Archive for the 'War' Category

Q&As: control and its consequence
23 December 2008

December 23 2008

Here’s the second of five questions Sriman Krsna Mitra dasa sent me in October:


“Krsna says in Bhagavad-Gita 5.29, “I am the proprietor and I am the supreme enjoyer”, so how can I preach this point to normal peoples?”


Ownership means control. If someone actually owns something, they consequently have control of it. And if you have control of something, you have the right and ability to enjoy it.

However, it’s not difficult to understand that none of us minute living beings own anything. We have nothing that we can call our own possessions. Even our bodies, what to speak about anything associated with them, do not belong to us. At any moment they can be taken away.

On a visit to New Mayapur in France on August 2 1976 Srila Prabhupada spoke to the assembled students of our gurukula there.

August 2 1976 meeting with Gurukula

He explained that the root cause of all our difficulties lay in our false desire to want to become masters of all we survey:

[TD 3] “Quoting from Bhagavad-gita 18.66 he said devotional service begins with surrender. But he said the material disease is that everyone wants to become master; nobody wants to become a servant. Therefore there is a struggle for existence.

He said the history of Europe is one of war — one leader after another trying to become the master. “The “mastership competition” is going on life after life and in different species of life, but it is a false ambition.

Napoleon ‘Dubya’ the Great

whoops! Sorry, wrong dictator…

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Q&A – wars of this world
28 September 2008

September 28 2008


This history of this world, and especially in Kali-yuga is war. There is always some war going on somewhere. If we are fortunate we may escape its withering shadow–or not. Even if we do, are we any better off?

How do devotees view war and how do they deal with it?

 Here’s a fairly frequently asked question from Samatma Gour das in the CIS:

“Did Shrila Prabhupada ever speak of possible global military conflicts and cataclysms etc. What were his recommendations to the devotees, if any, in relation to this? Thank you in advance and special thanks for your Transcendental Diary!”


Among the many smaller wars-civil wars, cold wars, hot wars, holy wars-that are always going on, the last century saw two ‘world wars’.

ww1      ww2

With the development of atomic and nuclear capabilites, its easy to think in apocalyptic terms

 atom omb    end of the world

With the A-bomb it seemed that for the first time in history man had the capability of destroying the whole planet.

Srila Prabhupada did speak about a possible third world war and there are several conversations from 1974 on this, as well as some letters. You can read the conversation from May 27, 1974 in Rome.

The talk of a possible war sparked some speculation among the devotees and some wrote to Srila Prabhupada because they were concerned about the future. Here are some replies Srila Prabhupada made:

Letter to: Makhanlal — 22 June, 1973

“You have asked about whether nuclear devastation on this planet would effect the Sankirtana Movement. No, there is nothing that can stop the Sankirtana Movement because it is the will of God Himself, Lord Caitanya, that His Holy Name be heard in every town and village. Neither can the demons devastate this planet independent of the will of Krsna. Nothing happens without His sanction. If Krsna wants to kill someone no one can save Him, and if Krsna wants to save someone no one can kill him. For our parts we should just be determined to carry out our mission against all opposition, demons, nuclear war, whatever. The whole universe is finally subject to certain annihilation by the will of Krsna, but devotional service is eternal and is the only certain way one can save himself from devastation. We can preach all over the world that the only way to be saved from collective and individual devastation is to take to the chanting of Hare Krsna. In short, this material world is a very precarious place therefore we should always chant Hare Krsna and seek Krsna’s protection.”

Letter to Sukadeva das 24 November 1974:

“I am glad to learn that you are having nice college programs. Regarding there going to be depression and atomic war, who said that? This is all false propaganda. I never said this.

Letter to: Radhavallabha: — 21 August, 1975

“Do not worry, in spite of war, Srimad-Bhagavatam will be distributed. We don’t care for war. Our preaching business will go on.”

In one conversation a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada “If there is war, will devotees also die?” Srila Prabhupada replied that of course they will. And someone also asked what should the devotees do if there is a war. Srila Prabhupada said he should look up at the bomb coming down and say

 bomb drop

 “This is Krsna!”

On another occasion Srila Prabhupada reminded us that Krsna is always favorably disposed to His devotees: MW conversation, June 16, 1975 Hawaii:

Prabhupada: That will take place. Otherwise, how they will be killed?
Ambarisa: They’re calling it a limited nuclear war.
Prabhupada: They are accumulated so much sinful load that must be killed. That is sure. [break] …the massacre. That will take place.
Harikesa: The sinless people will survive?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Devotee (3): Who is that?
Prabhupada: We. [break] There was an artificial famine in India and I particularly inquired from all devotees whether they have got any problem in this famine. They said, “No, we haven’t got.” I have taken the statistics. In 1942 the artificial famine created by government… So there were big earthquake in Bihar. At that time one of my godbrother, he was government auditor. So I inquired. In that earthquake only his house was saved. I have seen it many times. Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati [Bg. 9.31]. That is the only….
samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesam
 [SB 10.14.58]
Padam padam yad vipadam na tesam. It is not meant for them, all these dangerous condition.”

Whatever happens, Krsna is behind it. Sometimes it seems that some powerful man or men are in control and with their inventions they may kill us all. But this is not the case. I remember an amusing but striking story Srila Prabhupada told us about Churchill, Hitler and World War 2: 

Churchill giving the V sign to Hitler    Hitler

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