May 3rd, 1976
Due to crossing the international date line, we arrived in Honolulu at 7:00 A.M. on the same date we left Fiji. Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja and I were careful to avoid the same mistake we made coming into Australia, so we assigned all the baggage to our own arrival cards. Śrīla Prabhupāda was thus able to proceed directly through U.S. Customs without problem. Śukadeva dāsa, the president, Siddha-svarūpānanda Mahārāja and a small group of devotees met him outside, draping him with fragrant garlands of frangipani. Some young children eagerly stepped forward with offerings of fresh fruit. One young fellow clutched a whole papaya, which Śrīla Prabhupada received with a bright smile and “Hare Kṛṣṇa!”
I had considerable difficulty with customs and was unnecessarily harassed by an overly-detailed inspection of my baggage and distinctly unfriendly officers. I found out later that Gurukṛpa Mahārāja, whose Nāma-haṭṭa party travels with gorgeously worshipped Gaura-Nitāi deities, once had all the Deity jewelry, worth many thousands of dollars, confiscated here. Customs had accused them of smuggling and demanded penalties. A few other fringe devotees have been caught with other types of genuine contraband, and thus the officials specifically target all Hare Kṛṣṇa devotees.
ISKCON Pañca-tattva Temple
53 Coelho Way, Honolulu
The temple is an impressive, two-story, wooden mansion, situated on about an acre of land. On permanent loan to ISKCON from Ambarīṣa dāsa, the great-grandson of auto-magnate Henry Ford, its location about halfway up into the picturesque Honolulu hills provides an unusual blend of simultaneous rain and shine; high up in the hills it rains a lot, and down on the ocean front it is always clear and sunny. Here, the Deities and the devotees enjoy the best of both.
A majestic banyan tree dominates the back garden. The devotees grow their own vegetables around the grounds, and flowers, mangoes, pineapples and dabs (young coconuts) seem abundant. Outside the front entrance to the building are the biggest tulasī plants I have ever seen—they stand at least seven or eight feet tall. Our Hawaii yātrā was the first to successfully cultivate and worship Śrīmati Tulasī devī, thanks to the sincere efforts of Govinda dāsī, one of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s earliest disciples.
Upon arrival Prabhupāda went into the temple room to see the beautiful Pañca-tattva Deities, the only ones in the Movement. About three feet tall, They are fashioned from papier-mâchê, again the product of Govinda dāsī’s devotion. Handing his cane to Siddha-svarūpa Mahārāja, Prabhupāda stepped forward and offered his prostrated obeisances before Their Lordships. Bhārata dāsa then offered him caraṇāmṛta, and because there was no towel, Śukadeva prabhu held up the end of his dhotī for Prabhupāda to wipe his hands on.
After a lively kīrtana and reception from the excited devotees, Prabhupāda gave a very short talk from the second verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. He complimented the devotees on their enthusiasm and assured them that if they follow the regulative principles as given by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, their lives would be successful. He also stressed the value of his books. “I’ll speak something, you may forget; but if you read from the book you will get good opportunity to understand the philosophy. So our principle is to study the books as well as to distribute the books. People will be benefited and their life will be successful. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Thank you very much.”
He then retired to his quarters. They are directly above the temple room, and are lightly furnished, well-lit and spacious, with polished wooden floors and wood panelled walls creating an old-world elegance. A sun deck, built atop the carport over the front entrance, adjoins the bathroom, making an ideal spot for Prabhupāda’s massage.
Govinda dāsī and a few others accompanied Prabhupāda in. She told him that her husband Gaurasundara dāsa, another of Prabhupāda’s first disciples, who with Govinda dāsī initiated the preaching here, now has an āśrama on the island of Hawaii, where he lives with a second wife. Govinda dāsī asked Prabhupāda if he would see him and try to heal the rift that had developed between Gaurasundara and ISKCON. Śrīla Prabhupāda immediately agreed, and will send him an invitation.
* * *
Siddha-svarūpānanda Goswami, another resident of Hawaii, came back this afternoon for a meeting with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Without mentioning the violent incident that took place in Māyāpur last March, Prabhupāda continued to underscore the need for unity.
They discussed the difficulties of preaching and the resistance of materialists. Prabhupāda said that as the Movement grows stronger demons will try more vigorously to stop it. He said that even Kṛṣṇa faced constant death threats, and one day they may even attempt to kill him. But if we remain spiritually strong, even though ISKCON is only just in its infancy, no real damage can be done. The only thing that could weaken the Movement he said, was ourselves. “So now, if we become weak by factioning, then that is not good. We must be strong enough. But you do not expect that this movement will be accepted . . . But if we remain sincere, even we are feeble, newborn, nobody can kill us. That is a fact. Just like Kṛṣṇa, when He was three months old, attempt was made by Pūtanā to kill Him, but the Pūtanā was killed. A big demon, gigantic, six-miles long, was killed by a small child playing on the breast and sucking life. That is Kṛṣṇa.
“The other day I have explained why guru is accepted as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir . . . nārakī: If anyone thinks arcā-vigraha, the Deities, as made of stone, made of earth, or made of something material, and guru, the spiritual master, is an ordinary man, these are forbidden. So why guru is to be considered—sākṣād dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ—exactly the Supreme Personality of Godhead? That reason is given there. The reason is that he is giving the Kṛṣṇa knowledge, therefore he is as good as Kṛṣṇa. Even though his family member or his friend is thinking, ‘Oh, he has now become guru,’ so still he should be considered the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That reason is also given there, that even Kṛṣṇa was taken as ordinary man. But does it mean that He has become ordinary man? Similarly, our movement, it may appear just like other movement, but because the movement is giving Kṛṣṇa, so it is as good as Kṛṣṇa. This is the philosophy. Advaya-jñāna. It may appear to others, ‘There are so many movements,’ and ‘The hippies have taken another shape,’ but it is not that. It is actually Kṛṣṇa, so long it adheres to the principles as enjoined, as we have accepted. Otherwise it is another movement. This same man is guru so long he gives the real knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, and the same man is ordinary man as soon as he cannot give that. The same thing, just like a stone doll. When it is worshiped according to the regulative principle—Kṛṣṇa. And the same doll kept in the sculpture’s showroom, it is stone.
“So if we keep our Movement pure, then we are as strong as Kṛṣṇa. And as soon as we deviate from it, immediately ordinary. This is the secret. Now it is up to us how to keep it pure. Then no enemy can kill us. Nobody can kill. So that purity is wanted. Then it will be success. Follow the rules and regulations, worship the Deity, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra as we have given. Then you remain as strong as Kṛṣṇa. And if we manufacture some ideas, then it is gone. Kṛṣṇa cannot be manufactured. Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇa. You cannot manufacture another competitor of Kṛṣṇa. That is not the way. Then failure. So that is my request, that this Movement is actually the real movement to raise the human society. And if we create faction, then the Movement will be less strong and will not act very nicely.”
* * *
A letter sent by Ādi-keśava Swami from New York on April 21st was waiting for Śrīla Prabhupāda. He gave a report on the preaching activities there, a brief financial statement and some information regarding the house on Ring Road in New Delhi which Prabhupāda saw before we left.
The first good news was the confirmation of the New York Ratha-yātrā. “We have been granted a permit for the Rathayatra parade on July 18th at 2:00 P.M. The parade will progress down 5th Avenue to Washington Square Park, which even now is packed up with people every day . . . And as 5th Avenue is the biggest Sunday sightseeing spot in New York, our parade should captivate the common mood. Madhudvisah Maharaja, Jayananda and myself could not bear the thought of just one cart, so we are building two more for the festival. By Krsna’s grace they will be finished on time.”
In preparation for Prabhupāda’s visit they are readying his accommodations on the eleventh floor of the building and making a garden on the roof. A festival-truck program tours the city with “blaring kirtan, waving banners and abundant prasadam, announcing the upcoming festival to crowds of people throughout the city in great jubilation” and a new three-foot-high form of Lord Jagannātha is being carved and painted.
His financial report indicated that they were getting on top of things, but at the expense of their remittances to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. He said that the previous temple administration had badly neglected the finances and were spending far more each month than their income, resulting in a debt of $56,000. To this they have another $40,000 in monthly overhead, including mortgages, maintenance and BBT bad-debt and loan repayments.
The Rādhā-Dāmodara party, formerly under Tamal Krishna Goswami and Viṣṇujana Swami, is now being run out of New York, and a portion of their collections are going to paying off the temple’s past debts. As well as this, many airports, which were the primary book distribution spots for RDTSKP, are now legally closed for saṅkīrtana activity. So overall the BBT remittances from the party are greatly reduced from just a few months ago. Ādi-keśava did give his assurance, though, that they would continue to lead the pace in donations to the book fund. On the bright side he reported that the temple devotees are now collecting enough to maintain the ongoing operation without help from the bus parties.
Finally he informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that the State Department has indicated it would look favorably at our application for purchase of its property on Ring Road, New Delhi. Although it seems the application Śrīla Prabhupāda made in New Delhi has not yet reached Washington.
Prabhupāda was pleased with the report, especially the news about Ratha-yātrā. He confirmed his intention to attend, and added a cautionary line about the carts. “Make the carts very strong, not that while the procession is going on, the wheel breaks on the cart. It is better to have one first class cart. The cart in Philadelphia was done very nicely. If you are unable to make three strong carts, then make at least one very nicely. But, if you can make three very strong, then I have no objection.”
Prabhupāda didn’t comment on the finances, but he was concerned that the application for the new building in Delhi had failed to reach the State Department. He sent a copy of the original application to Ādi-keśava and instructed him to make sure it gets to the official concerned in Washington. He also asked him to make an appointment for him to meet the official in July. Then, in his characteristically thorough way, he sent a letter directly to the official, enclosing another copy of the application, as well as a letter to Tejīyas dāsa, the New Delhi temple president, asking Tejīyas to check into the matter and then inform him before he leaves Hawaii.
May 4th, 1976
Prabhupāda rang his bell at 1:00 A.M. I jumped out of my sleeping bag next door and went in, followed by Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami. Looking strained, Prabhupāda informed us that he was ill and would not take his usual walk or give the morning Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class. He is again having trouble with uremia, using the bathroom every hour. His feet are badly swollen and he is suffering dizzy spells.
Then amazingly, yet so typically, after telling us this, he preached to the two of us on general points of philosophy for nearly an hour before sending us out to take rest.
He remained in his room throughout the morning. After breakfast he took rest and did not ring to signal he was ready for his massage until noon. He then rested again for a long time in the afternoon, and took rest early in the evening. Although he normally only sleeps three to four hours in any one day, when his body gets diseased he makes the necessary adjustments to keep it going. There doesn’t seem to be any question of “good” health for Śrīla Prabhupāda; there is always something not right. But despite the hectic pace of his preaching, he is never neglectful. He deals as carefully with his body as with any other asset Kṛṣṇa has provided for his service.
* * *
His poor health did not prevent him from taking his massage and dealing with the day’s mail. As he is attentive in the upkeep of his body, Śrīla Prabhupāda is equally mindful about the maintenance of his greater body, ISKCON. If his own body is sometimes weakening, his ISKCON, judging by the reports, is very healthy and growing rapidly.
Girirāja prabhu, the Bombay temple president, sent a one-page report. The construction of the new temple and guesthouse is going rapidly, with the concrete slabs for the Deity rooms now laid and the columns within them going up, as well as those on the fifth floor of the guesthouse.
The BBT Library Party sold seven standing orders in Bombay and have now moved to Poona. Several scholars are writing reviews and the devotees hope to have Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books accepted as standard authoritative works on Kṛṣṇa consciousness and bhakti.
The land in Vṛndāvana offered by Mr. Taparia just before we left Bombay three weeks ago is now being put into ISKCON’s name. Also, one hundred acres of farm land near Talasaree, Maharashtra has been offered to us.
Prabhupāda has repeatedly endeavored to get concessions from the government so that his disciples can remain in India, but without much success. Now Girirāja reported that a Member of Parliament, Shri D. D. Desai from Gujarat has agreed to introduce to Parliament that Vaiṣṇavas should be allowed to enter India and settle in holy places without government restriction.
Prabhupāda was happy to hear all the news, especially about the Library Party work and the quest for residential status.
As far as the Taparia land is concerned, Akṣayānanda Swami had sent a telegram from Vṛndāvanareporting that it was too secluded, with no road and many thieves. But Prabhupāda told Girirāja to take it, giving instructions that our men should move there and begin repair work. When he gets back he will decide how it is to be utilized.
He presented a number of arguments to support our case in Parliament. “The point should be raised why our devotees who are coming from foreign lands should not be permitted to remain indefinitely in the Holy Places. We have nothing to do with politics and our cultural and religious movement is being spread throughout the world. When they become actually devotees, it is the instruction of the shastra to live in such Holy Places as Vrindaban, Mathura, and Dvaraka. The references are there in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.”
He pointed out that other sects like the Buddhists were allowed to stay in places like Gayā, so foreigners who have accepted this religious process should also be allowed to stay. “If some Parliament Members debate on this question on the basis of cultural platform, it is a glory for India that our Krsna consciousness Movement is being accepted all over the world; why the Government should not accept?
“We have already published over 56 books which are highly appreciated by foreign and Indian scholars and the educated section. So it is a great science of God consciousness. The Government should take it very seriously and help spread this Krsna consciousness movement all over the world. . . . The government allows Christian missionaries to stay, and the foreigners come to learn Indian religion, they are not allowed to stay? This is not a very good policy.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda also enclosed a letter to be given to the BBT managers in Bombay expressing his dissatisfaction that Upendra had requested Hindi and Gujarati books for Fiji over a month ago and no one had replied. “What kind of management is this? These things should be rectified immediately.”
Kīrtanānanda Swami wrote enthusiastically from New Vrindaban in West Virginia. He expressed the devotees’ joyful anticipation of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s arrival there. “Simply thinking of your coming has brought us back to life or like waking after a long winter hibernation. I think that we had all given up hope of you ever coming. But now we are all dancing in anticipation like jubilant peacocks.”
He described the ongoing development of the palace they are building for Śrīla Prabhupāda, putting in a strong bid to have him come and stay permanently there, saying that in the peace and quiet he could do his translation work. He asked if they could build a bigger, grander temple for Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Vṛndāvana-candra, and if so, could Their Lordships be moved to a temporary location during construction, or should the new temple be built around Them?
Prabhupāda’s reply was short. Avoiding a response to the suggestion of his remaining there, he simply approved the idea of a new temple for the Deities. He suggested the devotees go to India to learn by by observation how the mistrīs do their work. He also confirmed that the Deities could be moved temporarily until everything was ready. “The worship must continue.” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the Deities are moved.”
Nityānanda dāsa sent news of the farm in New Orleans, which Śrīla Prabhupāda had visited last year. Nityānanda wrote that things are progressing “better than ever.” By selling books they are collecting $10-12,000 per month and they have ten new devotees between the city center and the farm. They have completed construction on three family cottages, a milking house, a machinery shed, a large communal bathhouse and laundry, and they are growing several acres of crops, vegetables and flowers. They have forty-two cows, calves and oxen and intend to install thirty-six inch white-marble Deities of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi from Jaipur, India. He had a number of questions for Śrīla Prabhupāda. He wanted to know if Prabhupāda could give a name to the farm from the list of the twelve forests of Vṛndāvana he enclosed. Then he asked for approval to build a new large temple and install Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Deities. He also asked if the Kṛṣṇa Deity could be white, tinted blue with paint.
Prabhupāda was glad to give a name and picked out “Tālavana” from the list. As far as building a temple was concerned, he told him, “It is feasible only if you have sufficient brahmanas to take nice care. Otherwise no. You have seen our Vrndavana temple, also the temple in Melbourne and Los Angeles. So things must be at this standard in order to have a temple. The standard must be very high.”
In response to having Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma installed he wrote, “I shall see later on . . . You cannot paint the Deity with paint to make bluish. Don’t manufacture ideas. What is standard you must follow. Don’t make it a farce.”
There were two letters from Los Angeles, from the managers of the English and Spanish BBTs. Both reported a lot of activity in book production and printing.
Rādhāballabha dāsa has seven titles in English at various stages of development. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Seventh Canto, Part Two will go to the printer before the appearance day of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva this month, which happens to be the subject matter of that volume. A half million copies of Perfection of Yoga are at the press. Life Comes from Life and Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers are in the design stage and two projects by Prabhupāda’s disciples, Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami and Dhṛṣṭadyumna Swami, are underway. As well as this, Hayagrīva prabhu is working on editing the philosophy book and another book on Lord Kapila’s teachings.
The only delays Rādhāballabha reported were from India. “The Songbook reprint is awaiting the return of Jagannatha dasa from Radha Kunda. He decided to spend two months there, so we temporarily have to send your tapes to Nitai in Vrndavana until Jagannatha returns from his frivolous vacation. Nitai hasn’t sent me any corrections for the reprints of First and Second Cantos, so I want to reprint them as they are.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy to hear how much work is going on. He approved Rādhāballabha’s request not to wait for Nitāi and Jagannātha. “Once Pradyumna comes to join me here from India, then there will be no need for Nitai das or Jagannatha das to edit the Srimad-Bhagavatam.”
Purañjana’s letter contained similar good news, although smaller in scale, on the activities of the Spanish BBT. He enclosed a copy of the newly released First Canto, chapters 12–15, saying that the remainder of the First Canto would be done within six weeks. The Spanish Kṛṣṇa book is also nearing completion. He also reported that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Bhagavad-gītā is now being used as a course text in at least one South American university.
This pleased Śrīla Prabhupāda greatly. He told Purañjana, “These books are the life of human society. . . . We are putting these books for deliberation before the topmost thinkers of human society. . . . If we strain, and if he takes one book home, some day people will come to understand what valuable knowledge they have received. It is transcendental literature. Nobody can challenge it. . . . Please continue like this to print books in all the languages for the benefit of suffering, misdirected humanity.”
* * *
Tamal Krishna Goswami and Dhṛṣṭadyumna Swami are here. They came in from New York with a written report to give Śrīla Prabhupāda on their China preaching endeavors. Since the Māyāpur festival, when Śrīla Prabhupāda ordered Tamal Krishna Mahārāja to begin something in China, they have been very seriously studying books like The Religious Policy and Practice in Communist China, and investigating ways and means to establish links there.
Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke with them for almost an hour following his afternoon rest. He was eager to hear how things are going in New York under Madhudviṣa Swami’s leadership. Hearing their favorable report, Prabhupāda complimented Madhudviṣa. “Yes, he is the right person.”
Tamal Krishna mentioned that even with no advertising their new restaurant attracts fifty people a day, each paying $2.50.
Prabhupāda said it would be automatically advertised. People would hear ‘Oh there is a nice ISKCON restaurant’ and come. He compared it to the Krishna-Balaram Mandir he opened in Vṛndāvana; he had thought that it was so far away from the center of Vṛndāvana town that no one would come. But it has proved very popular. “People are coming by thousands. . . . ” He laughed. “Balarāma is so powerful, He’s bringing: ‘Come out here!’”
Tamal Krishna also said that Ambarīṣa prabhu, faithful to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s request, has found a first-class place just around the corner from our Boston temple where he wants to have a restaurant.
Prabhupāda was happy at the news. Distribution of prasādam is one of his more important programs. “From the very beginning I was asking to open restaurant and farm. Produce ghee in the farm and send to the restaurant, and make nice samosā, kacaurī preparation, and there will be no scarcity of money. And if you organize in this way, your whole country will be transferred into Kṛṣṇa conscious country. Whole country.”
Then he asked, “So, what about your China program?”
The two of them had a detailed written report but before hearing it, Śrīla Prabhupāda engaged in a lengthy discussion with them. They explained they were working in New York in order to meet with Dhṛṣṭadyumna’s father, who is the head of Seagrams International. He is the president of the Far East American Council of which many prominent business leaders are members, including the chairman of Coca-Cola, the Bankers Trust Company first vice-president, Bank of America senior vice-president and the First National City Bank vice-president. Mr. McDonough has given the two of them a lot of advice and help. He has given them a letter of introduction to the director of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Their idea is to establish a business relationship with the Chinese.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was enthusiastic at the prospect of their meeting such men, but from another perspective. He saw it as a great opportunity to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the most influential circles in the West, and he encouraged Dhṛṣṭadyumna to take advantage of the contacts. “So you should be like father like son. Father’s intelligence he must inherit. There is an Indian proverb, bapaka beta sepaika ghoda, kucha nehi to thoda thoda . . . means ‘The father’s son and the soldier’s horse, they acquire the quality, if not all, some, must.’ If one is good soldier, his horse is also trained up. Your father is the leader of so many big, big businessmen, you also become leader. You have got the intelligence. I have seen. I have studied you. Now you combine. Both of you, you are intelligent. You turn the whole America Kṛṣṇa conscious. Bas!Then success all over the world. America is the leader of the nations. Now, if the America becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, then our Movement is perfectly successful. And you have got the potency in America.”
Prabhupāda’s mind turned to the most effective way to preach and convince such people. “So all these big, big men, let them have one set of books and study. It is not any expenditure for them, but if at their leisure hour they read some of the line—they are all intelligent men—they’ll get ideas, what is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So through the influence of father, just try to introduce our books to these big men. They may keep them in library, and at leisure hour, if they simply glance over a line, oh, it will be great success.”
In Dhṛṣṭadyumna’s father’s travels he had noticed that some of his friend’s sons have also joined our movement. Prabhupāda was pleased to hear it and quoted Bhagavad-gītā 3.21. “Yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas . . . lokas tad anuvartate. If these big men of the world, they take it, ‘Oh, yes. Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is genuine,’ then naturally it will be followed by the others. So here is a good opportunity to contact big men of the world. So utilize it properly. Both of you are intelligent. Very cautiously deal with them. They will understand that ‘Oh, these people are very honest men of character and high knowledge and God conscious.’ That will make our Movement success.”
When Prabhupāda inquired about the aim of Chinese people, Dhṛṣṭadyumna summarized it as “dialectic materialism.” Prabhupāda pressed him further. “What is their aim? After studying all these books, what do you think? What is the aim of China? What is the objective they are making progress towards?”
Dhṛṣṭadyumna said they wanted to be materially comfortable, but Prabhupāda replied that, although Americans had already achieved that, their children were becoming hippies. If the Chinese had any sense they should see that.
“They see this as a fault of the system, of capitalism,” Dhṛṣṭadyumna replied. “They want communistic materialism. In other words by forming communes, everyone will get equal portion of food and bedding and clothing and medicine.”
“Materialism means capitalism,” Śrīla Prabhupāda observed. “A man’s tendency is that everyone wants to get more. So how will they check it? This is already proved in Russia.”
He explained that because the means for achieving equality was force, the system was bound to fail. It couldn’t work unless people voluntarily give to each other; therefore it is not a perfect process. But by Kṛṣṇa conscious education they could learn to sacrifice everything for the Supreme; that would make everyone happy. “You can make the whole body happy simply by supplying food to the stomach. That is the best way. If they are actually progressing, they will have to come to that point, that is natural, where, placing your service, you can serve everyone. That is the right conclusion. We have got that conclusion. If you want to take from us you can make immediately. But if you want to wait by your research work, then you can waste your time. Unless you come to this point ‘Food has to be supplied here’ your all attempt will be failure. That you have to tell them. You cannot supersede nature’s way. Nature’s way is that the ‘food must go through here,’ you cannot change it. You are not above nature.”
Dhṛṣṭadyumna said their idea is that they can become above nature. That raised Prabhupāda’s rhetorical ire. “Tell them, then this will make them failure. ‘If you are so foolish that you want to go above nature, then you are fool number one.’ That is not possible. Then you are following the wrong path. That is the foolishness. Mūḍha. As long as they have this impression that they can overcome the laws of nature, they will continue to become mūḍha. Where is the question of surpassing nature? Make them fool on every point, these rascals, by argument.”
Tamal Krishna Mahārāja cited their claims to have overcome drought by laying irrigation systems.
But Prabhupāda issued a challenge. “The laws of nature is there must be water. Here is cloud, nature will supply. Now if you want to surpass nature, then you produce in the factory, without water, the food grains. Then we shall understand that you can surpass. If nature pours water, then you save so much labor. Do you know that, how nature will supply water profusely? You haven’t got to make artificial arrangement for water. Do you know that? Ask them. We know that.”
They explained that a few hundred years ago Chinese society was organized in a way similar to Vedic society with brāhmaṇas, rulers, and workers. But the communists have rejected this and reformed society because it discriminates, making one person above another.
“But you are doing the same thing,” Prabhupāda countered. “Otherwise why you are reforming? Who is reforming unless the one class is very intelligent? The same situation. Your—what is that rascal’s name?”
“So he is supposed to be intelligent. So the two classes already there.”
“Well, he says everyone can be equally intelligent.”
“That is another thing,” Prabhupāda said. “These classes must remain, the teacher class and the student class.”
Tamal Krishna described how they reverse the roles of the teachers and students. They send the teachers to work for years in the fields, to show that no one is better than another.
Prabhupāda argued strongly that the two classes of teacher and student must still remain no matter who fills the role, so there is no equality. Someone must teach and someone must learn. “They are taking themselves the superior position to make it one.”
Tamal Krishna laughed. “Yes. That’s a fact.”
Prabhupāda concluded they were all rascals. And from their report it was clear that preaching in China was going to be very, very difficult, if not impossible. Mao’s Cultural Revolution has closed the country off from the rest of the world, so much so that the Christians have resorted to trying to float Bibles in balloons to the shore from a boat anchored two hundred miles from the coast.
Prabhupāda decided on the spot, without waiting to read their written report, that his men should not waste their valuable time when other areas of the world were more receptive. “If they are rascals, then don’t try. You see? Reject them. But there is good potency in your country. You do peacefully here. If they are rascals, means stubborn rascals . . . Better try in your country. You have got enough field, and they are intelligent and they are favorable. So why should we waste our time? There is no need. If you make your country, America, God conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious—they are already—that will be example to the whole world. These men, rascals’ program, will be failure, finished, this, today or tomorrow. They’ll never be successful. That is not possible. If they have so foolishly declared that ‘We are going above the laws of nature,’ they’re first-class rascals. Which is impossible. What they have conquered over the nature? These rascals will not die?”
“No, they’ll still die.”
“Then what is this? The rascals will not become old men? So what they have surpassed, laws of nature? What way? Simply making the teachers student and student teacher—simply wasting time. Better you utilize your father’s position, but for introducing our books to these high-class men. Just you are trying to introduce books in the university libraries, similarly, you try to introduce these books to the high class. And that is not difficult. These men, they have got enough money. If they spend $1,000 dollars for our books, that is nothing for them. So you just touch the topmost men.”
However, he didn’t completely rule out the Chinese. “If, somehow or other, if you see some of the topmost men of China, ‘You kindly read our books at your leisure. . . . ’”
Tamal Krishna shook his head. There was no hope he said. “You can’t approach those men.”
“Then give it up,” Prabhupāda reaffirmed. “If it is too difficult, don’t waste time.”
“It’s not only difficult, it’s impossible,” Tamal Krishna said. “It may be possible fifty years from now.”
“That’s all right.” Prabhupāda smiled. “Our descendants will try for that. But let us try where it is favorable. Don’t waste time.”
Tamal Krishna told him that one of the businessmen they had met told them, “Boys, you’re up against a wall, the Great Wall of China!”
Prabhupāda laughed and said that if the Chinese communists wanted to overcome the laws of nature they would simply break their heads against the wall. “The potter’s imagination. You know that? Potter’s imagination? You do not know the story? One potter is selling earthen pots, and he is saying that ‘Now, these two paisā, it has cost me one paisā. I shall make one paisā profit. I shall invest again. I shall make another profit, another profit. In this way I shall become millionaire. Then I shall marry, and my wife shall be very obedient. And if she does not become obedient, I shall give a kick, like this.’ And he, what was . . . One pot was there. He kicked that pot and broke it.”
We all broke out laughing as Prabhupāda pulled a sad face. “‘Oh, again I am poor man!’ So this is going on, imagination. ‘I shall become so great that I shall kick Kṛṣṇa’s law,’ and whatever pot he had—broken. That’s all. Rascals, simply rascals. If anyone thinks like that, that ‘I shall surpass the laws of nature,’ then he’s madman. So what is the use of dealing with madmen?”
However, he said that even for a rascal there was one hope. “If peacefully you can introduce, ‘All right, you will do. You are wonderful men, so kindly if you read some pages of this book, it is not very costly. You can keep. At leisure hour you can read.’ In this way, imploring, then they will be benefited. That much we can do to any rascal. Let them become puffed up by their false notions. But if they keep some books, sometimes they will read or their sons will read. That’s all. Therefore I am stressing so much on books, that if the puffed-up rascals take some book and sometimes, if they read, he’ll be benefited, perfectly benefited. So distribute these books anywhere possible. It doesn’t matter where it is.”
