Room Conversation with
Alcohol and Drug Hospital People
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
May 16, 1975, Perth
Paramahamsa: …to solve the problem of drug and alcohol addiction and, of course, they’re concerned with the causes of it and things like that.
Prabhupada: So you can send all these alcohol and drug patients here and they will be cured. These boys, American and European boys, they were all addicted to alcohol, drugs. Now they have given up. Practical.
Guest (1): In what way would they cure?
Prabhupada: Simply I say that “If you want to be my student, then you must give up four things: illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, and gambling.” This is my condition. So they give up, and they become my student.
Guest (2): Do they suffer withdrawal symptoms?
Paramahamsa: He says, “Do they suffer withdrawal symptoms?” Sometimes when a patient is giving up alcohol or drugs, he goes through various symptoms which are painful.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. That should be… But unless… Find out this, param drstva nivartate. Rasa-varjam raso ’py asya param drstva nivartate.
Devotee (2): “The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.”
Devotee (2): Purport? “Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of edibles. The patient, however, neither likes such restriction, nor loses his taste for edibles. Similarly, sense restriction by some spiritual process like astanga-yoga, in the matter of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, etc., is recommended for less intelligent persons who have no better knowledge. But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Krsna in the course of his advancement in Krsna consciousness no longer has a taste for dead material things. Therefore, restrictions are there for the less intelligent neophytes in the spiritual advancement of life, but such restrictions are only good if one actually has a taste for Krsna consciousness. When one is actually Krsna conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.”
Guest (1): What is Krsna consciousness, if I might ask?
Prabhupada: Tell him.
Paramahamsa: Well, Krsna is the Supreme Lord, or the Supreme Soul, and we are all individual souls. So naturally we have an awareness of our relationship with Krsna, or God. When we say God or Krsna, we don’t mean my God or your God, but we mean God, no matter which religion we’re speaking of. So all of us naturally have a capacity to love Krsna, or God, and we can awaken this relationship with Him. And when that is awakened, then all unwanted things disappear, because everybody is actually frustrated, looking for permanent happiness in this temporary world. But when we awaken our Krsna consciousness then all of those frustrations disappear, and so all such problems like drug addiction become unnecessary.
Guest (2): How long does this process of withdrawal take?
Paramahamsa: He says how long does it take to stop taking drugs by the process of Krsna consciousness?
Prabhupada: If one lives with us at least for six months, he will give up.
Guest (2): Six months. And are there cases which relapse?
Paramahamsa: He says, “Are there cases of…, which relapse? Persons who begin to withdraw from drugs…?”
Prabhupada: Maybe one in five hundred.
Guest (2): One in five hundred.
Prabhupada: There is. Everyone is prone to fall down. But that percentage is very low, say, one in five hundred. We have got about ten thousand students all over the world. Out of them, they have fallen about ten or, say, fifteen, that’s all.
Guest (2): You means you have ten thousand students who used to be addicted to something?
Prabhupada: Yes. Addicted to everything—illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, and gambling. And now they have given up everything.
Guest (2): And those who relapse, can they be treated again?
Paramahamsa: Those who have relapsed, can they be treated again?
Prabhupada: Ah, yes, that I say. Say, utmost, ten out of ten thousand.
Paramahamsa: He says, “Can they be treated again, a second time?”
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Even American government is pleased with this movement because they have spent so much millions of dollars for stopping LSD, and they are surprised that when the people come here, they give up.
Guest (3): Do you teach abstinence or moderation in the use of these things?
Prabhupada: No, we say “Stop.” We don’t allow even smoking and drinking tea. That is also intoxication. We are so strict. But still, they give up. None of us take tea. We eat very simple things, vegetables, wheat, rice, little milk, that’s all.
Guest (1): Did you say you eat meat?
Paramahamsa: Wheat, wheat.
Guest (1): Wheat. Ah. Is there any reason why you don’t, you prohibit people from eating meat?
Prabhupada: Because it is sinful. It is sinful. According to Vedic conception, these four things are sinful activities, four pillars. Just like four pillars, the legs of this table, similarly, illicit sex, meat- eating, intoxication, and gambling are the four legs of sinful life.
