So as this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is also taken as one of the sentimental movements... It is the most scientific movement, but because there are so many gurus, rascals, they imagine something and cheat people. People want to be cheated. They take advantage. So we are also one of them, because majority is this. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." When everyone is rascal, to become intelligent is rascaldom. Otherwise you say, "I am also a rascal." Then it is all right. If you say, "No, you are rascal," then there is fight.
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It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Lectures
- 3 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 4 Correspondence
SB Canto 7
Oh, please bring me a stick! This Prahlāda is damaging our name and fame. Because of his bad intelligence, he has become like a cinder in the dynasty of the demons. Now he needs to be treated by the fourth of the four kinds of political diplomacy.
In political affairs, when a person disobediently agitates against the government, four principles are used to suppress him—legal orders, pacification, the offer of a post, or, finally, weapons. When there are no other arguments, he is punished. In logic, this is called argumentum ad baculum. When the two seminal brāhmaṇas Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka failed to extract from Prahlāda Mahārāja the cause for his having opinions different from those of his father, they called for a stick with which to chastise him to satisfy their master, Hiraṇyakaśipu. Because Prahlāda had become a devotee, they considered him to be contaminated by bad intelligence and to be the worst descendant in the family of demons. As it is said, where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. In a society or family in which everyone is a demon, for someone to become a Vaiṣṇava is certainly folly. Thus Prahlāda Mahārāja was charged with bad intelligence because he was among demons, including his teachers, who were supposedly brāhmaṇas.
The members of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are in a position similar to that of Prahlāda Mahārāja. All over the world, ninety-nine percent of the people are godless demons, and therefore our preaching of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, following in the footsteps of Prahlāda Mahārāja, is always hampered by many impediments. Because of their fault of being devotees, the American boys who have sacrificed everything for preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness are charged with being members of the CIA. Moreover, the seminal brāhmaṇas in India, who say that one can become a brāhmaṇa only if born in a brāhmaṇa family, charge us with ruining the Hindu system of religion. Of course, the fact is that one becomes a brāhmaṇa by qualification. Because we are training Europeans and Americans to become qualified and are awarding them brahminical status, we are being charged with destroying the Hindu religion. Nonetheless, confronting all kinds of difficulties, we must spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement with great determination, like that of Prahlāda Mahārāja. In spite of being the son of the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu, Prahlāda never feared the chastisements of the seminal brāhmaṇa sons of a demoniac father.
So the people of modern civilization, they have no information about this, how this body is being created. They are simply busy with the present problem. That's all. Present problem is not problem. We are eternal. Our problem is eternal. Therefore the modern age, the people are not very intelligent. They are advertising themselves that they are very much advanced. Actually, they are fools. And "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." The whole world is full of ignorant. Therefore we are trying to preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness—it is our folly. You see? It is our folly, "the cry in the wilderness." But we cannot stop this business. You see? They may think that "Why you are nonsense people? You have given up everything. You are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. You are fools. You are not enjoying life." They may say like that, but our, because we have nothing to do with them, our business is to satisfy the Supreme. That is my real sense gratification.
We are getting a better response from the Western countries than in India. In India, we see that the leaders, they do not like it. They are now opening beef shop, wine shop, and we are preaching "No intoxication, no meat-eating." So actually, we are not very favorable to their propaganda. (laughs) They don't like us, the leaders. Now there are big, big signboards. In Juhu we have got a center, and the government has opened beef shop, very big. And wine shop, you'll find everywhere. And we are preaching, "No intoxication, no meat-eating." So how they'll like us? That is the difficulty. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." But still, we are struggling.
Śyāmasundara: But if we take a consensus of all the citizens in the state that we must try to satisfy the majority, for what they expect to be good and happy, happiness.
Prabhupāda: No, he will say that this is my happiness: "I will take meat. You may say that you take Kṛṣṇa prasādam, no it is nonsense. (indistinct)."
Śyāmasundara: But the majority will take meat so...
Prabhupāda: Therefore meat is very good.
Śyāmasundara: That is the standard of pleasure, yes.
