The members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness cannot even call themselves brahma-bandhus. Therefore our only means for satisfying Krsna is to pursue the injunctions of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who says:
“Whomever you meet, instruct him on the teachings of Krsna. In this way, on My order, become a spiritual master and deliver the people of this country.” (Cc. Madhya 7.128) Simply trying to follow the orders of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we speak to the people of the world about Bhagavad-gita As It Is. This will make us qualified to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.
(Sri Chaintanya Caritamrita Adi 17.78)
This is the sublime mission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Many people come and inquire whether they have to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our mission. One can remain comfortably in his residence. We simply request everyone to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If one is a little literate and can read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Srimad-Bhagavatam, that is so much the better. These works are now available in an English translation and are done very authoritatively to appeal to all classes of men. Instead of living engrossed in material activities, people throughout the world should take advantage of this movement and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra at home with their families. One should also refrain from sinful activities-illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Out of these four items, illicit sex is very sinful. Every person must get married. Every woman especially must get married. If the women outnumber the men, some men can accept more than one wife. In that way there will be no prostitution in society. If men can marry more than one wife, illicit sex life will be stopped. One can also produce many nice preparations to offer Krsna-grain, fruit, flowers and milk. Why should one indulge in unnecessary meat-eating and maintain horrible slaughterhouses? What is the use of smoking and drinking tea and coffee? People are already intoxicated by material enjoyment, and if they indulge in further intoxication, what chance is there for self-realization? Similarly, one should not partake in gambling and unnecessarily agitate the mind. The real purpose of human life is to attain the spiritual platform and return to Godhead. That is the summum bonum of spiritual realization. The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to elevate human society to the perfection of life by pursuing the method described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His advice to the brahmana Kurma. That is, one should stay at home, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and preach the instructions of Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
(Sri Chaintanya Caritamrita Madhya 7.128)
However expert one may be, he can never describe the glories of the Lord adequately. Nonetheless, those engaged in glorifying the activities of the Lord should try to do so as far as possible. Such an attempt will please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Caitanya has advised all His followers to go everywhere and preach the message of Lord Krsna. Since this message is essentially Bhagavad-gita, the preacher’s duty is to study Bhagavad-gita as it is understood by disciplic succession and explained by great sages and learned devotees. One should speak to the general populace in accordance with one’s predecessors — sadhu, guru and sastras. This simple process is the easiest method by which one can glorify the Lord. Devotional service, however, is the real method, for by devotional service one can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead with just a few words. Without devotional service, volumes of books cannot satisfy the Lord. Even though preachers of the Krsna consciousness movement may be unable to describe the glories of the Lord, they can nonetheless go everywhere and request people to chant Hare Krsna.
(Srimad Bhagvatam 4.16.3)
One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one can get the clue to Krsna consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement are not at all interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest, where one will only make a show of meditation, nor are they interested in opening many schools for yoga and meditation in the cities. Rather, every member of the Krsna consciousness movement is interested in going door to door to try to convince people about the teachings of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the teachings of Lord Caitanya. That is the purpose of the Hare Krsna movement. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Krsna one cannot be happy. Thus the Krsna conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists.
(Srimad Bhagvatam 7.9.44)
“I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku.” This is the process of disciplic succession. Following the same process, the Krsna consciousness movement is teaching the principles of Bhagavad-gita as it is, without deviation, all over the world. If the fortunate people of this time accept the instructions of Lord Krsna, they will certainly be happy in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted everyone, at least in India, to become a preacher of this mission. In other words, one should become a guru and preach the Lord’s instructions all over the world for the peace and prosperity of humanity.
(Srimad Bhagvatam 8.14.5)
Guest: How many other people are there on this planet who have made as much spiritual progress as you have?
