Srila Prabhupada refutes the idea, put forward by so-called gurus, that we’re all God.

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, lecture given in Los Angeles on April 28, 1970

Contrary to the Mayavada idea, a simple definition of God distinguishes us from Him.

ishavasyam idam sarvam


yat kincha jagatyam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjitha
ma gridhah kasya svid dhanam

“Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.” – Sri Ishopanishad, Mantra 1

Now, here is a statement that everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. What are you, inanimate or animate?

Devotees: Animate.

Prabhupada: Animate. Do you think you are controlled or not controlled?

Devotees: Controlled.

Prabhupada: Is there any person here who is not controlled?

Devotees: No.

Prabhupada: Or anywhere within this universe who is not controlled? Can anyone say, “I am not controlled”? Nobody can say. So if you are controlled, then why are you going to declare, “I am uncontrolled. I am independent. I am God”? Why this nonsense?

Is God controlled? People are claiming, “I am God.” Is there any meaning to such a statement? If I am controlled, then how can I be God? This is a common-sense affair.

“Everyone is God. I am God; you are God.” This is Mayavada philosophy. God is never controlled. If somebody is controlled, we know immediately that he is not God. This is the simple definition of God: God is not controlled.

If somebody claims that he is God, then our first question is “Are you controlled or not controlled?” Common sense. Nobody can say that he’s not controlled.

I have seen a rascal who has got a society, and he is preaching this “I am God.” But one day I saw him, and he had a toothache, and he was doing “Ohhh.” So I questioned him, “You claim that you are God, and now you are simply under the control of a toothache. So what kind of God are you?” You see?

These societies, these preachers, are claiming, “I am God. You are God. Everyone is God.” God has become so cheap that everyone is God. You should immediately know that anyone who says these things is rascal number one. Immediately. As soon as he says, “I am God,” you must know, “Here is a rascal number one.” Nobody is uncontrolled.

Controller of Planets

Now, we see so many huge planets floating. This earth planet is only a small planet, and still you’ll see on this planet that there are big oceans like the Atlantic and the Pacific, and big mountains, and what to speak of your skyscraper buildings. With all this load the earth is floating in the air just like a swab of cotton. Who is controlling this? Can you float even a small piece of grain in the sky? You can say “law of gravity” and so many other things. But your machine, the airplane, is running in the sky only as long as the machine is working. As soon as your petrol is finished, the airplane will fall down, immediately.

The sun is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this planet. We can see that the sun is floating in one corner of this big space. So how can you say that it is not controlled. Is it floating by its own power? No. The answer is there in the Bhagavad-gita (15.13). Gam avishya . . . dharayamy aham ojasa:  “I enter these material planets, and then I keep them floating.”

An airplane is floating in the sky because somebody has entered within it, the driver or pilot. So actually he is keeping the airplane floating, not the machine. This is the simple truth.

If you take this analogy, then this planet is floating because somebody must have entered it. Krishna says, “I have entered it.” So what is the difficulty to understand how it is floating? The analogy is there. Everyone can understand that the big airplane is floating in the sky because the pilot has entered within it. Similarly, if this planet is floating, then somebody, either you or somebody – God – has entered it. And that answer is there in the Bhagavad-gita: “I enter into these planets, and therefore I keep them floating.” That is our answer.

The scientists say it is due to the law of gravitation. But we have to take knowledge from Krishna. That is our process. We don’t accept any other process of knowledge. Our process is to receive knowledge from the authority, and we accept that as fact. That is first-class knowledge. If you get one authority who can speak on the subject matter, and if you take that knowledge, that is perfect.

Know Gold to Buy Gold

There are three kinds of processes to receive knowledge. The first is direct sense perception, pratyaksha. When somebody says, “Can you show me God?” that means he is a pratyaksha-vadi, someone who wants to experience everything directly. This class of men says, “Can you show me God?” But this is not the process for getting first-class knowledge.

Suppose you ask me, “Can you show me God?”

I say, “Yes, I can show you God.”

“Show me.”

“I’ll show you. This is God.”

Will you believe it?

Suppose you are asking me, “Can you show me God?”

I say, “Yes, I can show you.”

“What is that God?”

“Here is God,” I say.

Will you accept that this microphone is God?

Suppose you go to a store and ask, “Can you give me gold?”

The storekeeper will give you a scrap of iron: “Yes, here it is, gold. Take it.”

What will you say? What will be the answer? You do not know where to purchase gold, but you are in need of some gold, and you go to a storekeeper and ask him, “Have you got gold in stock?”

He’ll immediately understand, “Here is a rascal number one, because he has come to purchase gold in an ordinary store. If one has to purchase gold, he must go where gold is sold. But he has come to an ordinary store to purchase gold; therefore he’s a first-class rascal.”

And the storekeeper will try to cheat you: “Here is gold.”

He gives you a piece of iron.

Then what will you say? Will you accept that iron as gold? Why not? You do not know what gold is, and you have gone to a store to purchase it, and the storekeeper gives you a piece of iron. “Here is gold.” You’ll purchase it, and you’ll be cheated.

Similarly, those rascals who say, “Can you show me God?” must know what is God; otherwise they’ll be cheated. That is being done.

If you want to purchase gold, at least you must have some preliminary knowledge of what gold is, what its characteristics are. The government law is that chemicals or drugs must be tested for certain characteristics. For soda bicarb, for example, the color is like this, the constitution is like this, the reaction is like this, the taste is like this. So a chemist in the laboratory can corroborate the characteristics and then accept it. “Yes, it is soda bicarb.”

Similarly, if you want to know God, or if you want to see God, then first you must know what are the characteristics of God. Otherwise, if you go to a rascal and ask him, “Can you show me God?” and he shows you something nonsense and you accept it as God, is that a very nice thing? This is going on. “I want to see God.” What qualification have you got to see God? You have not considered your qualification to see God.

We do not teach such cheap things. The Krishna consciousness movement is not for presenting something nonsense and something cheap. If you want to see God face to face, not fiction, then you must follow the rules and regulations, you must chant, you must purify yourself. And you must wait. The time will come. When you are purified you’ll see God. Not immediately, in your present position.

See God in the Temple

But God is so kind, Krishna is so kind, that even in your current position He is present as the deity in the temple, the archa-vigraha. He’s open to be seen by everyone, whether one knows or does not know what is God. The archa-vigraha is not an idol, not imagination. Krishna’s form is described in the Vedic literature.

With your blunt senses, neither God nor His form, His name, His qualities, and His paraphernalia can be perceived. Our present senses are blunt. Therefore in the present situation or civilization people have become godless, because naturally they have no power to understand God. Nor are they guided by persons who can make them understand what is God. Therefore people are becoming godless, atheistic. But if you read all these Vedic literatures under superior guidance, if you follow the rules and regulations, then svayam eva sphuraty adah: God will be revealed unto you.

You cannot see God or understand God by your own endeavor. You have to surrender to the process by which God can be known. Then He will be revealed. Otherwise not. He is the supreme controller.

You are being controlled. So how can you control God? “Oh, God, please come here. I will see You.” No, no. God is not so cheap that by your order God will come and be seen by you. No. That is not possible. You must always know that “He’s the supreme controller and I am controlled. So if I can please God by my service, then He’ll reveal Himself to me.” That is the process of knowing God.

Thank you very much.