The Dangers of Modern Civilization, Part 3
(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and disciples walking by a cemetary, Frankfurt)

"The whole scheme should be to satisfy the Lord. This is the secret of success. Tasmin tuste jagat tustam. If God, or Krishna, is satisfied, then whole world is satisfied. The modern civilization is lacking this knowledge. Asuric civilization, demonic civilization, what to speak of satisfying God, they are denying the existence of God. And they want peace and happiness.

I remember there was a speech by Archbishop of Canterbury. He said that 'You people, you want kingdom of God without God.' That is our policy -- Ravana's policy. Ravana's policy was kingdom of God without God. Kingdom of God means everyone is prosperous, happy in every respect. That is considered as kingdom of God so far materially considered. So Ravana wanted. He was materialistic. His capital was almost gold. Every house was, I mean to say, wrapped with gold. Svarna-lanka. Svarna-lanka means at that time Ravana's kingdom, the Ceylon, modern Ceylon, was covered with gold everywhere. Very rich. Very, very rich. It is said that in Ravana's room, moon was rising. That means there was electricity at that time also, or similar lights. So the descriptions are very nice. It was very prosperous and rich country. And the policy was without God. Material civilization means like that, without God.

So the result was... What was the result? That everything became vanquished. Whole Ravana's kingdom with his family, with his everything, finished. Mare krsna rakhe ke rakhe krsna mare ke. If Krishna protects, nobody can kill him, and if Krishna kills, nobody can protect him. So Ramacandra, Lord Ramacandra, killed him."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New Vrindaban, May 24, 1969)

"Anartha means unnecessary things. We have practiced so many unnecessary things in our life. That unnecessary things, when they are too much strong, that becomes sinful life. Unnecessary. The modern civilization is simply meant for creating unnecessary necessities of life. That's all.

So we are becoming deviated from God. The more we are advancing in so-called material civilization, we are more becoming far away from God. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, jada-bidya yata, mayara vaibhava, tomara bhajane badha. Jada-bidya, the material education, they are simply paraphernalia of this illusory energy, mayara vaibhava. And the effect of this advancement of material civilization means stopping one's relationship with God."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Ahmedabad, December 12, 1972)

"As soon as there is decadence of people's love of Godhead... That means when people become forgetful, almost forgetful. Because at least some people remember that there is God. But generally, in this age, they are forgetful. That is dharmasya glanih. And by forgetting God the people cannot be happy. That is also another cause. People are thinking that 'God is dead. We have no obligation to God. There is no God.' This sort of thinking will never make the people happy. And actually, it is happening. They have become atheistic. The modern civilization is Godless, but people are not happy. Therefore God or His representative comes when people forget his relationship with God."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, June 13, 1968)

"Modern civilization is considered to be advanced in the standard of the mode of passion. Formerly, the advanced condition was considered to be in the mode of goodness. If there is no liberation for those in the mode of goodness, what to speak of those who are entangled in the mode of passion?"

(Bhagavad-gita As It Is 14.7, Purport)

"You are right when you say our past life is a dream only. Just like at night we see so many dreams and in daytime we forget everything. Similarly we forget everything of our past life and as such so long we do not be reposed to our spiritual factual life, all these changes of lives one after another are considered to be dreams. Less intelligent persons are very much interested in dreaming life, but one who is intelligent enough he searches after eternal life. The modern civilization does not understand what is eternal life. They are busy with the spot life of 50 or 100 years. Fools cannot think that one is not for 50 or 100 years, but one is for eternity. Krishna consciousness is the life of eternity and I am glad you are interested in it."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 24, 1967)

"Modern civilization is defying the authority of the Personality of Godhead; the more a man advances in his material adventures, the more he becomes covered by the illusory energy."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, April 13, 1968)

