popular belief, current statistics show that the earth produces
enough food to easily support its entire population. Yet greed
and exploitation force over twenty-five per cent of the world's
people to be underfed and undernourished. Srila Prabhupada
condemns unnecessary industrialization for contributing to the
problem of hunger and for creating unemployment, pollution, and
a host of other problems. In the following speech, recorded on
May 2, 1973, in Los Angeles, he advocates a simpler, more
natural, God-centered lifestyle.
ime jana-padah svrddhah
hy edhante tava viksitaih
[Queen Kunti said:] "All these cities and villages are
flourishing in all respects because the herbs and grains are in
abundance, the trees are full of fruits, the rivers are flowing,
the hills are full of minerals, and the oceans are full of
wealth. And this is all due to Your glancing over them." (Srimad-Bhagavatam
Human prosperity flourishes by natural gifts and not by gigantic
industrial enterprises. The gigantic industrial enterprises are
products of a godless civilization, and they cause the
destruction of the noble aims of human life. The more we
increase such troublesome industries to squeeze out the vital
energy of the human being, the more there will be
dissatisfaction of the people in general, although a select few
can live lavishly by exploitation.
The natural gifts such as grains and vegetables, fruits, rivers,
the hills of jewels and minerals, and the seas full of pearls
are supplied by the order of the Supreme, and as He desires,
material nature produces them in abundance or restricts them at
times. The natural law is that the human being may take
advantage of these godly gifts of nature and thus satisfactorily
flourish without being captivated by the exploitative motive of
lording it over material nature.
The more we attempt to exploit material nature according to our
whims, the more we shall become entrapped by the reaction of
such exploitative attempts. If we have sufficient grains,
fruits, vegetables, and herbs, then what is the necessity of
running a slaughterhouse and killing poor animals?
A man need not kill an animal if he has sufficient grains and
vegetables to eat. The flow of river waters fertilizes the
fields, and there is more than what we need. Minerals are
produced in the hills, and the jewels in the ocean. If the human
civilization has sufficient grains, minerals, jewels, water,
milk, etc., then why should we hanker after terrible industrial
enterprises at the cost of the labor of some unfortunate men?
But all these natural gifts are dependent on the mercy of the
Lord. What we need, therefore, is to be obedient to the laws of
the Lord and achieve the perfection of human life by devotional
service. The indications by Kunti-devi are just to the point.
She desires that God's mercy be bestowed upon her and her sons
so that natural prosperity will be maintained by His grace.
Kunti-devi mentions that the grains are abundant, the trees full
of fruits, the rivers flowing nicely, the hills full of
minerals, and the oceans full of wealth, but she never mentions
that industry and slaughterhouses are flourishing, for such
things are nonsense that men have developed to create problems.
If we depend on God's creation, there will be no scarcity, but
simply ananda, bliss. God's creation provides sufficient grains
and grass, and while we eat the grains and fruits, the animals
like the cows will eat the grass. The bulls will help us produce
grains, and they will take only a little, being satisfied with
what we throw away. If we take fruit and throw away the skin,
the animal will be satisfied with the skin. In this way, with
Krsna in the center, there can be full cooperation between the
trees, animals, human beings, and all living entities. This is
Vedic civilization, a civilization of Krsna consciousness.
Kunti-devi prays to the Lord, "This prosperity is due to Your
glance." When we sit in the temple of Krsna, Krsna glances over
us, and everything is nice. When sincere souls try to become
Krsna's devotees, Krsna very kindly comes before them in His
full opulence and glances upon them, and they become happy and
Similarly, the whole material creation is due to Krsna's glance
(sa aiksata). In the Vedas it is said that He glanced over
matter, thus agitating it. A woman in touch with a man becomes
agitated and becomes pregnant and then gives birth to children.
The whole creation follows a similar process. Simply by Krsna's
glance, matter becomes agitated and then becomes pregnant and
gives birth to the living entities. It is simply by His glance
that plants, trees, animals, and all other living beings come
forth. How is this possible? None of us can say, "Simply by
glancing over my wife, I can make her pregnant." But although
this is impossible for us, it is not impossible for Krsna. The
Brahma-samhita (5.32) says, angani yasya sakalendriya-vrttimanti:
Every part of Krsna's body has all the capabilities of the other
parts. With our eyes we can only see, but Krsna can make others
pregnant merely by looking at them. There is no need of sex, for
simply by glancing Krsna can create pregnancy.
