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Speaking in Africa

It's recorded that when one of Srila Prabhupada's first disciples said to him in 1968 that he didn't see the point of sending devotees to Africa to preach, Srila Prabhupada rebuked him, saying: "You are thinking because they are negroes they cannot become Krishna conscious. But I am seeing you as a white negro!"

Srila Prabhupada's more egalitarian teachings transcended racism, sexism, nationalism, caste-ism, and speciesism. When asked to speak at the University of Nairobi in Kenya in September 1972, Srila Prabhupada addressed an overflow crowd of students and government officials at the campus' Taifla (Independence) Hall. In his lecture, he advised the citizens of the developing nation of Kenya to pursue spiritual development, rather than economic development:

"When a suit becomes old, we give it up and accept another suit; similarly the soul is changing dresses according to desire...This godly particle, the soul, or the living force, is transmigrating from aquatics to trees and plants and then from trees and plants to insect life, then to reptile life, then to the bodies of birds and beasts.

"Darwin's theory of evolution is but a partial explanation of the transmigration of the soul. Darwin has simply taken information from Vedic literature, but he has no conception of the soul. The difference is that the soul is transmigrating from aquatic life to plants and trees, then to insect life, then to bird life, then animal life, then human life, and within human life he moves from uncivilized life to civilized life, etc.

"The civilized life of a human being represents the culmination of evolution. Here is a junction: from this point we can again slide down into the cyclic process of evolution, or we can elevate to a godly life. The choice is up to us. This is indicated in the Bhagavad-gita...We are part and parcel of God, but somehow we have fallen into this material existence; now we have to evolve in such a way that we can go back home, back to Godhead. That is the highest perfection.

"...Just as God has no birth or death, we spirit souls can have neither birth nor death, but because we think, 'I am this body,' we consider that we are born and that we die. Such thinking is called maya, or illusion...When one realizes aham brahmasmi, 'I am not this body; I am spirit soul..The so-called universal brotherhood or unity that the United Nations is trying to achieve is possible only when you have come to the spiritual platform...the aim of human life.

"One should not work like cats, dogs, and hogs...A hog will have sex with its mother or sister or anyone else, and this is a hog's life. However, the scriptures indicate that the human form of life is not meant for working hard for sense gratification like cats, dogs, and hogs.

"It is meant for realizing, 'I do not belong to this material world. I am spirit soul and am eternal, but somehow or other I have fallen into this conditioned life of birth, old age, disease, and death.' This human form of life is meant for making a solution to these four material miseries -- birth, old age, disease, and death. That is the aim of human life...

"People who do not believe in the soul are in a most unfortunate condition. They do not know where they came from nor where they are going. Knowledge of the soul is the most important knowledge, but it is not discussed in any university...but by this Krishna Consciousness movement we are trying to educate people so that they can understand that they are not these bodies but are spirit souls. The business of human life is different from the business of cats and dogs. That is our message...

"Pople do not know what actual self-interest is; it is to realize oneself, to realize, 'I am part and parcel of God, and I have to return to the kingdom of God to join with God.'

"Just as we have a social life here, God has a social life in the spiritual kingdom. You can join Him there...Therefore, we should not waste our time living like cats and dogs...Without understanding God and without becoming God conscious, there is no possibility of peace and happiness. The way of peace and happiness is outlined in the Bhagavad-gita...

"We therefore invite the most intelligent men in the world to understand this Krishna Conscious philosophy and try to distribute it all over the world. We have now come to the African countries, and I invite all intelligent Africans to come and understand this philosophy and distribute it. You are trying to develop yourselves, so please develop spiritually, for spiritual development is sound development.

"Don't imitate the Americans and Europeans, who are already living like cats and dogs. Such civilizations built on the consciousness of sense gratification cannot stand. The atom bomb is already there, and as soon as the next war breaks out, all their skyscrapers and everything else will be finished. Try to understand this from the real viewpoint of human life, the spiritual viewpoint. This is what this Krishna Consciousness movement is about."

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