Room Conversation with the Mayor of Evanston
Mayor: No. I know about the article on the crime, and I have it at home, but I have not read it as yet. But we certainly know that it's a tremendous problem in the United States, perhaps throughout the world and certainly here.
Prabhupāda: It is not a problem. Just like there is disease, and there is remedy also. And as much as the disease is chronic, the remedy is also costly. So in the Western countries---do not mind---they are not trying to educate first-class men, and that is the difficulty. This advancement, technical knowledge, to have nice motorcars or big, big buildings, highways, this is very good, but this is not the aim of life.
Mayor: No, material things should not be.
Prabhupāda: They are missing the aim of life. That is the... The aim of life is, acc..., not according to Vedic, but anyone, the aim of life is how to realize God. That is aim. In the animal life or in other lives less important than the human being there is no question of God realization. In the human life, the civilized human life, there is religion. It doesn't matter whether one is Christian or a Hindu or a Muslim or a Buddhist.
These are the principal religions of the world. So any civilized man must be inquisitive to know what is the original source of everything. That philosophy is there. It is called Brahma-sūtra or Vedānta-sūtra. Perhaps you have heard the name, Vedānta philosophy. Veda means knowledge, and anta means end. In the materialistic way of knowledge they did not find any end, and they accept it that "This is progress." But one must come to the end of the knowledge, what is the ultimate knowledge.
So generally they are missing what is the ultimate knowledge. We are searching after knowledge in so many ways, but what is the ultimate knowledge? The ultimate knowledge, Vedānta, means end of knowledge. End of knowledge means to understand the original source of everything, athāto brahma jijñāsā. The human inquisitiveness should be up to that point, what is the origin of everything. Because human life is not a spot [sport?]. That... The Western people are lacking that understanding. We are thinking that this duration of life, say, for fifty to a hundred years, that is all. No. That is the first instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā, that this body is not everything.
We have to accept another body after death. Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. As we are accepting different bodies in our this span of life from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youthhood, from youthhood to old age... So this is the example. And after this old age, after this body is useless, then I accept another body, and again another chapter of life begins. And on my next life, next body, I am creating, kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya, infection. Just like if I infect some disease, I am creating that disease. If I infect smallpox disease, then I must develop that disease. How it is, subtle way, working, that we cannot see. But if somewhere I have infected some disease, somewhere it will be manifest. It will manifest. You cannot check it.
So in this material world there are three qualities = goodness, passion and ignorance. So as we associate, we develop a type of body. So these crimes means they do not get good association. Naturally they are developing. And now these boys, they are also Americans and Europeans. They are getting good association, and they are becoming free from all bad habits. We generally take bad character on the basis of illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling.
Prabhupāda: So they were habituated to all... Because that is a system in the European, American life. But now they are free. That is Professor Judah's remark in his letter. [aside:] Have you got that? Yes. He has written one book, Hare Krishna and Counterculture, about our movement. He has read all our books. Here are... [aside:] You have shown all these books? So he appreciates. Many gentlemen appreciate. Even the priestly class, they also appreciate.
So this is a Movement which is trying to create at least a section to become first class. The first-class man does not mean that he is nicely dressed or very rich or very opulent. Generally, of course, a first-class man means good parentage, good education, good looking and nicely rich. That is the standard. But... That may be first-class position, but first-class man is different. First-class man means he is self-controlled, in the mind he is undisturbed, he is truthful, he is very clean, inside and outside, he is very simple, tolerant, full of knowledge, practical application of knowledge, and believe in God. This is first-class man. There is no mention that he is rich, he is beautiful, bodily, or he is educated. Educated..., this is a result of education.
Real education means that he is self-controlled = controlling the mind, controlling the senses, truthful. He will speak truth in any circumstances. Even to his enemy he will speak the truth. And clean, and very simple, tolerant. And any knowledge, he has got some, I mean to say, strength over it. Ultimate knowledge, Brahman, he believes in that and he has... Brahma janātītī brāhmaṇaḥ, This is first-class man. So it is not expected that everyone will become first class. But there must be a section in the society, ideal first class. And they will be advisor to the rest. These brāhmaṇas, they will not take part in politics, but those who are politicians, administrators, they should take advice from these first-class men, how to rule, how to control, what is the ideal. So the ruling class, they are called kṣatriyas. [aside:] So find out this verse, śamaḥ damaḥ...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ. You want about the kṣatriya or the brāhmaṇas?
Prabhupāda: Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya.
kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness---these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work."
