Unless we understand the father,
how can we live as brothers?
This conversation with a journalist took place at the Hare Krsna center in London in 1971.
Srila Prabhupada: I have experienced that in my childhood there were not so many problems in India. But now India is faced with so many problems on account of imitating Western civilization.
Reporter: Not simply because of the increased population?
Srila Prabhupada: No, that is foolishness. God can provide food for any number of people. If you dig a hole in your room, millions of ants will come out. So, who is giving them food? There are thousands of elephants in the forest. Who is giving them food? No, it is not a question of increased population.
There are 8,400,000 species of life. Out of those, only 400,000 are human beings. Even among those, civilized persons are very few. And all the problems are in the so-called civilized population.
Reporter: Then what is the reason for so many problems?
Srila Prabhupada: The demoniac civilization is creating the problems, not an increase of population. As far as I have studied in America, in Africa, in Australia there is so much vacant land that ten times the present population of the world could live comfortably.
Reporter: And there would be enough food?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. But there is scarcity at the present moment because we have made artificial divisions. Several hundred years ago some people left Europe and occupied America. Now the Americans restrict who can go there. Similarly, in Australia they restrict, and also in New Zealand and Africa. Why?
Our philosophy is that since everything belongs to God and we are all sons of God, everyone has the right to live at the cost of God. This is our philosophy.
Reporter: But the values of Western civilization make living as children of God impossible.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, because one son of God is not letting another son enjoy the father's property equally. Suppose your father has ten sons. So, all ten sons have the right to use the father's property. That is the law. Similarly, all living entities not only human beings but also birds, animals, fish have the right to take as much of God's property as they need to live. This is called spiritual communism.
According to the Vedic civilization, a householder has to see that even a lizard in his house is not starving. Even a snake in the house has to be fed. Each householder stands on the street and, before taking his food, loudly calls, "If anyone is hungry, please come. I have plenty of food." Only when there is no response does he take his meal.
Reporter: That's a very difficult doctrine for many people in the modern civilization to follow.
Srila Prabhupada: But that is human civilization. Animal civilization is that as soon as one dog sees another dog coming, the first dog barks, "Yow! Yow! Why have you come? Why have you come?" Similarly, the immigration department barks, "Oh, how long will you stay? What is your business?" In the Vedic civilization, even if an enemy comes to your home, you receive him in such a friendly way that he forgets that he is your enemy.
Reporter: But it must be very difficult to put such principles into practice.
Srila Prabhupada: No. It is difficult only because this is a civilization of demons. Consider what happened in India. India welcomed everyone, but the result was that India was occupied by the English. Lord Clive was welcome, but he intrigued to occupy India, and his statue is honored in London. What is his credit? He made an intrigue, illegally entered India, and established an occupation force. And he is honored. That is Western civilization.
Guest: How can we strengthen brotherhood in the modern world?
Srila Prabhupada: Brotherhood is natural. In a family, a father may have many sons, and they all naturally feel affection for one another. But if one son intrigues how to take the whole of the father's property, then there is enmity. The father's property should be equally distributed, but one cunning son is simply intriguing how to occupy the whole estate for himself. This is what is going on all over the world, and it is demoniac.
Reporter: How can you stop that?
Srila Prabhupada: By Krsna consciousness. As soon as people understand that God, the supreme father, is one, and that we are all His sons, then the whole problem is solved.
Reporter: I can see how if everyone were saintly, there would be no reason for any one person to take more than he needs. But the difficulty is, that's a very optimistic view of human nature.
Srila Prabhupada: It is not optimistic; it is proper civilization.
Reporter: Some people might say
Srila Prabhupada: "Some people" are demons. Now the youngsters are frustrated, so they are becoming hippies. That is the situation. Everyone wants to enjoy, and as soon as they cannot enjoy, there is some reaction. You see?
Reporter: The hippies are rejecting the modern civilization.
Srila Prabhupada: Rejection, reaction, protest. If the leaders of society would become cool-headed and understand that God is actually the proprietor of everything, there wouldn't be this rejection, reaction, and protest. Everyone is a son of God, so all of God's property must be available to everyone. If the leaders only understand this, then everything will be all right.
It is pot a question of increased population. There is enough food. America has so much food that they throw it away. And they forbid the farmers, "Don't produce more." Why? Produce more and distribute more. That is civilization.
Reporter: I know you define that as civilization, but I was trying to suggest that some societies, some individual personalities, are avaricious seemingly by nature. How do you explain that?
Srila Prabhupada: Lust and greed are a disease. There are three qualities in the material world: sattva-guna, the quality of goodness; rajo-guna, the quality of passion; and tamo-guna, the quality of darkness. At the present moment the qualities of darkness and passion are prevalent. Goodness is gone. And the symptoms of darkness and passion are greed and lust. People are being educated to become greedy and lusty. That's all. Nobody is being educated to become good. So, what is the use of the rascal universities? If you are producing greedy and lusty people, then what is the use of your so-called education? Education means to train people to become gentlemen. That is human education. If you produce lusty and greedy people, it is an animal civilization. The animals are all lusty and greedy.
Reporter: What is your view of why the Western civilization is predominant?
Srila Prabhupada: That predominance is dwindling. Where has your British Empire gone?
Reporter: Yes, quite.
Srila Prabhupada: So, it was artificial. There was the Roman Empire, the Mogul Empire, the British Empire empires come and go. They stay for one or two hundred years and then disappear.
Reporter: But they don't seem to improve society.
Srila Prabhupada: If you remain demons, there is no question of improvement. There are two classes of men: the godly and the demoniac. If you continue your demoniac civilization, there is no question of happiness. You cannot be happy in a demoniac civilization.
Reporter: What about Christianity? It's been with us now for two thousand years, but it doesn't seem to have helped people become particularly civilized.