The two sannyāsīs have also done research on Russia. Whereas China is completely closed as far as selling books is concerned, Russia is a better hope. In China the only way foreign books get in is by an exchange system through the government. They don’t buy books and their libraries are rarely used; they have almost no university educational system—a few hundred thousand students out of a population of 800,000,000. Their philosophy is Marx’s dialectic materialism and they are fanatic about it. Everything is “Mao consciousness.” In Moscow alone however, there are over four thousand libraries, and foreign books are snapped up by the public. The Soviets also prefer the same system of book exchange, but things are more open and there is a large black market in books. Prabhupāda encouraged Tamal to try all avenues in many communist countries.
So the China preaching as a full-time mission has been cancelled. Tamal Krishna Mahārāja is to return to America, resuming his preaching as head of the Rādhā-Dāmodara bus parties. Śrīla Prabhupāda reinstated him to his former pre-Māyāpur-festival duties. He dictated a letter to Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami, to be sent to all the American GBCs. “My dear GBC Disciples, Please accept my blessings. I have met with Tamal Krishna Goswami and it appears impractical to send anyone to China at this time. I am requesting him to resume his old position as manager of the Radha Damodar TSKP. Book distribution is my most important concern and these devotees should be given facility to distribute books profusely throughout America. They are also helping with substantial contributions to construct the temple in Mayapur. Please do the needful to see that everything is done very nicely in a cooperative Kṛṣṇa conscious spirit.”
As a postscript he added, “Tamal Krishna Goswami will also be assuming his responsibilities as a Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Trustee for America.”
* * *
Once out of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room, Gurukṛpa and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa swamis pointedly questioned Tamal Krishna Mahārāja about Madhudviṣa Swami, inquiring how he was coping in New York. With considerable dismay Tamal Krishna reported that Madhudviṣa had lapsed into inactivity. He was simply attending the morning program and then either locking himself in his room for the rest of the day or going out somewhere into the city without explanation. He had no interest to see book distribution or Ratha-yātrā develop. Ādi-keśava was doing all the management.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa then showed Tamal a letter Gurukṛpa had received from an Australian devotee. It had been found in a brahmacāriṇī’s bead bag. Addressed to the woman, it bore a simple, hand-written message in a distinctive, large, sloping style similar to that of Madhudviṣa: “I’m down again. Please come to New York.” It was poignantly signed, “The King of the Sahajiyas.”
This was the secret which Gurukṛpa had discussed with Śrīla Prabhupāda and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa in Melbourne. Prabhupāda had decided not to pursue it until he could meet personally with Madhudviṣa in New York, but since Tamal is a close friend of Madhudviṣa’s, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa gave him the letter to take with him when he returns to New York. Tamal will try to speak with him about it.
May 5th, 1976
Prabhupāda is fit enough to resume his morning walks and the devotees took him to Ala Moana Beach Park. He walked at an easy pace around Magic Island, a man-made promontory at the sea front which has been manicured into an extensive parkway. It gives an expansive view of the open sea across the bay to the mountains.
* * *
After greeting their lordships Śrī Śrī Pañca-tattva Prabhupāda received guru-pūjā and gave his first Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class, from the first verse of the Sixth Canto. Generally his secretary leads the devotees in chanting the Sanskrit one word at a time and then line-by-line, then Prabhupāda repeats the verse himself before commenting on it. But this morning the verse was not written up on a board for the devotees to see, so Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa skipped the repetition. Śrīla Prabhupāda read out the Sanskrit himself, intending to simply read the verse and then give his lecture. But the devotees began responding after he spoke the first word, so he led us himself in the word-for-word and then line-by-line repetition. Everyone was enlivened by this.
His class was very short, only about ten or twelve minutes, reflecting his ongoing physical indisposition, but it was still potent and instructive. He compared sandalwood to the value of the human form. If we use this human form for sense gratification like the cats and dogs, it is like burning sandalwood for firewood, unaware of its true value. He said we simply commit suicide if we do not attempt to follow Vedic civilization.
* * *
Bhūrijana dāsa and his wife, Jagattāriṇī dāsī, have been traveling with us since Melbourne. They have been somewhat disassociated with mainstream ISKCON for the last couple of years, having preferred association with Siddha-svarūpa’s followers. Nevertheless, they have always remained loyal to, and in regular contact with, Śrīla Prabhupāda. They are now on their way to Laguna Beach where Bhūrijana prabhu has been offered the post of temple president. In Fiji Prabhupāda talked with them about their attachment to Siddha-svarūpa and his position in relation to ISKCON. Now Siddha-svarūpa is here and they are still somewhat confused about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s real opinion of him. So today the two of them sought a definitive statement.
Jagattāriṇī arrived as Prabhupāda relaxed out on the sun deck. Prabhupāda’s directive to her was clear: he wanted them within ISKCON and not with Siddha-svarūpa. However, due to her emotional attachment to Siddha-svarūpa it was difficult for her to accept and she began to cry. When Prabhupāda asked her what she found so appealing about Siddha-svarūpa, she said she felt his instructions and classes were clearer and his leadership more inspiring.
When Bhūrijana arrived Prabhupāda was as forthright as possible. “Why you are inclined to follow Siddha-svarūpa, your wife and you? What is special attraction? Your wife said that their instruction is very clear, so what is the distinction between clear and ambiguous? What do you find ambiguous and what do you find clear?”
Bhūrijana said he felt Siddha’s followers had more introspection about humility.
Śrīla Prabhupāda however, countered him. “Humility means not to follow the instructions of guru? Humble, but if you do not follow your spiritual master’s instruction, if you follow others, then where is the humbleness? Your wife says that what Siddha-svarūpa says it is very clear and what others say is not so clear. What is that clear? What is not clear?”
Bhūrijana said he felt they put more emphasis on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. But when Prabhupāda asked if anyone was telling them not to chant, he conceded, “No.” There was some back-and-forth but Bhūrijana didn’t seem able to offer any real difference between the two groups. He finally admitted, “I think there is no point of difference.”
“Then why do you say ‘We find these instructions more clear?’” Prabhupāda asked, exposing the contradiction.
His gentle probing opened up Bhūrijana’s heart, who finally bared the real source of his misgivings. “For myself, I know I was off-track, and I know that in my heart I built up an enmity toward your disciples, thinking by their distributing books they were making people angry at Kṛṣṇa and . . . ”
“That is real point. That is the real point,” Prabhupāda rejoined, obviously glad to get to the essence of the matter.
Bhūrijana told him about an experience in Hong Kong when some Indian life members actually yelled at him, telling him that the devotees’ attempts in Australia to distribute books on the street were making people angry at Kṛṣṇa.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami confirmed that Siddha-svarūpa’s main objection was this; that because of ISKCON’s strong emphasis on preaching and book distribution the mass of people have a bad impression of Kṛṣṇa.
Bhūrijana thought it wasn’t so much the selling of books, but the collecting of funds which gave the impression that ISKCON was merely a moneymaking organization. That sometimes the devotees don’t sell books, they just collect funds.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa pointed out that over 500,000 books were being distributed each year.
Śrīla Prabhupāda kept this as his focus; money collecting was a separate issue. His instruction was to distribute books and he wanted to know what the defect was. “So if they sell books, so that is making Kṛṣṇa unpopular?” he asked Bhūrijana.
“But one must learn to be a good book salesman, I think,” Bhūrijana answered.
“But selling book, Kṛṣṇa, does it mean that the booksellers are creating unpopular opinion? Does it mean?”
“Automatically, no,” Bhūrijana conceded.
“When you say that they are making enemies because they are pushing this, what is wrong there? Actually, I can so far understand that you do not like to sell books, or you cannot sell books.”
Bhūrijana then admitted he had never really tried.
Prabhupāda told him it was his own mentality that was faulty. “Those who are selling books, you think of them as not very advanced.”
“I don’t think they can do it for a very long time if they are not advanced.”
“But actually they are doing,” Prabhupāda pointed out. “So why do you say they cannot continue long?”
Bhūrijana raised the objection that sometimes the devotees were not straightforward in their dealings with the public. So much of the collecting was only for money and not for selling books.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa pointed out that regardless of this, Prabhupāda’s instruction was to sell books.
“But all the devotees want to hear is Prabhupāda also says ‘by hook or by crook.’” Bhūrijana objected.
Puṣṭa replied that sometimes, in order to interest a person in a book, the devotees may approach them on their own level of interest, or simply on a philanthropic level.
Śrīla Prabhupāda backed this type of dealing, recalling how Tripurāri Swami had once sold a book to a woman on the basis that it explained how the energy crisis could be solved. Next day the woman returned to complain there was nothing about the power shortage. “So you think it is wrong. That is your version. But a devotee’s view is that whatever may be her inquiry, if she purchases one book, she’ll be benefited. This is the point. But you, as big moralist, you think that he has cheated. He has not cheated, he has benefited her. Somehow or another, he has given a book to her. Someday she’ll read and she will benefit. But you people, you think that why we should sell like that, that ‘Yes, there is some solution of power shortage.’ Actually there is, but you think he has lied.”
He compared it to a father inducing his sick child to take medicine by pretending that he will give him a cake afterwards even though he has no intention of doing so because it is bad for him. “So is the father wrong or right?”
“No,” Bhūrijana agreed.
Prabhupāda then spelt out very clearly his own transcendental standard for book distribution. He contrasted it against the apparent moral standard Siddha-svarūpa and his group espouse. “If somehow or another one can sell one book to a person, it is good for him. Don’t take how he is selling, but he is giving the book to that person, and he is paying something, and that is good. But big moralist, they cannot understand, because they are on the mundane platform.”
He gave Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja as an example, for when he was told to lie to Droṇācārya on the battlefield, he refused, thinking it immoral. For this moral activity Prabhupāda said he had to visit hell. “This philosophy cannot be understood by neophyte devotees. Our purpose is, ‘Why we are pushing so much this sales of books? Because our missionary activities will be very widely known.’ That we want. Somehow or other, let him purchase a book. That is our mission. There is no question of transgressing moral principles.”
He did say that the activity should not be whimsical. But the real point came down to understanding what he, as our spiritual master, actually wants. He made it clear that those who are trying to fulfill his desire are the ones who are pleasing him. He also exposed the real mentality of those who don’t. “What Kṛṣṇa desires, if one does, he’s above all this material. But it should not be manufactured. The thing is that ‘Our spiritual master wants to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and he has repeatedly stressed to distribute books; we shall distribute books by any means.’ That is good. And if you become moralist, that ‘Oh, they are taking this means, that means, for selling of book. So I am big moralist, I am bigger than him. . . .”
Prabhupāda often says a thing should be judged by the results, and he now observed that, “Those who were transgressing the moral principles, they are selling more books. And those who are big moralists, they could not.”
Bhūrijana mentioned that Siddha-svarūpa’s men do some book distribution, but he had to concur that they gave pamphlets away for free before attempting to sell a book, which was again something not to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s liking. “If they get knowledge for free, then why should they purchase?”
Prabhupāda’s judgement on the matter was very clear and unambiguous. “They should follow what their spiritual master says. Book selling, there is no question of moral and immoral. They must sell. Just like in fighting. When there is fight, the soldiers, to gain victory, there is no question of moral and immoral.”
Bhūrijana’s misgivings began to clear up, and he finally began to understand and accept Prabhupāda’s desire. “Śrīla Prabhupāda, but I think the thing I understand the least is that if they are not doing what you want . . . I mean . . . I am sitting before you now, and you are telling me, and I am listening, and you are my spiritual master. I must accept.”
Pleased, Prabhupāda repeated his main point. “The end justifies the means. End is that everyone should have a Kṛṣṇa literature. Doesn’t matter what is the means. Because he has taken one Kṛṣṇa literature, that justifies everything. This is the principle.”
Still generous in his appraisal of Siddha’s group, Prabhupāda did not feel they were doing anything wrong. But his point was that his instruction was to sell books.
Bhūrijana got this point very clearly. “I understand. In other words, if you think they are doing it wrong, you do it better. If you see the wrong thing . . . but do it. Make sure you do it, but do it better without the wrong thing.”
“Yes.” Prabhupāda smiled and added another interesting comment as a punch line. “Besides that, if you do not take to Deity worship, then you shall remain unclean. That’s a fact.”
* * *
This question of whether or not Siddha-svarūpānanda Mahārāja and his group are actually doing what Śrīla Prabhupāda wants has been a point of considerable confusion, especially here in Hawaii where he has his main base. One devotee who had gone off to join Siddha has now returned to the temple for Prabhupāda’s visit. He asked me if he could speak directly to His Divine Grace to free his mind from the confusion he was feeling.
Prabhupāda consented and saw him in the evening. Once again Prabhupāda very explicitly stated the standard he wanted and what he required for one to be considered his disciple. “So I wish that we should combinedly work very vigorously. Just like women quarreling between themselves. What is this? You keep some women together and they’ll fight. The children together, they will fight. Dogs together, they will fight. Sane men, why they will fight? But our cause is the common thing, how to push on Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That soberness must be there. I can give you points—instructions—you’ll have to put it into shape. Otherwise how it will be possible?”
Gurukṛpa Mahārāja suggested the strife has arisen because of a difference of opinion on how to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Prabhupāda replied that there is a formula; if someone is not following that, then he can suggest how to rectify it. The point was to work cooperatively.
“The thing is they simply don’t want to cooperate with the ISKCON movement,” I told Prabhupāda.
“So why?” Prabhupāda asked.
“No one knows. They simply just don’t want to mix.”
“That you can settle up by sitting together. Why there should be differences?”
Having served in Australia during the period when Siddha’s group first factioned off, and from our recent visit to Auckland, I offered my own observations. “Just like in New Zealand, originally they split from ISKCON, and now gradually you are bringing them back to the same standard again. Now you are encouraging them to build a temple and install Deities. That means they have to come up to the required standard, brahminical standard again. So why was there any need to go away in the first place? But still, they won’t cooperate. They have to do it their own way. That’s the problem.”
“Talk with them. Go, talk with them,” Prabhupāda encouraged us.
The visiting devotee offered a more positive view than I did, not out of contention, but to see how Śrīla Prabhupāda would respond to their own claims that they are still doing the right thing. “There are a lot of devotees there who follow the principles, but they’re not completely shaved up and they still wear karmī clothes. They’re clean, they’re devotees, and they are attracting many of the local people because they are able to relate to them. They are not lowering the standard.”
“That should be,” Prabhupāda agreed. “But when they are initiated they must shave. They must keep to the standard. If one becomes initiated and if he still keeps the hippie form, that does not make influential. Do you think it is all right? No, that is not good. So long they are coming as outsider, joining kīrtana, they may have their own dress. It doesn’t matter. They are coming to kīrtana. That much is all right. But when they are to be initiated, they must follow the rules and regulation given by the spiritual master. Otherwise they should not be initiated. It is simple thing. Let them go on chanting, taking prasādam, we have no objection. But when they are to be initiated, they must follow this. This is the clear settlement. If you don’t want to disturb them, let them come, chant, dance, take prasādam. We have no objection, but don’t recommend them for initiation unless he agrees to the rules and regulations given by the spiritual master. Where is the wrong? Where is the difficulty? You can talk with him like that.”
“I think they only feel that because . . . ”
Prabhupāda cut him short. “No. No feeling. When you are surrendering to the spiritual master—find out this verse—tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā.”
Having grown familiar enough with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s method of preaching during darśanas I already had the Bhagavad-gītā on hand. I read out the oft-quoted verse thirty-four from the fourth chapter: “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”
“You have to submit,” Prabhupāda emphasized. “You cannot remain independent. That is the first condition. Śiṣya means voluntarily accepting the rules offered by the spiritual master.‘Yes, I agree to abide by your order.’ Then he becomes śiṣya. Otherwise, where is the question of śiṣya?Chant, dance, take prasādam and remain. There is no objection, but when you become śiṣya, then you cannot remain independent. These things convince him, that, ‘You don’t become śiṣya. Remain as friend. There is no harm.’”
“So then, part of initiation means that you’re prepared to do something more than simply chant and eat prasādam?” I asked.
As our guru Prabhupāda gave his clear requirement. “Initiation means to surrender to the spiritual master. If there is still hesitation to surrender to the rules and regulations and honor such spiritual master, he should not become.”
The visiting devotee nodded in assent. “I think it is pretty clear to me, Prabhupāda. Just for clarification: they’re working, they have a store on Maui, they are distributing foodstuffs to all the other stores on the island, they are working a lot within the society with the karmīs. Their thinking is that ‘If we shave our heads and wear robes . . . ’”
At the mere suggestion that shaving the head and wearing robes might be an impediment, Prabhupāda interrupted. “Then you don’t become initiated. You chant. Who is prohibiting to chant? You can chant, you can dance, you can take prasādam.”
It was becoming very clear that Prabhupāda’s standard for a disciple was more than simply following the four prohibitions and chanting. There were many other activities involved; essentially, preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness by distributing Prabhupāda’s books and living visibly as devotees. This seemed to be the real difference between the ISKCON devotees and the split-off group. As Prabhupāda had said to Bhūrijana earlier in the day, they were not doing anything wrong, but they were not doing what he asked either.
In light of this, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja brought it to a specific point. “Can they actually say, ‘His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda is my spiritual master,’ if they haven’t accepted all the instructions?”
“What is the use of calling that I am spiritual master? If you have not accepted the spiritual master, what is the use? False propaganda. Better you say, ‘We could not accept at first, but we are trying to follow him.’”
I had spoken with the visiting devotee prior to our seeing Śrīla Prabhupāda so I knew an apparent main point of contention on their part was the way ISKCON devotees dealt with the public. My own feeling was that it went a little deeper than that, so I took the opportunity to explore the issue further. “When you were saying, ‘Go out and distribute the books profusely,’ they were distributing. Some were not so good but still, the books were going out. Then the group that split away were saying, ‘You are disturbing the public by these methods of book distribution.’ This is what happened in Australia. One temple in Brisbane became very much against the saṅkīrtana methods, and as a result they gave up the program altogether and then went to live on farms. They left and the temple was finished. They were saying, ‘We’re still following Prabhupāda’s instructions,’ but they were saying that the devotees who were distributing the books were not following instructions, because sometimes the public is becoming disturbed by the book distribution. Therefore it’s not being done correctly, so it should be stopped.”
“Public may be disturbed,” Prabhupāda replied. “But we are following our own course of action. . . . We are requesting you, ‘Take this book.’ That is not obligatory. If you like, you can take it; if you don’t like, don’t take it.”
I said, “Their idea was, ‘We shall build some public relations,’ like he’s saying with this store. They prefer to try to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness by public relations. Give good impression and then people will come.”
“Then you are dictated by the public,” Prabhupāda said, “not by the dictation of your spiritual master. ‘Spiritual master’s order to distribute books: we shall do that.’ That is obedience. The public may take or not take, that is public’s option. But my duty is because spiritual master has said, I must try my best. Spiritual master has not said that you must sell so many books daily, otherwise shall I reject you. He has not said that. Everyone may try his best, that’s all. The public may take or not take, it doesn’t matter. Public says that ‘You dance naked, I’ll be very much pleased, I shall give you some money.’ Then what is the use of making a spiritual master? We have to follow the instruction of the spiritual master. That is initiation. Why do you manufacture, ‘The public will be pleased like this’? Public may or may not please. We don’t care for them.”
I stated the obvious. “Our success is in the spiritual master’s pleasure and not the public’s pleasure.”
“Yes, that is bhakti. Otherwise why Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja? [Bg. 18.66] ‘You haven’t got to preach so many religious systems. You simply please Me.’
The visiting devotee attempted to clarify their position more. “I don’t think that the devotees were against book distribution. Some of the devotees were using very, very forceful tactics, and people were becoming very offended.”
Prabhupāda agreed with him, “That is not required.”
“That’s all right,” I said, addressing the devotee as much as Śrīla Prabhupāda himself, “but don’t give up the book distribution. This is what happened. The temples fell down. The devotees went to work. The ones who were distributing the books went on and distributed more books, became more expert, so that the public were not so much disturbed. Still they’re distributing books, but these people who factioned off are not distributing books even now, two or three years later.”
Then I vocalized what I had all along felt was the root of the problem, just to get Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reaction. “It was simply actually a question of faultfinding more than an earnest desire to please the spiritual master.”
Prabhupāda confirmed it. “Yes. So discuss.”
He brought the interview to a close and we all exited, glad to give him some relief. We never like to burden Śrīla Prabhupāda with problems caused by our own incompetence but sometimes only a word from him can resolve them.
The devotee left well satisfied and with no doubts about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s desire. He has already moved back into the temple for Prabhupāda’s visit and will now remain.
May 6th, 1976
Prabhupāda walked around Magic Island again, discussing vegetarianism, among other things. He also brought up the subject during his short class on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.2, explaining where it fits in with our philosophy. “Sometimes this morning we were talking about vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Our mission is not to make a non-vegetarian a vegetarian. No. Our mission is that ‘Either you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, it doesn’t matter. You become Kṛṣṇa conscious.’ That is our mission. To become vegetarian is not very good qualification. It is better than the non-vegetarian, but that is not the ultimate solution. The ultimate solution is when you become a lover of God. So we are not preaching this vegetarianism.”
* * *
After discussions with Śrīla Prabhupāda, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami wrote to Rādhāballabha dāsa at the Los Angeles BBT that Hayagrīva dāsa, Prabhupāda’s original English editor, should immediately come to complete the philosophy book project. Years ago Śrīla Prabhupāda’s former secretary, Śyāmasundara dāsa, recorded conversations with His Divine Grace, in which Prabhupāda gave the Vedic critique of various western philosophies. These were to form the basis of a book to be distributed at colleges and universities, challenging the preeminence of western thought in modern educational institutions. For various reasons it has not been completed, and Prabhupāda urged Hayagrīva’s involvement.
Over the phone Rādhāballabha reported that Rāmeśvara Mahārāja is very sick with hepatitis. He has seen an Āyurvedic physician who prescribed a diet of rice and mung bean juice.
When Prabhupāda heard this he said, “Who is that rascal so-called Āyurvedic doctor?” Instead he prescribed rock candy (dissolved in water if he cannot suck it) and different preparations made from green papayas. Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja included this advice in his letter.
Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote to Akṣayānanda Swami in Vṛndāvana requesting him to take photos of the altars and send them, along with detailed measurements, to Vāsudeva dāsa in Fiji. He described the Kāliya-Kṛṣṇa temple as our first temple to be built outside of India and told him that in many respects it will be similar to the Krishna-Balaram Mandir.
Bṛṣākapi dāsa, the president of the Washington D.C. temple, wrote to request confirmation of Prabhupāda’s intention to visit. He has three hundred important people—educators, politicians and scientists—who may come to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. They are also trying to arrange a meeting with the President of the United States, although he added that this was not likely because it is election year and we are a controversial group.
Śrīla Prabhupāda replied, confirming that his schedule includes a visit to the capital between July 2nd and 9th. “I am desirous of visiting Washington, as I have never before been there. . . . I am looking forward to meeting with one State Department official, Mr. Twohie, who is handling a house which we want to acquire to house our Delhi temple. . . . So far the President is concerned, you can try to arrange, but it is not the most important thing.”
A copy of a newsletter, containing information on the reorganization of the gurukula, arrived from its author, Jagadīśa prabhu. According to the recent GBC resolutions regional gurukulas are to be set up in Dallas, Los Angeles, New Vrindaban, the French farm, Port Royal farm, Bridesville farm and Vṛndāvana, with a central office in Los Angeles to coordinate admissions and curriculum and deal with inquiries. Jagadīśa identified the biggest problem as raising the finances for future expansion. He envisions hundreds, or even thousands, of students in the near future and suggested a solution to the dilemma. “It will not be possible to raise money for future expansion simply by collecting tuitions. Therefore I am setting up a fund which will be dedicated to facilitate the development of thegurukula or educational requirements of the Krsna consciousness movement. I am going to channel donations which I am able to solicit from wealthy individuals who are sympathizers to our movement, Spiritual Sky donations and other funds that I will raise on samkirtan.”
His plan is for children to attend the local gurukulas until age nine, at which time they will be sent to the new gurukula in Vṛndāvana. Even though this is still under construction, eight boys and three girls are already being taught there by Rūpa Vilāsa dāsa and his wife Candrikā dāsī. Nitāi dāsa will teach Sanskrit. Another twelve boys are scheduled to go after the hot season.
Jagadīśa prabhu asked Śrīla Prabhupāda to say whether or not this was all right, especially the idea of the central fund. As a postscript he added that Ambarīṣa prabhu has agreed to contribute if Śrīla Prabhupāda approves.
Considering the amount of work involved and the importance he gives to the gurukula development, Śrīla Prabhupāda decided that Jagadīśa should not be involved in any other management. “You have some experience now with Gurukula, so your full-time engagement should now be to organize the Gurukulas all over the world. Do it very nicely and thoughtfully. So far your plans are concerned for the same, you can have them conjointly approved with the other GBC.”
* * *
Cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda has been something of a problem. After my disastrous attempt in New Zealand, I left it to the local devotees to make arrangements here. One of the girls, Kuśa dāsī, tried for the first couple of days, but Prabhupāda complained she used too much salt. Before I could speak to her personally, word got out and she became discouraged. Then she suddenly was taken to the hospital suffering from a bad infection. So yesterday I had another go. It was another complete failure and Prabhupāda repeated his criticism: I am simply too dull to learn.
Prabhupāda’s digestion is so delicate that a constant change of cooks can mean serious health problems for him. In evident frustration at my incompetence he asked for the three-tier cooker and some burners to be brought upstairs to his room, declaring that he would cook for himself. I was completely downcast that I was so useless I couldn’t even cook properly, so Śukadeva prabhu, the temple president, offered to try. Prabhupāda consented and today’s lunch turned out to his satisfaction—except for the dāl, which Śukadeva had cooked down to a mush. Prabhupāda said that was untouchable. But that was his only complaint, so Śukadeva is going to do it every day now.
* * *
Prabhupāda saw Govinda dāsī again and requested her to make Deities for the new Fiji temple. In particular they discussed the pose of Kāliya-Kṛṣṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa dancing on the heads of the snake Kāliya. This will be the central Deity on the three altars. She is to organize the manufacture of the Deities with Bharadvāja, ISKCON’s leading diorama artist in Los Angeles.
May 7th, 1976
For Śrīla Prabhupāda’s walk this morning we drove for almost half an hour to the other side of the island. Stopping in the Kailua Beach Park area we walked along a secluded beach but it rained and it was too windy so Prabhupāda suggested we stick with Magic Island.
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda is continuing to lead the repetitive chanting of the Sanskrit at the start of class himself. Skipping ślokas 3–5, he read out this morning’s verse, 6.1.6, which described Śukadeva Gosvāmī as mahā-bhāga. “So here Śukadeva Gosvāmī is addressed as mahā-bhāga. Mahā means great, and bhāga means fortunate. Because he is very fortunate, he is describing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Again Bhāgavatam, the same word bhāga comes. Bhaga—vat. Vat, this word, is used when the meaning is possessing. Asty-arthe vatup. Bhagavān, bhāgyavān and bhāgavata. Bhāgavata means one who has power to possess the Supreme Lord. He is called bhāgavata. There are two kinds of bhāgavata. One is grantha-bhāgavata and one is person bhāgavata. A devotee, he is called bhāgavata, and the book in which the pastimes or characteristics of Bhagavān is described, that is called Bhāgavata. So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavat. Śrī means beauty. Again vat. Bhagavat, śrīvat. Śrī means very beautiful. So every śloka you’ll find very, very beautiful. Five thousand years ago these verses were written. There is no comparison. Nobody can write such verses even up to date. It was written by Vyāsadeva, Veda-vyāsa.”
As we sat in the small, but crowded, temple room listening attentively to his potent lecture it made me realize that as a mahā-bhāgavata devotee Śrīla Prabhupāda is also incomparable. No one is able to give such astute insights into everyday life and such lucid explications of the Vedic literature as he. He is truly the representative of Śrīla Vyāsadeva and we neophytes are mahā-bhāga to be daily sitting at his feet.
* * *
During guru-pūjā a long-haired young man presented Śrīla Prabhupāda with a huge set of tulasī beads. As they lay on the base of the vyāsāsana I saw Gurukṛpa Mahārāja glance first at them and then to me. He had a possessive look in his eye. After Prabhupāda stepped down from the vyāsāsana I gathered them up with his other paraphernalia and put them in my room. The same devotee had given His Divine Grace a similar set of japa-mālā last year, but he had not used them and had left them behind.
