with Catholic Cardinal
and Secretary to the Pope*
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
May 24, 1974, Rome
Yogesvara: That dharma by which the soul becomes fully satisfied, can it be found anywhere else aside from Krsna conscious?
Prabhupada: I don’t think. Because they are all ahaituki; there is motive. Motive. And conditional. Therefore it is very difficult. And it is clearly said, ahaituky apratihata. [break]
Dhananjaya: …the founder of our International Society for Krsna Consciousness.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Thank you.
Dhananjaya: This is Prabhupada’s first visit to Rome, to Italy.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Oh yes. You will stay some days here.
Bhagavan: You have visited India?
Cardinal Pignedoli: Oh, I have been many times, yeah, in India.
Bhagavan: You have been to Vrndavana.
Cardinal Pignedoli: No, I have been to Varanasi, to Calcutta, to Bombay, Agra, Darjeeling and many other places in… Nepal also.
Prabhupada: Nepal. My birthplace is in Calcutta.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes, very nice. In Delhi, and Monsignor too, he has visited all the places, huh?
Monsignor Verrozano: South India.
Cardinal Pignedoli: In Kerala?
Monsignor Verrozano: Kerala, Tirusrilapatti(?), Cochin, Madras, Bombay of course. Yes, last year I attended a kind of manifestation of your movement in Bombay.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, I visited.
Prabhupada: Bombay, there was function.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.
Prabhupada: At that time, you were there?
Monsignor Verrozano: In January.
Dhananjaya: At Cross Maidan.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.
Dhananjaya: That was our festival. The Bhagavata-dharma discourses.
Bhagavan: We had a festival program in India. We’ve had one in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, and for one week, and Srila Prabhupada has spoken many times every night there. There’s been thousands of people, ten thousand people.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, yes. And just last year about the 20th of January, it was this week of festivals also, this conscience of preaching sermons, many manifestations. Many people attended, and I too visited this, yes, also.
Prabhupada: In Calcutta also we had such functions. About thirty thousand people were coming in Bombay.
Monsignor Verrozano: Could you be so kind to say to us something about your movement which is spread in the world.
Prabhupada: Yes. Our movement is that, that is first-class religious system which teaches how to love God. This is the sum and substance of our movement. There is a Sanskrit statement in Srimad-Bhagavatam,
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati [SB 1.2.6]
If you want to be happy, then you must take to the superior type of religious system which teaches the followers how to love God without any motive, and which is never checked by any material condition. God’s name is given here as Adhoksaja. Adhoksaja means beyond experimental knowledge. God has got many name according to different situation, and one of the name, for the materialistic person, adhoksaja. Aksaja means experimental knowledge. Aksa means eyes or senses. Beyond sense perception. So we cannot speculate about God, but we can understand about God from authorities. This is the conception of Bhagavata-dharma. So the human life is especially meant for understanding God. That is the version of the Vedanta-sutra, Vedanta philosophy. The Vedanta philosophy teaches, athato brahma jijnasa, “Now this human form of body, which is above the lower grades of forms…” There are 8,400,000 forms of body. The soul is transmigrating, evolution. But when we get this human form of body, our main business is to inquire about God. Athato brahma jijnasa. Now, if somebody inquires what is God, the immediate reply is, God is the source, original source of everything. Janmady asya yatah [Bhag. 1.1.1] So the human form of life is meant for understanding God, and according to our philosophy, if human body is not utilized for understanding God, then it is misused. If we simply spoil our life like the animals, eating, sleeping, sex life and defending, then the human life is spoiled like animals. The real necessity of human life is to understand God. Not only to understand God superficially, but to understand our eternal relationship with Him, and then prayojana, the ultimate goal of life, is to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is ultimate goal. And if you simply try to understand God, as we get it from the revealed scriptures, then after giving up this body, tyaktva deham… Deham means this body. After this death… There are many deaths in many bodies, but after this death, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9], he does not enter again into the material body. In his original spiritual body he goes back to home, back to Godhead. So this is sum and substance of our Krsna consciousness movement, and we have got many Vedic literatures about it, especially