Selections from Srila Prabhupada's books and lectures




* Where is that perfect man?

* By mere academic knowledge

* Srila Prabhupada's great humility

* Enjoy, but you'll never be happy

* Other enjoyments, flat and tasteless



Where is that perfect man?

In 1972-3, Srila Prabhupada held a series of philosophical discussions with his personal secretary, Syamasundara, while traveling around the world. Here is some of their discussion on Marx’s philosophy-

Srila Prabhupada: But there is exploitation in the communist countries also. Khrushchev was driven out of power because he was exploiting his position. He was giving big government posts to his son and son-in-law.

Syamasundara: He was deviating from the doctrine.

Srila Prabhupada: But since any leader can deviate, how will perfection come? First the person in the center must be perfect, then his dictations will be correct. Otherwise, if the leaders are all imperfect men, what is the use of changing this or that? The corruption will continue.

Syamasundara: Presumably the perfect leader would be the one who practiced Marx’s philosophy without deviation.

Srila Prabhupada: But Marx’s philosophy is also imperfect! His proposal for a classless society is unworkable. There must be one class of men to administer the government and one class of men to sweep the streets. How can there be a classless society? Why should a sweeper be satisfied seeing someone else in the administrative post? He will think, “He is forcing me to work as a sweeper in the street while he sits comfortably in a chair.” In our International Society, I am also holding the superior post: I am sitting in a chair, and you are offering me garlands and the best food. Why? Because you see a perfect man whom you can follow.  That mentality must be there. Everyone in the society must be able to say, “Yes, here is a perfect man. Let him sit in a chair, and let us all bow down and work like menials.” Where is that perfect man in the communist countries?

Syamasundara: The Russians claim that Lenin is a perfect man.

Srila Prabhupada: Lenin? But no one is following Lenin. Lenin’s only perfection was that he overthrew the czar’s government. What other perfection has he shown? The people are not happy simply reading Lenin’s books. I studied the people in Moscow. They are unhappy. The government cannot force them to be happy artificially. Unless there is a perfect, ideal man in the center, there cannot possibly be a classless society. JSD p 219

Note-Srila Prabhupada says here that since any leader can deviate, there will not be perfection and corruption will continue. Srila Prabhupada showed us his example of the perfect man to follow. However the process is to follow rather than imitate. After he departed however, several men tried to imitate his position and a fiasco followed. This is the word [fiasco] that HH Hrydayananda Gosvami used in one morning class in LA to describe the zonal acarya system that followed Srila Prabhupada's departure. Just as Srila Prabhupada says above, that by studying the people of Russia, he saw that they were not happy, in the same token, any social science student can study the movement before and after the departure of Srila Prabhupada and note the dramatic change in the general happiness and well being of the majority of his disciples, due to the points made above.   

.By mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions

BG 6.8


A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything--whether it be pebbles, stones or gold--as the same.


Book knowledge without realization of the Supreme Truth is useless. This is stated as follows:

atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih

sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah

"No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krsna through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him." (Padma Purana)

This Bhagavad-gita is the science of Krsna consciousness. No one can become Krsna conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure consciousness. A Krsna conscious person has realized knowledge, by the grace of Krsna, because he is satisfied with pure devotional service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By transcendental knowledge one can remain steady in his convictions, but by mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions. It is the realized soul who is actually self-controlled because he is surrendered to Krsna. He is transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship. For him mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others, are of no greater value than pebbles or stones.



Srila Prabhupada's great humility

From the Purport of SB 4.12.33: 

This incident proves that the siksa- or diksa-guru who has a disciple who strongly executes devotional service like Dhruva Maharaja can be carried by the disciple even though the instructor is not as advanced. Although Suniti was an instructor to Dhruva Maharaja, she could not go to the forest because she was a woman, nor could she execute austerities and penances as Dhruva Maharaja did. Still, Dhruva Maharaja was able to take his mother with him. Similarly, Prahlada Maharaja also delivered his atheistic father, Hiranyakasipu. The conclusion is that a disciple or an offspring who is a very strong devotee can carry with him to Vaikunthaloka either his father, mother or siksa- or diksa-guru. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say, “If I could perfectly deliver even one soul back home, back to Godhead, I would think my mission – propagating Krishna consciousness – to be successful.” The Krishna consciousness movement is spreading now all over the world, and sometimes I think that even though I am crippled in many ways, if one of my disciples becomes as strong as Dhruva Maharaja, then he will be able to carry me with him to Vaikunthaloka.

