SRILA PRABHUPADA(TO LENNON): You are anxious to bring about peace in the world. I've read some of your statements, and they show me you're anxious to do something. Actually, every saintly person should try and bring peace, but we must know the process. What kind of philosophy are you following? May I ask?
YOKO ONO: We don't follow anything. We are just living.
GEORGE: We've done meditation. Or I do my meditation, mantra meditation.
PRABHUPADA: Hare Krishna is also a mantra.
JOHN: Ours is not a song, though. We heard it from Maharishi. A mantra each.
PRABHUPADA: His matras are not public?
JOHN: No, it's a secret.
YOKO: If Hare Krishna is such a strong, powerful mantra, is there any reason to chant anything else?
PRABHUPADA: There are other mantras, but Hare Krishna is especially recommended for this age [Kali Yuga, the Iron Age].
JOHN: If all mantras are just the name of God, then whether it's a secret mantra, or an open mantra, it doesn't really make much difference, does it, which one you sing?
PRABHUPADA: It does make a difference. For instance, in a drug shop they sell many types of medicines for curing different diseases. But still you have to get a doctor's prescription in order to get a particular type of medicine. Otherwise, the druggist won't supply you. You might go to the drug shop and say, "I'm diseased. Please give me any medicine you have." But the druggist will ask you, "Where is your prescription?" Similarly, in this age, the Hare Krishna mantra is prescribed in the scriptures. And the great teacher Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, whom we consider to be the incarnation of God, also prescribed it. Therefore, our principle is that everyone should follow the prescription of the great authorities.
YOKO: If the manta itself has such power, does it matter where you receive it?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, it does matter. For instance, milk is nutritious. That's a fact everyone knows. But if milk is touched by the lips of a sepent, it is no longer nutritious. It becomes poisonous. If you don't receive the mantra through the proper channel, it may not really be spiritual.
JOHN: But what if one of these masters who's not in the line says exactly the same thing as one who is? What if he says his mantra is coming from the Vedas and seems to speak with as much authority as you?
PRABHUPADA: If the mantra is actually coming through a bona fide discipline session, then it will have the potency.
JOHN: But the Hare Krishna mantra is the best one?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. We can say the Hare Krishna mantra is sufficient for one's perfection, for liberation.
GEORGE: Isn't it like flowers? Somebody may prefer roses, and somebody may like carnations better. Isn't it really a matter for the individual devotee to decide? One person may find that Hare Krishna is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet another person may find that some other mantra may be more beneficial for him.
PRABHUPADA: But still there is a distinction. A fragrant rose is considered better than a flower without any scent. You may be attracted by one flower, and I may be attracted by another, but amoung the flowers a distinction can be made. There are many flowers that have no fragrance and many that do. Therefore, your attraction for a particular flower is not the solution to the question of which is actually better. In the same way, personal attraction is not the solution to choosing the best spiritual process. You've been speaking of the Maharishi. Hasn't he written some book on Bhagavad-gita [A sacred Vedic text]?
JOHN: Yes, that's the one we've read.
PRABHUPADA: So why is he using Krishna's book to put forward his own philosophy? Bhagavad-gita is a Krishna's book. Why is he taking Krishna's book?
GEORGE: Well, he didn't. He just translated it.
PRABHUPADA: Why? Because Krishna's book is very well respected.
JOHN: I've also read part of another translation by Paramahansa Yogananda.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, all these men take advantage of Krishna's book to lend an air of authority to their own speculations. Vivekananda has done it, Sri Aurobindo has done it, Dr. Radhakrishan has done it, Mahatma Gandhi has done it. Thousands of them have done it. But why do they use Bhagavad-gita as the vehicle for their own ideas?
GEORGE: In the versions I've read, the authors all claim theirs is the best. And sometimes I get something from which I didn't get from another.
JOHN: I found that the best thing for myself is to take a little bit from here and a little bit from there.
YOKO: I mean, we're not just saying that. We want to ask your advice. In other words, what is your answer to this question of authority?
PRABHUPADA: If we don't take the Gita from the authorized disciplic succession, it won't help us. In our introduction to Bhagavad-gita we have carefully explained that aside from Krishna there is no authority. Krishna is the authority, because Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krishna. Can you deny that?
JOHN: What about Yogananda, Maharishi, and all these other people who have translated the Gita? How are we to tell that their version isn't also Krishna's word?
PRABHUPADA: If you seriously want to understand this, you should study the original Sanskrit text.
JOHN: Study Sanskrit. Oh, now you're talking!
GEORGE: But Vivekananda said that books, rituals, dogmas, and temples are secondary details anyway. He said they're not the most important thing. You don't have to read the book in order to have the perception.
PRABHUPADA: Then why did Vivekananda write so many books?
JOHN: who says who's actually in the line of descent? I mean, it's just like royalty, Yogananda also claims to be in line, he talks about his guru's guru's guru's guru, like that. Maharishi claimed that all his gurus went way back. I mean, how are we to know?
PRABHUPADA: Whatever Maharishi may be, his knowledge does not extend up to Krishna, not up to His personal feature.
JOHN: That's what he used to say in exactly the same way about everybody else.
PARAHUPADA: But factually he cannot be an authority, because he does not speak anything about Krishna. If a postman comes and does not know anything about the post office, what kind of postman is he?
YOKO: But does he talk about his post office?
PRABHUPADA: No, you cannot create your own post office. There is only one post office, the government post office. If a postman comes and says, "I belong to another post office," then at once you know he is unauthorized.
JOHN: In the Bible or any other holy book, they talk about one God. So it's just the one Being everywhere, in all the books. So why isn't Hare Krishna or something similar in the Bible?
DEVOTEE: it is in the Bible. In Psalms it says, "Praise the Lord with every breath. Praise the Lord with drums and flute."
JOHN: But they haven't got very good tunes. They haven't been passing on any good chants, have they? I mean, would it be effective to chant, "Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, Hail Lord Jesus?"
PRABHUPADA: Lord Jesus says that he is the Son of God. He's not God, but the Son of God. In that sense, there is no difference between Krishna Consciousness and Christianity. There is no quarrel between God and God's Son. Jesus says to love God, and Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, says, "Love Me." It's the same thing. All right?