Prabhupāda: So if it is accepted that religion means the law of God... Is that accepted? Now we have to study what are the special laws of God and what is the nature of God. That is divine search. So from Bhagavad-gītā we understand the nature of God, that He is the supreme father. Is there any objection? God is the supreme father. I think in Christian religion also they accept. Is it not? Now, the supreme father says that all living entities, not only these human being or the civilized human being but even the animals, the trees, plants, the insects, birds, beasts, fishes or other aquatics—any living entity, even a small insect... Living entity means who has got that vital force of moving. Some of them are not moving also, just like trees. They do not move, but still they are living entity. So from Bhagavad-gītā we understand that all living entities, irrespective of bodily feature, they are sons of God. What do you think of this conception?

Guest: I think it's probably... I think it's probably a better and more universal...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: ...notion of life than..., than you have in the somewhat more man-centered Western philosophy of...

Prabhupāda: That is defective.

Guest: The problem, of course, is that you don't want man to somehow get lost in it all, but still I, yeah, where I am, I think that you would say..., to agree with what you say...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: ...the universalism of it's very appealing.

Prabhupāda: No, we are not manufacturing this idea. That it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ (BG 14.4): in every species of life, whatever forms are there. And besides that, we take this body as dress. Just like your white shirt is not you. You are different from the white shirt. Similarly, one may have a body white or black, but he, as spirit soul, is different from the body.
We are taking account of the person who is possessing the dress—not the dress, but the person. Just like I am talking with you, I am not talking with your shirt. I don't look to your shirt, whether you have put on a white shirt or black shirt. That is not my concern. I am concerned with you as a living being. This is our philosophy.

We don't take account of the outward shirt and coat. This body, this gross body, is just like coat, and within this gross body there is subtle body—mind, intelligence and ego. Within the subtle body, the spirit soul is there, and we are trying to deliver the spirit soul from these two kinds of entanglement, subtle and gross. That is our aim. The national movement or religious movement, that is more or less on the basis of the outward dress. One is Christian because he is born by a Christian father. Is it not? One is American because he is born on the land of America. We say that you are neither Christian nor American, Hindu, Muslim or Indian. You are servant of God eternally. Try to understand this fact, and make your life in that way. Then your life is successful. This is our... Simple. Now what is your comment on this statement?

Guest: I, uh, I'm enjoying everything you're saying, and I, I, I think maybe I should listen to some other questions now, to...

Prabhupāda: So you are agreed to this?

Guest: I, yeah, I like it. I like it. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: Half-agree. Half-agree. You "like" means half-agree. That's nice. Something is better than nothing. If it is half-agreed, that is better than at all not agreed, because... So what is the reaction of this statement of other boys and girls present here? You can tell?

Devotee: I think that Prabhupāda solved all problems amongst all the people... (indistinct)... spirit soul.

Guest: Are all spirit souls alike, or are they different?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Guest: Are spirit souls alike, or are they different?

Prabhupāda: Alike. (laughter) The dress is different, the spirit soul is the same. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,

    vidyā-vinaya-sampanne
    brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
    śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
    paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
    (BG 5.18)

Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ. A learned, really learned man, he sees everyone on the same level, because he sees to the spirit, and he is seeing that a learned brāhmaṇa, a dog, an elephant, a low-born, everyone is on the same category of spirit soul. That is the vision of a learned scholar. He does not make any discrimination that "Here is a dog" or "Here is a very learned scholar." His vision is: the dog is also entangled by this body and a learned scholar is also entangled by this body, but both the dog and the learned scholar, both of them are spirit soul. That is actual vision. The same example: that I am talking with you, not with your dress. I am not very much concerned with your white dress or black dress. I am concerned with you as person. Similarly, we are concerned with the soul, not with the outward body. That is our position.

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, New York, July 3, 1972)
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