with Roger Maria leading
writer of communist literature
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
June 12, 1974, Paris
Jyotirmayi: …in France amongst the communist students, the communist Indian students. And I said he is also a literary critic. That means that he is writing a lot of articles in the newspaper and explaining many things in the literary circles in France. He also knows very much about Gandhi philosophy. He has been writing a lot about Gandhi’s philosophy. So when he knew that you were with Gandhi, he came very interested.
Prabhupada: Hm. So we are also communist. As you take the state as the center, we take Krsna as the center. Krsna is the proprietor. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Where is Karandhara?
Devotee: He’s coming.
Prabhupada: The Bhagavad-gita says, Krsna, that “I am the enjoyer. I am the proprietor. I am the friend.” Bhoktaram… Read out this.
bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati [Bg. 5.29]
This is the process of peacefulness, when one understands that Krsna is the enjoyer, Krsna is the proprietor of all lokas, all worlds. And Krsna is the best friend of everyone. (French) (aside:) Get the light. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says that liberation of India from the English was done because of many, various forces, but that amongst the people, the common mass of people who helped to liberate India, there was, of course, a religious people. But there was religious people on both sides. There was religious people amongst those who wanted to liberate India, but also among those who wanted the English to be there, not in imperialism.
Yogesvara: In other words, his point, essentially, is that religious sentiment was there on both sides. It was there on the imperialists’ side as well as on the side of those who were fighting for India’s liberation. So there seems to be a kind of dichotomy. Religious sentiments can be expressed by anyone, whatever their motivation is. Whether it be imperialist, whether it be communist… Religious sentiment is found…
Prabhupada: What is religious sentiment? (French for some time)
Jyotirmayi: He says again that in India, now also there’s a big struggle because they are trying to solve the immediate problems of hunger, you know, all these problems, now, and, of course, there is a religious people on the side of those who are struggling, but there’s also religious people on the other side, of those who want to keep the situation as it is now… And then he said that…
Prabhupada: Religious people wants to keep the situation? Starving? Starving situation? (French for some time)
Bhagavan: You don’t understand what he’s saying now? Because he has a different translation.
Prthu Putra: Because what he says, he says on the both parts, they are based on a passage of Bhagavad-gita. The imperialist people and the other side, they do both, sometimes on the base of Bhagavad-gita.
Prthu Putra: The communists and the imperialists. And he sees some names, Rajagopalacharya.
Jyotirmayi: This man, for example, the one that he just cite, he is also a religious man, but he is against the change now. He wants to keep as it is imperialism. You know. So he said that there are so many of these people who are religious and they are, of course, all they have good goals, that is to help people. You find people referring Bhagavad-gita on the side of those who are struggling now to change the situation and the side, on the side of those who are keeping the situation as it is. So he says there is an ambiguity there.
Prabhupada: Ambiguity means he is not clear in his knowledge. What is religion and what is liberation—these things he does not know clearly. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He says that now they are using religion for their own interests and for their own goals.
Prabhupada: Who is that man? (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said all the social forces in India wants to keep their own privileges.
Prabhupada: So? The communist does not? (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that in Marxism there is no religious references.
Prabhupada: But the, what is called, terrorism facility, there is. There is no religious sentiment, but there is terrorism sentiment. Some sentiment is there. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that yesterday in Assam seven student have been killed, but is it the communists who killed them?
Jyotirmayi: He’s saying, is it the communists who killed them?
Prabhupada: Communists killed others?
Yogesvara: Seven students in Assam. (French)
Jyotirmayi: So he said that in India all the planners of the government, they are religious people. Some of them are brahmanas, but still they have been arresting forty-thousand people working on the railways for no good reason. So that’s why he said that religion is used by the people for their own privileges.
Prabhupada: Therefore I asked what does he mean by religion. (French)
Devotee: What he’s trying to say is that some people are using…
Karandhara: No, it’s clear. It’s clear. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said one should ask a question not according to what one thinks about religion, but what is being used now.
Prabhupada: But you cannot think, you cannot think of religion. Our conception of religion is different. (French for some time)
Prabhupada: Where are Satsvarupa and Karandhara? Where gone? They do not want to hear? They have become…?
Bhagavan: They’re calling Africa.
Bhagavan: They may be on the phone with Africa. I’m not sure.
Jyotirmayi: So he said that here in France, the Christians, they are now reviewing their own Christianity, their own philosophy, because they see that the materialistic people, they are giving critiques, and they are right in their critiques. So they are changing their religion.