the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. So we have published Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The publisher is Messrs. MacMillan and Company, and we are selling. It has already gone fifth edition. And each edition they have published fifty-thousand copies and this is the preliminary study book, to understand God. And then, when one is passed of this knowledge, then he can be given the Srimad-Bhagavatam which we have published like this, sixty volumes, all original verses from Bhagavatam, and explained. Then… This is graduate study. Then after this there is post-graduate study, this Caitanya-caritamrta. This book is in twelve volumes, and other book, Bhagavatam, is sixty volumes. There are many other corollaries, just like Science of Devotion. Have you got this book? No. Nectar of Devotion. So we have already published about two dozen books of this nature. So people are accepting, especially in the western countries. Recently we have received report. Some of the learned scholar professors, they have ordered all the books. They have introducing in their class. Yale University, Temple University. And they are enlisting my books in the bibliography, of Indian philosophy, and they are distributing to the learned circles. And last year we have sold four millions pieces of literature in the western countries. So we are encouraged. And these boys, young boys, they have encouraged me by joining this movement. And one priest in Boston, he issued one pamphlet that “These boys are our boys. How is that? Before that, they did not come to church. They did not inquire what is God. And now why they are mad after God?” This was his remark. And some of the American public, they inquire from them, “Are you Americans?” So this movement is getting ground all over the world, Krsna consciousness movement. And amongst the higher scholarly section also. This is sum and substance of our movement. Our principle is to become sinless. Because in the Bhagavad-gita you will find this verse. Find out.
yesam tv anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam te dvandva-moha-nirmukta bhajante mam drdha-vratah [Bg. 7.28]
Yesam, y-e-s-a-m. A person who is completely free from all sinful contamination, such person can become a pure devotee of God. Yesam tv anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam, te dvandva-moha-nirmukta. Read it.
yesam tv anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam te dvandva-moha-nirmukta bhajante mam drdha-vratah [Bg. 7.28]
“Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination.”
Nitai: Those eligible for elevation to the transcendental position are mentioned in this verse. For those who are sinful, atheistic, foolish and deceitful, it is very difficult to transcend the duality of desire and hate. Only those who have passed their lives in practicing the regulative principles of religion, who have acted piously and have conquered sinful reactions can accept devotional service and gradually rise to the pure knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, gradually, they can meditate in trance on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the process of being situated on the spiritual platform. This elevation is possible in Krsna consciousness in the association of pure devotees who can deliver one from delusion.
It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that if one actually wants to be liberated he must render service to the devotees; but one who associates with materialistic people is on the path leading to the darkest region of existence. All the devotees of the Lord traverse this earth just to recover the conditioned souls from their delusion. The impersonalists do not know that forgetting their constitutional position as subordinate to the Supreme Lord is the greatest violation of God’s law. Unless one is reinstated in his own constitutional position, it is not possible to understand the Supreme Personality or to be fully engaged in His transcendental loving service with determination.
Prabhupada: So we forbid our students to refrain from four sinful activities: No illicit sex life, no meat-eating, and no intoxication, up to drinking tea, coffee or smoking. They are also intoxicants. And no gambling. These four principles, they avoid completely. And as it is recommended in this book, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru: [Bg. 18.65] “Always think of Me,” man-mana. “Just become My devotee. Just offer your obeisances unto Me, and just worship Me.” Four principles. If you follow these four principles without any offense, then you go back to home, back to Godhead. So for remembering God, you chant always God’s name on these beads.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
(buzzer sounds) And we worship… (pause) (one man is apparently showing pictures) This is also a church?
Monsignor Verrozano: This is Japan. This is from Tibet. Also a gift of Dalai Lama.
Monsignor Verrozano: Buddhist, but this is from India.
Prabhupada: This is Hindu temple.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. The Mahakrish(?).
