Mukunda: You write in your autobiography that "No matter how good you are, you still need grace to get out of the material world. You can be a yogi or a monk or a nun, but without God's grace you still can't make it." And at the end of the song "Living in the Material World," the Iyrics say, "Got to get out of this place by the Lord Sri Krishna's grace, my salvation from the material world." If we're dependent on the grace of God, what does the expression "God helps those who help themselves" mean?

George: It's flexible, I think. In one way, I'm never going to get out of here unless it's by His grace but then again, His grace is relative to the amount of desire I can manifest in myself. The amount of grace I would expect from God should be equal to the amount of grace I can gather or earn. I get out what I put in. Like in the song I wrote about Prabhupada:

The Lord loves the one that loves the Lord
And the law says if you don't give,
then you don't get loving
Now the Lord helps those that help themselves
And the law says whatever you do
It comes right back on you

--"The Lord Loves the One that Loves the Lord" from Living in the Material World

Have you heard that song "That Which I Have Lost" from my new album, "Somewhere in England"? It's right out of the Bhagavad-gita. In it I talk about fighting the forces of darkness, limitations, falsehood, and mortality.

Mukunda: Yes, I like it. A lot of people, when they just get started in spiritual life, worship God as impersonal. What's the difference between worshiping Krishna, or God, in His personal form and worshiping His impersonal nature as energy or light?

George: It's like the difference between hanging out with a computer or hanging out with a person. Like I said earlier, "If there is a God, I want to see Him," not only His energy or His light, but Him.

Mukunda: What do you think is the goal of human life?

George: Each individual has to burn out his own karma and escape from the chains of maya (illusion), reincarnation, and all that. The best thing anyone can give to humanity is God consciousness. Then you can really give them something. But first you have to concentrate on your own spiritual advancement; so in a sense we have to become selfish to become selfless.

Mukunda: What about trying to solve the problems of life without employing the spiritual process?

George: Life is like a piece of string with a lot of knots tied in it. The knots are the karma you're born with from all your past lives, and the object of human life is to try and undo all those knots. That's what chanting and meditation in God consciousness can do. Otherwise you simply tie another ten knots each time you try to undo one knot. That's how karma works. I mean, we're now the results of our past actions, and in the future we'll be the results of the actions we're performing now. A little understanding of "As you sow, so shall you reap" is important, because then you can't blame the condition you're in on anyone else. You know that it's by your own actions you're able to get more in a mess or out of one. It's your own actions that relieve or bind you.

"My Sweet Lord"

Mukunda: I don't think it's possible to calculate just how many people were turned on to Krishna consciousness by your song "My Sweet Lord." But you went through quite a personal thing before you decided to do that song. In your book you said, "I thought a lot about whether to do 'My Sweet Lord' or not because I would be committing myself publicly ... Many people fear the words Lord and God ... I was sticking my neck out on the chopping block ... but at the same time I thought 'Nobody's saying it ... why should I be untrue to myself?' I came to believe in the importance that if you feel something strong enough, then you should say it.

"I wanted to show that Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing. I did the voices singing 'Hallelujah' and then the change to 'Hare Krishna' so that people would be chanting the maha-mantra-before they knew what was going on! I had been chanting Hare Krishna for a long time, and this song was a simple idea of how to do a Western pop equivalent of a mantra which repeats over and over again the holy names. I don't feel guilty or bad about it; in fact it saved many a heroin addict's life."

Why did you feel you wanted to put Hare Krishna on the album at all? Wouldn't "Hallelujah" alone have been good enough?

George: Well, first of all "Hallelujah" is a joyous expression the Christians have, but "Hare Krishna" has a mystical side to it. It's more than just glorifying God; it's asking to become His servant. And because of the way the mantra is put together, with the mystic spiritual energy contained in those syllables, it's much closer to God than the way Christianity currently seems to be representing Him. Although Christ in my mind is an absolute yogi, I think many Christian teachers today are misrepresenting Christ. They're supposed to be representing Jesus, but they're not doing it very well. They're letting him down very badly, and that's a big turn off.