with French Commander
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
August 3, 1976, New Mayapur (French farm)
Devotee (1): Srila Prabhupada? This is a family from Corsica.
Yogesvara: The sankirtana boys met them when they were distributing in Corsica.
Devotee (1): Mr. Marchand, and the girl, his wife, and little girl and boy.
Prabhupada: Where is Bhagavan dasa?
Mrs. Marchand and children: Hare Krsna.
Prabhupada: Jaya. Thank you. Jaya. Thank you. Thank you. Jaya thank you, Jaya.
Devotee (1): Thank you
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. Oh, you have painted?
Devotee (1): A lady from Corsica, she gave me that, and she took your Bhagavad-gita and also she gave me that for your work.
Prabhupada: Thank you.
Devotee (1): Hare Krsna.
Yogesvara: Mr. Marchand is a commander in the French Navy. Now he and his family are all chanting on beads and following the regulative principles.
Prabhupada: You retired? Or…
Yogesvara: He’s still active.
Translator: Still has a few years to go.
Prabhupada: Arjuna was a commander.
Bhagavan: Have they seen our French Bhagavatam? Our new French Bhagavatam?
Prabhupada: So we generally speak that Arjuna was military commander. So before understanding Bhagavad-gita, he was commander, and after understanding, he remained a commander, but he became Krsna conscious.
Translator: He says this brings to mind a question to him, that now that he has received Krsna consciousness, he would like to know from you how he should behave in his normal life, because he’ll be living very far from the temple. He’s two thousand kilometers away from us, and he wants to know how his life should be conducted now that he has become Krsna conscious.
Prabhupada: That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, Ninth Chapter. The whole Bhagavad-gita he has to study, he’ll understand. Especially in the Ninth Chapter. Beginning from Seventh to… All the chapters, especially Seventh to Twelfth chapter. He can open that Bhagavad-gita Seventh Chapter. French.
Translator: This is French, yes.
Prabhupada: Yes. Read it.
sri bhagavan uvaca mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjan mad-asrayah asamsayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu [Bg. 7.1]
(reads French translation)
Prabhupada: So, if he has got any difficulty to understand? Ask him. And purport is there. If there is any difficulty, he can inquire.
Translator: He says he admires you very much for the work you have done in spreading this message all around, and especially the fact that you have made it so clear that anyone can understand.
Prabhupada: So let him come, join, and help. (laughter)
Translator: He says as much as he can he will.
Prabhupada: Why as much? Why not fully? (laughter) The sooner he helps fully… (someone comes in) Oh.
Devotees: Jaya, haribol.
Prabhupada: That Punjab National Bank has not sent the…
Jayatirtha: Just like in India.
Prabhupada: If possible, we can talk or… Is it possible to talk with the manager? Punjab National Bank?
Jayatirtha: Oh, yes. Call him.
Prabhupada: He was to send by registered post, but I have not received. You gave the address and everything.
Jayatirtha: Oh, yes, I wrote it down.
Prabhupada: Was he bona fide manager or not? (laughter)
Jayatirtha: He didn’t have his seal with him.
Prabhupada: Yes. Anyway, just inquire. These are our garden flowers.
Jayatirtha: Oh, very nice.
Prabhupada: This is also?
Prabhupada: Yes. Anything grown in the garden, that is hundred times valuable than it is purchased from the market. (pause) Bhagavad-gita is a book which can guide the whole human society. In all different branches of knowledge, namely in politics, in sociology, in religion, in culture, in philosophy, in economics, everything, all lines are described very vividly, and the human society can take advantage of it. The Bhagavad-gita begins in the battlefield with politics. And when Arjuna declined to fight, how Krsna chastised him, that is described, kutas tva kasmalam idam visame samupasthitam. Find out this verse.
Bhagavan: You tell him what Prabhupada said.
Prabhupada: You can ask him to open that book. Then read it. (translation read in French) So what is the difficulty in understanding? Ask him. This is military. Krsna is asking that “You are in the battlefield. Wherefrom you got this cowardice mentality?” This is the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita teaches how to become a brave hero in the battlefield. This is the instruction. Kutas tva kasmalam idam visame sam. Just read the purport. Is there any purport? (purport read in French) [break] …difficulty to understand.
Translator: He finds it very admirable that from a small verse you are able to always find something new and wonderful to say about it. And he say you go from verse to verse, and the complexity of what you explain is always new and wonderful to read. So he’s very admiring of the book.
Prabhupada: Thank you.
Bhagavan: How you can go from two lines to three pages.
Prabhupada: I can go more. (laughter) But I have made shortcut. Krsna is unlimited. So He can be described unlimitedly. But we have no unlimited patience.
