The following conversation took place in Los Angeles on May 14, 1973.
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, if material nature is the absence of Krsna, then what is material?
Srila Prabhupada: Nothing is material. If you continue Krsna consciousness, there's nothing material. When we offer this flower in Krsna consciousness, is it material?
Srila Prabhupada: So how has it become spiritual? It was material in the tree and now it has become spiritual? No. It is spiritual. As long as I was thinking that it is meant for my enjoyment, it was material. As soon as I take it for Krsna's enjoyment, it is spiritual.
Devotee: So actually this entire world is spiritual.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That we want to engage everything in Krsna's service. Then this world will be the spiritual world.
Devotee: So we can also appreciate Krsna's creation in that light? For example, this flower is very beautiful because it is Krsna's.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. We realize that. The Mayavada philosophy says jagan mithya: "This world is false." We don't say that. Krsna has created so many nice things for His enjoyment, why shall I say mithya[false]? Suppose you build a nice house and you call me, "Just see," and if I say, "It is all mithya."
Devotee: I'll be offended, because I can't enjoy it if it is false.
Srila Prabhupada [Laughing.]: How depressed you'll be!
The Bhagavad-gita explains that the demons say like this asatyam apratistham te jagad ahur anisvaram. The rascals, the demons say that this world is asatya, untruth, and that there is no cause, no isvara.This is the declaration of the demons.
But if Krsna is a fact, His creation is a fact. His energy is a fact. Why shall I say it is false? We don't say it is false. The Mayavadis say it is false.
Devotee: If someone looks at the Deity of Krsna and thinks it's only stone or wood, for him it's still material?
Srila Prabhupada: That is his ignorance. How can it be material? The stone is also Krsna's energy. For example, electricity is everywhere, and the electrician knows how to utilize it. Similarly, Krsna is everywhere, even in the stone, and the devotees know how to utilize stone to appreciate Krsna. The rascals do not know. The devotee knows because he has no other view than of Krsna. Why should the stone be without Krsna? "Here is Krsna." That is real oneness. The Mayavadi philosophers propose oneness, but they divide this is stone, this is not Krsna. Why bring another thing?
Devotee: For a Krsna conscious person is Krsna as much in the stone as in the Deity?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Devotee: Just as much?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Why not?
Devotee: But we order Deities all the way from India?
Srila Prabhupada: Krsna explains, "Everything is in Me, but I'm not everything." This is called acintya-bhedabheda simultaneous oneness and difference. Everything is Krsna, but you cannot worship this bench as Krsna. That is rascaldom.
The sunshine is also sun. Is it not? But when the sunshine is in the room, you cannot say, "The sun is my room." This is called acintya-bhedabheda.
Devotee: But you said one can see Krsna within the stone.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Why not?
Devotee: And one can worship Him within the stone or within everything.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. We worship everything. We see Krsna everywhere. We don't see the tree; we see Krsna's energy. Therefore the tree is also worshipable because Krsna and Krsna's energy are both worshipable. Therefore we say, "Hare Krsna." Hare means Krsna's energy. We worship everything.
In our childhood we were taught by our parents that if a grain of rice falls on the floor, we must pick it up and touch it to our head to show respect. We were taught like this how to see everything in relationship with Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness.
Therefore, we do not like to see anything wasted, anything misused. Why are we preaching? Because we see that so many rascals are misusing their life. We think, "Let us give them some enlightenment." This is our mission.
We could think, "Let them go to hell." Mayavadi sannyasis engage in meditation or go to the Himalayas, but we have come to Los Angeles. Why? This is our mission. "Oh, these people are being misused under maya. Let them gain some enlightenment."
We are teaching how to utilize everything for Krsna, how to understand Krsna in everything. That is our mission. See Krsna in everything. Krsna says, "Anyone who sees Me everywhere, and everything in Me, is perfect."