Prabhupada: I don’t know, there are no statistics in my possession. But what is the use of taking such statistics? Why don’t you become one of them? Why waste time on statistics? You try to become enlightened. What is the use of taking record of who is enlightened or not? You should try to be enlightened yourself. For example, when you purchase a plane ticket, do you ask, “How many tickets have you sold?” What is the use of that? Just purchase your ticket, get on the airplane, and go. Don’t waste your valuable time. If you are serious, just purchase the ticket, get on the airplane, and take the journey.
(From Srila Prabhupada’s lecture on Bhagavad-gita 2.40-45 – Los Angeles, December 13, 1968)
Following are the excerpts from Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings:
3. Why do so many ladies worship Lord Śiva?
Today in Hindu society, unmarried girls are still taught to worship Lord Śiva with the idea that they may get husbands like him. Lord Śiva is the ideal husband, not in the sense of riches or sense gratification, but because he is the greatest of all devotees. Vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: Śambhu, or Lord Śiva, is the ideal Vaiṣṇava. He constantly meditates upon Lord Rāma and chants Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Lord Śiva has a Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, which is called the Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya. Unmarried girls worship Lord Śiva so that they can expect a husband who is as good a Vaiṣṇava as he. The girls are not taught to select a husband who is very rich or very opulent for material sense gratification; rather, if a girl is fortunate enough to get a husband as good as Lord Śiva in devotional service, then her life becomes perfect. The wife is dependent on the husband, and if the husband is a Vaiṣṇava, then naturally she shares the devotional service of the husband because she renders him service.
Visala: I remember over five years ago you telling me about, "If you read the first nine cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, you become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious." Would you kindly tell me what does it mean to be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious?
Prabhupāda: What do you understand, fully Kṛṣṇa conscious?
Visala: What does it mean to be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious?
Prabhupāda: No, what you mean, first of all let me know.
Harikeśa: What do you think fully Kṛṣṇa concious means? You tell Prabhupāda.
Visala: It's to see Kṛṣṇa face to face?
Prabhupāda: That means Kṛṣṇa conscious? Everyone is seeing Kṛṣṇa face to face. When you go to the temple Kṛṣṇa is there, and you are seeing. Does it mean everyone is Kṛṣṇa conscious?
Prabhupāda: Then what is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa conscious?
Indian man: Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54].
Prabhupāda: Hm, that is part of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, brahma bhutah. Real Kṛṣṇa consciousness is: "Kṛṣṇa is master, I am servant." This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Visala: To understand that you're the servant and Kṛṣṇa is the master. I see.
Prabhupāda: When you fully understand, that is your Kṛṣṇa... That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. [break] So long you think that "I can also become like Kṛṣṇa," then you are not Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Visala: In other words, if you still have material desires you can't be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, anyabhilasita-sunyam [Brs. 1.1.11]. Make all your material desires zero.
Visala: Thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. You should only desire to serve Kṛṣṇa. [break] ...clear or not?
Visala: Very clear. Thank you very much.
Harikeśa: What if a person doesn't desire material enjoyment, but still, there is so much dirt?
Prabhupāda: Hm? Who is that person who has no material desires?
Harikeśa: A person really wants to be Kṛṣṇa conscious, but somehow or another, so much dirts gets in the way.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Dirt means it is not yet zero. I said that all material desires should be made zero.
Anyabhilasita-sunyam [Brs. 1.1.11].
Harikeśa: As soon as the desires completely change, then everything else is purified.
Prabhupāda: Yes. As Arjuna said, karisye vacana tava, nasto mohah: "Now my illusion is over. I agree to act as you say." This is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Nasto moha smrtir labdh tvat prasadan madhusudana. [break] The moha is there. Moha means these desires are illusion, like dreaming. In dream we see so many things. They are all false. In dreaming I am seeing that somebody is coming to kill me but there is nobody, but still, I am dreaming. This is called moha. So when one is free from moha, then he's Kṛṣṇa conscious. The whole material world is going on under such illusion. Therefore it is called maya. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Thank you. (end)
(Morning Walk -- December 10, 1975, Vrndavana)
Prabhupāda: So if you simply push on our literature, then our movement is going, you must know. It is really going forward. And there will be no scarcity. You'll get everything. [break] Our neighbors they inquire, is it not? That, "You are living so happily, where do you get money?"
