In 1968, the editor of BACK TO GODHEAD suggested to Srila Prabhupada that BTG publish an article explaining point by point how to develop a spiritual world civilization. On October 17, 1968, Srila Prabhupada wrote the following reply.
Regarding your point program for a spiritual world civilization—it is a very nice suggestion. And practically our Krsna consciousness movement is built on this idea, that we want to make a world civilization on the basis of spiritual understanding. So I am giving you some points which you may expand or do it for understanding of the people in general. But the point should be as follows: first point, that any civilization devoid of God consciousness or Krsna consciousness is no civilization at all. It is simply a polished type of animal society. This is the first point. So at the present moment, the modern civilization on the basis of so-called scientific knowledge and economic development is trying to avoid God consciousness, or Krsna consciousness—that is the defect of the modern civilization. Therefore, in spite of all advancement it is zero. So zero has no value. And millions of zeroes put together does not make any value. But if one is put on the left side of the zero, it increases the value. Then one zero becomes ten, two zeros become 100, three zeros becomes 1,000, so it is very nice. This point should be clearly discussed, that without God consciousness, Krsna consciousness, any attempt of human civilization, so called philosophical or political or economical or labor, they are all zero.
The human society should be divided as a social order, they should be divided as the renounced order of life, retired order of life, householder, and student life.
Third point, all these divisions are meant for understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this Krsna consciousness movement is meant for teaching this necessity of human civilization.
Fourth point, so far the administrator class of man, or mercantile class of men, and laborer class of men, there are many institutions, but to train a first-class intellectual man there is no institution all over the world. And there is no institution for spiritual training also. So this Krsna consciousness movement is trying to help human society on these two points, which they are lacking. So we have therefore taken a large tract of land to begin with, in W. Virginia, the place is called New Vrindavan. So we want to train students for becoming the first-class intellectual person, and instruct the whole human society about the aim of life, and Krsna consciousness or God consciousness. So we are inviting the desiring or intending students to join in our institution, and we invite the public and government to cooperate with our movement.
The fifth point is that in whatever division one may be situated, this very aim of life should be to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the duty of everyone, it doesn’t matter in what status of life he is situated, but if he wants to have a successful life, then he must learn to see how by his activities the Supreme Lord is satisfied. That should be the aim. Then it does not matter what is the position and occupation of the man, but he is in the right order of civilization because his very aim is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Next point. And in order to learn this art, how he is able to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one has to take instruction or education in the art of Krsna consciousness, by reading Bhagavad-gita as it is, by reading Srimad-Bhägavatam, which are calculated the science of God, and following the teachings of Lord Caitanya, such practice should be performed twenty-four hours. It is not that one may meditate for fifteen minutes and he becomes spiritually advanced. It is not possible. So the Krsna consciousness movement is training people how to be absorbed in the thought of Krsna, twenty-four hours. Take for example the Bhagavad-gita: the instructions of Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita are just suitable for a perfect human civilization. So one should learn this teaching of Bhagavad-gita as it is.
Next point. In order to understand this teaching of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, there should be centers where people can assemble daily, morning or evening, and try to understand this Krsna consciousness or God consciousness movement. So we are trying to open branches all over the world, in every city, in every town, in every village, and people should take advantage of it. There is no question of monetary transaction to enter into these centers and institutions, but because we have to maintain such institutions, public should voluntarily contribute, and that is very gladly accepted.
Next point. When people are accustomed to associate with these different centers of Krsna consciousness movement, they will one day come out of the material concept of life. Just like one becomes awakened from sleep. While sleeping, one sees so many nonsense dreams, but as soon as one is awakened, he becomes conscious that, “Oh, I was seeing so many nonsense dreams; actually it has no existence.” Similarly, when a person becomes Krsna consciousness, he can understand the falsity representation of this material civilization.
Next point. And when he is awakened, he becomes completely detached from the so-called affection for designations, namely society, friendship and love.
Next point. By such understanding, one is not so much materially active. One is situated with income which can simply maintain his body and soul together, and he is no more interested to increase the bank balance unnecessarily for sense gratification. The defect of the modern civilization is that everyone is earning money undoubtedly in large volumes, but he does not know how to spend. He is spending simply for sense gratification, and the last word of sense gratification is sex. Therefore all money is being spent up for intoxication and sexual life, nudey dance, nudey theater, in so many ways. That means they are spoiling their human source of energy.
Next point. One should be so trained up that within the heart he will be freed from all material attraction, but so long the body is there, to keep the body and soul together he has to work like ordinary man.
Next point. The society, friendship and love of material existence may be accepted without any attraction, and whatever the so-called society, friendship and love wants to take service from us, one should simply say, “Yes, it is very nice,” but actually he should give more importance for spiritual advancement of life.
