HOW CAN I COME TO VISIT?
Please see the DIRECTIONS here
CAN I STAY LONGER?
Yes, but we need to meet you first and discuss the details.
DO I NEED TO CALL FOR A FERRY?
Yes, you can call temple reception on 00442867723878 upon arrival, or if you planning to come with the bigger group, please let us know 1 day in advance about your arrival, so we can arrange food (prasadam) and also call for a ferry when you arrive on the spot.
DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR STAYING OVERNIGHT?
Yes, we accept donations of 20£/ day. Those who have no money can discuss it with us and by engaging in practical help one can stay without payment.
WHAT TIME IS PUJA?
4.30-4.55am – Mangal Arati Mangala-arati is the first temple ceremony of the day. It begins at 4:30am and is considered mangala, or ‘auspicious’ for all who participate. The devotees sing beautiful prayers glorifying the spiritual master and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
4.55-5.15am – Tulasi-arati This ceremony is right after mangala-arati. Tulasi is a sacred plant which is very dear to the Lord, and worship of Tulasi-devi is most beneficial. Tulasi-arati is performed like this: The devotees sing prayers to Tulasi-devi while one devotee offers her arati with incense, ghee lamp, and flowers. When the song is finished, the devotees circumambulate Tulasi-devi and offer her water by pouring some drops at her root.
7.00-7.05am – Deity Greeting After the Deities have been worshiped in private, They give Their audience (Darshan) to the devotees and the public, who then can see the shrine and offer worship and prayers. This is accompanied by a recorded singing of the Govindam prayers of the Brahma-samhita. The priest offers a short Arati ceremony with ghee lamp, incense, chamara whisk, and in warm weather, a peacock fan.
7.10am – Guru-Puja At this time, as members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness we offer our obeisances to our founder Srila Prabhupada as the instructing guru for all devotees. We are eternally indebted to him for single-handedly bringing Krishna consciousness to the Western world and thus giving everyone the opportunity to become a lover of Krishna. During the guru-puja, the devotees sing prayers glorifying the spiritual master and offer flower petals and bow at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.
7.30am – Srimad-Bhagavatam Class After singing and dancing, the devotees sit down and listen to a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam. The speaker reads a verse and Srila Prabhupada’s explanation of it, and then elaborates on the topics discussed there. At the end of the class, there are usually questions or comments. Thus an interesting and enlightening discussion often takes place.
12.30-12.55pm – Raj Bhoga Arati The raja-bhoga-arati follows the noon offering of food to the Deities. It lasts for about 25 minutes. The priest offers incense, ghee lamp, water, cloth, flowers, chamara, and (in warm weather) also a peacock fan. *Due to weddings on Saturdays, the facility for Darshan (during this Arati) is restricted. Single file queuing is likely and you will only see the Deities for a few moments.
4.10-4.20pm – Dhupa Arati This arati lasts for 10 minutes. The priest offers incense, flowers, chamara, and (in warm weather) also a peacock fan. Food offered to the Deities is usually fruits.
7.00-7.25pm – Sandya Arati This is also known as Gaura-arati. The devotees sing Sri Gaura-arati – a joyful song glorifying Lord Chaitanya and His associates. It lasts for about 25 minutes.
9.00-9.10pm – Shayan Arati The final arati of the day allows all the devotees to have a last opportunity to see the Deities and offer their prayers.
9.30pm – Temple closes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: DARSHAN IS CLOSED FROM 1PM TILL 4.10PM EXCEPT ON SUNDAYS WHEN IT IS OPEN ALL DAY.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT I CAN SPONSOR?
Yes, you are welcome to sponsor festivals and Sunday programs. Apart from that there are many things that you can buy and bring as an offering to the Lord. We don’t offer anything pre-cooked though. There are many other “big” projects that need financial support, you may kindly inquire from us to be involved.
The most popular things that you can offer are:
WE DON’T ACCEPT MEAT, FISH, EGGS, MUSHROOMS, ONIONS, GARLIC, TEA, COCOA,
At the moment we have too much of rice, if you wanted to bring some rice, please bring atta flour instead.
WHO IS KRISHNA?