"Nobody should take to very hardship labor. The modern civilization has discovered severe types of dangerous industries, and laborers are attracted for high wages. But they should not accept such work. Then naturally there will be less capitalistic idea. Because the laborer cooperates, therefore demoniac persons they take advantage and make unnecessarily increase of artificial demands of the body. Better one should be satisfied with agricultural produce than go into large cities to be engaged in industry. Peaceful life depending on agricultural produce can bring him real happiness and prosperity, not otherwise. The more persons will be satisfied at their home, with home economics, not to go outside the home, that is peaceful life. In India, Mahatma Gandhi tried to organize villages in that way so that not to drag the people to the town. So peaceful atmosphere can be attained only when there is large scale village organization, actually village life. Not to borrow the ideas from the cities in the village life; poet Cooper said that country is made by God, and the cities and towns are made by man. So that is the distinction.

There are many such nice ideas, for peaceful living on this planet and execute Krishna Consciousness, so that one may become completely freed from contamination of material existence, and get eternal life, just after quitting this body. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita, Taktva Deham Punar Janma Na Eti Mam Eti Kaunteya. By simple prosecution of Krishna Consciousness, one goes back to home, back to Godhead, just after quitting this present body.

If people cooperate with this Krishna consciousness movement, certainly a better type of civilization can be introduced for permanent peace and prosperity of the whole world."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 17, 1968)

"There is a very nice story. Perhaps I have many times told you, that there was a householder, a very rich man. His wife was sick and the maidservant was also sick. So the gentleman called for a doctor, and the doctor treated both the patients, and the doctor said that 'Your wife has got 98 temperature, nothing serious. But your maidservant, she has got 104 temperature, so she should be taken care of.' Now, the housewife, she became angry. She told the doctor, 'Oh, I am the head of the family. I have got only 98 temperature? And my maidservant has got 104? So you are not a doctor!' So that is going on. From 104 we want to increase. 107 degrees and death will come. So the modern civilization is increasing the temperature. So we have come to the point of 107 degree -- atom bomb. So we are prepared for killing ourselves. So this degree, this increasing of temperature of material enjoyment will never make us happy. We have to decrease the temperature. We have to come to the point of 97, not to the 107."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, August 31, 1966)

“Actually, those who are in knowledge of everything are determined to execute Krishna consciousness, but those who are rascals (mudhah), sinners (duskrtinah) and the lowest of mankind (naradhamah), who are bereft of all intelligence (mayayapahrta jnanah) and who take shelter of the demoniac way of life (asuram bhavam asritah), are disinterested in Krishna consciousness. As such they become implicated and take on so many activities. Most of these activities center around the killing of animals. Modern civilization is centered around animal-killing. Karmis are advertising that without eating meat, their vitamin value or vitality will be reduced; so to keep oneself fit to work hard, one must eat meat, and to digest meat, one must drink liquor, and to keep the balance of drinking wine and eating meat, one must have sufficient sexual intercourse to keep fit to work very hard like an ass."

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.27.11, Purport)

Devotee: This is Dr. Schumacher.

Prabhupada: Yes. Thank you very much for your coming. I have read some of your ideas. So from your writing it appears you are nice thoughtful man, muni. The Sanskrit word is muni. Just like Narada Muni. They are very thoughtful. So I have read one description of "Crisis of Increasing Motorcars" in this paper. Actually, we are creating crisis. This advancement of modern civilization is simply creating crisis.

One Vaisnava poet, he has sung, sat-sanga chadi kainu asatye vilasa (Gaura Pahu). Sat-sanga means spiritual association. So we have given up spiritual association, and asatye vilasa, we have taken to material enjoyment. So sat-sanga chadi kainu... There are two things: material and spiritual. So sat-sanga chadi kainu asatye... "I have given up spiritual association, and I have taken to material association. Therefore I have become entangled." Sei karane lagila mora karma-bandha-phansa. We are becoming more and more entangled in material activities. We are trying to solve one problem, and creating another big problem. Just like I was reading the "Motorcar Crisis." We thought that with a horseless carriage it will be very convenient to travel. But against that convenience, so-called convenience, we have created so many inconveniences. It is very nicely described in that paper I was reading.

