April 28th, 1976
We arrived in Fiji at 1:30 P.M. Present at Nandi airport, Lautoka, to greet Śrīla Prabhupāda with fresh, fragrant garlands of frangipani and marigolds, were Upendra dāsa, Mr. Deoji Punja, and a small gathering of their friends. Mr. Punja is a respectful, humble, middle-aged man who has seriously taken up Kṛṣṇa consciousness, observing all the regulative principles and chanting the mahā-mantra every day. After seeing Prabhupāda’s success in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness in Australia, he was inspired to build an ISKCON temple here. Descended from Gujarati immigrants, his family is prominent in the area and have extensive retail interests. Now he is personally raising the funds to build a beautiful temple.
Prabhupāda has recommended that they install the Deity of Kāliya-Kṛṣṇa. He explained that Fiji was the island where the serpent Kāliya lived after Garuḍa drove him from his home. Later, he went to India where he polluted the entire Yāmuna river, causing Lord Kṛṣṇa to chastise him. After this, Kāliya returned to Fiji. Therefore, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, there are no snakes in Fiji because Kāliya ate them.
Mr. Punja informed us that according to a centuries-old local legend there is a gigantic, many-hooded snake said to be living in a cave in the interior of the island.
The temple is to be built here in Lautoka. It will have three large domes, following the same basic design as ISKCON Vṛndāvana, but on a smaller scale. It will be the first custom-built ISKCON temple outside India.
Mr. Punja drove us to his brother’s house, where we quickly settled in, installing Prabhupāda’s dictaphone and other paraphernalia in the small room reserved for his daytime use. Śrīla Prabhupāda sat on a couch in the living room and the whole Punja family gathered around. With great respect they bathed Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lotus feet with scented warm water.
The house has been vacated, allowing Śrīla Prabhupāda and his party full use. It is not big, only a few rooms, so Gurukṛpa Mahārāja and I are sleeping on the wide veranda that encircles it.
Prabhupāda likes Fiji’s tropical climate very much, and the island seems largely unspoiled, with few trappings of tourism and little of the garish advertising so typical of holiday resorts. There is no television station, and much of the natural beauty of the island is preserved. On the way to the house I noted many large, heavily-laden mango trees, although this is not quite the season yet. Prabhupāda did comment unfavorably, however, as he had done in Gujarat last December, on the concentration in their agriculture on just one cash crop, in this case sugarcane.
April 29th, 1976
With few visitors, the day was quiet, and Prabhupāda has been able to relax. Fiji appears quite paradisiacal, but it is not perfect. Śrīla Prabhupāda was disturbed by a constant nightlong howling, emanating from what seemed like a multitude of dogs. It started off in one quarter of town and flowed like a cacophonous wave around the entire district, and this prevented Prabhupāda from translating.
* * *
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa and Gurukṛpa had a meeting with Mr. Punja to discuss the programs he has proposed for the next few days. Despite his objections they put pressure on him to cancel some involving travel to other parts of the island and to minimize most of the others, in the hope that Prabhupāda can translate and rest instead. But their coercive tactics disturbed Mr. Punja, and with encouragement from myself, he went to see Prabhupāda for a final decision.
Śrīla Prabhupāda became angry and immediately called for his secretary and GBC. Puṣṭa explained that they were only trying to avoid inconveniencing Prabhupāda, but Śrīla Prabhupāda corrected him. “For someone my age the inconvenience is there simply in traveling. But I have accepted that willingly for the sake of preaching. Now we are here for the benefit of the local men. We are in their hands, so now you make arrangements for whatever programs Deoji wants. We shall stay as long as required.”