Vasudeva, or Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme controller of everything. There is no one in creation who is not afraid of the rage of the Almighty. Great asuras like Ravana, Hiranyakasipu, Kamsa, and others who were very powerful living entities were all killed by the Personality of Godhead. And the almighty Vasudeva has empowered His name with the powers of His personal Self. Everything is related to Him, and everything has its identity in Him. It is stated herein that the name of Krsna is feared even by fear personified. This indicates that the name of Krsna is non-different from Krsna. Therefore, the name of Krsna is as powerful as Lord Krsna Himself. There is no difference at all. Anyone, therefore, can take advantage of the holy names of Lord Sri Krsna even in the midst of greatest dangers. The transcendental name of Krsna, even though uttered unconsciously or by force of circumstances, can help one obtain freedom from the hurdle of birth and death.
CAN I PRACTICE KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS IF I AM MARRIED AND HAVE A FAMILY?
It is not advisable in this age of Kali to leave one’s family suddenly, for people are not trained as proper brahmacaris and grhasthas. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised the brahmana not to be too eager to give up family life. It would be better to remain with his family and try to become purified by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra regularly under the direction of a spiritual master. This is the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If this principle is followed by everyone, there is no need to accept the renounced order (sannyasa).
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises everyone to become an ideal householder by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra without offences and teaching the same principle to everyone he meets…. Many people come and inquire whether they have to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our mission. One can remain comfortably in his residence. We simply request everyone to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If one is a little literate he can read Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and that is so much the better. These works are now available in an English translation and are done very authoritatively to appeal to all classes of men. Instead of being engrossed in material activities, people throughout the world should take advantage of this movement and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra at home with their families.
One should also refrain from sinful activities — illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication…. The real purpose of human life is to attain the spiritual platform and return to Godhead. That is the summum bonum of spiritual realization. The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to elevate human society to the perfection of life by pursuing the method described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His advice to the brahmana Kurma. That is, one should stay at home, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and preach the instructions of Krsna as they are given in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam…. If one simply follows the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, under the guidance of His representative, and chants the Hare Krsna mantra, teaching everyone as far as possible the same principle, the contamination of the materialistic way of life will not even touch him. It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vrndavana, Navadipa or Jagannatha Puri or in the midst of European cities where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vrndavana and Navadvipa. This means that materialism cannot touch him. This is the secret of success for one advancing in Krsna consciousness….
DO I HAVE TO LIVE IN THE TEMPLE-ASRAM TO BECOME A DEVOTEE?
No, but it is highly recommended to live in the temple for some time to get proper training in the practice as well as good association of other spiritually minded people. Of course if you are married, we recommend to come and visit to be instructed on how to practice at home, alternatively we may visit you and have a program in your house.
DO I NEED TO CHANGE MY DRESS TO BECOME A DEVOTEE?
CAN WOMEN JOIN THE HARE KRISHNA MOVEMENT?
Pandita means spiritually advanced. A person who is spiritually advanced, he sees on equal level a very learned man, vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmana, brahmana, the first-class man; vidya-vinaya-sampanne gavi, an animal like cow; hasti, animal like elephant; vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi hastini, suni, means dog; sva-paka, means the dog-eater; candala — all of them, they see equal. So what is that seeing? If I invite one learned scholar, and if I ask him, “Please sit down with the dog,” will he be pleased? He will feel insulted. But I see that within the dog, there is spirit soul, and within the learned scholar, there is spirit soul. Panditah sama… Sama-darsinah means from different platform. On the material platform, if I say, “Oh, you may be a learned scholar, and you may think the dog is dog, but I see you are all equal,” so it will be insult. So the fact is that we cannot disturb the equality, er, different position materially; at the same time, we have to understand what is the position, spiritual. That is wanted. If we make distinction between man and woman, black and white, then how in our temple we are enjoying together? Because we… Actually, we are equal on the spiritual platform. We do not say that “You are woman. You cannot become my disciple,” or “You are black; therefore you cannot become my disciple” No. We welcome everyone. So they may not misunderstand. Just you can issue one statement that “We say that if you want to see everyone equally, treat everyone equally, then you have to come to the spiritual platform, Krsna consciousness. Materially, it is not possible.”
DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY JOB OR BELONGINGS TO BECOME A MEMBER?