Yogesvara: In other words, he’s saying that religion has to be defined according to the way the mass of people accept it.
Prabhupada: That is not religion. That is sentiment. (French)
Devotee: (To Prabhupada, as Frenchman speaks in French:) They’re on the phone speaking with Brahmananda Maharaja.
Jyotirmayi: So he says that those who have been just religious and working for the independence, they didn’t do any real good.
Prabhupada: Now, first of all, our proposition is what does he mean by religion? (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that there cannot be an abstract definition of religion, but only the experience of religion.
Prabhupada: No, we have got definition of religion. Let him learn from us. (French)
Jyotirmayi: So he says that “I know what is religion, but what brings religion in the concrete life, in day to day life? What good brings religion in the life?”
Yogesvara: He said, “Even, even if I were to learn your definition of religion, the important thing is how it is practiced. Not just words,” he says, “the important thing is how it is lived, how people live their…”
Prabhupada: Yes. The practice. It is practiced… Those who are real religionists, they practice it. (French)
Jyotirmayi: So he said this is a real problem, how to practice religion, not only on the individual platform, but also on the social platform.
Prabhupada: No, we are teaching, our Krsna consciousness movement, we are teaching how to practice religion. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that even though he himself is materialist and atheist, he propagates this in his articles, in his newspaper, you know, he propagates certain aspects of religion.
Prabhupada: No. First of all, we must know what is religion, and what is atheist or what is theist. First of all, if we know what is religion, then we can define who is following, who is not following. (French)
Jyotirmayi: So he said what he can give is his own experience of religion and what he is propagating when he talks in his articles…
Prabhupada: What is his experience of religion? (French)
Jyotirmayi: So he said that in Hinduism, what he thinks is the best…
Prabhupada: No, no. Religion is not meant for Hindus or Christians— for everyone. So there must be a general definition of religion. (French)
Jyotirmayi: So he said that his idea is that advaita-vedanta philosophy is the best in the world?
Prabhupada: What is that advaita? What is that advaita? (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that advaita-vedanta…
Prabhupada: What is that advaita-veda philosophy? Let him define. (French)
Jyotirmayi: Advaita. A means without. Dvaita…
Yogesvara: “Not.” Dvaita means dual. So non-dual.
Jyotirmayi: Non-dual. “There is not two.” This is advaita.
Prabhupada: So what is that one? (French)
Yogesvara: So what I think this gentleman is explaining is that he finds the idea of non-dualism very attractive because he says that if a real religion is to fulfill it’s responsibilities, then it will not try to teach its followers that there are two separate things, there is the creation, and there is you, the creator, that there is you.
Yogesvara: That there is a creator and then you, but rather, that there is a harmony with the individual being and the totality of existence, not just on an individual religious level, but also socially. So in other words, he’s seeing that this advaita philosophy, this non-dual philosophy is very nice on the political or social level as well since it teaches a kind of unity of the individual with everything.
Prabhupada: This is not very clear. (laughs) Now, dualism means two, and monism is one. So he says monism, advaita. So monism, what is the center of monism? (French)
Yogesvara: So he says that to discuss what is that center of monism is not as important as it is living the…
Prabhupada: But you cannot… If you have no objective, then you cannot live in one way. (French for some time)
Prabhupada: (aside:) I’m feeling hot.
Yogesvara: He says…
Yogesvara: …that before… He says perhaps it would be worthwhile, he finds it worthwhile, before trying to make any definitions about the center, to first free man from all of the things that are keeping him enslaved today. In other words, before we can build a platform for…
Prabhupada: But if you do not know what is the meaning of freedom, how you can make them free? (French)
Yogesvara: So he says the best answer he can give you is an answer that he heard from Maharishi, he said, a very good answer, that before you can come to defining anything positively, first we must say, neti neti: “It is not this, it is not that.” Then we have decided what it is not.
Prabhupada: That I am therefore asking. Whatever he is proposing, I say neti: “It is not” defining. (French)
Yogesvara: You better translate that one.
Prthu Putra: He says that the answer of that is very often come, although it doesn’t have to come with a name of God because the name of God is very often utilized to mystify the people.
Yogesvara: In other words, he’s saying, “I know what you want to get me to say. You want me to say that the center is God.” But he’s saying, “I’d rather not say that because that’s too mystical.”