It was a valuable lesson for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s new secretary. This is one of the main difficulties of being part of his personal team, and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami is now beginning to understand that Prabhupāda’s servants are here to assist him. We are to see to his personal requirements and make life as easy as possible for him so that he can concentrate on his real business of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, especially through his book writing. Yet at the same time, assisting Śrīla Prabhupāda means having to make arrangements that we know bring personal inconvenience and even disruptions to his health. It is easy then to get caught in seeming contradictions. But Śrīla Prabhupāda’s preaching strategy means that consideration of personal comfort and convenience is secondary. It is his servants’ business to understand and serve his desire to preach, not our own conception of providing protective relief.
April 30th, 1976
Since there is no temple, we have no set program; but there is still plenty of opportunity to hear Śrīla Prabhupāda speak. He is always happy to sit and talk with us, offering revealing insights into preaching strategy, meant for saving others, and simultaneously giving us a deeper appreciation of our relationship with him.
Today he was talking about the Bhagavad-gītā and the duty of the spiritual master, which he described as “how to benefit the disciple.” Prabhupāda told us that because Arjuna offered himself as a disciple, Kṛṣṇa chastised him, “You rascal. You are talking like a very learned man, but you are on the platform of bodily conception of life, the platform of the animals.” Quoting one of his favorite verses, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke, Prabhupāda said anyone who accepts his body as his self is not even a human being.
“So the whole world is on this bodily concept of life,” Prabhupāda told us. “That is going on: ‘American,’ ‘European,’ ‘Hindu,’ ‘Muslim,’ ‘black,’ ‘white,’ this, that. They do not know what is education. That is the first education, that ‘You rascal, you are not this body. You are within the body.’ So who understands this? And they are declaring that ‘We are student of Bhagavad-gītā.’”
He said that although Gandhi had his photograph taken with Bhagavad-gītā, he was fighting for nationalism. But in Pakistan they were also doing the same thing, so what was his credit as a student of the Gītā? Nobody was learning the real message of Bhagavad-gītā, that the soul is different from the body.
“It is first time that we are teaching Bhagavad-gītāAs It Is,” Prabhupāda said, “Otherwise, everyone is misled.”
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja informed him that generally people don’t come to hear our philosophy, but simply because they like the prasādam.
“So you have not come,” Prabhupāda said, “but you have to come to take prasādam. It has got connection with Kṛṣṇa. So therefore we welcome you that at least for eating, you are coming to Kṛṣṇa. Gradually you’ll understand Kṛṣṇa, by eating only. Kṛṣṇa is not so easy to be understood, but we are giving you facility to eat kṛṣṇa-prasādam so that one day you can understand this movement. This is the policy. We are not poor-feeding; that is not our philosophy. We are giving you prasādam. And that is fact, that by eating, eating, eating, eating, you one day will become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Simply by eating. Because you are so dull, you cannot understand the philosophy. You know the belly, like the animals. So therefore we are giving facility, ‘All right, fill up your belly, fill up your belly.’ And you’ll be infected. As you take foodstuff from an infected area, you become infected with some disease; so this is Kṛṣṇa-infected, prasādam. You take it, and one day you’ll be diseased with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And that is a fact.
“Some way or other, let him come in contact with Kṛṣṇa. He’ll be benefited. Some way or other, let him come to the light. May be dim light or very big light, light is light. So if anyone understands that there is a soul which is conducting the business of this body, then he can very easily understand that there is a Supersoul who is conducting the business of the whole material manifested world. If you convince [someone] that the body is useless, a lump of matter only, but the soul is the prime factor, similarly, he’ll very easily understand that there is huge, gigantic material body of earth, water, air, fire, sky, and they are working so wonderfully on account of the Supersoul.”
He described our bodies as small universes. Without our presence within it, he said, the body cannot function, so why do we think the greater universe is going on automatically? He used one of his favorite examples, that of the 747 Jumbo Jet, as a comparison. Without a pilot it is useless. Therefore it is the pilot who is important, not the machine.
