Srila Prabhupada answers question on the science of Krsna
Asking questions of a bona fide spiritual master is an important part of bhakti-yoga. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita, “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” The following questions and answers were recorded during actual class sessions taught by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at various centers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Question: How long does it take to attain Krsna consciousness?
Srila Prabhupada: A second. You simply have to agree.
Question: Do you become conscious of everything?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, because Krsna is everything. For example, if you are in touch with the main powerhouse of electricity in New York City, then you are in touch with all the lights everywhere in the city.
Question: But how can you attain it in one second?
Srila Prabhupada: It is simply a matter of surrender. If you accept the process, it begins immediately. It is like a creeper; as soon as you sow the seed, it begins to grow. The watering of the seed is hearing, and gradually the creeper fructifies. It begins as soon as you accept it.
Question: That is the start, but that’s not Krsna consciousness, is it?
Srila Prabhupada: That is Krsna consciousness. It simply has to develop. Immediately after sexual intercourse the child is the size of a pea, but that is actually a child. The beginning is there. Surrender, that’s all. It is not a material process—it is spiritual. It involves no impediments of material conditioning. It develops in proportion to one’s seriousness; we can attain the whole thing in one second. King Katvanga went to assist the demigods, and he was rewarded. When asked what he wanted, he replied, “I want to know how long I shall live.” “Not very long,” they said. “A second.” He at once transferred his thoughts to Krsna and surrendered. If we sincerely take Krsna consciousness, we have it.
Question: Does one need a spiritual master to become Krsna conscious?
Srila Prabhupada: Unless we go to a spiritual master, how can we understand?
Question: Just by chanting?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Chanting will help us—it is from the source—but if we take guidance it is more helpful. Why should we deny help if we are serious about the goal?
Question: What is the focal point of this religion?
Srila Prabhupada: This is not religion; this is philosophy.
Question: Philosophy? Like metaphysics?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, the first principle of metaphysics is that we are not this body.
Question: Isn’t it a little bit like Catholicism?
Srila Prabhupada: Not just Catholicism, but all religions: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Mohammedan. The first principle of all religions is that we are not this body.
Question: Does Krsna take the spirit and leave the material when you offer Him food?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, He takes the spirit.
Question: And leaves the matter? What is left?
Srila Prabhupada: Everything is spirit. He doesn’t take matter, He doesn’t leave matter. The devotee prays over the food, and it becomes spiritualized. It is practical. Eat this spiritual food, and you’ll get spiritual strength.
Question: What is the duty of a person who does not believe in the scriptures?
Srila Prabhupada: His duty is to go to hell.
Question: How can it be changed for him?
Srila Prabhupada: By coming here and chanting Hare Krsna.
Question: What can you do if they don’t come?
Srila Prabhupada: What can you do? One must be willing. If we won’t take medicine, we can’t be cured. Material disease is thinking, “I am everything. I am perfect. Whatever I think is all right.” That is disease. Lord Caitanya said, “My spiritual master taught that I’m a great fool.” Think like that, humbly, and study scripture from a bona fide spiritual master.
Question: If we become servants of Krsna, will He provide our physical needs?
Srila Prabhupada: It is not a question of whether we “become” servants of Krsna—we already are. For example, a citizen of the United States is already under obligation to the government; it is his madness to think that he is not. We are already servants of God, but we declare, “I am not a servant of God; I am a servant of dog.” All our needs are supplied as servants of dog—do you not think that God will supply the necessities of servants of God? Why do you think like that? If we are sincere, God will supply our every need. We must believe that Krsna is our master. He is supplying everything, but He cannot be our order supplier. Those who go to God for sense enjoyment become frustrated and say there is no God if they do not get everything for their senses. But we are meant for satisfying God’s senses. The impersonalist philosophers say He has no senses, and therefore they think, “I don’t have to supply anything to God,” but that is nonsense. Only in the perfectional stage of Krsna consciousness does Krsna become dependent on His devotee and say, “My dear father, will you give Me something to eat?” That is the platform of pure love of God By such love everything is possible.