Prabhupada: Then what is the use of talking if you do not know the central point? He says that to come to the truth, neti neti. So we must come to the truth. So we must find out first of all truth. Then we discuss the other, subordinate things. (French) Neti neti means “Not this, not this,” means to search out the truth. (French for some time, devotees try to explain Prabhupada’s challenges, RM makes a long speech.)
Bhagavan: The first thing is he’s talking for too long, and you’re missing the point. It’s getting confusing. Ask him, first of all, to speak a little shorter. (French)
Yogesvara: So he said, what he’s suggesting is that first of all, we’d be better off not giving it some kind of concrete form because he thinks ultimately the silence is the best answer.
Prabhupada: Then let him learn that. If silence is best, then don’t talk.
Yogesvara: Well, he says, still, we can give it some form for discussion purposes.
Prabhupada: Then what is his silence? Silence means don’t talk. If you prefer silence, then don’t talk. (French)
Yogesvara: He suggests, “Well, In that case, if we’re going to discuss the Absolute Truth, then you can say that the ultimate is…”
Prabhupada: But he raised that Absolute Truth is non-dual.
Yogesvara: Tat tvam asi. He’s saying, “We are that.”
Prabhupada: So then, then why he raised the question of Absolute Truth, non-dualism, neti neti? This is the discussion of Absolute Truth. So why he says, “For the time being, let us become silent”?
Bhagavan: Yes, he’s saying… Oh, it’s hard. In other words, he’s saying, “Let’s get rid of everything that’s not the Absolute Truth, and not talk about actually what is the Absolute Truth yet.”
Yogesvara: Yeah, that’s the point.
Bhagavan: He’s just saying, “Let’s get rid of…” (to RM:) You understand a little English? “Let’s get rid of this bad situation, let’s get rid of this bad situation, and let’s not talk about really what the truth is yet because we don’t know. Let’s be silent about that. Let’s just work to get rid of the bad elements.” This is how he’s trying to practice his philosophy. In other words, if there is this political problem here, let’s get rid of this, and let’s get rid of this one, but let’s not talk about what actually the goal is yet.
Prthu Putra: Then he said that… (French)
Yogesvara: Just for example, he says that Krsna was urging Arjuna to fight. He says, well, that fight has two meanings. One is the historic sense, and the other one is that it’s a struggle inside ourselves to get freed of all of the bad situations, to get free of our false ego, to get free of our pride.
Bhagavan: The question is “What is he aiming at?”
Prabhupada: Unless we understand that what is his aim of discussion, then how we can make progress? (Yogesvara mentions something in French about Krsna and Arjuna) No, why you are bringing Krsna, Arjuna? First of all, let us know what is the aim of our discussion, the subject matter of discussion. (French for some time)
Jyotirmayi: His main point when he quotes Bhagavad-gita is to show that it is a philosophy of action, it is dynamic, that Krsna told Arjuna to fight. So there was a war. It is dynamics, not just sentiment, philosophy. It is active.
Yogesvara: Yeah. Neti, neti. Getting rid of the bad elements.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is practical, practical action. Yes. (French)
Yogesvara: So he says, “Therefore we’re coming back to our original point of discussion which is that real religion is not a question of a man’s motives, but it’s a question of his actions.”
Yogesvara: “What it motivates, what does a man do, how his religion is lived. That’s a point.”
Prabhupada: Yes. That we are preaching. In Krsna consciousness. We are not sitting idly and smoking ganja. It is not like that. (French)
Yogesvara: So what he’s saying is that, “Yes, in this connection, I can compliment you (Srila Prabhupada) for the work that you are doing because,” from what he has experienced, “most of the people who are coming from India to preach about Krsna, talk about Krsna to old people or people who actually don’t have any use for Hinduism or spirituality except as a kind of diversion or a drug.”
Yogesvara: So I think, if I understood.
Prabhupada: I agree. I agree. He’s right. He’s right. He’s right.
Prthu Putra: He wasn’t appreciating exactly.
Bhagavan: Did he appreciate? First of all…
Prthu Putra: He doesn’t appreciate what we are doing exactly. He says, he says, with his Indian, with his Indian, what he’s doing with his Indian, what is the name of it…?
Bhagavan: Francend. (Name of paper?)
Prthu Putra: Franscend. He says there is many swami and writer come from India and teach to the people, to the western people, what is Krsna, what is Indian philosophy, what is God, but they always teach the people who need to be safe, to be, who need something to be safe, and they take it like just a drug or some kind of a dream just to get something to get safe from the material world. But that doesn’t mean their action is concrete. That is his point.