Cardinal Pignedoli: Well, I think that because you are friends of God, we are friends of God, we are all friends and this is good. But I think that, if I understand it well, that your aim is to reach people who are unbelievers or people who are atheistic, as you said before. And then I would like to know… You are not obliged, you are completely free to do what you want. But I would like to know if you got into these places or amongst these people… There are many places and many peoples in the world who are in these conditions, without faith and without the spiritual values. Because it is for us, we hope so. We are good friends of God, and we are always in our prayers and meditation united to God, and to… But we thank you for your visit and for your, for this reason we are good friends altogether. But I would like to know historically your work, I mean if you go into these areas or into these places where is possible. For instance, take the example of Russia, eh? Now you are in good relations. India and Russia probably for Indians it is easier than for Europeans or for some of our countries or for Americans. Are you… Have you this problem? Do you go into these areas, into these places?
Prabhupada: Yes. I went to Moscow. I was invited.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Because they need badly. They need this spirit of friendship with God and with His supreme values. God… Well, I wouldn’t say to the Moslem world because they are good believers. And God is probably, they are more faithful to. And for instance, these areas of the modern world like, also in the States sometimes, because these big cities like New York or Tokyo or Toronto, and some, these are cities, where they are areas where spiritual values have no meaning for these people. It’s a pity and we have to be very open and very friendly to them. I gather this. And your method is meditation and prayer, if I understand it well.
Prabhupada: There are two things. We recommend two things. For the mass of people, this prayer, kirtana, a prayer. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama. So this is prayer. Hare means appealing to the energy of God, and Krsna is God. “O the energy of God, O God, please engage me in your service.” This is the sum and substance of the Hare Krsna. Hare: “O the energy of God, ‘Krsna,’ O the Lord, please engage me in Your service.” Because we are now engaged in the service of Satan, maya. I think… Maya. So therefore we are suffering. Service we have to render. Because we are meant for rendering service. But when you forget God, then you render service to maya. Therefore it is the prayer to God that “Please pick me from this service and engage me to Your service.” That’s all. Service is my occupation. I cannot become master. That is not possible. The Mayavadi philosophers, they sometimes say that “We are now in maya. As soon as we are out in maya, then we become master.” We do not agree to this philosophy. We remain servant even after liberation. We are servant here and we are servant always. Just like a citizen and government. The government is always master. If you do not accept the laws of government, then you are put into prison. There also you are subjected to the laws of God, or the government. Similarly, either in maya or liberated, we are always servant, eternal servant. But when we are servant in liberation, giving service to God, that is our real life or real happiness. But when we give service to the maya, that is our miserable condition. So in Moscow I have been. I had a long talk with Professor Kotofsky, the Indologist.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. Did you talk with people there? Were you permitted, were you allowed to talk with the people in the streets and so on?
Cardinal Pignedoli: You were.
Prabhupada: No, not on the street. Some of the boys, they came to my hotel. So so far I saw, the people, they are very nice. They are very nice, but the government supresses their sentiments. Everyone has got religious sentiments. The people is as good as in other places. I don’t find any difference. It is not that the whole Russia is atheist. It is not that. They are as others. They are like that. And our philosophy is that everyone is God conscious; simply it is being suppressed, either by the so-called leaders or by the influence of external energy, which is called maya. We have got a verse in this Caitanya-caritamrta where it is said that nitya-siddha krsna-bhakti sadhya kabhu naya. It is not an artificial thing. To make one God conscious is not artificial. God consciousness is there, even in the life of aborigines, most crude people. It has to be awakened by education. Sravanadi-suddha-citte. One has to be educated. And he should be given chance to hear about God. And then, as soon as he becomes purified in his consciousness, he accepts and begins to love God. So it is not an artificial thing. Either in Russia or any place, any human being, he has got dormant love for God. It has to be awakened by processes. Therefore I began: That process which quickly awakens that God consciousness and engages him in the service of the Lord, that is first-class religious system. Paro dharmah. Parah means first-class. But a simply sentiment will not help. Therefore religion must be based on philosophy, and my spiritual master used to say this, that “Philosophy without religion is mental speculation, and religion without philosophy is sentimental.” They should be combined. Philosophy and religion must be… Or religion must be based on philosophy. Then it is perfect. We cannot separate these two things. Simple philosophical speculation will not help, and simple sentiments, rituals, formalities, will not also. They should be combined. So this combination is here in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita.