* * *
The new temple’s cost is calculated to be F$140,000. All the funds will be raised from the local population by a life-membership program. The Punja family has given F$25,000 outright for the project, and Deoji has personally canvassed the area with Upendra and signed up over one hundred and twenty five Life Members at the rate of F$333 each. Prabhupāda is extremely pleased with his efforts and is keen to encourage him in any way possible. Just over fifty percent of the population is of Indian origin, mainly Gujarati. Śrīla Prabhupāda sees very good prospects here for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
May 1st, 1976
We three disciples gathered in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room this morning. Led by Gurukṛpa Mahārāja we sang the gurv-aṣṭaka prayers as Śrīla Prabhupāda sat behind his desk. After a few verses Śrīla Prabhupāda interrupted to tell him that he was mispronouncing the refrain, vande goroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam .“It is gu-ru, not go-ru,” Prabhupāda told him. “Go means cow. The spiritual master is not a cow!”
* * *
A program arranged at the local school hall was disappointingly ill-attended, for only about thirty adults came, some Indian and some native Fijian. But Prabhupāda was undaunted and spoke with the same strength and conviction as he always does, completely unattached and transcendental to material concepts of profit and loss, success and failure.
* * *
There are not many engagements or visitors, so Śrīla Prabhupāda often calls in the sannyāsīs or whoever else is around to discuss Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy with them. Always enlivened to preach and to encourage his disciples to preach, he needs no prompting to speak. He simply rings his bell, and when someone comes he sits them down and begins to speak on the Bhagavad-gītā. His favorite topics are modern science and all pseudo-spiritual cheating processes. He has us look up various verses in the Gītā and read them out, often along with his purports, and then he elaborates the philosophical points by relating them to practical examples. Prabhupāda doesn’t just know the highest philosophical concepts, he knows the application, and this is what makes him such an effective preacher. He convinces us because he relates everything to situations within our daily experience.
Discussing the position of the soul within the body, he had Gurukṛpa Mahārāja read out verse seven from Chapter Fifteen: “The living entities in this conditional world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”
He gave a simple, effective comparison: “So with this instrument he’s manipulating this machine; as exactly the pilot, with so many electronics, machine, he’s working the flying of the plane. Where is the difficulty to understand? This body is a machine. Bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni. The aeroplane is wandering; this machine is wandering. Ürdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Find out this.” Gurukṛpa flicked through the pages of the Gītā as Śrīla Prabhupāda continued with a demonstration of his example. “Same aeroplane, going up and down. Two wings, this hand, like this.”
Gurukṛpa read out the verse: “Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.” (Bg. 14:18)
“So the same thing,” Śrīla Prabhupāda explained. “If the pilot is not expert, then goes down to the lowest, finished. Adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ. If the pilot is third class, instead of going up, he goes down, and everything is spoiled. So everything on the pilot; the machine is not important. The machine can go up if the pilot knows how to do it. And the machine can go down. Actually, it is happening. This landing point is very dangerous. If the pilot cannot handle very nicely, immediately smashed. All crises take place while coming down and going up. I have seen sometimes, they clap as soon as they . . . ” Prabhupāda clapped his hands, grinning and raising his eyebrows as if in relief, making us all laugh. “‘Oh, the danger is over!’
“In this way,” he said, “you have to place the subject matter, that the living entity, the soul, is the important thing within this body. On account of his ignorance, he’s struggling. Manaḥ ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati. This is his position.”
He said since the body is temporary and must die one way or the other, learned persons do not lament over it. But still he said there was something to lament.
“So what is to lament after this body? Lamentation is that the person within the body, whether he’s going to hell or heaven. Ürdhvaṁ gacchanti or tamo gacchanti. That is real concern. Body will be finished, today or tomorrow or after a hundred years. Who can protect it? But one should be interested with the owner of the body, where he is going, what is his next position. There are three status: up, down, and the same.”
