(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan, October 1972)
Devotee: My third question is when you had that heart attack, did you feel the pain?
Devotee: You felt the pain?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Why shall I not?
Devotee: Well, because you're a pure devotee. I mean you're pure, so you don't feel pain.
Devotee: I thought you said in Bhagavad-gītā a pure devotee wouldn't feel pain because he's always chanting and Kṛṣṇa will always protect him.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Pain was there, but it was not too much. The boys, the disciples, were chanting and I was chanting, so there was not so much. It was not so much painful. That is already explained. When there is distress, the devotee takes it that "I am suffering for my past deeds, but I should have died at this moment, but Kṛṣṇa is simply giving me a little pain, that's all." Actually, that was the thing. That day I should have... The heart attack was very severe. I should have died. Nobody survives such heart attack. But Kṛṣṇa saved me. That's all.
Devotee: And my fourth and last question is, are you in this world?
Prabhupāda: Hm? (laughter)
Devotee: Are you in this world?
Prabhupāda: I am?
Devotee: Are you in this world? I mean you, are you...?
Prabhupāda: I'm not in this world, yes.
Devotee: You're not in this world.
Devotee (2): I thought I heard it said that you are in this world without being a part of it. You are in the world without being a part of it, being a part of it, like the lotus flower which floats on the water.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the way. That is the way of understanding. Just like I am in America. It is very easy to understand. I am not adopting any ways of life as the Americans do. So I am not in America. Not only myself, all my disciples who are following me, they are also not Americans. They're different from American behavior, American ways of life. In that sense I'm not in America. I am in Vṛndāvana because wherever I go in my apartment or in my temple I live with Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I don't accept any consciousness of America. And I teach my disciples also to take to that consciousness. So one who takes to that consciousness, he is also not in America, not in this world.
It is... I have given this example many times. Just like a king and a bug is sitting on the same throne. The bug is biting and the king is ruling. It is not that because the bug is there on the throne, he is king, or the king is sitting with the bug, he is bug. Why this difference? Difference of consciousness. The king knows his duty. He is working in his duty; therefore he's king. And the bug knows his business, to bite; therefore he's bug. But sitting on the same place. But because due to different consciousness, one is bug, one is king. So if you take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and if you remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you don't belong to this world. You are no more bug, you are king. Change this consciousness. Even apparently you may seem to remain with the bug, you are no more bug. Is it clear?
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, December 16, 1968)