formerly, at least one expected love from one's mother. That is also being finished. This is the advancement of civilization. Even one's mother is not reliable what to speak of others. A small child sleeps soundly on the lap of his mother, because he thinks, "Now I am safe." But today the mother may kill the child, often with the help of her rascal doctor. This is our modern civilization's so-called advancement.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, in the neighborhood of our temple, doctors and other supposedly high-class men live.
Srila Prabhupada: The real doctor is he who can cure this material disease of repeated birth and death. What do you think? But you modern people want to be cheated by some pseudo doctor or some pseudo yogi or meditator who is inimical to your real well-being. Therefore, these rascals have gained prominence, by popular support. Only a select group of people have come to me. Otherwise, the mass of people do not understand this Krsna consciousness movement as yet.
Disciple: Well, lots of people just won't listen to any philosophy.
Srila Prabhupada: That is why they are being cheated so easily by these various scoundrels.
And now people have become so foolish that they cannot understand even the simplest philosophical idea. Not even Krsna's basic instruction in Bhagavad-gita that just as the baby has his future and the child has his future and the young man his future, so why not the old man? Within this one lifetime, the soul has many little lifetimes, many bodies as a baby, a child, and so on and so forth and yet the soul keeps his sense that "After all these changes of body and all these little lifetimes, I am the same person." So after this life, when the old-man body becomes finished, why not a next life?
Such a dull head these modern people have! If a child says, "No, no, in the future I shall have no new body I shall remain a child," is that sensible? And similarly, is it sensible for you to say, "No, no, in the future, after my elderly body is finished, everything will be finished I shall have no new body"?
So people have become very dull-headed. The simple truth they cannot understand. Dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara/ tatha dehantara praptir: "As the embodied soul passes, within this lifetime, from one body into another and yet another, so after this lifetime, the soul passes into still another body." That is the actual situation. The example Krsna gives is so nice and so simple, and yet people cannot understand. What kind of brain do they have? Animal brain.
The only hope is that you continue distributing my books as much as possible, throughout Europe and America and the rest of the world. Some day, people will realize their value. Some day, people will realize what valuable books I have left for the study of the whole world. That day will come.