Prabhupada: But we are not doing that. We are, in the material world, we are teaching Krsna philosophy, practicing. All these young men, they are actually twenty-four hours engaged in Krsna consciousness. We are different from them. (French)
Prthu Putra: He thinks that the people in western world, mostly now they take Indian religion, some religion or philosophy come from India, because the Christian philosophy has some defect.
Prabhupada: Very good. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says the religions that come from India are infinitely richer than the religion we know in the West. And we cannot see only one aspect. He says there is so many faces in Indian religions.
Prabhupada: Yes. In… The idea of philosophy and religion, that is originated from India. There is no doubt about it. And that original idea of philosophy is practically demonstrated by Krsna. The ideal original ideal of religion and philosophy is preached by Krsna. And all the acaryas followed that. (French)
Prthu Putra: He said that is the distinction between the dogmatic aspect between the Hindu religions and the western religion.
Bhagavan: What is that? (French)
Prthu Putra: He says the western or the Christian religion are marked by dogmatists and they are very…
Prthu Putra: And they have imperialist conception.
Yogesvara: He says that western religions are narrow-minded, that they don’t have the openness that the religions of the East have in India, for example. And that the West has this capitalist, imperialistic tendency which is also supported by its religion.
Prabhupada: No. First… Therefore I asked what does he mean by religion. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says we can’t say… His point is we can’t say something. There is so many aspects of religion. There is the bhakti-yoga, by love and by heart. There is the karma-yoga, by action. There’s jnana-yoga, by knowledge. He says if in western countries, we propagate bhakti-yoga, we take the risk of using bhakti-yoga like a drug or something like this, if you are dreaming or something like that.
Prabhupada: (laughing) Bhakti-yoga by drugs?
Prthu Putra: He says, he made the statement…
Prabhupada: That is…
Prthu Putra: …according to the state of the French people, in right now, in this time.
Prabhupada: But we do not prescribe drug. We ask them to give up drug. (laughter) (French)
Karandhara: What he’s questioning, Prabhupada, is whether or not bhakti-yoga is suitable for everyone in every instance.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the only yoga meant for the human being. Any other yoga system practiced, they’re against bhakti-yoga. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that bhakti-yoga’s an escape.
Jyotirmayi: Bhakti-yoga brings to escaping one’s responsibility.
Prabhupada: Then he does not know what is bhakti-yoga. He does not know. (French) Arjuna did not escape. He was trying to escape, but, by bhakti-yoga, he was captured. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says the Bhagavad-gita is a…
Jyotirmayi: He says it’s a work which is very, very practical and rational.
Prabhupada: Yes. So therefore that is real bhakti-yoga. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said that Anu-gita is also a very practical work.
Prabhupada: No Anu-gita. Anu-gita is also another rebellious condition. Bhakti, Bhagavad-gita as it is. That is required. (French)
Yogesvara: He says that the great choice of scriptures from India allows us to choose like that. We can choose.
Prabhupada: No, you can choose, but if you do not know how to choose, what is the meaning of your choosing? (French)
Prthu Putra: He says he choose Radhakrishnan, he choose all the seigneur…
Prabhupada: But they, all of them…
Prthu Putra: He reject Aurobindo…
Prabhupada: I understand. All of them, they make center Krsna. So why not take Krsna? (French) Now this Ramakrishna said, “I am the same Krsna.” So if we give respect to Ramakrishna because of his being the same Krsna, why not go to the same Krsna directly? (French)
Prthu Putra: He says it’s not the full conclusion. And he says he says he can take another way and it excludes…
Prabhupada: No, no. He…
Prthu Putra: That’s another… (French)
Prabhupada: No, you cannot… If he was referring to Krsna, if you are referring to Bhagavad-gita, so why don’t you take it originally? (French) [break] (French)
Yogesvara: He says, he says this is the answer from Ramakrishna. When you have a thorn in your foot, you take another thorn and pluck it out, and afterwards, you throw them both away.
Prabhupada: So Bhagavad-gita does not say. Bhagavad-gita says that “You surrender unto Me, and sustain this.” Therefore he has misled. He did not understand what is Bhagavad-gita, and he misled so many fools. That is his business. One thing is, Bhagavad-gita says, Krsna says, mam ekam saranam vraja. And Ramakrishna says that “You can accept any path.” So this is against Bhagavad-gita. (French)
Yogesvara: He says, of the two choices, he likes Ramakrishna’s better.