Prabhupāda: Therefore to these rascals meat is very good.
Śyāmasundara: Yes, utility.
Prabhupāda: If majority of the people are meat-eater, then meat is very good, full of vitamin. Therefore it is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. But we have to see what is the standard. Standard is given in the Bhagavad-gītā: that which increases duration of life, which increases strength, which increases feeling of pleasure, they are sattvika. These are stated in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1972 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: All criminals, they're foolish men. Out of ignorance one commits lawbreaking. So ignorance is not bliss, but it is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. That is the difficulty, our. The whole world is enjoying ignorance, and when we say about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they do not very much appreciate. If I say, "Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor, you are not proprietor," he'll not be very much satisfied. (laughs) Just see, ignorance is bliss. So it is my foolishness to say the real truth. Therefore this is, it is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. So we are taking the risk to offend people because they'll think we are fools.
Prabhupāda: That's all. They don't want to see people very enlightened. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." But at least how to become wise, that injunction has been given to you. Now you try to save the country, how to do it. These people will not be. You'll have to educate the people, and they'll vote you to the senators, president, and then your country will be nice. Just like by Kurukṣetra, Kṛṣṇa smashed all Duryodhana and company, and He posted Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja. That is the Kṛṣṇa's politics. He wanted to smash all these demons and have His own men posted on the royal throne.
God says, "Think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer obeisances unto Me." If we transfer these activities to God, we can become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is what we are teaching. We advise that what you are doing for some nonsense, do it for God. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is not difficult. But if I want to love a dog and become a dog in my next life, instead of loving God and becoming like God in the next life, that is my choice. The prison and university are open to everyone, and by making our choice, we can make our future destiny. These boys and girls are worshiping God, and people criticize them, but when a man worships a dog, he is not criticized. In this way society has progressed. When one worships God, he is criticized, and when he worships dog, he is considered a gentleman. So it is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss.
Prabhupāda: So ignorance... It is folly to be wise, so ignorance is bliss. So drinking is heaven. Even they go to moon planet, there must be wine. Otherwise, how it is heaven? That is called punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30), chewing the chewed. If your wine is heaven, then why do you take so much trouble? Why don't you drink here? Such rascals they are. Why you spend so much money? No, the heaven will be taken in bottle.
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Yaśomatīnandana: They accept like, "I have not seen President Nixon, but I accept because I read in the newspaper." So somebody says that, well, by following this bhakti you can see Kṛṣṇa, but they will not accept that.
Devotee (2): Why should they accept Kṛṣṇa as authority over Darwin authority?
Prabhupāda: Ah? Because He's accepted by...
Yaśomatīnandana: Great sages.
Prabhupāda: ...great sages, saintly persons, scholars...
Devotee (2): By many scientists.
Prabhupāda: Then fool's paradise it is called... It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. That is the only conclusion.
Karandhara: That's what they say about us.
Prabhupāda: Because this world is all full of fools, so it is very difficult to push on. That we know. Therefore we should not go to the mūḍhas.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Birds of a feather flock together.
Prabhupāda: (laughs) Yes.
Hṛdayānanda: So they can go to Darwin's planet, we'll go to Kṛṣṇa's planet.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughs)
Umāpati: Well, in a madhouse, a sane man is the only one considered mad.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So, "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." That is already there. So we have to act by the order of Kṛṣṇa, not by the votes of the madmen. Just see the fun. Everyone is under control. Who is free? It is simply illusion. They are thinking, "I am free." Nobody is free. Under the stringent laws of nature, and still, he is thinking, "I don't care for God." This is madness. This is madness. Already under the laws of God, but still, he's protesting, "No, I don't care for God. There is no God." So we have to save these madmen from further deterioration. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Devotee (3): Everyone thinks in terms of their own relative position.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Even an insignificant bird, because he knows swimming, he knows swimming, so he can (indistinct). Because you do not know swimming, you cannot say like that. Even insignificant bird, just see how nicely he is swimming. He knows the art. Everyone, cent percent of the modern people, they do not believe in God and they do not know what is religion. That is the position. They think religion is sentiment, anyone can manufacture his own sentiment, there is no God. This is going on. So we are in fault. It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. The whole world is under this conception; therefore we are at fault, we are preaching God consciousness.
