Dr. Ghosh: In olden days there used to be the ghosts and all these things, but now that is gradually . . .
Prabhupāda: But gradually . . . that does not mean you have improved very much. Because you do not believe in the ghost . . .
Dr. Ghosh: Our mental condition has improved.
Prabhupāda: No, that does not mean . . . there are ghosts. Ghost means subtle life. It is not gross. So people know and has got some idea of the ghost, but they have no descriptive idea. Here is the descriptive idea. That is śāstra. Just like less than the śūdras, it is called pañcamas. How many pañcamas are there, that is described in the Bhāgavata: kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā ābhīra-śumbhā yavanaḥ khasādayaḥ (SB 2.4.18). That is śāstra. Gives full explanation, full knowledge. Śāstra cakṣuṣā. We have to accept through the śāstra. Not that, "Because I have not seen, therefore it is false." No. Vyāsadeva has no business to tell you something false. Otherwise he would not been accepted as the supreme guru by all the sampradāyas. You cannot defy Vyāsadeva. He is saying, you have to accept. "I have seen. I have no experience," that doesn't matter. So many things you do not know. Just like a child has no experience what is the other side of the sea. Does it mean that there is nothing? A child may say like that, but a person who has visited the Arabian countries and others, "Oh, no, no, no. There are so many things." So experience should be taken from a person who has got real experience. Not that, "Because I cannot see, it is void." That is not experience.
Girirāja: So "ghosts" refer to categories of ghosts or particular famous? These names . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, categories. Yes. There are so many. Just like human beings. Human beings. There are Americans, Indians and Africans and so many, so . . . (indistinct) . . . One knows that human being, and one knows in descriptive way. So whose knowledge is perfect?
Prabhupāda: Yes. This is descriptive.
Girirāja: (reading) "And similar other evil spirits will cause persons to forget . . ."
Prabhupāda: Evil spirit everyone believes, every country. In London there are so many ghosts. When I was in John Lennon's house, so they complained, "In this one house, every night a ghost comes." You see? So I advised them, "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. It will go away." Then it actually so happened.
Yaśomatīnandana: In many of our temple buildings also there were some ghosts.
Prabhupāda: Yes. No, I have got experience. In our Calcutta house, there was ghost. In Lucknow when I started that laboratory in Mr. Bhattacarya's house in Vatnagara(?), there was a ghost. I have practical experience. My servant . . .
Dr. Ghosh: I have heard a few cases. You see. I was reported that they see in that house there was ghost, and he used to put clothes to fire, you know, and they have to run for water to extinguish it. Then I went and examined. He was a friend of mine. Then I ultimately detected that his own wife got hysterical and used to do all those tricks.
Prabhupāda: No, that is also possible. But . . .
Dr. Ghosh: You see? So I discovered that there is no ghost, and I explained to them . . .
Prabhupāda: No, that is also possible. Sometimes we are misled. But ghosts, in every country, there are so many books, and especially it is mentioned in the Vedic literature also. Bhūta-preta-yoni. Bhūta-preta-yoni. That is described. Out of many forms of life, these bhūta-preta-yonis is also. Nana-yoni. Nana-yoni. There are different sources of birth. So bhūta-preta-yoni is also mentioned there, species of life. (break) Bhūta-preta is mentioned.