Religion means Laws of God: Devotees abide by them and demons violate them

In Conversation with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda

Prabhupada: Religious principles cannot be manufactured by anyone within this universe. They are codes or laws given by God. That is religion. That means we have to know who is God, what is His desire, and we have to abide by that. That is religion. Just like a good citizen means “he knows the government and the government’s laws and he abides by it.” Then he is a good citizen. Otherwise he is a criminal. If he does not abide by the laws of the state, he is a criminal. Similarly, if one does not abide by the orders or the codes or the laws of God, he is Satan or demon. Therefore anyone who is disobedient to God, he cannot have any good qualification [harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunāh (SB 5.18.12)]. Whereas, one who is a devotee, abiding by the orders of God, he has got all the good qualification of God’s [yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akincanā sarvair gunais tatra samāsate surah (SB 5.18.12)].

Prabhupada sitting on Vyasa Asana

Therefore, it is the duty of the state, the duty of the father, the duty of the teacher, everyone – those who are guardians— that they should teach their subordinates how to become faithful to God. This one qualification will make him perfect. That is not being done. Everyone is godless mostly. And therefore there are problems, chaotic condition. Nobody is abiding by the supreme law. Everyone is creating his own law. That is the trouble. So our Krishna consciousness movement is meant for making the human society law-abiding citizen of the laws given by God. So that is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, wherein Krishna, God, is giving, “You do like this.” Or take even the Bible. If we follow strictly, then we become happy. So, am I right or wrong? What is your opinion?

Guest (1) (Indian gentleman): You are very right in saying this because we cannot solve any problem. The problems keep on multiplying. When we solve one problem, there are twenty ahead of us.

Prabhupāda: Our first problem is, because we have got this material body, eating. Everyone must eat. So Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, annād bhavanti bhūtāni: [Bg. 3.14] “If there is sufficient food grains, then both man and animal, they become happy.” Therefore our first religion is to produce food grain sufficiently to feed everyone. Krsi-go-raksya-vānijyam vaiśya-karma svabhāva [Bg. 18.44]. This matter has been entrusted to the vaiśyas. They should produce sufficient food and give protection to the cows for sufficient milk. Then the whole human society, animal society, will be happy.

Instead of producing food we are producing motor cars and weapons

But we are disobeying the orders or the rules given by God. Instead of producing food, we are producing motorcars. And motor tires, motor parts. And so many other things. And therefore people are starving. The manual labor is being misused. We are disobeying the orders of God. Therefore we are unhappy. I have seen all over the world. There is enough space for producing food grains. And if we actually produce food grain, we can maintain ten times of the present population of the whole world. There is no question of scarcity because God has created everything complete. pūrnam idam pūrnam ādāya pūrnāt pūrnam udacyate [Isopanisad, Invocation]. There cannot be any defect in the creation of God. We have created these defects on account of our disobeying the orders of God. God never said that “motorcar-ād bhavanti bhūtāni.” He never says. But instead of producing food grains, we are producing so many unwanted things. People’s energy is engaged for… Just like in America or in every country, so much energy and resources are engaged for preparing war materials. And that means there must be war. And you must be killed; I must be killed. You will kill me; I will kill you. That’s all.

People would eat very nicely, and keep their health fit and save time for understanding their relationship with God

Therefore God says, cātur-varnyam mayā srstam guna-karma-vibhāgaśah [Bg. 4.13]. The human society should be divided into four classes of men: the most intelligent class, brāhmana; the next intelligent class, ksatriya; then next intelligent class, vaiśyas; and the fourth-class men … they are called śüdra. […] Formerly there was monarchy, and the kings were called rājarsis (saintly kings). […] So the rājarsis, they would take instruction from superior authority, brāhmanas and Vaishnavas, and they will accordingly rule over. And the vaiśyas would produce food grains sufficiently and milk sufficiently. People would eat very nicely, and keep their health fit and save time for understanding their relationship with God. That is perfect civilization.

[An excerpt from a room conversation in Atlanta, USA on March 1, 1975]

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