This Krsna consciousness movement is to give life to the dead society of human being. They are now dead, crazy dead. So our request is that you take full advantage of this Krsna consciousness movement. Your life will be happy. You’ll find a new phase of existence, happiness, fullness. That is sure. And the method is very simple. We don’t ask you… Just like as soon as I enter, all of you join in chanting Hare Krsna. It is very easy thing. Even a child can join. And simply by chanting, you’ll be purified, simply by chanting. You haven’t got to make any exercise, keeping your head down or this or that. No. Simple method: chanting this Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So this is our propaganda. We don’t charge anything. We don’t say that “I sell one mantra. You take it and give me some dollars.” No. It is freely distributed. Freely. In the street they are being distributed. But don’t neglect it. Because we are distributing this, the most valuable asset of the world so cheaply, don’t neglect it. Take it. Don’t minimize the value because we are distributing free. It is the most valuable thing of your life, chanting Hare Krsna. And you’ll practically find the result. It is not bluff. So many American boys and girls, they are chanting. They are not imported from India, but they have taken it very seriously, not only here. We have got seventeen branches all over your country, and they are very happy. And there is no loss. If you chant Hare Krsna, what is your loss? But the gain is very great. You can chant. Simply while walking in the street you can chant. While working, you can chant. While at home, you chant. When at office, you chant. There is no license, no expenditure, no loss, but the gain is very great. That is our request.
WHAT IS THE CHANTING OF THE HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTRA?
By practical experience, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification as if we were in the lower, animal stage. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find out the supreme cause of all causes — within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind, and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness — namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga means concentration of the mind detached from all other subject matter. And actually such concentration is samadhi, or cent percent engagement in the service of the Lord. And one who concentrates his attention in that manner is called a yogi. Such a yogi devotee of the Lord engages himself twenty-four hours daily in the service of the Lord so that his whole attention is engrossed with the thoughts of the Lord in ninefold devotional service, namely hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, praying, becoming a voluntary servant, carrying out orders, establishing a friendly relationship, or offering all that one may possess, in the service of the Lord. By such practice of yoga, or linking up in the service of the Lord, one is recognized by the Lord Himself, as it is explained in the Bhagavad-gita concerning the highest perfectional stage of samadhi. The Lord calls such a rare devotee the best amongst all the yogis Such a perfect yogi is enabled by the divine grace of the Lord to concentrate his mind upon the Lord with a perfect sense of consciousness, and thus by chanting His holy name before quitting the body the yogi is at once transferred by the internal energy of the Lord to one of the eternal planets where there is no question of material life and its concomitant factors. In material existence a living being has to endure the material conditions of threefold miseries, life after life, according to his fruitive work. Such material life is produced by material desires only. Devotional service to the Lord does not kill the natural desires of the living being, but they are applied in the right cause of devotional service. This qualifies the desire to be transferred to the spiritual sky. General Bhismadeva is referring to a particular type of yoga called bhakti-yoga, and he was fortunate enough to have the Lord directly in his presence before he quitted his material body. He therefore desired that the Lord stay before his view in the following verses.
WHAT IS BHAKTI YOGA?
Bhakti-yoga means that the Lord is there, the devotee is there and the activity of exchange of love between the Lord and the devotee is there. Therefore the individuality of two persons is present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual person, otherwise there would be no meaning to bhakti-yoga. If one is not situated in the same transcendental position with the Lord, one cannot serve the Supreme Lord. To be a personal assistant to a king, one must acquire the qualifications. Thus the qualification is to become Brahman, or freed from all material contamination. It is said in the Vedic literature, brahmaiva san brahmapy eti. One can attain the Supreme Brahman by becoming Brahman. This means that one must qualitatively become one with Brahman. By attainment of Brahman, one does not lose his eternal Brahman identity as an individual soul.
ARE THERE ANY RULES AND REGULATIONS?
People are living just like animals — without regulative, spiritual principles — and from among themselves they are electing the biggest animals. Anyone can do whatever he likes, whatever he thinks — no regulative principles.
But human life is meant for regulative principles. We are insisting that our students follow regulative principles — no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling — just to make them real human beings. Without regulative principles it is animal life. Animal life.
