(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and early followers, Stow Lake, San Francisco)
Devotee: (translating question from Spanish to English): He says if we practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness and develop a spiritual body, is there also a spirit which animates the spiritual body?
Prabhupāda: Yes, we'll get spiritual body. Spiritual body is already there; it is simply covered by material body. You have to cure this material body; then you get your original, spiritual body. It is curing process. Just like one has got fever. Fever is not permanent — temporary. But cure this fever; then you (are) healthy.
Devotee: (translating) She's saying that you were saying how one can take birth as a dog even, so she's wondering how long does this go on. How many births does one take like this?
Prabhupāda: As long as you are unable to go back to home, back to Godhead, you have to change this body, either dog or this or that or this. And there are 8,400,000s forms of body. You have to accept one of them. Now you make your decision whether you are ready to accept all these different types of body or you get original, spiritual body. In the spiritual body there is no more birth, death, old age and disease, and the material body continuously there should be birth, death, old age and disease. You can get that spiritual body simply by little cultivation in this human form of life, next life. But if you get next other than human form of life, then you have to wait again millions of years to come to this human form of life. After all, we are under the stringent laws of nature. You... We are, every one of us, we are under the grip of the laws of material nature. It will go on. You cannot change it unless you come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Devotee: (translating) He wants to know if our reincarnations are progressive or degressive.
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is progressive or degressive also.
Devotee: (translating) Why would we take birth as an animal?
Prabhupāda: Because you act like animal.
Devotee: (translating) He says that in the school in the material world, if one behaves badly, he has to stay where he is; he cannot progress. But he does not go back. So why...?
Prabhupāda: No, sometimes there is given the down class. Sometimes he is degraded: "Go to the down class." Yes. That is quite natural. (laughter) Eh? Down? So any question?
Devotee: (translating) He says he doesn't believe that one can go back.
Prabhupāda: He may not believe in the law, but law is law. If somebody says, "I can commit some criminal act, but I don't believe in the court's judgment," will it be accepted? You believe or not believe, the law will act. Just like if you infect some disease, infectious disease, if you contaminate, then you must develop that disease. That is the law. So we are contaminating ourself with different laws of material nature, and according to that law, we have to accept the body. The material laws are not under your control; you are under the control of material laws.
Devotee: (translating) If also on other planets one has to continue with the changing of bodies?
Prabhupāda: Yes, the planets... There are different planets means different facilities of material convenience.
Devotee: (translating) Who is in charge of giving us our next body?
Prabhupāda: God. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati. God, in His Supersoul feature, He is situated in everyone's heart and He is seeing all our activities, and He is awarding the different kind of bodies. You can... If you like, you can find out this verse,
hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati
(The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.)
You can explain this. Find out. (Devotee reads translation in Spanish) Purport? (Devotee reads purport in Spanish) So we have to accept that we are fully under control. If childishly we say that we are independent, that is foolishness.
Devotee: (translating) He wants to know if the senses, the material senses we now have, originally belong to the soul which has been covered by the material body.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like a man is in a normal condition, but if he becomes mad, the same senses are there, but he's in abnormal condition. So when we are in this material world we using our senses in abnormal way. So when we cure the senses, we get into normal condition. That is spiritual life. So sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170). We have to give up all these designation of life and we have to become purified. Then we come to our normal condition.
Devotee: (translating) He wants to know what are the characteristics of a person who has realized that he is not this body.
Prabhupāda: Yes, he is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He doesn't know anything but Kṛṣṇa. That is normal condition.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Mexico, February 14, 1975)