Religious and Cultural Elitism
Used with permission of the compiler.
Originally published in 2010, these quotes were compiled by Willem Vandenberg (Varnadi das), who joined ISKCON in Amsterdam in 1990. He served in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Sweden as a translator and editor and as a manager of one of its sub-complexes. After officially leaving ISKCON in 2010 he went on to further his career as a computer programmer in higher education. He now lives in Texas and enjoys life reading, writing, and traveling the world.
Prabhupada in His Own Words
Religious and Cultural Elitism
What follows is an extensive list of quotes from Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, on the topic of religious and cultural elitism. He would often explain how all religions are good and how it doesn’t matter what name of god you chant. However, his greater body of writing, lectures, and conversations show a deep rooted disdain for any religion other than his own version of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which he considered to be the answer to everything.
SB 4.18.8, purport
As far as the approved method is concerned, it is enjoined in the sastras that intelligent men in this age will take to the sankirtana movement, and by so doing they shall worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Caitanya, whose bodily complexion is golden and who is always accompanied by His confidential devotees to preach this Krishna consciousness movement all over the world. In its present condition, the world can only be saved by introducing this sankirtana, this Krishna consciousness movement. As we have learned from the previous verse, one who is not in Krishna consciousness is considered a thief.
SB 4.26.5, purport
This Krishna consciousness movement is the only means by which the sinful activities of men in this Kali-yuga can be counteracted.
SB 5.14.31, purport
Materialistic people are sometimes called sudras, or descendants of monkeys, due to their monkey like intelligence. They do not care to know how the evolutionary process is taking place, nor are they eager to know what will happen after they finish their small human life span. This is the attitude of sudras. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, this Krishna consciousness movement, is trying to elevate sudras to the brahmana platform so that they will know the real goal of life. Unfortunately, being overly attached to sense gratification, materialists are not serious in helping this movement. Instead, some of them try to suppress it. Thus it is the business of monkeys to disturb the activities of the brahmanas.
SB 5.19.10, purport
Therefore, this Krishna consciousness movement has been started not only for the inhabitants of Bharata-varsa but for all the people of the world, as announced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There is still time, and if the inhabitants of Bharata-varsa take this movement of Krishna consciousness seriously, the entire world will be saved from gliding down to a hellish condition.
Letter to: Kirtanananda, New York 14 April, 1967
Why not make me an Hon. teacher in the Religion Department for teaching the cult of Lord Caitanya which is the living religion of the world. All other religions of the world are carried by more sentiments than philosophy but Caitanya cult is full of philosophy and transcendental sentiments or emotions.
Letter to: Upendra, Los Angeles 2 December, 1968
You should know that as far as our Krishna Consciousness movement goes, we are better Christians than those who proclaim that they are following the orders of Christ. This is because we are following and generally they are not.
SB 6.1.22, Indore, December 13, 1970
They do not take care of Bhagavad-gita. They take care of a book written by some rascal leaders. That’s all. The aim of that book is to kill Krishna. That’s all. So how you can improve? It is not possible. If they actually want improvement, not only this country or that country, whole world to world, one has to take this Krishna consciousness movement; otherwise it is doomed. So we are giving the best service to the human society — Krishna consciousness.
Letter to: Satsvarupa, Los Angeles 9 July, 1971
Yes, we are above all religious work. Krishna Consciousness is post-graduate to all these religions and any religion can take lesson from us. Therefore we are not on the mundane plane. Other religions are trying to understand God vaguely and we are on the platform where God is really understood and we are associating with Him directly also.
Room Conversation, August 15, 1971, London
So these rascals, Westerners, they do not know and they are becoming philosopher, scientist, and politician, and spoiling the whole world. They can be saved only by this Krishna consciousness movement. There is no other way.
SB 1.2.12, Los Angeles, August 15, 1972
This life is meant for seeing Krishna. It is not meant for becoming dogs and hogs. Unfortunately, the whole civilization is going on, they are being trained to become dogs and hogs. It is the only institution that is teaching people how to see Krishna. This is the only institution, this Krishna consciousness movement. It is so important.
