This conversation between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples took place on April 17, 1977, in Bombay.
Srila Prabhupada: Today there is no full-brained man. All restless dogs and hogs. In fact, they have taken this as their first business – to become restless dogs and hogs. They are living like dogs and hogs while claiming they are highly civilized.
If you study very analytically, you’ll find no essential difference between dogs’ and hogs’ life and that of modern man. The dogs and hogs – all day long working restlessly, on and on. Kashtan kaman arhate: no end to the animals’ bodily whims and their work. And in London, in New York, from early in the morning the people are driving, rushing to work. Put-put-put-put.
They cannot even get their rest at night peacefully. The anxiety is, “If I do not arrive early at the factory, I will jeopardize my salary – perhaps my whole income will be put at risk.” They are always anxious. Sada samudvigna-dhiyam: nowadays people are always full of anxieties.
Why so many anxieties? Asad-grahat: they are clutching very tightly to something that will not stay – namely, this material body. All our anxiety is due to over-attachment to this body.
So just consider: What is the difference between human society and hog society? Nice clothes? Then if you dress a hog in nice clothes, he becomes a human being? Unfortunately, people nowadays are after the outward dress, the outward appearance of being human beings. They do not know what is real civilization, what is real life. They do not know anything.
And when you go to give spiritual knowledge to them, they say, “Oh, we have to take knowledge from poverty-stricken India?” They do not know that this spiritual knowledge does not come from that India – that Westernized, industrially despoiled India. Rather it comes from old, Krishna conscious, full-of-knowledge, farm-and-village, prosperous India.
Those who have forsaken this spiritual knowledge – they are poverty-stricken. We who are cultivating this spiritual knowledge are not poverty-stricken.
Even from the standpoint of everyday affairs, this knowledge is so very important. Let people understand, “I am not this body – I am not Nigerian or American or Albanian or Iranian or this or that. I am pure spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Soul.” Then you will have, at last, your real United Nations.
Otherwise, what do you have? These restless rascals in bodily consciousness – “I am Indian,” “I am Irish,” “I am Lebanese” – simply barking for the last thirty years. Calling themselves “united,” but blind to the real basis of unity, their spiritual identity. Blind to the simple, peaceful life. Just barking about their various bodily misconceptions.
Disciple: Several times, Srila Prabhupada, you have told people connected with the U.N. that theirs is simply an association of barking dogs. And they are always surprised to hear such a strong statement.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. But actually, it is a fact. People today are no different from some dogs barking. “I am a bulldog,” “I am a terrier,” “I am a collie,” “I am a Greek,” “I am a Frenchman,” “I am a Swede.” And with this misunderstanding of who they are, they waste so much energy and money and time, simply for barking about this or that bodily concern.
The result of all this barking is nothing. No United Nations. Rather, every other day sees the appearance of some new national flag. Bharam udvahato vimudhan: they have made a big bombastic arrangement for unity, but the result is nothing. Bharam udvahato vimudhan: these rascals are simply making a big, big arrangement. The result is nothing.
And despite their obvious failure, they are determined to remain rascals. “Oh, the United Nations. What a gorgeous attempt we are making toward unity. Of course, we have no unity, but our building is adorned by 300,000 flags.”
The problem is, they are offering their obeisances to their flag, not to God. Krishna says, mam namaskuru: “All of you are in fact spiritual beings, so be happy by offering your obeisances to Me.” But they are thinking, “No. ‘Flag namaskuru.’ We must offer our obeisances to a flag.” Just see what rascals they are! What will they gain by offering obeisances to some flag?
Disciple: In their next life, instead of going back to the spiritual world, they may be born as a cockroach in that same country.
Srila Prabhupada: And then their countrymen will kill them.
“No, friends, please don’t kill me. I am your countryman. I am your countryman. I belong to the same nation.”
“Who cares about you flies and cockroaches? We shall kill you. ‘American cockroach’? Who cares about you?”
“No, you don’t understand. In my past life I was a staunch nationalist. Yes, due to this material misconception and over-attachment I have now received the body of a cockroach. But please don’t kill me.”
If you become a cockroach, even an American cockroach, who will care about you? Will anyone show special consideration to you? But dehantara-praptih: after this body, you must accept another body. That you cannot avoid. Then what good will your nationalism do you? Now you are a great nationalist. But when you have to accept another body, how can you save yourself and not become a cockroach?
Unfortunately, your next body is not your choice. It is in another’s hands. Karmana daiva-netrena: according to your actions in this body, you’ll get a suitable next body by the arrangement of nature. That is under nature’s supervision.
You cannot say, “Give me a beautiful body in a very wealthy American family.”
“No, no,” Mother Nature will say. “You no longer have that discretionary power. You had it; you had a human life. Now you have to accept my discretion. I will now give you your new body according to your past actions, just according to how you are infected by the material modes.”
So this spiritual knowledge is the greatest science. But sadly, these great educators and leaders do not know it. No one knows it. Instead of understanding that their way of life is a fallacy, they are asking whether God and the soul and the next life are a fallacy. This is their intelligence. What rascaldom!