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, London, August 4, 1973)

"Preya means immediately sense gratification. Just like a child. Child wants to play because it gives him immediately some sense gratification, satisfaction. He does not like to go to a school or to study or to take lesson. He does not like. That is actually preya... So the parents, the guardians, engage him for future benefit: 'You must take education. Otherwise, in future you'll suffer without education.' So this is called sreya. Similarly, our human life is meant for sreya, not for preya. The modern civilization, they are interested in preya: immediate some sense gratification. That is not wanted. Therefore sastra said sreya, not preya. The modern civilization is that 'Eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. Do not care for what is future life.' That is condemned civilization. We should know that there is future life, there is birth after death, and we must be prepared."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, September 30, 1976)

"If we analyze the body, I say, 'It is my hand,' 'It is my leg,' 'It is my head.' Nobody says 'I head' or 'I hand.' 'I' is different from this body. I am living in this apartment, but I am not this apartment. But the modern civilization is going on on the basic idea that 'I am this body.' 'I am American,' 'I am Indian,' 'I am brahmana,' 'I am ksatriya,' 'I am man,' 'I am woman.' This is condemned. This is condemned.

This is the concession of the animals. The animals, they do not know that the dog, the body-dog and the soul who has obtained the body of a dog... The soul is different from the body. This is the Vedic information: asango 'yam purusah. The living entity, soul, is not this material body. Asanga. He has no, I mean to say, association. He's put into that condition, but he's different from the body. So this should be clearly understood. This is knowledge, that 'I am not this body.'"

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, December 29, 1972)

"This is Vedic civilization. And the modern civilization is even increase your necessities -- a machine for shaving your cheek. You see? Another machine, another attention diversion. More machine means more diversion of attention. I have to take care, more technician, more technologies. Simply if one razor can shave, can make my cheek very clean, where is the necessity? Formerly, at least we Indian know that go to a blacksmith and he prepares a razor, very nice razor. You pay him four annas, and it will last for your life and shave your cheek very nicely, daily or occasionally. But the modern civilization means that in everything there must be machine. That is the advancement of material... But the sastra says, 'What is the use of taking so much labor?' Kastan kaman. Kastan means with so much labor. If you create some convenience by the so-called machine use, you create so many other inconveniences. Just like we have got now motorcar. Of course, it is convenience. But there are many inconveniences. Formerly people used to find everyone within the village. Now, because we have got big, big motorcars, we have to go thirty miles to find out a doctor. So the other inconveniences are also increased. Now we have to find out petrol and flatter the Arabians, 'Give me petrol.' In this way... And if I stop manufacturing, then there is unemployment."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, March 11, 1975)

"The necessity of a spiritual master is for him who is conscious of his material suffering. If one is not conscious of his material suffering, then he is not even on the human being status. He's still in the animal status. Animal status, you see? Now, the modern civilization... The modern civilization is practically... They are evading, evading the real sufferings. They are engaged in temporary sufferings. But the Vedic system is Vedic knowledge. They are meant for ending the sufferings of... for good, sufferings for good. You see? The human life is meant for that, ending all suffering. Of course, we are trying to end all kinds of suffering. Our business, our occupation, our education, our advancement of knowledge -- everything is meant for ending suffering. But that suffering is temporary, temporary. But we have to end the sufferings for good. Suffering... That sort of knowledge is called transcendental knowledge, and if anyone is seeking after that transcendental... This Bhagavad-gita is not an ordinary thing. It is transcendental knowledge. And now here the ground is prepared. Ground is prepared. Arjuna is conscious of his suffering, perplexity. Now he is seeking a spiritual master."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, March 2, 1966)