Guest (1): What do you consider illicit sex?
Prabhupada: Illicit sex means animal life. The marriage is in the human society, not in the dog society. So if one has illicit sex, that means he is no better than dog.
Guest (2): I don’t quite understand that. Did you say that illicit means sex between people who are not married?
Prabhupada: Yes. Sex is allowed only married couple. And that is also only for begetting child.
Guest (1): Married under what law? Under what religion? Under what religious law?
Prabhupada: There is in Bhagavad-gita, that dharmaviruddhah kamo ’smi. Find out. You can come here and read.
Paramahamsa: Which was that? Dharma…
Prabhupada: Dharmaviruddhah kamo ’smi.
Paramahamsa: Dharmaviruddho bhutesu?
Prabhupada: No, dharmaviruddhah kamo ’smi. Dharma-aviruddha. You know that verse.
Paramahamsa: Is that balam balavatam caham?
Prabhupada: Ah, yes, yes, yes.
balam balavatam caham kama-raga-vivarjitam dharmaviruddho bhutesu kamo ’smi bharatarsabha
Translation: “I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O Lord of the Bharatas, Arjuna.”
Guest (1): You can follow actually? What does that exactly mean? It’s a direct translation, I think.
Paramahamsa: He says, “What does that exactly mean?”
Prabhupada: Explain to him.
Paramahamsa: Well, as it explains here, “The strong man’s strength should be applied to protect the weak, not for personal aggression. Similarly, sex life, according to religious principles, dharma, should be for the propagation of children, not otherwise. The responsibility of parents is then to make their offspring Krsna conscious.”
Guest (2): The question was which religion, which religious principle?
Paramahamsa: Well, he means our marriage under… We accept that marriage, sex life in marriage, is licit, not illicit. So he asked, “Under what religious principles or under which religion?”
Prabhupada: Any religion. Christian religion does not allow illicit sex. No adultery.
Guest (2): Any religious principles?
Prabhupada: This is religious principle. In the animal kingdom there is no marriage, but in the human society—may be Christian, may be Hindu, may be Muslim—there is marriage system. That is religious system.
Guest (2): Is polygamy illicit?
Guest (2): Not illicit. But it is…
Prabhupada: Polygamy means if it is married. Just like in the Vedic society they used to marry many wives. Just like Krsna. Krsna had sixteen thousand wives. And He maintained them sixteen thousand palaces. And He expanded Himself into sixteen thousand Krsnas. So that is a different thing; He is God. But if you can maintain each and every wife, you can marry more than one wife. But if you are unable to maintain, that is illicit. All the ksatriya kings, they used to marry more than one wife. Still in India, the ksatriyas, kings, they have more than one wife. But they maintain very nicely.
Guest (2): But your method of curing drug addiction has no definite practical use, surely.
Prabhupada: Why not practical?
Guest (2): Not everyone who wants to stop taking drugs can spend six months in solitude or in a company like yours.
Paramahamsa: He says he finds it not practical because not everyone who is addicted to drugs can spend six months in a temple with us.
Prabhupada: They are spending years. They are all European, Americans. They are not Indians. We have got here… You go to Melbourne. We have got big branch. In Sydney we have got. In Europe. They are doing that. It requires training, proper training. Then it will be done.
Guest (1): Well, if there is someone who wouldn’t like to perhaps join this religion, but still wants to get treated…
Prabhupada: This is not religion. This is a culture.
Guest (1): Oh. Yes, this culture…
Prabhupada: Because we are admitting persons from various religions, various nations, various countries, and they accept this culture and they become purified.
Guest (1): Do they have to wear those clothes and shave their heads and chanting those things…
Prabhupada: That is optional. That is also optional. That is not compulsory. But in India because the brahmacaris, sannyasis, they dress in a particular way, they do that. But that is not compulsory. But it has got a psychological effect, because whenever we go, people chant “Hare Krsna!” So by this dress, we give chance, the other men, to chant Hare Krsna.
