1. Christopher Columbus and self-realization

    (Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas was on October 12, 1492)

    Hrdayananda: How many different ways are there for self-realization?

    Prabhupada: Only one path. God is one, and to realize Him, the path is one. There cannot be two paths. Just like suppose in India. So India is from here to the eastern side? Yes. This is an example. But you cannot find in the western side. Just like Columbus. He wanted to discover India. He did not go to the eastern side; he went to the western side. So he found America, that's all. [laughter] So if you want to find out God, then you have to take the right path. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. He never says, "By jnana, karma, yoga one can achieve God." That is not possible. Only by bhakti. So if you want to have God, then you have to take these devotional activities, but if you want to have maya, you can take different paths.

    Hrdayananda: [translating] …there's only one path straight. He was saying how Columbus also, if he would have kept going, he could have…

    Prabhupada: Yes, you are right. If Columbus would have gone still farther, farther, western side, and he could have gained India. That means if you take other path, then you will achieve God after many, many lifes, not immediately. So if you want to waste your time [indistinct] God, you can take different paths. But if you want immediately, take to bhakti path.

    Srila Prabhupada — February 21, 1975, Caracas