In the human form of life, after passing through millions of lives in the plant and animal species, the spirit soul gets the chance to take up the yoga system — and yoga means strict regulative principles. Indriya-samyamah — controlling the senses. That is the real yoga system. But today most people, though they may say they are practicing yoga, are misusing it. Just like the animals, they cannot control their senses. As human beings, they have higher intelligence; they should learn how to control the senses. This is human life. Na yat-karna-pathopetah: One who has not heard the message of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead — even for a moment — he’s an animal. The general mass of people, unless they are trained systematically for a higher standard of life in spiritual values, are no better than animals. They are on the level of dogs, hogs, camels, and asses.
Modern university education practically prepares one to acquire a doggish mentality for accepting the service of a greater master. Like the dogs, after finishing their so-called education the so-called educated persons move from door to door with applications for some service. We have this experience in India. There are so many educated men who are unemployed — because they have been educated as dogs. They must find a master; otherwise they have no power to work independently. Just like a dog — unless he finds a master, he is a street dog, loitering in the street.
WHAT IS VEDA?
The word veda means “book of knowledge.” There are many books of knowledge, which vary according to the country, population, environment, etc. In India the books of knowledge are referred to as the Vedas. In the West they are called the Old Testament and New Testament. The Muhammadans accept the Koran. What is the purpose for all these books of knowledge? They are to train us to understand our position as pure soul. Their purpose is to restrict bodily activities by certain rules and regulations, and these rules and regulations are known as codes of morality. The Bible, for instance, has ten commandments intended to regulate our lives. The body must be controlled in order for us to reach the highest perfection, and without regulative principles, it is not possible to perfect our lives. The regulative principles may differ from country to country or from scripture to scripture, but that doesn’t matter, for they are made according to the time and circumstances and the mentality of the people. But the principle of regulated control is the same. Similarly, the government sets down certain regulations to be obeyed by its citizens. There is no possibility of making advancement in government or civilization without some regulations. In the previous verse, Sri Krsna tells Arjuna that the regulative principles of the Vedas are meant to control the three modes of material nature — goodness, passion, and ignorance (traigunya-visaya vedah). However, Krsna is advising Arjuna to establish himself in his pure constitutional position as spirit soul, beyond the dualities of material nature.
WHAT IS THE HARE KRISHNA LIFESTYLE?
Very blissful. Busy life for Krishna. Always happily engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Our day begins early. We get up at 4.00am and practice spiritual activities (sadhana) for around 5h, the rest of the day is spent in different ways engaging in our duties. We try to simplify our life to make it more conducive for spiritual development. And Srila Prabhupada has given us direction that we need to take to so as to shape our life into a one which is conducive to spiritual development.
Srila Prabhupada: Now, we must take to agricultural work — produce food and give protection to the cows. And if we produce a surplus, we can trade. It is a simple thing that we must do. Our people should live peacefully in farming villages, produce grain and fruit and vegetables, protect the cows, and work hard. And if there is a surplus, we can start restaurants. Krsna conscious people will never be losers by following the instructions of Krsna. They will live comfortably, without any material want, and tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bhagavad-gita 4.9]: After leaving this body they will go directly to God. This is our way of life.
WHAT IS A HARE KRISHNA DIET?
We recommend that you eat prasadam only. So, so far human being is concerned, their food is also designated, that you take prasadam. Patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati. It is the duty of the human being to accept prasadam. Prasadam means foodstuffs which is offered to Krsna first. This is civilization. If you say, “Why should I offer?” that is uncivilized. It is gratefulness. If you offer to Krsna, then you are conscious that these foodstuffs, these grains, these fruits, these flowers, this milk, it is given by Krsna. I cannot produce it. In my factory I cannot produce all these things. Anything one uses, nobody can produce, it is given by Krsna. Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. This kaman. We are desiring and Krsna is supplying. Without His supply you cannot get it. Just like in our India, after independence the leaders thought, “Now we have got independence we shall increase the tractors and other agricultural implements and we will get enough food.” Now at the present moment, since two years, there is scarcity of water. There is no rainfall. So these tractors are now crying. You see? It is useless. Simply by so-called tractors, implements, you cannot produce, unless there is favor by Krsna. He must supply water, that for want of… Recently the news is that people are so exasperated that they went to the secretary, they demanded food, and the result was they were shoot, shot down. Yes, so many people died. So actually, although we have got this arrangement that one has to work, but that work is simple. If you remain Krsna conscious… That, after all, Krsna is supplying the foodstuffs. That’s a fact. Every religion accepts that. Just like in Bible it is said, “God give us our daily bread.” That’s a fact. God is giving. That you are…, you cannot manufacture bread. You can, you can manufacture bread in the bakery house, but the…, who will supply you the wheat? That is supplied by Krsna.