Monsignor Verrozano: In our Christian faith the love of God is joined with the love for man. Are you also interested with this love for man, for our rivals?
Prabhupada: No, love for man… Let me say it. Love for man is imperfect conception because God is for everyone. God is not monopolized by simply the human society. The animal society, the bird society, the tree society, they are all living entities, soul. According to our karma, they are differently dressed. That is the most important philosophy, that soul is part and parcel of God. Somehow or other, the soul is now separated from the service of the Lord, and according to his desire of enjoying this material world, he has been offered different types of body. So either human being or animal or trees or aquatics, birds, beasts, everyone, all living entities, they are all part and parcel of God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Sarva-yonisu kaunteya sambhavanti murtayah. Can you find out this?
sarva-yonisu kaunteya sambhavanti (yah) murtayah tasam mahad-yonir brahma aham bija-pradah pita [Bg. 14.4]
There are different species of life, sarva-yoni. Yoni means species of life. And there are forms, different forms. But within that form… Yes, read it.
sarva-yonisu kaunteya murtayah sambhavanti yah tasam brahma mahad yonir aham bija-pradah pita [Bg. 14.4]
“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.”
Prabhupada: That’s it. So from God’s standpoint of view, we cannot take simply that simply to serve the human being is to serve God. Another point is that living entities, the service, according to Sanskrit conception, service is offered to the superior. And to the inferior, mercy. There are two words. Seva, the Sanskrit word, seva, and daya. You know something of Sanskrit?
Monsignor Verrozano: Somewhat, yes.
Prabhupada: Seva means service. So service is offered to the superior. And to the inferior or subordinate, we offer our compassion. So similarly, as we are eager to give service, similarly, we should be eager to be compassionate. So it is not very good idea. Just like in India they say, daridra-narayana. Some nation, that to give service to the human being, and cut the throat of the animals. This philosophy is not good.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. I have something in the Bhagavad-gita. If I am not wrong, in the Chapter Eighteen of Bhagavad-gita, verse sixty-four, there is the affirmation that God loves man, “You are beloved for Me.” And in some cases, we consider this affirmation as the very core of Indian religiosity, and we appreciate very much this affirmation of love of God for man.
Monsignor Verrozano: What do you think about this…
Prabhupada: No. Man is supposed to be elevated position, how to love God. Animals cannot make [break] …any distinction between a human being and animal. That is really the symptom of God, that sarva-yonisu… Just like if I am obedient son of my father, how can I neglect one son who is very stupid? Rather, if I say to my father, “Father, this son is stupid. He does not bring any service. So please allow me to cut his head,” the father will never agree. The father, either a stupid son or very intelligent son, he is kind to everyone, because they are sons. So similarly, if a man is real lover of God, he cannot cut throat of the animals. I think, therefore, Jesus Christ said, “Thou shalt not kill.” That is not… If actually one is lover of God, how he can give trouble, pains, to others? That is not possible.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Excuse me if I insist on the first question I asked for. Your aim, your most important aim, if I understood it well, is to bring the faith and love for God to man. No? This is your first aim, to encourage man to be a…
Prabhupada: Lover of God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: To become lovers of God, friends to God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: All right. Do you believe, I mean now from the point of view of facts, or events, not of ideas, of events, of reality, do you think there are many these men who are without spiritual ideas in the world of today?
Cardinal Pignedoli: Mostly. You think so.
Cardinal Pignedoli: And then you think that men of God are a minority.