Prabhupāda: The storekeepers, they inquire. They're envious, that "How these people enjoying life without earning, without working hard?" Now whole Bombay is surprised when you purchased this land.
Bali Mardana: Yeah.
Morning Walk -- January 5, 1974, Los Angeles
Reporter: But the bad gurus...
Śrīla Prabhupāda: And what is a "bad" guru?
Reporter: A bad guru just wants some money or some fame.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Well, if he is bad, how can he become a guru? [Laughter.] How can iron become gold? Actually, a guru cannot be bad, for if someone is bad, he cannot be a guru. You cannot say "bad guru." That is a contradiction. What you have to do is simply try to understand what a genuine guru is. The definition of a genuine guru is that he is simply talking about God—that's all. If he's talking about some other nonsense, then he is not a guru. A guru cannot be bad. There is no question of a bad guru, any more than a red guru or a white guru. Guru means "genuine guru." All we have to know is that the genuine guru is simply talking about God and trying to get people to become God's devotees. If he does this, he is genuine.
Haṁsadūta: George Bernard Shaw.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So they are becoming animals, animals eating animal flesh. Bernard Shaw was vegetarian.
Devotee (6): Except he would take liver for his health.
Devotee (6): Yes. He used to take some liver periodically for his health.
Prabhupāda: Medicine. There are many liver extract preparations.
Devotee (6): No, not liver extract. Maybe. I don't know exactly. But I know he used to take liver. Not cod liver oil or anything.
Prabhupāda: No, liver extract preparations there are many medicines. For anemic patient liver extract is recommended. Devotee (6): That's all right for us to take?
Prabhupāda: No, but if you are going to die, then you can take.
Yamunā: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: When required for such trouble, if you are going to die, then, to save yourself, you can.
Devotee (6): If that liver can be eaten raw...
Prabhupāda: If you are going to die. Not ordinary. If it is clear that without liver extract you shall die, you can take.
Devotee (4): You cannot tell. You can't tell until you actually (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: Because when there is question of death it is recommended you may take anything to save your life.
Yamunā: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: But those who are rigid, they are prepared to die even.
Yamunā: Vaiṣṇavas, wouldn't they just chant?
Prabhupāda: Their proposal is "Death is sure today or tomorrow, so why shall I change my principles? Death will take place even if I live for ten years more, and what is the benefit? Why shall I change my principles? It is not that by taking that medicine or liver extract I shall be amara, immortal." That is not possible. If somebody gives some medicine that one can make himself immortal, that is another thing. Nobody is going to be immortal. Why he should be afraid of death? Death will take place. "As sure as death." So today, or tomorrow, or hundred years after.
Devotee: But the devotees, they seem to be suffering too,from...
Prabhupāda: Yes, you cannot expect, if you are suffering from some disease, you cannot expect to be cured immediately. But one who is taking the medicine, he is intelligent. His sufferings will be gone. But these rascals, they will not take medicine even. They will continue to suffer. This is the position. Devotees actually do not suffer, but you see that he is suffering. Because you are suffering. Devotees do not suffer.
Madhudvisa: What happens to them?
Prabhupāda: They enjoy. They enjoy. Hare Kṛṣṇa! How you are dancing always, Hare Kṛṣṇa, unless you are enjoying?
Madhudvisa: Sometimes I get sick stomach too.
Prabhupāda: That's all right, because you have got this body. And after giving up this body, completely, blissful life. Tyaktva dehampunar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]. You are not going to get another body of suffering, that is your advantage. And these rascals, they are going to continue one body after another simply suffering. And for the devotees, although they do not suffer, it is just like, the fan is moving, you make the switch off. It is actually not moving, it is by the last force it is moving, but the switch is off. And it will stop, suffering.
