[The following is a press conference given upon Prabhupada’s arrival in England, September 11, 1969. These are the first words he spoke to his English audience.]
PRABHUPADA: I am personally not very much fond of receptions. I want to know how people give reception to this movement. That is my purpose.
REPORTER: How long will you be in England?
PRABHUPADA: I am coming here for the second time. Last time in 1967, when I was going to India, I stayed here for two days and then went away. Practically this is the first time I have come.
REPORTER: And for how long now?
PRABHUPADA: That I do not know. I have so many fathers and mothers to take care of me. So as long as they keep me here I can stay.
REPORTER: Can I ask if this is a very special welcome for you, or is this a performance that you do each day?
PRABHUPADA: No, wherever I go, I have my disciples. In the Western countries, I have about twenty centers, especially in America and Canada. The American boys are very enthusiastic. I got in Los Angeles and San Francisco a very great reception, and at the Ratha-yatra Festival about 10,000 boys and girls followed me for seven miles.
REPORTER: What are you trying to teach, sir?
PRABHUPADA: I am trying to teach what you have forgot. That is God. Some of you are saying there is no God. Some of you are saying God is dead, and some of you are saying God is impersonal or void. These are all nonsense. I want to teach that there is God. That is my mission. Any nonsense can come to me; I can prove that there is God. That is my mission. Krsna consciousness. It is a challenge to the atheistic people. There is God. We are sitting here face to face; similarly you can see God face to face if you are sincere and if you are serious. But unfortunately we are trying to forget God. Therefore we are embracing so many miseries of life. So I am simply preaching that you be Krsna conscious and be happy. Don’t be swayed away by this nonsense, by the waves of maya or illusion. That is my mission.
REPORTER: Is this chanting essential to the sustenance of your faith?
PRABHUPADA: This chanting is the process of clearing the dust accumulated on the heart. Our relationship with God is eternal. It cannot be broken. But due to the contact of maya, we are trying to forget Him. But if we chant this Holy Name of God, Hare Krsna, then maya will not act, and we shall very quickly understand our relationship with God. That is the process. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that those who are miscreants, rascals and the lowest of the mankind and atheistic do not know what is God. But those who are virtuous or those who are inquisitive will try and understand what is God. So my appeal to you is that you try to understand this movement, Krsna consciousness. It is not a bogus movement. It is scientific, authorized. Any scientist, any philosopher, any logician may come, and we shall prove that there is God and that we have an eternal relationship with Him. So if you want happiness, then you must take to this Krsna consciousness movement. Otherwise the human race is doomed. Anyone who has no God consciousness has no qualifications, however academically rich he may be. His only qualification is mental concoction, that’s all. So we reject all this nonsense. We simply accept a sincere soul who wants to dedicate his life for God’s service. These boys and girls who are following me are very elevated; they are not ordinary boys and girls. They have taken to Krsna consciousness. Their quality is greater than that of any mundane erudite scholar. For one who has developed Krsna consciousness, love of God, all good qualities will automatically develop in him. Bring anyone in this world to test any one of our boys. You will find how much difference there is in their character, in their feeling and consciousness. If you want peaceful society, then you must make people God conscious, Krsna conscious. Then everything will be automatically solved. Otherwise your so-called United Nations will not help.
REPORTER: Mr. Billy Graham makes people God conscious in a different way. Can you tell me what you think of him?
PRABHUPADA: I do not know what is Billy Graham, but I am following the Vedic principles, Bhagavad-gita as it is. Krsna says that you give up all nonsense occupations and simply surrender unto Him, and He will take charge of you and give you protection. This is our philosophy.
REPORTER: Can I ask you several questions about your general attitude about things going on around us? For instance, what do you feel about man going to the moon?
PRABHUPADA: This is simply a waste of time. I already commented on this when I was in San Francisco. The reporters asked me this very question and I gladly replied that it is simply a waste of time and a waste of money. That’s all.
REPORTER: What about something very much nearer to ourselves in this country, and that is of war, or civil disturbance going on, between Christians.
PRABHUPADA: We are not Christian nor Hindu nor Muslim. We are God’s servants. That’s all. With anyone who is God’s servant, there is no disagreement. But when one is maya’s servant, servant of illusion, then there is disagreement. That system of religion is first-class which teaches how to love God. That’s all. It doesn’t matter whether it is Christian religion, Mohammedan religion or Hindu religion. We can see if the follower of the religion has learned how to love God, then his religion is perfect. Otherwise it is useless.
REPORTER: So you don’t think it’s worth going to such places as Ireland and trying to talk to the people out there.
PRABHUPADA: This is our talking: first-class religion is that which teaches how to love God. Try to understand this. This is a simple process.
REPORTER: Yes, but don’t you think it’s worth going over there to help them?
PRABHUPADA: We can see. Suppose you are Christian. If you have developed your sense of loving God, then you are perfect. But instead of loving God, if you have developed your sense of loving dog, then you have wasted your time.
[Prabhupada is suddenly informed that his car is waiting, and he prepares to leave the terminal.]
REPORTER: I just want to know how old you are.
PRABHUPADA: I am 74 years old. I was born in 1896.
REPORTER: Where abouts?
PRABHUPADA: In India. Calcutta.
REPORTER: Are you married, sir?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, I have my sons, and they have sons. My wife is living. But I have no connection with them. I am a sannyasi … renounced order.
REPORTER: You say you have no connection with your family.
PRABHUPADA: Because I have taken sannyasa. I have dedicated my life for Krsna.
REPORTER: I see.
PRABHUPADA: That is the Vedic system: a certain portion of your life you should simply dedicate for God. That is called sannyasa.
REPORTER: To do this, did you have to divorce?
PRABHUPADA: No. There is no question of divorce. We do not even know what divorce is. In our country there is no divorce. Wife and husband, once combined, there is no question of separation, in all circumstances, either in distress or in happiness. Our modern politicians have introduced this divorce law, otherwise, according to Hindu Manu-samhita, there is no divorce law.
REPORTER: When did you renounce your family?
PRABHUPADA: In 1959.
REPORTER: How are they managing without you?
PRABHUPADA: They are managing. My sons are grown up and are earning. My wife is also a rich man’s daughter; she has some property. So they have no problems.
REPORTER: Do you ever see them at all?
PRABHUPADA: I cannot see, at least, my wife. But if my sons and daughters come to see me, I can see them. But my wife I cannot see. That is the system of sannyasa. A sannyasi cannot see his wife again. Renunciation means renouncing connection with woman, renouncing sex life. That is renunciation.
[Prabhupada is escorted to a car which takes him from the airport to the London temple.]