Cardinal Pignedoli: This you admit. Well, and then I ask for a second question. Before I give to you an example. I have a hobby, as many men in the world, they have their own hobbies. My hobby is to, I mean…
Prabhupada: God has also some hobby.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. What I used to do when I am traveling… I travel a lot. I used to make friends among young people, generally teenagers. And then I choose also—I try to do this—people who are unbelievers, who are in difficulties, who are men of the weak faith, and who don’t love, at least, they say they don’t love God. Because I think that we are few men who love God, friends to God… We are not many. And we have to go and to look for these people, and for these areas or environments, where these peoples live. And it is for this reason that I say always when I am good friends, you know… Priests, Catholic priests, well, go to an area because here is too many. They don’t need you here, but go to, well, I would say Stockholm or Copenhagen where there are a few really also, Christians, I mean Catholic or Protestants. We are all brothers. But they go there because there are very few people who are dedicated to God. What do you believe about this? I mean your society, your movement, your spiritual movement, is dedicated for this kind of people and for these areas, or not? I ask. It’s not…
Prabhupada: For all.
Cardinal Pignedoli: For all. Well, also we are for all. But I mean, you have not so many people. You have some thousand people. Do you prefer for this your people? Do you prefer they go to a place where God is not known, where spiritual values are not estimated? Or they go also to places where God is loved and God is present.
Prabhupada: No, we go everywhere.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Everywhere.
Prabhupada: Just like you go in the villages of Africa. They are almost aborigines, with their…
Cardinal Pignedoli: Local people. Local citizens.
Prabhupada: Yes. So our process is so nice, that is recommended process in this age—the chanting the holy name of God. So we chant this holy name of God, perhaps you have seen. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, we dance.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, Hare Krsna.
Prabhupada: Then anyone, even children, they join. Even the children, they join. Man, woman…
Cardinal Pignedoli: It is very similar to the Christian masses. We bring it everywhere.
Prabhupada: We have no such distinction. So to the mass of people, we chant this Hare Krsna mantra. But when there are learned scholars, elevated person, then we present about our philosophy. And we have got so many writings. Both ways: the mass and the class, or the scholars. We are prepared to meet everyone. Our mission is to make everyone, no distinction, that “This class should be given preference, and that should be neglected.” No. We have got instrument to awaken everyone. By chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra, we can enthuse thousands and thousands of men to join us. And those who are advanced in philosophy and religious system, we have got these books. So we do not neglect anyone. We approach everyone.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Well, thank you for your explanations.
Prabhupada: And it is being effective. It is being effective. In our group we find Africans, Americans, Indians, Europeans, Canadians, Japanese, Chinese, everyone.
Monsignor Verrozano: And what concern the Buddhist countries where God is not so, at least, the prayers or the name of God is not so well known. I am just coming from Bangkok where we had a meeting with Buddhist monks of the (indistinct), and have you also some movement, some kind of action to spread love of God to (indistinct)?
Prabhupada: Well, Buddhists, they do not believe in God.
Cardinal and Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.
Prabhupada: So according to our Vedic conception, Buddhist philosophy is atheistic philosophy.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Theoretically yes, but practically, do you think they are atheistic, practically? Because…
Prabhupada: No, no. Our… Yes. Theoretically atheistic, but because they believe in Lord Buddha, they are theistic. Because we accept Lord Buddha as incarnation of God, Krsna.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Also some of them, they believe in… They think Buddha is a god, and they are believers.
Prabhupada: Yes. Buddha is God. That is stated. You will find?
Cardinal Pignedoli: Excuse me if I go back for a moment to this question which is not that I ask if you are, excuse it, if you go only to some, you go to all the people. I agree this is not (indistinct). But because we are few… I give an example. Why, instead of going, suppose, to South Africa where the majority, the great majority, are believers, you don’t go to Japan?
Prabhupada: Yes, we go.
Cardinal Pignedoli: This is more important because you have not so many. If you go to South Africa, and although… I mean because also we. We have not so many. It’s a question of possibility, of chances. Why don’t you choose…? This is my question. These areas where Japan for instance is an area very atheistic and where yesterday I had this sect with me of the not perfectly… It’s called… No. It’s a different one. Mr. Kalyana is the president. He came yesterday. He came yesterday. Mr. Kalyana. Well, they don’t believe, as you say. This is philosophy. Welfare, is happiness, but not in your meaning, in my meaning. Well, this is only to ask, then you go to Japan?