But you have no such chance, you will simply go on suffering, moving, moving, moving, bhutva bhutva praliyate [Bg. 8.19]. You shall have to accept one body, suffer, and again giveup this body. Another body suffer, because so long as you accept material body, this body or that body, you will have to suffer. Material body means suffering. So those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, they will change bodies one after another, and continue to suffer threefold miseries. And devotees, actually they are not suffering, but even if you say they are suffering, so after giving up this body, they are no more accepting material body. They will remain inspiritual body.
Morning Walk -- April 7,1975, Māyāpur
Prabhupāda: What is the use of keeping big, big paraphernalia? Bahvārambhe laghu kriyā. Ārambha, arrangement is very big, but work is no, no work. What is the use of keeping useless machine? So that is going on. In the material world, everything is bahvārambhe laghu kriyā. That has been spoken by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita. Ajā yuddhe muni śrāddhe. Ajā yuddhe. Ajāḥ means goats.
You have seen goat fighting? As if, though, two big, big heroes are fighting. But as soon as somebody comes: "Hut!" they'll go away. Have you seen, experienced? Goats and lambs, they'll fight: (makes sound:) "Onh, onnh." Like this. But, but as soon somebody comes: "Hut!" So this is one of the example of bahvārambhe laghu kriyā.
Ārambha, as if something very serious going to happen. But actually it is nonsignificant. Ajā yuddhe muni śrāddhe. Muni, in the jungle, in the forest, there are munis. So they are arranging for some festivals to offer oblations to the forefathers, śrāddha. So what they have got? They have got some fruits and leaves. That's all. So the arrangement may be that "Tomorrow, we are going to have this festival." But the festival means some leaves and some water. That's all. No utensils, no gold, no jewels, nothing of the sort.
So this is another bahvārambhe laghu kriyā. Arrangement is very big, but fact is nothing. And dāmpatya kalahe caiva. And fight between or quarrel between husband and wife. In India, there is no question of divorce. So nobody takes very serious care when there is fight between husband and wife. So there also: "I'm going to immediately leave you, going to kill you..." and so many things. But after an hour, everything is finished. No more quarrel.
Dāmpatya kalahe caiva prabhāte megha-garjane. And in the morning, if you see big cloud assembly and thundering sound, but you rest assured. There will be no rain in the morning. So these things are bahvārambhe laghu kriyā. Ārambha, beginning is very gorgeous. But end is nothing. So that is not good, bahvārambhe laghu kriyā.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.5.3 -- Stockholm, September 9, 1973
So, parāvare brahmaṇi dharmato vrataiḥ. So one should execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness, dharmataḥ, in right path, and vrataiḥ. Bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ. Just like today, ekādaśī-vrata. Vrataiḥ. This ekādaśī-vrata is required. Just see. Here it is that "You have performed all the vratas." The purpose of ekādaśī-vrata is that today we should not eat much usual food, grains. The actual prescription is fasting. Nirjala-ekādaśī. Nirjala means there are many devotees who does not take even water. Water, drinking water, according to śāstra, it is taking food... It is drinking of food or no food. We can take both ways. So sometimes drinking of water is excused as upavāsa also. But there are many devotees who even..., drink even a drop of water. Whole day and night they fast and observe ekādaśī-vrata. And the night is called harivāsara. Harivāsara means the whole night they would chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma... This is called vrata. Dṛḍha-vrata. Dṛḍha-vrata.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.1-8 -- New Vrindaban, May 23, 1969
"A person who is actually a devotee of Kṛṣṇa does not care about so-called public opinion and Vedic or philosophical literatures. Prahlāda Mahārāja, who is such a devotee, always defied the false instructions of his father and the so-called teachers who were appointed to teach him. Instead, he simply followed the instructions of Nārada Muni, his guru, and thus he always remained a stalwart devotee. This is the nature of an intelligent devotee."
Śrīla Prabhupāda, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.13.45 Purport
Our this human form of life is meant for going back to Kṛṣṇa, back to home, back to Godhead. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is giving information to the people in general how to make life successful. What is that successful life? To go back to home, back to Godhead. This is not our home. This material world, this is foreign country. We are... Just like I am travelling all over the world. My home is in India, but I am going to so many countries, Europe, America, Canada, Australia, Africa... But my home is in India. This is a crude example. Similarly, we are all part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. Kṛṣṇa says. "All these living entities, they are My part and parcel."
