By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Bhaktadāsa: Śrīla Prabhupāda, “What is this Krishna consciousness movement?”
Prabhupāda: Krishna consciousness movement means that every one of us is in some type of consciousness: “I am American,” “I am Indian,” and, “It is my property,” “America is my property,” “India is my property.” But we say that “Everything is Krishna’s property.” Krishna is the proprietor. When we say Krishna, we mean God. God is the original proprietor. And He is, therefore, the supreme enjoyer, and He is everyone’s friend. If we understand these three things, then we become peaceful. If all the nations in the United Nations assembly accept that everything belongs to God, then their quarrel – between one nation to another nation – immediately stops. But present fighting is that two hundred years ago the Americans were mostly in Europe. Now they have migrated and claiming America is theirs. So we think always that “All land belongs to God.” Just like this big ocean. Who has created this ocean? Man has not created. Therefore, if God has created, then God is the proprietor. Take land, water. These are the material elements. Who has created such vast sky? That is also material. So we think in that way and try to find out the answer from authoritative sources. That is Krishna consciousness.
Bhaktadāsa: One question is, Śrīla Prabhupāda, “How do you view the spiritual change which is coming in America?”
Prabhupāda: America, or any other part of the world, we are all spiritual being. We cannot be satisfied only with the bodily necessities of life. Naturally there is question, “What I am? Am I simply this body or something else?” That question naturally comes in human mind. That is very good. A dog cannot think like that. Therefore in the human life it is necessary to question: “What I am? Why I am put into miserable conditions of life? I do not want it, but it is forced upon me. If there is any remedy, what is that remedy?” These questions are very big questions. So unless you, a human being, is awakened to these questions, he is no better than animal.
Religion means these four principles
Bhaktadāsa: Śrīla Prabhupāda, what effects are the Krishna consciousness movement having on the Christian-Judaic culture or the traditional religious culture?
Prabhupāda: We are speaking of religion. Religion means to know God and to love God. So does the Christian-Jewish religious system deny this? Then where is the difference? If Christian religion is meant for understanding God and try to love Him, the same thing we are preaching. The same thing, Jewish religion may be preaching. And where is that religion who denies the supremacy of God? What is that religion? Is there any religion in the world who denies the supremacy of God? We say, “Religion means the laws given by God.” This is our definition. Therefore we must know what is God, what are His orders, and we must carry out the order and what is the end of carrying out such orders. If we try to understand these three or four things, then we are religious. If there is no attempt to understand what is God and what is His order and how we are acting, what is the goal of our life, then where is religion? That is not religion. Religion means these four principles: What is God, what we are, what is our relationship with God, and act accordingly and achieve the goal of life. This is religion. So any religious system which does not consider all these things, that is not religion. That has been explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as kaitavah. Kaitavah means cheating. Religion means these things, wherever these things are there, that is religion, these enquiries. This is the subject matter of Vedānta-sütra, where it is said, athāto brahma jijnāsā: “Now the human life is meant for enquiring about the Supreme.” So that is religion.
[An excerpt from a Press Conference, San Francisco, July 16, 1975]