Practicing Austerity
We should not be disturbed by the material problems. If you are in the winter season, how you can avoid cold, infection by cold? No. You must take bath. That is Aryan civilization. Still in India we’ll find in the villages severe cold. Still the people are taking bath early in the morning. But now we are giving up. Now we are rising at seven o’clock because we are advanced in education. And if there is mangala-aratrika, it is nuisance.- Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.9, Bombay, March 29, 1974
Real Opulence: Land and Cows So actually, human opulence means not these tin cars. Once it is dashed with another car, it is finished, no value. Human opulence means the society must have enough gold, enough jewelry, enough silk, enough grains, enough milk, and enough vegetables. Formerly a person was considered rich by two things: dhanyena dhanavan. How much grain stock he has got at his home. A big, big barn, filled with grains. Still in India, if I am going to give my daughter to some family, to see the family’s opulence, I go to see the house, and if I see there are many, many barns’ stock of grains and many cows, then it is very good. It is opulent. – Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.2, Los Angeles, May 16, 1973
Awareness of Karmic Laws
This is within the blood of every Indian that if I cheat you or if I take some money from you without your benefit, without repayment, then I will have to suffer. Still in India they believe this. There are some incidences that a father took some loan from some gentleman and he died, and his son came to pay the money to the creditor: “Sir, my father took so much money from you. Now my father died without payment. So I have got money, you kindly take it.” He says, “Let me see my book whether your father took it.” So he said, “All right, consult.” So after consulting the books, he said, “I don’t find any item that I gave loan to your father.” “No, sir, I know, my father said at the time of death that ‘I owe so much money to that gentleman, I could not pay; you pay it.’” So the trouble was the man says “I don’t find any debit to your father’s name. How can I take your money?” And he is insisting, “Yes, my father took money from you, kindly take.” This was India. They knew that “I cannot cheat you.” – Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.33, Vrndavana, August 14, 1974 
 Not that such a man, big man, director, he says, “No, no, I don’t believe in the soul.” (chuckles) Therefore I said the fourth-class man. In India still, even a common man, uneducated farmer, he believes. He believes in God. He believes in transmigration. He believes in his karma. These things which will take thousands of years to be learned by the Westerners, even the common man knows still.- Morning Walk, May 16, 1975, Perth
Highest Respect for Women
From five years old, if a child is trained to call all women as “Mother,” naturally his culture is different. A small child, any woman comes before him, he knows “She is my mother.” That is not only religiously, but morally, it is so good. That is the system still in India. She may be just like daughter or granddaughter, but one would address, as a respect to the woman, as “Mother, Mataji.” This is Indian system. Now some rascals have introduced “Bhaginiji, sister.” But that is not shastric. In the shastra, all women, except one’s wife, should be addressed as “Mother.” – Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.10, Los Angeles, January 7, 1974
The woman must be given protection in childhood by the father unless she is married, and in youthhood by the husband, and in old age by grown up sons. This is Vedic civilization. Na striyam svatantram arhati. Just like children, they must be always protected. It is not dependence, it is protection. So there should be responsible father, responsible husband, responsible sons to keep woman very happy. In India still it is going on. – Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.1-4, Melbourne, May 20, 1975
Even fifty or sixty years ago in Calcutta, all respectable ladies would go to a neighboring place riding on a palanquin carried by four men. The palanquin was covered with soft cotton, and in that way there was no chance of seeing a respectable lady traveling in public. This system is still current in remote places. The Sanskrit word asurya-pasya indicates that a respectable lady could not be seen even by the sun. In the oriental culture this system was very prevalent and was strictly observed by respectable ladies, both Hindu and Muslim. We have actual experience in our childhood that our mother would not walk even next door to observe an invitation; rather, she would go in either a carriage or a palanquin carried by four men. – Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 13.114, purport
Divorce out of Question
“Abhiruchi, yes. Now, formerly marriage was a religious ceremony where the father, mother will see their horoscope and see if they are compatible, they will agree, they will live peacefullyso many things are there. Still, in India such things are calculated by the parents of the boy and the girl. But in this Kali-yuga, dampatye abhiruchih. This means the boy and the girl, if he likes, if he says, that’s all. No other calculation. And after three days after marriage, there is divorce.” – From the Transcendental Diary, Volume Three
