Srila Gurudeva’s Interview in Australia – Jan 31st, 1997
Srila Gurudeva: We know that the conditioned souls have forgotten that they are the servants of God. We also know that we are not this physical body. We cannot have any kind of happiness and peace of mind if we are not serving God. We have forgotten God. That is why we have come in this world, which is like a jail. If we are serving Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the embodiment of love and affection, then we will be happy. In this world, we also want people to be happy, and in the next birth, or after liberation, they will also be happy. So we preach the mission of Krsna consciousness.
We have come here by the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, our guru, and especially my siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, who preached over the whole world and established so many mathas, preaching centers. After his departure, so many groups developed. Many senior Vaisnavas were neglected and they became like orphans.
My siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, in his last days ordered me to help all his devotees. Also, he ordered me to give him Samadhi. I think that this is my first duty. To obey his order, to help the devotees who are now neglected, having left ISKCON. I am giving my time to water the mission of Svamiji, with the pure love and affection of Krsna.
My spiritual master has also ordered me to go everywhere and preach the same mission. Also, the devotees from the various countries of the world have invited me to come to their countries and to preach this mission. So I thought that, “This is my duty, to obey my gurus, especially my Gurudeva, and also, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, who is called Prabhupada in the Western countries.”
Devotee: Have you gone to the ISKCON farm?
Srila Gurudeva: If they don’t oppose, I will go. Also, I thought my duty is to go to Western countries and Eastern countries, like Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja has gone. So I should take the foot dust of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, wherever he has gone. So I must go (to the farm) if they will let me go.
Devotee: Why will they oppose you going to ISKCON?
Srila Gurudeva: I don’t know, but I think that some of them are thinking (that we are entering their territory), like dogs, if you go to their place, they will bark. But I don’t know why, because they are all in the family. I think of them as my godbrothers.
Devotee: How long will you stay for?
Srila Gurudeva: I will be here for three weeks.
Devotee: And in that time, you will be giving class?
Srila Gurudeva: I will be speaking in the morning and evening. In the evening especially, from 5 p.m. to seven or eight. Devotees from all over the world will be here to attend the classes.
Devotee: Does it upset you that there might be people who would oppose you? Like ISKCON is opposing you.
Srila Gurudeva: No. Very rare persons can oppose those who are not understanding all these things. They should understand that I am always favorable to them.
Devotee: Do you think your journey to Australia will strengthen ISKCON?
Srila Gurudeva: Wherever I have gone in the Western countries, like the US and Canada, the devotees have become so strong. Those who left ISKCON came, and are now chanting and remembering, and preaching.
Devotee: There have been problems in Australia with people falling away. In the past, there have been problems with leaders of ISKCON falling away. Some big leaders here fell.
Srila Gurudeva: Therefore they should have strong faith in Krsna, and in their bhajana and sadhana. They should not give up, and they should not leave. I think, if we will associate with very strong Vaisnavas…
Devotee: What happens if someone falls away? Do you welcome them back?
Srila Gurudeva: Then we help them to come. Whether they are in family life, or in renounced life. They should go on with chanting and remembering. One thing is that, in the primary stage, called kanistha-adhikari, when one lacks all knowledge of bhakti, they see that there are so many groups, and they are struggling. But actually, in the advanced or higher stage, people will see there is only the group of bhakti and bhaktas. At that time, there is no discord and quarreling. But in the lower stages, it may be seen like that, but it is not so in reality. When they will develop their Krsna consciousness, they will see this, and they will think that, “We are all in the same family, everyone in the world. Whether they are devotees or not devotees. We are all part and parcel of God. Then we will realize the conception of worldwide brotherhood. Even the plants and creepers, animals and all living entities are all sons or parts and parcel of the Godhead. They should all be honored. You should not kill animals to eat them. If we kill them, we should also know that they will kill us in the future (as the law of karma). If we kill and eat animals, our nature will be like that, very violent, like wild animals. Therefore, we tell people not to do all these things.
Devotee: There is always the exception, I have read, in the United States that there was killing [unclear]. What effect does that have in behavior? What effect does it have on the community? There were media reports.
Devotee 2: In America, in the Hare Krsna movement, there were some killings. Some devotees got involved in some murders. He wants to know, what effect that has on the Hare Krsna community around the world. When we hear that Hare Krsna’s are killing, then many may leave.
Srila Gurudeva: This is very bad. But the real Vaisnavas do not do like this. Those who are killing, they were actually never part of ISKCON, and still they are not part of ISKCON. They have not realized what is ISKCON. So they are always out of ISKCON, for some material desires, like for easy money, or for fame. Outwardly they joined ISKCON, and they have misused their position. Any ISKCON member will not do like this. They will also not criticize devotees. They will honor even all creepers, plants, trees, and all animals. So they cannot kill anyone.
Devotee: Are you trying to promote the love of Krsna while you are here, as opposed to negativity in the past? Now you are trying to promote the real ISKCON?
Srila Gurudeva: Certainly. I am here to promote the actual message of love. I want to help everyone, without consideration of caste or creed.
Devotee: Thank you very much.
Srila Gurudeva: Take some prasadam. I have been happy to meet you.