Jul 132018
 

Excerpts from an interview with Śrīla Prabhupāda and a reporter from a student newspaper in Seattle in 1968.

Reporter: “How does one feel called toward Kṛṣṇa consciousness? That is, does he begin by having faith? What demands are made upon him? How does he come into the frame of mind where he can accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness?”

Prabhupāda: “Of course, faith is the basic principle of everything. If you have no faith, then you cannot make progress in any line of action. So, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness also… faith is the basic principle. Just like, I have come here. I started my club in New York. So I was alone chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Somebody came. Eventually, out of inquisitiveness, somebody comes. Somebody came, and ‘Oh, what this Indian swami is doing? Let me see.’ So he sat down. Somebody came. He sat down. Then some of them took it, ‘Oh, Swamiji speaks very nice. Let me come again.’ He comes. He comes. Then he gets some faith. ‘Oh, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very nice.’ The next point is that he wants intimate relationship with the swami, more. ‘Swamiji, I have heard you so many days. I think it is very nice. So, I want to be your student.’ So faith is the basic principle.

“The next step is that he wants to become a student. And as soon as he wants to become a student, the next step is that I accept him, ‘a disciple,’ if I think that he is suitable. Then as soon as he becomes a disciple, he follows my regulative principles, injunctions, then gradually he becomes free from all misgivings. And actually he gives up that illicit sex life or gambling or meat-eating and so many other things. In that way, he becomes fixed up. Then he develops a taste. He cannot give up this Society. Taste, then attraction, attachment, he wants to do everything for the Society. In this way, he develops love of Kṛṣṇa. Final stage, he loves only Kṛṣṇa and nobody else. And because Kṛṣṇa includes everyone, that means he loves everyone.”

Reporter: “Could you describe your temple to me?”

Prabhupāda: “At the present moment, we have got fourteen temples: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Buffalo, Boston, Montreal, Seattle, one in New Vrindaban—we have purchased about one hundred thirty acres of land and developing there New Vrindaban. We have got now a temple in London, in Germany—Berlin—and we are in negotiation with Florida, France, and we have sent one of our representatives in Hawaii. So we have got so many temples. Gradually it is increasing. Especially younger generation are amongst my disciples. The oldest disciple is thirty-five years old. Otherwise they are between twenty and twenty-five.”

Reporter: “How do you account for most of your disciples being so young, that is, right after university age, and what have your inroads been here in Seattle during the month that you have been here?”

Prabhupāda: I have come here for the last ten days only, and at least two or three are already converted. I want to see the youngsters in your country happy. Everyone wants that. But not only in your country, I want to see everywhere, because that is the duty of every human being, to give information of highest happiness. That is the duty of every human being. Animal propensity is to exploit others, and human propensity should be to do good to others. That is the difference between animal propensity and human propensity. So, here is a nice thing, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Why should we not distribute? Especially in your country, where there is great need for it. They are not after economic development. They have seen much of economic development. Now it is time for them to take to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and they’ll be happy. That is my mission.”

Reporter: “Would you tell me something of your own background? That is, where you were educated, how you became a disciple of Kṛṣṇa.”

Prabhupāda: I was born and educated in Calcutta. Calcutta is my home place. I was born in 1896, and I was my father’s pet child. So my education began a little late, and still I was educated as high as secondary… high school for eight years, and in college… in primary school four years. Then I joined Gandhi’s movement, national movement, but by good chance I met my Guru Mahārāja, my spiritual master, in 1922. Since then I was attracted in this, line, and gradually I gave up my household life. I was married in 1918, when I was still a third-year student. So, I got my children. I was doing business. Then I retired from my family life in 1954. For four years I was alone without family. Then I took regular renounced order of life, 1959. Then I devoted myself to writing books. My first publication came out in 1962. And when there were three books, then I started for your country, and I reached here September 1965. Since then, I am trying to preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness in America, Canada, European countries, and gradually the centers are developing. The disciples are also increasing. Let me see what is going to be done.”

Reporter: “How did you become a disciple yourself? What were you, or what did you follow before you became a disciple?”

Prabhupāda: “As I told you, faith. One of my friends, he dragged me forcibly to my spiritual master. And when I talked with my spiritual master, I was induced. Since then the seedling began.”

Reporter: “Would you discuss your dancing with me, please? Explain something of it. I first saw it Tuesday evening, and I would like to know more about it.”

Prabhupāda: “‘This dancing is an art. It is automatic. We dance, we cry, we chant, we laugh, not by artificially learning it. But Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice, as you begin to chant, naturally you feel like dancing. It comes simultaneously with development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”

Reporter: “What is the hand attire which you are wearing? What is the meaning of this?”

Prabhupāda: “I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa whenever there is opportunity. And there are beads, so I am chanting on beads. There are 108 beads, and on each bead we chant sixteen names: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. So my disciples chant at least sixteen rounds.”

Reporter: “I see that one finds out more information by attending the services. Are there books written about Kṛṣṇa consciousness available here in Seattle?”

Prabhupāda: “We have many books already published. The first one is Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. This is published by Macmillan and Company. The next book is Teachings of Lord Caitanya, which is also available from our temple. And the next book, in three parts, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. You can have any number of these books from our temple. If anyone carefully reads these books, the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness will be understood very easily by him. Besides these books, we have got our monthly magazine, Back to Godhead. It is not very costly, the magazine is only thirty-five cents per copy; subscription $4 yearly. And these, Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, it is only $2.95. And of course, this Teachings of Lord Caitanya, it is hardbound, it is $5.95. So, they’ll be greatly profited. Oh, yes.”

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