Back To Godhead - Srila-Prabhupada

Here we continue a conversation between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and John Mize, a professor of philosophy. It took place in Los Angeles on June 23, 1975.

Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, it seems you're saying Krsna is independent and we're expansions of Him, part and parcel of Him so naturally, we have to be independent, too.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. The part and parcel must have a little portion of independence. For instance, you take a drop of water from the sea, and all the chemical composition of the sea is there in the drop. So Krsna is fully independent, and although we living entities are tiny like a drop of sea water, still the independence quality is there in minute quantity.

Professor Mize: But Krsna has no tendency to fall, whereas we do.

Srila Prabhupada: No, Krsna has no such tendency, because Krsna is God, and therefore He is all-good. Even if He seems to fall down according to our estimation it is not actually a fall-down. If we are sensible, we cannot judge God. If we are devotees, in all circumstances we shall glorify God: "You are all-good." That is a devotee. You cannot criticize God "Oh, You are doing such a thing." No.

Professor Mize: I'm still puzzled about the relationship of the soul to God. If the soul is eternal, as God is, and yet some souls have the tendency to fall and others don't have that tendency.

Srila Prabhupada: No, no "eternal" does not mean not having the tendency to fall. For instance, you are now a professor. So you can fall down from your position. At the same time, that does not mean you are not eternal. If you should fall down from your position, you do not lose your eternality. You simply fall down.

You can become a professor; you can become an ordinary man. But you are eternal in all circumstances eternal. Fall-down does not mean that one loses his eternality. That is stated in Bhagavad-gita na jayate mriyate va kadacin ajo nityah sasvato 'yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire: the living entity is never born and never dies. This is eternality. You change your body, but you are eternal.

Professor Mize: It's so puzzling, though why I would spend eternity in a fallen situation.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore, the soul requires that sattva-guna qualification.

Professor Mize: The what qualification?

Srila Prabhupada: That sattva-guna goodness.

Professor Mize: I'm sorry.

Srila Prabhupada: Goodness.

Professor Mize: Goodness?

Srila Prabhupada: The mode of goodness. For instance, not that everyone becomes a philosophy professor. It requires a certain qualification. But at the same time, everyone can become a philosophy professor. Everyone has got the chance. Provided he is qualified, he can take the post of a philosophy professor. Everyone has got the chance not that you only have got the chance. But still, it is not that without having a certain qualification anyone can become a philosophy professor. So these things will remain puzzling unless one comes to the qualification of goodness. Therefore, we order our disciples, "Come to the platform of goodness. Give up all these nonsense habits." Then it will be possible.

Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya. [To a disciple:] In the Srimad-Bhagavatam you find this verse. First Canto.

So we are now covered with base qualities: passion and ignorance. But tada rajas-tamo-bhavah: when these base qualities are finished even if not altogether, even if almost finished then one can come to the platform of sattva-guna.

Professor Mize: The platform of?

Srila Prabhupada: Sattva-guna, goodness. On that platform one can understand very quickly. This Krsna con-sciousness movement is a little suc-cessful because we are trying to bring the students to the platform of goodness. If you keep people on the platform of ignorance and passion, then it will be difficult.

Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, you asked for Chapter 2, "Divinity and Divine Service," verse 18:

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

"By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact."

And now Srila Prabhupada's purport: "Here is the remedy for eliminating all inauspicious things within the heart which are considered to be obstacles in the path of self-realization. The remedy is the association of the Bhagavatas. There are two types of Bhagavatas, namely the book Bhagavata and the devotee Bhagavata. Both the Bhagavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhagavata is as good as the book Bhagavata, because the devotee Bhagavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhagavata, and the book Bhagavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhagavatas. Bhagavata book and person are identical.

"The devotee Bhagavata is a direct representative of Bhagavan, the Personality of Godhead. So by pleasing the devotee Bhagavata, one can receive the benefit of the book Bhagavata. Human reason fails to understand how by serving the devotee Bhagavata or the book Bhagavata one gets gradual promotion on the path of devotion. But actually these are facts explained by Srila Naradadeva, who happened to be a maidservant's son in his previous life. The maidservant was engaged in the menial service of the sages, and thus he also came into contact with them. And simply by associating with them and accepting the remnants of foodstuff left by the sages, the son of the maidservant got the chance to become the great devotee and personality Srila Naradadeva. These are the miraculous effects of the association of Bhagavatas. And to understand these effects practically, it should be noted that by such sincere association of the Bhagavatas, one is sure to receive transcendental knowledge very easily, with the result that he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. The more progress is made in devotional service under the guidance of the Bhagavatas, the more one becomes fixed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The messages of the book Bhagavata, therefore, have to be received from the devotee Bhagavata, and the combination of these two Bhagavatas will help the neophyte devotee to make progress on and on."

Srila Prabhupada: So we are giving this chance to all: association with the devotee Bhagavata and the grantha-Bhagavata, or book Bhagavata, to get them raised from the lower condition of life, kama-lobha lusty desires and greediness. This is the process.

And practically you can see all these young men. They have no more lusty desires or greediness. They are quite young, but they never ask permission from me at any time "Now, today, I want to go to the cinema." They have got all the funds in their hand. Yet they never spend without my permission. Again, these are young men, born in the Western countries, addicted to so many bad habits. But they have given those up.

This is practical. Professor Judah [of Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union] has written me, "I am simply amazed at how you have converted drug-addicted hippies to become servants of Krsna and humanity." That is his puzzlement. But the method is so nice that it automatically becomes successful. Therefore, we are stressing on the method.

Disciple: In other words, Srila Prabhupada, without practice of the method, it's very difficult to understand the philosophical concepts.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Therefore it is said that without becoming a brahmana, nobody should touch the Vedas.

janmana jayate sudrah
samskarad bhaved dvijah
veda-pathad bhaved vipro
brahma janatiti brahmanah

This verse explains the different stages of self-realization. Everyone is born a sudra. Sudra means the life of lamentation he does something and laments. This is a sudra. He does not know how to act, but by whims he does something to serve the material body's lust or greediness, and then he laments later on. This is a sudra. And brahmana means na socati na kanksati: he acts to serve the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Spirit, the original self so he never laments; neither does he hanker. That is a brahmana.