Here we conclude an exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples. It took place on October 18, 1975, during a morning walk in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Srila Prabhupada: In Montreal a Bengali gentleman inquired, "Swamiji, you are using very strong words 'fools and rascals.' Can it be explained otherwise?"
And I replied, "No. These are the only words that you are all rascals and fools." [Laughter.]
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, you once said, "Anyone who has a material body is a rascal."
Srila Prabhupada: A rascal. That's all. And yet these rascals are trying to make the body permanent, even though they know they cannot. You cannot make the material body permanent. You are not allowed to keep it for more than several decades. Nor will you ever be allowed. Still, punah punas carvita-carvananam: [you are chewing what you have already chewed]. Repeatedly, these fools go on trying for the impossible. What is impossible, what cannot be allowed they are trying for it.
Disciple: Well, it appears people just can't accept that all their endeavors to make the body permanent will be defeated.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Of course, they are seeing they are experiencing that their endeavors are doomed. History never says that any man has become immortal. Even a great demon like Hiranyakasipu could not become immortal. And what to speak of these tiny demons? One kick is sufficient to kill them.
Disciple: Well, Srila Prabhupada, how is it that the Americans and Europeans, especially, have become the vanguard of these rascal ideas, this rascal culture?
Srila Prabhupada: Because they are Raksasas, flesh-eaters. They are eating flesh and drinking wine and having illicit sex. Raksasa civilization. Hiranyakasipu civilization. Hiranya means "gold," and kasipu means "soft bed." Simply learning how to attain these things this is Raksasa civilization. These people are simply searching after an existence of soft beds and gold, sex and money.
Of course, what they are trying for is impossible. It will not be allowed. And yet they are trying for it. After all, how can the material body be made permanent? But these fools say, "Yes, we are trying. Now disease has been reduced. Now we are living a few more years." These are their foolish words. They will never say, "No, it is impossible." Rather, they will go on glorifying their rascal endeavors.
Modern science what actual advancement have they achieved? We are talking on that point. These so-called scientists and other leaders are simply misleading.
In this connection Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has composed a nice song. He says, jada-vidya jato, mayara vaibhava. Jada-vidya means "material education," so-called material science. Vidya means "education." So this expansion of knowledge means expansion of maya, illusion.
The result is tomara bhajane badha: people will forget God. With the advancement of so-called material science or material knowledge, the result will be that people will forget God.
And next is moha janamiya, anitya samsare: "I am already captivated by the material world a temporary place where I cannot stay but the advancement of material knowledge will make me more captivated, and I shall work just like an ass." That's all.
Now, tell me whether Srila Bhaktivinoda is right or wrong. His charge is that advancement of material education is advancement of the influence of the material energy. And if you say, "What is the wrong there?" the wrong is, "You are already rascals, and this education will make you even more of a rascal." Moha janamiya, anitya samsare: "I am already captivated by the temporary material world, and these things will simply make me more completely, more thoroughly captivated." Now, this is the verdict of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. So if you don't like it, tell me your reason.
As for material "education," we are already captive under the laws of material nature, and the more we advance in material education, the more rigidly we'll be captive. So this is the verdict of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. What is your answer? Can anyone refute Bhaktivinoda Thakura and prove that he is wrong?
Disciple: Well, some may say that without material education we couldn't even read the knowledge Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written.
Srila Prabhupada: Who says we are against learning to read? The question is what we should read. If you dedicate yourself to reading Bhaktivinoda Thakura, that is real education.
We want that you learn from Bhaktivinoda Thakura, from Vyasadeva, from Narada. But why are you learning from Darwin, Freud, and other rascals? Education means you should learn from a person who is divinely authorized, who is without mistake, who is without illusion, who does not cheat just as, for instance, we are learning from Krsna. That is education. And if you learn from rascals and fools, then what is that education? Education means to learn from a learned person.
Education is required, but we require that which is actually education, that which is not cheating. And yet, thanks to so-called modern education, we are being cheated. We are being taught simply to work for the body which we are not. Is that education? Or is it cheating?
You may say, "I am looking after my own personal interests. Every day I turn on the water, and I thoroughly wash my shirt and coat."
But is that knowledge? "And what about you, sir? What about your food?"
"Me? My food? I don't care about that. Daily I wash my shirt and coat."
Is that education? You keep yourself starving, while you keep your shirt and coat very clean. Is that education? This is going on. Therefore, people are restless. They are hungry, starving. But what can their cars and big buildings do for them? Why are they committing suicide? Because they are not happy. There is no food for the spirit soul the actual self. Is that education?
That is not education. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura is right when he says, jibake karaye gadha: "Material education means making everyone more and more of an ass." That's all. Everyone is already an ass, because he's in the material world, and material so-called education means keeping him in that condition more and more.
Disciple: So, Srila Prabhupada, after a person leaves this particular material body and takes another one, then he starts off all over again?
Srila Prabhupada: No. He starts again according to the kind of new body he has earned. He will have to work according to whatever kind of body he has earned. If he has earned a dog body, he will work as a dog. If he has earned a tree body, he will work as a tree. "Previously you went naked, without any shame. Now stand naked for five thousand years in the scorching heat and freezing cold. You cannot protest, even when your limbs are being cut off."
So these natural laws are there to be understood. But what do the modern so-called educators know about this science? Krsna says, tatha dehantara praptih: "At the end of this lifetime you have to take a different body." He does not specify what form of body you are going to take. By your actions you are determining that.
And you can see, by practical experience, that there are millions of forms of body for you to take. Actually, there are 8,400,000 forms of body. You have to enter one of them. That's all. So what can you do? Nature will force you: "Enter this body."
It may be a better body, or it may be an abominable body. But you have to enter another body. Now, where is the educational institution to remind me, "I'll have to enter another body after death, so let me be careful about what kind of body I shall have"? Where is that educational institution? These so-called educators are blind.