Prabhupāda: This is first-class man. And the second-class men?
yuddhe cāpy apalāyanam
dānam īśvara-bhāvaṣ ca
kṣātraṁ karma svabhāva-jam
"Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the qualities of work for the kṣatriyas."
Prabhupāda: That is second class. And the third class?
"Farming, cattle-raising and business are the qualities..."
Prabhupāda: They are not cattle-raising; that was...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Cow protection.
Prabhupāda: Cow protection. It has to be corrected. It is go-rakṣya, go. They take it cattle-raising. I think Hayagrīva has translated like this.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Hayagrīva.
Prabhupāda: No, it is especially mentioned go-rakṣya. Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.44]. And then?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Paricaryātmakaṁ karma śūdrasyāpi svabhāva-jam.
Prabhupāda: And to serve under somebody, that is śūdra. So at the present moment people are being educated to serve under somebody. Technology... One is very expert in some particular line of technology, say computer machine, you know how to operate. It is a big qualification. But unless he gets a job under some big establishment, he is useless. He cannot live independently. The first-class man will live independently. The second-class man also will live independently. And the third-class men, they will also live independently. And those who cannot live independently, they are fourth-class men. So at the present moment we are simply creating fourth-class men. So fourth-class men, they are prone to be degraded. If you don't raise them to become first class, they must degrade. So that is the position of the present civilization. They are creating all fourth-class men, and gradually they are degrading.
So now you should take up very seriously how you can create some first-class men. First class, second class, third class also. If you simply remain in the fourth grade, technology... Technology means he has to serve under somebody. This industry, that is also the same thing. Hundreds and thousands of men are working. They are fourth-class men---and śūdra. Just like formerly in Indian village... Still there are. They are self-supported. Suppose there is a blacksmith. If you require some black iron instrument, you go there and he will prepare immediately---say, an oil crusher, extracting oil. So weaver, self-supported. Now these things have been taken in larger scale. That is called industry. But actually these things are meant for the śūdras, fourth-class men. So the problem is that if we keep men fourth class or increase only fourth-class men, so these things are automatic, the resultant action. Therefore, in the Western countries especially, everywhere, all over the world, the attempt should be how to create first class, second class. At least these two classes required = good politicians, administrators, and good advisors.
So this program we are placing before the world. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So I would suggest that in your country, you are resourceful; you can take up this movement very seriously. And it is not expected that cent percent of the population will become first class, but there must be ideal groups of first class, second class, third class, and the rest, fourth class. That is required.
Mayor: It takes a great deal of discipline to try to achieve these ideals, and that's one thing that seems to be difficult these days, especially in young people, to have any sense of the need for discipline at all.
Jagadīśa: He says young people today have no sense of discipline. They don't know what it means to be...
Prabhupāda: How they can be? They are not trained up. They are not trained up from the very beginning. For being trained up, there is another four divisions = brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. These are the training divisions. So for the first class, second class, third class, all the students, they are trained up as brahmacārī, student life. Brahmacārī means celibacy, live under the direction of the teacher and accept all kinds of hardship under the teacher's or spiritual master direction. Children, they can easily take it. If a child, a small child, I ask him, "My dear child, you take my shoes and keep it there," he will immediately agree. He has no sense, "Oh, he is asking me to take his shoes?" He will immediately agree, even he is very rich man's son. So this life is advised that a student live just like a menial servant of the teacher or the spiritual master. And they agree. We have got good instances. And he is coming from the first-class family, brāhmaṇa family or kṣatriya family or vaiśya family---first, second, third. So even śūdra family, he can learn also. So brahmacārī.
Then he is, if he can remain without wife or without opposite sex, then he continues to remain as brahmacārī. He is encouraged. This process encourages to remain brahmacārī, that "Don't take to sex life. It is entailed with so many difficulties. Practice to remain a brahmacārī. You'll save so much trouble." But if he is unable---the teacher sees---then he is allowed to marry, marriage. If he is trained up brahmacārī, when he marries, he lives with wife under rules and regulation, not like cats and dogs. And then, because he had previous training, at a certain age he gives up family life. That is called vānaprastha. Pañcaśordhvam vānam vrajet. The vānaprastha life is accepted, generally, after fiftieth year, not earlier. Then the husband and wife travels all over, I mean to say, spiritual sanctified places. In India there are so many places. So in this way, there is no sex in the vānaprastha. Simply the wife remains as assistant. And she also practices austerities. And then the husband, when he is fully mature, he sends wife back to his elderly children to take care of her, and he takes sannyāsa. So this is spiritual advancement, and in sannyāsa life, one is absolutely dedicated for the service of God. So in this way his life becomes perfect. And according to his perfection, he gets next birth in higher planetary system.