WHAT IS THE METHOD OF PRACTICE?
Our Krsna consciousness movement is that: it is the postgraduate movement of all kinds of religion. We are inviting either Christian or Muslim or Hindus or this or that — we do not mind — “Please come with us and try to love God.” This is Krsna consciousness movement. And the method is very simple. Method is very simple. You chant this holy name: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. All these, my students, all of them are Americans, and they come from Christian or Jewish group. None of them came from Hindu or India. But what is the process I have given to them? The process is chant Hare Krsna. It is very simple method. By chanting this mantra… Mantra. Mantra means… The Sanskrit word mantra, man means mind, and tra means deliverance. Mantra means that which delivers you from the mental concoction or hovering on the mental plane. Every one of us is hovering on the mental plane. By mind we are creating so many things: “I shall be happy in this way. I shall be happy in this way. I shall be happy in that way.” But mantra means when you are delivered from that concoction, speculative way of your mind, and you come to the transcendental platform. That is the effect of mantra. So this mantra, this Hare Krsna mantra, is called the maha-mantra. Maha-mantra means the greatest of all mantras. And this is the only suitable mantra for this age. This age is called Kali-yuga. Kali-yuga means the age of disagreement. Nobody agrees. Even husband, wife does not agree, what to speak of others. The father, son does not agree. Nobody agrees with anyone. This is the age like that. So in this age of disagreement you cannot say that this type of religion is nice, that type of religion is nice. That is finished now. You have to take this mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And you’ll find it that very soon you are coming to the light.
IS THERE ANYTHING PRACTICAL THAT I COULD DO TO HELP?
Yes, pls contact us and we will tell you how you can serve practically. Alternatively you may like to support our activities by offering your donations or becoming a patron.
IS HARE KRISHNA MOVEMENT A HINDU MOVEMENT?
There is a misconception that the Krsna consciousness movement represents the Hindu religion. In fact, however, Krsna consciousness is in no way a faith or religion that seeks to defeat other faiths or religions. Rather, it is an essential cultural movement for the entire human society and does not consider any particular sectarian faith. This cultural movement is especially meant to educate people in how they can love God.
WHAT IS REINCARNATION?
Remembrances of past lives can be fascinating, but the real goal of understanding reincarnation is to become free from the painful cycle of birth in death. In a lecture delivered in London in August of 1973, Srila Prabhupada warns, “This is not a very good business — to die and take birth again. We know that when we die we’ll have to enter again into the womb of a mother — and nowadays mothers are killing the children within the womb.”
“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth, and then to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” [Bhagavad-gita 2.13]
Generally, people cannot understand this simple verse. Therefore, Krsna says, dhiras tatra na muhyati: “Only a sober man can understand.” But what is the difficulty? How plainly Krsna has explained things! There are three stages of life. The first, kaumaram, lasts until one is fifteen years old. Then, from the sixteenth year, one begins youthful life, yauvanam. Then, after the fortieth or fiftieth year, one becomes an old man, jara. So those who are dhira — sober-headed, cool-headed — they can understand: “I have changed my body. I remember how I was playing and jumping when I was a boy. Then I became a young man, and I was enjoying my life with friends and family. Now I am an old man, and when this body dies I shall again enter a new body.”
In the previous verse Krsna said to Arjuna, “All of us — you, Me, and all the soldiers and kings who are present here — we existed in the past, we are existing now, and we shall continue to exist in the future.” This is Krsna’s statement. But rascals will say, “How was I existing in the past? I was born only in such-and-such a year. Before that I was not existing. At the present time I am existing. That’s all right. But as soon as I die, I’ll not exist.” But Krsna says, “You, I, all of us — we were existing, we are still existing, and we shall continue to exist.” Is that wrong? No, it is a fact. Before our birth we were existing, in a different body; and after our death we shall continue to exist, in a different body. This is to be understood.
