By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
So these policies—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—they’re in all living entities. That is the general law for every living entity. So if you are simply engaged in eating, sleeping, mating and defending, then what is the difference between you and the animals? That is the defect of modern civilization. If you think that “We are very scientifically running so many slaughterhouses for eating purposes,” then that is not advancement of civilization. In that sense, a tiger is better situated – it hasn’t got to keep a slaughterhouse. By nature it has got nails and jaws – immediately attack and finish. So these things are not advancement of civilization.
Real civilization is how to understand your relationship with God, the Supreme Father. That is real civilization. You may learn it through any process. It doesn’t matter. You learn your relationship with the supreme father through Christianity. That’s all right. Or through Vedic process. That’s all right. Or Muhammadan, Koran process, that’s all right. But you learn it. Our Krishna consciousness movement is not that we are out to make Christians Hindus, or Hindus Christians, or Muhammadans… No. Our propaganda is not that. Our propaganda is that “You are human being. Your business is to understand your relationship with God.” That’s all. You learn it. Anywhere you learn it, but you learn it. Otherwise you are simply wasting your time by animal propensities.
Try to love Krishna, or God. That’s all. If you have got any own process, do it. Otherwise, please come to us. Learn it. Why one should grudge? Nīcād apy uttamām strī-ratnam duskulād api. Cānakya Pandita says that you have to catch up the right thing from any source. It doesn’t matter. He gives example:
visād api amrtam grāhyam. If there is a pitcher of poison, but if there is some nectarine over the pitcher, you catch it, take it out. Don’t take the poison, but take the nectarine.
Amedhyād api kāncana: if you find that in a filthy place there is some gold, take it out. You are not to take the filthy stool, but you take the gold.
Nīcād apy uttamām vidyām: According to Vedic system, education has to be taken from high class, intellectual persons like the brāhmanas. But if you find that a person who is not a brāhmana—he’s less than a brāhmana, or even lower caste—but if he has got some nice education, just accept him as your teacher and learn. Not that “Because he’s lowborn or not brāhmana, I shall not take the education from him.” The point is that you have to take the education. And
strī-ratnam duskulād api: In India, still the marriage takes place in equal family. The boy and the girl must be equally rich, equally cultured, equally educated. Equality. They find out. Even by horoscope, they test whether their astronomical calculations are also equal, so that after marriage they may not be unhappy. So many things, they are taken care of by the parents, and the marriage takes place. It is not that in youthful age the boy and girl mix and… No. But these things are now gone. So the point is that they were calculating especially to accept a girl from a family that must be equal. But Cānakya Pandita says that if a girl is well qualified, Strī-ratna means… Ratna means jewel. If a girl is just like jewel, very qualified, even if she is born in a low family, accept her. Nīcād apy uttamām vidyām strī-ratnam duskulād api.
Duskulād api means born of low family. Never mind. Don’t care for her parentage. If she’s qualified, accept her. There are many instances. Similarly, if you are serious about understanding God, don’t consider that “I am Christian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim,” “Why shall I do this? Why shall I hear from Swamijī?” If you are serious about understanding God, about loving God, then here is a nice process. That is practical. There is no question of grudging, “Oh, why shall I go there? They are following some Hindu, Vedic scripture.” No. There is no question of Vedic scripture.
Our business is how to love God. That’s all. Just like, many students come here to take higher education. As there is no consideration that “Why shall I go to America or Germany? They are different people. Oh, I don’t take higher education.” No. Everyone goes. Similarly, if there is nice process to understand God, to approach God, you should take it. Don’t be grudging. Take it. You’ll be benefited.
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the “Brahma Samhita” in Bomaby on January 3, 1973]