In the upper planets, planetary system, there is Svargaloka up to the third-class man. And then, above that, there are Janaloka, Maharloka, Tapaloka, Satyaloka, Brahmaloka. And beyond that, there is spiritual world. So in this way life becomes perfect. If you want, you can go to the spiritual world. Spiritual world means no more accepting this material body. And so long we are in this material world we repeat one body after another. And if we degrade ourself to become criminals, then we degrade to the hellish planets down this universe. So human civilization means by nature's way, by evolutionary process, he has come to this body of human being. He should now decide that whether he should remain in this chain of birth and death or he should get out of it and go to the spiritual world. This training required.
So throughout the whole world there is no such institution to study all this fact. They are going just like fourth-class men. They have decided out of their own accord that there is no life after death. Young men say that there is no old age, but nature will not agree. Your next life is old age. That is natural. You cannot say, "No, no, I don't believe in it." You believe or not believe, it will come. Similarly, you believe or not believe, your next life is there. That is described in the Bhagavad-gītā. [aside:] Find out.
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: You want the translation to it?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change."
Prabhupāda: So this education is required. America is resourceful and they are intelligent. And the movement is already there, Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. People are appreciating gradually. So if we get little cooperation from the authorities, we can push on this movement more solidly. So you are the chief of this city. If you give us some facility, then we can be useful to counteract this position.
Mayor: Well, we'd like to cooperate, and we certainly need a different approach, I think, because we're not being successful now in trying to...
Prabhupāda: No, this way will never be successful. It will degrade more and more. So our process is very simple. That is the Caitanya Mahāprabhu's contribution, that we chant... [aside:] Where is that letter? Professor Judah's? Just read that.
Brahmānanda: "I feel certain my book will help people both to understand the teachings of Kṛṣṇa and of His descent as Caitanya, and to realize how Kṛṣṇa consciousness has transformed lives from drug-addicted hippies to loving servants of Kṛṣṇa and humanity."
Prabhupāda: This is his study. He has written a book. So we can stop this, provided we are given the facility to work on.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So I was thinking. Just in front there is a very nice house, big house. You have knowledge about this house?
Mayor: No, I...
Prabhupāda: What is that building?
Śrī Govinda: Merrywood.
Mayor: Oh, we are right across the street from Merrywood, yes, uh-huh, which we're going to have as a city hall.
Prabhupāda: Oh. You have decided?
Mayor: Yes, uh-huh, about, oh, just two weeks ago actually, the council...
Prabhupāda: So is it not possible to use this house at least for some time for this movement?
Mayor: The, er... I'm not sure what the time schedule is, but it's my impression that they were going to start remodeling it for city purposes later this year. It's about a three-million-dollar project, both for the purchase of the land from the sisters and the remodeling to make it suitable for various city needs. And then they're going to... The city is now located at nine different locations, that is, their facilities. And they're trying to incorporate them all in this one place so that when people need city services, they can just go one place and get all the...
Prabhupāda: But this is more important. City service is going on, but criminals are increasing. So why not give us little opportunity?
Mayor: Well, I could certainly discuss this with the city manager and see what could be worked out.
Śrī Govinda: Possibly we could invite the city manager also to come to discuss with Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: No... So if we get a good place with the cooperation of the authorities, then our simple program is that, as Professor Judah has remarked, drug-addicted hippies, they have been turned into devotees. We shall invite anyone to come and chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and take prasādam, and we are... I began this movement in New York alone, and these boys gradually came to me. But my process was this = chanting and giving them prasādam. [referring to Brahmanānda:] He is one of the original student. He was. So this process, very simple process, everyone will be able to accept it = chant, dance, and take prasādam. Within that process, everything is there. Then he will understand. They will read these books... They are practical examples. I am poor Indian. I did not bribe them, neither I have money. [laughter] So now they have dedicated their life for this purpose. So I want to do it in a larger scale.
Prabhupāda: But I have no money. So if the authorities give me a place, and for feeding them necessary foodstuff, then I am sure it will be successful. These two things I want. I don't want any charges for my mantra. No. My mantra is open, Hare Kṛṣṇa, and there is no charge for it. And I have no necessity. I require a little clothing and two cāpāṭis, that's all. Anyone can bring. I thought Chicago is one of the important cities of your country. And when I first came, I saw this, it is vacant. So I thought if this house can be utilized in the beginning and we invite anyone, especially young men, come here, live with us at least for one week and associate with this chanting, dancing, and we give nice prasādam... There is no difficulty. We can attempt. And if the authorities give us this facility, at least for one year, then we shall talk of permanent. They can see the result.