Just after breakfast Prabhupāda called me in, asking to see the beads. He liked the feel of them and so told me to string them properly and have a bead bag made so that he could chant on them. I happily spent the morning restringing them while Kuśa dāsī made an attractive giant-size bag from saffron-colored Thai silk. As I sat knotting them, Gurukṛpa Mahārāja happened to walk in. “They’re mine!” he declared forcefully, as if to dissuade me of any thoughts of keeping them for myself.
“No they are not, Mahārāja.” I smiled reprovingly. “They’re Śrīla Prabhupāda’s. He’s going to use them!”
Gurukṛpa had speculated that Prabhupāda would do the same as last year and, as the GBC, had mentally laid his claim. Embarrassed, Mahārāja immediately corrected himself for his offence, “Hare Kṛṣṇa!” then left the room.
* * *
Tamal Krishna, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa, Dhṛṣṭadyumna, Gurukṛpa and myself, had a long and interesting darśana with Śrīla Prabhupāda this evening. Prabhupāda started off with some general discussion about China and its culture, or rather the lack of it. He described the Chinese culture as the lowest. He mentioned that many South Pacific natives were formerly cannibals and that some Chinese also were similarly inclined. He told us a story about a salesman and his friend selling goods door-to-door in Calcutta. After entering the house of some Chinese people at their invitation, hours later he had not returned. His friend asked the family where he was, but they merely replied that he had left. He complained to the police, and when they searched the Chinese house they discovered that the salesman had been killed and eaten, and that the house contained a huge stock of human bones! Prabhupāda said there was a similar incident at a hotel in Kanpur, where people were slaughtering children and eating them. He also recalled the story I had told him in Māyāpur, how my relative had wanted to kill me in the womb. He said that Kṛṣṇa had saved me because I was destined to become His devotee.
Prabhupāda said that people in the communist countries must be dissatisfied. Using himself as an example he said he was staying in his room almost twenty-four hours—but by choice, so it is all right. But if someone ordered him, ‘you cannot leave,’ it would become intolerable. The psychology is that the communist-controlled people are oppressed and will eventually demand change. Everything is strictly controlled and no one has anything. He recalled that when he visited Moscow for a week the only fruit they could buy was strawberries. It was very difficult to find a taxi and even when they got one, the taxi driver begged for more money. The tourist buses he said, were worse than the ones in India. Russia has had to begin liberalizing, Prabhupāda observed, because they are afraid of another revolution, especially after Stalin’s reign. He described Stalin as the biggest criminal in the world, having killed millions of his own people.
He strongly encouraged Tamal Krishna Mahārāja to use the black market systems in the Eastern bloc to spread his books. “Just find out what is the venues to push our books. As much as possible. This will be your only business. All over the world, see how the books can be pushed.” He didn’t mind if the black marketeers make money from us, as long as the books go out. “Let them make good profit. Śaṭhe śāṭhyamācareta—when there is trickery, you become trickery. Kṛṣṇa’s play—to those who are plain, Kṛṣṇa is very kind and plain; those who are tricky, ‘All right, I am also tricky.’ We shall adopt all the means of the materialistic persons, simply for Kṛṣṇa.”
Prabhupāda said that as soon as our Movement grows stronger than the communist movement, we shall finish it. “That I shall tell you later. You become little strong. We cannot allow them. Because Kṛṣṇa’s policy is paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [In order to deliver the pious, and to annihilate the miscreants . . . Bg.4.8] You have to take that policy.” He said that as far as the common people are concerned, they have to be shown mercy and be convinced by saṅkīrtana. But big leaders like Mao will fall only by force, although this cannot be done at the present time.
He envisions a big demand for his books in these countries. When Tamal Krishna expressed his delight at the thought of seeing Prabhupāda’s Bhagavad-gītā the most widely read black market book in Russia, Prabhupāda smiled. “Then that will create revolution.”
“Whew.” Tamal shook his head in appreciation. “These books are very revolutionary. You are very strong. You have put everything in very clear-cut, strong words. You have attacked everyone who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious as fools and rascals.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda laughed. “This is fact, it is not exaggeration.”
They discussed a little about Harikeśa Mahārāja who is reported to be doing well in Europe, visiting various Communist countries like Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. He and his party drive into the countries in vans loaded with books secreted in false bottoms and then distribute them. Prabhupāda appreciated his endeavors, encouraging us all to pursue this program of book distribution. “You are all intelligent, you can plan. The aim is how to distribute books. That is first consideration.”
He ended the meeting with a figurative description of the body and its different parts. Just last night he said that in his Bhāgavatam work he had translated a verse which compared the body, mind and senses to a chariot and weapons. He said these weapons are honed and kept sharp by serving the spiritual master. When the spiritual master is happy, Kṛṣṇa helps by giving the devotee the strength needed to wield the weapons. Then, he said, we will fight with the enemies of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, conquer material existence and at last give up the weapons and go back to home, back to Godhead. He then asked Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja to play back his evening’s dictations. It was from 7.15.45.
Tamal Krishna and Dhṛṣṭadyumna mahārājas left for Los Angeles after the darśana.
* * *
In the late evening, as I massaged him, Prabhupāda had me take the part of a scientist while he defeated every argument I could think of. Of course, I am not a scientist, nor a student of science, but I may be taken as an ordinary man whose vision of the world has been shaped and colored by years of science-based schooling and social pressures conveyed through the mass media. Śrīla Prabhupāda has destroyed whatever little faith I might have in the credibility of the materialists and their propaganda.
He gave a practical example of how mad people are. At the time of his death a man he had known pleaded with the doctors, “Please give me just four more years of life so that I can finish my business!” Shaking his head at the foolishness, he said, “As though doctors could give life.”
Exercises like this strengthen my trust in the Vedic version of life and the universe unlimitedly. As for Śrīla Prabhupāda, he simply loves to preach and his sense of duty to his spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa impel him to deliver true knowledge and defeat ignorance wherever and whenever it might be found.
May 8th, 1976
Magic Island has become the regular morning route. Today Prabhupāda spoke repeatedly how scientists create illusions for people. He also noted how people have the sentiment to build a better world, not just for themselves but for their grandchildren, yet at the same time they kill their own children in the womb. “How crazy they are!” he declared wryly, shaking his head.
As we rounded the tip of the promontory he noticed a group of surfers out to catch the waves. He paused briefly to watch them riding in on their boards, falling off and struggling to swim back out again for the next wave. He said that they would take births as fish in their next lives due to their absorption in water sports. “So,” he quoted from Bhagavad-gītā, “yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvam.” [Whatever state one remembers when he quits this body, that state he will attain without fail. Bg. 8.6]
* * *
Class continued with verse seven of the first chapter of the Sixth Canto, describing how a person takes with him the reactions created by the activities of his kāya (body), mana (mind) and vākya (words) into the next life where he suffers accordingly, unless he makes suitable atonement. Therefore Prabhupāda said that murderers must be executed in order to free them from reactions to their misdeeds; otherwise they will suffer very severely in their next lives—four times as greatly. One must follow the dharma-śāstras to counteract offenses, and he pointed out that if one follows śāstra then he will not kill in the first place. He said that because kṣat means “injury,” it is the government, or kṣatriya’s duty, to protect the citizens from anyone who is unnecessarily injuring their bodies. Then he gave a broad vision of who should be protected. “The tree has taken birth. The man has taken birth. Why simply man should be saved, not the cows, not the trees? He must be saved. Unnecessarily there cannot be any killing. Lord Christ also, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Yes, this is the beginning of religious life. If you are accustomed to kill somebody, either man, animal, trees, fish, anything, there is not entrance to religious life because every living entity is the son of God.”
Giving the surfers as an example, he explained how the soul becomes contaminated by contact with different mixes of the modes of material nature. Combining the words “surfer” and “suffer” he made everyone laugh with an excellent and piercing pun. “This morning we were talking about the sufferers; what is called? The sea suffers? Surfers, yes. I call ‘sea sufferers.’ Yes, contamination . . . so that in the next life he will become a fish. He’ll be very free to dance in the ocean.” He said they would indeed get such a birth and then spend millions of lifetimes coming once again to the human form. This perhaps struck home to some of his audience since a few young men in attendance had longish hair and were of the beach-going type.
His conclusion was that we have a choice; we can go either up or down. Kṛṣṇa offers us instruction so that we can go back home, back to Godhead. “But we are not prepared to surrender. That is our material disease. If we do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa and take His instruction, that is our choice. But if you like, you can make your life successful within a moment simply by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. Thank you very much.”
* * *
Breakfast for Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja and myself consists of fresh mangoes, pineapples and halavā. Śrīla Prabhupāda is also enjoying the fresh ripe fruits, freely available in the neighborhood. Remarking on the delicious mangoes he said that their juice should be boiled down and then dried in trays in the sun. He explained that this dried pulp can be stored for years, and when eaten with ground rice and milk is both palatable and nutritious.
Śrīla Prabhupāda made a thorough inspection of the temple grounds the other day and was pleased to note a proliferation of flowers and vegetables, all conscientiously grown by the temple gardener, Kāṇva dāsa. Taking an interest in every aspect of his work, Śrīla Prabhupāda asked many questions.
He noticed a small chili bush at the side of the temple so as he took his breakfast this morning he sent me out to pick a few. They were very little and I did not think they would be very strong. Prabhupāda took but a small bite of one and left it at the side of his plate. Several minutes later he raised his eyebrows and said, “It is very hot!” Concerned that it might be burning his mouth I asked if it was too hot, but he simply smiled. “No, chili means hot.”
* * *
Govinda dāsī came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda after his afternoon nap. She has been taking his request to work on the new Deities for Fiji seriously and she showed him clay models of Gaura-Nitāi for approval. Her idea is to make an original mold and then to cast copies of the Deity in a light but durable, resinous material which looks like marble. Using this method, many Deities can be made quickly and sent out to any temple on request. Prabhupāda thought it was a good idea. He liked the models and encouraged her to go ahead.
They discussed the Deity of Kāliya-Kṛṣṇa. Prabhupāda told her that Kṛṣṇa should be dancing on the head of Kāliya, and Govinda dāsī adopted several poses to get the correct hand and leg positions. When she stood on one leg, raising her left foot off the ground, and holding her right hand out with the thumb and forefinger joined and the other fingers extended, Śrīla Prabhupāda laughed and said she had invented a new style of Deity. He liked the pose and told her to go ahead and make it.
She also made a special request. Prabhupāda has asked the devotees to build a new temple on the open land next to the present building and they are planning to install new Pañca-tattva deities. Govinda dāsī made the present ones from papier-mâchê which is beginning to deteriorate and they need to be replaced. Govinda dāsī asked if they could be given to her to worship because she was especially attached to them. Prabhupāda agreed straight away and even gave her a letter confirming it, addressed to the local GBC and temple president.
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda declared Śukadeva’s cooking “first-class” today. I am relieved. He is not only using the three-tiered cooker to do dāl, rice and bitter melon, but he has another six pots going at the same time, from which he makes three wet and three dry sabjīs. Added to this is a very palatable lassī made by one of the ladies, which His Divine Grace said was very good.
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda is now feeling a little better. For the last couple of days he has been taking half-tablets of diuretic medicine, and the swelling in his hands and feet has disappeared. As soon as he got the desired effect he stopped taking the pills.
Because there are no visitors here in Honolulu he spends most of his evening time reading and chanting on his new beads. He is translating much more as well, and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami is fully occupied all day long transcribing the tapes.
May 9th, 1976
Śrīla Prabhupāda has a regular līlā going on with Kuśa dāsī’s son, a toddler about two years old. With fair hair, porcelain-like skin and a quiet, gentle temperament, he has a sober, but quite delicate, demeanor. Each morning after he greets the Deities, Prabhupāda takes a few drops of caranāmṛta and the boy stands next to him. After washing his hand Prabhupāda sprinkles a few drops of water on the boy’s head. After that he goes to the back of the temple room and sits on his vyāsāsana to receive guru-pūjā. As the devotees offer flowers one-by-one, the boy also steps forward. He slowly and carefully mounts the steps, all the while clutching a garland of pikaki flowers—small, white bud-like jasmine flowers looking like carved ivory beads. He hands it over and Śrīla Prabhupāda gives him the one he is wearing. Then, equally as carefully, he steps down, offers his daṇḍavats and toddles back to his mother. No words are spoke during the entire exchange, though Prabhupāda smiles to see his innocent exhibition of devotion. This morning Prabhupāda asked me his name. When I told him it was Ātmārāma, he smiled and nodded his head. “Yes. He appears just like a saintly person.”
During class, on verse eight, Prabhupāda described material life as the diseased condition of the living being. He said we are all suffering because we have accepted a material body, and the cure for this disease is detachment. This was taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the six Gosvāmīs. He quoted Cāṇakya Paṇḍita’s summary of the principle attachments in life. “In the family, two persons, the mother and the wife, if they are very, very good, then happy life. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita therefore said, ‘At home, if one has no mother and if the wife is not very attached and does not speak very well’—means does not like the husband on the whole. ‘If such a wife is at home and mother is not there . . . ’ This is ideal Indian happy home; but in your country it is very rare, you see. But this is the standard of happiness. So if there is no mother and no good wife, then araṇyaṁ tena gantavyaṁ immediately he should give up that home. Araṇyam. ‘He should go to the forest.’ For him, either this home or the forest, it is the same.”
Prabhupāda explained that Caitanya Mahāprabhu had both an affectionate mother and a very beautiful wife—the two greatest attachments—but still He gave them up for the benefit of the whole human society. Similarly, the six Gosvāmīs left opulent lifestyles simply to study various Vedic literatures in order to establish religious principles for the benefit of the fallen souls. However, without knowledge of their relationship with Kṛṣṇa the diseased conditioned souls are manufacturing ideas how to become happy, but that happiness is actually another symptom of the disease.
During a previous morning walk someone had mentioned the latest sports craze, hang gliding, so by way of a practical example, Prabhupāda gave his view of this, amusing everyone and effectively illustrating his point. “They have now discovered another way of happiness, flying in the air. Now the ‘sufferers,’ or what is called?”
“Surfers,” the devotees laughed.
“That is not sufficient. Now they want to fly. You see. Another discovery. That is going on. Actually they are manufacturing different ways of suffering. So therefore that is our disease. They are so fools and rascals, they do not know how life is going on, how nature is working upon us. Everything is in darkness. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only hope. It is not a story, it is fact. So those who have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I request to take it very seriously and read the books and make progress and simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Then everything, all problems will be solved.”
* * *
Pradyumna dāsa arrived this morning from Bombay. He will travel as a regular member of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s party to do the Sanskrit editing on the tape transcriptions before they are sent to Los Angeles.
Pradyumna prabhu has six large boils on his hips and buttocks and cannot sit down properly. He hadn’t seen a doctor so Śrīla Prabhupāda told him to get medical treatment right away. He was very concerned and not happy that Pradyumna was neglecting his health. Later in the day Pradyumna came back from the doctor’s with a large bottle of the antibiotic Tetracycline which he has to take every four hours for the next ten days.
* * *
We were in Prabhupāda’s room in the late afternoon when Siddha-svarūpa Mahārāja came in. He sat in front of Prabhupāda’s desk, leaning on its corner with his elbow, quite casually I thought. Prabhupāda pleasantly asked him, “So what is the difference between the two groups?” It was an indication that if there were any differences between ISKCON and Siddha’s group, why not, while he is here, work to clear them up so that everyone can cooperate.
Siddha-svarūpa simply lowered his head, his bottom lip protruding, and ignored the overture. “Well, Prabhupāda,” he pouted, “I think Kṛṣṇa will decide who’s right and who’s wrong.” He seems completely negative to any proposal for cooperation, even from his own spiritual master.
Over the last few days Śrīla Prabhupāda has been requesting the temple leaders to construct a new temple building on the side of our land. Despite Siddha’s attitude Śrīla Prabhupāda attempted to encourage him to participate in the new project. He said that whatever differences existed could be resolved on the common platform of chanting the holy names of the Lord. But Siddha-svarūpa merely invented one excuse after another why he could not participate.
Later, alone with Prabhupāda, I asked about book distribution and Deity worship. I asked why, if Deity worship was the process for self-realization in the last yuga, do we have it now? Wasn’t saṅkīrtana sufficient?
He said that he had introduced worship of the Deity because, while there may arise differences of opinion about the distribution of books, on the point of Deity worship there was only one standard on which all must agree. This would therefore maintain the purity of the Movement.
* * *
The visit to Washington, D. C. on July 4th, America’s Independence Day, which this year is the bicentennial anniversary of the United States, is already on the itinerary. Prabhupāda has spoken considerably about government and educational standards, and today he sent a letter to the personal secretary of the President of the United States, suggesting that on this special occasion the government begin to teach the science of God to the American people. He emphasized that their Constitution “trusted in God.” If they took it up it would be a great service to humanity, and he added that he was prepared to cooperate in this connection “if the American government takes it very seriously.”
Prabhupāda is nothing if not bold, willing to try any avenue to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness, on any scale. In his quest to salvage the planet from degradation and godlessness he is able to speak to hippies and drop-outs or to the highest government officials.
Dealing with his other mail Prabhupāda took care of several managerial issues. He sent a letter to Abhirām dāsa in Calcutta inquiring about the progress in acquiring the park across the street from the temple. Prabhupāda told him to concentrate his energies on this, and he referred to it as “Bhaktivedanta Park.”
Gurukṛpa Mahārāja is leaving very shortly for Japan so Prabhupāda gave him a letter to hand deliver to Trivikrama Swami. Trivikrama Mahārāja has left Korea in order to apply for a missionary visa there. Since there is still some difficulty between him and Gurukṛpa, Prabhupāda decided Trivikrama Mahārāja would be an ideal person to help set up the China preaching program with Tamal Krishna. He therefore asked him to immediately come here to Hawaii.
He instructed Rāmeśvara Swami in Los Angeles to contact India and make sure there is sufficient stock of his books there for fulfilling the many orders the Library Party is taking. He was very happy with their work and does not want it hampered by inefficient handling of the orders.
Locally, Balabhadra dāsa, who lives on the “big island” of Hawaii, requested a short interview to discuss a new and successful business he is doing, distributing raw honey for a big apiary. His letter, given in the morning, explained that the potential was very great. He estimates that within a year or two devotees could be selling up to 500,000 pounds of honey per annum throughout the United States. In nine months he has sold 95,000 pounds at a profit of ten cents per pound. But Śukadeva prabhu has not been enthusiastic to get involved. Balabhadra is keen to see the operation expand because he sees it as prasādam distribution. Balabhadra also gave to Prabhupāda some of the honey he sells as a gift.
Śrīla Prabhupāda agreed to see him this afternoon, just after his rest period. Siddha-svarūpa Mahārāja was also there. Balabhadra came right from the garden where he had been working all day, and didn’t have a shirt on. Prabhupāda noticed he wasn’t wearing his brāhmaṇa thread and asked him why. Balabhadra explained that he had not been following very strictly and had taken it off, not feeling himself qualified to wear it. Prabhupāda turned to Siddha-svarūpa Mahārāja, asking him to get one, and he then had Balabhadra put it on.
For about ten minutes Balabhadra explained his ideas for developing his business. His main point was that it offered an ideal way for gṛhasthas who were not doing saṅkīrtana to earn a living and still be doing something Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Prabhupāda leaned back and mused for a moment. “Hmm. What to do. What to do?” He expressed some interest in it. Later he sent Balabhadra a letter, requesting him to do the business and then use the profits to help the devotees build the new temple. “As you know, I have requested the devotees here to construct one beautiful temple on the grounds in order that many people may come from all around and see the gorgeous worship of the Deities. It is a big project and will require so much capital. So if possible you can try to follow the formula recommended practically by Srila Rupa Gosvami, that 50% of one’s income be spent for propagating Krishna consciousness. That will be very nice, then your business endeavors will surely be pleasing unto the Supreme Lord, as stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam: atah pumbhir dvija sresta varnasrama vibhagasah, svanusthi tasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari tosanam S.B. 1.2.13 ‘O best among the twiceborn, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve, by discharging his prescribed duties (dharma) according to caste divisions and order of life, is to please the Lord Hari.’”
There were two short letters from India which elicited more philosophical responses although there was quite a contrast in mood between the two. One was from Susheel Asnani in Bombay, who sometimes comes to Juhu to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. It began, “May it please your worship, It is pretty long time that I have not seen you physically. I hope you must be extremely busy with your divine spreading the message of Krishna consciousness.” He stated that his doctor suspects he has cancer, although it is not yet confirmed. It was signed, “Thy devotee . . . ”
Śrīla Prabhupāda dictated his reply to Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa. “The best thing is that you engage yourself in chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra as many times as possible and Krishna will save you. I wish that all your family members should chant, your wife especially, for your prolonged life. Whenever you find time please go to the Bombay temple and offer your sincere obeisances to Lord Krishna. Nobody’s life will continue in this world but if we practice Krishna consciousness, then certainly by giving up this body one goes back home, back to Godhead.” He finished by quoting Bhagavad-gītā 4.9. As a nice personal touch he added as a postscript that he was enclosing one U.S. postage stamp for Susheel’s son.
The other letter came from the Indian Humanist Union. “Venerable Swami Ji, IHU is a non-political secular organisation which stands for solidarity of mankind and intellectual integrity: it welcomes that which promotes amity and shuns the opposite. It is, of course, concerned with this life alone. This being the case I wonder if any co-operation is possible between us.”
Prabhupāda replied that he was happy to receive the invitation to cooperate together, and he asked for details of their program. He said that our program is “to awaken the human society to God consciousness.” He explained that the soul transmigrates from one body to another, and when he attains the human life he decides which way he wants to go. He said that he is preaching on the basis of the Vedic literature, which is considered the most authentic knowledge by Indian scholars, religionists and people in general, and this is now being appreciated by all scholarly sections around the world. He then invited his correspondent to purchase a full set of his books for their institution’s library.
Then he got into the philosophical aspect of the man’s letter. “With reference to your statement that you are concerned with this life alone, I could not follow what you mean by this. In this life also, you take care for educating your children. So if the child is not educated for the next stage of life, then how do you account for the child’s youth-hood age. Life is a continuation. The baby grows to become a child, the child to become a boy, the boy grows to become a young man, the young man becomes a middle-age man, and the middle-age man becomes an old man. So with which stage of life are you concerned? I shall be glad to know in which stage of life you are interested. If you don’t take care of the child and simply become concerned with the young man, is it possible to act properly in the matter of humanitarianism? And according to the transmigration of the soul, a man can become a dog in the next life. So you take care of this life, and if in the next life he becomes a dog, then what?
“Immediately, of course, we do not insist on philosophy, but if people join sankirtan, chanting and dancing and taking prasadam, immediately we can begin cooperating without any distinction of Hindu, Christian, Muslim etc. Unless we make our program in an authorized perfect way, then anything we try to do will be a failure.”
May 10th, 1976
Ekādaśī. Before going out for his morning walk Prabhupāda summoned me with the buzzer. Going into his room, I offered my obeisances and knelt before him, eager to execute his bidding. He asked if we had the Sanskrit edition of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Eighth Canto with us. He said he would finish the Seventh by the evening. This was very heartening to hear.
Last month in Vṛndāvana, we had discussed the travel itinerary with Rāmeśvara Swami. He had put in a strong plea to Prabhupāda on behalf of the BBT to take advantage of the remoteness of Hawaii for this purpose—to increase his writing. Prabhupāda has often said that if the devotees publish at the speed he writes he would be more and more encouraged. So when Rāmeśvara enthusiastically informed him that the BBT had almost caught up with him, he agreed to spend a month here, with the hope it would increase his output. Now to hear that he was making good progress was at once fulfilling and inspiring.
I was excited and expressed my pleasure at this welcome news. Prabhupāda remained modest and sober. With a slight smile and an unassuming tip of his head he told me, “Oh, I can finish it very quickly, but I have to present it for your understanding. It requires deep thought, very carefully, for the common man.”
* * *
Prabhupāda’s class emphasized his presentation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as his most important work. It is not a mere product of his scholarship but a deeply realized penetration into the very essence of life, the problems that haunt all men, and solutions with which to exorcise them.
The verse continued with an inquiry from Parīkṣit Mahārāja as to the value of prayascitta, or atonement for sinful acts. A person knows sinful acts are injurious to him because he sees criminals are punished by the government and rebuked by people in general. He also hears from scripture that one is thrown into hellish conditions in the next life. And yet, still a person commits sinful acts again and again. Therefore, Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī what the value of such atonement is.
After condemning the so-called scientists and philosophers who think life is merely chemicals, and after explaining the Bhāgavatam’s analysis that life is spirit, Prabhupāda pointed out to his attentive audience that Parīkṣit Mahārāja, the emperor of the world, submissively inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. “Because,” Prabhupāda said, “he is the disciple and son of Vyāsadeva. So this is parampara. One should learn from the right person, that is perfect knowledge. We are sticking to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to receive perfect knowledge. If we change, if we become so rascal that ‘What has been spoken in Vedic literature, there is beyond, something,’ then we are rascal. There is no beyond. This is perfect knowledge.”
He explained very clearly the proper way to receive this perfect knowledge. “Our process of Vedic knowledge is how to surrender, not that I hear and reject it. That is not the way. That is another rascaldom. . . . Surrender means you first of all be convinced that ‘The person whom I am going to accept as guru, whether he actually can give me the knowledge?’ That is wanted. Therefore, before taking guru, the system is, for one year the prospective disciple should hear from the person and then decide. And similarly, the guru also should see a person is actually submissive or not. That is Vaiṣṇava injunction, Hari-bhakti-vilasa.”
Prabhupāda defined submission. “Intelligently serve. It is not that he is checking the guru, ‘How my guru is learned?’ No. The submission is there. But when the guru says something he may not understand, that concession is there, paripraśnena, you inquire.”
Therefore he said Parīkṣit’s question was very intelligent because as a king he knew practically that criminals repeatedly commit crimes even after going to jail, and medical patients repeatedly become diseased even after undergoing troublesome and painful treatment, because neither can stop their bad habits. “This is student. Just see how intelligently the question is put. Śukadeva Gosvāmī said that for any sinful action, atonement, one has to atone. So he immediately catches this word, this intelligent disciple, that ‘What is the value of this atonement? If he cannot correct himself to commit the sinful activity, then what is the value of such atonement?’ This is very nice question, we shall discuss tomorrow.”
* * *
Gaurasundara dāsa came in the afternoon in response to Prabhupāda’s request. He was polite and well groomed and stayed about half an hour. Saying very little, he listened quietly to all Śrīla Prabhupāda told him. Dealing very kindly but frankly with him, as a loving father does an errant son, Prabhupāda indirectly addressed Gaurasundara’s establishment of his own āśrama. He told him that he did not mind if he wants to become a guru. In fact, he said, that is required, for he wants all his disciples to become gurus. But he stressed the standard should not be changed. “Do not manufacture your own process,” he told Gaurasundara.
When Gaurasundara took his leave Prabhupāda commented that although Gaurasundara had sat and politely smiled or nodded his head as if in agreement, whether he actually understood what he told him was another thing.
* * *
Śukadeva cooked some special potato patties today as an extra Ekādaśī preparation. Another devotee, Satyadeva prabhu, gave him the recipe—boiled potatoes mixed with Ekādaśī flour and cooked peanuts are made into small cakes, which are then deep fried in ghee. They delighted Śrīla Prabhupāda. He asked Śukadeva with boyish innocence, “Oh, you have made these?” When he tasted them he smiled brightly, “Oh, very good!”
* * *
During the past couple of days Śrīla Prabhupāda has complained he has not slept well because of feeling ill with dizziness and passing too much urine. Pradyumna gave him some Brahmi oil which he brought from India. It is a green oil students often use to cool their brain so they can concentrate on their studies. Prabhupāda had me massage his head and temples with it. It gave him some relief, so he dictated a letter to Girirāja in Bombay asking him to send another three bottles. In his usual thorough way he gave detailed advice on how to pack them to avoid breakage. “To stop leakage you can melt some parrafin, and seal the bottles with the caps on by dipping the side of the bottle with cap into the liquid parrafin, and when it is pulled out and cooled, it will seal the space around the cap. Then also there should be some soft packing around the bottles so that they do not break in transit. . . . Send it registered and special delivery so that it is handled very fragilely.”
* * *
At 9:15 P.M. he called for me. Expecting him to be ready to take rest and his massage, I was surprised to find him at his desk with his spectacles on, his Bhāgavatam open and his dictaphone in his hand. He told me that he would not take his massage. Rather, he said he would finish translating the Seventh Canto.