Guest (1): Well, could you correct me if I’m wrong. We have a society called Ramakrishna Society, a society in Burma. Those people who founded this society and are practicing Krsna culture, they don’t wear those things, or they don’t chant in their temple, but they do all sorts of social welfare type of thing. Is there any difference between…
Prabhupada: Ramakrishna Mission is not Vedic. It is a creation of Vivekananda’s concoction. It is not Vedic. Just like they created a God, Ramakrishna. So that is not a Vedic sanction, that you create any fool rascal, a god.
Guest (1): Isn’t yours a product of or derivative of Vedic?
Prabhupada: Yes, completely.
Guest (1): So how would you…
Prabhupada: Just like whatever question you are asking, we are answering from Vedic literature. We are not answering ourself. That is the difference. The evidence is from the Vedic literature. I don’t say that “In my opinion it is like this.” We don’t say.
Guest (1): I’m sorry, I missed that point. Could you please explain?
Paramahamsa: He said it is Vedic because the answers he is giving are not his opinion or concoction, but he is giving from the Vedic knowledge or the Vedic scriptures instead of making up his own opinion. That is the meaning of Vedic; it is based on the Vedic teachings exactly.
Guest (1): But the Ramakrishna wasn’t.
Guest (1): They formed their own way.
Guest (2): Do you consider that this kind of practice or the practicing this kind of culture is regimentated? A person has to come in and spend some times in the temple, and…
Prabhupada: Yes, the association, the influence of association. If you go to a drunkard association, you become a drunkard. And if you go to a saintly association, you become a saint. Sangat sanjayate kamah. Find out.
dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho ’bhijayate
Translation: “While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.”
Prabhupada: If one becomes lusty and if it is not fulfilled, he becomes angry. This is all psychological.
Guest (2): Yeah, well, when a person is attached to that group in the temple, isn’t this, become a lust too? You see, being influenced by the group and also attached to the people…
Prabhupada: We are teaching to be influenced by Krsna. Therefore we have written fifty books like that, four hundred pages. You can show some of our books.
Paramahamsa: This is Srimad-Bhagavatam, Volume Two, Volume Four…
Prabhupada: Sixty volumes.
Paramahamsa: Nectar of Devotion.
Guest (4): You seem to be placing a lot of emphasis on books. Are you following any particular path of yoga, niyama-yoga…?
Paramahamsa: She says we place a lot of emphasis on books, and she wonders if we are following a particular path such as dhyana-yoga or jnana-yoga or what?
Guest (4): Bhakti-yoga.
Prabhupada: There are different types of yogas. And you will find
yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah [Bg. 6.47]
You have found out? Read it.
yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah [Bg. 6.47]
Translation: “And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”
Prabhupada: This is bhakti-yoga.
Guest (2): Well, doesn’t it mean that someone has to worship that person to be able to attain the enlightenment or Krsna consciousness?
Prabhupada: Yes, everyone is worshiping a person. Everyone is… But we have to worship the Supreme Person. That is perfect. Everyone is worshiping a person. Suppose you are employed somewhere. You have to worship your boss. Otherwise no employment.
Guest (2): Oh, well, I consider it as a mutual…
Prabhupada: It is mutual. It is mutual.
Guest (2): It’s a mutual kind of support. But worshiping in a sense of religion or in a sense of a higher person, it’s a different matter.
Prabhupada: Worshiping means appreciating high qualities. Worshiping is not blind. If I know that you have some high qualities, I worship you.
Guest (2): Do you worship to a person or what? To his doctrines or…?
Prabhupada: Worship means person. Worship does not mean imperson. Unless there is a person-to-person relationship, there is no question of worship.
Guest (2): Is… This picture of Sri Visnu, it’s the person who you worship or…?
Guest (2): He is the creator.
Guest (2): And, in the sense that He is called Krsna?
Prabhupada: Krsna is His another form. Krsna is Visnu’s another form.
Guest (2): I see, yes.
Prabhupada: Find out, aham adir hi devanam.
Guest (3): What is your correlation between belief and science? You mentioned that science is involved.
Guest (3): Yes.