For example, seventy years ago I was a boy, then I became a young man, and now I have become an old man. My body has changed, but I, the proprietor of the body, am existing unchanged. So where is the difficulty in understanding? Dehino ‘smin yatha dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Dehinah means “the proprietor of the body,” and dehe means “in the body.” The body is changing, but the soul, the proprietor of the body, remains unchanged.
Anyone can understand that his body has changed. So in the next life the body will also change. But we may not remember; that is another thing. In my last life, what was my body? I do not remember. So forgetfulness is our nature, but our forgetting something does not mean that it did not take place. No. In my childhood I did so many things I do not remember, but my father and mother remember. So, forgetting does not mean that things did not take place.
Similarly, death simply means I have forgotten what I was in my past life. That is death. Otherwise I, as spirit soul, have no death. Suppose I change my clothes. In my boyhood I wore certain clothes, in my youth I wore different clothes. Now, in my old age, as a sannyasi [a renunciant], I am wearing different clothes. The clothes may change, but that does not mean that the owner of the clothes is dead and gone. No.
This is a simple explanation of transmigration of the soul.
Also, all of us are individuals. There is no question of merging together. Every one of us is an individual. God is an individual, and we are also individuals. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13): “Of all the eternal, conscious, individual persons, one is supreme.” The difference is that God never changes His body, but we change our bodies in the material world. When we go to the spiritual world, there is no more change of body. Just as Krsna has His sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], an eternal form of bliss and knowledge, so when you go back home, back to Godhead, you will also get a similar body. The difference is that even when Krsna comes to the material world, He does not change His body. Therefore one of His names is Acyuta, “He who never falls.”
Krsna never changes. He never falls down, because He is the controller of maya, the material energy. We are controlled by the material energy, and Krsna is the controller of the material energy. That is the difference between Krsna and us. And not only does He control the material energy, but He controls the spiritual energy also-all energies. Everything that we see, everything manifested — that is Krsna’s energy. Just as heat and light are the energies of the sun, everything manifested is made up of the energies of Krsna.
There are many energies, but they have been divided into three principal ones: the external energy, the internal energy, and the marginal energy. We living entities are the marginal energy. Marginal means that we may remain under the influence of the external energy or we may remain under the influence of the internal energy, as we like. The independence is there. After speaking Bhagavad-gita Krsna says to Arjuna, yathecchasi tatha kuru: [Bg. 18.63] “Whatever you like, you can do.” Krsna gives this independence to Arjuna. He does not force one to surrender. That is not good. Something forced will not stand. For example, we advise our students, “Rise early in the morning.” This is our advice. We do not force anyone. Of course, we may force someone once or twice, but if he does not practice it, force will be useless.
Similarly, Krsna does not force anyone to leave this material world. All conditioned souls are under the influence of the external, or material, energy. Krsna comes here to deliver us from the clutches of the material energy. Because we are part and parcel of Krsna, we are all directly Krsna’s sons. And if a son is in difficulty, the father suffers also, indirectly. Suppose the son has become a madman — or, nowadays, a hippy. The father is very sorry: “Oh, my son is living like a wretch.” So, the father is not happy. Similarly, the conditioned souls in this material world are suffering so much, living like wretches and rascals. So Krsna is not happy. Therefore He comes personally to teach us how to return to Him. (Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati. .. tad-atmanam srjamy aham [Bg. 4.7].)
When Krsna comes, He comes in His original form. But unfortunately we understand Krsna to be one of us. In one sense He is one of us, since He is the father and we are His sons. But He’s the chief: nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). He’s more powerful than us. He’s the most powerful, the supreme powerful. We have a little power, but Krsna has infinite power. That is the difference between Krsna and us. We cannot be equal to God. Nobody can be equal to Krsna or greater than Him. Everyone is under Krsna. Ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya: [Cc. Adi 5.142] Everyone is the servant of Krsna; Krsna is the only master. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram: [Bg. 5.29] “I am the only enjoyer; I am the proprietor,” Krsna says. And that is a fact.
