Srila Prabhupada went to Great Falls Park again for his walk. He was in a lively mood, and in the car he asked what the use had been of yesterday's celebrations. He said the whole concept of being independent was foolish; there could never be any question of independence.
Pushta Krishna asked that if there's no independence, where is the question of anyone taking initiative in the material world.
"Initiative? What is that question?" Srila Prabhupada asked him. "Initiative I understand, but do you think that by taking initiative of independence you become independent? Like this, by dancing and fireworks, you become independent? This is initiative, dancing like dogs." He sang a little ditty, making us all crack up with laughter, "'We are in-de-pen-dent, we are in-de-pen-dent.' Does it have any meaning?" he said grinning. "Dancing like a dog, that's all."
Yadubara prabhu raised a question about free will. "But they have choice within maya, isn't that a fact? Choice what to do in the material world, many different fields. They will say that they can do this or that."
"What they can do?" Prabhupada challenged. "They cannot do anything. At any moment, you can be kicked out, 'Get out.' Therefore it is called conditioned life. There is no question of independence. That is foolishness. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita that they are not independent; they are completely under the control of the laws of material nature, and still they are thinking independent."
Rupanuga compared their situation to that of a prisoner in jail who is still thinking he has some freedom.
Prabhupada expanded upon that example. "That freedom is dandya-jane raja yena nadite cubaya. Drowning the man in the water and, 'Now you have independence, so breathe.'
"So he breathes in, 'Ah! Ah!'
"'All right, you are now a little relieved, all right, again become drown.'
"'Oh! Save me, save me, save me, save me.'
"'All right, take out. Now breathe, independently.'
"This is independence. The rascal does not know, 'I am breathing independent, but at any moment I can be drowned again.' Very correct example. No independence. Independence is only there when you fully surrender to Krishna. You surrender your all independence to Krishna. Then there is. 'Krishna, I have foolishly acted as independent, so many lives. Now I surrender all my independence at Your lotus feet. If You like You can kill me; if You like, You can ... ' that is independence. Otherwise, there is no independence. All foolishness. By false egotism, he's thinking that 'I am independent.'"
He told us they were misusing their energy, and he gave a calculation on the cost of the whole production. "Yesterday, some two and half million the government has spent, and we [the general public] also, combined together, we have spent ten million by power, gas, going there and coming. So all these thirteen million dollars spent for nothing. Dancing like dogs, independence, maya."
A small crowd of expectant devotees met Prabhupada at the park. Beginning his walk down the canal path he informed Svarupa Damodara of our conversation, offering another graphic and amusing comparison of modern life. "So many people, there are so many earthworms also, ants also, gathered together. Does it mean they are independent? You know the earthworms? They heap up earth and disappear. So you are, if you take it in that way, that big, big buildings, just like earthworms gathering up earth and then disappears. Like the worms, we gather together and become a nation and apply all our energy, heaps of buildings, then finished. We go somewhere, you go somewhere. And who knows what he's going to be in the next life? Everything is going like that, family, community, national. Washington, he gave you independence, but where he is? What he is doing? Where is that person who gave you independence?"
Perhaps as a sign of the state of their civilization, the newspaper this morning mentioned a rather amusing story about a massive "birthday cake for America" baked especially for the celebrations. Five stories high, it had been brought to the Mall on trucks. People queued for hours to get a piece, but then the health department condemned it because it had gone stale.
There was a constant flow of dialogue as we walked, some of it philosophical, some of it about the physical phenomena that surrounded us. Naturally, with the members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute present, science, and its flaws, was a recurrent theme.
Pushta Krishna Swami asked, "Has there ever been debates on the authenticity of modern science, or is this the first time modern science has been challenged in the world?"
Srila Prabhupada spoke from the Vedic perspective. "India, Vedic civilization never cared for anything which is searched out by imperfect human beings. They never cared for it. Because he knows the man who is searching after, he's imperfect, whatever he'll do, that is imperfect. Therefore neglect it. That is Vedic civilization. Sruti-pramana: whether it is evident from the srutis, from the Vedas. Otherwise, they reject it."
I brought up an obvious point. "Those people in India who are aware of the actual science, though, if they had come out and spoken against material scientists ..."
Srila Prabhupada interrupted me, "I am speaking."
"You're the only one though, Prabhupada," Brishakapi observed.
Sadaputa started to talk about some of the problems faced when making presentations of Krishna consciousness to students, so Srila Prabhupada clarified what our approach should be. "No, no. We don't condemn the scientists. We say that 'Take credit as much as you can. But why do you defy the existence of God?' That is our protest."
Sadaputa said it was because they want to be God.
"That is their foolishness," Srila Prabhupada said. "Have we not published that 'You have created 747. All right, take credit. But you cannot make a mosquito with pilot. Can you?' 'No.' 'so how can you defy the supreme creator?' We are taking it, there is supreme creator."