Prabhupada: Yes. What do you mean by science?
Guest (3): Well, the human sciences or otherwise is a study on its own. What is the relationship or the link-up between that and your faith?
Prabhupada: The relationship—God is the creator of everything. So everything has got relationship with God. So what do you think of this science? The Vedanta-sutra, it says, athato brahma jijnasa: “Now this human life is meant for understanding the science of God.” So the question is what is God? The answer is: janmady asya yatah [Bhag. 1.1.1] “God or the Supreme Absolute Truth is that from whom everything has come.” So this is our science, the origin of everything.
Guest (3): Yes, the origin of everything. But why is it necessary for man to have to discover? I mean, man discovered the cure for poliomyelitis.
Prabhupada: Why man discovers?
Guest (3): Yes, well, I’m using it as an example.
Prabhupada: But he… Just like… It is not the question of discover, but because you are existing, you must have come from a father. That is science. It is not the question of finding out a father. Without father, there is no existence of you. It is not the question of finding out a father. Father must be there. This is science. Without father, is there any existence of any man or any animal? What your science says? Is it possible that anyone is existing without a father? What do you think?
Guest (4): I was just wondering, um, do you believe in…
Prabhupada: Who is there independently existing without having a father? What is that science?
Guest (2): It’s not necessarily in the science itself…
Prabhupada: No, no, this is a sign, that if there is a man, he must have a father. This is science. So what is your opinion about this science?
Guest (1): I see it as a straight, deductive logic. If there is a…
Prabhupada: …son, there must be father. That is science.
Guest (1): Don’t you think this kind of reasoning is a deductive logic rather than inductive?
Prabhupada: No, what is the reasoning yours, that you deny father?
Guest (3): The father must have a father too, mustn’t he?
Prabhupada: Yes. Similarly, there must be supreme father.
Guest (3): Well, who is the supreme father’s father?
Prabhupada: Yes, that is enquiry, that you have got your father, your father has got father, he has got his father, he has got… Who is the supreme father? He is God.
Guest (1): Who is God’s father?
Prabhupada: Nobody is His father. That is God. God is everyone’s father, but He is without father. That is God. So long one has got father, he is not God. When you come to the point that here is the person who has no father—He is independent—that is God. The definition of God is given in the Vedic literature.
isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1]
Anadi means He has no beginning. But He is the beginning of everything. This is simple definition of God. Anadi… Anadi means He has no beginning. But He is the beginning of everything. Anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1], the cause of all causes.
Guest (1): It becomes a belief rather than a logic now, then, for when we think about the God. You were saying everybody has father, so why God, in exception, He hasn’t got a father?
Prabhupada: Therefore He is God, that He can exist without father. But you cannot exist without father. That is the difference between you and God.
Guest (2): Is God in the form of male or female or anything?
Prabhupada: He is male. Otherwise how He can beget? Female cannot beget without man’s contact. The prakrti, the nature, is female, and God is male. Find out this verse,
sarva-yonisu kaunteya murtayah sambhavanti yah tasam brahma mahad yonir aham bija-pradah pita [Bg. 14.4]
sarva-yonisu kaunteya murtayah sambhavanti yah tasam brahma mahad yonir aham bija-pradah pita [Bg. 14.4]
”It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.”
Prabhupada: So material nature is the mother, and God is the father.
Guest (2): But to whom did God give the seed?
Prabhupada: The prakrti, material nature. That is said here. Just like for begetting a child, both the father and mother requires. So the material nature is the mother, and God is the father. So so many forms of life are coming from the womb of material nature. This body is made of matter. This body is earth, water, air, fire, like that. This is made of… But I am the soul. That is from God. I am part and parcel of God, as soul. Mamaivamso jiva-bhutah. Find out.
mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah manah sasthanindriyani prakrti-sthani karsati [Bg. 15.7]
”Translation. The living entities in this conditional world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”
Guest (2): Is there an animal soul, Swami?
