God Himself Is Teaching God Consciousness
A conversation with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Interviewer: Your Divine Grace, you mention that you and your followers are following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya. He’s the one who appeared on earth five hundred years ago?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: In India.
Srila Prabhupada: India, yes. So He is Krishna Himself, and He is teaching how to love Krishna. Therefore, His process is most authorized. For instance, in this establishment you are the expert. If some new person is doing something and you personally teach him, “Do like this,” that is very authorized. So when God appears as Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya, God Himself is teaching God consciousness.
Or take the Bhagavad-gita. Krishna—God—is speaking about Himself, and at last He says, “Just surrender unto Me. I’ll take charge of you.” But people misunderstood. So Krishna came again as Lord Caitanya, to teach people how to surrender. And because we are following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, this method is so sublime that even foreigners who never knew Krishna—they’re following it.
This method is so potent. So that was my purpose in coming here. We don’t say, “This religion is better than that religion” or “My process is better.” We want to see by the result. In Sanskrit there is a phrase—phalena pariciyate: “A thing is judged by the result.”
You can say, “My method is very nice.” You can say your method is very nice. But we have to judge by the result. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says, “A process of religion is very good if, by following it, one becomes a lover of God.”
Interviewer: Yes. But, you know your religion is not the only one which teaches this particular precept.
Srila Prabhupada: That I am explaining—that this is not the only one. There may be many that teach the precept “Become a lover of God.” But this one is practically effective.
Interviewer: Now, in the part of the world where this particular philosophy originates—which is in India, right?—in the Eastern part of the world, at least as we look at it, is it successful there?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Interviewer: Do you have a large following there?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Recently, I was in India. I held two meetings that lasted for ten days each, and twenty to thirty thousand people were attending daily. The Indian people’s position is that they’re naturally Krishna conscious, but at the present moment, thanks to their so-called leaders, they want to replace Krishna consciousness with material consciousness.
Interviewer: Is the Krishna consciousness philosophy compatible with the Hindu religion?
Srila Prabhupada: Any religion.
Interviewer: Any religion.
Srila Prabhupada: Because God is one. Krishna consciousness is the science of God. Two plus two equals four—it is understood by everyone. Not that it is to be understood by the Christians and not by the Hindus. Two plus two equals four is a fact for everyone. Similarly, God is a fact for everyone. Now, when it comes to the method for loving God, this is the only process.
Interviewer: Now, do you claim, then, that your way of loving God is the way to love God?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. At least for this age.
Interviewer: For this age?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: You mean for Kali-yuga?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: For the time we live in right now?
Srila Prabhupada: Because the method is authorized. Krishna prescribes this—Krishna Himself in His original form, and also in His manifestation as Lord Caitanya. He says that in this age this is the only method for self- realization, or for God realization, or to learn how to love God.
He says. Krishna says. Therefore, it is authorized. And it is practically happening. Otherwise, these boys and girls—they’re foreigners. They never knew Krishna. But now I have got sixty centers, and in each center there are, on average, a hundred devotees. And they have dedicated their life. So how is it happening, unless it is authorized?
Interviewer: Well, you know, they say they never knew Krishna, and you are, of course, right. But different people name their Gods in different ways. You name your God Krishna. In the Western world many, many people name their God Jesus.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That’s all right. We say in that connection that if you have got a name which is actually referring to God, that will also do—just as we are chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare …
Interviewer: Right. Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: So according to the Vedic literature, krishnas tu bhagavan svayam: “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” He has got many names, thousands and millions of names. This is the original name. So Lord Caitanya says that you have to chant Krishna, but if you have got another actual name for God, then chant that. We are not asking that you chant Krishna. If you have got another actual name for God, then you can chant that. We are requesting this: “Chant God’s holy name.”
Interviewer: But before, when you came here—now, you came here in the middle sixties, less than a decade ago—what … what was it … this is what I’m trying to find out from you … what was the motivating force behind your coming to the United States?
Srila Prabhupada: That is already explained. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted that this propaganda be made all over the world—and that people will accept. And my Guru Maharaja said to me, “You go and try to do this.” So I came with this purpose, and it is becoming fulfilled.
Interviewer: There must have been an element, though, of dissatisfaction on your part with the way God was being professed in this part of the world before you came. Otherwise, there would have been no sense in your coming.
Srila Prabhupada: Dissatisfied not just with this part of the world. Every part. In every part of the world, practically everyone—very little interest in God. There’s more interest in dog.
Interviewer: You are trying to increase the interest in God. Is that correct?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That is the only interest we must have in human life.
Interviewer: And you were not particularly interested in what name this God has.
Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Our purpose or mission is that people may become God conscious. And the process is, in this age, chanting the holy name of God. If you have got any name for God which is actually a name of God, then you’ll be successful by chanting that.
Interviewer: The chanting of Krishna’s name, the Hare Krishna mantra, seems to play a very important role in the profession of your religious belief. Right? In fact, I think I will ask you—and some of your followers who are sitting here with us tonight—a little bit later to chant the name of Krishna. That probably would be a proper ending to this particular program.
However, I’m still wondering, you know, about some of the aspects. In reading a little bit—and I have not read much, of course—but in reading a little bit of your writings in your magazine and your other publications, it seems to me, sir, that there is a very high emphasis placed on the relationship between the individual and God.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That is for everyone.
Interviewer: In fact, there seems to be more emphasis on that relationship than on the relationship between one individual and another individual. Am I right in that?
Srila Prabhupada: No. We have to reestablish first our lost relationship with God. You see? Then we can understand what is the relationship between one individual and another.