Guest: What is God to a layman like me?
Prabhupāda: Layman, well, layman means, we already explained, he's no better than animal. Because layman means one who thinks that, "I am this body." He's layman. He has no other information. So layman is equal to animal. So layman's education, layman's advancement, is decoration of the dead body. If you decorate a dead body, you can feel satisfaction. But others will laugh, that "What a fool he is. He's decorating a dead body?"
- jātiḥ śāstraṁ japas tapaḥ
- aprāṇasyaiva dehasya
- maṇḍanaṁ loka-rañjanam
- (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 3.11)
Layman's business is decorating this dead body, that's all.
Guest: Yeah, but if you were to explain to him what is God, how would you explain to him?
Prabhupāda: Then, suppose, what you are? What is your business? What do you do? You're teacher, what is the subject matter?
Guest: I teach in law.
Prabhupāda: So if one wants to know what is law, he must become a student. It is not that simply asking, "What is law, sir?" you can make him understand within a minute or within hour. Is it possible?
Prabhupāda: First of all, you must become graduate, then you should take entrance in the law college, then you must learn. So what is God, that is the inquiry, but it requires training. And that is Vedic dharma, varṇāśrama-dharma. Varṇāśrama-dharma. Varṇāśramācaravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān (CC Madhya 8.58). Anyone who has taken to these system of varṇāśrama-dharma, four varṇas: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra; and four āśrama: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa . . . unless one takes to this institutional education, he's no more than an animal.
So to know God means he must become a brāhmaṇa, real, qualified brāhmaṇa. Therefore brāhmaṇa is respected. Because, brahma-jānātīti brāhmaṇa. So . . . but there is no law. Lawless country. Therefore one is passing as a brāhmaṇa without any knowledge of Brahman. That is the defect. Formerly the government will see . . . I was explaining this, this morning, that it is the kṣatriya's duty to see that one is passing as a brāhmaṇa, whether he's qualified. Why he should pass? Suppose he says, "I'm medical man." He must be qualified. And if he says: "I am medical man," then he's cheating. So you cannot call yourself a brāhmaṇa unless you are qualified. But that is going on. And this cheating is being accepted.
Therefore this varṇāśrama-dharma. Hindu dharma or Vedic dharma means varṇāśrama-dharma. One must first of all accept the principles of varṇas and āśrama. Then there is question of understanding God. God is not so cheap thing, "What is God?" and you understand immediately. You must become first of all brāhmaṇa.