So, we are changing our body, but Krsna does not change His. We should understand this. The proof is that Krsna remembers past, present, and future. In the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita you’ll find that Krsna says He spoke the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god some 120,000,000 years ago. How does Krsna remember? Because He does not change His body. We forget things because we are changing our body at every moment. That is a medical fact. The corpuscles of our blood are changing at every second. But the body is changing imperceptibly. That is why the father and mother of a growing child do not notice how his body is changing. A third person, if he comes after some time and sees that the child has grown, says, “Oh, the child has grown so big.” But the father and mother have not noticed that he has grown so big, because they are always seeing him and the changes are taking place imperceptibly, at every moment. So our body is always changing, but I, the soul, the proprietor of the body, am not changing. This is to be understood.
We are all individual souls, and we are eternal, but because our body is changing we are suffering birth, death, old age, and disease. The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to get us out of this changing condition. “Since I am eternal, how can I come to the permanent position?” That should be our question. Everyone wants to live eternally; nobody wants to die. If I come before you with a revolver and say, “I am going to kill you,” you will immediately cry out, because you do not want to die. This is not a very good business — to die and take birth again. It is very troublesome. This we all know subconsciously. We know that when we die we’ll have to enter again into the womb of a mother — and nowadays mothers are killing the children within the womb. Then again another mother… The process of accepting another body again and again is very long and very troublesome. In our subconscious we remember all this trouble, and therefore we do not want to die.
So our question should be this: “I am eternal, so why have I been put into this temporary life?” This is an intelligent question. And this is our real problem. But rascals set aside this real problem. They are thinking of how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex, how to defend. Even if you eat nicely and sleep nicely, ultimately you have to die. The problem of death is there. But they don’t care about this real problem. They are very much alert to solve the temporary problems, which are not actually problems at all. The birds and beasts also eat, sleep, have sexual intercourse, and defend themselves. They know how to do all these things, even without the human beings’ education and so-called civilization. So these things are not our real problems. The real problem is that we do not want to die but death takes place. This is our real problem.
But the rascals do not know it. They are always busy with temporary problems. For example, suppose there is severe cold. This is a problem. We have to search out a nice coat or a fireplace, and if these are not available we are in distress. So severe cold is a problem. But it is a temporary problem. Severe cold, winter, has come, and it will go. It is not a permanent problem. My permanent problem is that because of ignorance I am taking birth, I am accepting disease, I am accepting old age, and I am accepting death. These are my real problems. Therefore Krsna says, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam: [Bg. 13.9] Those who are actually in knowledge see these four problems — birth, death, old age, and disease.
Now, Krsna says, dhiras tatra na muhyati: [Bg. 2.13] “A sober man is not perplexed at the time of death.” If you prepare yourself for death, why should you be perplexed? For example, if in your childhood and boyhood you prepare yourself nicely, if you become educated, then you will get a nice job, a nice situation, and be happy. Similarly, if you prepare yourself in this life for going back home, back to Godhead, then where is your perplexity at the time of death? There is no perplexity. You’ll know, “I am going to Krsna. I am going back home, back to Godhead. Now I’ll not have to change material bodies; I’ll have my spiritual body. Now I shall play with Krsna and dance with Krsna and eat with Krsna.” This is Krsna consciousness — to prepare yourself for the next life.
Sometimes a dying man cries out, because according to karma those who are very, very sinful see horrible scenes at the time of death. The sinful man knows he is going to accept some abominable type of body. But those who are pious, the devotees, die without any anxiety. Foolish people say, “You devotees are dying, and the nondevotees are also dying, so what is the difference?” There is a difference. A cat catches her kitten in its mouth, and it also catches the mouse in its mouth. Superficially we may see that the cat has caught both the mouse and the kitten in the same way. But there are differences of catching. The kitten is feeling pleasure: “Oh, my mother is carrying me.” And the mouse is feeling death: “Oh, now I’m going to die.” This is the difference. So, although both devotees and nondevotees die, there is a difference of feeling at the time of death — just like the kitten and the mouse. Don’t think that both of them are dying in the same way. The bodily process may be the same, but the mental situation is different.
In Bhagavad-gita Krsna says,
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
If you simply try to understand Krsna, you can go to Him at the time of death. Everything about Krsna is divine, transcendental. Krsna’s activities, Krsna’s appearance, Krsna’s worship, Krsna’s temple, Krsna’s glories — everything is transcendental. So if one understands these things, or even tries to understand, then one becomes liberated from the process of birth and death. This is what Krsna says. So become very serious to understand Krsna, and remain in Krsna consciousness. Then these problems — birth, death, old age, and disease — will be solved automatically, very easily.