Dhananjaya: Yes, we have a center in Tokyo.
Prabhupada: Yes. We have got center in Japan, in Hong Kong.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Are you welcome in Japan? People are interested, eh?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Recently some of our preachers, they have collected fifty-thousand dollars from the Japanese people. They wanted to contribute me for my Vrndavana temple, but the Japanese government will not allow to let the money go out. He wrote me. And I have seen personally, when I went… I went to Japan three, four times. These Japanese boys and girls, they are as good as these American, Europeans boys. And that is my practical… Or they, they are my students. They offer me respect so much. The Japanese boys, without being my students, they offer the same respect. So I thought that Japan is very good. Everywhere. That I told you already, that the love of Godhead is dormant in everyone. It doesn’t matter what he is. It is the process to awaken that love of Godhead: That is first- class religion. The matter is already there. Simply we have to awaken. And now, that process which awakens very quickly, that is first-class religion. That is the first… And besides that, really understanding of God is very rarely found. Find out this verse,
manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye yatatam api siddhanam kascid vetti mam tattvatah [Bg. 7.3]
“Out of many millions of persons,” manusyanam sahasresu, “somebody is trying to make his life perfect.” Others, they are simply trying to enjoy life like animals. So manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye, and yatatam api siddhanam: [Bg. 7.3] “And out of many millions of such persons who are trying to make his life perfect, hardly one can understand what is God.” This is the statement. Read it.
manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye yatatam api siddhanam kascin mam vetti tattvatah [Bg. 7.3]
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavour for perfection. And of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”
Prabhupada: Read the purport.
Nitai: There are various grades of men, and out of many thousands one may be sufficiently interested in transcendental realization to try to know what is the self, what is the body, and what is the Absolute Truth. Generally mankind is simply engaged in the animal propensities, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating, and hardly anyone is interested in transcendental knowledge. The first six chapters of the Gita are meant for those who are interested in transcendental knowledge, in understanding the self, the Superself and the process of realization by jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga, and discrimination of the self from matter. However, Krsna can only be known by persons who are in Krsna consciousness. Other transcendentalists may achieve impersonal Brahman realization, for this is easier than understanding Krsna. Krsna is the Supreme Person, but at the same time He is beyond the knowledge of Brahman and Paramatma. The yogis and jnanis are confused in their attempts to understand Krsna, although the greatest of the impersonalists, Sripada Sankaracarya, has admitted in his Gita commentary that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But his followers do not accept Krsna as such, for it is very difficult to know Krsna, even though one has transcendental realization of impersonal Brahman.
Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, the primeval Lord Govinda. Isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1] It is very difficult for the nondevotees to know Him. Although nondevotees declare that the path of bhakti or devotional service is very easy, they cannot practice it. If the path of bhakti is so easy, as the nondevotee class of men proclaim, then why do they take up the difficult path? Actually the path of bhakti is not easy. The so-called path of bhakti practiced by unauthorized persons without knowledge of bhakti may be easy, but when it is practiced factually according to the rules and regulations, the speculative scholars and philosophers fall away from the path. Srila Rupa Gosvami writes in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
sruti-smrti-puranadi-pancaratra-vidhim vina aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate. [BRS 1.2.101]
“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, Puranas, Narada-pancaratra, etc., is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.”