SB 1.2.17, Vrindavana, October 28, 1972
People have no taste. They do not understand the importance of this Krishna consciousness movement. But this is the only way by which one can become perfect and happy.
SB 1.3.14, Los Angeles, September 19, 1972
At the end there will be no foodgrains, at the end of Kali-yuga. That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. There will be no foodgrain, no fruits, no milk, no sugar. You have to live on flesh and blood. At that time, being hungry, you will kill your own children and eat flesh and blood. That day is waiting. So this is the civilization. Most heinous civilization. It can only be saved by spreading this Krishna consciousness movement. Otherwise there is no way.
SB 1.3.15, Los Angeles, September 20, 1972
There is need of spreading, unless… If you want to save…, if you are actually benevolent to your countrymen, to your society, to the human society, you must preach this Krishna consciousness movement. Otherwise they are going away, they are carried away by the influence of maya. That is… Therefore the most welfare activities, the most valuable welfare activity is to spread this Krishna consciousness movement all over the world.
BG 2.9, Auckland, February 21, 1973
This is Krishna consciousness movement. It is very scientific movement, authoritative movement. So not only it is authoritative, it is accepted by millions and thousands. At least in India there are many. And in the Western countries also, they are also accepting because it is scientific. They are not fools and rascals.
Letter to: Makhanlal, Mayapur 22 June, 1973
You have asked about whether nuclear devastation on this planet would affect 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.
Morning Walk, December 8, 1973, Los Angeles
Nobody cares for the Bible or the Pope. That is everywhere, not only Christian. Actually there is no religion at the present moment. All animals. We don’t blame only the Christians. The Hindus, Muslim, everyone. They have lost all religion.
SB 1.15.30, Los Angeles, December 8, 1973
“Here is whisky, here is this wine, here is that wine, here is this woman, here is this illicit sex, here is this cigarette, here is meat-eating, here is…” This is going on. So therefore this Krishna consciousness movement is the only humanitarian work who can save the human society.
SB 1.2.6, Calcutta, February 26, 1974
Real dharma is sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [BG 18.66]. This is dharma. All bogus type of dharma — Hindu religion, Muslim religion, this religion, that religion — they are not dharma. Therefore it is said here, sa vai pumsam paro dharmah. Parah means Supreme. What is that? Yato bhaktir adhoksaje, “Wherein this is taught, ‘Just surrender to the Supreme Lord, Krishna,’ that is first-class religion.” All other religions, they are bogus. That is not religion.
SB 1.5.23, Vrindavana, August 4, 1974
So if you are ruled by the fifth-grade men, then how you can be happy? That is not possible. How there can be any social tranquility? That is not possible. But even the fifth-grade man, he can be purified by Krishna consciousness movement. Therefore there is great need of this movement. Because at the present moment there is no first-class men, no first-grade men, no second-grade men. Maybe third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, like that. But they can be purified. That is… The only process is this Krishna consciousness movement. Anyone can be purified.
BG 13.1-2, Miami, February 25, 1975
So if you want to be educated, make the solution of all the problems of the world, then you must take to this Krishna consciousness movement. This is the only solution. It will educate people the real identity, real position.
Morning Walk, May 14, 1975, Perth
Prabhupada: Fourth-class men.
Prabhupada: They are discussing in the university homosex. They are advanced. Advancement of education. Just see. They are not even fourth-class men; they are animals, producing so many animals, that’s all, dogs and hogs. [break] …in the beginning samah. Samah, damah — first two business. Control the sense and keep the mind undisturbed. That is the beginning. Now they are so much sexually disturbed, they’re discussing about the profit of homosex. Where is first-class men?