I was surprised but elated. It is the first time since I have been with him (over five months now) that he has missed his evening rest. He worked all through the night, and after he went for his early morning ablutions I checked his dictaphone and saw that he had notched 320 digits on the counter (normally he does fifty or less). He was able to get twenty-five verses of the Eighth Canto done. He is mercifully fulfilling our hope that by spending extra time here in Hawaii, away from management problems and constant streams of visitors, he would be able to concentrate on the essence of his preaching work. Everyone is growing very heartened to see how much extra writing he is doing since his arrival in Honolulu.
May 11th, 1976
As we drove out the temple gates and down to the Pali freeway to go for the morning walk, Prabhupāda several times remarked what a foolish civilization we live in. Observing the cars whizzing up and down the highway, he referred to it as a “neck-break-civilization.” He said that dogs run on four legs, and we are running on four wheels, thinking this advancement. But the business is the same.
Today he walked down Waikiki Beach instead of along the rather barren, uninteresting pathways of Magic Island. He looked up at the tall palms, all carefully trimmed so that only a few scrawny leaves remained at the very top of their thin slender trunks. Rather than add to the beauty of the surroundings they looked emasculated, and like many things in this tourist city, more than a little artificial. A devotee explained that they were cut deliberately so that no coconuts could grow.
Prabhupāda shook his head at the foolishness of the karmīs. Fearful that someone might be injured by falling coconuts, they spoil the trees’ natural beauty by paring them so severely that they can bear no fruit. He quoted a Bengali saying, “Coconuts have eyes.” This means there has never been an incident of anyone being killed or injured from a falling coconut, even when living in the midst of an entire grove.
Prabhupāda enjoys drinking a glass of fresh dab juice every afternoon after awakening from his post-lunch nap. He often comments how foolish the karmīs are and how they have spoiled everything. Although Kṛṣṇa supplies everything we need to live nicely they create so many unwanted requirements.
* * *
When Śrīla Prabhupāda gives class he doesn’t give the full verse translation. He simply reads the Sanskrit verse, has the devotees repeat it, and then launches directly into his explanation. He focused this morning on the phrase kuñjara-śaucavat, which means to bathe like an elephant. Prabhupāda explained that an elephant takes a very elaborate bath but then, on returning to the shore, covers itself with dust again. Similarly, a criminal is repentant in jail and vows not to commit any more sinful acts. But as soon as he gets out, he associates with other criminals and again becomes implicated.
He said Parīkṣit Mahārāja compared the process of atonement to such bathing. Therefore he said that Parīkṣit Mahārāja very intelligently passed the test set by his spiritual master. “So as the student is intelligent, the spiritual master is also gradually giving him more intelligence. First of all, for an ordinary man, the atonement, punishment, he proposed. But when the intelligent student, Mahārāja Parīkṣit said, ‘It is useless,’ then next proposal is [given].”
He quoted the next verse and explained, “If somebody is kept into darkness then there is no need of this punishment or prāyaścitta. So he proposes that the man in darkness should be educated. Vimarśanam. Means cultivation of knowledge, culture. So where is that culture? There is no culture. We propose that the beginning of culture is no illicit sex.”
To establish his proposal he pointed out that there is no marriage in dog society; in human society there is. But, Prabhupāda observed, nowadays marriage is being avoided, just as it was predicted to happen five thousand years ago in the Bhāgavatam. Although people now think themselves to be very advanced in knowledge, he said they are actually “fool number one.”
“Ask any so-called scholar that ‘What is the aim of life?’ He cannot say. The aim of life is the same like the dog—eat, drink, be merry and enjoy, and die. That’s all, so where is there education? If one has no sense to understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness, he is no better than the dog or cat. No credit. According to Vedic civilization anyone who is thinking ‘I am this body,’ and doing accordingly—for the bodily pleasure he is working so hard—so that is not knowledge. Here it is suggested that prāyaścittaṁ vimarśanam. If you want to be saved from the tribulation offered by the material nature, then you have to be very thoughtful thinking what is the actual position. That is the beginning of Vedānta-sūtra, that ‘You inquire about Brahman, the Absolute Truth.’
“This human form of life, don’t spoil it like cats and dogs—eating, sleeping, mating and dancing. No. So same dancing, same eating can be utilized when it is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Simply by dancing and chanting and taking prasādam you’ll be learned scholar.”
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda has received a very encouraging report for the newly formed Indian Library Party. The four-man team, led by Library Party veteran Mahābuddhi dāsa, with Amogha dāsa, Bhugarbha dāsa and Mahāviṣṇu dāsa, has taken thirty-eight standing orders of both the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Caitanya-caritāmṛta after only two weeks of operation. They reported successes in Bombay, Poona, Baroda and Ahmedabad, persuading many important scholars and Sanskritists to write reviews. The party plans to move to New Delhi and then join Yaśodānandana Swami in the South. Prabhupāda is so pleased with these devotees that he wrote to Gopāla Kṛṣṇa and Tejīyas prabhus and ordered them to make sure that a sufficient stock of books is available at all times—at least three hundred of each and every volume—so that all the orders can be filled immediately.
Ever-thoughtful of his chief mission, he also replied to a letter from Śrī Govinda dāsa in Chicago, who had written asking for a new engagement after being replaced as the temple president. Prabhupāda suggested he contact Tamal Krishna Mahārāja. “See if you can work together with him to distribute our literature all over the world. He is now formulating plans how to increase our distribution everywhere, and perhaps you can be instrumental.”
* * *
While some of the devotees were talking with Śrīla Prabhupāda in his room, one of them noticed a bug on the papers on the desk. Thinking that it would inconvenience Prabhupāda, the boy decided to remove it. But he wasn’t sure what to do with it so he asked Prabhupāda.
Not put out in the slightest, Prabhupāda motioned with his head, “Take him to the window and put him out.” Then turning to us he said, “This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A Vaiṣṇava is kind to every living entity. Not this squishing business!”
May 12th, 1976
Hardly a day goes by without Prabhupāda engaging us in some discussion on science, and this morning’s walk was no exception. Rādhāballabha dāsa is visiting from Los Angeles and as we walked along the ocean front he told Śrīla Prabhupāda how his mother was a nurse. She used to tell him that she had seen many people die and that it was very nice; it was very peaceful.
“Your mother is also peaceful?” Prabhupāda asked him.
“She’s dead!” Rādhāballabha replied. He said he had asked her to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa because she was dying, but she thought she could fight it. She lost the fight.
Śukadeva prabhu tried to argue that death is like sleep, so what is the wrong with dying? Why should we be afraid of death? He said that we will simply go to sleep, it will be very comfortable.
“But after sleep you have to wake up again,” Prabhupāda countered. “And you have to bark like a dog, ‘Give me food, give me food, give me food! Gow! Gow! Gow!’ You are awakening like a dog and bark and disturb others. That is your mistake, that you are sleeping forever.”
“But if I am going to wake up again, then why should I want to stop it? I go to sleep; I wake up,” Śukadeva said.
Prabhupāda shook his head. “You are going to wake up like a dog.” And he wasn’t talking figuratively. “That is the privilege. You sleep for seven months, and then you wake up as a dog. The body is changed. That you do not know. That is ignorance. Die means you sleep as a man and you wake up as a dog.”
Prabhupāda was willing to give the scientists credit for their achievements but, he said, our protest is that they should not try to say there is no God. But even their achievements are questionable. When Śukadeva asked what kind of programs we should develop to defeat them, Prabhupāda replied, “Defeat is that, ‘You are scientist. I don’t want death. Please stop it.’ Ask him. ‘I don’t want disease. Please stop it.’ Then you are scientist. Otherwise I kick on your face!”
He said actually they were not scientists because they cannot explain why a dead body does not grow; they cannot understand why a body changes and what makes it change. But when Bhagavad-gītā describes how the soul changes body, they will not accept. They are obstinate just like a dog and cannot be reasoned with.
The first subject matter for science, he told us, is to understand that there is a soul within the body that gives it life. But the modern scientists have avoided this. “Discover this: What is the principle within the body? Real discovery they are not interested. They are bluffing. They are fools and going on as scientific advancement.”
He said that as long as they continue with research they cannot claim to be scientists. Research means they are students, neophytes, but they advertise themselves as scientists and mislead people. And we are protesting this he said. “You cannot solve any major problem, so why you are claiming as scientist? Stop this as a gentleman. There is the soul within the body, and when the soul is gone, transferred to another body, it is dead. One who is actually scientist, he is not surprised. He knows the soul has transferred to another body, that’s all. That is scientist. We accept Kṛṣṇa as scientist because He explains. You cannot explain. How can we accept you as scientist? You are rascal.”
These discussions are thoroughly enlivening both to us and Śrīla Prabhupāda. Becoming very animated and strong, he immediately gets to the heart of a problem and drives home his points with logic, common sense and an incisive humor until everyone is convinced. As he says, we are perhaps the only ones in the world who can see through the tremendous bluff that passes for knowledge and education nowadays; and this is all simply by his divine grace.
* * *
The new Chinese Bhagavad-gītā arrived from Hong Kong today, along with a letter written by the president of the temple, Sevānanda dāsa. It was also signed by Yaśomatisuta dāsa, the Chinese translator. The whole book is to be done in three parts; these are only the first six chapters.
The letter expressed his devotional sentiments. “One time you said that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura stated that the two activities which he appreciated the most were preaching in foreign countries and printing books. You are very expert and enthusiastic to do both, so I felt it would give you great pleasure to know that your Bhagavad-gita As It Is is now being distributed in the Chinese language for the first time. It is only by pleasing the spiritual master that one can please the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Therefore, it is the very heart of my very soul to serve, glorify and ultimately please my beloved guru maharaja, your Divine Grace.”
Ecstatic, Prabhupāda wrote to each one of them separately. Awarding Yaśomatisuta prabhu brāhmaṇa initiation, Prabhupāda especially praised him for his efforts, describing it a “great triumph and very well done.” He told him not to be concerned that there may be some difficulty preaching to the Chinese people. “If you require money, it will be supplied; and I am informing Guru Krpa Swami and Tamal Krishna Maharaja in this connection. You simply find out the market and push these books amongst the Chinese.”
He said Kṛṣṇa had a special role for him. “Krsna has designated that you raise them to the higher level. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission is to raise them to the higher platform. So Krsna has sent you amongst the Chinese people to save them, so don’t be disheartened and go on with the work, you’ll get strength. Whatever financial help you require, I shall see that it is provided.
“As your spiritual master I have my wholehearted thanks for your service. May Krsna bless you. You have done a great service for being recognized by Krsna, and continue with this work.”
He also praised Sevānanda, a householder from America, and told him to see that the work continues, especially by setting an ideal example by going out and distributing the new book as much as he can. Prabhupāda regards this new edition of the Gītā as so important that he said it will bring about the downfall of Communism. He told us that as soon as people understand a little spiritual knowledge, the unrest will increase.
* * *
With no visitors, the evenings are quiet and Ṣrīla Prabhupāda has been reading or chanting. But tonight he suddenly decided to play the harmonium. Not wanting to miss such an opportunity, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja and I sat behind him to listen. Prabhupāda looked over his shoulder at us—I thought he might mind the intrusion—but he said, “So, bring the khole and karatālas.” We hurriedly brought the instruments, and feeling very privileged, accompanied him as he sang the daśāvatāra prayer. We were also able to record it.
* * *
Prabhupāda is translating like anything now. He ran up 290 digits on his dictaphone again during the night. In fact, he is doing so much that Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami feels completely overwhelmed. Between doing the mail and transcribing Prabhupāda’s dictations, he barely has time to leave his typewriter. A few days ago he asked me to take over responsibility for recording the conversations and lectures and I gladly complied. Everything we record is sent to Los Angeles and then made available to all the devotees in the movement via the Bhaktivedanta Tape Ministry, so it is a service I am very happy to do.
May 13th, 1976
Today was the appearance day of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, and everyone fasted until sunset. Due to weakness from his illness, Prabhupāda took a small Ekādaśī breakfast and then his main meal at sunset. In answer to my question whether Lord Nṛsiṁha actually appeared on this particular planet, he replied that he did not think so, and said that the tīrthas in Siṁhacalam, South India were not authorized.
* * *
Speaking from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.12 in his class, Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to stress the need for culture. His lecture was short but direct and very much to the point. He made it clear what he meant by culture. “The Vedic civilization means everything under rules and regulation. That is Vedic civilization. Animal cannot be brought under rules and regulations. That is not possible. That is the specialty of the human society, that the more one society follows rules and regulations, he is to be considered civilized.”
He gave the English translation of the verse, which unequivocally describes the need for regulated life. “My dear King, if a diseased person eats the pure, uncontaminated food prescribed by a physician, he is gradually cured, and the infection of disease can no longer touch him. Similarly, if one follows the regulative principles of knowledge, he gradually progresses toward liberation from material contamination.”
Prabhupāda repeatedly stressed this point—unless we follow the rules and regulations, then there is no possibility of curing our material disease. Thus he also indicated the need for the establishment of a society like his ISKCON.
“The law is meant for the human being. If the human being does not follow rules and regulative principle, law, then he’s animal. So civilized means to raise oneself from the animal status of life to the human status life. That means rules and regulations. That is compulsory, that is human. . . . Real civilization is how to go back to home, back to Godhead, but materialistic persons do not know this. Therefore there must be organization, institution, to teach the human society how to go back to home, back to Godhead.”
Once again he repeated his definition of civilization. “The unlimited, unrestricted sex life like hogs and dogs, that is not civilization. Civilization, the first of all, to learn how to observe celibacy, to come to the point, no sex life. That is perfect civilization. No sex life.”
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda has been preaching strongly about “rascal scientists” and “bogus gurus,” declaring that really the only way to deal with them is to “kick them on the face and beat them with shoes!” He says they are simply rascals. He told us the story of a man who ordered a knife from a blacksmith. But who, thinking that he could cheat the blacksmith and save the steel, did not give the proper grade of steel required for the cutting edge. Naturally the knife immediately went blunt and was useless. Similarly, anyone who cheats his guru by pretending to be a follower in order to receive the benefits of spiritual life without making any sacrifice is simply cheating himself. The real guru can never be cheated. He is simply giving everything and has no self-interest; he is already perfect and complete in his relationship with the Lord.
May 14th, 1976
Prabhupāda continues in class to develop his theme of analyzing the real problem of life and the cure for it. Śloka thirteen is one he quotes very often—tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena ca damena ca. “So, how to become advanced. These are the prescribed methods. Tapasā.Tapa means voluntarily taking some disadvantage. In this age it is very difficult but this is the meaning of tapasya, voluntarily accepting in- conveniences.”
He gave us an example with an anecdote from his own practical experience. “When there is cold, one has to take the help of heater, fire. No. No heater, no fire, but go deep into the cold water. Of course, it is very difficult in your country because the water is so cold and if you go deep, immediately finish. I have seen in New York. One dog, he jumped over—immediately finished. I have seen it. That is actual fact.”
Of course he wasn’t recommending that we sit in cold water during winter, but he made it clear that we were to take the verse’s statement seriously. “It is very difficult to perform tapasā. But the recommendation is there, tapasā brahmacaryeṇa. So brahmacarya, celibacy, no sex life. That is the beginning of tapasā.Śamena.Śama, to control the senses, to keep in equilibrium. Senses may not be agitated. Damena, even it is agitated, by my knowledge I have to curb down. Just like if I become agitated by seeing a beautiful girl, or for woman, a beautiful boy—that is natural. Young boy, young girl, they are naturally attracted. There is nothing surprising. But tapasā means that ‘I have taken vow, no illicit sex.’ That is knowledge. ‘Even if I am attracted, I shall not do this.’ This is tapasā. And ‘Because I am now attracted, now we shall enjoy’—that is not tapasā.”
He reassured us that even if it is difficult to control oneself, it can done by practice and by remembrance. “I have taken vow before the Deity, before fire, before my spiritual master, before the Vaiṣṇavas, ‘no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no drinking or intoxication, no gambling.’ I have promised it. If I am gentleman, how can I break my promise? This is called jñāna. With knowledge one has to respect. That is called tapasā. With knowledge.”
He said there are two kinds of persons who associate with the opposite sex but they are not the same. He described the difference. “Gṛhamedhī and gṛhastha.Gṛhastha means although he is living with wife and children but he knows what is the aim of life. That is the gṛhastha āśrama. As the sannyāsī knows what is the aim of life, similarly, a gṛhastha also may know. So such gṛhastha, sex life is allowed, who knows the aim of life. And one who does not know the aim of life, simply enjoys sex, he is called gṛhamedhī. These two words are there. In Sanskrit literature every word has got particular meaning, particular thought. Therefore it is called saṁskṛta, most performed and purified literature, Sanskrit. Sanskrit means purified. Saṁskāra. Just like we offer saṁskāra at the time of initiation—purification. So our main problem is the sex life, because sex life is the basic principle of material life.”
Prabhupāda’s ten years of preaching to us non-Aryans has given him a lot of practical realization as to how difficult it is for people from our materialistic, sex-and-money oriented culture to become a little regulated and continent. Yet he reassured us, urging us to go on and to depend on Kṛṣṇa. “Everything is there. You have got books. You study and follow the practice. Be little sober. It is not that you’ll not be able. You’ll be able. And Kṛṣṇa will help. As soon as you are very eager, then Kṛṣṇa will help. Teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam [“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love . . . ” Bg.10.10]. So therefore the Deity worship is there. Along with Deity worship we should always pray, ‘Kṛṣṇa, kindly save me from the pitfalls of māyā.’ He’ll do it. But if we want to cheat Kṛṣṇa and cheat guru, then you’ll be cheated. That’s all. The guru will not be cheated, neither Kṛṣṇa will be cheated. You’ll be cheated. That’s all. If you want to be cheated, then do whatever you like and prolong your term of repetition of birth and death.”
Rather than planning to enjoy illicit sex or intoxication when we get money, Prabhupāda urged us, “Best thing is, as soon as you get money, immediately you spend it for Kṛṣṇa. Tyāgena, charity. So if you make charity to Kṛṣṇa you can purchase Kṛṣṇa. Yes. Although Kṛṣṇa is all-powerful proprietor, you can purchase Kṛṣṇa. So do that. If you have got any money, spend for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Thank you very much.”
* * *
A letter has come, via Girirāja in Bombay, from the Gita Pratisthan (Gita Foundation). Śrīla Prabhupāda recently consented to become a member of their Coordinating Committee. Their aim is to promote closer contacts between groups and individuals engaged in Gītā pracar, to provide a forum for discussion and coordinate their efforts. They intend to hold their next meeting on June 28th, 1976 at Paunar, Maharashtra and requested him to attend.
Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote back to the secretary, a prominent industrialist named Ramakrishna Bajaj, expressing his eagerness to participate. “As you know, I am trying my best to preach the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita all over the world, and I am experiencing some glimpse of success in this connection. Naturally I am inclined to preach the teachings of Bhagavad-gita very fervently in India. India is the land of spiritual culture. But gradually, India, being influenced by material allurements, its spiritual culture is being forgotten. It is the duty of the Indian leaders to note this degradation. There is no harm to become materially advanced, but if simply for material advancement we forget our spiritual basis, it will be a great loss. Therefore, I am also very eager to revive India’s spiritual culture with the help of the Gita Foundation.”
He went on to say, though, that it would be difficult for him to attend because of his prior commitments. It would be possible, but very expensive, to interrupt his tour by flying to India and then return to the West. He requested Mr. Bajaj’s advice and asked him to keep in touch via Girirāja prabhu.
Prabhupāda discussed the matter with Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa. There were several possible alternatives: if the Committee was willing to pay New York-London-Bombay return fares for himself and his two secretaries he would go since he doesn’t want to miss the New York Ratha-yātrā. Although it would be difficult because of the distance and time spent traveling; more than seven hours on a single flight would be too much, so the journey would have to be broken in London, and possibly Tehran. Another possibility would be for Girirāja and Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhus to attend on his behalf. Or, a third alternative would be for the meeting to be rescheduled to coincide with his return to India on August 14th. However, he did not include this latter idea in his reply. They are all important men and it seemed from their letter that the arrangements were already set. Prabhupāda doesn’t want them to be put out.
A rescheduling would actually be the best idea, so when Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja sent the letter to Girirāja for delivery, he included with it one of his own, addressed directly to Girirāja prabhu. Therein he suggested, “My personal desire for Srila Prabhupada was that perhaps they could be gently persuaded to re-schedule this meeting for August 15th, when Prabhupada will be in Bombay . . . that is a Sunday. Prabhupada said that there are other members of the Committee and perhaps it is too late to change their June 28th meeting. Do the needful and report back to us the results. . . . After all, Prabhupada can give them great guidance, and they have some desire to uplift the Indian people and they know that Krishna has given the answers. Now they require the representative to apply these things so that there will be success without any doubt.”
* * *
There was an emotional reunion this afternoon between Śrīla Prabhupāda and Hayagrīva prabhu. Although he was one of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s first disciples, he has been away from devotional service for some years. He has come now to finish the philosophy book project and to be with Prabhupāda for some time. He walked slowly into Prabhupāda’s room, his face flushed and his deep voice trembling. “It’s your old Hayagrīva, Prabhupāda,” he choked out, and fell sobbing to the floor in full length daṇḍavats. Prabhupāda sat behind his desk, silent, but clearly moved by the sight of his sometimes-wayward son.
When Hayagīva got up Prabhupāda gave him a garland, and remarked to Rādhāballabha dāsa and me how Hayagrīva had been sent by Kṛṣṇa to help him spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. In reply, Hayagrīva said that he had never forgotten Prabhupāda, not even for a day. Prabhupāda was deeply affected by this and said that he also had never forgotten Hayagrīva. “I was thinking, has Hayagrīva gone away? I was thinking like that.” His voice broke and he was unable to speak for a few seconds. Although he tried to check his tears, still some trickled from the corners of his eyes. Then he tipped his head from side to side. “All right,” he said, and we all left.
Prabhupāda has so much affection for his disciples—no one can estimate how much. It was very apparent that he never forgets any devotional service that has been rendered to him.
May 15th, 1976
Class was on one of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s most quoted Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam verses, 6.1.15. It describes that ultimately only by the performance of kevala bhakti, pure unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, can the weeds of sinful actions be destroyed, without any possibility of their arising again. Nīhāram iva bhāskaraḥ—just as the sun dissipates the fog. He told us that simply countering one type of karma with another type of karma will not help. It is only when we engage in unmotivated service to Lord Kṛṣṇa that we get the chance to become perfect and free. “If you simply hear and chant, then you will be purified,” he said.
As if in answer to any doubt as to whether this alone is sufficient he assured us it was. “If you argue that ‘Somebody is hearing for so many years,’ so then there is question of offense. Ten kinds of offense. So even if one is in offense, still, if he continues hearing and chanting he will be purified. It is so nice thing. This is kevala bhakti.”
He went on to say that by simply fixing our minds on rendering service to Kṛṣṇa without any motive, we are immediately liberated. “Unless he changes his decision. Even one is mukta, liberated, he can also be fallen down unless he is very strong in his determination. Māyā is always there. But if one is determined that ‘I shall stick to the service of Kṛṣṇa,’ māyā will not touch. . . .
“As soon as one comes to this conclusion that ‘Kṛṣṇa is mine, and I am Kṛṣṇa’s,’ by this consciousness automatically all reaction of sinful life becomes washed. When there is fog you try so many ways; it cannot go. Then, somehow or other if the sun rises, immediately finished. Immediately clear. That is our motto in the Back to Godhead magazine—‘Godhead is light and nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead, there is no jurisdiction of darkness.’ ”
Although severe tapasya, celibacy and charity has been recommended in the previous verses, he explained that in this age these things were almost impossible to practice. Therefore, he concluded that the best thing is to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. “Simply this understanding that ‘Kṛṣṇa is my eternal master; I am Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servant. So let us exchange our feelings of master and servant.’ Then I shall be perfect.”
* * *
Pradyumna has been too ill to accompany Prabhupāda on his morning walks, spending most of his time lying in pain on the floor. He has been suffering a great deal from his boils. The biggest, on his right hip, was neither diminishing nor coming to a head. The angry red mound was so swollen it looked as though someone had stuffed a tennis ball under his skin. I was trying to persuade him to give it another couple of days for the medicine to take effect when Śrīla Prabhupāda came to see how he was. As soon as he saw the condition of the boils he ordered him to go at once to the doctor and get them lanced. Pradyumna limped out, hobbling back later on crutches.
The doctor at the clinic had immediately put him on the operating table and cut open his hip. A reddish-green pus burst forth, spraying the entire room. It took a full fifteen minutes to clean the incision, which was half an inch deep, a quarter inch wide, and about five inches long. He hadn’t been far off from contracting gangrene. The timeliness of Prabhupāda’s advice impressed upon us once again that he knows exactly what to do in all circumstances.
* * *
A telegram arrived today. It read: “MY HEAD AT YOUR FEET STOP UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES MY ONLY RECOURSE IS TO RESIGN AS GBC STOP PLEASE ALLOW ME TO REMAIN SERVING YOU IN SOME HUMBLE WAY STOP LETTER TO FOLLOW.” It was signed simply, “Madhudvisa.”
It appeared to be a confirmation of the recent suspicions that he was experiencing personal difficulty in his sādhana and associating with a brahmacāriṇī in Australia.
Prabhupāda said that, circumstantially at least, he appeared to have fallen down. Prabhupāda wanted to respond by telegram immediately but there was a problem. Madhudviṣa’s telegram was sent from Brooklyn and bore no return address. He had left the temple and no one knew where to send the telegram. Eventually, in the early afternoon, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa sent Prabhupāda’s reply to the temple: “It would be better if you come to Hawaii. Bhaktivedanta Swami.”
Tamal Krishna Goswami called and explained that he had privately confronted Madhudviṣa with the letter that had been found in Australia. Madhudviṣa first denied having written it, but then, after having been informed that Śrīla Prabhupāda knew of the situation, said he wanted to fly to Hawaii to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. The devotees gave him $500 for his fare and dropped him off at the New York airport, but he hasn’t been seen since.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja spent a long time on the phone in the evening, informing all the temples in Madhudviṣa’s zone on the East Coast that he has fallen and he is no longer the GBC. However, when he came in to report his actions to Śrīla Prabhupāda, Prabhupāda was angry. Prabhupāda was made aware of the initial suspicions in Australia, but his idea had been to keep the affair quiet until he reached New York, where he could see Madhudviṣa personally and attempt to clear everything up without a scandal. He wanted to save him, and he was upset that news of Madhudviṣa’s falldown was now widespread. He rebuked Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa. “Now you have made it impossible for him to return.”
He was also angry with Gurukṛpa Swami. “That Gurukṛpa! I told him not to tell anyone.” Although Prabhupāda found no fault in Tamal Krishna’s approaching Madhudviṣa because he had done it as a friend, he said that Gurukṛpa had disobeyed him by discussing it with Tamal. Prabhupāda was unhappy that they had acted without first informing him of their intentions. Yet he conceded there was a great possibility that Madhudviṣa would have left any way because of his inactivity in devotional service.
With great regret he said that this was his Godbrothers’ main complaint—that Westerners cannot maintain the sannyāsaāśrama. He recalled how his German Godbrother caused disruption by his nonsense dealings with women.
In the evening I had a few words alone with Śrīla Prabhupāda about the whole affair. Introspective, he has spoken very little about it. Madhudviṣa has long been one of his top men; his falldown has come as a blow. It is obvious, despite his not displaying much external emotion, that Prabhupāda is greatly concerned about the loss of one of his best disciples.
His affection for Madhudviṣa and appreciation for all his service notwithstanding, it is also yet another managerial headache. He is greatly disturbed that even the main men whom he has so patiently trained up are still falling down. His hope of retiring from active management is now once again thrown into doubt. With a sober look he said resignedly, “What can I do? I am working with all third-class men, fools and rascals. Things are going on simply by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.”
The incident has shown me even more the expertise of His Divine Grace in engaging all classes of men in devotional service, and in making the best use of whatever little facility he is given. Whatever strength this movement has lies in him. Even with inadequate and unqualified manpower, he is showing that one can nevertheless be eminently successful in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness if he is sincere and surrendered to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
* * *
Despite the disruptions of the day, Śrīla Prabhupāda and Hayagrīva discussed the philosophies of Socrates and Plato for two and a half hours this evening and afterwards Prabhupāda went straight into his translation work, dictating throughout the night and notching up another three hundred and fifteen digits on the dictaphone.