Just like in your country, marriage requires certificate. In India still, there is no certificate. The boys and girls, they are seated before the relatives and priest and elderly persons. They are offered. I am doing that. There is no certificate. But still their connection is lifelong. What certificate will do? That ceremony is so nice, the wife takes “My husband for life” and the husband takes wife, “She is my companion for life.” They cannot separate. There is no history in India that there was a certificate issued. No.- Press Interview, Los Angeles, December 30, 1968
Scholarly Brahmanas 
Of course, brahmanas were all called pandita. Still in India that is the practice, because brahmana cannot be murkha. Otherwise he’s not a brahmana. He must be a scholar. At least he must know what is the ultimate goal of knowledge.- Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.6.6, Vrndavana, November 28, 1976
Saving Trees
In India still, in the villages they do not know, other than this wood fuel. They are misusing these trees by cutting, manufacturing paper, heaps of paper, in each house throwing daily. Simply waste. Now wood and paper shortage all over the world. It takes so much time to grow, and one day they cut hundreds of trees like this and put into the paper mill. And heaps of paper is given every house, and he throws away. – Walk Around Farm, August 1, 1975, New Orleans
In India still, not in the city, but in the villages, you will see even ordinary man, he goes to pass stool in the field, and just after passing stool he will take bath just to purify himself, change his cloth. That is the sastric injunction. – Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 2.13, Manila, October 12, 1972
There is courtyard. Without courtyard, it is pigeon’s hole. But you like pigeon’s hole, this big, big skyscraper building containing so many pigeon’s hole. That’s all. So in India still, although poor country, they have got a courtyard, a little garden. That kind of house, in the village that is the system. So the first business is cleanliness. Everything should remain clean. – Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 16.1-3, Hawaii, January 29, 1975
We don’t keep dog. But we don’t hate dog also. Let them keep their own position. In India still, they keep dog, but dog is not allowed to enter the room. No, outside. They are trained up in that way. When food is to be given, they will call, “Come on,” and he will take food from outside and go away, always remain outside. Dog is never allowed to enter room or in the house. Outside compound, that’s all. Still. No dog is allowed to enter the room and jump over the body of the master and sit down with the seat. No.- Room Conversation, October 15, 1975, Johannesburg
Peaceful Families
Increase of number of hotels means that people have no place to live. Today in this hotel, the next day, another hotel. In India still, because they are not so materially advanced, even the poorest man has got some certain fixed up place, his cottage, he has got his wife, he has got his child, and he works, whatever he can do. He lives peacefully still, in the village, although he hasn’t got very gorgeous dress and motorcar. But he’s peaceful. – Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.23, Hawaii, January 19, 1974
In India still, 80%, 90%, they are very happy in their family life, never mind one is poor or rich, because the wife knows these three things: to remain chaste and faithful to the husband, and she knows how to cook nicely. – Morning Walk, July 10, 1975, Chicago
In India, still, in the village, even there is fight between husband, wife, the wife is faithful. Still. Completely dependent on husband. The husband also, in spite of fighting, is always careful that the wife does not get any inconvenience. It was the culture, now it is breaking. – Room Conversation, August 2, 1976, New Mayapur (French farm)
Spiritual Names for Children
This is very good system, that if you keep the name of your children Narayana, Govinda, Krishna, Rama, then you will get some chance to chanting this Hare Krishna. Therefore in India still the system is they keep some name which is with reference to Krishna. He has got thousands of names, so you can keep one name so that you have the opportunity of repeating, chanting the holy name of the Lord. – Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.24, Honolulu, May 24, 1976
Implementing Education
There was no education practically. In India still, they are ninety-percent illiterate. And what to speak of the girls, the men are not even literate. Because according to Vedic civilization it was not necessary that everyone should go to school. Because things were being learned by sruti, by aural reception. Knowledge from the perfect man, one would hear, and he would become learned. There was no necessity of learning ABCD. – Lecture, Los Angeles, February 2, 1968
In India still you’ll find hundreds and thousands of men are going to take bath in the Ganges in the morning. They might have only one cloth and one napkin. Still, they will take twice bath with the napkin, they change the cloth and wash it and spread it on the ground. By the time he finishes his bathing, the cloth is dry. That is India’s advantage. – Morning Walk and Room Conversation, August 9, 1976, Tehran