(Devotees chanting in Boston, 1970—click to enlarge)
Prabhupāda: (repeating question) "Is the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa the answer to living successfully in today's world?"
Oh, that is the only successful living in this today's world. So long people do not understand it, they are still in the darkness. This is the only. Why it is the only? Just see these boys, these girls. I have not imported from India. I came here single-handed with seven dollars. I have got hundreds of students like that. How they have changed, their character, their behavior. I have given them life. Some of them are married. They are living very nicely. They have got children, and they have given up their all bad habits. You see?
They are not, I mean to say, eating meat. They have no illicit sex life. They are strictly vegetarian. They are preparing nice foodstuff from vegetable and grains. They do not take part intoxication. They do not smoke even. Just see practically. If everyone becomes like them, then what is the trouble? If you encourage them to indulge in illicit sex life, to become intoxicants, to gambler and eating everything without any discrimination, then how you can expect to have very good men in this world? They are mad.
So this question that, "Is this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa the answer to living successfully in today's...?" What do you mean by "successfully living"? Successfully living does not mean that you work hard just like cats and dogs, and eat something and have sex life at night. That is not successful life. That successful life is there even in the cats and dogs and hogs. The hogs are also laboring very hard. The cats and dogs, they are also for their food. And the sex is there. Everything is there. That is not successful life. Real successful life is how to understand his real constitutional position as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. That is successful life. This is not successful life.
What is this successful life? I see... I have got so many students. They are well qualified. But they have got... when they work, they have to work so hard, they go at six o'clock to the working and comes again at six o'clock, all day, tired. They lost all vitality, all sense. Is that successful life, simply for one morsel of food, working so hard? And unless one works so hard, he cannot eat. We have created a civilization that one must earn thousands of dollars, then he can live like a gentleman. Is that successful life? And for earning that thousands of dollars he has to work so hard, just like animal, beast. No. That is not successful life.
Successful life is that, that we should make our bodily necessities of life as far as required, not more than that. I want to eat something. God has given sufficient food. You grow. You live anywhere. You grow foodstuff. You grow grains. You grow fruits. You grow vegetables. Keep cows. Take milk. You can live anywhere. You haven't got to go fifty miles off with a car to attend your office at six o'clock with velocity of hundred miles' speed. Is that successful life, do you think? So where is successful life? We are proposing successful life.
So whatever you do, you just become Kṛṣṇa conscious, and at least he will feel that, "I am... my future hope is there. There is Kṛṣṇa." That is successful life. At least he is hopeful that he is going to Kṛṣṇa, even he is working very hard, never mind. "I have been put into this condition of life." So that is successful life. At least one life, anyway, passed on.
Kṛṣṇa gives him assurance that one who understands the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa... Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ: anyone who simply understands what is Kṛṣṇa, then his privilege is tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9),
"He does not take any more birth in this material world." Then where does he go? Mām eti: "He comes to Me." Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa, that's all, even if you don't serve Him. But Kṛṣṇa is so attractive, as soon as you understand Kṛṣṇa, then you have to serve Him. You see? It is so nice.
That is successful life. This is not successful life. This is unsuccessful life, laboring whole life, and he does not know where he is going. Next life, what is, whether cat or dog or animal or this or that, he does not know. He's in the darkness. Adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30).
The same repetition of same foolishness and uncontrolled senses, he does not know where he is going. Just like unbridled horses. The man does not know, "Where the horses are dragging me, either in the hell or heaven? I do not know." But the horses are not controlled, under his con... simply running, high speed. That these motorcars are running this way and that way. They do not know whether they will reach their destination. Any, at any point, they may be striking each other and finished. This is not successful life.
Successful life means one should have peaceful life, with great hope, future hope, without any disturbance. What is successful life? Even a man is not secure. He does not know when he goes to his office whether his household things are taken away by some thief. You see? Where is success? Successful life means he must feel secure that the government is taking care of everything. That is successful life. He has no cares and anxieties. He's simply developing his spiritual life. That is successful life.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Hawaii, March 23, 1969)