Guest: How do you regard suicide, and would there be any exceptional circumstances that might justify it?
Prabhupāda: Suicide is not justified. Suicide is not justified. It is violation of nature's law. Nature gives you a certain type of body to live in it for certain days, and suicide means you go against the laws of nature, you untimely stop the duration of life. Therefore he becomes a criminal.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Auckland, February 21, 1973)
"Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.14.24, Purport)
"A confused, frustrated man cannot get relief by committing suicide because suicide will simply lead him to take birth in the lower species of life or to remain a ghost, unable to attain a gross material body. Therefore the perfect course is to retire altogether from sinful activities and take up Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this way one can become completely perfect and go back home, back to Godhead."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.26.10, Purport)
"Acts such as suicide are influenced by the mode of ignorance, and in ignorance and passion one cannot understand who Kṛṣṇa is."
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya 4.57, Translation)
"When one misunderstands, he misunderstands everything. One who commits mistake, he can commit mistake in so many ways. They want to merge into the Absolute. They think that there is no variety, to avoid this variety. Ah? Just like sometimes one is suffering from some disease, they commit suicide. He thinks, 'I'm suffering. If I commit suicide, then everything will be stopped.' But he does not know that by committing suicide he'll increase another set of varieties of miserable condition of life. He'll become ghost. And becoming ghost, you cannot enjoy anything grossly. The subtle body will create disturbance. Therefore ghost creates disturbance. He hasn't got gross body to enjoy. They're ghostly haunt; therefore a male ghost haunts over woman, woman ghost haunts over man. You know that? It so happens. Ghostly haunted."
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Los Angeles, January 5, 1974)
"We learn from an instance of Sanatana Goswami. He was sometimes very much sick on account of eczema, and he was therefore sometimes bleeding. But whenever Lord Caitanya met Sanatana Goswami, He used to embrace him in spite of Sanatana's request for Him not to touch him. Because of this. Sanatana Goswami later on decided to commit suicide so Lord Caitanya would not embrace him in his bloody condition. This plan was understood by Lord Caitanya, and He called Sanatana Goswami and said to him, 'you have decided to end this body, but don't you know that this body belongs to Krishna? You have already dedicated your body to Krishna so how can you decide to end it?' "
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 9, 1969)
"One day Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Sanātana Gosvāmī, 'Your decision to commit suicide is the result of the mode of ignorance. One cannot get love of God simply by committing suicide. You have already dedicated your life and body to My service; therefore your body does not belong to you, nor do you have any right to commit suicide. I have to execute many devotional services through your body. I want you to preach the cult of devotional service and go to Vṛndāvana to excavate the lost holy places.' "
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya, Summary)
"Simply by committing suicide, how you'll be happy? Because tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). You'll have to accept another body. Either you commit suicide or die naturally, you have to accept. But if you accept natural death and natural body, then your karma kṣaya, you annihilate your karma. But if you commit suicide, then you become ghost. Because nature's punishment. You got a body and you neglected it, so you now you become..., remain without body. That is ghost. Ghost means who does not possess this material body, but he has got the subtle body. That is ghost. So without knowledge what is the aim of life, what is the actual life, if something is..., somebody is misguided by so-called guides or guru, then his life is spoiled."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, March 15, 1974)
Prabhupāda: To commit suicide by taking poison is most abominable thing, because he's going to be a ghost. He'll be punished to become a ghost, those who commit suicide. Or, if one is suddenly killed and he has so many desires, he becomes ghost. Therefore viṣa-bhakṣaṇa, taking poison, and die untimely, is most abominable. Or commit suicide. By the material law also, to attempt to commit suicide is criminal. You know that?
Prabhupāda: Yes. It is criminal.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Mayapur, February 26, 1976)
"Living entity is eternal. He thinks that 'By killing this body, I am free from this bodily miserable condition of life.' No. He's immediately..., either he has to accept a next abominable body or he'll have to become a ghost, one who commits suicide. Ghost means no material gross life, but the mental..., material subtle life is there. A ghost is carried by the subtle body: mind, intelligence and false ego."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, June 25, 1972)
"If by frustration one commits suicide, oh, that is not the end of his miseries. He creates another misery. He creates another misery by committing suicide. Just like here, in the state law, if somebody attempts suicide and takes some poison, and if by treatment of the physician he's all right, he's again under the law, to be punished. Perhaps you know it. After curing him from that poisonous effect, he is under criminal code of the state: 'Why you have attempted suicide?' Similarly, in the laws of nature, if you commit suicide, that is another criminal act. So suicidal policy, to end this misery of life, is not all. We must have, I mean to say, greater life. In the Bhagavad-gītā you have read—already we have discussed—paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate: (BG 2.59) 'One has to end this miserable life after finding out a life of bliss and knowledge and eternity.' That should be our... We should not be trying only to end these miseries of life, expecting something void. No."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, August 1, 1966)
"You write to say how you were saved from a commitment of suicide. So you have seen the mantra in Isopanisad:
ye ke catma-hano janah
So not only you, but almost all the conditioned souls within this material world, practically 99% of the whole population is committing suicide. As it is natural for a gentleman to try to stop a person committing suicide when it so happens just in one's presence, similarly when we see that so many men and women are simply committing suicide as described in the Isopanisad ye ke catma-hano janah, let us try to save them through this Krsna Consciousness Movement."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 17, 1970)
"These books and magazines are our most important propaganda weapons to defeat the ignorance of maya's army, and the more we produce such literature and sell them profusely all over the world, the more we shall deliver the world from the suicide course."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 18, 1972)
"So try to understand the philosophy nicely and spread it to your best capacity so that these suiciding men can be saved as far as possible. It is not, however, possible to check the suiciding policy of the modern society, but my Guru Maharaj used to say that if he could save one person then He would consider His mission successful. Similarly, if we individually could save at least one person, many of the suiciding men can be saved."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 17, 1970)