Prabhupāda: Suppose I am thief and somebody accuses you that "He is a thief." So I don't take it seriously because I know, "I am also thief." Means these appeal, that does not appeal because "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." If everyone is thief, if you point out somebody that "He is thief, he cannot be trusted," then he knows that "I am also thief. It is not a big problem. I am also thief." Unless the whole public is sinless, he cannot appreciate a sinless leader. Care care mastado bhāi (?). This is natural. If I am thief, so what is the use of accusing you by other, "He is also thief." You'll take that "We all are thieves, all cousin brothers; so why this man should be only accused?"
Prabhupāda: The difficulty is, "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." Better you keep yourself ideal character that people can see that "Here is an ideal group of men." Otherwise, in politics... They are feeling the necessity of an honest leader, but they are themself dishonest, they people. So when you point out that "This leader is dishonest," they do not very much appreciate. There is a story in this connection I will tell you, that one man was drunkard. So his friend said, "You are drinking. You will go to hell." "Oh, my father also drinks." "Oh, he will also go to hell." "My mother also drinks." "Oh, she will also go to hell." In this way, all the family members, they scrutinizingly studying, that all of them were drunkards. You see? Then the man who was accused of drinking, he said, "If everyone is going to hell, then hell is heaven. (laughter) Because my father is going there, mother is going there, my brother is going there, I shall go there. It is heaven. Where is hell?"
Prabhupāda: So this is the position. As soon as you point out, "This man is dishonest," and you scrutinize, everyone is dishonest, then where is dishonesty? It is all honesty. Because if the whole business is dishonesty, so there is no question of honesty? Let it go on. That is the public opinion. Why one should be unnecessarily honest? If the whole world is dishonest, and the dishonest world is going on, then where is the harm? What is the use of becoming... The same thing: "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss."
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Mādhavānanda: Everyone thinks in terms of their own relative position.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (break) Even an insignificant bird, because he knows swimming, he knows swimming, so he can challenge, and because you do not know swimming, you cannot say like that. Even insignificant bird, just see how nicely he is swimming. He knows the art. (break) ...one, cent percent of the modern people, they do not believe in God, and they do not know what is religion. That is the position. They think, "Religion is sentiment. Anyone can manufacture his own sentiment. There is no God." This is the position. So we are in fault. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." The whole world is under this conception. Therefore we are at fault. We are preaching God consciousness.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Not only sitting, they have no other engagement. They do not know how human life should be utilized. They do not know. They are simply taking consideration of the body, running or skating or this or that, but they have no other engagement. They do not believe that there is soul and that soul's business is first business. They do not know that, neither they do accept it. They are under nature's law, very simply explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, dehino ’smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā. By nature's law you have to change your body. It is evident. Still, they will not believe. We're changing body every moment, and they will say, big, big professors, that after the body is finished, everything is finished. This is ajñāna. And that is going on as education, whole world. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." The whole world is in ignorance, so we are giving them wise instruction. They are thinking, "These people are crazy men." That's all.
Prabhupāda: If you remain blind about your karma and by nature's way you get different body, then what is your knowledge? Just like if you go to a doctor, he says that "Due to this infection, you have got this disease," so you know it so that in future you will be very careful. That is knowledge." I do not know why I have got this disease, and still, I do not know what further it is going on"—that is ignorance. (aside) Hare Kṛṣṇa. To remain in ignorance, that is the greatest sin. Tamasi ma: "Don't remain in darkness." That is Vedic injunction, "Enlighten yourself." Jyotir gama: "Go to the light." But where is your light, you do not know. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Karmīs say, "Ignorance is bliss."