Mayor: Would you use the facility, then, as sort of a center for all over the United States?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. We invite. As soon as they have got a leisure hour, let them come and live with us for one week and see the result. They can remain forever. It doesn't matter. But for experimental sake they can come, live with us and associate with us. It is not difficult. And we invite everyone. We have no such discrimination that black, white, Hindu, Muslim, Christian. No. Anyone. It is universal. Because we consider every living entity is part and parcel of God. That is a fact. We are teeny gods, part and parcel. The same quality we have got---in minute quantity. Quality is the same; quantity is less. So God is good, so we are also good. But we have become bad under circumstances. Just like under infection one becomes diseased.
So if we cure that infection, again he becomes good. So it is the curing process. It is not an external, artificial thing imposed upon somebody. No. His goodness is there. Just like generally a man is healthy, but by infecting some disease he becomes diseased. So this material way of life is a kind of infection. So we have to cure that. And this is our process. And it has become successful. So therefore this problem of your country... I was this morning also lecturing that "You take up this movement very seriously and save your country. And if you save America, means you save the whole world, because others are following America." So you can do it very easily. That is my appeal to the authorities of the American administration. But I do not want anything. For your countrymen, for your misguided youthful generation, you have to do it. That is my request. Otherwise there is no other way.
Viṣṇujana: According to national statistics, as far as curing drug problems and crime problems, it's seen that social organizations that are supported by the town councils, etcetera, are usually about three percent effective in cases cured of either drug addiction or crime. But as far as religious organizations are concerned, some of them are seventy, eighty percent effective in cases that have been attempted cure. So it's much... As far as percentage cured, the process of introducing God consciousness is much more effective than some social reform or rehabilitation work or something like that.
Prabhupāda: No, social reform will automatically come. The first-class reform, the brāhmaṇas, if their advice is taken, then the other classes---the kṣatriya, vaiśyas and śūdras---they become automatically.
Mayor: We're aware that a religious approach is more successful, and our mental health society here is funding the Reverend Perry, who is a black ordained, I think, a Baptist protestant minister, formerly a drug addict. And he's been working out with, especially with the blacks who have drug addiction, and he achieves much more success than other agencies.
Prabhupāda: Which process? Drug addiction has been helped by somebody?
Brahmānanda: No, the mayor's saying that the administration is not against supporting religious organizations.
Brahmānanda: He gives the example of one religious organization.
Prabhupāda: This is everything. Religious, social, political, philanthropical, science---everything included. We can give advice for solving any problem. That we have got all these books, practical. And in India there is political problem. Everywhere it is going on. They do not follow the standard way. Who will be the politicians? Here is the..., described. What are the politicians? Second class, they are taken second class. [aside:] What is that? Śaurya tejaḥ?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, tejaḥ śaurya. Here it is. "Heroism..."
Prabhupāda: Heroism, yes. Śaurya tejaḥ...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Śauryaṁ tejo dhṛtir dākṣyam [Bg. 18.43].
Prabhupāda: Ah, read this. Read...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yuddhe cāpy apalāyanam.
Prabhupāda: Yuddhe cāpalāyanam. A kṣatriya should be so trained up, when there is fight, he must come out, forward. Not that he will sit down in his secluded place and poor man will fight. No. He should come forward as leader, "Come on." That is kṣatriya quality, yuddhe cāpalāyanam. Formerly there was fight, but the leaders, they would come face to face first of all. And if the leader, one of the leader is killed---yuddha means one party must be vanquished, fight---then the war is finished = "The main person, chief person, is now killed, so there is no more war." So yuddhe cāpalāyanam. Those who are taking part in administration, in politics, they must be of this quality, very chivalrous, brave. They have to learn these all these quality.
Just like the first-class men, they are being trained up in self-controlling, controlling the mind, controlling the senses. And these second-class men, they should be trained up how to fight. Because fight will there be. We do not place this bogus idea that there will be no fight. No. Then fight will be there so long the human society is there. But what for one should fight? That training should be there. Not unnecessarily. In the history of India we find there were two fights = one with Rāvaṇa and another the Kurukṣetra fight. [break] Not at the whims of the leaders = he has got some idea and declare war and engage people. He is safe; now the people are dying. Therefore these leaders, this administration, they require to be guided by the first-class men.
So everything will be possible, provided our this heart is cleansed. And that can be done by this propagation of this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Then everything will be automatically done. So my request is that if we get some encouragement from the authorities, we can push this movement little more vigorously. Otherwise we have no source. We simply sell our books, and whatever we get by that, we maintain ourself, we publish again books, or we open new center. There is no encouragement from the authorities. [break] But very important movement. And try to understand it, and if possible help us.
Mayor: All right.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is our request. [aside:] Bring prasāda. If you have got any further enquiry, I can try to...
Mayor: No, I really don't think I do, and I think I'd like to learn more about your movement, too. But I have enjoyed having to talk and listen to you, and I appreciate it.
Prabhupāda: [aside:] No, put it here. He'll take. Take this prasāda. They are all fruits, innocent. In your country you have got so many nice fruits.
Mayor: Yes, we do.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And grains and milk. So much nice things. You can avoid meat-eating very easily, as they have given up.
Mayor: It looks very good, but I can't eat with a knife. [laughter]
Viṣṇujana: Someone is bringing a fork. Prabhupāda, perhaps we could provide him with some of our literature, and that will inform him more about our movement.
Prabhupāda: Yes, give him.
Mayor: All right, thank you.
Prabhupāda: So, Jagadīśa, you give whatever... You take his... Give him some fork.
Mayor: I had some cake over at the temple on Emerson Street, so I'm being well fed this morning. [laughs] [break]
Viṣṇujana: ...park areas where a lot of young people go for their summertime. And we'll be putting on our program right there in the park. For example, we'll be chanting with our cymbal, instruments. We'll want to serve some simple vegetarian, like a drink and some fruit, and discuss this philosophy amongst young people. We find that very successful all over the colleges in the country. And we think that around the Great Lakes here it will be very successful.
Prabhupāda: Now, we want this house just to keep them for sometimes with our association. That is temporary, for one hour or two hours, but I wish they should come and live with us for some time. Then it will be effective, more effective. That is... Therefore I wanted a house like this.
Mayor: Well, I think I probably should be getting on. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me this morning.
Prabhupāda: And I also thank you for your kindly coming here, taking...
Mayor: It's an honor to meet you.
Prabhupāda: [aside:] So you can keep his card. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. [break]
Śrī Govinda: ...to your wife.
Mayor: My wife may take it away from me. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: So you can take another for your wife.
Mayor: No, this is fine. Thank you very much. We'll see you all.
Prabhupāda: [laughing] Hare Kṛṣṇa. [mayor leaves] [chuckles] Now, try to get this house from the... He can... If he likes, he can do it.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes. They're in a position. They have many such buildings, Prabhupāda.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: If not this building, they could give an alternate building.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But this is very good building. We can keep five hundred men.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They also seem to have their eyes on it. [Prabhupāda laughs]
Bhavānanda: This is a very wealthy community.
Bhavānanda: This town is very wealthy.
Prabhupāda: Oh, wealthy community. So invite all these young men to come and live with us for some time, and simply chanting, dancing, and give them prasādam. And if they like, they can read the books. Give this chance.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Prabhupāda? Of course, it would be beneficial if we had such a big building, but why can't we do it with the present building?
Prabhupāda: We cannot accommodate many men there.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But at least we should be able to attract them.
Prabhupāda: Then you do this. Do this. This is the only means to save. Otherwise, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā [Cc. Ādi 17.21]. There is no other, second alternative.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: The point I am bringing up, Śrīla Prabhupāda, is that just like the program you're proposing, practically speaking...
Prabhupāda: My idea is I want to draw the attention of the authorities.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Oh.
Prabhupāda: You see? If they cooperate, then we can push on our movement more vigorously.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So with our present location here we cannot...
Prabhupāda: No, no, that you can do in a larger scale.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I see.
Prabhupāda: We are doing it. In a small scale it is going on, but if we get some support of the authorities, we can push on in larger scale.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes.
Prabhupāda: That is the idea. We are not going to stop for anything. We are going on with our movement.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No. So the point is we need a larger-scale...
Brahmānanda: And we need help from the government.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, right.
Prabhupāda: And if there is good result, then government will... Just like they have thought Maharishi's movement is...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, they are supporting. The government is supporting that movement.
Prabhupāda: And we are not being supported, why? We have not come to the notice of the government. Hare Kṛṣṇa [end]