Richard Webster: Do you think it’s worse now than it used to be? Can you say that it is worse, the condition of the world is worse now than it used to be or is it relatively the same or…?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, yes. Worse now in these days because people cannot eat even. The facility which is given to the birds and beasts… They have no problem of eating. But you have created such a civilization that people are facing the problem so acutely that they have no means to eat. Do you think it is progress?
Richard Webster: Well, I would tend to doubt it very much.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the problem.
Richard Webster: But some things have improved.
Prabhupāda: Many countries… Especially we are Indian. We have seen in India. Nowadays there is no eatables. The government cannot supply food, failure, the problem which is not even amongst the beasts and birds. The birds and beasts, they have no such problem. They are freely living, jumping from one tree to another, because they know there is no problem of eating. And human society, there is problem of eating. What is the advancement? And there is enough place for producing food. I have seen Africa, Australia. Enough place. If the foodstuff is produced there, ten times of the population can be well fed. But they are: “Don’t enter. Don’t come here.” The Africans will say to the Indians, “Don’t come here. Go out.” What is this? Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice. We say, “Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. We are all sons of Kṛṣṇa. Let us live peacefully and utilize Kṛṣṇa’s property.” This is the best philosophy. But the so-called politicians and leaders, they are saying “No, you cannot enter here,” immigration. America has got enough place to produce food. But they will, although they have gone to the United Nation, UNESCO, they could not find out any solution. Although there is possibility of producing ten times of the requisites of the whole population of the world, they will not allow. They will not allow. On God’s side, this unit, this planet, pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate (Īśopaniṣad, Invocation)—everything is complete. You require water. They save three times water than the land. And the water is distributed over the land, parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ so there will be sufficient food grains. And annād bhavanti bhūtāni (BG 3.14). And if there is sufficient to eat, have sufficient eatables to the animals and to the men, then everything is prosperous. So where is that arrangement? There is enough land, enough possibility, enough water. Now utilize them and produce food grain, eat nicely and live peacefully and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and go back to home, back to Godhead. This is our philosophy. Why there should be industry? You want to eat after all. Instead of eating this flesh, killing poor animals, why don’t you produce food grains, fruits, flowers, food grain, and take milk from the animals and produce milk products, all nutritious food, all nice food, and be happy and remember God for His kindness. This is civilization. What is this nonsense civilization? Now there is petrol problem. I see so many buses, and not a single man, one or two men. And for two men a big huge bus is being run, and so much petrol is consumed unnecessarily. I have seen. I went from Nairobi to London in a plane—only five passengers. Out of that, four passengers we were. Why? Why this nonsense? And there is petrol problem now. They are creating simply, the so-called advancement of civilization, creating problems, that’s all. And that is due to these rascal leaders. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās te ‘pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ (SB 7.5.31). They do not know what is the ideal of life, what is the aim of life. They are creating hodge-podge civilization and putting the mass of people in chaotic condition. This is the sum and substance. I do not know whether you’ll agreed with me, but this is my study of the whole situation.
Richard Webster: Yes, well, I can’t disagree with that.
Prabhupāda: These are described in the śāstra as anartha, unwanted things, no artha. Artha means there is some meaning. But they have created a situation which has no meaning, anartha. And the medicine, remedy for anartha, is suggested also in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, anartha upaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje. Find out this verse. Yes, Bhāgavata. Just find some… This.
Prabhupāda: Yes. The index of the First Canto, you find out this verse…
We have got solution for all the problems. If people take it, they will be happy.
Nitāi: Page 324.
Translation: The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic literature, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth.
Purport: Śrīla Vyāsadeva saw the all-perfect Personality of Godhead. This statement suggests that the complete unit of the Personality of Godhead includes His parts and parcels also. He saw, therefore, His different energies, namely the internal energy, the marginal energy and the external energy. He also saw His different plenary portions and parts of the plenary portions, namely His different incarnations also, and he specifically observed the unwanted miseries of the conditioned souls, who are bewildered by the external energy. And at last he saw the remedial measure for the conditioned souls, namely, the process of devotional service. It is a great transcendental science and begins with the process of hearing and chanting the name, fame, glory, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Revival of the dormant affection or love of Godhead does not depend on the mechanical system of hearing and chanting, but it solely and wholly depends on the causeless mercy of the Lord. When the Lord is fully satisfied with the sincere efforts of the devotee, He may endow him with His loving transcendental service. But even with the prescribed forms of hearing and chanting, there is at once mitigation of the superfluous and unwanted miseries of material existence. Such mitigation of material affection does not wait for development of transcendental knowledge. Rather, knowledge is dependent on devotional service for the ultimate realization of the Supreme Truth.
Dhanañjaya: What was that last sentence?
Prabhupāda: In Africa and Australia, they are killing the animals and exporting. So in other countries they are getting meat to eat, and so they are very free to produce bolts and nuts by industry. They don’t require to produce food because from Africa and Australia they are getting meat. This is going on. Instead of producing food, people are interested in producing motor car bolts and nuts. So why there should not be food scarcity? After all, you require to eat. But instead of starting industries, why don’t you produce foodstuff? What is this civilization? Produce foodstuff. The animals will be nicely fed, and the men will be nicely fed.
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Room Conversation with Richard Webster, chairman, Societa Filosofica Italiana, May 24, 1974, Rome