Interview with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The Search for the Divine
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine Vol. 1, No. 49

[On his way from Los Angeles to London to attend the annual Jagannatha Car Festival, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual master of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, paused for three days at ISKCON’s East Coast Headquarters in New York City. There he delivered a short series of public lectures, initiated twenty new disciples, gave personal directions to many of his students, and granted audience to selected guests and visitors. The following is a conversation, held in Srila Prabhupada’s personal quarters on the second afternoon of his visit, between His Divine Grace and A Newsman.]

[A newsman, with two assistants and electronic equipment, has been trying to see Srila Prabhupada.]

Newsman (whispering to Syamasundara dasa, Srila Prabhupada’s secretary): Can I ask a couple of questions, and then I’ll leave?

Syamasundara: Please, ask, yes.

Newsman: Swami, please. I’m … If I may interrupt, I’d just like to ask a few questions. Then I’ll go so that you can continue. Tell me, what do you think accounts for your popularity, the popularity of the Krsna consciousness movement in America?

Srila Prabhupada: It is not due to my personality. It is because I am presenting the truth as it is. To give an example, if you prepare some food with nice ingredients, it will be appealing to everyone. And if you prepare something obnoxious, maybe it will appeal to a certain section but not to all.

Newsman: What can appreciation of Krsna do for the Americans of this country?

Srila Prabhupada: As I have repeatedly said, you Americans already have the grace of the Lord. According to our Vedic formula, when a man is born in a rich family, he is understood to possess the grace of the Lord. You Americans have sufficient riches. You are sons of rich men. So this is the grace of God. Janma sabhya-sutah: to take birth in a high family, to possess riches. Janma sabhya-sutah: to become a learned scholar. You are going to the moon. Your scientific knowledge is advanced. And sri—sri means beauty. You are beautiful also. So, considering all these points, it is to be understood that you are in a favorable condition; you have the favorable consideration of the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, if you take to Krsna consciousness, or God consciousness, then all of these material opulences—plus Krsna consciousness—will make your life perfect.

Newsman: Do you foresee that the devotees will grow in number in this country?

Srila Prabhupada: There is a possibility. Otherwise, why are these young men coming? There is a good possibility, but we have no facility. The government is spending millions of dollars to stop LSD intoxication. But our students—as soon as they become my students, I simply order them: “No intoxication.” So what to speak of LSD, they do not take tea, they do not take coffee, nor do they smoke. But the government will not help us. That is the difficulty.

Newsman: Do you seek government help?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. If I get government help I can give protection to these confused, frustrated youth. I have no proper house to accommodate them, to feed them. With great difficulty I am pushing on this movement. But if the government comes forward and gives me a little facility, I can turn the face of your country—immediately. There will be no problem.

Newsman: What is your cure? What can you make better?

Srila Prabhupada: This is the cure—I am making men of good character. Don’t you see their faces? Some of them were hippies in a frustrated, wretched condition. Now they are known as bright faced. See their character! They don’t have illicit sex; they don’t eat meat; they don’t take any intoxicants; they don’t indulge in gambling. These are the four pillars of sinful life. If you allow people to indulge in sinful life, how can you expect good citizens? That’s not possible. Their character must be formed. So we have gone to the root. We are making men of character, knowledge, sincerity and God consciousness. Don’t you appreciate it?

Newsman: Will they be able to function in the society as working individuals?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. There is nothing prohibited. You simply have to change your consciousness. That’s all. We are also eating. We are also sleeping. Many of our students are householders; they have sex. So there is nothing prohibited, but everything is regulated for higher achievement. That is our program.

Newsman: Do you see yourself, then, as the saviour of the American youth?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Certainly. This movement is saving them already. It is not future. It is present, practical.

Newsman: Thank you very much. [The newsman, in a hurry to go, begins to gather his electronic equipment.] Good luck.

Srila Prabhupada: Thank you.

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