May 16th, 1976
In answer to Parīkṣit Mahārāja’s doubts about the efficacy of atonement, Śukadeva Gosvāmī gave his final conclusion in verse sixteen. “My dear King, if a sinful person engages in the service of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and thus learns how to dedicate his life unto to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, he can be completely purified. One cannot be purified merely by undergoing austerity, penance, brahmacarya and the other methods of atonement I have previously described.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda emphasized the importance of the role of the guru and the need for good association. He gave the example of Dhruva Mahārāja, who, although he was only five years old and had no knowledge of God, was nevertheless very determined to see Him. Because of this he was shown great mercy. “Kṛṣṇa saw that ‘This boy is very determined.’ Therefore He sent His representative, Nārada. ‘Go train him. He is very eager.’ Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that you can enter into the devotional service by double mercy. One mercy is Kṛṣṇa; another mercy is the spiritual master. One cannot be kṛṣṇārpita prāṇaḥ, one cannot dedicate his life to Kṛṣṇa, unless he has gotten the mercy of the spiritual master.
“Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has said in many of his songs, cāḍiyā vaiṣṇava sevā, nistāra pāyeche kebā: without serving a Vaiṣṇava, who has got liberation? Our ambition should be how to serve Kṛṣṇa through the disciplic succession, guru, and live in the association of devotees. This is the process. So we are opening so many centers all over the world. This is the policy, that people may take chance of associating with devotees and the chance of serving the Vaiṣṇava. Then it will be successful.”
* * *
We discussed more about Madhudviṣa’s problems this morning. Prabhupāda told Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami that if someone is too agitated to maintain sannyāsa, he can change his āśrama and become a householder. But he should not go away and end his service to the Lord.
In reference to Gaurasundara dāsa, who now has two wives, Prabhupāda said that in principle we do not object to polygamy, but those who choose this are not to live as part of our ISKCON society.
Although he has not spoken a great deal about the loss of Madhudviṣa, last night he dictated a long commentary in his Eighth Canto purport to verse thirty in chapter two directly relating to this incident. The chapter is about Gajendra the elephant and his fight with the crocodile. In it Prabhupāda stresses the need to keep oneself fit and strong. He wrote that without physical strength, enthusiasm and sensual power one cannot fight with māyā. His conclusion was that one should keep oneself in the āśrama in which one feels is a normal condition of life. Because Gajendra was a creature of the land, even though he was an elephant, he was defeated by the crocodile because he was captured in the water. The crocodile was getting stronger, and he was getting weaker. Similarly, he said that even if one is found to be weak in one āśrama, he should not stop fighting the crocodile of māyā. He should go to the āśrama which is suitable for him and continue the fight. He should not go away.
* * *
Problems persist between Gurukṛpa Swami and Trivikrama Mahārāja, and Prabhupāda is again expected to arbitrate. Yesterday he received a letter from Trivikrama in Japan complaining that he was not allowed to go to the temple there although he is not interfering in any way with Gurukṛpa Mahārāja’s party. He sent some photos showing the center he has been setting up in Korea, and it seems there is a lot of promise there. He explained that his party simply needed to spend a short time in Japan to get missionary visas, and then they could return to Seoul. He wanted to know why Gurukṛpa Swami was not more cooperative and why he was being asked to return to the U.S. He said he had no objection, if that is what Prabhupāda wanted, but it would be costly and he didn’t think it justified.
Śrīla Prabhupāda had replied sympathetically, reversing his recent decision to call him back to the States. “I am very pleased to know you are doing something solid there. What should be the objection on the part of Guru Krpa Maharaja that you cannot stay there several weeks until you get your missionary visa? There is no cooperative spirit. So you are actually doing preaching work in South Korea, and our mission is one, so why there is the objection that you stay in Japan for receiving visa for Korea? Under the circumstances I have no objection to your staying there with your party until you have received the missionary visa for South Korea. Guru Krpa Maharaja should assist you in whatever way he can and both of you work cooperatively together.”
Then today two phone calls came. One from Trivikrama Swami saying that he and Gurukṛpa Mahārāja were getting along all right, the other from Gurukṛpa Swami complaining that the two of them were not cooperating. So their troubled relationship remains a headache for Prabhupāda. In an effort to resolve the situation he wrote another letter to Trivikrama. “What can I do? I have appointed Guru Krpa Swami the G.B.C. for Japan and for now at least it will be necessary to comply with him. He has suggested you leave Japan while waiting for the reply from the S. Korean embassy there, so you can please comply with his request. He suggested one island called Okinawa where you can go for the time being, and if that is not possible then you should come here to me in Hawaii. In any case, for whatever reasons Guru Krpa Maharaja has requested like this and he is delegated G.B.C. by me, so follow this course of action for the time being so that things can go on peacefully in Japan. As you know it is a very touchy situation with the government, and being G.B.C. Guru Krpa Swami is given sanction by me to develop the program along guidelines he can choose.”
Fortunately, not all the news brings problems. A telegram came from Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu in Delhi. The Library Party is having big success there. He wants to print all the books in India on government concessional paper so that they can guarantee supply. Prabhupāda was very happy and he called in Rādhāballabha, instructing him to send all the color transparencies from the BBT in Los Angeles to Delhi. In his reply to Gopāla he said, “These standing orders mean standing respect.” He also informed Gopāla that he has authorized Yaśodānandana Swami to print small- and medium-sized books for distribution in South India.
Yamunā and Dinatarini dāsīs sent some beautiful photos of their Deities, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Vanabehari, taken at their Gaura-pūrṇimā and Chandana-yātrā festivals. Their letter enthusiastically expressed their satisfaction in living according to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s recent instructions to them. “We have taken your instructions very seriously and live in such a way as to have virtually no association with men, living a pure simple life in the full fire of Krsna Consciousness. We think this is most beneficial and are factually tasting the results of this simple life. You know what is the proper engagement for each individual by dint of your complete purity. This is your special mercy.” They also mentioned their desire to come and see Prabhupāda when he visits Los Angeles, but their inability to do so, due to lack of funds.
Prabhupāda thanked them for the photos of the Deities, which he said appeared nicely cared for. As for their coming to see him, Prabhupāda was more than happy at the prospect. He was very glad they are taking his suggestions seriously and wants to encourage them. “I am scheduled to be in Los Angeles from June 1 to June 11. I am even contemplating coming to see you there on your farm if you are unable to come to see me. Please continue to develop things there for women devotees as previously instructed.”
He also received an encouraging report from Yaśodānandana Swami who is preaching in Karnataka. They recently held programs in Hubli and Bellary. Many thousands of people attended. As well as this they collected Rs.43,000 which will be used to complete the new Hyderabad temple. Mahāṁsa Swami has invited the Governor of Andhra Pradesh for the opening ceremony on August 18th. He said he is realizing the potency of distributing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books and is keen to begin printing. “Frankly speaking, no religious institution in the world is presenting such knowledge in such a nice way as your books . . . . By our preaching work gradually so many people are getting the real knowledge and information of what spiritual life means. And so many Bogus Gurus who were cheating in the name of religion are gradually being forgotten. People are now understanding through your mercy that spiritual life does not mean some sentimental Bhajan but it is a practical way of living engaged in the service of Lord Sri Krishna for 24 hours.” He also added as a footnote that a new man fluent in four languages had joined their party. Finally, he requested permission to get a mūrti of Ṣaḍ-bhuja, the six-armed combined form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Rāma and Lord Caitanya, explaining that he has an attraction for that form of the Lord.
Prabhupāda replied, informing him of his instructions to Gopāla Kṛṣṇa regarding the transparencies. He also had some other practical advice for him. “I am very encouraged to hear about the large crowds that are coming to the programs and taking our books. Concerning the new boy who has joined you from the Hubli program, you can keep him with you as you see fit, but be careful about money matters. Sometimes they will join with some ulterior motive. In the beginning, be very careful with money matters.” As far as the Ṣaḍ-bhuja Deity goes, Prabhupāda told him, “If you divert your attention for worship, that will not be good. Time is short. You can keep one picture for your darshan.”
* * *
Tonight Prabhupāda again passed up his massage and rest, preferring instead to push on with his intense service to his Guru Mahārāja and the world, the presentation of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
May 17th, 1976
Śukadeva Gosvāmī’s advice in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam today was to follow the path of the pure devotees, who are suśīlāḥsādhavo, well-behaved, and endowed with the best qualifications. Prabhupāda described “pure devotee” as “having no material desire.” He said that everyone has desires, and these cannot be given up. “Where is the living entity who has no desires? That is not possible. If we kill somebody to make him desireless, that ‘If you are killed, then there will be no more desire,’ no, the desire will continue in the subtle body. Sometimes they commit suicide out of frustration that ‘This desire is not fulfilled. Let me commit suicide.’ No that is ignorance. Desires continue in the subtle body—mind, intelligence and ego. And to fulfill the desire, Kṛṣṇa will give you another body.” Therefore, he said we should simply desire to serve Kṛṣṇa; that is desirelessness.
He explained that service to Lord Kṛṣṇa is a matter of choice. And using the example of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, he defined the essence of the guru-disciple relationship. “Yathecchasi. ‘Whatever you like, you can do. I have given My instruction.’ That freedom is there always. Kṛṣṇa or His representative, the spiritual master, he can give you good instruction, good advice. But to do it or not to do it, that is your option. You decide yourself. Kṛṣṇa said, ‘I am not interfering with your independence. I am dealing as your spiritual master, and you accepted Me as your spiritual master.’”
He quoted Arjuna’s declaration that he was a fully surrendered soul to Kṛṣṇa, a śiṣya.“Śiṣya I have several times explained, śas-dhātu; who voluntarily accepts the ruling of a person, he is śiṣya. And otherwise, ‘You go on talking whatever nonsense you like. I’ll do my own business,’ that is not śiṣya.”
He said that by following the guidance of a devotee the result is wonderful; because the devotee is pure he can associate personally with Kṛṣṇa. “If we want happiness, then we have to dance with Kṛṣṇa. But you cannot dance with Kṛṣṇa if you are not pure. Kṛṣṇa is pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān. Pavitra means the supreme pure. If you want to take pleasure in the company of Kṛṣṇa and dance rāsa dance, then you have to become pure, purified.”
Finally he gave us the essence of what it means to be suśīlāḥ and sādhavaḥ. “So this is very nice verse, substance of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that those who are conducting this movement, they must be very well-behaved. Nobody can find out any fault. That is suśīlāḥ. The behavior should be so nice. That is the test of how you have become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is the test. Spotless . . . Sādhu. A saintly person is friend to everyone. He does not create an enemy but these demons, rascals, out of their envy they become our enemy. Otherwise our process is not to make an enemy. We invite everyone, ‘Please come here, take prasādam, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, dance and go home.’ Where is enmity? But still they’ll become enemy. That is the world. But if he lives with the sādhavaḥ, suśīlāḥ, and follows the rule and regulations, then he also becomes sādhavaḥ. So the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is simply giving chance to people without discrimination, ‘Please come. Become nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇa, devotee, and automatically you’ll become suśīlāḥ and sādhu.’ Therefore this path is the best way of advancing in our life and go back home, back to Godhead.”
* * *
During a mid-morning discussion he told us that, ideally, the temples should be reserved for brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs, the gṛhasthas should live outside. Then in the evening he expanded on that and said the main principle is for everyone in the temples to be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the central issue. There must be a guarantee that there will be no diversion by children. If someone claims their devotional engagement is looking after their children, that is only their personal interest; it will tend to cause disruption. He said that he is trying to engage everyone—fools, rascals, thieves, anyone—in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and that it is nearly impossible to find disciples who are able to follow strictly. “So what can be done?” he said. In speaking about a sannyāsī falldown he said, “If he cannot maintain then let him change his āśrama and carry on his service. But don’t be a hypocrite.”
I asked him about Madhudviṣa, pointing out that he had been a sannyāsī for some time and seemed to have maintained his āśrama well, preached nicely and only recently fell down. Prabhupāda replied that either he could take up his sannyāsa again or become a gṛhastha.
I then thought about something I read recently in Prabhupāda’s purports to the story of Choṭa Haridāsa in Caitanya-caritāmṛta,Antya-līlā 2.166. The verse translates as: “Then all of the devotees, headed by Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, concluded that because Haridāsa had committed suicide at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamunā, he must have ultimately attained shelter at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.”
In his purport Prabhupāda says: “Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura remarks that after one adopts the renounced order and accepts the dress of either a sannyāsī or a bābājī, if he entertains the idea of sense gratification, especially in relationship with a woman, the only atonement is to commit suicide in the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamunā. Only by such atonement can his sinful life be purified. If such a person is thus punished, it is possible for him to attain the shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Without such punishment, however, the shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very difficult to regain.”
When I voiced my doubt, Prabhupāda replied, “One who falls is called vantasi, a person who vomits and then eats it.” I asked, “Then how by becoming a gṛhastha can one obtain Lord Caitanya’s mercy again?”
He replied that if the spiritual master gives that facility and makes that adjustment then Kṛṣṇa will accept the arrangement. Later on he may again become a sannyāsī. He cited two disciples for whom he he had already made such an arrangement, rather than send them away. “Of course,” he said, “it is a shameful position, but what can be done?”
He said that his Godbrothers and every sannyāsī in India criticized him for giving brāhmaṇa and sannyāsa initiation and for installing Deities in the West, what to speak of allowing women to live in the temples. “But for all that, I am expanding; and for all their strictness, they are doing nothing!” If he had been as discriminating as others, he told me, he would be alone as before in Vṛndāvana and would “again become a mouse.”
When I said that it seemed it might take several generations before ISKCON devotees actually became pure, he replied, no, if one is sincere he can become purified within one generation. “So all in all,” he said, “everything is going on simply by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.” And of course, it is going on by his own great mercy as Kṛṣṇa’s pure representative.
* * *
Last night Prabhupāda and Hayagrīva did Aristotle, Descartes, and Hobbes, and tonight Leibnitz and Pascal.
May 18th, 1976
As he went out for his morning walk Prabhupāda made a quick inspection of the āśrama, especially where some of the women and children stay. When Prabhupāda asked if they were all doing saṅkīrtana, someone commented that it was difficult to get them to because each mother wanted to look after her own child. Prabhupāda was emphatic that every person living in the temple go out on saṅkīrtana at least sometime in the week. He said that not all the mothers should stay back; there should be only one woman for every four or five children. The temple authorities should make some provision for a nursery, and the women that are thus freed should have some temple engagement like Deity worship or saṅkīrtana.
He reiterated the principle that it is not considered service simply to look after one’s own child, even if the child is being trained as a Vaiṣṇava. If a woman wishes to live in the temple she must engage in some kind of temple activity. Otherwise, he said, simply looking after one’s own child is not different from “I and mine.” The result will be that one will consider his own family interest before that of the temple, and then the desire to accumulate wealth will set in. Citing the recent example of a former president of this temple, Śrīla Prabhupāda said that in serious cases selfishness becomes predominant, the family takes for itself and then they leave.
He added that after a couple has produced two or three children there is actually no real need to live together any more, for thereafter cohabitation is simply sense gratification. They should live apart and work for the temple as they cultivate detachment. The husband should continue to work to support his children and wife, but when they reach eight years of age the Society can take full charge of the children. The parents will then be free to fully develop their Kṛṣṇa consciousness by living in the temple with the devotees.
When I asked whether absolutely everyone in the temple should go out on saṅkīrtana, Śrīla Prabhupāda was again emphatic. “Yes! If they do not want to do saṅkīrtana, then why are they living in the temple?”
* * *
An unusual item arrived in the mail this morning—Madhudviṣa’s sannyāsa-tridaṇḍa. There was no note, no message. Just the staff. Prabhupāda was very touched by the gesture and said that he had sent it because he was ashamed. “This means he is sincere,” he said.
* * *
Śukadeva prabhu requested, and was granted, an interview with Prabhupāda. He complained about Gurukṛpa Swami’s dealings with him. He said that because he is black, Gurukṛpa had called him racist names in front of the other devotees and was continually undermining his authority as temple president by threatening to remove him.
Prabhupāda was disturbed to hear this. He pacified Śukadeva prabhu, telling him not to be disturbed and to go on with his service enthusiastically. He also sent a letter to Gurukṛpa Mahārāja, asking him to be more respectful in his dealings and to avoid clashing with other devotees. “This situation could have been avoided by sober dealings in a Krsna conscious manner . . . . The G.B.C. can not whimsically change the temple president, there is a resolution to this effect. Why have you threatened to remove him and unnecessarily created this situation? Please be very sober in your dealings with these temple presidents, they are undoubtedly rendering a valuable service and are worthy of respect and encouragement.”
* * *
Brahmānanda Swami is still in East Africa and sent another sad report from Nairobi. He is considering closing the center, but Śrīla Prabhupāda forbade him to do so. “Somehow or other I want that the Nairobi center is maintained, not closed. As sannyasi you can come and go, but my only ambition is that the center may not be closed.”
Jamadagni dāsa visited the temple here a few days ago hoping to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. After a meeting Jamadagni and one other devotee had with His Divine Grace last year he has become infamous throughout ISKCON. The two of them virtually rejected Śrīla Prabhupāda as their guru and Prabhupāda reciprocated accordingly. Now married, Jamadagni is still trying to follow Kṛṣṇa consciousness even though he is not very welcome at the temple. He sent a long letter to Śrīla Prabhupāda expressing his remorse for his mistake and begging for forgiveness. He signed it, “Your disciple, Jamadagni das.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda gave him a sympathetic hearing. He accepted his sincere apology and replied positively. “I am in receipt of your letter dated May 15, 1976, and I have gladly noted the contents. Our aims and objects in the Krishna Consciousness Movement are very sublime. Kindly follow and you’ll be happy and I’ll be happy. I hope that this meets you in good health. Your ever well-wisher.”
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami read out Jayatīrtha prabhu’s lengthy zonal report as Prabhupāda took his massage. Jayatīrtha is now the GBC in charge of the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia and the Eastern bloc preaching. As far as England goes, he reported only sixty devotees are active. The yātrā there is largely undeveloped. The Manor, which we have had for over three years, is run down and needs much work to bring it to a proper standard. Jayatīrtha has developed a plan for this and hopes to have it completed by the time Śrīla Prabhupāda visits in July. As well as this, they are also looking for a new center in London, because the one on Bury Place is now operating illegally and will begin incurring large daily fines within two months. He has found a suitable building in Nottinghill Gate for £50,000. With help from Indian life members and a BBT loan he is confident that it can be developed into a successful center. With the implementation of his plan, saṅkīrtana has already increased by fifty percent and a new devotee-making program has begun.
His report on Germany was quite glum. The devotees are struggling and demoralized, there being only fifty-five left in the whole country. The German government and media has begun a massive, all-out campaign to discredit ISKCON. People in general think of the devotees as criminals in the dress of monks. The government is still presenting its case against ISKCON to the court and has asked them to make us pay another $250,000 on top of the $300,000 they have already confiscated. Moreover, he said the situation has not been helped by some foolish mismanagement by the previous GBC man.
He thinks that our image could be improved in two ways. Firstly, all of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books should be translated into German and widely distributed to the universities and colleges. Culling reviews from respected professors will establish our movement as genuine. Secondly, one new temple per year should be opened and solidly developed, with active programs of saṅkīrtana, Sunday Feasts and festivals. As the number of devotees grows, a new center can be opened in each major city, giving us a steady presence and enabling us to attract solid supporters.
As far as Scandinavia and Eastern Europe goes, Jayatīrtha’s news was more encouraging. Vegavān dāsa and Ajit dāsa, who originally opened the first temple there, have been put back in charge. The Bhagavad-gītā As It Is will be published in Swedish by the end of autumn.
In the Eastern bloc, Harikeśa Swami has been doing very well. People there are eager for spiritual life. There is a chance that a center can be opened in Yugoslavia because the government is a little more liberal than in other communist states. The devotees have been officially invited to the Belgrade book fair in October.
Finally Jayatīrtha reported that a new BBT traveling party, under Ālanātha dāsa from Germany, will tour Scandinavia, Germany and Austria distributing books and holding festivals. This will clear the large stock of German books which he said, are “sitting in the basement of the Schloss [Retterschoff] gathering dust,” and allow the printing of new German books.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was very happy to recieve this news. He has been very concerned about the problems in Germany and he felt that Jayatīrtha’s plans were positive and well thought out. He told Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa and myself that Jayatīrtha is the best manager in our society. In his reply he urged Jayatīrtha on with personal praise and practical advice. “It is very encouraging to hear the reports of increased sankirtan. Go on like this more and more. Concerning the situation in Germany: So you are the right man to train them up. It is Krsna’s desire that Hansaduta is replaced by you. I have certified that you are our first class temple manager in our society. A little change is invigorating, so try to serve me to the best of your capacity. As Harikesa Maharaja appears to be very nicely there [sic], why not Harikesa Swami be your assistant.”
Prabhupāda told Jayatīrtha they should print his books in Germany and then present the bill to the bank that is holding our money. By printing locally they could use this as a means for regaining lost prestige. “It will be good publicity and at the same time we will have books. Whether the money was collected illegally or legally, the money is being spent in Germany. It is not going outside so why it is being held up illegally. Let it be spent in Germany. That is our money, there is no dispute. It is not the aim of our Society to mislead the public; you can show them our aims. Maybe some workers have done like that but we are trying to enlighten the whole world and the people of Germany with good literature.”
He said we should convince them that our movement is for producing men and women of the best character. “If some individuals have done wrong it shouldn’t jeopardize our entire community. People accustomed to all nasty habits have joined us and are leading pure, happy lives.” Finally he advised Jayatīrtha to hire a first-class lawyer to properly present our case, along with the endorsements and orders for his books already gathered from professors around the world.
After he had dictated his reply and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa had gone off to type, I asked Prabhupāda how we distinguish what is Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement and what is our mismanagement. The bad situation in Germany certainly seemed to me to have been exacerbated by mistakes and foolishness on the part of some of the devotees there. I asked him if Kṛṣṇa arranges for things to go wrong when we mismanage matters; does Kṛṣṇa punish us to teach us a lesson?
Prabhupāda told me that Kṛṣṇa has a plan, but if we fail to cooperate with Him then things go wrong. “Kṛṣṇa does not punish His devotees,” he said incontrovertibly. “The problems are caused by the demons, not by Kṛṣṇa. But if we mismanage then the demons gain opportunities to wreak havoc with our mission.” Then he smiled and added, “But they cannot disturb for long!”
* * *
In the evening he spoke for a long time about how it would be very difficult to finish the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam if so many management problems continue to arise. He dictated a general letter to all the GBC members, asking them to become more responsible and to relieve him of managerial burdens. He compared his ISKCON movement to the British Empire, saying that it was actually more extensive because we have not yet finished our expansion. He wants the growth to continue, but he also wants to be given the opportunity to complete his translation work. “I must now remind you that I have to complete the translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam. That is the greatest contribution; our books have given us a respectable position. People have no faith in this church or temple worship. Those days are gone. Of course, we have to keep our spirits high. Simply intellectualism will not do, there must be practical purification.
“So I request you to relieve me of management responsibilities more and more so that I can complete the Srimad Bhagavatam translation. If I am always having to manage, then I cannot do my work on the books. It is document, I have to choose each word very soberly, and if I have to think of management then I cannot do this. I cannot be like these rascals who present something mental concoction to cheat the public. So this task will not be finished without the cooperation of my appointed assistants, the G.B.C., temple presidents, and sannyasis. I have chosen my best men to be G.B.C., and I do not want that the G.B.C. should be disrespectful to the temple presidents. You can naturally consult me, but if the basic principle is weak, how will things go on? So please assist me in the management so that I can be free to finish the Srimad-Bhagavatam which will be our lasting contribution to the world.”
* * *
Hayagrīva and Śrīla Prabhupāda discussed the philosophies of Spinoza, Berkeley and Locke. Hayagrīva prabhu is carefully recording their lengthy conversations on the reel-to-reel Uher.
Prabhupāda also asked him how he and his family were. When Prabhupāda heard that he was living apart from his wife and son, he suggested positively that he could live in the temple like a sannyāsī and keep his son with him as his brahmacārī assistant.
May 19th, 1976
Morning walks continue to be lively, instructive and fulfilling. Hayagrīva prabhu’s presence elicits comments and prompts from Śrīla Prabhupāda on Christian doctrine and other philosophical topics related to their daily one–two hour discussions. Prabhupāda never tires of preaching and teaching. It is a twenty-four hour occupation; actually, not an occupation, it is his whole life.
Prabhupāda’s classes are gradually creeping nearer to his normal half-hour standard—yesterday’s was twenty-three minutes, today twenty-five. Of course, the length does not correspond to the potency; a short class is every bit as powerful as a long one. Even if Śrīla Prabhupāda simply sat on the vyāsāsana we’d all be fully satiated. Whatever he does speak simply increases our satisfaction more and more.
* * *
Even as his secretary mailed his request to the GBC, more news of the wrong kind came today from New Zealand. It was a newspaper report about two “Hare Krishna followers” who had been killed in a blast while fashioning a bomb designed to destroy a meat factory. The article termed the devotees “fringe followers described as chanters.” They were obviously Tuṣṭa Kṛṣṇa’s men, and when Prabhupāda saw the article he was very critical. “This is the problem,” he said disgustedly. “They change externally, but the mentality is the same: instead of causing a disturbance in the name of something else, now they do it in Kṛṣṇa’s name. You can give a dog a king’s throne, but he’ll still lick your feet. How foolish they are! By blowing up the meat works will that change the meat-eater’s mentality?”
Despite Śrīla Prabhupāda’s request to be relieved of management, there are some things he cannot just forget about, especially his India projects. Because he hasn’t heard from Māyāpur he sent a letter to Jayapatākā Swami requesting an update on the land acquisition there.
He also obliged Upendra in Fiji with the answer to a technical question about their temple design. Upendra suggested moving the domes from the back of the building where the Deities will be housed, to the front in order to appear more impressive from the road. Prabhupāda disagreed. “The domes must be over the three Deities. The domes should not be brought to the front of the building. Their place is over the Deities, whether they are visible to the passerby or not.”
* * *
During Prabhupāda’s massage, which he took out on the sun-deck, Prabhupāda recounted to me some of the names he was given in his childhood. One relative called him “Govardhana,” which became shortened to “Gover.” “You know what is the meaning?” he asked. And then he answered with a laugh. “Cow dung!” Another name was “Moti” which means “Pearl,” and yet another, the name for a male cat. He was also called “Kachori-mukha,” kachori-face, because he loved to eat kachoris.
* * *
In the late afternoon, after his nap, Prabhupāda discussed the philosophy of Hume and Kant with Hayagrīva.
May 20th, 1976
In commenting on verse twenty today Prabhupāda told us that anyone who thinks this material world is a place of happiness is simply a madman. As proof he gave a very practical example. “Kṛṣṇa points out, ‘No, it is not place of happiness.’ Why it is not place of happiness? Now, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. Why don’t you see the real unhappiness? This is real duḥkha, or unhappiness. What is that? Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi [one who is intelligent sees the fourfold miseries of birth, death, old age and disease]. You have to die. You have to take birth within the womb with so much risk that even your mother can kill you. Is it very happiness? When the child sleeps very peacefully that ‘I am on the lap of my mother,’ now the time has come when the mother is killing the child. So is it very happiness place? That you cannot trust even your mother, what to speak of others. The time has come, degraded, that . . . naturally a child, he thinks, ‘I am safe now with my mother.’ But the Kali-yuga is so cruel that even with mother you are not safe. And still you say it is a place of happiness? This is called illusion.”
* * *
The most important letter in today’s mail was one from Madhudviṣa. He gave his address at the Brooklyn post office. Without revealing any details of his falldown, he said that because of his impurities he felt more of a detriment to the mission than a help. He acknowledged he is already suffering due to his condition, “After being out here in the cruel material world for only a couple of days I can see that there is nothing real which is not related to your service, ‘srama eva kevalam,’ therefore if Kṛṣṇa allows me I will keep on chanting and praying that He will allow me to serve you in some humble way.” He said he got to the point where he felt his service had become completely molded by what others thought, rather than being performed out of love for Kṛṣṇa. Therefore he wrote that he wants to “approach spiritual life in a more straight-forward fashion, without the desire for name and fame.” He said he also felt that because the GBC men have a rather autonomous status, they operate more or less alone in their own zones, thus subjecting themselves to falldowns because they lack continuous association. He suggested that all the GBC members and sannyāsīs have assistants to accompany them wherever they go as a prevention. He ended his letter by saying that he wants to come to Hawaii but does not think he will make it before Prabhupāda leaves for Los Angeles. He will therefore see him in Los Angeles where, he said, “hopefully I will be at your lotus feet.”
