Following is the continuation of the conversation between His Divine Grace
AC. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and a Christian priest that took place on June 9, 1974 in Paris.
In the last issue, Srila Prabhupada said: No, no, God's relationship should be universal, not that … It may be a different relationship. Just like the relationship between husband and wife, relationship between father and son , relationship between friend and friend , relationship between master and servant, so these are relationship. We unde rstand relationship means this. And it is particularly said in the Bible, "O Father." That means the relationship is as between father and son. So there is …
Prabhupada: You say no, but any man will understand that. You may have your own opinion, that is a different thing.
Priest: But we have to have the opinion which we experience.
Prabhupada: What is that experience? You ask, "Father, give us our daily bread," and that is experience. God is giving everyone maintenance. That is our actual relationship. In the Vedas also it is said, nit yo nityanam. cetanas cetananam eko yo bahunam vidad hati kaman (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). That is the God. God is also a person as you are person, I am person, but He is the chief per son. Nityonityanam, the chief, the Supreme. In the dictionary it is said Supreme Being. We are all beings, and He is Supreme Being. How He is supreme? Eka, that one; God is one. Bahunam vidadhati kaman. He supplies the necess ities of everyone's life. That is very good experience, we are getting everything from God. And the Christians also pray, "Give us our daily bread." So I don't find any difference between the statement in the Vedas and the Bible. God is the Supreme Person, and yo u make relationship with Him any way-as master and servant, as friend and friend, as father and son, or as husband and wife. So somehow or other we are related with God, this way or that way. The husband also maintains the wife.
Priest: I don't think so. I mean …
Prabhupada: No, no, that is your personal opinion. But …
Priest: Not opinion; experience.
Prabhupada: So what is that experience? Tell me what is that experience?
Priest: That God is beyond all our experience.
Prabhupada: Then what is your experience? You have no experience. If it is beyond your experience, then you have no experience.
Priest: Personally, of course, hut …
Prabhupada: Then you cannot explain. You cannot, because you have no experience.
Priest: But if you know what you can't explain …
Prabhupada: No, no, if you can't explain means you do not know.
Priest: You don't think an illusion (indistinct) relationship.
Prabhupada: But. ..
Priest: … that my experience is limited …
Prabhupada: But that's all right.
Priest: … and God is unlimited.
Prabhupada: That is all right. That I admit.
Priest: Therefore, I cannot anyhow have experience of God.
Prabhupada: No, no, no. Just like you know …
Priest: And nobody can.
Prabhupada: … you do not know me, you have no experience about me.
Prabhupada: But if I say, "I am like this," you will get experience.
Prabhupada: Why no?
Priest: If I live with you for some time …
Prabhupada: Suppose if you are thinking of me, "Swamiji might have one thousand dollars," so you can imagine, go on imagining, and that is not correct. But if I say, "No, I have got one million dollars," then you get the experience.
Prabhupada: Why no?
Priest: I will get the experience of you when we are living together.
Prabhupada: That means you cannot talk with God.
Priest: Of course not.
Prabhupada: But if anyone can talk?
Priest: Well, if it is his own experience, I have no objection.
Prabhupada: That's all right.
Priest: But my experience is that you cannot …
Prabhupada: That's all right. Therefore, our experience is we take experience from God. We don't imagine. That is our process.
Priest: Yeah, that is your faith. You must have faith for that.
Prabhupada: Yes. Just like Krsna is speaking about Himself, so we are taking Bhagavad-gita as it is. So direct experience. Taking experience "I am like this." Just like Krsnla says,
aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
budha bhava-sa …
"I am the source of all the spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise, who know this perfectly, engage in My devotional se rvice and worship Me with all their hearts."
Prabhupada: Just see. This experience.
Priest: Yeah, but who has written the Bhagavad-gita?
Priest: I mean, you need to have fa ith for that.
Prabhupada: What is that?
Bhagavan: You must have faith to believe that God wrote the Bhagavad-gita.
Prabhupada: Why faith? God is God. Why faith?
Priest: Because, you know, I have been living in …
Prabhupada: No, no, you have no experience you have said. You have no experience.
Priest: No, I have not said. You said I did.
Prabhupada: No, you said that God is beyond your experience, you said. First of all let us consider ourself. You said that God is beyond your experience.
Priest: That's right. That is my experience.
Prabhupada: That's all right, that's all right. That means I am talking with you. Therefore, you have no experience.
Priest: Yes, I have.
Prabhupada: You say God is beyond your experience, you say.
Priest: Yeah, and I have that experience that God is beyond experience, because I found out that all my experience does not mean God.
Prabhupada: But if you say God is beyond your experience, that you h ave no experience of God. This is clear meaning. Why do you go round about?
Priest: No, you don't. .. , you see …
Prabhupada: Then it is a bit difficult ….. You say that you have no experience of God. Priest: No, I never said that.
Prabhupada: Then te ll me your experience. That I want to know.
Priest: That every time I had an experience of God, and first I went through the bhakta, and I was a bhakta for a long, long time, then I found out that God was beyond my experience.
Prabhupada: That means you have no experience. How can I talk with you?
In the next issue …… .
Srila Prabhupada explains the basis of considering Lord Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead even as the priest continues to vehemently argue that many other people too, consider and proclaim themselves as God!