Here we conclude an exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples. It took place in Los Angeles on the morning of December 13, 1973, during a walk along the Pacific shore.
Srila Prabhupada: In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says flatly, bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram/suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati: "If all you people want to stop this chaotic condition, then accept that I am the enjoyer and proprietor of this whole world and I am your real friend. Let all this business be done on My account. Take your right salaries and be happy, and there will be no chaotic condition."
But instead, the situation is that everyone is thinking, "I am the proprietor," and as far as possible, everyone is hoarding money and other commodities, while leaving other persons to starve. Some are not even getting their right salary, their quota of the basic necessities the Lord has provided. Those who are weak cannot steal. The stronger are stealing.
Now even in everyday affairs there is a fight. For instance, this chaotic condition regarding petrol. The Arabs are thinking, "We are the proprietors of this petrol. Why shall we give a reasonable price to the Americans?" Everything we need for living is already there, but the situation is chaotic, simply because people do not accept that the proprietor is God. This is the defect.
How can your leaders give freedom for this kind of stealing mentality? Tell them, "If you allow freedom for this stealing mentality, that means punishment is awaiting you."
For example, if you give someone the freedom to steal "Yes, do whatever you like; you can go on stealing" that means the next stage is punishment. You'll be apprehended, tried, and put into prison. That is going on.
Disciple: But, Srila Prabhupada, people will argue, "Actually, we are proprietors of this world. Of course, our propietorship is relative."
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, it is relative. "Relative" means you are not the proprietors. You are servants. By your service you must satisfy the real proprietor and get your nice salary and be happy. This is stated in Isopanisad. Tena tyaktena bhunjitha:Whatever God gives, you should accept and be happy. Do not try to encroach upon others. Receive from the proprietor your emolument or your reward, and be happy. This is stated in Isopanisad. isavasyam idam sarvam: Everything is God's property; simply take your share. You have that right.
It is like a father and his sons. Say there are ten sons. Every one of them has the right to share the property of the father but as the father gives. Not that I take away the entire property and let my brothers starve. That is not allowed. That is criminal.
Every soul who has come here to the material world intends to get the greatest profit, without considering profit for others. Others may go to hell. "Others let them go to the slaughter- house. I must satisfy my tongue." This is the material world.
"No," we advise these fallen souls. "Why are you slaughtering other living entities?"
"I don't care. I want to eat them. That's all."
So we warn, "You will have to pay for that. You cannot put others into difficulty, because God is equally merciful to everyone. Of course, you don't care about God. That is why you whimsically do whatever you like. But by putting others into difficulty, you are putting yourself into difficulty." This is the situation.
Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah: Without God consciousness, no one has truly good qualities. Everyone is damned, condemned. Manorathenasati dhavato bahih: By mere mental speculation one will simply prolong his material existence. That's all.
And this prolonging of our material existence is troublesome. Material existence means just this. For instance, taking a dog body means plunging deeply into the ocean of material existence. It is a standard of suffering. But the dog does not know. Under illusion he is thinking, "I am very happy." Similarly, everyone is thinking, "I am very happy," but everyone is in a condemned condition.
Take the pig. He is eating stool, living in a filthy place. But he is getting fat, because he is thinking he is very happy. This is called illusion. You are thinking, "Oh, what a nasty condition. This animal is eating stool and living in a filthy place." But he is thinking he is very happy. Unless he thinks like that, he cannot live in that condition. Again, this is called illusion. He does not know what is the actual, high standard of happiness.
Disciple: The highest standard of happiness, Srila Prabhupada, is simply to be in your association.
Srila Prabhupada: Back to home, back to Godhead. That's all. This is the highest standard of happiness. We are trying to take everyone to that place. Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama: Once having returned to Krsna's supreme abode, we never return to this miserable material world.
[Now continuing the discussion in a car en route to ISKCON's Los Angeles center:] The so-called scientists are taking the effect, the material body, as the cause. And they are taking the cause, the living spirit, as the effect of the material body. That is illusion. Actually, the soul has nothing at all to do with the material world, but according to his mentality, he is creating certain material conditions. For instance, I don't require liquor, but if I want to be intoxicated, then liquor will be present.
Disciple: So I am accustomed to think the material body is the cause of my existence. Really, though, I am conditioning myself to accept material bodies, which I don't at all need.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. As soon as I condition myself to leave Krsna's spiritual abode, I create an environment that is material. So these so-called scientists have no eyes to see the spirit. They take the material condition as the cause of the spirit. And when they find that in spite of the presence of these material chemicals, the living person has passed away, they are bewildered. They say, "Yes, we are trying to improve our understanding." But they will never find a way to put the living person back into the dead body.
The body was dependent on the life. The life was not dependent on the body. For instance, let us say that some master is living with many servants. When he passes away, the servants also go away. But you cannot say, "He was living because the servants were there." That you cannot say.
Disciple: Because the soul is not depending on any material situation. Rather, the material situation depends on the soul.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. The master has gone away. Therefore, since his servants can no longer serve him, they have dispersed. But if you are a rascal scientist, you say, "Because the servants were there, the master was existing. Now that the servants have left him, he has passed away." By simple logic, you cannot speak like that.
On the other hand, no matter how lavish our material situation, we are not independent. For instance, no matter how opulent our car, we are not independent. We are dependent on the government's traffic laws. Why the red light? The red light reminds us that we are not independent. We are under control.
Disciple: Actually, we are controlled at every step.
Srila Prabhupada: Every step.
Disciple: Also, Srila Prabhupada, aside from the traffic laws bearing down on us, in an instant any one of these other cars could crash into us.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. As soon as you transgress the controlling law of nature, you'll be smashed. There is nature's control, and as soon as you go against nature, you are finished.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, is it true that your spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, called all these so-called scientific authorities boka?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. He spoke of all these materialistically minded persons as boka, or fools. So I simply repeat his word. Boka. Another meaning of boka is "insane." These so-called scientific authorities are all insane. Anyone who has no clear knowledge about "What is the aim of life?" "What is God?" "What is my relationship with God?" whatever he is doing is defeat. That we see in practical, everyday life. So many scientists, so many philosophers, so many politicians are attemping to bring about a better condition in the world, but they are all failures. They are working in the dark. They do not know anything. One insane fool is trying to surpass another insane fool.