This exchange between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and a television interviewer took place in Gainesville, Florida, on July 29, 1971.
Interviewer: Your Grace, this is being recorded on videotape, so it will be broadcast later.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: Not right now, but later on. I, of course, know very little about this subject.
Srila Prabhupada: [Laughing.]
Interviewer: Yes. So if I ask questions which, you know, sound sort of ignorant . . .
Srila Prabhupada: [Laughs.] Yes. I shall . . .
Interviewer: I ask your indulgence. Thank you.
Srila Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. [Laughing.]
Interviewer: You are the expert, and I know very, very little about this.
Srila Prabhupada: The expert is Krsna. He is the expert. [Chuckles.]
Interviewer: The expert is Krsna. Yes. That much I understand. Yes. In fact, Krsna is everything.
Srila Prabhupada: [Chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra softly on his beads.] One who fully accepts that Krsna is the expert he is authorized.
Interviewer: So you are authorized.
Srila Prabhupada: I or anyone that follows Krsna's instructions. My book Bhagavad-gita As It Is is authority.
Interviewer: Yes, I know.
Srila Prabhupada: MacMillan publishes every year fifty thousand copies. You can inquire from your side about any reading matter from this original Bhagavad-gita. That will be nice. Then I can explain.
Interviewer: All right. [To a member of his television production team:] You're going to cue me, right?
[Beginning his presentation:] Lord Krsna is the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed by all the Vedic scriptures and by the great sages in disciplic succession. He has a body made of eternity, bliss, and all knowledge. God has infinite forms and expansions, but of all His forms, His original form, His transcendental form, is as a cowherd boy, a form which He reveals only to His most confidential devotees. So go the teachings of Krsna, as laid down in the Vedic literature. And of the sages in the disciplic succession, which I mentioned, one is our guest for this conversation today. He is His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, foremost teacher in the West of the Krsna philosophy, which, moreover, he teaches not only by word but by example. He came to this country in 1965, on orders of his spiritual master. As a Krsna disciple, he is the present human exponent of a line of succession going back five hundred years, to the appearance in India of Lord Caitanya, and beyond that to a time five thousand years ago, when Lord Krsna Himself was on this planet and His words were recorded.
[To Srila Prabhupada:] Welcome, sir. What is Krsna consciousness?
Srila Prabhupada: Krsna consciousness means that every living being is part and parcel of Krsna. Krsna has got many expansions. They are called personal expansions and separated expansions. So, separated expansions are we we living entities. But although we are very intimately connected with Krsna, somehow or other we are now separat-ed by contact of material nature. So we have practically forgotten that we are part and parcel of Krsna. Actually, that is a fact, but the living being forgets. Just as a rich man's son somehow or other, he has forgotten his father, and he's loitering in the streets like a poor man. But actually, that is not his position. He has forgotten, simply.
So this Krsna consciousness movement means we are trying to invoke that original consciousness that the living being is part and parcel of Krsna. Why should he remain in this material world and suffer the threefold miseries? So we want to revive our original consciousness. The original consciousness is Krsna consciousness. Just like a man born of a lord's family his title should be that of the lord's family, but unfortunately, forgetting his own home, he's accepting some menial title. So our whole Vedic literature is meant for that purpose, to revive everyone's original consciousness. Aham brahmasmi "I am spirit."
Interviewer: You came, sir, to this country in 1965, as I said, on instructions or orders given you by your spiritual master. By the way, who was your spiritual master?
Srila Prabhupada: My spiritual master was Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.
Interviewer: Now, in this line of succession that we were talking about earlier this disciplic line which goes way back, all the way back to Krsna Himself, right? was your spiritual master the previous one before you?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. The disciplic succession has been coming from Krsna over the past five thousand years.
Interviewer: Is your spiritual master still alive?
Srila Prabhupada: He passed away in 1936.
Interviewer: So you are, at this particular time, then, sort of the world head of this movement? Would that be correct?
Srila Prabhupada: I have got many Godbrothers, but I was particularly ordered to do this, from the very beginning of my association with my spiritual master. So I am trying to please my spiritual master. That's all.
Interviewer: Now, you were sent to this country, to the United States of America. This is your territory. Is that correct?
Srila Prabhupada: Hmm. "My territory." What my spiritual master said was, "You go and speak this philosophy to the English-knowing public."
Interviewer: To the English-speaking world?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. And especially to the Western world. Yes. He told me like that.
Interviewer: When you came, sir, to this country, you did not come to a part of the world where religion as such was lacking. In the United States of America we have many religions, and I think a great majority of people in this country like to believe that they are religious people who believe in God, you know, who devote themselves to some form of religious expression. And I wonder what your thinking was. What did you think that you could add to the already living religious expression in this country by coming here and adding your own philosophy to it?
Srila Prabhupada: When I first came to your country, I was guest of an Indian friend at Butler.
Interviewer: In Pennsylvania?
Srila Prabhupada: Pennsylvania. So although it was a small county, I was very much engladdened that there were so many churches.
Interviewer: So many churches? Yes, yes.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, so many churches. And I spoke in many of the churches there. My host arranged for that. So I did not come here with the purpose of defeating some religious process. That was not my purpose. Our mission is Lord Caitanya's mission is to teach everyone how to love God. That's all.
Interviewer: But in what way, sir, may I ask in what way did you think, and do you think right now, that the teaching of the love of God which you are doing is different and perhaps better than the teachings of the love of God which already were being conducted in this country, and have been conducted in the Western world for centuries?
Srila Prabhupada: We are following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya. He's accepted by us according to the authority of the Vedic literature. He is personally Krsna.