Srila Prabhupada: First try to understand what religion is. Then you can talk of different types of religion. Religion means to understand God. So, if Christianity is teaching people to understand God and to become obedient to God, then it is all right. But if it is not teaching that, then it is useless. Simply by rubber-stamping "I am Christian" what will you accomplish?
Reporter: Well, nothing.
Srila Prabhupada: The Christian religion is good, provided that followers of Christianity actually follow Lord Jesus Christ's teachings. But they are not following.
Jesus Christ's first order is "Thou shalt not kill," but the Christians are very expert in killing. So, who is a Christian?
If you don't follow your scripture but simply stamp yourself, "I am Christian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," what will be the benefit? Nobody is Christian, nobody is Hindu, nobody is Muslim: everyone is a demon. That is our conclusion.
Reporter: You mean, except those in Krsna consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada: Krsna consciousness is not so easy. You were talking about the Christian religion, but do you know the aim of religion? That we must understand that the aim of religion is to know God. If you profess some religion whether Christianity, Hinduism, or Mohammedanism but you cannot explain what God is, then what is the use of your becoming religious?
Reporter: Probably none. But people seem to like to have a religion.
Srila Prabhupada: But they don't like God. As soon as somebody speaks about surrendering to God, they say he's crazy.
If you are really a Christian, that is all right. But you are not a Christian, because you are violating the orders of Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life and said that he atoned for your sins. But you are not stopping your sinful life, yet you are still claiming to be Christian. So, the conclusion is that actually there are no Christians, although the Christian religion itself is a very nice religion.
Reporter: Do you think that you can help large numbers of people in this country understand God?
Srila Prabhupada: I can help anyone, provided he takes my help. If you refuse my help, how can I help you?
Reporter: I'm merely suggesting that
Srila Prabhupada: I am asking people to become God conscious. But if you refuse to become God conscious, how can I help you?
Reporter: But to become God conscious, do you think one has to become a devotee of Krsna?
Srila Prabhupada: You have to become a devotee of God. If you don't accept Krsna as God, then you should present some other idea of God. We are presenting Krsna as God, and we are giving God's name, address, occupation everything. So, if you refuse to accept Krsna as God, then present your God. Give His address, name, and occupation. Can you give them to me?
Srila Prabhupada: Then accept Krsna as God. Why are you refusing? If you do not know who God is, then take this understanding from me. And if you know God better than I do, then give your understanding to me. But if you do not know, and still you will not accept Krsna, then what is your position? You do not actually want to know God.
Reporter: To know God, do you need to have His name, address, and occupation?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. For example, when you came in, I asked you what your name, address, and occupation were. If I did not know your name, address, and occupation, what would be the use of talking?
Reporter: This is very interesting, because in Western civilization God is defined more as an idea than a person.
Srila Prabhupada: That is nonsense. God is a person like you and me. You can talk with Him. You can see Him. We are talking with Krsna; we are directly taking His instruction and abiding by His order. God is not an idea. He is the Supreme Person.
Reporter: That's a very difficult thing to conceptualize.
Srila Prabhupada: It is not difficult. If you accept the authority of the scriptures and the bona fide spiritual master, there is no difficulty. These boys and girls are accepting, and they have no difficulty. They also come from a Western country. They are happy.
Reporter: Yes. I'm not suggesting that they are not happy or that
Srila Prabhupada: So, you can also become happy, you can also they are not convinced that you're right.know God, provided you accept the words of the scripture and the spiritual master. But if you don't, how can I help?
Reporter: What I'm suggesting is . . . what I'm trying to stress is that for a large number of people
Srila Prabhupada: When you are presenting the most valuable thing, you cannot expect many people to purchase it. For example, if you are selling diamonds, you cannot expect the whole population of England to purchase them. When there is a question of diamonds, the customer must be rich. Similarly, to be qualified to understand God is also rare. Only the fortunate and pious can understand God. Still, we are giving facilities for everyone to understand God. That is our mission.
Reporter: But there is a certain price that one must pay.
Srila Prabhupada: No price: one must simply be sincere.
Reporter: To sincerely try.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. If you are sincerely eager to know God, there is no difficulty. Tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam: "The price for knowing God is great eagerness." There is no question of paying money. Our transaction in this Krsna consciousness movement is not a monetary transaction. I do not pay anything to my disciples, nor are they paying me. It is a question of understanding and love.
Reporter: Yes. I'm only suggesting that, as you were saying, people who are kind and gentle would perhaps find it easier to start. There are obviously lots of people who are not so kind and gentle and who would presumably find it more difficult.
Srila Prabhupada: No. They may not be gentle, but we are gentle. We simply request, "Please come to us and learn about God." We can teach a person how to be gentle, provided he follows the process of Krsna consciousness.
Reporter: One last question: Is there a single motto you could give to people who don't know anything about Krsna consciousness, to help them understand it?
Srila Prabhupada: Very simple: "God is the supreme proprietor, God is the supreme enjoyer, and God is the supreme friend."
Reporter: The supreme proprietor
Srila Prabhupada: God is the supreme enjoyer.
Reporter: The supreme enjoyer
Srila Prabhupada: And God is the supreme friend. Now, if you think about it, you cannot say that you are the proprietor of this land. The land was here before your birth, and it will remain after your death. So, during your span of life you are simply a caretaker of this land. It actually belongs to somebody else the supreme proprietor, God. And because He is the supreme proprietor, He is also the supreme enjoyer. And He is the supreme friend because He is giving all the necessities of life to everyone. Nobody can be a better friend than God. So, if one actually understands these three facts that God is the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer, and the supreme friend he can very easily understand the science of Krsna consciousness.
Reporter: Thank you very much.