Next point. One should know it certain that material resources, either in this planet or in other planets, either in the sky or within the earth, namely within the mines, all the properties that is being utilized at the present moment as economic development, one should understand definitely that all the ingredients stocked—for example, the petroleum now stocked within the earth, and people are utilizing it for so many power machinery—one should know that this petroleum belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not man-made. Nor the scientists can manufacture. Similarly everything, all commodities, all things, all properties, they are made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This understanding must be there.
Next point. One can enjoy such properties, but with this understanding: that they belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just like one is situated in the public park in a very nice garden, public park, but one should always remember that the public park does not belong to him personally, but it is the property of the government or the state.
Next point. Therefore, the properties made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be utilized by all living entities. Every living entity, not only the human beings but also the animals, they have got right to live on the property of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Next point. Nobody can encroach upon the right of other living entities. Everyone is supplied by the Lord the food, shelter, by natural arrangement, so nobody should encroach upon the right of living of others. As such, the human being is considered to be the highest developed conscious animals, so if they utilize this consciousness in relationship with Krsna, that is called Krsna consciousness.
Next point. A Krsna conscious person does not encroach upon the right of other living beings. As such they do not approve organized slaughterhouses for killing animals.
Next point. If you maintain slaughterhouses, then you have to suffer the consequence, because in the law of nature there is no distinction between one life to another. Every living entity is equally valuable.
Next point. Every living entity is claimed as the son of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They may be dressed differently. Because the body is dress, the body is not identification with the living entity. Therefore the living entity may be dressed 8,400,000 of different dresses, and the living entity as he is, there is no qualitative difference between human being and animal. Therefore, their material necessities are the same, namely eating, sleeping, mating, and defending.
Next point. The foolish idea that animals or plants or other living entities have no life is the basic cause of human sinful activities.
Next point. One should be satisfied only to fulfill the belly. That is the eating process. If you can satisfy your belly by such things as grains, vegetables, fruits and milk, you have no right to kill another animal for satisfying the taste of your tongue. The human society is meant for living on the natural production, namely grains, fruits, vegetables and milk. They should not indulge extravagantly for other things. And if actually they are Krsna conscious, they know the art of how to prepare thousands of palatable dishes only from the varieties of vegetables, grains, fruits, and milk. If anyone takes more than he requires, then he is understood to be a thief. Nobody should accumulate for future consumption of family, society, or nation more money or more grains or more vegetables or more eatables; one should have only as much as he requires. If there is greater production, that should be distributed to persons who need them. Because food grains, especially, they are meant for all living entities, they should not be spoiled.
Next point. Therefore, one who spoils food grains unnecessarily, he is criminal. And one who accumulates more money than is actually required, he is also criminal. And according to the law of nature, or according to the law of God, such persons are surely to be punished.
This punishment may not be visible in this life, but because life is eternal, it is continuity, one must be prepared to accept taking the risk. Therefore, the living entity is transmigrating from one body to another, and that is his problem of life. The human life is meant for solving this problem. All animals, like deer, camel, ass, monkey, even flies and snakes, none should be ill-treated. Even they enter into the house or in the fields and take their eatables, they should not be stopped. Because they have also got the right to eat eatables supplied by the Lord. And they will not eat more, neither they will take at home. They are better than human beings. If a human being is allowed to enter into the field or into the garden, he will try to take away something for selling or stocking, but the animals do not. So the innocent animals should be accepted as children of the householder.
Nobody should take to very hardship labor. The modem civilization has discovered severe types of dangerous industries, and laborers are attracted for high wages. But they should not accept such work. Then naturally there will be less capitalistic idea. Because the laborer cooperates, therefore demoniac persons they take advantage and make unnecessarily increase of artificial demands of the body. Better one should be satisfied with agricultural produce than go into large cities to be engaged in industry. Peaceful life depending on agricultural produce can bring him real happiness and prosperity, not otherwise. The more persons will be satisfied at their home, with home economics, not to go outside the home, that is peaceful life. In India, Mahatma Gandhi tried to organize villages in that way so as not to drag the people to the town. So peaceful atmosphere can be attained only when there is large-scale village organization, actually village life. Poet Cowper said that country is made by God and the cities and towns are made by man. So that is the distinction.
There are many such nice ideas for peaceful living on this planet and execute Krsna consciousness, so that one may become completely freed from contamination of material existence and get eternal life, just after quitting this body. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita. Tyaktva deha punar janma naiti mam eti so’rjuna. By simple prosecution of Krsna consciousness, one goes back to home, back to Godhead, just after quitting this present body.
If people cooperate with this Krsna conscious movement, certainly a better type of civilization can be introduced for permanent peace and prosperity of the whole world.
BTG Editorial Policies,The Back to Godhead Handbook-BTG 1968