(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and Professor Karlfried Graf Durckheim)
Professor Durckheim: I think it would be important for us all to know what you would say to the question, "How to realize the last truth, and what do you mean by realize the eternal truth?"
Dr. P. J. Saher: I would like to give an example from the Gospel of John, in order to see the similarity. There it means, and that is a quasi definition: "It is eternal life that we recognize you." The life consists of recognizing the Father.
Devotee: He said that in the Bible it is said that our aim should be to know the Father.
Dr. P. J. Saher: Not only the aim, but the life consists in this, to know the Father, God, by this..., by His son.
Professor Durckheim: Real life consists (indistinct) Father by his son. That's a saying of the Gospels. That is exactly what you say, that real life, real eternal life, means nothing but to recognize the Father in the son.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is real business. And we have created so many unnecessary, superfluous business. We have set aside the real business, to know the Father. And that is the mistake of this civilization.
Dr. P. J. Saher: Back to your question.
Devotee (2): Professor Durckheim's question was, very simply, "What is our way or what is our method to realize the highest truth, the absolute truth?" What is our process?
Professor Durckheim: Because we would learn what's your way.
Devotee (2): What is our process?
Prabhupāda: The simplest method is to associate with the Father, or the Absolute Truth, by association. This association can be possible. God, His name, His form, His pastimes, His abode, His paraphernalia, everything is God, because absolute. First of all you should understand this Absolute Truth. Just like here in the relative world the name of a person is different from the person. But in the absolute world the name and the person the same. So we are teaching or preaching this, that you chant the holy name of God, you associate immediately with God. And if you associate immediately with God, then gradually you become godly. The example is, just like you put one iron rod in the fire: it becomes warm, warmer, warmer and, at last, red hot. When it is red hot, it is no longer iron rod, it is fire. Similarly, if you simply associate with God, then gradually you become godly, or all the qualities of God. Then you understand God and your life becomes perfect.
Professor Durckheim: Do you mean communion with God by way of the holy name of Krishna?
Prabhupāda: Holy name of God.
Professor Durckheim: Of God.
Prabhupāda: If you don't like to chant "Kṛṣṇa," you chant in your own way. But chant the name of God. If you know the name of God, chant it. If you do not know, then take it from me. (laughter) We are recommending to chant the holy name of God. If you know, you chant that name, and if you don't know, then take it from me. (break) ...explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu that God has many thousands of name or God has no name. No name means He has..., He has got so many thousands of millions of name that you cannot say, "This is only God's name." This is one sense. But how God names are understood? The God names are understood by His action. Just like we say "Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. God is all-attractive. God is attractive for the Hindus, for the Muslim, for the Christians, for everyone. Therefore, being all-attractive, there's a Sanskrit word of all-attraction, Kṛṣṇa. This is the explanation of the attribute of God. Similarly, if you've got similar name which explains the attributes of God, that is also God's name. I think you said the Lord Jesus Christ said, "God, hallowed be Thy name."
Devotee (3): The Lord's Prayer: "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name."
Prabhupāda: So He has name. You find out what is His name and chant it. And if you do not know, then take it from us. That is all. He has name. He has name. He's not without name.
Professor Durckheim: (explains in German)
Devotee: He says from the Old Testament when Jesus said, "Hallowed be Thy name," so he didn't say a particular name because, he says, God has actually no name, because if we...
Prabhupāda: So how He can be no name? He says, "Hallowed be Thy name." He has name. Therefore he says like that.
Devotee: But there's no name in the Bible...
Prabhupāda: That doesn't mean... He might not have mentioned or you have not noted. But when he says, "Hallowed be Thy name," there must be the name. Therefore I said if you do not know the name, you take it from us. That is intelligence. Why should you say that there is no name? He said, "Hallowed be Thy name." There must be name, but you do not know it.
Dr. P. J. Saher: (German)
Devotee: He thinks that it's purposely done not to say the name of God, to...
Prabhupāda: Because there is name; you find out.
Devotee: He said that when it says, "Hallowed be Thy name," it's meant in this way: that there's no mention of a particular name to be respected...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. So that we say, that God has no particular name. But according to His action, His name is done. Just like "Kṛṣṇa." "Kṛṣṇa" is not the name. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractiveness.
Professor Durckheim: Just as Buddha is not a name.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Because he's man of knowledge, therefore he's called Buddha.
Dr. P. J. Saher: The one who has reached...
Prabhupāda: Buddha. Buddha means one who has perfect knowledge.
Professor Durckheim: Buddha is not a name of somebody. Yes.
Prabhupāda: Just like you say, "Hallowed be thy name, president." President. Now the president has a name, but you do not know. But the president must have a name.
Professor Porsch: Has the name a special, esoteric meaning? And is the technique of chanting the name..., has this a special hidden purpose that the unenlightened...
Prabhupāda: No, not hidden but open, because Absolute is not different from His name. Therefore when you chant the name of the Absolute, that means you associate with the Absolute. And as soon as you associate with the Absolute, you become purified.
Professor Porsch: Like iron in fire.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that's right. (break) ...the Vedic injunction:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
(CC Adi 17.21)
For your perfection you simply chant the name of the Lord, harer nāma, harer nāma. Harer means "of the Lord," and nāma means "name." Thrice. Just like we give stress three times, "You do it. You do it. You do it." This is a good stress. Similarly, the śāstra says, harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma, nāma eva kevalam: "Simply chant the Lord's name," kalau, "in this age of Kali." Nāsty eva, nāsty eva, nāsty eva gatir anyathā. "There is no other alternative for self-realization, no other alternative for self-realization." Therefore stress should be given for everyone to chant the holy name of the Lord. Kali means the age of quarrel. The age of quarrel. This age is simply for fighting and quarreling. They're not interested to understand the Absolute Truth, but they're interested in fighting and quarreling. Therefore this age called Kali. Kali means fighting.
Professor Porsch: Will you please be so kind as to further elucidate your technique of that one chants the name of God, and will you please be so kind as to elucidate further in some particular way or what comes (German), what should be done in addition to that, or how it is, how it is formulated in the, in the total, in that complete system of your relevant teachings?
Prabhupāda: Yes. This is the bhakti-mārga (the path of devotional service), means the first thing is śravaṇam, hearing. Just like these books are being written to give chance people to hear. That is first business. If we don't hear about God, we simply imagine something... No. We must hear about God. We are publishing eighty books like this, simply to hear about God. Then when you hear perfectly, then you can describe to others. That is called kīrtanam. Śravaṇam, kīrtanam. And when the process goes on, hearing and chanting or describing— kīrtanam means describing... Just like our this whole Society is hearing from these books, and they're going out to describe. This is called kīrtanam. Then, by these two process, hearing and chanting, you remember, smaraṇam. That means remembering, you always associate with God.
Professor Porsch: So at all times, "Remember Me."
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam (SB 7.5.23). Then worshiping the Deity, to offer flowers to the lotus feet of the Lord, to garland, to dress, pāda-sevanam; arcanaṁ vandanam, offer prayer; dāsyam, serve. In this way, there are nine different processes.
Professor Porsch: We have a similar thing in the Christian... (German).
Prabhupāda: Yes. Christian method, the offering prayer. That is bhakti. That is bhakti.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation with Professor Durckheim, Dr. P. J. Saher and Professor Porsch, Germany, June 19, 1974)