Here we continue an exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the poet Allen Ginsberg. It took place on May 12, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio.
Srila Prabhupada: Krsna consciousness is not a bluff. It is real science, real authority. One simply has to understand it. That's all. Therefore, in Caitanya-caritamrta it is said, krsna yei bhaje sei bada catura: Unless one is very, very intelligent, he cannot come to Krsna consciousness. He must be very intelligent. So if we find one or two intelligent persons . . . Ekas candras tamo hanti na ca tarah sahas-rasah: One moon is sufficient to eradicate all darkness. There is no need of millions of stars. Krsna consciousness is so beautiful. You call any intelligent person, and we are prepared to convince him. Any intelligent person. He must be a little intelligent. That's all.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes, but I'm not even convinced. I mean, everything you say is beautiful, but . . .
Srila Prabhupada: No. You are a very intelligent boy. Why do you not think you are intelligent? You are a recognized poet; you are a popular poet. I take it that you are intelligent. You are first-class intelligent. You are chanting.
Allen Ginsberg: But for me the chanting is almost a physical body movement, rather than a . . .
Srila Prabhupada: For now that may be, but your intelligence is sufficient. If this standard of intelligent men is what I get as my followers, that will be my good fortune. You see. Now, at least, I request you that you try to understand this Krsna consciousness philosophy. It is not sentiment. It is not bluffing. It is not a money-making business.
Allen Ginsberg: No. Obviously not.
Srila Prabhupada: You see? You know my activities from the very beginning. I came here single-handed. I chanted. That's all. I never asked anybody for money.
Allen Ginsberg: That was never in question.
Srila Prabhupada: I never said, "I'll give you Krsna consciousness for this or that." No. So it is not a bluff. It is purely scientific. Transcendental science. So I want some American gentlemen to understand this.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, Howard [Prabhupada's disciple Hayagriva Dasa] teaches at the university, and he understands.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So we want many Howards. [Chuckles.] Your country is so big.
Allen Ginsberg: Actually, what I was getting into . . . You were saying that Krsna says, "So everything stands on My personality." And then there was a twist there: "But I am . . ." was it "empty"? Is that what you said before? Do you remember? Just about eight minutes ago, you concluded the analogy of the sun.
Srila Prabhupada: The sun-god, the sun globe, and the sunshine.
Disciple: Krsna says, "All things are depending on Me, but I am absent. I am not in them."
Allen Ginsberg: Oh, oh. I guess that's where I . . . "Everything is depending on Me, yet I am not in them."
Srila Prabhupada: "Everything is resting on Me. But I am not there." For instance, this table is Krsna. Without Krsna it would have no existence. But at the same time, the table is not Krsna. The pantheist will say, "Everything is God. Therefore, I worship this table."
Allen Ginsberg: So, then, who is Krsna?
Srila Prabhupada: Krsna is Krsna.
Allen Ginsberg: But if He's not apprehensible by our senses . . .
Srila Prabhupada: No. Why say He's not apprehensible by our senses? As we said before, in a sense even this table is Krsna. But at the same time and this is the philosophy of Lord Caitanya: acintya-bhedabheda this or any other thing and Krsna are simultaneously one and different. That is very easy to understand. Suppose this table is gold. But this one gold thing is not the whole gold mine. There is a difference. Similarly, everything is Krsna, but still, everything is different from Krsna.
This principle of simultaneously one and different is explained in the Visnu Purana. Eka-desa-sthitasyagner jyotsna vistarini yatha/ parasya brahmanah saktis tatedam akhilam jagat. In this verse we get the same idea that the Lord expands in the way of the sun-god, sun globe, and sunshine. The sun-god is situated in one place, and from that place blazing fire spreads its heat and light all over.
You can see this principle practically demonstrated in everyday life, also: the expansion of the sun's heat and light all over the universe. We know that whatever we see within this material existence is depending on the sunlight, the sunshine. This statement is verifiable scientifically. Your electricity, your this, your that whatever item you take fundamentally it is sunshine. All these planets are moving, rotating, based on the sunshine.
If the sun's heat were taken away, immediately the whole thing would be spoiled; therefore, everything is resting on the energy of the sun-god. But if you say, "Then let me search out the sun-god who is behind the sunshine," to do that you will have to go there.
Disciple: As I think the Christians also say, God is more than His creation.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Certainly. This creation is only a part of the manifestation of His energy. Insignificant. That is explained in Bhagavad-gita. Atha va bahunaitena kim jnatena tavarjuna/ vistabhyaham idam krtsnam ekamsena sthito jagat:"This whole material existence is simply a partial manifestation of My energy." Krsna says, "I have entered into this whole material creation, and it is a partial manifestation of My energy."
For instance, what is this body of yours? This body is a manifestation of your energy. The living entity is put into the mother's womb in the form of a seed, and his body expands. This body is expanding. But because you are limited, your body expands only so much. Three feet or six feet. That's all. No more. You cannot expand more than that. This is a crude example.
But the Lord He's unlimited. So He's expanding unlimitedly. Brhattvad brnhanattvad iti brahma. Brahman means nothing is greater than Him, and nothing can expand like Him.
So the Vedic culture offers us all information scientifically. We simply have to disseminate it. We have got totally authoritative scriptures, with full descriptions of the Lord and answers to every possible question. Everything is here. This is not blind following. It is not religious fanaticism. It is actually solid ground. One simply has to understand nicely. That's all. And there is no difficulty. It is so simple.
Our initial recommendation is, Simply chant Hare Krsna. If someone asks, "Aren't these Sanskrit words?" that is not a problem. These are God's names, and everyone is naturally attracted to chanting them. So what is the difficulty? Bring any other religious principle, and you won't find any so easy as this. We don't recommend anything ritualistic; that is not a very important thing. We are giving the main instruction for this age, saying, "Simply chant."
Of course, at our temples we have a few ritualistic performances. They give us a little help in focusing our mind on the Lord's name. That's all. They help. But they are not required. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that all the strength and all the beauty, all the wisdom everything is there in the name. Simply by chanting the name, we get all blessings, everything. Ritualistic performances assist us in hearing the name, but if somebody does not want our ritualistic performances, that is not an important thing. We simply recommend, "Please chant." That's all. For example, I requested you to chant. Not that I requested that you adopt our means. So this is what we are requesting. Let people chant make an experiment. It is not a very difficult thing.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the chanting is easy, the chanting is easy. That's true.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Let people do that and not come to the ritualistic performances. Let them chant as far as possible and see the result. This is the easiest method of transcendental realization. And if you recommend that people chant Hare Krsna, oh, that will be accepted by many.
Allen Ginsberg: No. You see, I recommend it quite a bit, but it isn't accepted by very many.
Srila Prabhupada: [Chuckles.] No, no. To that I say, You are an American, and you are a popular leader. You have got some voice. I am a foreigner, newly arrived, so who cares about me?