Prabhupāda was at once happy and concerned to hear from him. If there is any way to save him he is willing to take it. He immediately both mailed and wired this reply: “I WANT TO MEET YOU IMMEDIATELY STOP IF YOU DO NOT COME TO HAWAII AND YOU WANT TO COME TO LOS ANGELES THEN I CAN GO TO LOS ANGELES IMMEDIATELY STOP IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO GIVE ME SERVICE THEN YOU CAN LIVE WITH ME STOP I WANT YOUR SERVICE.”
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu sent a long and detailed report on his Western India zone. Even though his workload was reduced when India was split into two GBC zones this year, he still has a great number of important projects on hand, so Śrīla Prabhupāda is personally advising him on almost every detail.
Prabhupāda already knows about the Library Party’s progress, but Gopāla’s report that Yaśodānandana Mahārāja and Gargamuni Swami are also involved was new.
In Vṛndāvana, Haihaya dāsa, a South American, is now managing and Akṣayānanda Swami is heading up a traveling party. The temple’s debts have been cleared, and Gopāla said he hoped the temple/guesthouse complex would be self-sufficient by the end of May. Plans for the construction of the new gurukula were due to be passed by the city magistrate by mid-May and the cost is estimated at fifteen lakhs of rupees. The building will be three storys and, as per Śrīla Prabhupāda’s previous instructions to Bhagatjī, the gṛhasthas will be allowed to occupy rooms on the top floor.
The Vṛndāvana devotees have also started a business making crowns and other head wear for temple Deities. He proposed that this could also go on the top floor when it is ready. In the meantime he suggested that the newly donated Taparia house could be used for both gṛhastha living and the mukut business. His plans included constructing a large room to do the work in and some self-contained rooms for living. Gopāla wants to hire permanent guards and put up a barbed wire fence all around the house to make it safe since the area is a little dangerous. He suggested that householders living there could have their own maṅgala-ārati because it is unsafe to make the fifteen minute walk to the temple while it is still dark. His proposals will cost Rs.40,000. Gurukula construction will require Rs.150,000–200,000 per month, out of which one third will come from a new traveling party under Tribhuvanath dāsa that is now collecting in America. He wanted to know if the remaining one lakh of rupees could be taken from Bombay’s monthly receipts.
Gopāla also had an update on Prabhupāda’s attempt to get land in Kurukṣetra. He recently attended a meeting there with a friend of our Society, Sri Prem Goel. Mr. Goel owns a big company called Haryana Milk Foods and had met with Prabhupāda at Laxsman Agarwal’s house when we were staying in Delhi in March. He spoke at the Kurukṣetra meeting, publicly declaring that Śrīla Prabhupāda was anxious to build a big temple there. As a result, the Chief Minister of the state, who was presiding, announced to the crowd that Prabhupāda would definitely be given land. Gopāla is trying to get thirty acres in Jyotisar where the Bhagavad-gītā was spoken, but because of the small land parcels it will have to be split, some for a temple of Kṛṣṇa-Arjuna on one side of the canal, and some for a varṇāśrama college on the other side. Saurabha prabhu, our ISKCON architect, is already drawing up the plans for both places. Mr. Goel has promised that if we are not given the land, he will personally buy it for us. Apart from this, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu is trying to get a small preaching facility in the town itself, right on the lake.
As far as Bombay is concerned, the twin guest towers will be completed by the end of September. Gopāla is confident that the temple will be ready to open on Rāma-navamī next year. They are meeting with an architect to draw up plans for a new gurukula there also.
The only problem there right now is with Mr. Badruka from Hyderabad. He is the gentleman who has donated 650 acres of land near Hyderabad, and who is helping to raise funds for the new temple in that city. He has been occupying a complete apartment on our Bombay land, and this is causing a great inconvenience. We have insufficient space for our own devotees and Gopāla wants him to move out. But Mahāṁsa Swami, the president in Hyderabad, is insisting he be allowed to stay.
Gopāla promised the new Hyderabad temple will be ready for opening on Janmāṣṭamī, August 18th.
The most interesting part of Gopāla Kṛṣṇa’s report was about his plans for book production and distribution. He recently met with Thompson Press which produces high quality work which Gopāla claims is comparable to quality in the West. He thinks they can print all our BBT books for up to eight percent less than we currently pay. His proposal is that Thompson import high quality paper, print thirty thousand Bhagavad-gītāAs It Is and reexport these to England, Australia and Africa. At the same time they can print another ten thousand on Indian government concessional paper for the Indian temples. With the bigger run the price comes down drastically.
At the time of writing he had just received a visa for Russia and was booking a hotel. He will fly via London on a ticket Rāmeśvara Swami sent. He had an interesting meeting at the Russian Embassy in Delhi, where he says he has good contacts. He showed them the BBT catalog. “The Russians said that your books are philosophical. When they came to the page advertising the Krsna books they said, ‘Krsna, is this related to the ISKCON?’ I replied no. I was surprised to discover how aware they are of your movement.” Gopāla’s plan is to spend a month there and meet with Professor Kotovsky, whom Śrīla Prabhupāda met in 1971 in Moscow. He will also try to put books in as many institutions as he can. He is well aware of the difficulties. “Only by yours and the Supreme Lord’s grace will this be possible,” he wrote.
Śrīla Prabhupāda carefully heard every item and replied in detail to all his points. For the Vṛndāvana gurukula he approved the transfer of money from Bombay. He also went into some length about the arrangements for gṛhasthas and the mukut business. He said that the householders may live in the Taparia house immediately because he wants the guesthouse free of women and children. But a brick wall must be constructed around the property, not a wire fence. He prefers that they go to maṅgala-ārati at the temple, “otherwise it will become a household affair.” In his own hand he added that this should not be insisted upon. As far as the business is concerned, he said it should remain in the guesthouse until the new building is completed. “It is not safe there, and you will have to employ three guards at expense of 500-600 rupees so what is the use . . . . Do not move all the valuable stock to Taparia house, as it is risky.” He requested plans of the Taparia house and told Gopāla not to spend money making extra rooms because money is already being spent on the rooms on the gurukula top floor.
He was particularly concerned about the developments in Kurukṣetra. He told Gopāla Kṛṣṇa to get the Chief Minister to make his promise of land tangible. “You mentioned that the Chief Minister of Harayana promised to give me land in Kuruksetra for constructing our project there, but where is his letter? We must have this in writing.” He also refused the idea of a split parcel of land in Jyotisar. He told Gopāla to get all thirty acres in one lot. “If the government gives us 30 acres of land then we shall attempt, otherwise, let it be postponed. We are not anxious to construct next to the Bengali temple, but send the dimensions of the available land in any case.”
He wasn’t happy to hear that Mr. Badruka was occupying our apartment in Bombay. He noted that as a rich man he could easily rent or purchase some other place in Bombay. “Why are they utilizing our facility? They have already put us into inconvenience by occupying, but what is this that they are taking it permanently. It is a guest room, not for permanent occupancy.” Again he added a footnote by hand, “There are so many flats available in the vicinity. Why do they not take? Why they should create inconvenience to our work? This is not at all good.”
Finally, he dealt with the ideas Gopāla presented for printing in India. He is in favor of printing there but he didn’t like the arrangement suggested for Thompson Press to import the paper and then export. “We can do it ourselves and save the commission they would make; also we will not be bound to Thompson Press if we have our own paper. Guru Krpa Swami can send the paper from Japan. In that way he can get money out of Japan in the form of paper, for printing books.” He told Gopāla to get an import-export license and simply use Thompson Press for the printing. If we get land in Delhi, Prabhupāda suggested, we can base our operation there. If it comes out cheaper and more efficient, then we can print all of our books there, as long as the quality is not diminished.
Two other letters have come from India, one from Abhirām dāsa in Calcutta and the other from Saurabha dāsa in Bombay.
Abhirām prabhu has been making inquiries about the lake-temple project and has met with the Home Minister, Tarun Kanti Ghosh, who came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda in Māyāpur last February. Unfortunately, the prospects do not look very good. Mr. Ghosh told him that because the park is public property, they would be unable to give permission to build on it. Even if somehow they did, we would not be able to retain any control of it. He advised us to find some other land. “Of course, he is prone to pessimism because of a lack of faith in Lord Krishna,” Abhirām wrote, “So, for now I will continue to pursue our goals fearlessly.” Abhirām also informed Prabhupāda that he and Gurudāsa Swami recently went to Jagannātha Puri. They saw a parcel of land on the outskirts of the town, which the Revenue Department of Orissa offered to us on a ninety year lease. It is sandy soil, but has sweet water and cool ocean breezes. Abhirām favored it for another reason. “This is probably a good location because the town is very dirty and full of diseases.”
In his reply Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed him to keep trying for the park and keep him informed of the progress. He is interested in the land at Puri but hearing it was sandy soil made him doubtful. He told Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa and me there should be some trees growing. “It should not be desert.” Accordingly, he asked Abhirām to verify whether there is any vegetation, telling him to negotiate to build a temple on twenty-one acres of land.
Saurabha’s letter informed His Divine Grace that the Bombay construction is going forward on time and to a good standard. He therefore had time to put into the Māyāpur project. He has nearly completed the design for a new house for Śrīla Prabhupāda just next to the pukkur near the front gate. Although he said he had enclosed the plans, they were not in the letter. He also suggested that the basement of the new building on the northern boundary be used to house the exhibition that Śrīla Prabhupāda had originally requested be put in a building of its own just to the south side of the existing temple and guest house. Saurabha explained that according to his master plan, when the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium is built, its main thoroughfare would dissect such a building in that position. He wanted Prabhupāda’s advice on what to do.
Saurabha also gave a final accounting of the Vṛndāvana project. Initially he had reported a total expenditure of forty-three lakhs, but after revising the figures he concluded that the total spent was only forty lakhs fifty thousand. This is only fifty thousand above the original estimate.
He ended his letter with a suggestion for earning income when the Bombay temple is complete. A life member told him that many well-to-do and religious Indian families will want to conduct marriage ceremonies at the temple. By providing facility for this, the temple could support itself. “For marriages Indians spend huge amounts of money. Our center seems to be perfect to have sometimes such a ceremony which can be done very sophisticated and religious. We have all the facilities like guesthouse, prasadam restaurant, temple, theatre, lobbies etc, etc. Also for preaching there is hardly a better way to come in contact with many important people at the same time.”
Prabhupāda was puzzled by Saurabha’s mention of a basement in the new Māyāpur building. He asked for more information on this, and told him he could postpone plans for the exhibition building until he had completed the whole Māyāpur site plan. As far as Bombay is concerned, Prabhupāda is interested in the idea of providing facilities for marriages, with one proviso: no marriages may be done before the Deities. He asked Saurabha to provide details on where the marriages would take place.
Prabhupāda is so carefully supervising the Bombay project that before any bills can be paid to the contractor, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, Girirāja and Saurabha all have to provide a signed approval of expenditure. This is then sent to Prabhupāda, who then writes to the bank to authorize the transfer of money.
Other mail included a letter from Svarūpa Dāmodara prabhu in Atlanta where he is working at Emory University. He sent a proposed logo for the new Bhaktivedanta Institute that Śrīla Prabhupāda wants him and our other scientists to form. He asked for a Sanskrit slogan which could be included.
He reported receiving Śrīla Prabhupāda’s last letter asking that all the Ph.D.s collaborate together to build the Vedic Planetarium, and he said he has sent copies to our other ISKCON scientists. As soon as they finish work on a current book project, he said they will take up that project.
The book project is entitled The Origin of Matter and Life. “Under the merciful guidance of Your Divine Grace, our humble attempt is progressing quite well. Major and difficult chapters are finished. It will be ready for publication some time next year. There are some very important points which we would like to personally discuss with Your Divine Grace regarding the book. We have collected several pertinent points from Srimad Bhagavatam also. By a strange coincidence, many of these points correspond to the Geologic Time Table given by modern science. These points are quite involved so we would need Your Divine Grace’s advice and clarification in these matters.”
He also enclosed a single-sheet Emory University letterhead with a type-written advertisment for a seminar he recently held:
Menger’s Research Seminar Group
THE ORIGIN OF MATTER AND LIFE
(Does Life Originate from Matter or vice versa?)
Speaker: Dr. T.D. SINGH (SVARUPA DAMODAR DASA)
Time and Place: Tuesday May 4th, 1976; 7 to 9 p.m.; Chemistry Rm. 316
The current scientific theory of the origin of life holds that `life’ is evolved as a result of the chance combinations of molecules (matter) under the influence of the blind natural laws. This theory will be tested on the strength of the known physical and chemical principles and the alternative view will be presented that `matter’ is a by-product of `life’.
Underneath this there was a simple line drawing of a diamond-shaped box with a long arrow pointing from it toward a photo copy of a baby chimpanzee with its arm around a human baby. Written in the diamond was the word “Molecules” and above the arrow’s shaft was “1. natural laws” and below it “2. long time span.”
The bottom of the sheet read:
Anybody interested is welcome.
Svarūpa Dāmodara felt such meetings an important part of the Institute’s regular program. “There were quite a number of arguments raised. It was, however, not too difficult to handle them. I intensely felt the necessity of holding seminars of this kind in different scientific departments at the universities. Three of us (Sadaputa, Madhava and myself) will form a well-balanced team in these scientific fields.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to hear about the lecture seminar; he said it was very good and required.
For the logo slogan Prabhupāda gave the Vedic aphorism, “Athāto brahma-jijñāsā”which he advised should be written in Devanagari script, the first word over the outside top of the logo and the other below.
His final letter of the day went out to Dr. Wolf-Rottkay, a friend of Svarūpa Dāmodara’s currently visiting with him in Atlanta. He is German and wrote expressing his distress at hearing devotees suggest that Hitler may not have been as bad as made out by his victor’s propaganda. This apparently stems from comments Śrīla Prabhupāda has previously made that the Germans were forced to go to war because of restrictive economic practices by the British. Dr. Wolf asked Prabhupāda to please speak out against this, because after having spent sometime as a draftee into what he termed “the Demon’s army” he at that time had felt ashamed of being part of the German community.
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply was typically transcendental. He wasn’t interested in the duality of material life and the mental speculation of what is good or bad. “Why should our temples support or denounce Hitler. If somebody says something in this connection it must simply be some sentiment. We have nothing to do with politics. It is after all sentiment, you say something and I say something.
“In this material world, to say this is good and this is bad has no value. To us, everything material is bad as it is lacking Krsna Consciousness. Just like wet stool and dry stool. Stool is stool, but somebody is saying that wet stool is better than dry stool. What is this good and bad? The top side of some stool is dry and the bottom side is wet, but any way that you take it, the material world is stool, and it must be given up.
“ . . . Krsna says that: dukhalayam asasvatam, the world is a place of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. Now is this good misery or is it bad misery? Misery is misery; and you have to die, good die or bad die? So to us everything material, without connection to Krsna, is to be rejected as stool, otherwise we will waste valuable time needed to solve the real problems of life, namely, birth, death, disease and old age.”
* * *
In the afternoon Prabhupāda discussed the writings of Fichte and Hegel with Hayagrīva prabhu.
May 21st, 1976
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.21 begins the narration of the life of Ajāmila as the example of the efficacy of the holy name. In his class Prabhupāda explained that the story is not fiction because the city of Kānyakubja is still existing, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was written five thousand years ago. So that means that the city existed before five thousand years.
Ajāmila was in the beginning a dutiful son, and dvijaḥ, a twice-born brāhmaṇa. He said if one does not get second birth then one is simply a śūdra. He gave an apt description of a śūdra. “Śūdra means lamentation, simply changing. They accept something, and then they find it useless, and they lament. The so-called scientists, philosophers, they’re all śūdras because they say, ‘We have discovered something,’ and after few years, ‘Oh, it is now useless.’ Another theory. Śūdra. So śūdra cannot give you any education. That is not possible. Education has to be taken from brāhmaṇa.”
He gave a detailed description of the qualities of a real brāhmaṇa and how such a dvijaḥ gradually progresses, beginning from student life as the humble servant of the guru, through the various stages of realization, until he comes to understand that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He said that this is the conclusion presented by Śrīla Vyāsadeva in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which is Vedānta, the end of all knowledge. He condemned those who use the Vedas for their own purposes. “So Vedānta is the complilation by Vyāsadeva. So he knows what he wants to speak. What others have got the right? Just like Bhagavad-gītā. The purpose is known by Kṛṣṇa. Why the rascals comment in a different way? They have no right. I have written a book; I have got my purpose. Why should you poke your nose and make it a different purpose? This is very mischievous rascaldom. So we want to stop this. We present Bhagavad-gītā as it is, as Kṛṣṇa says. We don’t allow any rascal to comment upon Bhagavad-gītā in a different way. That is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. This is very natural. If you have got a different type of philosophy, you can write. Why you should touch Bhagavad-gītā and misrepresent it? So because they are śūdra—their business is to cheat—they do that. But a brāhmaṇa will not do that.”
Giving the qualifications of a brāhmaṇa, he warned us that simply to be initiated is not enough. The events of the last few days still in his mind, he told us that we, as his disciples, actually have to act as brāhmaṇas. If we do not act to the standards he has given, he made it clear it will reflect badly on him. “They are criticizing in India that I am giving a brāhmaṇa’s position to these mlecchas and yavanas. You should be very careful so that we may not be subjected to criticism. If there are so many foreign brāhmaṇas in India and I am making brāhmaṇa in the Western countries, if they are still fallen, then what is this attempt? My attempt is futile. So kindly be responsible, those who are second initiated. If you fall down, then the whole movement becomes false. That is happening. So kindly rectify if that is happening, that guṇa-karma.”
He informed us that the real purpose of the brāhmaṇa is to educate others and this is the essence of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement. “He says that ‘Every one of you become guru.’ He wants not rascal imitation guru, but real guru. That He wants. Because people are in darkness, we require many millions of gurus to enlighten them. . . . Everyone is very anxious to become guru, but rascal does not know how to become guru, a simple thing. So many gurus come from India in this country, all rascal, but they will not speak what Kṛṣṇa has instructed. Maybe for the first time this has begun in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise all rascals, they instructed something else, some meditation, this, that, all cheating. Real guru is he who instructs what Kṛṣṇa has said.
“If I say the simple truth, that ‘Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the proprietor of everything. He is to be worshiped,’ then where is my difficulty? So that is our mission. All of you who have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that is our request, that you, all of you, become guru, but don’t speak nonsense. That is request. Simply speak what Kṛṣṇa has said. Then you become brāhmaṇa. You’ll be guru.”
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda received more news clippings on the New Zealand bomb incident, some from newspapers in Australia as well as Fiji. They all described the men as “Hare Krishna followers,” although most articles added that the temples denied any liability and identified them as members of a fringe group known as “chanters.” One exception was the Fiji Sun, whose front page headline proclaimed, “Monks Blow Themselves Up.” Prabhupāda had me write a letter to Upendra, instructing him to demand an apology from them under threat of being sued for libel and to enter an official complaint to the District Magistrate in Fiji. He is keen to make it clear that the bomb makers are in no way Hare Kṛṣṇa devotees.
* * *
Gopavṛndapāla dāsa, a leading book distributor at the Los Angeles New Dvārakā temple, arrived with news that the Los Angeles International Airport is temporarily closed to devotees. Half the saṅkīrtana party has been dispersed to other regional airports. New Dvārakā is “in chaos,” as he put it, because most of its book distribution and collections have been made at the airport.
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda is spending several hours each day with Hayagrīva, usually in the afternoon, and today’s subject was Spinoza’s work. I have been attending some of the sessions, but I admit to finding it tedious, so usually I take advantage of the extra time to read. One of the special privileges of traveling with Śrīla Prabhupāda is being able to read the newest volumes of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as soon as they come off the press. Śrīla Prabhupāda is always given two gold-edged copies, so I usually read one of them. The latest to arrive is Seventh Canto, Volume One.
I also sometimes get the chance to read the transcriptions that Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja types each day. Today I read the summary to chapter twelve of Canto Seven wherein the strictures of brahmacārī and gṛhastha life are described. Śrīla Prabhupāda comments: “The duties for the gṛhastha-āśrama and brahmacarya-āśrama, as well as the duties for sannyāsīs are prescribed in the śāstras. A gṛhastha is not meant to enjoy sex life without restriction. Indeed, the whole purpose of Vedic life is to become free from sexual indulgence. All the āśramas are recognized for spiritual progress, and therefore although the gṛhastha-āśrama gives a kind of license for sex life for a certain time, it does not allow unrestricted sex life. Therefore, in gṛhastha life also, there is no illicit sex. A gṛhastha should not accept a woman for sexual enjoyment. Wasting semen is also illicit sex.”
This last statement brought a doubt to my mind. Masturbation is clearly illicit, but what if one passes semen during sleep? Is that illicit sex? When I got the opportunity, I put the question to Śrīla Prabhupāda. He thought for half a moment. “Yes, that is also illicit.” I didn’t pursue it further, but it makes sense. If one has a nocturnal emission, it must only be because one is dreaming of sex enjoyment. Because it manifests physically in the form of discharge, it therefore becomes illicit.
May 22nd, 1976
Going on with the narration of Ajāmila, Prabhupāda explained that it is Itihāsa, history. He said everything in the Vedas is history. “It is not fiction. We do not know the universal history. We may know some history of our country or this planet, that’s all. But there are millions and trillions of planets. That history is recorded in the Vedic literature.”
The verse described how Ajāmila, by associating with a prostitute, became bereft of all good qualities. Śrīla Prabhupāda gave a pretty strong warning of the danger of addiction to bad behavior. “Ajāmila became a dāsī-pati. What was the result? Naṣṭa-sadācāraḥ. Sadācāra means well-behavior, gentleman’s behavior. One who teaches ācāra, he is ācārya. Just like in our society we teach, ‘No illicit sex.’ This is sadācāra. ‘No gambling, no drinking, no intoxication.’ This is sadācāra, how to become gentleman. If one is a prostitute-hunter, drunkard, meat-eater, gambler, he’s not even a gentleman, what to speak of becoming a devotee and philosopher—impossible. Those who are addicted to these bad habits, in their hundreds and thousands of lives they will never be able to understand what is God. The door is locked for them.”
He explained how such a person becomes degraded, losing first his good behavior, gradually losing everything else, to eventually becoming a thief. “Why? Now, bibhrat kuṭumbam, he is thinking that ‘I have to maintain my family, my children, so any way I must get money.’ Aśuci. Unclean. This is unclean method. And yātayām āsa dehinaḥ. As soon as one takes all this profession, it means his business will be to give trouble to all the living entities. Dehinaḥ means one who has accepted this material body. So he will not hesitate to kill anyone because he is practiced to give pains and misery to other living entities and what to speak of killing animals under the plea, ‘The animal has no soul’? This rascaldom will go on. So the civilization is how to make a human being elevated to the standard of becoming a brāhmaṇa.”
* * *
Work on the philosophy book is going on steadily. Today Prabhupāda completed his critiques of Spinoza and Darwin.
* * *
During the course of a general conversation about the way people live, Prabhupāda noted that “nightclubs” exist because people’s minds are so disturbed that they are unable to sleep at night.
* * *
This afternoon Śrīla Prabhupāda rested for three and a half hours. In the evening he complained of weakness due to heart palpitations. He has not been resting at night for more than one to one and a half hours but despite these health problems he is translating a great deal. He is now halfway through the fourth chapter of the Eighth Canto. Some nights he works straight through without taking either his massage or his late night rest, but at present he is feeling weak.
May 23rd, 1976
Early this morning, before going out for his walk, Prabhupāda questioned Hayagrīva about the editing of the first book Prabhupāda wrote in 1959, Easy Journey to Other Planets.
Several days ago Prabhupāda was preaching to me about the defects of modern science. He spoke about the bluff of modern space travel, referring me to Easy Journey. “I have written there that the attempts to go to the moon are simply childish. You have read?” he asked. I could not recall it specifically and I excused myself by saying I had not read the book since I had first seen it in 1972. Prabhupāda looked thoughtfully at me for a second and then asked me to get him a copy. I did so, and he has read the whole book through himself in the last few days. He discovered that his statement was actually edited out.
So when Prabhupāda questioned him now, Hayagrīva admitted having omitted it. He tried to defend himself, “Well, that was written before they went there, and afterwards I left it out.”
Prabhupāda was very, very upset. He spent most of his morning walk criticizing Hayagrīva for thinking the spiritual master an ordinary man subject to mistakes, and for accepting the words of the scientists above the word of the guru. “This means I cannot trust you,” he told him.
Later, back at the temple during breakfast I went into Hayagrīva’s room. “What’s he so angry at?” he asked me sullenly, referring to Śrīla Prabhupāda. He was petulant, like a child, his ego stung by the chastisement of his father. I didn’t like it, and I told him so. We began to argue, me angrily berating him for his overly familiar attitude, and he sulkily defending his actions, declaring that no one would believe the statement that you can’t go to the moon. I condemned him for not relying on his spiritual master and for watering down the philosophy to suit the mentality of the nondevotee masses.
“The masses won’t accept a book that declares it impossible to journey to the moon,” he pouted testily. “They simply won’t accept Prabhupāda’s statements. They’re only going to believe the scientists.”
“We don’t care what people believe,” I snapped back. “People believe one thing now and in twenty years time they’ll believe exactly the opposite. We don’t care what they accept. We accept what Prabhupāda says, and our only business is to present Prabhupāda’s exact words without altering them or imposing our own concocted ideas about what is or is not acceptable. It is not our business to pander to the whims of the masses.”
I left him to eat his breakfast and returned to my room next to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s. A few minutes later Hayagrīva went past in the corridor, entered Prabhupāda’s room, and with tears welling in his eyes apologized to His Divine Grace. Prabhupāda was pleased and accepted his penitent regrets. Still, the book needs to be changed. Prabhupāda gave instructions to inform the BBT that Easy Journey has to be re-edited to include the missing passage.
* * *
In class Śrīla Prabhupāda discussed further the fallen condition of Ajāmila and the need for proper training of human society to prevent degradation. He stressed the necessity of being situated in one’s proper āśrama, telling the story of Choṭa Haridāsa to illustrate the seriousness with which one should approach spiritual life. He said that the most important thing is to be honestly situated.
“After twenty-five years a brahmacārī is trained to refrain from sex life. That is brahmacārī. But if he is still not able then he’s allowed to accept gṛhastha life. Then there’s no cheating, hypocrisy, that I proclaim myself as brahmacārī or sannyāsī and I secretly do all nonsense. The hypocrisy life will not make one advance in spiritual life. That is the example given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. . . . ”
Prabhupāda detailed Choṭa Haridāsa’s moment of weakness and described the stern response of Lord Caitanya. “Caitanya Mahāprabhu knows everything. Sometime after, He inquired, ‘What about Choṭa Haridāsa?’ Somebody said, ‘Oh, You rejected him and, out of disappointment, he has committed suicide.’ ‘Oh! That’s nice!’ Just see how strict, ‘That’s nice.’ He never expressed any sympathy, ‘Oh, I rejected this person and he has committed suicide? Oh.’ No. He said, ‘Oh, that’s nice. That’s all right.’ He said that.
“This is one thing. Another thing: Śivānanda, one of His very exalted devotees, was taking care of all devotees who had come to be with Caitanya Mahāprabhu during Ratha-yātrā. So his wife came and offered Caitanya Mahāprabhu obeisances and He saw that the wife is pregnant. So He immediately asked Śivānanda, ‘Your wife is pregnant?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘All right. When you see the birth of this child you keep his name like that.’ Just see. One man, simply he saw with lusty desire to a woman, he was rejected. And one man has his wife pregnant, He adored him, ‘That’s all right.’
“So sex life is not forbidden in this Movement, but hypocrisy is forbidden. If you become hypocrite then there is no way. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s teaching . . . So our request is, ‘Don’t be hypocrite.’ There are four āśramas:brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. Whichever āśrama is suitable for you, you accept. But sincere, don’t be hypocrite. If you think that you want sex. All right. You marry and remain like a gentleman; don’t be hypocrite. This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He did not like hypocrisy. Nobody likes. But for a person who is seriously engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, for him sex life and material opulence is not very good. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s opinion.”
After describing material life as being full of distress he pointed out that the materialists also talk about the ‘survival of the fittest.’ But no one knows what the struggle for existence is or how to become fit. Only a Kṛṣṇa conscious person who has studied Kṛṣṇa, knowing Him to be perfect, and knowing that there is nothing beyond Him, is fit he said. And he made us all laugh with a parody of a man trying to avoid death.
“There is a joking story that one man thought, ‘How do I avoid death?’ So he thought that Yamarāja, he’s the superintendent of death, he comes to take, so I shall make such policy that he may not come to me. What is that policy? That bring some stool, I shall smear over my body and out of bad smell he’ll not come. So he began to smear stool on his body at the time of death. This is going on. They are making body very stout and strong so they will survive. Nobody will survive, sir, unless he’s Kṛṣṇa conscious. Thank you very much.”