In Bhagavad-gita (9.10) Lord Krsna says, mayadhyaksena prakrtih
suyate sa-caracaram: "By My supervision, material nature gives
birth to all moving and nonmoving beings." The word aksa means
"eyes," so aksena indicates that all living entities take birth
because of the Lord's glance. There are two kinds of living
entities--the moving beings, like insects, animals, and human
beings, and the nonmoving beings, like trees and plants. In
Sanskrit these two kinds of living entities are called
sthavara-jangama, and they both come forth from material nature.
Of course, what comes from material nature is not the life, but
the body. The living entities accept particular types of bodies
from material nature, just as a child takes its body from its
mother. For ten months the child's body develops from the blood
and nutrients of the mother's body, but the child is a living
entity, not matter. It is the living entity that has taken
shelter in the womb of the mother, who then supplies the
ingredients for that living entity's body. This is nature's way.
The mother may not know how from her body another body has been
created, but when the body of the child is fit, the child takes
It is not that the living entity takes birth. As stated in
Bhagavad-gita (2.20), na jayate mriyate va: The living entity
neither takes birth nor dies. That which does not take birth
does not die; death is meant for that which has been created,
and that which is not created has no death. The Gita says, na
jayate mriyate va kadacit. The word kadacit means "at any time."
At no time does the living entity actually take birth. Although
we may see that a child is born, actually it is not born. Nityah
sasvato 'yam puranah. The living entity is eternal (sasvata),
always existing, and very, very old (purana). Na hanyate
hanyamane sarire: Don't think that when the body is destroyed
the living entity will be destroyed; no, the living entity will
continue to exist.
A scientist friend once asked me, "What is the proof of the
soul's eternality?" Krsna says, na hanyate hanyamane sarire:
"The soul is not killed when the body is killed." This statement
in itself is proof. This type of proof is called sruti, the
proof established by that which is heard through the disciplic
succession from the Supreme. One form of proof is proof by logic
(nyaya-prasthana). One can get knowledge by logic, arguments,
and philosophical research. But another form of proof is sruti,
proof established by hearing from authorities. A third form of
proof is smrti, proof established by statements derived from the
sruti. The Puranas are smrti, the Upanisads are sruti, and the
Vedanta is nyaya. Of these three the sruti-prasthana, or the
evidence from the sruti, is especially important. Pratyaksa, the
process of receiving knowledge through direct perception, has no
value, because our senses are all imperfect. For example, to us
the sun looks like a small disk, but in fact it is many times
larger than the earth. So what is the value of our direct
perception through our eyes? We have so many senses through
which we can experience knowledge--the eyes, the ears, the nose,
and so on--but because these senses are imperfect, whatever
knowledge we get by exercising these senses is also imperfect.
Because scientists try to understand things by exercising their
imperfect senses, their conclusions are always imperfect.
Svarupa Damodara, a scientist among our disciples, inquired from
a fellow scientist who says that life comes from matter, "If I
give you the chemicals with which to produce life, will you be
able to produce it?" The scientist replied, "That I do not
know." This is imperfect knowledge. If you do not know, then
your knowledge is imperfect. Why then have you become a teacher?
That is cheating. Our contention is that to become perfect one
must take lessons from the perfect teacher.
Krsna is perfect, so we take knowledge from Him. Krsna says, na
hanyate hanyamane sarire: "The soul does not die when the body
dies." Therefore this understanding that the soul is eternal and
the body is temporary is perfect.
Kunti-devi says, ime jana-padah svrddhah supakvausadhi-virudhah:
"The grains are abundant, the trees are full of fruits, the
rivers are flowing, the hills are full of minerals, and the
oceans are full of wealth." What more could one want? The oyster
produces pearls, and formerly people decorated their bodies with
pearls, valuable stones, silk, gold, and silver. But where are
those things now? Now, with the advancement of civilization,
there are so many beautiful girls who have no ornaments of gold,
pearls, or jewels, but only plastic bangles. So what is the use
of industry and slaughterhouses?
By God's arrangement one can have enough food grains, enough
milk, enough fruits and vegetables, and nice clear river water.
But now I have seen, while traveling in Europe, that all the
rivers there have become nasty. In Germany, in France, and also
in Russia and America I have seen that the rivers are nasty. By
nature's way the water in the ocean is kept clear like crystal,
and the same water is transferred to the rivers, but without
salt, so that one may take nice water from the river. This is
nature's way, and nature's way means Krsna's way. So what is the
use of constructing huge waterworks to supply water?
Nature has already given us everything. If we want wealth we may
collect pearls and become rich; there is no need to become rich
by starting some huge factory to produce auto bodies. By such
industrial enterprises we have simply created troubles.
