Later in the morning, a couple of young men from a local yoga asrama came to speak to Srila Prabhupada. They were respectful, and asked some very good questions, which Srila Prabhupada spent a considerable time answering.
Young man: Your Divine Grace, is the purpose of human life to realise God?
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the only purpose.
Young man: Srila Prabhupada, have you realised God?
Prabhupada: What do you think? What is your opinion?
Young man: I can't say.
Prabhupada: Then if I say "Yes", what will you understand? If you are not expert, then even if I say: "Yes, I am God realised," how will you take it as truth? If you do not know what God realisation is, then how can you ask this question? And how will you be satisfied by the answer?
Young man: What is God realisation?
Prabhupada: So you don't know, but you are asking: "Are you God realised?" Therefore you should not put this question. It has no value. A medical man can discuss his qualifications with another medical man in technical terms, but one who does not know the terminology, cannot understand. So you should not ask this question.
Young man: So you think we should...
Prabhupada: Unless you are prepared to take whatever answer I give. Are you prepared?
Young man: Yes.
Prabhupada: Then it is alright; I am seeing God at every moment.
But unless you are prepared to take the answer, you should not ask such questions.
Young man: Your Divine Grace, is meditation a means to realise God?
Prabhupada: Yes, meditation is one means, but you cannot meditate now, because you do not know what God is. So how will you meditate? If you do not know what God is, upon whom will you meditate? First of all, you must know. We know God -- Krsna -- and Krsna says man-mana bhava mad bhaktah: "Always think of Me". So we meditate upon Krsna. That is perfect meditation because meditation means to think of God. But if you do not know what God is, how can you think of Him?
Young man: It is written in many scriptures that God is light.
Prabhupada: God is everything. God is darkness, also. We say that God is that Person from Whom everything comes. So light comes from God, and darkness also comes from God.
Young man: Do you think that meditation is a way to see God inside yourself?
Prabhupada: Yes. That is the description of meditation. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah: By concentrating his mind, the yogi tries to see God within. So you must know what God is. Consider our ISKCON institution, for example. My disciples know what God is, so they can think of God. But if you have no idea of God, how will you think of Him?
Young man: This path of devotional yoga, bhakti-yoga, is this the path for the present age?
Prabhupada: Yes. Bhakti-yoga is the real yoga. You'll find that when the yoga system is described in the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says: "The first-class yogi is he who is always thinking of Me, Krsna, within himself." So our students are being taught to think of Krsna always, twenty-four hours a day, without stopping. That is first-class yoga.
Young man: If you are to think about something, you first have to see it. Do you show your devotees Krsna?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Certainly.
Young man: Then what.... well.... what is Krsna? What does He look like?
Srila Prabhupada pointed to the picture of Krsna on the wall. "Yes, here is Krsna."
Young man: But that's a painting!
Prabhupada: Yes, it's a painting. It is a painting. But suppose a painting of you were there. Could I not say, "Here is Mr. Such and such?"
Young man: Yes.
Prabhupada: Then what is the wrong there? Is your picture not yourself?
Young man: Yes, it is.
Prabhupada: Similarly, this is Krsna's painting. But the difference is that we cannot talk with your picture, but we can talk with Krsna's picture. That is the difference.
Young man: But still, somebody must have seen Krsna to actually paint him.
Prabhupada: Yes. When Krsna was present on this earth, so many people saw Him. And since then, there have been so many temples of Krsna's Deity, Krsna's form. The same form described in the Vedic literature appeared personally, and the devotees made statues. These forms of Krsna are being worshipped regularly. There are thousands and thousands of Krsna temples.
Young man: But has actually anybody seen Krsna?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes -- Just as your father has seen your grandfather. You may not have seen him, but your father can describe him -- "My father was like this". What is the difficulty?
Satsvarupa: He asked if anyone now has seen Krsna.
Prabhupada: How can one see Him now? One has to see through the parampara, the disciplic succession. You have not seen your grandfather, so how do you know who he was?
Young man: Your parents tell you.
Prabhupada: Yes. So you have to receive knowledge about God from the authorities, from the parampara.
Young man: But supposedly Krsna is eternal, so surely He exists today.
Prabhupada: Yes, Krsna is existing. At night the sun is existing, but you have no eyes to see it. That does not mean that the sun does not exist. It is your deficiency. You cannot see.
Young man: So we need divine sight.
Prabhupada: Yes. You require qualification to see Him.
- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu