(The soul changes bodies as a person changes garments—see verse below)
Robert Gouiran: May I ask you what do you think about possibility of healing?
Prabhupāda: Healing? Where is healing? You are dying, and where is the healing?
Robert Gouiran: You don't think that people could have a gift for healing?
Prabhupāda: There is no healing in the material world. There is disease always. There is no question of healing. Their healing is temporary. I am suffering from some disease. You give me some medicine. Does it mean that there will be no more disease? You heal that temporary disease. Again another disease. So where is the healing? So this is to be thought, that... Healing, that is the problem. There is no healing. There is always disease, this disease or that disease. If you prefer this disease heal, you are cured, and there will be no more disease, then you are profited. Another disease. You heal this, another disease. You heal this, another disease.
Robert Gouiran: So you think we can't help people?
Prabhupāda: Eh? You cannot. Can you help people to stop death? Or to stop disease? Or to stop old age? I am becoming old, can you stop?
Robert Gouiran: I think so.
Prabhupāda: That is foolishness. If you think that you can stop my old age growing, then that is foolishness. It is not possible.
Robert Gouiran: I think there is a misunderstanding there.
Prabhupāda: No, no. I am... A man grows old, can you stop it?
Robert Gouiran: I can't stop time, of course.
Prabhupāda: That is... We are speaking, that you cannot do anything. Even in spite of your so-called health or old... you cannot stop it.
Robert Gouiran: So you don't think that somebody could be an instrument to help other?
Prabhupāda: What is that instrument if this instrument is blunt or what is the use of that instrument? Simply possessing one instrument is sufficient? It must work, but if it does not work? You cannot stop death, you cannot stop birth, you cannot stop old age, you cannot stop disease.
Robert Gouiran: So you think that all healers are fool?
Prabhupāda: I don't say fool, there will be intelligent, but they cannot heal. If you see they cannot heal, still they are very nice, that is your business. We say that he cannot heal. If you say that in spite of his being unable to heal, still he's intelligent, that is your business. I say that he cannot heal. What do you think?
Devotee (2): You cannot heal, you cannot stop death.
Prabhupāda: Yes, you cannot heal. How you can say that you can stop old age, you can heal disease? How you can say? You cannot... You can't stop death, you can't stop birth. You cannot do this.
Robert Gouiran: But when somebody has fall down, you can help him to stand.
Prabhupāda: That is another thing. Fall down, that does not mean you can..., you stop his death or you stop his birth, stop his disease. So point is when I say you cannot heal, that's a fact. That's a fact. You can heal one disease, another disease will appear. Therefore you cannot heal.
Robert Gouiran: What do you mean by "you"? What is this "you", who can't heal? I don't...
Devotee: Anyone. "You" collectively. Anyone. We're making the distinction between patchwork, covering over of some mis..., some malady, and making a permanent solution.
Devotee (3): You, anyone.
Prabhupāda: You means anyone.
Robert Gouiran: As a person.
Prabhupāda: You are also one of them. Either you or your friend, they cannot. It is impossible.
Robert Gouiran: So you mean that nobody should...
Prabhupāda: I don't say that. Why do you take in a different way? I say you cannot heal.
Robert Gouiran: Cannot heal.
Prabhupāda: Now in spite of this fact, if you try to do it, (it's) your business. But I say you cannot heal. If you want to go on, in spite of your inability to heal, that is your business, but I say I challenge that you cannot heal. That is my proposition. Now you go on with your business, that in spite of being unable to heal, if you go on healing activities, you go on. Who takes you? But I say you cannot heal. You or other... Nobody can heal. What is that? Is that all right?
Devotee: It's very strong.
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is a fact.
Robert Gouiran: Do you mean that nobody could be cured?
Prabhupāda: Where is the cure? Show me that this man is cured from disease.
Robert Gouiran: To be better, if he suffers.
Prabhupāda: Better, that is everyone is trying, that is... But there is no cure. If you think that temporary cure is better, that's nice, but there is no cure.
Robert Gouiran: So do you mean that healing is an illusion? Because healing is a fact.
Prabhupāda: But if you cannot cure, then where is that healing? First of all answer this. If you cannot cure, then where is that healing?
Robert Gouiran: But healing is a fact of life. I have seen.
Prabhupāda: What is that fact?
Robert Gouiran: I have seen healings.
Prabhupāda: Where is that? You heal some disease, and he gets another disease. Then where is the healing?
Robert Gouiran: Temporary.
Devotee: Temporary, he says.
Prabhupāda: Temporary, therefore I say you cannot heal.
Robert Gouiran: It has been useful...
Prabhupāda: It may be temporary... That is struggle for existence. That is said here, manaḥ ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi kartayam... they are concocting in the mind that "I am healing," but it is..., there is no healing.
Robert Gouiran: Yes.
Devotee: You see, it's a question of perspective. In a suffering position you may say that some slight remedy is good, but you've not alleviated the suffering, the suffering is still going on. I remember one time Śrīla Prabhupāda, you gave this example, it was very wonderful. You were saying the United States, they're very proud, "We have so many hospitals with very nice equipment, very, very modern hospitals." But factually that's not advancement, that's suffering. It's an indication that there is suffering going on. So depending on your perspective...
Prabhupāda: Now they're saying we have increased so many beds, that means suffering has increased. They are thinking that they have done so good in this so many hospitals, and so many beds have been increased but that means suffering has increased. Otherwise why is the necessity of the beds and the hospitals?
Robert Gouiran: Yes. It's not because some American hospital are not healer that healing does not exist.
Prabhupāda: No, no, they're trying, everyone is trying to heal, American or Englishman or European, it doesn't matter. Everyone is trying but there is no healing. That is our point.
Devotee (3): He's saying that there is a value to temporary healing.
Prabhupāda: That's a... Temporary value, we also give but we say there is no healing.
Devotee: Ah, yes, healing in the sense that it will never happen again.
Devotee (2): It is in his mind, that he thinks that he is healed. Just like if you have a disease and then you have terrible disease that produces headache and so you take aspirin to relieve the headache, but still the disease is there. So he thinks, "I am O.K. now."
Robert Gouiran: Wait, I say that taking aspirin is not a good healing.
Devotee (2): This is example. The disease is still there.
Robert Gouiran: Well, but it is by such example that we could be misled.
Prabhupāda: That is good thing, that is healing? Do you think honestly, there is healing? There is no disease?
Robert Gouiran: I have seen healings.
Prabhupāda: What is that you have seen, that he is not diseased? You have seen a man temporarily healed but why he suffers from another disease? Do you guarantee that there will be no disease? Can you guarantee?
Robert Gouiran: No more.
Robert Gouiran: No, because I don't know anything...
Prabhupāda: Then where is the healing? If there is disease, this disease... You simply distinguish from this disease to that disease.
Robert Gouiran: So how do you call a temporary...
Prabhupāda: That is admitted. That is admitted. I say you may have some temporary healing effect, but there is no healing. That is our point.
Robert Gouiran: So you call it temporary healing.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That's all. But there is no healing.
Robert Gouiran: So what do you think about temporary healing?
Prabhupāda: Temporary means temporary healing. That's all. Ultimately, you cannot heal. But you're satisfied by temporary heal. But we want complete healing. No more disease.
Prabhupāda: That is healing.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation with Robert Gouiran, Nuclear Physicist, Geneva, June 5, 1974)
Pictured above: "As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones." (Bhagavad-gītā 2.22)