Otherwise, we need only depend on Krsna and Krsna's mercy,
because by Krsna's glance (tava viksitaih), everything is set
right. So if we simply plead for Krsna's glance, there will be
no question of scarcity or need. Everything will be complete.
The idea of the Krsna consciousness movement, therefore, is to
depend on nature's gifts and the grace of Krsna.
People say that the population is increasing, and therefore they
are checking this by artificial means. Why? The birds and beasts
are increasing their populations and have no contraceptives, but
are they in need of food? Do we ever see birds or animals dying
for want of food? Perhaps in the city, although not very often.
But if we go to the jungle we shall see that all the elephants,
lions, tigers, and other animals are very stout and strong. Who
is supplying them with food? Some of them are vegetarians and
some of them are nonvegetarians, but none of them are in want of
Of course, by nature's way the tiger, being a nonvegetarian,
does not get food every day. After all, who will face a tiger to
become its food? Who will say to the tiger, "Sir, I am an
altruist and have come to you to give you food, so take my
body"? No one. Therefore the tiger has difficulty finding food.
And as soon as the tiger is out, there is an animal that follows
it and makes a sound like "fayo, fayo," so that the other
animals will know, "Now the tiger is out." So by nature's way
the tiger has difficulty. But still Krsna supplies it food.
After about a week, the tiger will get the chance to catch an
animal, and because it does not get fresh food daily, it will
keep the carcass in some bush and eat a little at a time. Since
the tiger is very powerful, people want to become like a lion or
a tiger. But that is not a very good proposition, because if one
actually becomes like a tiger one won't get food daily, but will
have to search for food with great labor. If one becomes a
vegetarian, however, one will get food every day. The food for a
vegetarian is available everywhere.
Now in every city there are slaughterhouses, but does this mean
that the slaughterhouses can supply enough so that one can live
by eating only meat? No, there will not be an adequate supply.
Even meat-eaters have to eat grains, fruits, and vegetables
along with their slice of meat. Still, for that daily slice of
meat they kill so many poor animals. How sinful this is! If
people commit such sinful activities, how can they be happy?
This killing should not be done, but because it is being done
people are unhappy. However, if one becomes Krsna conscious and
simply depends on Krsna's glance (tava viksitaih), Krsna will
supply everything and there will be no question of scarcity.
Sometimes there appears to be scarcity, and sometimes we find
that grains and fruits are produced in such a huge quantity that
people cannot finish eating them. So this is a question of
Krsna's glance. If Krsna likes, He can produce a huge quantity
of grains, fruits, and vegetables, but if Krsna desires to
restrict the supply, what good will meat do? You may eat me, or
I may eat you, but that will not solve the problem.
For real peace and tranquillity and a sufficient supply of milk,
water, and everything else we need, we simply have to depend on
Krsna. This is what Bhaktivinoda Thakura teaches us when he
says, marabi rakhabi--yo iccha tohara: "My dear Lord, I simply
surrender unto You and depend on You. Now if You like You may
kill me, or else You may give me protection." And Krsna says in
reply, "Yes. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja:
Simply surrender exclusively unto Me." He does not say, "Yes,
depend on Me, and also depend on your slaughterhouses and
factories." No. He says, "Depend only on Me. Aham tvam
sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami: I will rescue you from the results
of your sinful activities."
Because we have lived so many years without being Krsna
conscious, we have lived only a sinful life, but Krsna assures
us that as soon as one surrenders to Him, He immediately squares
all accounts and puts an end to all one's sinful activities so
that one may begin a new life. When we initiate disciples we
therefore tell them, "Now the account is squared. Now don't
commit sinful activities any more."
One should not think that because the holy name of Krsna can
nullify sinful activities, one may commit a little sinful
activity and chant Hare Krsna to nullify it. That is the
greatest offense (namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhih). The
members of some religious orders go to church and confess their
sins, but then they again commit the same sinful activities.
What, then, is the value of their confession? One may confess,
"My Lord, out of my ignorance I committed this sin." But one
should not plan, "I shall commit sinful activities and then go
to church and confess them, and then the sins will be nullified
and I can begin a new chapter of sinful life." Similarly, one
should not knowingly take advantage of the chanting of the Hare
Krsna mantra to nullify sinful activities so that one may then
begin sinful acts again. We should be very careful. Before
taking initiation, one promises to have no illicit sex, no
intoxicants, no gambling, and no meat-eating, and this vow one
should strictly follow. Then one will be clean. If one keeps
oneself clean in this way and always engages in devotional
service, his life will be a success, and there will be no
scarcity of anything he wants.