Here we conclude an exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some disciples that took place in Mayapur, India, on January 16, 1976.
Srila Prabhupada: These modern so-called scientists have much in common with Hiranyakasipu such a big demon. His only idea was, "The devatas, the demigods they prevail over us sometimes. But now I shall attack them and prevail over them. And because I am now virtually immortal, what can they do? They cannot kill me. So I will go on with my demonic activities, and they will not be able to do anything."
Hiranyakasipu did not know that by trying to achieve immortality for his material body, he was exhibiting the greatest foolishness.
When Brahma, Krsna's first created being in the universe, told Hiranyakasipu, "No, no, it is not possible," still Hiranyakasipu expected, "Yes, somehow I shall become immortal."
Lord Brahma flatly said, "No, no, this is not possible. I myself am not immortal. How can I give you immortality?"
But Hiranyakasipu would not hear even Lord Brahma. He thought, "In a roundabout way I shall befool this man Brahma."
Hiranyakasipu said, "All right, sir, then give me this benediction."
"What is that?"
"I'll not die on the land."
"Nor shall I die in the water."
"Nor in the air."
So Hiranyakasipu thought, "All three realms are eliminated. So where can I die? After all, there are only three realms land, water, air. And Brahma has given me the benediction that I shall not die anywhere within these three. So I have cheated Brahma."
And then Hiranyakasipu continued, "Grant that I shall not die in the daytime."
"Grant that I shall not die in the nighttime."
But by nature's arrangement, there is still another interval of time between day and night. [Laughing.] Hiranyakasipu forgot that. That interval of time is called sandhya. That is accepted in the Vedas. But Hiranyakasipu forgot that. Krsna is more intelligent than any of His creatures. So Hiranyakasipu was not killed in the daytime or the nighttime. He was killed in the sandhya, the interval between daytime and nighttime.
And as for land, sky, and water, that matter, also, was adjusted with tricks Krsna killed Hiranyakasipu on His lap. You cannot say that one's lap is land; you cannot say it is sky; you cannot say it is water.
So Krsna is so kind that because His devotee Brahma had given Hiranyakasipu all these benedictions, Krsna would kill Hiranyakasipu without touching all those points conceded by Brahma. In this way, Hiranyakasipu could not accuse Brahma that "Sir, you have cheated me."
"No," Brahma would be able to reply. "Whatever you wanted I have given you. You have cheated yourself. You did not know that your knowledge of the cosmic situation was imperfect. Nor could you make it perfect. So, that was your folly. Whatever you wanted, I said, 'Yes, yes, yes.' At the same time I added, 'In spite all of this, you cannot become immortal.' After all, that is not possible.
"But you you fool did not heed my warning. So despite your cunning, you remained a fool. You thought you were very intelligent, very cunning: 'I am now fully equipped. Nobody can kill me.' "
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, it seems Hiranyakasipu was acting much like a modern lawyer. He was trying like anything to find loopholes in the law.
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. A big lawyer is simply someone who is very expert at finding and exploiting weaknesses in the present law. That is the definition of a big lawyer.
Actually, these modern leaders are acting like big lawyers trying to be more intelligent than Krsna and His law. [Laughs.] These rascals are trying to be more intelligent. Therefore they are called mudhas rascals and fools.
Srila Prabhupada: Ah. Moghasa mogha-karmano mogha-jnana vicetasah. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna confirms, "Every atheistic rascal will see all his hopes, all his activities, all his so-called knowledge come to nothing. Such a rascal will be utterly baffled."
To begin with, Krsna asks such a simple thing: "You just surrender unto Me. You'll get all protection."
But the rascal says, "No, no. That is not possible. I must act according to my own whims. Why shall I surrender?"
"All right. Go on," Krsna says at last. "I'll give you all facility for executing your whims. You'll get it. You do whatever you like. Try your best."
This is going on. Krsna is giving good advice. But unfortunately, the rascal will not accept it. So Krsna is so kind that He says, "All right. You act in your own way. I shall give you all facility." That facility is Maya, the Lord's illusory energy. When the soul desires to leave the spiritual world, Maya gives him this material world and a materially affected mind by which he can try to lord it over. Actually, Maya gives him that mind so that she can punish him very severely.
So anyway, Maya has given us a clever, materially affected mind. "All right. Now you go on desiring illusory material enjoyment. You go on desiring and desiring, and I will give you facility."
Disciple: So our seemingly clever mind is really an agent of punishment.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. This material mind is just that. For instance, when you see a madman, you see he is not mindless. No. He has a mind. But that mind is polluted. That is why he is acting abnormally. His mind is there, but it is covered by some infection. Therefore, one moment a madman is thinking this way, the next moment that way, then again this way, and so on. That's all.
Disciple: Constant anxiety.
Srila Prabhupada: Useless. Killing himself.
Disciple: Sometimes, Srila Prabhupada, a person who goes mad has to be put into a padded cell, so that he doesn't harm himself.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Otherwise he will create danger for others. Similarly, this whole material world is a "padded cell" for those who have left the spiritual world. They must be kept within this padded cell, so that they can go on with their madness of mind without disturbing the sane and peaceful residents of the spiritual world.
Still, Krsna has kindly left the Vedic literature here, with instructions that "If you act this or that way, then you can promote yourself to this or that higher material planet. And yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam if you act in devotional service, you can come to Me." But the soul who has gone mad will not take that instruction.
Disciple: Coming to Krsna means he'll have to give up all his mad desires.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, but all the instructions are there for escaping this material world and going home to Krsna's blissful abode. All the instructions are there. We simply have to accept them. If we don't accept them, we suffer. What can be done? If you accept the path leading to hell, in spite of higher authorities' instructions, then who can save you? That is going on.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. A rascal is thinking he has become so very intelligent that he can deceive God, deceive the spiritual master, and be happy. He does not know that he can neither deceive God nor deceive His representative, the guru. That is not possible. But he is thinking like that, even though he is being put into one suffering condition after another. For instance, an ordinary thief or rogue thinks, "I am deceiving the government," even though the government has got so many agents that sooner or later he will be arrested. Of course, this sinful modern government may not be so expert, but how can some rascal deceive the government of Krsna? That is not possible.
Disciple: Krsna's undercover agents are everywhere.
Srila Prabhupada: Everywhere, in every direction. They are bearing witness. And isvarah sarva-bhutanam Krsna is sitting within the heart of everyone. How can you deceive Him?
Disciple: Krsna knows more about what's going on than we do.
Srila Prabhupada: Anumanta upadrasta. Ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi sarva-ksetresu bharata. Krsna is sitting within everyone's heart as the witness and permitter. So how can these rascals think, "I can deceive God"?
Disciple: Mayayapahrta-jnana. Vigata-jnana.
Srila Prabhupada: Hmm. Vigata-jnana, yes. Their knowledge is stolen by illusion.
Disciple: Like children playing, they think that they've become a king or this or that, and they're completely absorbed in that illusion.
Srila Prabhupada: Why "children playing"? In this age the father and mother are also playing.