(Srila Prabhupada in his Bowery loft, New York, 1966)
Indian Woman: …then where is he (a devotee) going to get the money for his food?
Prabhupāda: Oh, where we are getting money? Where we are getting money? Just like In London, George Harrison has given us a house, fifty-five lakhs worth. So if I wanted to possess this house by doing this business, three lifetimes would have been required. Not even three lifetimes. We are spending like anything. But we have no stock. We do not know what we shall eat tomorrow morning. We do not know. It is our position. We do not know what I shall eat tomorrow or this evening. But do you think we are starving? We have no problem.
Guest: Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham (BG 9.22).
Prabhupāda: Yes. Here it is. Kṛṣṇa is giving opportunity of eating for the cats and dogs, the birds and beasts, and I am engaged in His service, He'll not give me food? Because we are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, therefore we are thinking, "If I do not work like these cats and dogs, I'll starve." That is my imperfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness means he knows that "I have engaged my life in Kṛṣṇa's business. Kṛṣṇa is..., Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. He's feeding millions and millions of living entities. And he'll keep me starving?" Is it possible? That means he, he does not know what is Kṛṣṇa. He's thinking Kṛṣṇa is a fictitious thing. That is his position. He does not know what is Kṛṣṇa... then they would have been confident, "Yes, Kṛṣṇa is feeding everyone. Why not me? What I have done? Because I am engaged in His service, therefore I shall starve?" And the devotee has no such question also, whether he'll starve or eat. It doesn't matter if he starves. It doesn't matter. He thinks, "Oh, Kṛṣṇa has put me in this position, to starve." Just like in hospital. A patient is ordered by the physician: "You should not eat anything." So he knows, "It is good for me." Similarly, a devotee, when he's starving, he knows, "Kṛṣṇa has put me in this starving condition. It is good for me." He never complains.
tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
Anyone lives in that way, that "Kṛṣṇa has put me in this distressed condition of life. It is Kṛṣṇa's mercy. I would have been put into more severe condition of life, but He is a little, giving me little pain. So I must be very much obliged to Kṛṣṇa that He's so kind upon me." So if one lives like that, mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk, he has got the claim to become liberated. Just like a son has got the right to claim the property of father, similarly, one who lives like this, he has the claim to become liberated. Mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk. That is... This is Bhāgavata's statement. And similarly in the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated, yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha. That I have already explained.
mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
Just like one is in winter season, and the winter... Not in this country. In Western countries, it becomes below thirty degrees. In Canada and what other places?
Devotee: New Vrindaban.
Devotee: New Vrindaban.
Devotee: Oh yes. Thirty below zero.
Prabhupāda: So we have no experience below zero degrees. But in Europe, America, there is places. In Russia also, below fifty degrees. But they do not stop their business. They know that "Winter season has come. It will go away again." So devotees, even they are in distressed condition, they know, "It has come due to my bad activities in the past. It will go away. Let me suffer and finish it." Just like if you become, all of a sudden, infected with some disease. So what? You'll go mad? No. You know that "I have infected this disease. Let me suffer a few days. It will go away. That's all." This is the mentality of the devotees. They are not disturbed. And if he's not disturbed, then he's fit for becoming liberated.
yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete
so 'mṛtatvāya kalpate
And our aim is amṛtatva, how to become immortal. That is our aim of life. So we have to achieve that goal of life. We should not be disturbed with this temporary distress and pleasure. That is called tapasya.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Bombay, September 18, 1973)