(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada preaching)
Devotee: In the living entities such as the trees, which are very much limited in consciousness and ability to move also, are these... it mentions in the purports that they have been very lusty. This tends to show that they have been once before in human form and then have really fallen. But is it also the case that there are, amongst the forms, many souls that are on the process of evolution and going upward in the same way?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like you are stepping some staircases. You go to the second floor or third floor, but some way or other, you fall down again. So you have to cross again the steps. Do you follow? That does not mean because you crossed all the steps and went to the third floor... now you have fallen down. You have to cross again.
So there is a regular evolutionary process from trees to worms, reptiles, from reptiles to birds, from birds to beasts, varieties of beasts, and from beast to human life. These are the stepping stone, evolutionary process. But even if you are human being, if you fall down to the category of the trees, then you have to again go up step by step: you have to come to the form of the worms and reptiles, then birds, then beasts.
Therefore we should not miss this chance. This is intelligence. If I miss this chance, then I do not know where I am falling down again. So there is no teaching; there is no knowledge in the whole world. They are driven out just like animals. This educational institution, universities—there is no department of knowledge how the living entities are working, how they are being transmigrated, they are falling down, how they are... no. A very risky civilization. So people should try to understand this Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy very seriously if they at all want their own good.
Devotee (2): What's the next evolutionary step for these flowers that we offer to Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: From trees, the worms. Do you see from the flower there are some butterflies? You have seen? The flowers generates some worms, and they transform into butterfly. You have seen it. Then gradually they'll become birds from butterfly. And from birds, different birds, then they'll become beast, four-legged. And then the four legs turn into two hands and just like gorilla, monkey.
Then he will come to this beautiful form. And if you miss this opportunity, again you want to become butterfly, go on. Who will check you? Become butterfly. Nature will not excuse you. As soon as you want to become butterfly, "Yes, come on. Here is..." (laughter) They do not know. They are thinking, "This is a flickering lamp. Oh, let us enjoy." Very risky civilization.
These are all stated in the Purāṇas. These books were meant for human society. They are not reading. They are reading all rascal novels and literatures and sex life, frauds, and this and that, books. How they are wasting their time! The other day Govinda dāsī was showing me one literature, Hawaii picture. The boys and girls, they are enjoying this... what is called?
Devotee (3): Surfing.
Prabhupāda: Surfing. Spending money. You see? But there is no instruction how they are wasting their time, this human form of life, simply by jumping in the water. (laughter) And they are thinking, "I am enjoying, butterfly." You see? They do not know the value of this life.
And the system of civilization who is encouraging them to do this without any good information, what kind of condemned civilization is that? Pulling by force to the darkest region of hell. They do not know, although the hellish condition of life is in the front. There are so many varieties of life. They do not question, "Wherefrom these lives come?"
The Padma Purāṇa says, jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati, kṛmayor rudra-saṅkhyakāḥ. There are nava-lakṣāṇi, 900,000 species of life within water. We begin our aquatic life. Because the whole world was, in the beginning, full of water, so we had to live within the water. So there are 900,000 species of life within the water.
Jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati. And when the water dries up, as soon as the land comes out, the trees and plants begin to grow, 2,000,000 types of trees and plants. In this way there are 8,400,000 of species of life. What do they know, the botanist and the biologist?
So it is very serious. People should take it very seriously, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is not a humbug thing. It is based on authorized scriptures, Vedic literatures. Unfortunately, we have no customer for this knowledge.
Devotee (2): Doesn't Kṛṣṇa take any special mercy on flowers that are offered to Him?
Prabhupāda: Yes. When it is offered to Kṛṣṇa. Yes. Therefore we offer flowers to Kṛṣṇa. We are doing service to the flowers.
Devotee (2): Where will they take their next birth? They don't become butterflies.
Prabhupāda: That may be understood later on. First of all, because it has come to Kṛṣṇa, there is something good. The tree which has produced this flower, he is benefited, because he is offering his energy. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means offering one's energy to Kṛṣṇa. The energy is derived from Kṛṣṇa; it should be offered to Kṛṣṇa. Just like what is this water?
Water is taken from the ocean, derived from the ocean. It goes to the sky, again turns into water, falls down, and in river goes down again to the ocean. Similarly, we have derived our energy from Kṛṣṇa. Now again if we glide down towards Kṛṣṇa, that is perfection. We haven't got separate energy.
This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness: to apply the whole energy towards Kṛṣṇa. That's all. That energy may be utilized in different ways—but to Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, January 1, 1969)