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa observed that the mass of people think that life is finished with this body and are unaware of the soul’s going up or down. This elicited a typically strong response from Śrīla Prabhupāda. “Therefore they’re rascals. And for the rascals, the Bhagavad-gītā teaching is there. Learn! They are giving the stress on the body, that ‘The body is finished, everything finished.’ They do not know beyond the body. But the real knowledge begins, ‘No, you are beyond this body.’ That is the beginning of knowledge.”
Telling us that people are accepting ignorance as knowledge he identified a couple of the modern culprits who are the cause of this. He had some very strong words to say about them. “Darwin’s theory. It is simply speculation on ignorance, and it has been taken as knowledge. Freud’s philosophy is the business of the hogs and dogs, and it has been taken as philosophy. Even the hogs and dogs know how to enjoy sex life. On account of sex life, they have written a philosophy. Is that philosophy? These rascals, they’re in ajñānam, dealing with sex life, dealing with the body as their philosophy, science, and they are passing on as philosopher, scientist. This is their position, the whole world. So how much Kṛṣṇa consciousness is important, just imagine.”
Much to our amusement, he gave a graphic example to illustrate the materialists’ real positions. “They are animals. What the dogs will understand? When there is one lady dog, one dozen dogs will come, smelling the best part of the body! This is their philosophy. So Freud is that: best part of the body, he’s writing philosophy. Just see. This is the position. How low taste—hogs’ and pigs’ business, and write philosophy. His books are selling like anything.”
He made it clear that there is a dearth of real knowledge in every field. “They’re eating meat. They have no even human sense. What is that religion? They haven’t even the sense that ‘I am cutting throat of one poor animal under my protection. If somebody cuts my throat, how much I am unhappy.’ And I’m doing the same business and I’m human being? How can I call myself a human being? I have no sense even of compassion.
“Cats and dogs are passing on as religionists. Some hogs and pigs are going on as philosopher. And other animal is going as scientist, Darwin. They’re animals only, cats and dogs. They are the leaders of the society. How you can expect any benefit from them? The leaders themselves are cats and dogs, pigs. These leaders, they are saṁstutaḥ, they are very much worshiped. By whom? Śva-viḍ-varāhoṣṭra-kharaiḥ. By the dogs, the pigs, the camel, and by the ass.”
He is aware that this is election year in America, and he didn’t neglect to mention the politicians. “Suppose one man has become lion, and he’s praised by dogs, camels, asses, and pigs. Naturally, they will praise, ‘Oh, sir, you are the king.’ Does it mean he’s king? He’s animal. So it is going on. They are electing a big animal as president. And when the big animal begins to eat other animals, then they protest, ‘Oh, now he’s not proper president. Get him down, get him down.’ But why you sent him? ‘Because we are pigs; we have no other knowledge. We appoint another big pig as our president.’
“Everything is explained in the Vedic literature. If you can present them properly, it will act. The voters are śva-viḍ-varāhoṣṭra-kharaiḥ. And the president is another big animal. That’s all. This is their real picture. One who is a human being, he’s seeing that how the animals are enjoying by voting and electing president. But they are thinking, ‘We are busy in a very great business. We are electing president!’”
Prabhupāda’s exposê and mimicry had us all laughing. Although his message is most serious and his incisive appraisals of modern society cut to the bone, he still has a wonderfully sharp sense of humor which he uses very effectively. This is not contradictory; Prabhupāda is neither cynical nor whimsical. He is simply objective. His business as our spiritual master is that of the true sādhu: to cut off all our attachments to this material world and free us to go back home, back to Godhead. No one is more competent to do this than he.
May 2nd, 1976
The devotees chose this morning, a Sunday, for the foundation-laying ceremony of the new temple, which will also house both Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Guru-Gaurāṅga Deities. Although building work has already begun, Prabhupāda dedicated the temple by throwing a few shovels of concrete into the half-completed foundations. A good-sized crowd—mainly Indians but with a smattering of Fijians—looked on as he presided over a fire sacrifice midst the excavation and construction. He awarded both hari-nāma and brāhmaṇa initiation to Deoji, one of his wives, and his brother Karsanji. “Henceforward,” he said, “he will be known as Vāsudeva dāsa, his wife Bhagavati dāsī, and his brother Bhuvana-mohana dāsa.”
