Perfection Is to Serve Krishna
(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)

Prabhupāda: If you understand Kṛṣṇa, then you understand everything. And you become liberated. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ. If anyone understands what is Kṛṣṇa, why He comes, what His activity is, then tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9), simply by understanding Kṛṣṇa, you, after giving up this body, you haven't got to come again in this material world. Simply by studying Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we are preaching, "Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa." This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (break) is meant for to possess complete knowledge of the Supreme. That is perfection of knowledge. That is possible in the human form of life, not in the life of cats and dogs. That is not possible. So we have got this opportunity. If we spoil this life, living like cats and dogs, then we are missing the opportunity. This is the opportunity to understand Kṛṣṇa, God.

Guest: Merely knowing it won't...

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Guest: Merely knowing won't do also?

Prabhupāda: No, if you know, you'll act. But if you do not know, how you'll act, in the darkness? But even if you know simply... that Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma me divyam. (aside) Find out.

Devotee: Janma karma...

Prabhupāda: Fourth Chapter. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ. Tattvataḥ, if you can understand, then your business is done. Then tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9). Then, after giving up this body, you are not going to accept any more this material body. My problem is acceptance of this material body. That is my problem. Because these pains and pleasure, feeling of pains and pleasure, is due to my this body. Therefore Buddha philosophy is nirvāṇa: "Make this body zero." That is his philosophy. Nirvāṇa. Because people are bothered due to these pains and pleasures. Here everything is painful, but we take something pain as pleasure.

Guest: Something, some devotees want the body again and again for doing service also.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Guest: Some devotees want the body again and again...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Devotee... because people want perfection. But their perfection is to serve Kṛṣṇa. Their perfection is not to stop this body. But the... anyone who knows Kṛṣṇa, he's not living in this material world. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). Anyone who's engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, he's transcendental to these material qualities. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). (break) ...and then, after leaving this body, you are not going to accept a material body. And as soon as you accept a material body, you are under pains and pleasure. No pleasure, simply pains. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). We are trying to avoid pains. But it is not possible. The real pain—birth, death, old age and disease—that remains. What is the use of temporary getting some so-called pleasure?

Guest: At what stage could one say that a person is Kṛṣṇa conscious? There must be a beginning stage...

Prabhupāda: He has no other business than to serve Kṛṣṇa.

Guest: And only then he's Kṛṣṇa conscious person?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam (BG 18.66). This is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He has no other business than Kṛṣṇa's business.

Guest (2): And if everybody became Kṛṣṇa conscious?

Prabhupāda: Then everybody's becoming liberated. Where is the harm?

Guest: Does he mean he has to...?

Prabhupāda: Why to lament? "Oh, everyone is becoming good men. Nobody's coming in the prison." It is to be lamented? That nobody's coming in the prison house, it is very good news. But that will not take place.

Guest (2): Should it affect the normal duties?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Guest (2): Should it affect the normal duties?

Prabhupāda: Real duty is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is normal duty. All, all other duties are abnormal duties, crazy duties. Just like pāgala, they're all crazy. There is a...

    piśācī pāile yena mati-cchanna haya
    māyā-grasta jīvera se bhāva udaya
    (Prema-vivarta 1)

Anyone who's under the clutches of māyā, or madness, what is the value of his duty? Śrama eva hi kevalam. He's simply spoiling his time. That is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

    dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
    viṣvaksena kathāsu yaḥ
    notpādayed ratiṁ yadi
    śrama eva hi kevalam
    (SB 1.2.8)

Just like you have come here, a little tendency for hearing about Kṛṣṇa. Your life is succ... on the path of success. And there are other, millions, they're not interested. So for them, the śāstra says: "They're simply working like cats and dogs." Just like dogs sometimes goes very fast this way, that way, that way; they're passing with motorcar, this way, "onh, onh, onh, onh, onh, onh." They're simply spoiling time. In America I have seen, always, "sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh, sonh." Here also.

But we see these rascals spoiling time. But that will not appeal to the rascals. They'll say, "They are spoiling time. What these rascals are dancing Hare Kṛṣṇa on the Fifth Avenue?" They think, "Oh, they are crazy fellow." Yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī (BG 2.69). They are thinking us as in darkness; I am thinking, we are thinking, "They are in darkness." This is going on. But who is in darkness, that is to be decided by the supreme judgment of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore I have written one that book, Who is Crazy?

Devotee: Who is Crazy?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: That's a new book?

Prabhupāda: No, old book.

Indian woman: But, Guru Mahārāja, one has to do her duty as advised.

Prabhupāda: You do not know what is your duty, first of all. A madman, he does not know his duty.

Indian woman: But if he's chanting... (indistinct) ...the whole day, then where is he 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. (laughs) 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 (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). 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. (break) ...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 that, "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 sa mukti-pade dāya-bhāk
    (SB 10.14.8)

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... (break) Yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha (BG 2.15). That I have already explained.

    mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
    āgamāpāyino 'nityās
    tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
    (BG 2.14)

Just like one is in winter season, and the winter... not in this country; in Western countries, it becomes below thirty degree. In Canada and what other places?

Devotee (2): New Vrindaban.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Devotee (2): New Vrindaban.

Prabhupāda: Virginia?

Devotee (2): 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." 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
    puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha
    sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīraṁ
    so 'mṛtatvāya kalpate
    (BG 2.15)

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.

    tapasā brahmacaryeṇa
    śamena damena va
    tyāgena satya-śaucena
    yamena niyamena vā
    (SB 6.1.13)

These are the processes to become perfect. Tapasā. First thing is tapasya. And nobody's prepared to undergo tapasya. And human life is made for tapasya. Therefore in Vedic civilization, you'll find tapasya. The brahmins, kṣatriyas, they were all engaged in tapasya. Rājarṣi, devarṣi. Bharata Mahārāja, under whose name this planet is called Bhārata-varṣa, at the age of twenty-four years, he gave up his young wife, children, and went for tapasya. Tapasya is the life of the human being. Not to live like cats and dogs. That is not human life. Restrained. Tapasya. But here there is no, at the present moment, there is no question of tapasya. Even one is ninety years old, he's still engaged in these material activities. Even a person like Gandhi, unless he was killed, he would not give up politics. The material activities are so palatable for the materialists, that even up to the point of death...

In Bengal, there was a big zamindar. So his father, er, his sons asked him at the time of death, "Father, what we can do for you, last desires?" So he expressed that "That man is my enemy. If you can bring him here and beat him with shoes, I'll be very much satisfied." This is material world. Even at the time of death, he's thinking enmity with others. And he will... he wanted to be happy that, "If you bring that man and beat him with shoes, I'll be very happy." The other day somebody said that one man was cut into two, and he was asked, "What do you want?" He said: "Give me a cigarette." (laughter) This is the position.

Guest (2): And he was cut into two.

Prabhupāda: Yes. He was going to die; still he was asking, "Give me a cigarette." He does not know anything else. Therefore one has to practice. Ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ (SB 2.1.6). At the time of death if you can remember Kṛṣṇa, then your life is success.

Guest (2): This is very nice.

Prabhupāda: Eh? Yes. Simply if you can... just like Ajāmila. He simply chanted "Nārāyaṇa." Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (BG 2.40). He was saved from the greatest danger. So this human form of life should be so trained up that at the time of death you can remember Kṛṣṇa: "Kṛṣṇa, now you can judge what I have done for You, and what You have done for me. Then give me that place. That's it." That... if you have worked whole life for Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is not ungrateful. He'll give you.

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Bombay, September 18, 1973)

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