A dhira, a sober man, will think, “I want to live eternally. Why does death take place? I want to live a very healthy life. Why does disease come? I don’t want to become an old man. Why does old age come?” Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi [Bg. 13.9]. These are real problems. One can solve these problems simply by taking to Krsna consciousness, simply by understanding Krsna. And for understanding Krsna, the Bhagavad-gita is there, very nicely explained. So make your life successful. Understand that you are not the body. You are embodied within the body, but you are not the body. For example, a bird may be within a cage, but the cage is not the bird. Foolish persons take care of the cage, not the bird, and the bird suffers starvation. So we are suffering spiritual starvation. Therefore nobody is happy in the material world. Spiritual starvation. That is why you see that in an opulent country like America — enough food, enough residences, enough material enjoyment — still they are becoming hippies. The young people are not satisfied, because of spiritual starvation. Materially you may be very opulent, but if you starve spiritually you cannot be happy.
A spiritual rejuvenation is required. You must realize, aham brahmasmi: “I am not this body; I am brahman, spiritual soul.” Then you’ll be happy. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati samah sarvesu bhutesu [Bg. 18.54]. Then there will be equality, fraternity, brotherhood. Otherwise it is all bogus — simply high-sounding words. There cannot be equality, fraternity, and so on without Krsna consciousness. Come to the spiritual platform; then you will see everyone equally. Otherwise you will think, “I am a human being with hands and legs, and the cow has no hands and legs. So let me kill the cow and eat it.” Why? What right do you have to kill an animal? You have no vision of equality, for want of Krsna consciousness. Therefore, in this material world, so-called education, culture, fraternity — all these are bogus. Krsna consciousness is the right subject matter to be studied. Then society will be happy. Otherwise not. Thank you very much.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DIFFERENT RELIGIONS?
Mike Robinson: So we are free to choose what we believe to be important? Religion is important, because if we believe in God and lead a good life…
Srila Prabhupada: It is not a question of belief. Do not bring in this question of belief. It is law. For instance, there is a government. You may believe or not believe, but if you break the law, you’ll be punished by the government. Similarly, whether you believe or don’t believe, there is a God. If you don’t believe in God and you independently do whatever you like, then you’ll be punished by the laws of nature.
Mike Robinson: I see. Does it matter what religion you believe? Would it matter if one was a devotee of Krsna?
Srila Prabhupada: It is not a question of religion. It is a question of science. You are a spiritual being, but because you are materially conditioned, you are under the laws of material nature. So you may believe in the Christian religion, and I may believe in the Hindu religion, but that does not mean that you are going to become an old man and I am not. We’re talking of the science of growing old. This is natural law. It is not that because you are Christian you are becoming old or because I am Hindu I am not becoming old. Everyone is becoming old. So, similarly, all the laws of nature are applicable to everyone. Whether you believe this religion or that religion, it doesn’t matter.
Mike Robinson: So, you’re saying that there’s only one God controlling all of us?
Srila Prabhupada: There’s one God, and one nature’s law, and we are all under that nature’s law. We are controlled by the Supreme. So if we think that we are free or that we can do anything we like, that is our foolishness.
Mike Robinson: I see. Can you explain to me what difference it makes, being a member of the Hare Krsna movement?
Srila Prabhupada: The Hare Krsna movement is meant for those who are serious about understanding this science. There’s no question of our being some sectarian group. No. Anyone can join. Students in college can be admitted. You may be a Christian, you may be a Hindu, you may be a Muhammadan — it doesn’t matter. The Krsna consciousness movement admits anyone who wants to understand the science of God.
Mike Robinson: And what difference would it make to someone — being taught how to be a Hare Krsna person?
Srila Prabhupada: His real education would begin. The first thing is to understand that you are a spirit soul. And because you are a spirit soul, you are changing your body. This is the ABC of spiritual understanding. So, when your body is finished, annihilated, you are not finished. You get another body, just as you may change your coat and shirt. If you come to see me tomorrow wearing a different shirt and a different coat, does that mean you are a different person? No. Similarly, each time you die you change bodies, but you, the spirit soul within the body, remain the same. This point has to be understood; then one can make further progress in the science of Krsna consciousness.