Below are a few statements by Prabhupada where he is trying to get us all to wake up and understand that "simple living high thinking" is not just some catchy slogan he invented. No.
Prabhupada wanted us to use our intelligence to figure out (obviously by hearing from him) the best way to live in this world AND by doing that, how our spiritual life becomes much easier. He made a statement once, to paraphrase…" your material life increase when one gives up the desire to go back to Godhead in this lifetime, by simply making arrangements to be comfortable here."
Below we have some of his words of wisdom to this effect.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.19.21 Purport
The aim of the varnasrama divisions – brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacharya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa – is to train one to control the senses and be content with the bare necessities.
Here Lord Vamanadeva, as an ideal brahmachari, refuses Bali Maharaja's offer to give Him anything He might want. He says that without contentment one could not be happy even if he possessed the property of the entire world or the entire universe. In human society, therefore, the brahminical culture, ksatriya culture and vaisya culture must be maintained, and people must be taught how to be satisfied with only what they need. In modern civilization there is no such education; everyone tries to possess more and more, and everyone is dissatisfied and unhappy. The Krishna consciousness movement is therefore establishing various farms, especially in America, to show how to be happy and content with minimum necessities of life and to save time for self-realization, which one can very easily achieve by chanting the maha-mantra – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Lecture, Vrindavana, December 11, 1975
Rupa Goswami, the chief minister of the government of Bengal, most opulent position: tyaktva turnam asesa-mandala-pati-srenim. They became mendicant, voluntarily accepting, tyaktva turnam asesa-mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat. "What is this nonsense position, minister, opulent life? Kick it out." They are not fools. They are politicians. But why they "Kick it out." Then what they became? Bhutva dina-ganesakau karunaya kaupina-kanthasritau. They become mendicant. So voluntarily accepting poverty, this is Indian civilization, this is Vedic civilization. Not to increase material opulence but to decrease. The more you decrease, you are civilized. And the Western countries, if you decrease, if you instruct them that "Decrease these nonsense activities. No more tire (?) civilization," they'll say "Oh, this is primitive, primitive." This tendency is present. But actually, the primitive civilization… Not primitive; that is very sober civilization, anartha. Instead of increasing unwanted necessities, decrease it. That is Srimad-Bhagavatam. Anarthopasamam saksad bhakti-yogam adhoksaje. Lokasya ajanatah vidvams cakre satvata samhitam. This satvata samhitam bhagavata is there, simply to decrease this unwanted so-called material civilization. It is very difficult to understand, but our Krishna consciousness movement is for that purpose. We are interested to construct a nice temple, but we are not interested to construct a very big skyscraper building for people's generally No. We should live very humbly. But for Krishna we can. In India you'll find there are so many valuable temples which cannot be constructed at the present moment.
Conversation, May 14, 1975, Perth
Amogha: He was saying that your solution was too simple. He said that people will not accept it because it is too simple.
Prabhupada: That is his ignorance. They will say it is primitive. That is the only solution.
Conversation, March 22, 1977, Bombay
Economic question? Annad bhavanti bhutani. Grow food. Practical. Just like when I was going to the pandals, millions of clerks were coming – "Education. Educated." And who is growing food? And they have to be provided in these pigeon holes and depend on ration. Is that civilization? And throngs of people are coming, just like machine, ants. Ants are coming. I saw like that. And go to the village side – all vacant land. Nobody's interested to produce food. Everyone is interested to live within the city, in these pigeonholes, and go to the cinema and go to the brothel, go to the club and learn how to drink, how to become gentleman. Is that civilization? Human life's aim is lost. You do not know why you are going to the office, why you are eating, why you are… Keeping them all pet animal's mentality, doggish mentality.
Conversation, June 2, 1974, Geneva
Prabhupada: Wasteful, yes. Therefore I say they have no brain. All, they are rascals. Rascal leaders. A little labor in agriculture will be sufficient to produce the family's food stock for the whole year. You can stock. You work only three months, and you get sufficient food for your whole family. And less nine months, you chant Hare Krishna. But these rascals will not do that. They will work hard like ass simply for eating. Nunam pramattah kurute vikarma yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti. They will not accept easy life.
Conversation, April 3, 1975, Mayapur
There are so many land. Come here and grow food. Grow fruit. That is… That is the desire of Krishna. Annad bhavanti bhutani. Produce food and eat in sufficiently, be strong, and chant Hare Krishna. That is our philosophy. Why you are producing bolts and nuts, tire and tubes? Eat. Rascal. They do not know that first of all you must eat.
No, everyone is engaged in industry. Why? Krishna does not say that "Take to industry." Krishna says, "Produce foodstuff." Annad bhavanti bhutani. If you produce foodstuff, then both your animals, yourself, will be happy, becoming strong. Why do they manufacture other things?
Conversation, July 31, 1976, New Mayapur
… little cottages, grow little vegetable, little barley or wheat and milk. That is sufficient. We don't require much. We don't want luxury. We want just to subsist. Yavad artha prayojana. We hate the idea of luxury, unnecessary.
Conversation, May 27, 1977, Vrindavana
… There will be more water for gardening, and it will be moist, and then produce fodder for the animals and food for you. And animal gives you milk. That is … .. Don't bother about big, big buildings. It is not required. Useless waste of time. Produce. Make the whole field green. See that. Then whole economic question solved. Then you eat … is beneficial. Even the stool is beneficial. Therefore I am asking so much here and…, "Farm, farm, farm, farm…" That is not my program – Krishna's program.
Annad bhavanti bhutani. Produce greenness everywhere, everywhere. Vrindavana. It is not this motorcar civilization.
Letter to: Hamsaduta, Los Angeles, January 11, 1968
"We should utilize our time for elevating ourselves in Krishna Consciousness than for so-called economic development. If we are satisfied with plain living, with minimum time and the balance time is engaged for elevating our Krishna Conscious program, then every man can be transferred to Goloka Vrindavana, just in this very life."