On June 15, 1974, in Paris, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada received a visit from two priests and two Christian scholars. (Before his guests arrived, Srila Prabhupada briefly noted the Vedic literature's predictions for our age.)
Srila Prabhupada: In the Twelfth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam this current Age of Kali, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, is described:
tasmat ksudra-drso martyah
kamino vitta-hinas ca
svairinyas ca striyo 'satih
This means, "Gradually people will become dwarfs, and they will die very young. They will be mostly unfortunate, eat too much, and be very much sexually agitated. Gradually they will become poverty-stricken and aimless, and the women all unchaste." Just see. Everything's coming true.
rajanas ca praja-bhaksah
"The cities will be full of rogues and thieves." Just see.
Disciple: That's Paris.
Srila Prabhupada: Anywhere. In Calcutta it is dangerous to go out, because you do not know whether you'll come back. People are so afraid. A man is going to work at the office; it will be God's grace if he returns. I was a guest at the place of one of our life members, sitting there in the morning, when someone came in "Oh, that gentleman who was at the temple this morning has been killed." He was a very important businessman. He went to the temple, and coming back he was killed from behind.
About so-called saintly persons, the Bhagavatam predicts, tapasvino grama-vasa: "The so-called yogis they'll live in the city." Actually, the yogis have no business in the city. They should go to a secluded place. But they will live in the city, just like any ordinary materialistic person. Some man is living a materialistic life in the city of Paris, and he's supposed to be a yogi.
Disciple: This is all in the Twelfth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Foretold five thousand years ago. Here it is said, tapasvino grama-vasa nyasino 'tyartha-lolupah: "And the sannyasis, the so-called renunciants they'll be too greedy for money." And patim tyaksyanti nirdravyam bhrtya apy akhilottamam: "The common tendency will be to divorce the husband, especially when he has insufficient money or insufficient sex power." The wife will divorce. Divorce cases take place mainly in two instances: when the husband has no money and when the sex indulgence is not very good.
Here is more:
bhavisyanti kalau prajah
"In the Kali-yuga, the general public will lose their places of residence and will become homeless." You see. I was surprised when I saw, just after arriving in America, that so many people were lying on the street in the Bowery. They had no place of residence. Sometimes they had shelter at night; they would pay one dollar and lie down, and in the morning they would go away. I saw many signboards there.
Disciple: They call them "flophouses."
Srila Prabhupada: Anyway, vasa means "residence," anna means "food," and pana means "beverages" milk or water or whatever, you require something to drink. And sayana: "sleeping," lying down on a bed. And vyavaya, "sex." Regulated sex, within marriage, for having nice children, is also required. But the Bhagavatam predicts, "These things will be nil." Even bhusanaih, proper clothing. Hinah pisaca-sandarsa bhavisyanti: "Being devoid of all these things, people will be just like urchins." These hippies they are exactly like this. They have no place to sleep. Nothing of the sort. And with long, long hair looking like pisaci. [To his Sanskrit editor:] What is the meaning in English?
Sanskrit editor: Ghosts?
Srila Prabhupada: Ghosts, yes. Ghostlike. Hinah pisaca-sandarsa bhavisyanti kalau prajah: "In the Kali-yuga, the prajah, the people in general, will become devoid of proper residence and food and drink and even proper resting places and bathing and clothing. They'll look like ghosts." And more:
kalau kakinike 'py arthe
vigrhya ca tyakta-sauhrdah
tyaksyanti ca priyan pranan
hanisyanti svakan api
This means that in the Kali-yuga, for a cent for the matter of taking a cent only a man will give up his friendship with others. And he'll even kill his own relatives to take two cents or five cents.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, your visitors have arrived.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes. And na raksisyanti manujah sthavirau pitarav api: "People will not even give protection to their elderly parents."
[To guests coming in:] Hare Krsna.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, I'd like to introduce these visitors who have come to see you. Father Canivez, here, is Secretary of the Bishops of France. And here are Father Fransad and also Madame Siaude, who is studying Ramanujacarya and Madhvacarya.
Srila Prabhupada: Very good. Vaisnava philosophy.
Disciple: And Mr. Misraki not only composes music but also wrote a book on life after death.
Father Fransad: Thank you, Your Divine Grace, for so kindly receiving us. May I ask, first, Do you believe that God is a person?
Srila Prabhupada: At least, Christians cannot believe in an impersonal God. Christians cannot say that God is impersonal. After all, Christ is God's son, and since the son is a person, how can the Father be impersonal?
And in the Bible it is said, "In the beginning was the word." That is God's word. So if one has a word, then he's a person. A word comes from a tongue and mouth. As soon as there is a word, the background is a tongue and mouth.
And the Christians pray in the church, "O God, give us our daily bread." So God has ears so that He will hear and supply. But His personality, His word, His hearing they're all transcendental, nonmaterial.
Father Fransad: I agree on this point. As you say, God is a person. That is why we can say we have a personal relationship with God.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, God is a person. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate: The Absolute Truth is realized from three angles of vision Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Brahman, the Supreme Person's impersonal, all-pervasive energy; Paramatma, His localized expansion in everyone's heart; Bhagavan, the Supreme Person.
Father Fransad: I'm accepting some of the things you are saying, but I don't think that I'm obliged to accept everything. I find many things agreeable in the Vedic literature, but I think it might be a mistake to say that the Bible is exactly the same thing as the Vedas. There are still distinctions.
Srila Prabhupada: Distinctions. Then it is to be considered which is perfect: the later edition, or the original.