From the purport of Srimad-Bhagavatam canto 4, chapter 12, verse 33: ”Dhruva Maharaja goes back to Godhead.”


All right, enjoy, but you’ll never be happy!

There are living entities who are eternally conditioned, and there are living entities who are eternally liberated. The eternally liberated souls are there with Krishna, they’re dancing with Krishna … because they have no other desire than to satisfy Krishna, that is the difference between the eternally conditioned and eternally liberated souls. Eternally liberated means they have no other desire … all the gopis and all the cowherd boys – all the cows, all the trees, all the water – the father, mother, friends – they’re simply trying to satisfy Krishna – that is Vrndavana. They have no other business. The central point is Krishna. And here – in this material world, everyone is trying to satisfy himself. His center is himself. Therefore he is exploiting others, cheating others, so many things, bluffing, because he wants to enjoy himself, that’s all. This is the difference between the spiritual world and material world. If you want to satisfy yourself, your senses, that is material – and if you want to satisfy Krishna, Krishna’s senses, that is spiritual. This is the difference. So either do it here – or go to Vaikuntha, Goloka, and do there – the business is the same.

So, this is a chance – for these conditioned souls, who have come to this material world – to enjoy. They are given a chance – (as Krishna might say-) “That’s alright, you enjoy – you want to enjoy as human being, ok, then take the body of a human – if you want to enjoy like a tiger, alright, take the body of a tiger – if you want to enjoy like a demigod, alright, then take the body of a demigod. Krishna is so liberal, take – and enjoy! As you like. But you’ll never be happy! … That is the crucial point. If you want to be happy – then surrender unto Me.”

You cannot manufacture your happiness – that is not possible. Therefore … this creation is here … try to understand, why there is creation. This creation is a chance, given to the conditioned souls … how to come to his senses … that he is the eternal servant of Krishna – part and parcel; his only business is to satisfy Krishna.

 (From Srimad-Bhagavatam class 8/26/72, by Srila Prabhupada)

He begins to see other so-called enjoyments and attainments as flat and tasteless

Excerpt from On the Way to Krsna

The process for establishing oneself in real happiness is this process of Krishna consciousness. By Krishna consciousness we can gradually develop our real intelligence and naturally enjoy relishing spiritual happiness as we make spiritual progress. As we begin to relish spiritual happiness, we proportionately abandon material happiness. As we make progress in understanding the Absolute Truth, we naturally become detached from this false happiness. If somehow or other one is promoted to that stage of Krishna consciousness, what is the result?

Yam labdhva caparam labham

  Manyate nadhikam tatah

Yasmin sthito na duhkhena

  Gurunapi vicalyate


“Upon gaining this, he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty.” Bhagavad-gita 6.22

When one attains that stage, other achievements appear insignificant. In this material world we are trying to achieve so many things – riches, women, fame, beauty, knowledge, etc. – but as soon as we are situated in Krishna consciousness we think, “Oh, no achievement is better than this.” Krishna consciousness is so potent that a little taste can save one from the greatest danger. As one begins to relish the taste of Krishna consciousness, he begins to see other so-called enjoyments and attainments as flat and tasteless. And if one is situated firmly in Krishna consciousness, the greatest danger cannot disturb him, there are so many dangers in life because the material world is a place of danger. We tend to close our eyes to this, and because we are foolish we try to adjust to these dangers. We may have many dangerous moments in our lives, but if we are training ourselves in Krishna consciousness and preparing ourselves to go home, back to Godhead, we will not care for them. Our attitude will then be: “Dangers come and go – so let them happen.” It is very difficult to make this kind of adjustment as long as one is on the materialistic platform and is identifying with the gross body, which is composed of perishable elements. But the more one advances in Krishna consciousness, the more he becomes free from bodily designations and this material entanglement.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam the material world is compared to a great ocean. Within this material universe there are millions and billions of planets floating in space, and we can just imagine how many Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are there. In fact, the whole material universe is likened to a great ocean of misery, an ocean of birth and death. In order to cross this great ocean of nescience, a strong boat is needed, and that strong boat is the lotus feet of Krishna. We should immediately get aboard that boat. We should not hesitate, thinking that Krishna’s feet are very small. The whole universe is simply resting on His leg. For one who takes shelter of His feet, it is said that the material universe is no more significant than a puddle of water found in the impression of a calf’s hoof print. There is certainly no difficulty in crossing over such a small puddle.

Tam diyad duhkha-samyog

Viyogam yoga-samjnitam


“This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.” Bhagavad-gita 6.23

from- On the Way to Krishna,

by Srila Prabhupada




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