Prabhupada: Yes. Because it is already said, sarva-yonisu, “all forms of life.” Even ant, tree, birds, plant, trees, everything. There are 8,400,000 forms of life. All of them, the soul is there. And they have got different… Just like you are differently dressed, I am differently dressed, but you are also soul, I am also soul.
Guest (4): You’re really talking about the atman? Aren’t you?
Prabhupada: Atma, yes, soul is atma. And the soul of the soul is God, Paramatma.
Guest (2): Is it possible for us to communicate with plants?
Paramahamsa: With plants. Is it possible for us to communicate with plants?
Prabhupada: Yes, they have done. Sir Jagadish Candra Bose in Calcutta, Bose Institute, he has proved—he has got machine—that they feel pains and pleasure, which is recorded in the machine. If you pluck one leaf, they feel. Immediately it is recorded in the machine.
Guest (2): Could I come back to that eating of meat? Related to this alive, soul, matter. Aren’t you in a sense eating another soul too if you’re eating vegetables? Not only if you’re eating meat?
Prabhupada: No, the thing is, the material world… It is said, jivo jivasya jivanam: “One living entity has to eat another living entity to keep himself alive.” That is the natural law. But you should have discrimination. Because you have to eat some other living entity, it does not mean that you will eat your own son. You cannot support that “Because I have to live by eating another living entity, so what is the wrong if I eat my son?” Therefore the Vedic injunction is tena tyaktena bhunjitha. You are given some jurisdiction. You can eat. And actually you do so. Because I have to eat something, we do not eat anything and everything. We have got discrimination. So according to Bhagavad-gita… Find out this verse, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati.
patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati tad aham bhakty-upahrtam asnami prayatatmanah
Translation: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”
Prabhupada: So our Krsna consciousness movement we accept what is eaten by Krsna. So Krsna wants these things: fruits, flower, vegetable, grains, milk. So we offer them and eat.
Guest (2): Why not animals?
Prabhupada: He does not say, “Give Me animals.” Because we are Krsna conscious, we cannot take anything which is not accepted by Krsna.
Guest (2): Are blood transfusions permissible, Swami?
Paramahamsa: He says, “Are blood transfusions permissible?” When one is in an accident or cut and he loses blood, they take another man’s blood and put it it. He says…
Prabhupada: Well, that is not bad. Because if one life is saved by transfusion admission… He is not dying. He is living. He is contributing his blood. So if he is contributing, you are saving some life, there is no harm.
Guest (2): But blood is animal tissue. [break]
Prabhupada: How they liked?
Paramahamsa: Um, the younger ones liked better. The nurse was asking where she could…, if she could refer people to visit us here, and I told her we don’t know if this will be the permanent address, but as soon as we have a permanent address here I’ll notify her. But she was wondering if she could send people, if the people would be welcome to come and visit and see the place here. And the Buddhist boy, he bought an incense from us. He said, “Where is that nice smell coming from?” I said, “Incense.” He said, “I want some.” The other gentlemen I don’t… They’re more set in their ways kind of men. I couldn’t tell whether they were impressed or not. They don’t express very well.
Prabhupada: But all their questions were answered.
Paramahamsa: Yes. When you told him where is the man who has, where is the person who did not come from a father, he began to… Before that, he was going to challenge whether this was science or belief, but then he had to be quiet. He just mumbled.
Prabhupada: And they inquired, “Then God has father?” No, God without father. That is God. That is the distinction between ordinary living entity and God.
Paramahamsa: So I will try to arrange someone for tonight and tomorrow morning; that geographer, I hope. And the people from the radio conversation. They’re very well known, actually. Because I asked the geographer man, I said, “Do you know this man, Tim Downs?” And he said, “Oh, yes. I have heard him many times.”
Prabhupada: Tim Down?
Paramahamsa: Tim Downs. He is the man who may come from radio to make a conversation. Then they will play it on radio. But I have to find out if he’s coming. And in the case that there may be three people who want to come, so would it be possible for tonight to having two, maybe five o’clock and seven o’clock or something like that?
Paramahamsa: Yes. I will keep in touch with those people and let them know. I will send them some literature too. Should I go and telephone those people?
Prabhupada: Um hm. (end)