This exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples took place in Los Angeles on the morning of December 13, 1973, during a walk along the Pacific shore.
Srila Prabhupada: Today, the intelligentsia and government men think that to exist, one needs a material body. They do not know that for the soul, the real person, the material body is extraneous simply a contamination. It is like when a person is diseased, his body produces many extraneous chemicals. It is not that those chemicals are the agents maintaining his life.
Try to understand. Originally the living entity is pure; only when he becomes impure does he take on a material body. And by way of analogy, originally the material body is healthy, but when the body becomes unhealthy it produces extraneous chemicals. When the body becomes contaminated, infected with some disease, you will find so many extra chemicals. So these extra chemicals they do not cause the body's symptoms of life. Rather, because the body's condition has somehow become awkward, these things have been produced by it.
To your society's leaders we say, "You cannot see anything but material chemicals, because you have no eyes to see the soul. That is why you simply see the chemicals produced by the soul." Your leaders are mistaking these chemical products as the cause of life. The chemicals are not the cause; they are effects. Try to convince these rascals like this. Tell them, "You are seeing only these extraneous chemicals. They are not the cause of our existence. Just the opposite. They are effects."
But these people cannot understand these two things: what is the cause and what is the effect. They misunderstand the cause as the effect, and the effect as the cause. That is imperfect knowledge. Illusion. Taking the effect, the material body, as the cause of our existence that is their mistake.
So the foundation of these fools' "knowledge" is a mistake. Due to their imperfect senses, these rascals have made this blunder. And more, they have solidified their blunder into a grand illusion. And still more, they insist on teaching their grand illusion to us all. In other words, these illusioned rogues are simply cheating. And yet, totally without knowledge, they have become teachers. So these rascal leaders are not teachers but cheaters.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, the leaders in the communist countries are upholding this very same idea, that we simply evolved from material chemicals. When Stalin, as a young student, first read Darwin's theory of evolution, he boasted to his classmates, "Now I have the proof there is no God."
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. The first principle of demonism is to banish God. Yet your leaders do not see this sameness between their demonism and the communists' demonism. What reason do these rascals give for sending you to fight in Vietnam?
Disciple: They say they want to stop communism.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. But now, more broadly, America has to stop demonism. Then your nation will be the real leader of the world. You understand your duty somewhat; you say, theoretically, "In God we trust." Now it is your business to actually trust in God and work for Him.
As I have explained already, you cannot simply stop communism. You have to stop demonism. That is your real business. Communism is simply one form of demonism. So if you yourselves remain demons, what is the use of stopping just one form of demonism?
You recall the example I have given so many times: After being in the sun, the upper side of a piece of stool may become drier than the lower side. But you cannot say, "This side is better," because it is still stool. Moist or dry, stool is stool.
For instance, in Moscow, Professor Kotofsky was telling me that societies must have revolutions to stop oppressive authorities. I had been saying that as long as you are in this material world, you will have to accept some oppressive authority or other. So he said that first we must have a revolution, and then we shall see whether we have to accept some authority.
But after the Russian revolutionaries had gotten rid of one oppressor, the Czar, they accepted another oppressor, Lenin. So I said, "Inyour present materially embodied condition, you have to accept one oppressive authority or another. That you cannot change."
He said, "Yes. That I accept, but somehow, the oppressive authorities have to be changed."
And I said, "Yes. We accept that. When you change the mood of the world's leaders and they accept the authority of Krsna, then there will be no more need for change." Yam labdhva caparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah: Everyone is trying to achieve the greatest profit, but when one gets Krsna, one is actually satisfied. That is the ultimate profit no further profit is even possible. So with Krsna acknowledged and a truly Krsna conscious authority in charge, there will be no more need for revolution, because that will be the ultimate peaceful condition.
Of course, if you do not come to this ultimate condition of peace, then your revolutionary business will continue. In fact, there will be no cessation of revolutions one after another. These repeated revolutions are maya, illusion. Simply a mirage.
We think, "A few steps farther and I'll surely get that water." But there is no water at all. Simply illusion. As soon as you go those few steps farther, you see that the "water" has also gone a few steps farther. When you go forward again, again you see that the water has moved still just out of reach. This is going on. Now, animals they'll keep going forward after the mirage. But a sensible man knows, "This is not water. It appears like water, but it is not water."
In the same way, we are making revolutions, changing from one authority to another, but we do not know they are not real authorities. The real authority is our source and sustainer, Krsna. Therefore, our forgetful situation is called maya, or illusion. We are thinking, "We shall be happy by changing from this 'ism' to that 'ism.' " For instance, the French people had their revolution, but they are not happy; still there is unhappiness. Similarly, the Russian people had their revolution, but as we have seen in Moscow, nobody is happy. This phenomenon is going on all over the world. Until people accept the authority of Krsna, there cannot be happiness. Real happiness flows from accepting Krsna. People should know this.
And this attempt your big men are making to establish that we came from dead material chemicals this is also maya. They are thinking, "By further improvement of our investigative techniques, we are almost coming to the point."
Tell these rascals, "This 'almost coming to the point' this will continue. You will never come to the point. This is your position. You'll never come to the right point."
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, this concept that we evolved from material chemicals this will surely fail. So, then, perhaps these people will have to accept that there is a Supreme Being. After all, their life-from-matter concept will fail.
Srila Prabhupada: "Will fail." It has already failed.
Disciple: Yes, but these big men are still hoping.
Srila Prabhupada: Because they are fools and rascals, they are hoping against hope. That's all. Their nonsensical concept has already failed.
Disciple: But they are not convinced yet.
Srila Prabhupada: Because they are not intelligent. When one who is intelligent sees things happening, he understands, "Oh, from those types of action, these are the consequences." On the other hand, one who is a fool cannot learn until he actually undergoes the consequences himself. Now, just consider. One man learns simply by seeing, and the other man learns only by experiencing. So which one is intelligent?
Disciple: The one who learns simply by seeing.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So, long before he experiences the death of his own body, the intelligent person sees that these material things have a beginning and an end. Every day we observe this fact. For instance, we see, "My father's body was here for some time, and then finished." From this observation, I can conclude that the body of my child and, of course, my own body will go through the same process. This is real knowledge, from careful observation.
Based on careful observation from time immemorial, we know that for the material body, there is no possibility of immortality. So if some modern rascals say, "We shall not die by chemical evolution we shall become immortal," that is foolishness. Our Krsna consciousness movement proposes that human life is meant for factual knowledge. Ultimate knowledge so that the soul can see himself apart from this temporary body and, in time, return to Krsna's eternal world. But your rascal leaders are checking that progress.