Guest: Śrīla Prabhupāda, if we're born each with a qualification, how is this qualification developed in our early years? How is it known?
Prabhupāda: There is no question of developing any particular qualification. Whatever qualification you are, if you agree to surrender to Kṛṣṇa, that is the best qualification. It doesn't matter what material qualification you have. It doesn't matter. You simply acquire this qualification that, "From this day I fully surrender to Kṛṣṇa." That everyone can do. Is there any difficulty? Simply he must agree, this qualification. That depends on him, agree or not agree. If you agree, then you become qualified. If you don't agree, you remain disqualified. But that is intelligence. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). After many, many births of struggle, one who is fully in knowledge, he surrenders to Kṛṣṇa. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān. Not the foolish. Foolish person cannot. But vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ (BG 7.19). You can become immediately mahātmā by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. That is intelligence. Why shall I wait for many, many births to become a mahātmā? Let me surrender immediately and become. Mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ bhajanty ananya-manasaḥ (BG 9.13)—chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, become a mahātmā. It is not very difficult. You can become mahātmā immediately, within a second. But the disease is that you'll not agree to Kṛṣṇa. That is the dangerous disease.
Guest (2): When you say surrender, it means surrender of fruits of the action?
Prabhupāda: No, surrender your life. That includes surrender of fruits and everything. Surrender your life.
Guest (2): Surrender He uses many places, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26), karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana (BG 2.47).
Prabhupāda: Yes, but that is not surrender. When you keep yourself in your so-called duty, that recommendation is there. But when you fully surrender, there is no more karma; everything is bhakti. And because you do not surrender, therefore He is recommending that you do your karma like this. But as soon as you surrender, you are above karma. Sa guṇān sama-tītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya, you are brahma-bhūtaḥ. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). So long you do not surrender, He is linking your activities with Kṛṣṇa consciousness: "You do like this." Then one day you'll be able to surrender. Just like Dhruva Mahārāja, he wanted the kingdom better than his father, grandfather. So he had to undergo so much severe austerities. He got Kṛṣṇa. But when he got Kṛṣṇa, he said, svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi varam: "I don't want any benediction." So this position you can attain any moment, "My Lord, I surrender unto You. I don't want anything from You. Kindly give me shelter at Your lotus feet." This is the result of greatest tapasya. And Kṛṣṇa gives you protection. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (BG 9.31). So that is the highest perfection of life, to surrender to God without any reservation. Then life is perfect.
Guest: Prabhupāda, even if a person is not willing to hear spiritual knowledge, when you come and speak, a person, you know, can develop some faith in Kṛṣṇa, or God. So why doesn't Kṛṣṇa come and make it easy?
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa has already come. When I am speaking, Kṛṣṇa is there. But you have no eyes to see.
Guest: All right, but we don't have any... someone may not have eyes to see who you are, they might not be willing, but when you come...
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's word are not different. If you find it different, then you have no eyes to see. Kṛṣṇa is absolute. When I quote Kṛṣṇa's word, that means Kṛṣṇa.
Guest: But everyone sees it as different.
Prabhupāda: Because he is a rascal. He has to become a sane man, then he will see. It requires tapasya (austerity). It is not so easy. That is called sahajiyā (one who takes things cheaply). Why you want such exalted things so easily? Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's words, they are the same. Vāco vācaḥ. The same thing. Why you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? If Kṛṣṇa's name and Kṛṣṇa is not the same, then what is the use of wasting time? Hmm? What is that? Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ.
Devotee: Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś?
nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto
(CC Madhya 17.133)
This is the realization of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, when you understand that nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaḥ, this name, Kṛṣṇa, is Kṛṣṇa. That is the perfection of chanting. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ. Full representation or full Kṛṣṇa. Pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto 'bhinnatvāt, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's anything. Just like we are worshiping Kṛṣṇa. If you think this is a statue of Kṛṣṇa, is different from Kṛṣṇa, then you are not worshiping properly. He is Kṛṣṇa. Arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-mati (Padma Purāṇa), these are instruction. So anyway, we may be in the imperfect stage of devotional service, but if you follow the instruction, then gradually you come to the perfectional stage. There is no hopelessness. Continue. It is not that immediately one becomes perfect. But if you continue with the process, then you'll become perfect.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Washington DC, July 8, 1976)