A Risky Civilization
(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada in New York, 1966.)

"I remember long ago, about forty years ago, one of my servant, he left my service and he was pulling on ṭhelā. You know ṭhelā, a hand-pulled cart? So after that he came to see me. I asked him, 'How you are doing now?' So he was very pleased, that 'I am working, pulling on this ṭhelā and eating sumptuously, and by evening it becomes all digested and again I'll eat.' He's eating sumptuously, and by working, by pulling on the ṭhelā, hard labor, whole thing is digested, and again goes in the evening he eats very sumptuously, he is very pleased. That is his success of life. So people are doing like that. They are eating in the morning and working very hard whole day, and in the evening again he becomes hungry and eats more sumptuously. That is his happiness. That is his happiness. But he does not think that these distresses are there: janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9).

So there is no solution for them made. The so-called scientist, philosopher, they do not..., 'Oh, death is natural. What is this? I'll have to..., I'll die.' But when there is warning, 'Now death,' there is... I have seen, everyone has seen that as soon as there is earthquake, they began to scream: 'Oh, now I'm going to die, going to die.' As soon as there is any shaking in the aeroplane, they began to scream. (laughter) He's afraid of death, but he says, 'Oh, that is not a problem.' You see? He has got his experience that at the time of death it is very severe punishment. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā says, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam: 'You may be satisfied with your foolish idea that you are very happy, but if you are intelligent, then you must always keep yourself...'

The Cānakya Paṇḍita also said that those who advancing in spiritual life, they should place before him that 'Here is death,' just before him. And those who are karmīs, like ass, they'll always think that 'I'll never die.' The spiritualist always thinks that 'I am dying, dying, going to die next moment.' And the karmīs, he should think that 'I'll live forever.' Otherwise he cannot work. He cannot. Unless he is put into this ignorance that he'll never die, he cannot work.

So at the modern age the people are simply kept into ignorance so that they can work like ass and cow and be satisfied. This is the present civilization. And this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is a fight against this civilization, this wrong civilization. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness... The people are being denied their privilege. The human life is meant for getting out of this ignorance of life. But people are put into ignorance, and their human life is being spoiled. So therefore this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the greatest welfare activities to the human society. Those who are intelligent enough, they should try to understand it and help it as much as possible. Otherwise it is very risky civilization. People are kept into ignorance. He does not know what is the value of life. He does not know what he is. He does not know what is God. He does not know what is life. He does not know what he is going to become next life. He's completely in darkness."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Sydney, February 17, 1973)

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