Prabhupada: That is his choice. But if he says that “I am the same Krsna,” why should he differ? (French)
Yogesvara: He says to accommodate, to accommodate them.
Prabhupada: No accommodation. No. Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66], and Ramakrishna says that “Whatever path you select, it is all right.” So it is completely against Bhagavad-gita principles. And, and he said… His name was Gadadhara Chatterjee. So at the time of his death, he declared to Vivekananda that “I am the same Krsna, I am the same Rama.” So they believed in that, without any evidence, and they started this Ramakrishna mission. This is the history. (French)
Yogesvara: He says that he recognizes that, and he says it is one interpretation, as you have your interpretation, as there are many. He doesn’t think that these interpretations are as important as the art of knowing how to live, which is, he thinks, the essence of all religion, how to live. He says the interpretation is not so…
Prabhupada: But he thinks Ramakrishna lived very well than others? (French)
Yogesvara: I think one… If I’ve understood, he’s insisting on one point. That is the that the public opinion is actually the most important thing, just as this Ramakrishna expressed the spirit of the Gita in a way that was most popular, was most favorable to the public.
Prabhupada: Who is that public? Amongst you, who accepts Ramakrishna.
Prthu Putra: He says as same as Gandhi. A different type, but at their time, at their own time…
Karandhara: Yeah, but Prabhupada’s questioning the presumption of this generalization. He said that a majority of the public have accepted Ramakrishna’s comments on the Bhagavad-gita, but what public? Where’s the specifics of that generalization?
Bhagavan: He said and then Gandhi gave another interpretation that was…
Karandhara: Amongst the scholars and the true Vedic authorities in India, they don’t accept Ramakrishna at all. (French)
Prthu Putra: It is difficult word to translate in English. He says at his time, Ramakrishna’s was the expression of the mass of the people.
Karandhara: What mass?
Prabhupada: That is false.
Karandhara: Ramakrishna’s popular in the West because of his skillful propaganda… (French)
Yogesvara: He says that “Well, in a sense, we have to accept that Ramakrishna was expressing the sentiments of the public because he lived amongst the public.”
Prabhupada: No, that is his false understanding.
Karandhara: Still, that doesn’t make it valid. Hitler, Hitler lived amongst the public too. And he was a…
Prabhupada: No, I’ll give you example that mass of people in Jagannatha Puri, in Vrndavana, many thousands, ten thousands, twenty thousands people, every day come, to worship Jagannatha, to worship Krsna, but there is a Ramakrishna temple in Belurmath, or somewhere else—nobody goes. So how do you say the mass of people are attracted to Ramakrishna? And similarly, recently, our foreign students went to Vrndavana, went to Navadvipa, by thousands, but nobody goes to Ramakrishna Mission temple. Then other point: Ramakrishna Mission is working in the western world almost one hundred years. Find out their disciples so many we have got. So your statement, “It is meant for the mass of people,” it is false. I have given you proof from India and from here also. That means throughout the whole world. In India nobody cares for Ramakrishna. That I have given you proof. You go to Vrndavana. There nobody cares for Ramakrishna. You go to Jagannatha Puri, Haridvar, so many holy places. Nobody cares for Ramakrishna. So your idea, that it is for the mass, it is false. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says he was talking about the time of Ramakrishna, when Ramakrishna was there…
Prabhupada: That, everything, bubble comes and goes away. It is no meaning. (French)
Yogesvara: He says numbers aren’t really very important.
Jyotirmayi: It’s not a proof.
Yogesvara: It’s not a proof, just numbers.
Yogesvara: He says: But that’s not a proof, just to say that there are greater number.
Karandhara: He was trying to submit it as a proof just a minute ago.
Prabhupada: Now, sometimes he is going this side, sometimes goes that side. Sometimes he says, “Mass of people,” and again he says, “Not the number of people.” What is mass of people? That is the number of people. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says, for example, he can see the mass of people in Italy, they are Catholic. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be impressed by the Catholic philosophy.
Prabhupada: Now, now, we have to… He was comparing that the mass of people, they take to Ramakrishna. That I have proved. They’re not, the mass of people, not at all interested… That I have proved. That is my answer. (French)
Jyotirmayi: He said he was not saying that thousands of people were following Ramakrishna…
Prabhupada: What is the mass of people mean?
Yogesvara: He says Ramakrishna, whether he knew it or not, he was expressing a sentiment of the people at that time.