He praised the efforts of Deoji and his family to begin the temple and gave a short speech based on the first three verses of the gurv-aṣṭakam, explaining that temple worship was part of the process to end material suffering. “To worship the Deity very nicely, to decorate, to dress, to cleanse the temple, to offer nice foodstuff, distribute prasādam—these are the activities of the temple. Unfortunately, people are in so much ignorance that they have forgotten everything. They’re living like cats and dogs, animals. So this is a great opportunity that you are going to open a nice temple here. So not only open temple but you take part yourself.”
He indicated his willingness to help but told them that ultimately it was up to them to see that things here develop. “My request is—I, of course, I am traveling all over the world. It may not be possible for me to see you very frequently. But I expect to come again and again. But I entrust the matter to you all. I’ll send help also as far as possible. Now you have to take care of your own business, this temple, and always remember that according to your capacity you can serve the Lord.”
He had also provided the means for their constant engagement. “We have got so many books, four hundred pages each. If you simply finish this reading and hearing of these books, perhaps your whole lifetime will be engaged.”
He concluded by asking them to distribute this knowledge to everyone on the island of Fiji regardless of any material status.
Prabhupāda was well satisfied with the whole ceremony and the support shown by the local people. Everything has been done by Vāsudeva prabhu and his brothers, with practically no outside help, save from Upendra. It is a very encouraging sign that things will continue to go on.
* * *
Relaxing in his room late in the morning Prabhupāda gave us some further insights into the activities of his Godbrothers and what he feels constitutes success in preaching work.
He had begun by offering a general criticism of the various non-Vaiṣṇava gurus who have become so popular in the West. Analyzing their motivations, he said their idea is to somehow or other become popular. Without any regard for the real standards, if they can somehow attract attention and gather up some following, then they are considered gurus. Their real motivation is how to attract women and money, and because people are also impressed by a show of these material things they accept them. But to become a bona fide guru, Prabhupāda told us, means to follow Lord Caitanya’s standard: yāre dekha tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’- upadeśa. Otherwise one is simply go-ru.
Prabhupāda’s feelings about the Māyāvādīs are well known, but there are variations of Vaiṣṇavism that are not so clearly understood. Desiring to get some clarification on gurus who may not be so far removed from our lineage Gurkṛpa Mahārāja cited the statement in śāstra that if someone can induce others to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa they must be empowered, and therefore qualified. He then asked about one Caraṇa dāsa Babajī in Bengal, who in the early part of this century had induced people to chant a mantra which included the holy name. He built up a large following, but the mantra was his own invention and not strictly within the paramparā.
Prabhupāda acknowledged that the man had some credit, but he said that overall he was not successful because of his deviation. “He introduced a new system of chanting: nitāi-gaura rādhe śyāma. So the Nitāi-Gaura chanting will have some effect in Kali-yuga. Although he was presenting pervertedly, the beginning was Nitāi-Gaura, so it would have some effect. He did not know actually Nitāi-Gaura—from his words it appears. He used to preach that Nitāi is Rādhārāṇī and Gaura is Kṛṣṇa. That is siddhānta-viruddha. But some way or other, he was chanting Nitāi-Gaura, so some effects were there. Just like sandalwood: you do not know which way better pulp comes out, but if you rub anyway, some pulp will come because it is sandalwood. So he had some effect of chanting Nitāi-Gaura, but later on they deteriorated because they did not know actually; neither they were taught. Siddhānta-virodha means it will deteriorate; it will not endure.”
Gurukṛpa Mahārāja then brought the conversation closer to home. He wanted to know about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Godbrothers, because they have disciples, they are properly initiated, and they give the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
Prabhupāda gave us a frank, unbiased analysis from his own broad perspective and successful experience. “The thing is the spirit, real service of preaching, stopped. The formality is going on, but the real business. . . .
“Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement means āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa [Become a guru and try to liberate everyone on this land–Cc. Madhya 7.128] That is stopped. Do you follow? The formality is there, but the real life of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement is preaching. Otherwise why Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa.Tara means preaching. Yāre dekha tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa [Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as they are given in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam–Cc. Madhya 7.128] And that is stopped. They are satisfied if they could construct one temple and beg some rice from the neighborhood: ‘Sir, we have got some temple.’ That’s all. They are satisfied. The spirit of preaching forward—pāpī tāpī yata chila, hari nāme uddhārila [The Holy Name delivers those who are lowly and wretched–Iṣṭa-deve vijñapti by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākur]—that is stopped.
“So by hari-nāma, by chanting, by this way, to live little peacefully in the temple and eat and sleep, that much they have got. If that is the success, that success they have got. And this was condemned by my Guru Mahārāja, that ‘To earn some money by showing Deity in the temple and eat and sleep? Better you become a sweeper in the street and earn your honest livelihood and live.’”
Many temples in Vṛndāvana have the same mentality, he said. They think of the operation of the temple as a business; that if people are coming and they give something, that is their good income. “According to the temple’s popularity, they think, ‘This is our success.’ Therefore they are deteriorating. So that is not success. Success is his who is pushing forward the preaching method. That is his success. And if we think that ‘By showing a temple Deity we get some money and rice and cloth and just peacefully live here; don’t bother about going to Fiji and all over. . . .’ That much success they have got. But that is not Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma, sarvatra pracāra—What they are doing for that? That is point.”
“What if sometimes a disciple, he may go to preach, but he’s not preaching in the exact same spirit of his spiritual master?” Gurukṛpa wanted to know.
“Therefore he is not to preach,” Śrīla Prabhupāda said. “Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, janma sārthaka kari’ kara para- upakāra: ‘Go to do good to others. First of all you do good to yourself.’ First of all you become really preacher. Then go to preach. Caitanya Mahāprabhu never sent neophyte to go to preach. For neophyte the preaching is not their business. For neophyte, one should stick to the worship of Deity in the temple.
“And those who have understood the philosophy, applied the philosophy in his life, he should go for preaching. Otherwise he’ll preach wrongly, like Caraṇa dāsa Bābājī. And it will stop. He wanted to preach but he did not know how to preach, and therefore after his life it is finished. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu does not say like that, that ‘You remain a rascal and go to preach.’ No. Janma sārthaka kari’. ‘Your first business is that you make your life perfect. Then go to preach. Perfect means you learn how to obey My orders.’ That is perfection. Āmāra ājñāya. So if you are actually, perfectly, carrying out the orders of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, then you are preaching. Otherwise you will do wrongly, mislead. Don’t do that. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ. If you remain blind, don’t try to lead other blind men. That is misleading. First of all open your eyes. Everything is there. Nobody can do anything whimsically. If you do whimsically, concoctedly, that will be failure. It will not be effective.”
Prabhupāda again repeated that to simply achieve a large following is not a sign of success. There are many who claim a following, but their followers do not abide by any philosophy. Christ said not to kill, but the Christians are all meat-eaters, so where are the true Christians, Prabhupāda asked. The real thing he said, is quality, not quantity. It was the concern of his own spiritual master, and it is his also. “My Guru Mahārāja used to say like that, ‘If I get at least one quality disciple then all my labor will be successful.’ From the very beginning my strictures are there, that ‘You have to follow this’—quality. If I were to say, ‘No, you can do like Vivekananda. Yes, you can do whatever you like,’ then I think the quantity would have been very, very big. But I don’t say. I make him promise before the fire, before the Deity, before guru.”