Prabhupāda: (laughs) That's nice. Yes. That is dog's bliss.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Dhana-māna. Because they have got money, whatever they think, that's all right. And their gurus also will say, "Yes, it is all right." If the guru says that "It is not all right," then nobody will come to him. He has to say "It is all right," because he's also after money and woman. That's all. He does not come here to teach something. This is going on. Therefore they come in so many numbers. They have now taken a good field. And in America you go, you say any nonsense, and they'll accept. And pay money for that. From the very beginning it is going on. Now, because it is going on like that, we are also counted amongst them. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." This is the difficulty. They are also taking this movement, "Oh, these boys are chanting and dancing. This is also another sentiment, another edition of hippie movement." There is a, I think, Gresham's theory: "Bad money drives away good money." You know this? This is a economic theory. "Bad money drives away good money." Because nowadays bad money, that paper money, is going on, that gold coins no more in existence. Formerly we have seen gold coins in our childhood. You have not seen any. We have seen.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But there's a popular philosophy now that actually the dog is happy.
Prabhupāda: Yes, ignorance is bliss. It is folly to be wise. Fool's paradise. Anyone, like a child is happy. There is danger, but child does not care for it. But therefore it is called foolish. That is the difference between child and the child's father.
Prabhupāda: "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." If the majority are fools and rascal, if you say something sane, then they'll ask... The man, the sane man, he is insane. He's crazy.
Hari-śauri: Then how to fight them?
Prabhupāda: That is the position. The only means is that in spite of all opposition we have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That will cleanse. Otherwise there is no other way. Argument and logic, they have no brain to understand. It requires this transcendental method, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12), by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. That is wanted. You have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and let them give the chance to hear. Then they will be able to catch it, what we are saying, not directly. It is not possible.
Prabhupāda: No, that I have already explained. Everyone is foolish now. You cannot distinguish who is thief and who is not thief. (Bengali) If you study everyone you will find everyone is rascal at the present moment.
Dr. Kneupper: But surely there are some who are...
Prabhupāda: Some must be there. There is no doubt about it. But they are so in minority. Who will hear about them? "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." The whole world is rascal. If somebody is intelligent, who cares for him? Just like people laugh at me that I am talking of God. I am not only talking. I am writing so many books. My only endeavor is to understand God, that's all. There is no sectarian. And I am selling my books all over the world. So not that everyone is foolish. They're trying to understand my presentation, big, big scholars, big, big philosophers. Yes.
They do not know what is the economic value of this cow. In the beginning of your life you want milk immediately in the morning. And you are killing the mother? You are civilized? Do you think? You take milk up to the point of death. In South Africa, before killing the cows, they drag out milk and then send it. Milk is important, but because they are uncivilized, they do this. You take milk. Instead of killing, you prepare so many nice things from milk which is good for brain, good for intelligence. But they do not know because uncivilized. Foolish fourth-class men. So we are trying to bring them to become first-class men, and they are accusing of brainwash. "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." We are teaching that "These boys, they are becoming first-class." Anyone will worship them. How nice they look, how behavior, how their character. We are creating this, and they are accusing, "Oh, they are kidnapping our children."
Prabhupāda: "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." This is our position. When we speak all these things, they say it is brainwashing movement. Actually it is brainwashing movement because we are dissipating all kinds of misunderstanding, values of life. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). It is not brainwashing; it is heart-washing. Our heart is stacked with so many dirty things, so we are trying to wash it. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. And that is our movement. We are trying to cleanse the heart so that he can understand himself. One can understand his real position and then do the needful and life becomes successful.
1977 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: So at least Indians should join this movement. They're feeling the weight, the Western countries. They are opposing means that those who are thoughtful, they are thinking that "If this movement allowed to go on, then our civilization will be finished." That is their... That... They are right. They are right. If these young men, they go on under my instruction, I shall finish their civilization. That's a fact. No meat-eating in Western countries? (chuckling) No intoxication? No illicit sex? No gambling? That means their life is finished. And we are imitating, that "We are becoming advanced in civilization." And we are condemning.
CID Chief: But most of the people realize that that is not the real..., real kind of advancement.
Prabhupāda: "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss."
