The goal of life is laziness

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a morning walk with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

(edited for clarity)

19 October 1975, Johannesburg, South Africa

Indian man: Don't you think the people (in South Africa) are lazy?

Prabhupada: Why aren't you lazy here? It is the government's policy or government's management. You see? To become lazy is the recommendation of the shastra. "Lazy" has become a bad word, but actually real life means to not work very hard. Working hard (only) for eating means animal life, not human life. Human life should be very peaceful - without any hard work - for cultivating spiritual knowledge. Not working hard like hogs and dogs all day just to find some stool. That isn't human life. People are being educated to work very hard. That isn't human life. Therefore those who have money build a nice bungalow in a secluded place to live peacefully - to become lazy. Is it not?

Indian man: Yes.

Prabhupada: Perfection of life means ultimately you become lazy; you haven't got to work. That is perfection, they say. Otherwise why live in a cottage in a secluded place? On weekends, Americans leave aside all working. They become tired from all their hard working, and they go. The intention is to live a peaceful life, and not work very hard. That is human life. Otherwise, why go outside the city on the weekend? Why?

Indian man: They want rest, I suppose. They want rest.

Prabhupada: That means lazy.

Indian man: No. . .

Prabhupada: Yes. Rest means lazy; you don't work.

Indian man: If one works five days a week, you rest for two...

Prabhupada: That is another thing. You have to work to become lazy. (laughter) That is another thing. But the goal is to become lazy. You work five days very hard just to become lazy for two days. That's all. But if you have the means to become lazy seven days a week, you'll prefer it.

Pusta Krishna: But I think most people would go crazy if they didn't have any work.

Prabhupada: No, that means their life is not properly conducted. Therefore the word "laziness" has come (into use). "Laziness" is not actually the word. Laziness means minimizing bodily labor and engaging in spiritual work. If you ask people, "Please come to our temple," who is coming? Most people say, "I have no time." But we're not working hard.

There are (four) classifications: "Lazy intelligent, busy intelligent, lazy fool, and busy fool." So at the present moment (laughs) the whole world is full of busy fools. But the first-class man is "lazy intelligent." The second-class man is "busy intelligent." Third class means "lazy fool" and fourth class means "busy fool."

Nowadays people are busy but they're fools - like monkeys. A monkey is very busy. You see? People prefer to be a generation of monkeys, busy fools. A fool, when he is busy, is simply creating havoc. A lazy fool is better because he will not create so much harm, but a busy fool will simply create harm. And a first class-man is lazy intelligent. He knows the value of life. He's thinking soberly. Just like, you will find, all our great saintly persons. They were living in the forest, (performing) meditation, tapasya (austerity), and writing books. All lazy intelligent. They are first-class men.

Indian man: Not like the monkey, jumping from one ...

Prabhupada: What is the value of a busy fool? He is a fool, and he is busy. Nowadays, education is for making busy fools. That's all.

Indian man: What about the busy intelligent? How does he behave?

Prabhupada: Busy intelligent means at least there is some meaning to whatever he is doing. Lazy intelligent means to be doing higher things. Lazy intelligent means brahmana, and busy intelligent means kshatriya.

chatur-varnyam maya srstam
[Bg. 4.13].

The society should be divided into four classes. The shudras are busy fools, therefore they are to be guided. For every hundred workers, one leader must be there to give the direction: "Why are you doing this? Why you don't do this?" Otherwise they'll create havoc - busy fools. Now the whole world is full of busy fools. That's all.

For brahmanas, the Bhagavad-gita doesn't recommend, "You work hard day and night." Brahminical qualifications are controlling the senses, controlling the mind, being truthful, clean, knowing everything nicely, practical applying the knowledge, and having full faith in shastra and Bhagavan (God). [Bg. 18.42]. These things are recommended, not that a brahmana should become very busy all day and night for getting food.

Shastra says, "There is no use of becoming busy for your food. Food is there already." Food is already there. He'll get his food. That is arranged by God. But (most people) are busy fools. They don't understand God's arrangement. They're busy, day and night, like cats and dogs, only for food.

So much land is there. Everyone, if he works for two months, can grow his whole year's foodstuff. There is so much land. But no, they'll not grow food. They will grow hammers. They will manufacture tire tubes, atom bombs, then this and that. They are busy fools. They are fools, and they are very busy. Everyone is busy. There are so many parts in the motorcar, three thousand parts, and they're busy manufacturing three thousand motorcar parts. Everyone is busy producing unwanted things, and they've created a society in such a way that they have to do that.

Indian man: Otherwise they think that they not economically progressing.

Prabhupada: What is that "economical progressing?" That means busy fool. Fools don't know how to satisfy the economic problem. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gita, annad bhavanti bhutani: [Bg. 3.14] "You grow food grains." Then all economic questions (are answered). But why aren't you producing food grains? Why you are producing iron stools and instruments and motors and tires and collecting petrol far away from Arabia? Krishna never says, "You do all this nonsense." He said, "Grow food grains." Why don't you do that? That means fools. After all, you have to eat. But you're not busy growing your food; you're busy producing tire tubes, motor cars, stools and instruments. So how you will get your food? Where is your "economic progressing?" Your first economic necessity is that you must eat.