Prabhupāda is quite sure of what he wants in his disciples, and he used one of his favorite examples to impress upon us what he is looking for. “One moon is taken into account. Who takes account of millions of stars? Ekaś candras tamo hanti na ca tārā sahasraśaḥ. Quality. So we should be quality devotee, not quantity devotee.”
As for the mass followings, he compared such followers to the lambs at slaughter time. If one lamb is induced to enter the slaughterhouse, all the rest follow without question. “They do not mind that ‘We are being pushed into this room for future killing, never mind. One has gone. Go.’ They’ll go. So this is called in Hindi, bheḍyadāsana, that without any consideration, ‘One has entered, let us all enter.’ That is bheḍī, means animal. Their disciples are like this.”
* * *
During a discussion a little later in the day, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, the famous sitarist, were mentioned. Gurukṛpa recalled how they had visited Śrīla Prabhupāda during a visit to Vṛndāvana. He had told them immediately, “You are very famous, but what will you be in your next life? What is your guarantee for the next life?”
With a grin Gurukṛpa said, “I don’t think any other guru would have asked that.”
Prabhupāda, recollecting Gurukṛpa’s earlier mispronunciation of the gurv-aṣṭaka prayers, replied with a laugh. “Where is guru? They are all go-ru, nobody guru. All rascals!”
* * *
One of the most notable features of our trip to Fiji has been the prasādam. Led by Vāsudeva’s two wives, a whole team of Gujarati ladies have gathered at the house each day to prepare the most delicious and variegated meals one could hope to taste. They serve Śrīla Prabhupāda a virtual feast of at least twenty or thirty preparations each day.
Prabhupāda is very pleased with their efforts, and today he requested them to make some savory snacks to take with us when we leave. He asked for chidwa (a mixture of fried flat rice, potato straws, raisins, peanuts, and various spices, mixed with salt and sugar) and also a type of long, thin, chickpea noodles. These were carefully presented to us in sealed jars.
May 3rd, 1976
Śrīla Prabhupāda has been taking long walks on the oceanfront accompanied by Vāsudeva prabhu and his brothers, and a few interested friends. Lively discussions have ensued. Prabhupāda has also been accompanied by a middle-aged, local sannyāsī,Swami Bhāskarāraṇya. For the want of the presence of any other spiritual organization here in Fiji, he belongs to the Ramakrishna Mission, but he is very attracted to Śrīla Prabhupāda and is impressed with Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy. This morning the Swami learned more about the true nature of renunciation as Prabhupāda described the mentality of the Māyāvādīs. He quoted an old Bengali saying: “In the room, whatever is there, it is yours, but I lock it and I keep the key!” The impersonalist claims to give up the world, but thinks that by doing so he will become God. The first question, he said, should be, “What have you got in your possession to give up?” Impersonalists presume to renounce everything and take to wearing only a loincloth, he told us, but this is false because even his loincloth, what to speak of his body, is the property of God. So where is the renunciation?
“We are visiting this island,” he told Vāsudeva, “and if after a few days I depart and say, ‘Now I give it to you,’ that is simply nonsense talk.” Everything is God’s property, he said, so there is no question of possessing anything to give up. If one tries to enjoy, he is a thief; and if he gives it up, he is false. Only one who surrenders to Kṛṣṇa and uses everything in His service has factual knowledge. Everyone else, he said, is simply a mūḍha, a fool.
* * *
In the early afternoon, after a long drive along narrow winding roads, Prabhupāda spoke at the neighboring town of Ba. The program was held in a local theater, but attendance was very small, mostly women and children, and the crowd was quite noisy.
This was our final program in Fiji, and in the late evening we drove to the small airport. Prabhupāda sat in the waiting hall with Vāsudeva and Upendra. He gave them his garlands and encouraged them to go on with their preaching. He is happy with their efforts so far and sees great prospects for the spreading of Kṛṣṇa consciousness here. He even told them Fiji could become the first Kṛṣṇa conscious country.
At 10:30 P.M. we departed on the seven-hour flight to Hawaii.