Translator: He is explaining that there are so many things to understand about Krsna, but we do not have the capacity to understand always. But he feels that at one point, when the soul is pure, these things will be understood automatically, but because we are very far, these commentaries are needed to bring us closer to Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes, this is the first study of Krsna. ABCD. When we learn Bhagavad-gita, then we can have some glimpse of idea of Krsna. Then we go further in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Translator: He also admires very much that you have created disciples who are able to be very courageous in presenting your message. And that even though sometimes at first he was opposed to them, they were very peaceful always and always very nice to him, and this way they brought him slowly to Krsna consciousness.
Prabhupada: That is preaching method. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended, trnad api sunicena. You can explain that:
trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. adi 17.31]
This is the method by the preacher.
Bhagavan: A devotee should always feel lower than the straw in the street. (Mrs. Marchand speaks)
Translator: She wants to know if it is recommended that a woman become a sannyasi.
Prabhupada: Woman should stay under the father, under the husband, and under the elderly sons. Nothing more. Therefore it is the duty of the father to give her in charge of a young man when she is young. This is Vedic culture.
Translator: She’s asking what should a woman do if she is alone?
Prabhupada: She cannot be alone. Na sataritatam ananti(?). Woman should not be allowed… Just like children. Children cannot be alone. They must taken care of. Similarly a woman, in childhood, should be taken care of by the father; when she’s young, she should be taken care of by the husband; and when she’s old, she should be taken care of by elderly sons. You’ll find in the Vedic literature, the father’s responsibility is until she’s handed over to a suitable young man. And the husband’s responsibility is so long she hasn’t got elderly children. At that time, when she has got elderly children, he can leave home and take sannyasa. So the process is a woman is kept under protection always. There is no independence for woman. That is… Still, in India it is going on. The father is obliged to find out a suitable husband for the daughter and give her in his charge. Then his responsibility finished. Until that, she is, he’s responsible to take care of the daughter. Unmarried girl to remain always under the protection of the father.
Yogesvara: But today there seem to be so few qualified husbands.
Prabhupada: Because you do not train the boys to be qualified. You train them to become debauch. What can be done? You train them from brahmacari, then they’ll be responsible husbands. Both the girls and the boys should be trained up. Then they’ll be responsible husband and wife and live peacefully. In their young days, if you give them freedom, they’ll spoil. What can be done? Young, youthful days, if you give them full freedom, they’ll be misguided and spoiled.
Translator: She’s asking that since in these Western countries the families are so broken up and the women sometimes cannot find a qualified husband, what should she do?
Prabhupada: That, here is the society. You train them. You have got all children. You train them in that way, so that… Whatever is done is done. Now you can make very good society, Krsna conscious society. Not that one mistake has been done, you should continue. Rectify it. The difficulty is the modern society, the leaders, they do not know the aim of life. They are blindly doing everything like animals. Their philosophy is like the animals. Eat, drink, be merry and enjoy, that’s all. This is the philosophy of the animals. And human philosophy is to understand first of all what I am. I am this body or something else? That is human life. But nobody questions this, there is no institution to teach this science, therefore the whole human society is misguided. Just like if I want to train my boy to become a medical man, then I teach him biology, botany, similar… So if… Because I know I shall make my boy a medical man. Similarly, we should know what is the aim of human life. Then we have to construct the social political, everything, favorable to that end. But they do not know what is the aim of life. That is the whole mistake. I think that in Bible there is a story, prodigal son? So we are prodigal son. We are all sons of God, now we have become prodigal sons. What is the meaning of prodigal? “Without any responsibility,” is it not? Do whatever you like.
Translator: Run away from the protection of the family.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is our position, that we are sons of God, we have given up protection of God. God is protecting in all circumstances.
Hari-sauri: It says “Prodigal: recklessly wasteful.”
