(Click to enlarge collage from Back to Godhead magazine, 1969)
"So spiritual education—first to understand 'What I am,' then 'What is God,' 'What is this world.' 'What is our interrelation,' then 'What is God's position,' 'What is my position,' 'How I shall deal with God'—these things are spiritual education, and human life is meant for that purpose. The nature gives chance to the living entity, this developed consciousness of human being, in order to understand these things. And if he is fortunate enough to understand that he is spirit soul, he is Brahman, then the Bhagavad-gītā gives definition of such man that brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā: (BG 18.54) as soon as he comes to the understanding of spiritual platform, then he becomes joyful, immediately—freed from all anxieties. Joyfulness means freed from all anxiety. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati. He has no more any hankering and no more lamentation. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu... And he sees everyone on the spiritual platform, equally. And then the life of devotion, service to the Lord, begins.
So this is the process. This is the process of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the process is recommended that one should become freed from the designation. Because designation, accepting the designation, means ignorance. That is ignorance. So we have to transcend this position of designation. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170). And by reviving our lost relationship with the Supreme Lord, we become cleansed. That is brahminical stage. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam. Nirmalam means cleansed, and hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam. When your consciousness is cleansed, then you can only render service to the Lord. Otherwise not. So long our consciousness is not clean, consciousness is polluted, there is no possibility of rendering service to the Lord. Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam. Hṛṣīka, hṛṣīka means senses purified by being freed from designation. When it is purified in connection with activities of Kṛṣṇa, or God, then he can render service to the Lord, Hṛṣīkeṇa. That is called bhakti. This is bhakti. Bhakti is nothing artificial. It is the activity of healthy stage. Just like a man, when he is diseased, his activities are differing from the man who is cured and healthy. To become healthy does not mean to kill the patient. To kill..., not to kill him, but to cure him from the disease, that is real treatment. The whole treatment of the human society should be like that: to cure him from the disease of forgetfulness his relationship with God. Then when he is cured, when he is in healthy state, then there will be no more trouble in the world. Peace and prosperity can be established when people are no more in the designated stage, when he is free. So it is not expected, however, that cent percent population of the world will be such free from all contamination. But even a certain percentage only, even most insignificant, one percent or less than that, millions in one, then the face of the world will change.
So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is just trying to turn the face of the people towards the Supreme Lord and by practical application of the knowledge in life, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa... This is the process. So it is not sectarian process. Just like students can be picked up from any society, similarly, person inclined to understand the science of God can be picked up from any society. There is no question of designation. It is not that it is meant for the Hindu or meant for the Christian, meant for the Buddhist. Anyone who is interested in the science of God, they are welcome in this movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, December 4, 1968)