* * *
Since his arrival, Hayagrīva has had a couple of discussions with Śrīla Prabhupāda about his marriage. Today Prabhupāda sent a letter to his wife, Shama dāsī, asking her to come and meet him in Los Angeles. They are separated and she lives in San Francisco with their son. Prabhupāda doesn’t want to see her drift away from the Movement.
* * *
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu has sent several more letters and a telegram about the printing in India and his contacts with the Soviets. Śrīla Prabhupāda is keenly following the progress of his preaching, questioning him on every detail. Interested in printing with Thompson Press, Prabhupāda wrote today asking him to compare their prices with current American and Japanese prices.
Tejīyas dāsa, the New Delhi temple president, reported that he is still following up on the house on Ring Road owned by the American government. In the meantime he has now secured a lease on a good building in Lajpat Nagar III in the south of Delhi. With four thousand square feet comprising six bedrooms, two big halls and two servants’ quarters, as well as large front and back gardens, it sounds very suitable. It is four times the area of the previous building in Bengali Market.
Most of Tejīyas’ letter though was a moving personal plea for a new service. He is feeling inadequate due to not being able to deal with other devotees nicely, despite his best attempts. “I have no personal doubts about being engaged in your service. . . . But unfortunate as I am I am very offensive and am thus always becoming an obstacle in my Godbrothers’ devotional service. With my whole heart I have tried to do some humble service for you in Delhi. But I can see now that I am very much unqualified for this service. Everyone complains about my personality (i.e. my mind). I can understand that I have somehow or other gotten such a material mind by my previous sinful activities, and that this is what the devotees mean. I have tried to become more humble and tolerant, and to assist others more personally in their service, but somehow, maybe due to all my offenses I cannot adjust. The GBCs also complain about me. I am simply enshrouded with false ego and pride, and therefore I am a disturbance in the Vaisnava society. That I am a disturbing element and keeping the Krishna Consciousness movement from expanding in Delhi has very much upset my mind. In so many ways like this I am weak for this service. . . . I have tried to speak to you several times about this. But every time I feel so ashamed. I really sincerely have wanted to do some service for you and am not qualified. You have placed your faith in me and I am always failing you, so if you want then please do with me whatever you like for this great offense.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy to hear about the new building. He asked whether there was a garden and what was the size of the lecture hall and his own quarters. As far as Tejīyas’ own personal dilemma, he asked him to wait until his return to India when they can speak personally about it. After Śrīla Prabhupāda’s recent plea to the GBC to be given relief from management, this news from another senior disciple, especially in an important center like Delhi, is yet another headache for him.
An enthusiastic monthly report came from Satsvarūpa Mahārāja. He wrote from Chicago, where the local devotees are selling one thousand books a week in the airport. His Library Party has obtained a twenty-eight foot mobile home which they have converted into a traveling temple. They are installing Gaura-Nitāi Deities today.
The Library Party is having continuing success with standing orders for public libraries as well as universities. More importantly, they are now selling the softbound Bhagavad-gītāAs It Is as college texts. “These orders are usually no less than 10 copies, and one order last week was for 200. They are being taken for use in departments of Classics, Literature, Religion, Education and other fields. We stress the low price, $1.95, the written testimonies of dozens of scholars, the classical importance of the Bhagavad Gita—and we say that the offer is only for a limited time.” Because the colleges are now closing for the summer, he said he plans to spend his time traveling in the new temple with his party, selling BTG and raising funds to support the library program. They plan to be in Detroit for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s visit, and he requested Śrīla Prabhupāda to visit their mobile temple.
Prabhupāda was very happy to hear his news. He encouraged Satsvarūpa to approach the public libraries which, he said, can order fifty or a hundred sets at a time. With so many testimonials the libraries will surely purchase them.
Prabhupāda also included a rebuttal of modern scientists, even though Satsvarūpa’s report had not mentioned anything about modern science. He did it simply because whenever he thinks of modern education he considers what is being taught and what his own books have to offer. The massive misdirection of the world’s youth toward gross materialism is never off his mind and his comments were to spur on his disciples in getting his books widely read and studied in all the important houses of education. “The scientists cannot make a machine from a seed. Why not? Can they make a typewriter machine tree, or an automobile tree, that you plant a seed and you get an automobile . . . it gets bigger, bigger, bigger until it is a full size automobile? They cannot make even one egg, and they are going to manufacture life? And we have to believe it? They are lunatics, this is demonic. They want to compete with God.”
Nityānanda dāsa, president of the New Orleans farm, sent in a recommendation for initiations and along with it a question concerning the direction of their farm. “I have read in the Bhagavatam that it is not practical to try to re-establish the varna-ashram system for society in the age of Kali, but that everyone can chant Hare Krsna and achieve perfection. But also I see so much discussion about varna-ashram in your books. At our farm will we eventually try to re-create the varna-ashram society?”
“If the Varnasramadharma can be instituted it is welcome,” Prabhupāda replied, “but it is a little difficult today to do. If it can be done we want that. Training is required. The things are there but who will take up the training? Otherwise the symptoms are mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita and if according to the symptoms some training is given, it is alright. But, everyone is after money and as soon as money is there they drink, eat meat, illicit sex, so who is there to be trained as a Brahmin?”
May 24th, 1976
Today was Ekādaśī.
In the car driving out for his morning walk, Śrīla Prabhupāda sat back and laughingly exclaimed, “I have a new theory: Man is good, woman is good. But when they combine together they become bad!” This past December when he received a letter from Gurudāsa Swami saying how pleased he was that Prabhupāda had relieved him of his association with his wife Prabhupāda had written this new “theory” back to him. He has practical experience of how nicely his male and female disciples serve, but how much disturbance comes as soon as they combine. Still, it cannot be avoided and he has to push on, encouraging them all to chant and do as much as they can. He said that being married is better than being what he calls a “bachelor daddy.” This is another term he has coined to refer to men who refuse to get married but still associate with women. They pose as brahmacārīs, but their real mentality is to simply avoid responsibility; they are not actually detached. Although Śrīla Prabhupāda sometimes laughs about it, as he mentioned yesterday in class, he does not find this kind of hypocrisy at all welcome.
On the walk on Magic Island he watched as surfers fell off their boards and struggled to swim back out against the waves for another ride. He quoted the Indian sage Tulasī Dāsa who pointed out that even though a fish may be very tiny he can go against the waves, but a huge elephant is useless in water. The powerful elephant, being in a foreign situation, becomes helpless, but the little fish, because it has taken shelter of the ocean, can swim against the biggest wave. Prabhupāda concluded that if we take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, everything will be easy.
* * *
The BBT Library Party in India reported that it is doing very well, and a report from Bombay forecast one thousand standing orders for the year. Prabhupāda was very happy to hear the news. Along with the report he also received the plans for his house in Māyāpur.
* * *
Śrīla Prabhupāda has a wonderfully sharp sense of humor. I came into his room just as the buzzer on my clock sounded. “What is that?” he asked.
“It’s my alarm clock, Śrīla Prabhupāda.”
“Oh?” he asked, with mock seriousness. “Who is in danger?”
* * *
The philosophy topic today was Henri Bergson.
May 25th, 1976
In theŚrīmad-Bhāgavatam class today Śrīla Prabhupāda defined the meaning of sneha, affection. Even though Ajā-mila was a rogue, a thief and a cheat, he said, possessed of all bad qualities, still he had affection for his youngest child. Prabhupāda said sneha also means liquid; and affection, like liquid, flows down from the highest to the lowest. This flow of affection is the relationship between the soul and Kṛṣṇa. He described where it comes from and where it goes to. “I have my body; if there is some danger I try to protect myself from the danger. That means I love my body. So the next question will be, ‘Then why don’t you love a dead body?’ Suppose your wife or husband, you love because the husband and wife is in the body. So I love the body because the spirit soul is there. This is right conclusion. Otherwise who is going to love a dead body?
“So it is clear that the soul is different from the body. But because we are fools and rascals we learn it after death. That is foolishness. Not in the beginning. In the beginning the Bhagavad-gītā it says, Kṛṣṇa says that asmin dehe, within this body the soul is there. ‘No, no. I don’t believe.’ Dull brain cannot understand. But after death, he sees, ‘Yes. The body’s not my son. The body’s not my husband.’ So that is foolishness. The foolish person understands late. And the intelligent person understands very quickly. That is the difference. So I love my body. I love my husband’s body, my wife’s body. Why? The real husband, wife or son is within the body. Therefore we love. Then the conclusion is that the soul is important, more than the body. Then the question will be that ‘Why you love the soul?’ Then the answer will be because the soul is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa.”
Using the logic of the downward flow of liquid, Prabhupāda concluded, “I love Kṛṣṇa and, because the soul is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, therefore I love the soul. And because the soul is within this body, therefore I love the body. There is no difficulty to understand.”
* * *
Information came from Girirāja prabhu in Bombay that the BBT Library Party has gained a further forty standing orders and Gargamuni Swami’s party another thirty. He confirmed that Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu has left for Moscow to try to sell books at the annual book fair.
He also reported that Mr. Brijratan Mohatta has promised ten thousand rupees for the new gurukula building and the Maharana B. S. Mewar of Udaipur has promised fifty thousand rupees for purchasing books for the library Śrīla Prabhupāda is planning in Bombay. To avoid the constant visa problems, Hindi language classes are now being held three times a week for the devotees, with the idea that eventually some will be able to apply for Indian citizenship. This is in response to another of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ideas to solve this ongoing dilema.
Girirāja’s letter showed he has been well trained by Śrīla Prabhupāda. He reported receiving a receipt for a bank transfer of Rs.14,793.17p from Śrīla Prabhupāda which was made when we were in Melbourne. The bank, however, said it received four rupees less than that, so he is now asking the bank to reconfirm the correct transfer amount.
Girirāja reported that Rama Krishna Bajaj had phoned and asked him and Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu to attend the Gita Pratisthan if Prabhupāda is unable.
In a footnote he added that the contractors were now working on Prabhupāda’s rooms on the top floor of the guesthouse towers and that the view from there is “fantastic” and “unlimited.”
Prabhupāda replied, encouraging him to pursue the missing four rupees with the bank. He also expressed concern why Mr. Mohatta was only giving ten thousand rupees. Prabhupāda pointed out that he had originally promised to pay for the whole construction, estimated at ten lakhs.
He liked the institution of Hindi classes, and he said as many devotees as possible must learn. But he wanted to know if the question of our devotees getting permanent exemption for visas had been raised in Parliament or not. Girirāja previously mentioned this possibility but he has not heard anything further on this.
Prabhupāda also went into some detail about the plans he received yesterday for his house in Māyāpur. There was another plan presented to him last year and he wants to compare the two before making any final decision. This new one calls for placing guest rooms on the top floor, above Śrīla Prabhupāda’s own rooms. He is not happy with that arrangement, nor does he want them to be occupied while he is in residence. Noting that there is an overhanging veranda outside his main work room, he questioned whether this would allow the sun to shine in or not. He said that it will not be very nice without sunshine. He also wants a lift from the ground floor to the first floor, and the facility to take his massage in the sun on the roof. Finally, he told Girirāja the construction should not proceed until he sees the master plan for Māyāpur. It may be that a more secluded spot is available. The present site is situated near the main gate, which may be too noisy and crowded.
He is also concerned about the Gita Pratisthan meeting, which he would like to attend if possible. Since Girirāja’s letter was written the day after Prabhupāda’s latest letter to him, Girirāja could not have known of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s indirect request to have it postponed until he returns. He told Girirāja he will wait until he hears from Mr. Bajaj before he makes a decision. In the event he cannot personally attend, he said he will send a paper to Girirāja which he can read out to the meeting on his behalf.
As far as the news about his rooms go, he was very glad and even suggested that if they prove to be peaceful and quiet he might remain in Bombay to translate the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Later in the day a telegram arrived from Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu in Russia. He said the Russians love the books and the mahā-mantra and that he has taken orders for books. Śrīla Prabhupāda was very happy to receive the news.
* * *
Later in the day he discussed the philosophies of Miller and Alexander with Hayagrīva. The book is coming along steadily with Hayagrīva posing the relevant questions and Prabhupāda giving his Vedic commentary, revealing both the flaws in the mundane ideas and presenting the positive alternative of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrīla Prabhupāda is putting in a lot of time and energy in this project, at least one and a half to two hours per day. Hayagrīva’s serious approach has encouraged him that it will now be completed very soon.
* * *
As I perched by his side on his bed during his evening massage, squeezing and kneading his hips, thighs, calves and feet, Prabhupāda told me how he left home.
He told me that despite the fact we criticize everyone without exception we are still expanding and going forward. He laughed, “I was even criticizing my own family!”
I asked if he used to instruct them, and he said that because they were used to thinking of him merely as husband or father they were unable to take his instruction seriously. “You know my story? Tea or me?” he asked.
“No, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” I said, intrigued and eager to hear.
He gave a chuckle. “My wife, she was fond of drinking tea. So one day I told her, ‘Either you give up your tea drinking or you give up your husband.’ ‘Oh, then I’ll give up my husband.’ Of course she thought I was joking,” he went on, “but a few days later I left the house without telling anyone. I borrowed ten rupees from a friend and bought a train ticket and I never returned.”
“Where did you go?”
“Somewhere—anywhere!” he laughed. He never saw his wife again. In 1959 he took sannyāsa and began to write his books, and in 1965, after the third volume of the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam had been published, he left for America. His second son later told him, “When we learned you had taken sannyāsa, it was like a thunderbolt to us!”
May 26th, 1976
Morning walks are quite lively, with Śrīla Prabhupāda exposing the flaws of material life and taking potshots at the scientists.
He began today by slamming the idea of overpopulation in the world. He said it was all false propaganda. He is from India and no one is starving there. Some organizations, in the name of India, falsely draw money from the United Nations and then divide up the money among the trustees. “I have seen it,” he said. Because they have no faith that Kṛṣṇa can supply unlimitedly they mismanage everything. They claim starvation in one country but dump excess grains and produce in another. He revealed the reason why. “Here, the American policy, the Western policy, that if the people get easily food, they’ll not come work in the industry. That is their policy. If they get cheap food, then they won’t work. That is human nature.”
He said that the materialists don’t want natural things, and again cited the cutting of the palms trees here, making them ugly. He contrasted this mentality with that of chanting, plain living and high thinking. “Their policy is, ‘High living and poor thinking.’ They live in skyscraper but don’t care for where they are going to next life, as a cat and dog. ‘Never mind. Now live in skyscraper.’ Poor thinking. High living, poor thinking.”
He gave a broad grin as we caught his humor. “No, that ‘Now I am living in the skyscraper building on the twenty-fifth story, and next life I’m going to be cockroaches here!’ They don’t know that. He doesn’t inquire, ‘Wherefrom the cockroaches are coming?’ He has got attachment for this twenty-fourth story, so, but he’s working so that he’ll become a cockroach. So Kṛṣṇa has given chance, ‘All right. You live in the twenty-fourth story as cockroach.’ And then you’ll be again killed by some . . . What is called?”
“Yes. That he does not know. Therefore poor thinking. He’s thinking that ‘I shall perpetually live here.’ And when the death will come, ‘Get out! Become a cockroach.’ What he’ll do? What power you have got? Nature is the same, that He’ll come. Mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham. Now everything finished. ‘Get out and become a cockroach.’ How the scientists can stop it?”
He made another attack on the cheating of the scientists and the gullibility of the public, using his favorite topic. “They are cheating the public by misleading them they have gone to moon. They sold some tickets for going to moon. What they are doing with the tickets? You know that Pan American sold tickets for going to moon? You do not know? They sold tickets, because in your country, you have got lot of money, any kind of cheating can draw money. They sold in the beginning. They’re so hopeful now that ‘We shall go to the moon.’ Some family bought, ‘Oh, scientific advancement. Yes, they go to the moon. So I have got money. Why not purchase a ticket so I can go to the moon.’ There are many persons in your country who can easily pay $50,000 for purchasing tickets for going to the moon planet.”
I suggested it was like Rāvaṇa’s promise of being able to go to the heavenly planets by climbing up the staircase. Prabhupāda agreed. “Yes. I believed in the words of śāstra. Even I am not scientist, still I shall . . . It is all childish. And it has proved childish. I do not say that I am better than the scientists. No. But on the words of śāstra, I say this is childish. They’ll never be able to go to the moon.”
* * *
In class Prabhupāda described the difference between lust and love. Verse twenty-six describes how Ajāmila had become entangled in family life because of his lusty desires for a prostitute. Thus his life was absorbed in feeding and looking after his children, especially his youngest, Nārāyaṇa. He forgot about the passing of time and his life with it, and he could not see that death was upon him.
Prabhupāda pointed out that we also hear the descriptions of mother Yaśodā fully absorbed in feeding baby Kṛṣṇa, but there is a difference. When something is Kṛṣṇa-centered, he said it is spiritual, and when it is “whimsical-centered” it is material.
He gave another example to illustrate the point. “What is the difference between lusty desires and pure love? Here we are mixing, man and woman, mixing with lusty desires, and Kṛṣṇa is also mixing with the gopīs. Superficially they look the same thing. Yet what is the difference? So this difference has been explained by the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. What is the difference between lusty desires and love? He has said ‘When I want to satisfy my senses that is kāma. And when we want to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa, then it is love, prema.’ That is the difference. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Don’t do anything for your personal sense gratification. Do everything for Kṛṣṇa’s sense gratification.
“Just like the gopīs, they used to go to Kṛṣṇa. These gopīs they were married because in India twelve years, thirteen years, girls are married still. I’ve told many incidences. So from childhood they are playing small children; but the girls are married early so they go to their husband’s place thirteen, fourteen years. So when they’re not married they prayed to Kātyāyanī that Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful, please give me Kṛṣṇa as my husband. Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, so Kṛṣṇa fulfilled their desire.”
He hesitated a second because of the intimacy of the pastime, but then decided to narrate it to us. “Of course these things are not be publicly discussed, but still you are little interested in Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa, it is not possible socially, Kṛṣṇa made it a plan that He accepted every one of them as His wife. The girls were taking bath in the Yamunā, keeping their clothing, garments, on the shore. Still in India, especially in Punjab, the practice is that where the women take bath strictly no man can go there because they put their clothings on the shore and they dip into the water naked. So this was being done and Kṛṣṇa took their clothes and got up on the tree. So they begged Kṛṣṇa, their friend, ‘Kṛṣṇa, this is very bad. Why you have taken our . . . ’ ‘No, you beg the clothes with folded hands then I shall give you.’“
Remembering these mischievous dealings of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Śrīla Prabhupāda was full of smiles. The devotees also laughed with him and Prabhupāda approved. “So you have liked this story . . . But the idea is that ‘You wanted Me, all of you, as your husband. Now I’m fulfilling your desire. I’m seeing you naked.’ Because a woman can be naked only before the husband. No one else. This is chastity.”
Contrasting these transcendental dealings, he described the more ordinary affairs of the self-centered materialist. “As soon as one is grown up, reaching youthful time, the sex desire is very strong, very strong. So they unite, a boy finds out a girl, a girl finds out a boy; they unite and there is sex, and as soon as there is sex then there is bondage. Immediately. As soon as they unite then the relation becomes very tight, very strong. Then, as soon as one is married, or unmarried . . . Generally speaking married, then he wants apartment. Gṛha means apartment. So long he remains brahmacārī there is no need of apartment. He can lie down right out on the street. But as soon as they’re joined together, immediately apartment. Then how to maintain the apartment? Then he must have land. Because formerly there was no industry. Everyone must produce his own food by tilling the field. One can produce, but they have left that process of livelihood, they are taking to industry. First of all apartment, then kṣetra, means agricultural land. Then some capital. Then as soon as they’re married they, at least woman, wants some children.”
His descriptive observations soon had everyone laughing as he began to parody the entangled householder. “After if he has got very nice apartment and good condition of living, then he’ll invite some friends, ‘Please come and see our happily living.’ And one after another bondage. Because if you’re opulent you have to show your friends. Otherwise what is your opulence? If your friends do not come and say, ‘Oh, you’re so wonderful. Yes. You have got such a nice wife, nice apartment. Wonderful!’ Because in the Kali-yuga this is wonderful. Everything is mentioned in śāstra. If one can maintain one wife and some children, ah, he’s most expert. Forget Kṛṣṇa—here is . . . ! ‘Oh, he’s expert. How he’s maintaining!’ When I first came I met one elderly lady. She had a son. So as Indian I asked, ‘Oh, why don’t you get your son married?’ She replied, ‘I have no objection. If he can maintain a wife I have no objection.’ That means to maintain a wife is a very big job in your country. I’ve seen it.”
Over the last few weeks he has used the elephant as a symbol to portray several different philosophical points—the bathing of the elephant; Gajendra and the crocodile; the fish and the elephant in the ocean—and now he added another, lighter, more amusing comparison, much to everyone’s delight. “Of course when we talk we must talk freely. That is a fact. But formerly, in our father’s age, they used to come to foreign countries and they thought it, it is a great . . . to possess one white wife. Yes, they are thinking like that. So all the students who used to come to England for higher studies, naturally he’d carry one white elephant. They used to say—it is not my words—they used to say, ‘Oh, to maintain European wife it is like maintaining white elephant.’ So anyway, you have got so many white elephants.”
* * *
As he relaxed in his room before breakfast was served, Prabhupāda continued, as he often does, to comment on the same topics he addressed in his lecture. He was telling Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja how we become embarrassed by our material desires. He said it is not only his own men who sometimes fall victims to māyā in the form of sexual allurement. Some of the so-called Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana have been caught in compromising situations. One well-respected figure in Vṛndāvana was caught with a sweeper woman by her husband. In anger he cut off the Gosvāmī’s nose.
* * *
More news on the bomb incident in New Zealand came today in letter from Yaśomatīnandana dāsa. He confirmed the two men involved were connected to Tuṣṭa Kṛṣṇa’s farm and had been manufacturing bombs in a garage. They had enough explosive to make five or six nitroglycerin bombs when one went off and blew them into pieces. He said the media were largely accepting that the movement as a whole was not involved. There have been some wary reactions from people on the street, although he doesn’t expect this to last very long. The rest of his letter was dedicated to an appreciation of the presence of their newly-installed Gaura-Nitāi Deities, who he said were inspiring them to go out and preach and sell Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books.
Prabhupāda responded with encouragment to go out and sell his books. He gave a lengthy denunciation of the press for trying associate the men’s activities with our society. Despite Yaśomatīnandana’s feeling of fair dealings from the press, after seeing the Fiji Sun headline, Prabhupāda took pains to ensure we get a fair hearing and reportage.
“ . . . anyone can chant Hare Krishna, just like we go on the streets chanting, and others will imitate us. However, in our aims you will not find that our organization is dedicated to such methods or goals. Our aim is to awaken people throughout the world to Krishna Consciousness, God consciousness, by chanting the Holy Names of God. We have published so many books to explain our viewpoint, and why we should sit idly by and allow the press to unfairly take advantage of such a situation to mis-represent the Hare Krishna Movement. In any case, the movement cannot be judged simply by the activities of some individuals, but these men were not in our camp and still the press took unfair notice of all the facts. We should demand at least equal time from the press to explain the entire situation clearly, and when necessary we should file suit against such newspapers in order that things are not distorted. It is not in our aims anywhere to build bombs for any purpose. The same mentality is involved in trying to blow-up a slaughterhouse as is there in meat-eating. Such things will not stop people from unnecessary animal slaughter. It is only by educating people in the science of Krishna Consciousness that they will automatically develop all good qualities. Yasyatma bhaktir bhagavati akincanna, sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. And the nondevotee will not have any good qualities even they may be vegetarians. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad guna manorathenasati dhavato bahih. So we should clearly establish our aims in such situations and [not] sit by idly. We must preach very boldly whenever the situation is favorable.”
As a BBT Trustee, Śrīla Prabhupāda also received his copy of the lastest BBT report, written by Rāmeśvara Swami. Sent to all the Trustees—Bhagavān dāsa, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa dāsa, Hṛdayānanda Goswami, Jayatīrtha dāsa and Tamal Krishna Goswami—it outlined the financial standing of the BBT as of April 1976. Rāmeśvara included projections for the coming year’s printing as well as details of monies owed to BBT from loans to the temples. As a minimum budget per month he stated fixed commitments of $275,000. Broken down this allocated $80,000 to India (until January 1977), $70,000 for BTG, $75,000 for hard book printing and $50,000 for various types of overhead, freight, rents, etc. The printing included 500,000 hardbound Bhagavad-gītās to be printed with Kingsport Press in America rather than with Dai Nippon in Japan. In addition, Kingsport will also print 50,000 copies of each of the first four volumes of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Rāmeśvara reported a shortfall in income due to various fluctuations in book distribution. This was caused by devotees going to India in February–March for the festival. With Ratha-yātrā festival season coming up, he forecast further delayed payments from the temples. Yet several temples have been promised large loans, including England, which wants $75,000 in late June. Construction in Māyāpur will also need $150,000 before the next Gaura-pūrṇimā festival in March 1977. Rāmeśvara therefore suggested the European BBT should start taking some of the burden for expenditures, such as providing the London loan and sending money to India from the fifty percent each BBT is supposed to make available for temple construction.
He also reported that now Tamal Krishna Mahārāja, in pursuance of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s request that he organize book distribution all around the world, has set up an office for this purpose in the new skyscraper building in New York. Some of his ideas include figuring out how to break into the high school libraries, how to sell 100,000 Bhagavad-gītās, find new public-financed saṅkīrtana sites, how to develop new methods of distribution such as door-to-door encyclopedia sales selling complete sets of Prabhupāda’s book, and how to open up other countries with legal structures similar to the U.S. Rāmeśvara recommended that the other Trustees provide manpower to help Tamal develop his program.
There was one item in the report under the heading “Press Action” which Prabhupāda particularly noted, and not without concern. “One big snare is Sanskrit (as usual) with Nitai and Jagannath das in Vrndavana doing nothing for the books any more (the age-old babaji disease that afflicts our Sanskrit men). Prabhupāda picked up Pradyumna and he’s travelling with His Divine Grace (although he is sick and sleeps 20 hours daily). So the entire burden falls on some new men in LA headed by stalwart Duryodhanaguru.”
The BBT is also looking out for new warehouse facilities in Los Angeles. Every two years they seem to outgrow each previous place, and now once again the present warehouse of twelve thousand square feet is inadequate. With so many new books coming in, beginning in September, Rāmeśvara is actively seeking a new lease.
Finally, in a postscript he mentioned that he has hired a “jetset” professional public relations firm for a nine week period at a cost of $3,000 to handle Prabhupāda’s upcoming visit. They will concentrate on the Los Angeles and New York visits and try to get interviews with large circulation magazines such as People,Esquire and others. He considers the expense, which has been donated, well worth it when calculated against what we spend each month putting out the BTG.
Śrīla Prabhupāda went over the report item by item, not letting any detail escape his attention. With such large amounts of money being earned and spent in the distribution of his books, he is very attentive to see it all used wisely in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Under “Transfers disbursed” he had noted a sum of $4,250 paid to the diorama project in Los Angeles, only fifty percent of which was to be repaid by the temple there. In his reply to Rāmeśvara he inquired why the BBT was carrying the other fifty percent. He also wanted to know why the Press had an overhead of $50,000 per month. Another item he noticed was the large amount of money owed by the temples for loans taken out and books purchased—over $1,000,000 in each instance. Prabhupāda asked what was being done to collect these debts.
He had a practical solution to the warehouse problem: simply send some of the books to the temple in New York and use one complete floor for storage. With Tamal Krishna there to oversee things the BBT could have a warehouse on both the West and East coasts. As for the London loan, he wanted to know what happened to a previous fund the London temple was supposed to have had, and what happened to money collected in France and Germany. He agreed that the loan could come from Europe, by having Bhagavān make an early repayment of a loan he previously took to buy our chateau in France. But ultimately he requested the other trustees to consult with each other and decide what to do.
As far as the mention of the inactivity of his Sanskrit editors, Nitāi and Jagannātha, Prabhupāda didn’t say anything to Rāmeśvara about it. Of course, on May 4th Śrīla Prabhupāda had heard similar news from Rādhāballabha dāsa and he had approved of work going ahead without their input. But Rāmeśvara’s use of the phrase ‘bābājī disease’ set him thinking. He sent a short letter to Jagannātha and Nitāi in Vṛndāvana. “Please accept my blessings. I have received a report that you are not working on my books. Why have you stopped editing my books? So what are you doing with my books? You have stopped editing, but what is your occupation now?”
* * *
Tonight he discussed Kant and Marx for the philosophy book.
