(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada at the Family Dog auditorium, San Francisco, 1969)
Dr. Copeland: Why do you think you are so successful?
Prabhupāda: I don't think successful, but people say.
Dr. Copeland: (laughs) Very good.
Prabhupāda: I will be successful when everyone will chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Dr. Copeland: But in Western countries, where people have to adopt a different style of dress and a different life-style altogether, it means that you're asking for a very large commitment from people, and yet they do it. Are you saying that it's the strength of what you're preaching, or are they unhappy with what they've found otherwise?
Prabhupāda: No, they look very nice with this dress. Don't you appreciate?
Dr. Copeland: Uh, that wasn't in my question, That's... (laughs). Yes, I think it's very nice. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't shave my hair, and I wouldn't dress like that.
Prabhupāda: You cannot sacrifice so much. They have sacrificed.
Dr. Copeland: Aḥ, I sacrifice up here. I sacrifice up here.
Prabhupāda: They have got a spirit of sacrifice.
Dr. Copeland: Hmm. But you ask a great deal of people. Why do you think they're willing to give?
Prabhupāda: No, I ask only four things: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling. That's all. But these four things are very, very difficult for the Western people. That I know. Just see. God consciousness cannot be achieved by any third-class man. One must be the topmost first-class man. Then he can become God conscious.
Dr. Copeland: And who decides what is first class?
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is decided by Kṛṣṇa. (aside:) Find out this verse: yeṣāṁ tu anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām... Te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ (BG 7.28). Kṛṣṇa says who can become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious. That definition is there.
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
This is from the Bhagavad-gītā. Translation: "Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated, and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination."
Prabhupāda: So this is not very ordinary thing. Pāpam, sinful life... At the present moment people are very, very much addicted to sinful life.
Dr. Copeland: Why?
Prabhupāda: Because they are less intelligent. Therefore they don't care for death even, neither they have got any idea what is going to happen after death. Formerly, people were afraid of committing sin. They knew that "After death, I will have to suffer." Now, at the present moment, the rascals are so daring, they do not care what is sin, what is going to happen next life. They do not care. That means less intelligent.
Dr. Copeland: What's going to happen to you in the next life?
Dr. Copeland: What happens to you in the next life?
Prabhupāda: My life? According to śāstra, if we have actually developed Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we are going to Kṛṣṇa.
Dr. Copeland: And you are.
Prabhupāda: I may not, (laughs) but they will go. (laughter) And even it is a failure, then the next life he is guaranteed human life and very nice life. (aside:) You find out this verse, śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭaḥ sañjāyate.
prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān
uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe
Translation: "The unsuccessful yogī, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people or into a family of rich aristocracy."
Prabhupāda: Even one is failure. And one who is successful? Then? Janma karma...
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so 'rjuna
"Anyone who understands the...., My birth, the transcendental nature of My birth and activities does not again return to this material world, but comes to My supreme abode."
Prabhupāda: This is for the successful, and that is for the unsuccessful.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation with Dr. Copeland, Professor of Modern Indian History, Melbourne, May 20, 1975)