Prabhupada: That’s it. This is the… We are all recklessly wasteful sons of God. We are sons of God, there is no doubt, but at the present moment, recklessly wasteful. We are wasting our valuable life even, we are so reckless. So the Krsna consciousness movement is to check their recklessness and bring them into senses of responsibility, going back home, back to Godhead. This is Krsna consciousness. But people are so reckless, as soon as you say something of God, immediately they laugh, “Oh, what is nonsense, God.” This is the supreme recklessness. India was very serious about God. Still, India is serious. Now, the present leaders, they are thinking that Indians are spoiled, simply thinking of God—they’re not thinking like the Americans and Europeans for economic development. So this is the position, and it is very difficult, but still we can do something this to the humanity, by preaching this Krsna consciousness movement. And those who are fortunate, they’ll come, take up seriously. These reckless prodigal sons, we have got so many examples. For example, just like there is some stock of petroleum and they got information that from petroleum they can run on cars without horse. So, manufacture millions of cars and spoil the whole oil. This is recklessness. And when it is finished, then they’ll cry. And it will be finished. This is going on. Recklessness. Just as reckless boy, father has left some property, use it, use it. As soon as you get. The sooner it is finished, that’s all. That is recklessness. There is some strength in the body, and as soon as he gets a little taste of sex life, “Oh, spend it, spend it,” whole energy spent. The brain becomes vacant. This is recklessness. Beginning from twelfth year, by the thirty year, everything finished. Then he’s impotent. In our childhood—in our childhood means, say, eighty years ago, or say, a hundred years ago—there was no motorcar. And now, wherever you go, in any country, you see thousands and millions of car. This is recklessness. Hundreds years ago they could do without motorcar, and now they cannot live without a car. In this way, unnecessarily, they’re increasing bodily or material necessities of life. This is recklessness. And the leaders will say, “Stop this nonsense, come to Krsna consciousness,” nobody will care. Andha yathandhair upaniyamanas te ’pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah. This is called blind leader leading blind followers. They do not know that both of them are bound up by the strict, stringent laws of nature. [break] …how the laws of nature is working. They are completely in ignorance. They do not know. This is modern civilization. The laws of nature must work in its own way. You care for it or do not care for it, that is your business, but the laws of nature will work. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27] But these rascals, they do not know how the laws of nature will work. They are endeavoring artificially for, foolishly, to overcome the laws of nature. This is science, rascal’s science, which is impossible, but they are trying. This is called rascaldom. Stupidity. Do the scientists not say like that? “We are trying to overcome.” Rascal, you’ll never be able to do that. But this rascaldom is going on. And they’re applauding, “Oh, very good, very good, very good.” “Oh, you are going to the moon planet.” But after all endeavor, the grapes are sour: “It is not useful.” That’s all. You know the story? The jackal? He tried for the grapes, jumping, jumping, jumping. When it was failure, he said, “Oh, it is useless. It is sour, no use.” (laughter) So they are doing like that. The jackals are jumping, that’s all. And we can see how these rascals are jumping uselessly. (laughter) So we are warning people not to follow these silly jackals. Be prudent and be Krsna conscious. That will make your life successful.
Hari-sauri: You want to go for a walk now, Srila Prabhupada?
Yogesvara: Srila Prabhupada? This is Ulain. He is from the Ivory Coast in Africa. And he is very sincere, and he is also attempting to start Krsna consciousness in Africa in the Ivory Coast.
Prabhupada: Very good.
Yogesvara: He had a question for you.
Prabhupada: First of all, you remain here for some time. Be trained up. Because every one of us, we have followed the silly jackals. Now we have to follow Krsna. Janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s advice. First of all, let your personal life be successful, then try to do good to others. The, all over the world, they have simply followed the silly jackals. Now we have to follow Krsna. When you are trained up to follow Krsna, then our life is successful. Then you can do something. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. We have to follow Krsna alone. Not all these rascals, silly jackals. Then our life is successful. Krsna can give you all guidance. In all respective necessities of life, there is everything complete. We haven’t got to follow the silly jackals. So here is a nice place, you stay here and forget the silly jackals and take to Krsna alone or His devotees. Then you can start very nicely a center anywhere. That is the duty of everyone. We should open hundreds and thousands of centers all over the world. But one who is going to open, he must be first of all trained up.
Translator: He’s wondering, he’s convinced about Krsna consciousness himself, but he is wondering why in a country or a continent like Africa, which is not so scientifically or technologically developed…
Prabhupada: There is no need of.
Translator: There is no need. So he is wondering why we only have two temples in Africa. Is it because…
Prabhupada: Because language difficulty.
Translator: Language difficulty.
Prabhupada: Otherwise, there is no difficulty. Still, even without language, without talking, if you simply chant Hare Krsna, everyone will follow. And give them prasadam, they will take. And that will be good preaching. It doesn’t require language or anything. You chant Hare Krsna, let them chant Hare Krsna, and give them nice prasada. They will take. That will be good preaching. But who is chanting, he must be a sincere devotee. Then his chanting will be effective. A gramophone machine will not do. He must be realized, then his chanting will be effective. Satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah. He must behave just like a pure Vaisnava. Then if he chants, his chanting will be effective. Just like electricity. If I am surcharged with electricity, I touch, you also become electric. And if he touches, he’ll become. But if one is not in touch with electricity, then it will not act. So one must be electrified. Then if he touches somebody, he’ll be electrified. If there is no electricity, simply by touching, he’ll not do.
Translator: He says that on the Ivory Coast, this country, until he becomes electrified, he knows that the President of the country is very favorable to our movement, he has the Bhagavad-gita and he thinks that we should open a temple there.
Prabhupada: Immediately do it. Immediately do it. I am simply explaining the process. But do it immediately, Krsna will give you power. If you are sincere, you’ll be electrified. There is no doubt. So?
Hari-sauri: Go for a walk?
Devotees: Jaya Prabhupada. (end)