Prabhupada: At that time. That is finished. So that is not permanent settlement. But Krsna’s, Krsna’s, I mean to say, supremacy, at least for the last five thousand years, is intact. Now, he says Aurobindo, Gandhi, Ramakrishna. They’re all gone. They came and gone. But Krsna philosophy is truth, and it is standing, and it will go on standing. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says it’s not the person important in this example. It’s the idea they was expressing, all from five thousand years. The same idea was there.
Prabhupada: Yes, same idea. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: “Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” That idea is accepted.
Karandhara: No, he’s saying that Aurobindo and Ramakrishna expressed that same idea in contemporary language in their own time.
Prabhupada: So that existed temporarily. Now it is gone. That will not appeal. (French)
Yogesvara: In other words, what he’s suggesting is that that’s not actually an argument because the important thing is that there were times, at different times, different people have come and have attempted or have actually represented the public sentiment. They have become the epitome or resume’ or synthesis of the public sentiment at a particular period. In other words, he’s saying the great reform…, the great preachers, they’ve always been representatives of people; instead of being representatives of Krsna, or God, they’ve been the representatives of the people.
Prabhupada: The people’s representative is different from God’s representative. (French)
Yogesvara: He says that “Well, that’s a belief.” You have to believe that. He said that’s only a belief.
Prabhupada: No, people change according to the time, circumstances, they change. Their opinion has no value. We don’t give any value to the people’s opinion. We give value to the Supreme Being’s opinion. (French)
Yogesvara: He says that that’s dangerous because then we run the risk of having people who say, “Well, I represent the word of God. I can give you the true interpretation of the word of God, and they’re actually only interested personal, private interests…”
Prabhupada: No, if… If people… Not all. If there is actually opinion of God, if one man says the same opinion, then how others can say that “You all not giving God’s opinion.” God said, Krsna said, that “You surrender to Me,” and if I say that “You surrender to God,” then how I am deviating from God’s instruction? (French)
Yogesvara: In other words, what you’re saying is that, in essence we must stick to the words of God without interpreting.” (aside:) Is that what he said?
Prabhupada: That’s it. That’s it. That we want.
Bhagavan: (to translators:) You should repeat your point that you make sure he understands. (French)
Prabhupada: If you interpret, then the God’s authority is denied. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says there is some deviation, some interpretation by some philosophers or sages. They deviate…
Prabhupada: One who deviates is not a sage. He’s a thief.
Prthu Putra: Yeah, it’s what he says. I’m just translating his words.
Prabhupada: No, if he deviates from the words of God, then he is not a sage. (French)
Yogesvara: He says, well, the thing that he appreciates in Hinduism is its openness and its tolerance to so many different paths and so many different interpretations.
Prabhupada: That is another thing. But to abide by the orders of God, that is another thing. (French)
Yogesvara: He says then we’ve made the full turn again. We’ve come back to the beginning. (French) He said so we’ve actually come back to the beginning of our discussion again which is that real religion has to be judged by the actions of men.
Prabhupada: Yes, that you can judge. Here is the action of the men. Now the young men and boys and girls are taking to Krsna consciousness. And who is taking to Ramakrishna? (French)
Bhagavan: So he is a man of action, and here we have a movement of action which is solving all problems of the world. What’s his complaint? It’s not a dream. It’s actually by following this movement, we’re solving all problems. So what does he have to say? If he follows exactly what Krsna says, then all the problems will be solved. So why doesn’t he follow what Krsna says? (French)
Prthu Putra: He received information.
Prthu Putra: He received information that to follow, with some interest, that to follow what Krsna says and like that, we can solve problems. (French) And personally, he respects you.
Prabhupada: Thank you. That’s all right. But thing is that we must know that he has spoken about Ramakrishna and Aurobindo. They also center their propaganda on Krsna. Just like I already told. Ramakrishna said, “I am the same Krishna.” That means he takes to Krsna. Aurobindo, he has written “Life Divine.” That is his explanation of Bhagavad-gita. He takes to Krsna. This Maharishi, he has also presented Bhagavad-gita; he (has) taken to Krsna. So their importance is by taking to Krsna. Otherwise, they are valueless, nobody. (French)
Yogesvara: He says that for him, that’s not really a problem. He says rather than referring to the person Krsna, he just goes directly to the teaching of the Gita, and he profits from that.