Amogha: They say that homosex keeps the balance of things because…
Prabhupada: Yes, fourth-class man can say anything wrong, bad, but we are not going to hear of it. A fourth-class man’s philosophy, we will have to waste our time to hear them — that’s not good. They are not even fourth class; they are animal class. Fourth class has got some position, but they are naradhama, the lowest of the mankind. So what is their philosophy, and who is going to spoil his time to hear about their philosophy?
Morning Walk, May 18, 1975, Perth
The world is full of rascals and fourth-class men. That is our verdict, Krishna’s verdict. A human being does not know God, he’s no better than dog. He is dog. Who knows God? There are so many scientists, philosophers, now everywhere. And they are discussing on sex philosophy, homosex philosophy, Darwin’s theory. All third class, fourth class, they are controlling. Now they are gradually coming to chaotic condition, and their problems, engage so many big, big officials how to solve. Oh, why you created problem, first of all? You third-class, fourth-class men, you have created problem, and now we are trying to make solution — another problem. And because you are the same fourth-class men, how you can make a solution? You have created the problems. The man who creates problems, can he make solution? So you are the same fourth-class man, how you can make a solution? Bring first-class man. But there are no first-class men. All rogues and rascals. Things are becoming bad to worse, and still they’ll claim, “We are first class.”
Room Conversation with Ambarisa and Catholic Priest, June 14, 1976, Detroit
No, no culture. There is no culture. There is no standard social life. Simply hodgepodge. So this Krishna consciousness movement is the only hope to bring everything in proper order.
Conversation in Airport and Car, June 21, 1976, Toronto
Yes. I never said that “You have to give up this, you have to do this.” Never said. Then gradually ceto-darpana-marjanam [CC Antya 20.12]. When the heart becomes cleansed, then little. There is no hopelessness. So many people have come, and they are coming. Both black, white, everyone is coming. There is no question of (indistinct). But you cannot expect that cent percent people will come; that is not possible. But even, even one-fourth percent people come to this, then it will be successful. Compared to the American population, what percentage we have got? Still they have made some impression, the Hare Krishna movement. Literatures are selling, they are appreciating, learned circle. Takes some time, but if we stick to our principles and do not make any compromise and push on — in this way, I have given you instruction, it will never stop; it will go on. It will never stop. At least for ten thousand years it will go on. That is your… (indistinct) And this movement is meant for these fourth-class, fifth-class, tenth-class men. Not this movement is fourth class, fifth class. They are so fallen that they cannot be counted even third class, fourth class-tenth-class of men. Deliver them. Patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s incarnation is for delivering these classes of men. Caitanya Mahaprabhu never meant to start this movement for high-class brahmanas, sages, saintly persons — no. This class of men. For the all fallen. Don’t be disappointed, go on, go on. Stick to the principles
CC, Madhya-lila 20.105, New York, July 11, 1976
Just like we sometimes challenge these big, big scientists and others, and what is our strength? I am not a scientist, but how I can challenge? The Veda gaya. We have got evidence from the Vedas. Just like so many people are thinking that the moon planet is first. We are challenging, “No, moon planet is second.” What is the strength? The strength is Vedic knowledge. We cannot accept it. So vede gaya yanhara carita. Vedic knowledge is so perfect that you can challenge so many scientists. Yes. If it is not in accordance to the Vedic knowledge, then it is… We do not accept.
Room Conversation, April 28, 1977, Bombay
Because they have no valid philosophy. It is simply official. They have nothing, no knowledge, no nothing, simply that dress and cloth. That’s all.
Discussion with Syamasundara dasa about Hegel, 1976
Actually except Bhagavata religion, all other religions in the world are sentiments. Therefore in Bhagavata beginning is said, dharmah projjhita kaitava, all cheating type of religion is kicked out from dharma. Projjhita, kicked out. Except Bhagavata religion, any religion which is going on in the world, they’re all cheating.
Room Conversation with son Vrindavan De, July 5, 1977, Vrindavana
If we introduce this Ratha-yatra in every city, all other religions will be finished. (laughs) Eh?