It is not possible for the Brahman realized impersonalist or the Paramatma realized yogi to understand Krsna the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the son of mother Yasoda or the charioteer of Arjuna. Even the great demigods are sometimes confused about Krsna: “muhyanti yat surayah,” “mam tu veda na kascana.” “No one knows Me as I am,” the Lord says. And if one does know Him, then “sa mahatma sudurlabhah.” “Such a great soul is very rare.” Therefore unless one practices devotional service to the Lord, he cannot know Krsna as He is (tattvatah), even though one is a great scholar or philosopher. Only the pure devotees can know something of the inconceivable transcendental qualities in Krsna, in the cause of all causes, in His omnipotence and opulence, and in His wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, because Krsna is benevolently inclined to His devotees. He is the last word in Brahman realization, and the devotees alone can realize Him as He is. Therefore it is said:
atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah
“No one can understand Krsna as He is by the blunt material senses. But He reveals Himself to the devotees, being pleased with them for their transcendental loving service unto Him.” (Padma Purana)
Prabhupada: So the position is, that hardly, out of many millions, one can actually understand what is God. So our field of activity is everywhere in that sense, not in this particular and that particular… Because in truth hardly very few people understands what is God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yeah, that’s wonderful. We ought to see you in India sometimes for real again and…
Bhagavan: Do they have a copy of Bhagavad-gita?
Dhananjaya: I don’t think you have this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: What is this?
Dhananjaya: If you like, you can take this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: I have, I have this.
Dhananjaya: You can have this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes, I have. Thank you.
Bhagavan: There are many copies of Bhagavad-gita, but the unusual happening with this version is until this was presented, there was no devotee…
Prabhupada: Professor Dimock has said very nicely.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, we have also many translations. Yes.
Prabhupada: You have not brought by the fruit?
Nitai: Yes, Satsvarupa Maharaja did.
Monsignor Verrozano: We have here one translation of the commentary of Professor Zehner(?) from Oxford.
Prabhupada: Here is my foreword by Professor Dimock.
Yogesvara: This is a professor from Chicago University who wrote the foreword to this edition. He makes an interesting comment.
Prabhupada: You read, read it.
Prabhupada: Professor Dimock’s.
Cardinal Pignedoli: It’s very strange and famous. That’s the gospel.
Prabhupada: Read it.
Dhananjaya: (reading) “Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gita from this point of view. And that is legitimate.”
Prabhupada: Yes. That is legitimate.
Dhananjaya: “More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Krsna devotee interprets his own texts. It is a Vedic…”
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes.
Prabhupada: A Krsna devotee interpreting on Krsna, and a non- devotee interpreting on Krsna. There is far difference.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Oh, yes, oh, yes.
Prabhupada: So mostly the editors are by non-devotee. So they cannot interpret.
Monsignor Verrozano: Oh, yes. The same problem we have with our scriptures, because when the scriptures are interpreted by devotees, by believers, they are very faithful translated.
Prabhupada: That is because it is legitimate.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, it’s very important.
Prabhupada: Read it again.
Cardinal Pignedoli: You are the best interpreter, yes, qualified interpreter.
Dhananjaya: “In this translation the western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Krsna devotee interprets his own texts. It is the Vedic exegetical tradition, justly famous, in action. (reads rest of foreword of MacMillan edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is)” This is stated by Professor Edward C. Dimock, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization, University of Chicago. Please take this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Thank you. It will be a source also for unprofessionals, also to give true interpretation yes, by devotees.
Prabhupada: The trades manager of Messrs. MacMillan Company, he has reported that this book is selling increasing, and other editions, they are decreasing.
Monsignor Verrozano: A great sign of interest.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Thank you. Well, may we be united in hopes and prayer and…
Prabhupada: Yes, kindly pray to God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Thank you for your kindness, for coming, and if sometimes you come to Rome, don’t forget this. This is a very difficult place to find out. Now you know it. You have been here. With Monsignor Verrozano. That’s nice. I will leave now for Africa, Bamako, Mali, for a meeting with Moslems. Bamako, be there for a few days, Bamako, Freetown, Bathurst, Conakry these cities of West Africa, French-speaking Africa.
Dhananjaya: Some of our devotees are going to Lagos.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Ah, Lagos. Ah yeah. You are going, also you?
Dhananjaya: No, not me. My godbrothers…
Cardinal Pignedoli: I have been there for three years, in Lagos, a big city. The majority are Moslems, sixty percent. And others are Christians or local religions. They are deeply religious people in Nigeria. Deeply religious. All believers, they say. Thank you. I am so happy. (end)