Prabhupada: No, teachings of Bhagavad-gita means Krsna. That is the folly of the so-called scholars. They want to study Bhagavad-gita without Krsna. Just like one wants to play Hamlet without Hamlet. (French, mentions Sankara) Sankara has accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Does he know that, that Sankara has accepted Krsna the Supreme Personality? (French)
Yogesvara: So his point is that, well, ultimately, the, now what is going to happen, he says, is we’re going to get into a discussion about whether or not the Supreme is a person or impersonal, and he says he doesn’t really have the time to get into that.
Prabhupada: Hmm. Then? What did he…? Why he come here? What for?
Yogesvara: We invited him. (laughter) (French)
Devotee: Well, at the end of Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]
Devotee: He says, “Give up all this religiousness, and surrender to Me.” The whole purport of the Bhagavad-gita. He’s telling Arjuna to fight, but ultimately in the end, He’s saying, “Just forget about all these ideas you have in your head, and surrender to Me.”
Prabhupada: Yes, Krsna.
Prabhupada: “Me” means Krsna.
Prabhupada: So then Krsna is everything.
Devotee: Mam ekam.
Prabhupada: Yes, mam ekam, “only to Me.” (French) So anyone who has studied Bhagavad-gita rightly, he’ll do that, surrender to Krsna. (French)
Yogesvara: He says he accepts that as being… He says that’s an opinion, just like there are many other opinions.
Yogesvara: He says that is an opinion, just as there are so many other opinions.
Prabhupada: But this opinion is followed by all the acaryas.
Bhagavan: This is Krsna’s opinion. (French)
Prabhupada: India’s culture, India’s culture depends on the acaryas. Just like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Sankaracarya, Nimbarka, Visnusvami, like that. So in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, acaryopasanam. So India’s culture is still, up to date, it is followed by the acaryas. Anyone you find in India who claims to become a Hindu, he must have followed the acarya. So all the acaryas accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (French)
Prthu Putra: He says all the Christians and all the priests, that they tell to him from, that from two thousand years, the truth is in the Evangel. But still, he says…
Yogesvara: Just like we’re saying that all the acaryas have accepted Krsna, he says so also in the Christian religion, all the priests and all the Christians have said that Christ is the ultimate, as it is said in the Evangel. (French)
Prabhupada: Yes, we have several times explained that Christ says that he is the son of God. So we don’t deny it.
Karandhara: The point he’s making, Prabhupada, is that…
Karandhara: What he’s saying is that outwardly, they all profess allegiance to Jesus, but they, it’s seen that they disagree with one another on many points. They have diversified opinions about what Jesus meant about this and what does life signify.
Yogesvara: And therefore, for him, he doesn’t even consider that question, whether Christ is the son of God, whether he’s not the son of God. For him, it’s a secondary problem.
Prabhupada: Now, now, what is his problem. That he did never disclose.
Yogesvara: Well, he says the problem is the art of living, what is the best way to live.
Prabhupada: So he has got his opinion. I have got my own opinion. How we’ll agree? We say that you remain in Krsna consciousness. Everything will be solved. Does he agree? (French)
Yogesvara: He says, “No, absolutely not. Just like I don’t accept the existence…”
Prabhupada: Then why shall I agree to his point? (French) So…
Yogesvara: So he says, “So I have to leave now. But the last thing I’d like to say is that I reject that conclusion just like I reject also the Christian conclusion that the truth is in the Evangel. But,” he says, “that doesn’t impede me, that doesn’t stop me from working very nicely with some of my best friends who are Christians when it comes down to practical work.”
Prabhupada: No, what is his opinion? That he never disclosed. (French)
Bhagavan: But what practical thing is he doing?
Prthu Putra: What he says, what he says… He’s not Christian. He’s actually, he’s atheist and he’s materialist. But he says he guides the people to read the Bhagavad-gita because he says in Bhagavad-gita there’s something more than in the Evangel.
Prabhupada: So we say also same thing. So where is the disagreement? (French)
Jyotirmayi: He says that in his political work, he teaches sometimes Bhagavad-gita, and people are very interested.
Yogesvara: He says he is the only Communist to suggest to people that they read the Bhagavad-gita.
Prabhupada: No, we recommend everyone to read Bhagavad-gita. (French) What is that?
Jyotirmayi: He says that when he explains Bhagavad-gita, or presents Bhagavad-gita, to people, he doesn’t tell them that “This is the word of God and you just have to accept it.”