"Since the material world is compared herein to a forest, it may be argued that in Kali-yuga modern civilization is mainly situated in the cities. A great city, however, is like a great forest. Actually city life is more dangerous than life in the forest. If one enters an unknown city without friend or shelter, living in that city is more difficult than living in a forest. There are many big cities all over the surface of the globe, and wherever one looks he sees the struggle for existence going on twenty-four hours a day, people rush about in cars going seventy and eighty miles an hour, constantly coming and going, and this sets the scene of the great struggle for existence. One has to rise early in the morning and travel in that car at breakneck speed. There is always the danger of an accident, and one has to take great care. In his automobile, the living entity is full of anxieties, and his struggle is not at all auspicious. Apart from human beings, other species like cats and dogs are also struggling very hard day and night for existence. Thus the struggle for existence continues, and the conditioned soul changes from one position to another. For a while, he is a child, but he has to become a boy. From a boy, he has to change into a youth, and from youth to manhood and old age. Finally, when the body is no longer workable, he has to accept a new body in a different species. Giving up the body is called death, and accepting another body is called birth. The human form is an opportunity to take shelter of the bona fide spiritual master and, through him, the Supreme Lord. This Krishna consciousness movement has been started to give an opportunity to all the members of human society, who are misled by foolish leaders. No one can get out of this struggle for existence, which is full of miseries, without accepting a pure devotee of the Lord. The material attempt changes from one position to another, and no one actually gains relief from the struggle for existence. The only resort is the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, and, through him, the lotus feet of the Lord."

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.14.1, Purport)

"So Vyasadeva, so learned scholar, everyone knows how great scholar he was. He has written so many books: four Vedas, eighteen Puranas, then Vedanta-sutra, then Upanisads. So many things. Recorded, not written; recorded. So such a big scholar was residing... He was guiding the whole society, but he was living very humbly. Even Canakya Pandita, he was prime minister, but he was living in a cottage. That is the distinction between Vedic or Indian civilization and the modern civilization. The Indian civilization means they are interested in sat, and others, they are interested in asat. Asat means which will not exist. I've already explained."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 22, 1973)

"But the modern civilization, they have no knowledge of the soul, what to speak of taking care of it, and, like animals, they are in the bodily concept of life, taking much care of the body, but they have no information of the soul, and what to speak of taking care of it. This is the lamentable condition of modern civilization. Animal civilization. The animals simply take care of the body, has no information of the soul. So this civilization is animal civilization, mudha. Mudha means animal, asses. Now if we say to the people in general, they'll be angry upon us, but actually this is the position."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 28, 1973)

Devotee: What profiteth a man who gains the whole world but he loses his eternal soul?

Prabhupada: Yes. Repeat it.

Devotee: What profiteth a man who gains the whole world but he loses his eternal soul?

Prabhupada: That's it. That should be the aim: That we are eternal soul. We must be again replaced in our eternal life. But if you forget this mission of life and simply become engaged how to become happy in this material world, how to avoid distress and how to get happiness... People are engaged in that way: simply trying to get happiness and avoid distress, and forgetting that he has got a mission of life, to realize his self and go back to home, back to Godhead. This is the defect of the modern civilization.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 21, 1973)

"Actually, our most Beloved Object is Krishna. Our love reposed on anything within our experience is due to our ultimate love for Krishna. People are trying to love the branches and leaves without taking care of the root. But when water is poured down on the root, the branches and leaves automatically become luxurious. This philosophy of taking care of the Supreme is missing in the modern civilization. They do philanthropic work, humanitarian work, national work, social work and many similar other works; now ultimately they have invented the United Nations and world health organizations. But all these attempts are exactly the same process as to water the leaves and the twigs. They don't know the missing point: Krishna. So we have got very great responsibility to spread Krishna Consciousness throughout the world."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 15, 1969)

"At the present moment, modern civilization is too much attached to the material way of life, or sense gratification. Therefore, the Krishna consciousness movement can give the people in general the best opportunity to utilize their human life in the midst of material enjoyment. Krishna consciousness does not stop them in their propensity for material enjoyment, but simply regulates their habits in the life of sense enjoyment. In spite of their enjoying the material advantages, they can be liberated in this very life by practicing Krishna consciousness by the simple method of chanting the holy names of the Lord -- Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.22.34, Purport)

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