Prabhupāda: This education is lacking throughout the whole world, and we have started this movement to give this education, and people are against. That means they have become so fallen that they cannot even take up right knowledge. The same proverb: "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." So we have to struggle against this darkness, but we have to do it. This is our mission. We cannot stop it. It is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission, para-upakāra.
Prabhupāda: "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." This is the... The world is full of rascals and fools. So if you speak something sanity, they will take "Insanity." That is the difficulty. Two things are there, one spirit, one matter. They ignore spirit completely. Although they cannot understand, cannot replace. Just like the body. The body is smashed, but what was the element keeping the body? This simple thing they cannot understand. There are two things, matter and spirit. Unfortunate. When we speak of spirit, they take it as brainwash. So fool.
Prabhupāda: No, they are thinking that they are speaking the right thing, but to a person who is in knowledge, just like, they'll take, the child is talking knowledge... They are thin... When the child talks, he talks very seriously. But the father laughs. Child does not know that he is talking nonsense. That is their foolishness. They're all nonsense. They do not know they are nonsense. Because "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss"—the whole world full of nonsense and rascals—if you speak something sensible, they'll laugh. He has stated that, that nobody understands even a line of Bhagavad-gītā, I have said?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, in the article in the current news weekly they quoted Prabhupāda as saying that nobody even understands one line of Bhagavad...
Prabhupāda: No, you also understand now that charge, how it is a fact.
Prabhupāda: (Hindi) (Hindi conversation) And what about that Hindi translation?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That judge is making?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That has to be sent.
Prabhupāda: (Hindi) (Hindi conversation) (break) "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss." So restaurant is going on in Jalni(?) building? No.
Akṣayānanda: Evening, up till ten o'clock.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Esoteric and exoteric. But one thing is that it is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. If you think that ignorance is bliss, then why should we waste our time and money?
Our program for Krishna Consciousness is solid, and backed by most authoritative literature—Bhagavad-gita, and Srimad-Bhagavatam; there is no question of our not being popular to the world. Simply we have to present ourselves in true perspective. We can challenge any rascals of the world but the difficulty is that it is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. Maharishi Mahesa has gained so much popularity over Europe or America, means the people of this part of the world are not very much advanced in spiritual science. What is there philosophy in the teachings of Maharishi Mahesa? He is very clever man to collect fund. He is proposing individual mantra which is complete nonsense, and he is charging for mantra and allowing his disciples to enjoy life as they like. So these are all nonsense propaganda proposals, but people are blind in accepting his advice. One thing is, however, clear, that the Western people are searching after some spiritual enlightenment in the real sense of the term. Bhagavad-gita with the right presentation and the program of Krishna Consciousness is the right prescription, simply we have to administer them with cool head and solid program.
Regarding the Beatle hero, certainly you will find him nonsense. Actually they are nonsense, but in the Western part of the world it is a folly to be wise, and ignorance is bliss. This whole material civilization is gross ignorance, and therefore you cannot expect very intelligent persons in this part of the world. Even though one is a great philosopher, writer, or something like that, it does not qualify him to be one of the selected intelligent persons who take to Krishna Consciousness. There is another proverb in Bengali that in the forest a jackal is considered to be a great nobility because he is very cunning. Similarly, in the materialistic way of life everyone is blind, and in spite of thousands of big blind leaders, the followers who are also blind cannot get any tangible benefit. So you have done your duty to give him some impression about Krishna Consciousness. That is all right. We should not waste much of our time with these so-called leaders because they are jackals in the forest. They are not actually leaders. The only leader is Krishna and one who is Krishna Conscious. Others are simply misleaders.
Regarding these deprogrammers, we must defeat their false accusations in the courts. We do not force anyone. They may stay or go, the freedom is there. Out of their own accord they don't want association with meat eaters, drunkards, and debauches. Just as there is warning from the government that if you steal you'll be punished. We are convincing people not to commit sinful activities or associate with sinful persons. Are these bad tactics? We are making men of good character. It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss. Even 10 year old boys are smoking, so much degraded. We are trying to convince people to become first class men rather than fifth class men. We have to fight.