Prabhupada: That means he has not studied himself Bhagavad-gita. That means he has not studied Bhagavad-gita.
Jyotirmayi: So he says that he thinks the same about us, that we are also not understanding perfectly Bhagavad-gita.
Prabhupada: Then let him understand from us.
Yogesvara: No, he says he thinks that we don’t understand.
Bhagavan: (Simultaneously with Yogesvara) He thinks that we don’t understand.
Yogesvara: He says that he thinks that we have imperfectly understood.
Prabhupada: So let us discuss who understands, you or me. So who will decide? You are understanding or I am understanding—who’ll decide? Who will decide it? (French)
Bhagavan: So if he is a man of action, let us see. He has got his philosophy of Bhagavad-gita. We have got our philosophy. Let us see by the results whose action is doing things. We have no political problem, we have no economic problem, we have no social problem. What more action does he want?
Prabhupada: Religious problem. Any problem.
Bhagavan: No problem. So what does that indicate? And you have all problems. (French)
Prabhupada: Now, this question… Listen. Our Bhagavan says that he has no problem. We have no problem. And you have got all problems. So who is better? Who is better?
Bhagavan: And anyone who joins us loses all his problems. (French)
Yogesvara: He says then that’s very serious because if you have no problems, that means you are trying to escape from the world because the world is full of problems.
Prabhupada: We are in the Paris City. How we have escaped from the world? (laughter) We have got branches in London, in Paris in New York and big, big cities, and all these boys are coming from big, big cities. How they have escaped? It is not justice. If he says that “They have escaped,” that is wrong statement. We are not escaping anything. (French)
Bhagavan: What kind of proof are you looking for? Let’s talk about proof. What kind of proof are you looking for? (French)
Prabhupada: Now, another point is he’s accusing us that we’re escaping. Why he’s escaping Krsna consciousness? (French)
Yogesvara: He says he thinks that what we’re doing is simply a kind of medicine that doesn’t actually resolve the problems that people are facing.
Prabhupada: If it is not result, then how this boy says, “We have no problem”? The patient says that he is cured, and you say that it is not curing? (French)
Bhagavan: (to translators) So repeat to Prabhupada what he said. (French) We have proof that anyone from any part of the world who takes to this process loses his problems. It’s not a matter of western or eastern. (French)
Yogesvara: With your permission, he would like to take leave.
Prabhupada: Why? He should stay with us. Let us conclude. Why you are flying away? We have started one discussion. Let it be finished. Why you are going away? (French) That means he is escaping.
Yogesvara: He says because he works in the evenings. He’s a theater critic.
Prabhupada: That’s all right. Some way or other, he’s escaping. (French) A man…
Yogesvara: With pleasure, he would like to come back to finish the discussion.
Prabhupada: Yes. (French)
Jyotirmayi: And with friendship.
Prabhupada: Yes. Oh, yes. That’s it. Don’t escape. (French) When we have begun the discussion, let us finish. Don’t escape. Thank you. Haribol. Jaya. Thank you. (R.M. leaves)
Bhagavan: Make sure he has some more prasadam before he goes.
Jyotirmayi: I’ll bring it.
Prabhupada: (aside:) Hmm, open.
Paramahamsa: (to devotees outside room) …Prabhupada is very tired. He’s just finished a long evening.
Prabhupada: So when there is discussion, you should all be present. It is very interesting. Those who are our men, GBC men, they must know.
Pusta-krsna: They come in like Kesi demon, and they go out with prasadam in their mouth.
Prabhupada: They are escaping. We are not escaping. We want to capture everyone. (laughter) He has no clear idea what is the aim of life.
Yogesvara: He likes to see people engaged in work that is humanitarian, that will resolve the problems of the world.
Prabhupada: That everyone says. All rascals says like that. Humanitarian. He does not know what is humanitarian. And then killing one capitalist or communist and this and that. Sophistry. Fascist and communist. This is their humanitarian work.
Devotee: He’s like one of these rascals who translates the Bhagavad-gita in a certain way like saying the five Pandavas are the five senses, and the battlefield is the body?
Devotee: And here we’re having a fight with the body, but he doesn’t accept that Krsna is…
Prabhupada: Their only business is to escape Krsna.
Devotee: They’re trying to interpret that Krsna is just our own intelligence or…
Bhagavan: The point is even when they see the practical proof, they don’t accept it. They’re so stubborn.
Prabhupada: You be strong. Don’t be… They cannot conquer us. But you be more strong. (end)