Devotee: I've read in Bhagavad-gītā that he who knows the self does not do action nor causes action to be done. So what is the soul's... the spirit soul's relationship to actions performed both in material consciousness and in spiritual, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: Material consciousness means forgetting God. When one forgets God, that is material consciousness. Material consciousness is called māyā. Actually, one should not forget. But if he forgets somehow or other, that is material consciousness. Naturally nobody forgets his father and mother. But if, some way or other, he forgets, that is a special circumstances, and that is called māyā, illusion.
Just like any one of you who are existing, you must have a father and mother. That is a fact. Without father and mother, your existence cannot be. Now, if you cannot say who is your father and mother—if you do not know—this forgetfulness, this is called māyā. Actually it should not happen, but somehow or other, if you are asked, "Who is your parents?" you cannot say, this is called māyā.
But there must be some father and mother. Without father and mother, there cannot be your existence... cannot deny that. You cannot say, "Oh, I have no father and mother." That is not possible. You may not know who is your father, mother. That is a different thing. But you cannot say, "Oh, I have no father, mother."
So this denial that, "I don't believe in God," is a existence like that, one who has forgotten his father and mother. That is māyā, and that is material consciousness. Denying God in different way, "There is no God," that is also denial. "I don't believe in God"—that is also denial. "God there is impersonal, void." Anyway, whatever you say in that way, that is all insanity, māyā.
Māyā means insanity. Another meaning of māyā means insanity. Just like when a man becomes insane, that is false. It is expected that he should not be insane. By treatment he is brought again to his original consciousness. Similarly, māyā means insanity, forgetfulness of God. And by Kṛṣṇa consciousness treatment he comes to the original consciousness, he becomes a cured man.
Actually māyā means which has no existence. Māyā has no existence. But sometimes it is there. Just like the sky's cover. This covering is not reality. The reality is this sky, clear sky, but somehow it is now covered; you cannot see the clear sky. So this is temporary, temporary illusion. Now, if I see the cloud only and if I say, "Oh, there is no sun. There is no illumination," or "There is no clear sky," that is insanity.
Because I cannot see—under certain circumstances, I deny it—that is my insanity. Therefore you have to approach to a man who knows that there is sunlight, there is sun, there is clear sky... if you go there... you require all this education, knowledge.
By knowledge one transcends māyā, or material existence. What is the difference between ordinary man and Kṛṣṇa conscious man? They are also living in this world, in this apartment; everything is being utilized like others. We are also eating, sleeping also. But what is the difference? So our difference—that we accept that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, others do not. That's all. That is māyā.
Everything actually belongs to Kṛṣṇa. He does not know. He thinks, "It belongs to me," or "This, my nation, this, my country, this, that," so many things. He is manufacturing. And we know the simple truth, that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, so let everything be offered to Kṛṣṇa. That's all. Yes.
Devotee (2): So we understand that under material consciousness the living entity is being forced to act.
Devotee (2): His actions are quite automatic under the laws of material nature.
Prabhupāda: Yes. No, action is there. Because you are living entity, you are active.
Devotee (2): Yes, but they are being dictated.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like a man in fever talking nonsense. So that is due to fever.
Devotee (2): In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are the actions of the jīva similarly controlled by Kṛṣṇa's superior energy?
Prabhupāda: Yes, certainly.
Devotee (2): But everything is being controlled ultimately by Kṛṣṇa.
Devotee (2): Either by inferior energy or superior energy.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.
Devotee (2): So his activities are never independent, either in Kṛṣṇa or...
Prabhupāda: Never, never, never. That is his insanity, another. As soon as he thinks that, "I am independent," that is another insanity. He is under control. Just like the same man. He is thinking, "I don't care for state laws." He is insane. He will be forced to accept state laws in the prison house by the police. But he thinks, "Oh, I am free man." Still... he is slapped by the police. He says: "Oh, I am independent. Go on slapping." This is insanity. Is it not insanity? The police slaps him, and he says, "I am independent." Do you think independence?
So that sort of independence we are having. We are kicked by māyā always, and we are thinking "independent." This is insanity. He does not think, "Why I am independent? I am servant of my senses. I cannot remain, enjoying senses, for an hour, and I am thinking I am independent." That means insane. He cannot think properly. Where is his independence? Cannot be independent.
He is born dependent because part and parcel of God. His constitutional position is dependent. Just like child. A child declares independence. What is the meaning of that independence? Danger. That's all. Simply inviting dangers. A child wants, "Oh, I don't care for my parents. I shall cross the road. I shall go everywhere." So if he is allowed to do that, that means he is simply inviting dangers. And if he remains under the protection of the parents, he is always safe.
So this living entity's declaring independence means he is insane, different kinds of insanity. He cannot be independent. Let him think very deeply that it cannot be independent. He is thinking independent of God, but he is dependent on his sense pleasure. That's all. On some intoxication. A voluntarily accept dependence of something māyā. That's all. Who is independent? Is there anyone independent? Nobody is independent. To think of independence is māyā. Best thing is that "I am dependent, and let me remain dependent in properly. Then I am protected." That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Devotee: Prabhupada, often when we...
Prabhupāda: So your question is answered? Material consciousness means thinking falsely independent. That is material consciousness. Falsely. He is not independent, but he is thinking falsely, "I am independent." This is māyā. Just like in dream he is falsely thinking there is a tiger. There is no tiger, but he is actuated by that false impression, "Oh, tiger is eating me. It has attacked me. Save me."
So this material existence means because he is insane, he is thinking there are so many problems, "The tiger is there. He is attacking me," this, that, "So many enemies, friends..." creating so many things. But they are all false. But he is attacked by that false hallucination. That's all. This is māyā.
Everyone is thinking, "Oh, there are so many problems I have to solve. I have to make this, that, this, so many." But he has no problem. He has no problem. His only problem is to... how to accept Kṛṣṇa. That's all. And Kṛṣṇa is so kind. He says, "Yes, you accept Me. Simply chant 'Kṛṣṇa,' I am yours. That's all." But my... I am so misfortunate that I cannot chant even. All problems solved simply by chanting "Kṛṣṇa."
Etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavān (Śikṣāṣṭaka 2). Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches that, "O Kṛṣṇa, You are so kind that You have come to me in the sound vibration, word, 'Kṛṣṇa.' I can very easily chant, and You remain with me. But I am so misfortunate that I have no attraction even for this." You say people, "You chant 'Kṛṣṇa' you'll get everything," they will not believe it.
If you say: "You press your nose. You pay me fifty dollars. I'll give you some nice mantra and this, that. You make your head like this, leg like this," "Oh," he'll say: "here is something." Something. "And this Swāmījī says: 'Simply chant Kṛṣṇa.' Oh, what this is?" Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavān mamāpi durdaiva: "But I am so unfortunate that You have become so easily available in this age, but I am so unfortunate, I cannot accept it."
So the Kṛṣṇa consciousness so easily being distributed, but they are so unfortunate, they cannot accept. Just see. And you give them bluff, you cheat them—they will, "Ah, yes, welcome. Yes." They'll welcome it. And cheaters are always ready: "Oh, there are so many customers are being cheated. Let me take advantage of it." So my Guru Mahārāja used to say, "This world is the society of cheaters and cheated." The members are somebody are cheating, and somebody are cheated. The association of cheaters and cheated. So we want to save them from this society of cheaters and cheated.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, May 10, 1969, Columbus, Ohio)