Bhagavad-gītā 4.10 -- Calcutta, September 23, 1974
Allen Ginsberg: So Kalki comes at the end of the Kali-yuga?
Allen Ginsberg: And is Kalki connected with the Kali-yuga cycle?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Kalki, yes.
Allen Ginsberg: So He would come at the end of Kali-yuga to end the yuga.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Then Satya-yuga will begin.
Allen Ginsberg: Then what begins?
Allen Ginsberg: Which is?
Prabhupāda: Satya-yuga, the pious. Satya-yuga. People will be pious, truthful, long-living.
Allen Ginsberg: Are those people that remain or whatever new creation comes out of the destruction?
Prabhupāda: Some of them will remain, some of them. It will not completely extinguish. Some of them will remain, pious. Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. All miscreants will be killed, and out of them, there must be some pious... They remain.
Allen Ginsberg: Do you think of this in terms of a historical event that will occur in the lifetime of your disciples?
Prabhupāda: No. This will happen at least 400,000's of years after, at least. So by that time... Allen Ginsberg: They will go down, down, down for 400,000 years?
Prabhupāda: Yes. So at that time my disciples will be with Kṛṣṇa. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: And those who will not follow them, they will see the fun, how they are being killed. (laughter) \
Allen Ginsberg: 400,000 years. Will people still be chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa in 400,000...
Prabhupāda: No. Hare Kṛṣṇa will be finished within ten thousand years. There will be no more Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 13, 1969, Columbus, Ohio
Prabhupāda: Yes. For all living entities. You can open a hospital for the human being but where is your hospital for the tiger? Can any man open a hospital for the tigers, for the snakes? And why not? You are compassionate with living entities. Are they not living entities?
This is the frailty of imperfect knowledge. They are giving protection, the state is giving protection, to the national, but the cows are not national. They should be killed. But the definition of national is that one who is born in that land is called national. The cows are not born in this land? Why for them killing, and only for the human being protection? This is imperfect, imperfect knowledge.
So whatever a man is doing, you will find some imperfectness. But this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is so nice that it has no imperfectness. It is all-perfect. It is for all living entities, not that I shall simply give protection for my brother, my sister, or my father, but even to the lowest animal we shall give protection. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, "Only a person who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be said to be engaged in welfare work for all living entities." Why discrimination? Why protect this and not that? That is imperfectness. The human society cannot give protection to all living entities, but here is a scheme which can give protection to all living entities. Yes.
Interviewer: You also have a garland of flowers around your neck.
Prabhupāda: That is offered by the disciples as a matter of respect to the spiritual master. It is not necessary that a sannyāsī have a garland like this, but if it is offered with respect he does not refuse.
Interviewer: Now, one more thing, you have some paint or color down your forehead and your nose and on all your followers who are here in the studio.
Prabhupāda: Yes. These marks are a temple of Kṛṣṇa. We mark these different twelve parts of the body. The idea is that we are being protected by God from all sides.
Interviewer: One other thing, I went to shake hands with everybody and I found that all your right hands were wrapped. What is the significance of that?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That wrapping... It is not exactly wrapped. It is a bag for our beads. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. So the beads are supposed to be sacred and therefore we keep it in a bag so that it may not touch the dust or any other impurities. So it is not wrapping, it is covering of the sacred beads.
Radio Interview -- March 12, 1968, San Francisco
Devotee: Prabhupāda, what is the devotee's greatest enemy? A devotee's greatest enemy?
Prabhupāda: He, he himself. Because he's a rascal, he's his greatest enemy. So just get out of this rascaldom, and you become your friend. Nobody is enemy. You are yourself your enemy. Nobody is enemy.
-Śrīla Prabhupāda's Morning Walk -- June 12, 1974, Pari