Svarupa Damodara said, "That basic point they find it hard to understand."
"Because they are blind," Prabhupada said. "It is common sense, that you have created the 747. So somebody must have created this, a small insect. This is common sense. You cannot see Him, that is your bad fortune; but somebody has done it."
Brishakapi said, "To be able to be so fooled, that is the greatest wonder. How it's so obvious that there's a creator, but yet one can say there is no creator."
Srila Prabhupada agreed. "That is foolishness. That we are protesting, that 'You rascal, you stop this nonsense talking.' There is son and there is mother; there must be father. This is conclusion. And, 'I do not see father. I do not see that.' But without father, how there can be son? This is intelligence."
One of the devotees found Prabhupada's earlier response to Sadaputa's question ambiguous. "On the one hand you say the scientists are rascals, and on the other you say not to condemn them."
Srila Prabhupada's answer was pellucid; there was no contradiction. "No, rascal means when they say there is no God, then they are rascals. Here is a scientist?h e does not say that there is no God. Anyone who says there is no God, he's a rascal, he may be scientist, philosopher or anyone."
A constant theme of Prabhupada's preaching is the logic of recognizing that if there is a mother and offspring, then there must also be a father.
Yet today Sadaputa prabhu presented a question about living entities that apparently do not have mothers and fathers in the material sense. "Do we accept the way bacteria reproduce," he asked, "by fission, splitting in half? I know Kapiladeva instructs that there are four different methods the egg, the lump of flesh, etc. The scientists are saying that bacteria split in half and produce two daughter cells."
Prabhupada explained, "Bacteria is produced from fermentation: sveda-ja. Just like nasty bedding, from your perspiration, if you don't clean, bugs will come. In India, the Europeans they eat meat, automatically bugs and germs come within their coat and shirt due to bad perspiration."
I was confused. "When you say that they're born from perspiration, like cockroaches, does that mean that the eggs are laid by the female and then the atmosphere of perspiration enables the eggs to be hatched? Like that?"
"No," Srila Prabhupada said, "from the perspiration automatically it comes."
It still left me puzzled, so in the car on the way back I asked Prabhupada for clarification. "These entities that are born from perspiration, it seems that there's no father and mother, yet we were just using the argument that there must be a father and mother."
"No, there is father and mother," Prabhupada said. "The supreme father is Krishna, and mother is nature, ultimately. So perspiration is also another form of nature. Yes. There's always father and mother."
"There's no material father, though? In that case?" Yadubara asked.
"Material father is not material. Real father is Krishna. He may come in so many ways."
Pushta Krishna joined in. "The thing is that the scientists may isolate some cockroaches in a box, and they will watch the cockroaches secrete eggs and this or that or whatever? I don't know exactly how the cockroaches ... "
"No, give up cockroach," Srila Prabhupada said. "There are many other living entities, they come from perspiration. Bugs, they come from perspiration. Many, many come by fermentation."
I was still in a fog. "Yes, but it seems that form of the bug must come from the form of another bug. So it's very difficult to understand how it comes from perspiration."
Srila Prabhupada was patient and clear. "The form is coming directly. Why from another? The birth is coming directly. And those who are coming, they will take that form, bug like form, and drink blood. That is all destined. Spirit soul, according to his desires, he's gotten that body. But that body is coming from perspiration. That is the way."
I finally started to grasp his meaning. "So like in our case, the spirit soul takes shelter in the semen."
"Yes, according to his desire he's given shelter to such and such place, and he comes out with body."
"And in that case he takes shelter in the perspiration," I asked.
Prabhupada said. "Daiva-netrena. That is by superior administration, he has to take shelter and take out the body, come and act. It requires little brain. The dull meat-eaters and drunkards cannot understand."
As we plied along the smooth highway Rupanuga prabhu observed, "I've seen that these cattle that are raised for eating, they are not like dairy cows. Dairy cows are much cleaner. Beef cattle are very dirty animals. They have no clean habits. They are almost like pigs."
"Still, they should be protected, though," Pushta Krishna said. "They should be used for plowing."
A little surprisingly Srila Prabhupada contradicted him. "No, if they are not cows, there is no need of protection. When it gives milk, that is cow."
Rupanuga started to say that these animals were created by man, but Pushta Krishna pointed out that the males would have been bulls.
Srila Prabhupada then added that the bull is also required, because cows alone cannot give milk unless they unite with a bull. "Everywhere, in India, they require bulls and ... Generally, they are not inclined to kill. So they are engaged in [work]. ..."
"But otherwise," Pushta Krishna ventured, "when Krishna says go-rakshya, He means the female, the cow, giving milk."
Srila Prabhupada again clarified. "Go means species, means both bull and cow, but generally go means cow."