May 27th, 1976
A letter has arrived from Dharmādhyakṣa dāsa, a Back to Godhead staff writer, enclosing a pamphlet called Simple Living and High Thinking. It has been especially prepared for mass distribution at a United Nations conference called “Habitat” to be held in Vancouver from the end of May until mid-June. Guru dāsa and Revatinandana swamis along with others will be overseeing a paṇḍāl and exhibition called “Vedic Habitat.”
Prabhupāda liked the idea very much, and on his walk this morning he said that the UN should be informed of this principle: God is the father and material nature is the mother of all living entities. Then every living being, including the dogs, trees and others, can be seen as sons and daughters of the same mother and father. The preaching should be that this is the grand solution to all mankind’s troubles.
As he walked along the ocean front, occasional helicopters flying overhead, castrated palms bending in the stiff breeze, Prabhupāda declared that anyone who cannot accept this simple philosophy is a rascal. “This is communism. First of all, you accept one father, or the whole world is father’s property, and every living being has a right to enjoy the father’s property. Why you are thinking this portion is Russia, this portion is American? It is father’s property. So if there is crush in China or India, why not allow them to come to Russia or America? ‘No. That is my property.’ What is this philosophy? A father’s property, everyone has got right to enjoy the father’s property. Can this rascal Marx propose communism on this basis? ‘The animals should be slaughtered.’ Does the father like that if this son is useless, it cannot do any service, so another big son says, ‘I’ll finish him’? The father will like that? So where is that communism? All selfish motive. That’s all. Rascal. And devils citing scripture, philosophy. Rascal citing philosophy. He’s a rascal. Let him accept that God is [father] . . . First of all his business is ‘No God.’ His only business is ‘No God.’ First of all, mother, father is not needed, that’s all.”
He told us that modern so-called philosophers who do not accept God are not actually philosophers. “How they can, any philosophers—all meat-eaters, drunkards, woman hunters—and they can be philosophers? They are dogs. Simply barking. That’s all. Simply dogs.”
Śukadeva stated that the more confusing and contradictory a philosophy is, the more the common man thinks it to be profound.
Prabhupāda agreed. “If you present something with jugglery of words, ‘Oh, it is very deep thought!’ ” Then he let loose a stream of fluent gibberish in a hilarious imitation of a word-juggling philosopher. “ ‘Upaphilosalena-bhagawa-dagdendikuleni-gondulisredi-lacticismorphy.’ Put some words. ‘Upaphilosalena-bhagawa-dagdendikuleni-gondulisredi-lacticism.’ Is there any meaning? You have some jugglery of words. They present like that—‘Upaphilosalena-bhagawa-dagdendiphilosophy.’ ” His brilliant mimicry had us all in stitches as he asked, “What is the meaning of dagdendiphilo? But they will put.”
On the way back in the car he continued to push the same principle of unity by acceptance of God as the father, especially since the American people declare “In God we trust.” “That’s very nice, but why you take this philosophy blindly? Find out who is God and why you should trust. That is intelligence. The slogan is nice. Why don’t you fight on this issue, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement? You can fight on this issue. Intelligently, if we’ll put. We trust in God, but what is God? Eh? Hayagrīva? They like to trust in God. Then ask them what is God.” He told Hayagrīva to write about it in a special paper.
* * *
In class, Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to preach on points raised during the walk, especially the idea that ‘God is dead.’ The verse lent itself very succinctly to the topic because it described that the moment of death had come for the foolish Ajāmila, yet all he could think about was his family, especially his young son Nārāyaṇa.
Once again Śrīla Prabhupāda’s common sense logic revealed the narrow and limited thinking of atheistic philosophers. “This is our position. We say that God is dead. God is not dead; God is coming very soon. Wait a few years. He’ll be dead. This is the position. You rascal, God is not dead. God is coming to kick you, to kill you. Yes.
“What is death? You have to change your body. It may be lower degree or higher degree, but you have to change your body. There are 8,400,000 species of life, forms of life. You have to accept one of them. That is our real problem. If we forget the real problem and blindly or foolishly say that God is dead—God may be dead—but God’s law is not dead. Suppose a king dies, does it mean the government dies? Hm? The government will go on. You can say God is dead—God is not dead neither you are dead—but if you foolishly say that God is dead that does not mean His law is also dead. The law will go on. One king may be dead. The next, his son or somebody will become king and the government law will go on. So what is the use of talking foolishly like God is dead. God is never dead. This is going on. This morning we were talking. So we are concerned with the laws of God. God may be dead or alive. It doesn’t matter. Suppose by law we are prisoners, we are in the prison house and all of a sudden the president or the king dies. Does it mean you shall be free? No. We should remember that, that the government is prakṛti the material nature.”
Prabhupāda declared that any one who proclaims such a philosophy is actually dead, because he identifies with the gross physical body which is always dead. It is simply a machine and moves only due to the presence of the soul. As Kṛṣṇa chastised Arjuna in the beginning of the Bhagavad-gītā for his bodily concerns, Śrīla Prabhupāda similarly criticized the modern day thinkers. “So all these rascal philosophers they are writing about this body. That’s all. But this is not the subject matter for the learned scholars. What is this body? A combination of matter. It is moving and as soon as the living soul is out of the body it is useless. So what is there important talking about this dead body?”
His conclusion was as crushingly final to the foolish philosopher’s speculative talk as death itself. “When death will come no one will save you. You are challenging God is dead. When God will come and make you killed, nobody can save you. We are so foolish for thinking that God is dead and I shall continue my life and my wife, my children, my countrymen, my nation will save me. That is not possible.”
* * *
Tamal Krishna Mahārāja phoned to say a letter had come to the New York temple addressed to Madhudviṣa. It was from a woman, but not the one with whom he had previously corresponded. Tamal Krishna said that from the context of the letter it appears that Madhudviṣa had planned to leave the movement and marry her but she was declining for two reasons—she said she wasn’t sure about his fidelity to her and she didn’t think by leaving the movement they would get the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa. She also returned a check he had sent for her travel to New York. So it seems his entanglement is more serious than we thought.
Guru Kṛpa also sent a letter from Australia to Prabhupāda reporting that large amounts of money collected and spent during Madhudviṣa’s era there are unaccounted for. $120,000 is still owing on the purchase price of $180,000 for the Melbourne temple. Spiritual Sky gave $50,000, and the BBT TSKP and temple devotees collected large amounts to pay for it. They are investigating last year’s accounts and will report later.
Prabhupāda keeps saying that if Madhudviṣa wants to marry he has no objection but he should not give up his service. One boy, Natarāja dāsa, a “blooped” American boy who joined in Melbourne in 1972, has seen Madhudviṣa in New York recently. He told the devotees that Madhudviṣa is still chanting, but he will not come back to the temple in New York.
* * *
The philosophy book discussion was on the American philosopher William James.
May 28th, 1976
The morning walks are lively, interesting exchanges, with Śrīla Prabhupāda encouraging the devotees to raise all possible objections to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He adeptly defeats every argument no matter what it is or where it comes from. Whether dealing with complex issues raised by established thinkers, or general objections to a life of God consciousness, his brilliance illuminates the shadows of doubt cast by the ignorance of atheism.
Śukadeva prabhu raised a common complaint against the mood of humble service and dependence that a religionist seeks to cultivate. “Those persons who are atheistic, they say that God is created out of a necessity, that people have a necessity to have their father image, so therefore they create religion. Man needs a father image, so therefore he creates the idea of God. They say that because people are feeling this necessity, it is a crutch.”
Prabhupāda turned the argument on its head, offering a simple but practical example as to why the feeling of necessity is actually a symptom of advanced life. “No, no. Necessity means there is. Otherwise why necessity? When you feel hungry, the necessity of food, food is there. The necessity of light, the sun is there.”
“Do you mean, Śrīla Prabhupāda, in order to conceive of something, a thing must be there?” Śukadeva asked.
“There is no ‘conceive.’ Necessity. You require it. Just like when you’re hungry you require food. Food is there. The eyes want to see; therefore the object of seeing is there. The hand wants to touch, so the object of touching is there. The nose wants to smell; the object of smell is there. So as soon as you feel necessity, the thing is there.”
“They say that necessity should not be God,” Śukadeva said, “but that it should be transferred to man.”
“I am not talking of God,” Prabhupāda told him. “I say as soon as you feel necessity, the object is there.”
Gopavṛndapāla joined the argument. “That necessity is our mistake. That is our insecurity.”
Prabhupāda laughed. “So you are in mistake, then you are rascal, that’s all. Mistake is committed by rascal. If you commit mistake then you are rascal. Then don’t talk, stop talking! Who is going to hear a rascal? No sane man will hear.”
He stopped walking for a moment and turning to Gopavṛndapāla, developed his point further. “Feeling hungry, there is no necessity of food? Who’s that rascal who will say, ‘No, there is no necessity of food’? He’s feeling hungry, he wants to eat something, and if he says, ‘No, there is no necessity of food,’ then is he not rascal? And if you say, ‘Now we are feeling the necessity of food, but that is my mistake,’ is that answer?”
Therefore, he told us, the feeling of necessity is the difference between the intelligent and the dull. The dull have no necessity and the intelligent have necessity. “Dull matter. It has no necessity. It is dull matter. And as soon as you have got life, there is necessity. Without feeling necessity means dullness. Just like these Hawaiians, original inhabitants. They did not think the necessity of the skyscraper, motorcar . . . But when it was inhabited by the Americans, they developed. That is the difference between advanced and not advanced.”
He pointed out that material scientists are inventing the motor car, television and other amenities even when there is no use for such things. They have created necessities because to feel the necessity of something is the symptom of advancement.
This example made me wonder about our principle of simple living and high thinking. “Well, they argue that, say like in India, where there’s no great material development . . . ”
Prabhupāda immediately put it in perspective. “First of all we have to understand that one who has no necessity, he’s in the lowest status. One who has got necessity, he is in higher status.”
“Then higher, higher, higher, higher—where’s the higher status? When you necessitate Kṛṣṇa. This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me. That necessity, that without Govinda I’m feeling everything vacant. That is necessity. That makes it finer.”
“Is this the annamaya,prāṇamaya,manāmaya, like that?” Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa asked.
“There are so many stages,” Prabhupāda replied. “Here is the highest status. Govinda-viraheṇa me. Yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa. ‘For want of Govinda, I am thinking one moment as twelve years.’ Yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa cakṣuṣā prāvṛṣāyitam. ‘I am crying like torrents of rain from My eyes.’ This is the highest necessity. Śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ. ‘I don’t see anything. Everything is vacant.’ And that we have experience. If somebody whom you love very much, he dies, you think, ‘I don’t want anything. World is vacant.’ ‘I’ve no necessity but Kṛṣṇa.’ This is also necessity. So we have to see first of all necessity, then quality of necessity. There is no necessity means dull matter. Similarly, when there is no necessity of God, one is in the lowest stage of life, narādhama, animal, less than animal, narādhama, at least, lowest of mankind. If he does not feel the necessity of God, that means lowest of mankind. Necessity of Caitanya Mahāprabhu also—a Vaiṣṇava says that ‘I have no more necessity.’ But he has no more necessity of this false necessities, material world.
“Anarthas,” I ventured.
“Anartha,” Prabhupāda agreed. “The Māyāvādīs, they stop here. No more this material necessities. But he does not know that he cannot live without necessities. That they do not know. They simply beget these false necessities. Just like disease. I do not want disease, but that does not mean I do not want health. So these rascals, they are thinking that ‘We do not want any more this material world, brahma satyam jagat.’ But Vaiṣṇava says, ‘No, you must have the real thing, then you can cease from this unreal necessities.’ Otherwise after living for some time in brahma-sattva, then you’ll come, ‘Oh, this is useless. I don’t enjoy. Let me go again to open hospital, school, engage in some politics,’ but you cannot do. We are living entities. We require engagement, necessities. So give up necessities means these rascal necessities. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He’s sannyāsī, He has no necessity. Why He is crying for Govinda? He has given up the whole world, sannyāsī. And why He’s crying for Govinda? That is real necessity. Govinda-viraheṇa me. Govinda necessity. The necessity is Govinda is not alone. There again life, again Vṛndāvana, again gopīs, again dancing, again eating, again everything. That necessity.”
Śukadeva persisted with the criticism. “As a necessity, this is a symptom of weakness.”
And Prabhupāda delivered his coup de grâce. “Rascal, this weakness . . . you are already in necessity of so many things. Make all the necessities zero,” he challenged. “At last we at least feel necessity of a woman. That you cannot avoid. And then you’ll be punished—with shoes! When you’ll become a servant of woman, then you become thief, you’ll become rascal, rogue, you’ll be beaten by shoes, and everything is gone. Now these are your necessities. Hippies, they have left—no necessities; but the woman is there. They have necessities there. Nature is so powerful you’ll have to feel this necessity, and with this necessity you’ll require so many necessities. . . . ” He laughed. “They’re talking like madmen. What the madman does not talk, and what the goat does not eat? Means rascals.”
* * *
Pradyumna prabhu is feeling a bit better now and this morning he began for the first time to lead the devotees in responsive chanting of the Sanskrit verse instead of Prabhupāda. He read out the translation. “Ajāmila then saw three awkward persons with deformed bodily features, fierce, twisted faces, and hair standing erect on their bodies. With ropes in their hands, they had come to take him away to the abode of Yamarāja. When he saw them he was extremely bewildered, and because of attachment to his child, who was playing a short distance away, Ajāmila began to call him loudly by his name. Thus with tears in his eyes he somehow or other chanted the holy name of Nārāyaṇa.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda uncovered a revealing insight into Ajāmila’s act of chanting the name of his son Nārāyaṇa. First he explained that because he had been a good brāhmaṇa in his early life, Kṛṣṇa had mercifully inspired him to name his son with the holy name, thereby offering him the opportunity to call out His name at death. But there was also another hidden transaction that took place immediately after he called out for his son. It was only something a self-realized soul could know, and as part of the disciplic succession of pure devotees, Śrīla Prabhupāda revealed it to us. “This opportunity was given to Ajāmila that, although he fell down from his standard of devotional service, he got the opportunity of chanting Nārāyaṇa. When we are afraid of something, so we chant, we call somebody who is very dear. This is very psychological. So when he was too much afraid of this Yamadūta, unconsciously he chanted the holy name of Nārāyaṇa. So somehow or other he remembered Nārāyaṇa. Some commentator says that when he chanted Nārāyaṇa then all his reaction of sinful life immediately disappeared and he remembered real Nārāyaṇa. Because he, in his boyhood, was trained up as a Vaiṣṇava, so there is big comments on this incidence. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has written three or four pages about this. So his opinion is that as soon as he chanted the holy name of Nārāyaṇa, immediately he remembered real Nārāyaṇa. That this child Nārāyaṇa . . . I’m calling my child how he’ll be able to save me from the hands of this Yamadūta? He remembered that Nārāyaṇa, if He kindly helps me then I can be saved. Immediately there was response.”
* * *
Prabhupāda discussed Karl Jung, the psychologist, with Hayagrīva today.
May 29th, 1976
During Prabhupāda’s walk, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja mentioned that Aldous Huxley liked to think that there was no controller so that he could enjoy without the feeling of guilt. Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa asked, “Why doesn’t he come to his senses there and then that ‘What have I done? Why don’t I become God conscious?’ ”
We had just rounded the tip of the promontory and as usual there were many surfers out riding the waves. Śrīla Prabhupāda stopped to observe them for a moment and then turned to us and answered his question. “That is māyā. Just like the surfer. What is that? They are in hell. But they have no sense that ‘What you are enjoying? It is hell.’ They are thinking they are enjoying. Is that enjoyment? It is actually hell. But he’s thinking he’s enjoying. That is called māyā. He’s accepting something what is not. That is māyā. Hog eating stool, and he’s thinking he’s enjoying. This is called māyā. There are different grades of suffering, and still they are thinking they are enjoying.”
* * *
After chanting this morning’s verse, Pradyumna read out the translation, which described how the representatives of Lord Viṣṇu instantly appeared before the dying Ajāmila, who was about to be dragged away by the agents of death.
Śrīla Prabhupāda used an appropriate analogy to show how this was possible. “Just like the police are everywhere. As soon as you call them, from the police station they immediately inform the patrol police on the car. Immediately he comes. If there is such material arrangement within the government how much nice arrangement is there in the supreme government?”
He stressed that we should always be chanting the names of God and in that way we can be saved. It doesn’t matter which name of God, because the powerful name of God and God Himself are not different. Still, the recommended practice is to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. “Always the name Nārāyaṇa or Kṛṣṇa, the name of the Supreme Lord, is as good as the Supreme. It is always. But in this age especially it has got special potency. That is because we are all very, very fallen souls. We cannot do anything. It is very, very difficult. Simply by bhakti, devotional service, one can become liberated from all contamination. That’s a fact, especially in this age. . . . So anyway if somebody thinks that this Kṛṣṇa is an Indian name, ‘Why shall I chant Kṛṣṇa?’ Well you chant any other name—but it must be God’s name. Then it will be effective. Just like immediately chanted Nārāyaṇa. Not that one has to chant Kṛṣṇa; Nārāyaṇa will do; Govinda will do. But it must be God’s name because God and God’s name [are not different]. There are sahasra, one thousand Viṣṇu-stotra. God has many names, hundreds and thousands. So any name you prefer you chant. But His names are given according to His activities. Kṛṣṇa—Kṛṣṇa is the best name. Why? That Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. This name can attract everyone. This is the most perfect. Out of many names the Kṛṣṇa name is mukhya, or the primary. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu has introduced Kṛṣṇa name, kṛṣṇa-varnam.”
He told us it is Lord Caitanya’s special benediction that we can chant, even without proper understanding, and still become ecstatic in love of Kṛṣṇa. If we take advantage of the mercy of Lord Caitanya, then the results of our chanting will be wonderful, as they were for Ajāmila. “So this is arrangement that God is there and He’s everyone’s father. He’s everyone’s friend. He’s always ready. He’s coming personally to canvass. He’s so kind. Immediately, God has sent so many order-carriers just to see if one is inclined to come to Him. Just see: ‘Here’s a person, he’s chanting Nārāyaṇa. Come on. Take him.’ Just see. ‘Here this person is chanting Nārāyaṇa. Oh, isn’t this wonderful? He’s chanting Nārāyaṇa. Oh, immediately.’ The Yamadūtas were there. ‘Who are you, disturbing him? Stop!’
“So take this chance of chanting harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam. You’re always safe. The Yamadūtas, the order-carriers of Yamarāja, will not be able to touch you. So take this opportunity chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. I’m very glad that you are doing—but be very strict, sincerely chant. Your life is saved; your next life is saved. Everything is all right.”
* * *
Prabhupāda rarely goes out after his morning walks. He usually remains in his quarters throughout the day and night, only occasionally venturing out on to the sun deck. Today, however, on the request of the devotees, he visited the temple restaurant. It is a small place, situated near the university on Kapiolani Street. Prabhupāda went in and had a look around. It is well run and pleasant, and despite the fact that financially it is only breaking even, Prabhupāda liked it.
On his return to the temple he visited the hari-nāma party chanting on the main street in Waikiki. We couldn’t find a spot to park the car, so Śukadeva prabhu settled for a slow cruise past the devotees. It took the devotees a few moments to realize that their spiritual master was watching them, and then they suddenly took new life, jumping and chanting in ecstasy.
* * *
Five copies of the latest issue of Back To Godhead, Volume 11 No. 6, arrived today. The main theme is Ratha-yātrā. Prabhupāda liked it very much. He always reads through each issue as it comes. He sent a short note complimenting the editor-in-chief, Jagannātha Sūta dāsa, for the good standard of articles and presentation.
Balavanta dāsa, the new GBC for the southeastern United States, sent in his first zonal report, for April. His jurisdiction encompasses Atlanta (with fifty-one devotees), Gainesville (20), Miami (42), Charlotte (9), New Orleans (18), Houston and two farms, one in Mississippi and one in Tennessee (19). In Miami the devotees have recently purchased a ten-acre property which they are developing as a tropical paradise, with fruit and flowering trees, flowers and peacocks. All the temples seem to be going well, with a total of approximately $26,000 being contributed to the BBT. Balavanta enclosed some news clippings from Atlanta where there has recently been some legal challenges to our right to distribute books in the airport. The judge found in our favor after reading some of our literature. “One crucial point in the case was whether or not our movement was genuine religion. After reading a paper on the standards, goals, and purposes of the Hare Krishna Movement, and seeing your books, the judge unequivocally stated that there was no doubt as to the authenticity of this Movement.”
Prabhupāda’s reply concentrated on the contents of the news articles, some of which were not so favorable. He was, as always, undeterred by the opposition. In fact, whenever there is any challenge he becomes stronger because of it. He spurred Balavanta to push on, and to keep pushing. “In connection with the religious discrimination mentioned in the newspaper clipping from Atlanta; Wherever we live we worship God. We are not official worshippers. We worship wherever we are. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah, namasyantas ca mam bhaktya nitya-yukta upasate. (B.G. 9.14). ‘Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.’
“Our religion is not a part time transcendental recreation. We live in God. Of course, ‘Hare Krishna’ is there on all these newspaper reports, that I want, that somehow or other hundreds and thousands of men will chant Hare Krishna. They have made all plans to avoid God, and our plan is that they accept God. The struggle will become acute, because formerly they thought we were simply hippies, but now they see our books, that we are here to stay. The professors are writing books, like Hare Krishna and Counter Culture, beginning to realize that Hare Krishna is here to stay. So, now the people are becoming envious that in such a short time we are so well known. Do not be discouraged by these fools and rascals, and simply push on sincerely and Krishna will save you.”
Three letters came from north India. From New Delhi, Bhargava dāsa, who has taken on the service of managing the press operations there under Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, sent two copies of a new printing of Gitār-gāna, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s versified form of Bhagavad-gītā in Bengali. To get a lower price, he explained that they had to switch to a two color cover rather than four. There was a rush to print because existing stock was exhausted. Being unable to contact Los Angeles in time to get a new two color separation done of the standard picture of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna on the chariot, he went ahead with a cover picture depicting Kṛṣṇa with His arm around a cow.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was displeased. “No, the printing of the Gitar-gan cover this fashion is not at all approved by me. You have done most nonsensically. Why change the cover? When people look to see the Bhagavad-gita they expect to see Krishna and Arjuna, not the picture of Krishna with cow. You have done a great mistake by changing the front picture and it will hamper the sale. In future you don’t do any changes without asking me first. Simply because there is no stock of books, we can do anything whimsically??? Is this logic? Gita is not spoken in Vrindaban, it is spoken on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, but this is Vrindaban picture. That chariot driven by four horses, that is the real Kurukshetra picture. It is not that because there is no stock we can do whimsically as we like and lose the idea, that is rasa-bhasa. Because there is no bread, you take stone to eat? There is no stock of bread so you will take stone??? The front picture is most important thing and you have changed it. It must remain standard, and not change.”
He advised that in future, if any changes are required, Bhargava should contact him first for approval.
The second letter came from Vṛndāvana. Haihaya dāsa, the new president, reported a doubling of income from sales of prasādam, books and donations at the altar. Many people are visiting and they are making a few life members. The Deity department is now under the guidance of Nitāi dāsa and the gurukula boys will start a new program of presenting dramas in the temple in the evenings. Two areas of difficulty lie with trying to get some of the devotees motivated to perform regular service, and the management of the guesthouse, which Haihaya said is “not first-class.”
Prabhupāda is very perceptive. Simply from seeing the accounts that Haihaya enclosed he could understand that the finances are not being properly managed, although he applauded their attempt to become self-sufficient in funding. He told Haihaya, “The daily collections from the temple should be counted before 3 persons together. The accountant has nothing to do with these things. He simply notes down the figure in the books. This is how it should be done. Yes, the collections will increase as people come more and more. The temple should become self-sufficient, that is wanted. However, see that stealing is stopped. I am doubtful that things are being stolen, otherwise how is the expenditure so high.” He told him to “fill up the guesthouse, that is very important.”
He wasn’t so pleased to hear that some devotees are not actively engaged. “This business of sleeping devotees should stop. What is the use of such sleeping devotees, simply increasing the expenditures. All of them must be engaged.” He also reiterated some of the instructions he sent recently regarding moving the women and children to the Taparia house.
The third missive was from Hansadūta Mahārāja, written from Solan in Himachal Pradesh in the far North. After leaving Calcutta with twenty-five men in his Nitāi-Gaura Traveling World Saṅkīrtana Party, they visited various towns and villages across the country enroute to Vṛndāvana. From there they went to Kurukṣetra for the festival held on the solar eclipse. They had an excellent reception. “We were undoubtedly the highlight of the fair. Literally hundreds of thousands of people saw us and heard our kirtan and 2,200 Rs. worth of books, magazines and posters were sold. We received public praise from the chief minister of Harayana at a function of 10,000 people. He publicly promised to give us land at Jyotisar for building our temple and said that the Government of Harayana would support and help our movement in every way.”
From there they went north to Hardwar and Rishikesh, camping out on the bank of the Gaṅgā. By chance they met up with Gargamuni Swami’s party, who he said were doing very well, making members and standing orders. He expressed some regret that he was not able to do as well. Then they went to Chandigarh where they held daily nagar saṅkīrtana, selling magazines shop-to-shop. He praised Lokanātha Swami as “an ideal sannyasi and wonderful preacher, both in English and Hindi.” Caitya-guru dāsa, whom he had sent ahead to organize programs, had not arranged anything special, but he noted he was eager to start a center there, so he has encouraged him to do it.
After five days they went on to Solan, where his letter was written. They stayed with one Haridas Babaji, a man who previously met Śrīla Prabhupāda in Vṛndāvana and who has not spoken for twenty-five years. He is very favorable and offered full-time use of the lower floor of his āśrama if the devotees wish to have a center in Himachal Pradesh. He has also offered to build a kīrtana hall. Hansadūta said he thought there was a good chance the man would give the whole place, if Śrīla Prabhupāda approved.
From Solan they plan to go to Simla and spend the summer in the mountains away from the heat, which is a problem for many of his men. Finally, he offered a prayer to Śrīla Prabhupāda for awarding him the renounced order of life. “Although there are many problems and some disappointments, I am very happy as a sannyasi and pray ever more for your causeless mercy, that I may spend the last years of my life simply travelling and preaching all over the world. I plan to go to Germany in two weeks to bring three more buses and some more men and preaching equipment to India. You have dissolved my life long attachment for the wife and I am eternally indebted to you. I feel that just now my spiritual life is beginning at last.”
Prabhupāda listened very carefully to his report. He was especially keen that a proper follow up be maintained on the offer by the Chief Minister. “You were there in Kurukshetra when Mr. Gupta, the Chief Minister verbally agreed to grant us land and support. You should personally negotiate with Mr. Gupta as Caitya Guru is not so important to deal with him. I wrote one letter to Gopal Krishna dated May 20, 1976, wherein I mentioned that we must have the land all in one piece, not some on this side of the canal, and some on the other side. If the government gives us 30 acres (which was proposed to me by Gopal Krishna) in one piece, then we can attempt. . . . But you should personally do the transaction with the Chief Minister, don’t depend on Caitya Guru.”
As far as the proposal for Caitya-guru to open a center in Chandigarh, Prabhupāda was agreeable, as long as Hansadūta was willing to oversee his activities. Despite there having been some problems in his previous dealings in Africa, Prabhupāda still feels he has the potential to do something substantial. His policy is always to correct a person’s inadequacies by positively engaging them in devotional service. “You should guide him as he requires guidance and vigilance.”
As for the rest of his program, Prabhupāda was happy to know Lokanātha is doing nicely, and told Hansadūta not to worry if his party was not producing the same results as Gargamuni Mahārāja’s. He also told him to take the offer of the Babaji in Solan. “Land in that part of the country is very nice, with nice climate also. Yes, it will be a good idea if he can give over the asrama to us.”
Finally, he added a note of personal encouragement. “As sannyasi, you are competent to spend the rest of your life traveling and preaching. Continue in this way with determination. I hope that this meets you in good health. Your ever well-wisher, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.”
May 30th, 1976
A couple of interesting bits of information came up this morning as Prabhupāda engaged us in discussion on his walk. The first was another angle on cow protection. After some mention of the Bible (which Prabhupāda said was all speculation and claims only—if you don’t know who God is, how can you know His laws?), Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja posed a hypothetical case for eating cows. “Is it possible that somehow or another at that particular time and place, God would have said, ‘Eat cows’? Because in Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa clearly says go-rakṣya, cow protection. And that instruction would also be eternal.”
“Go-rakṣya, the point is that cow’s milk is very important,” Prabhupāda replied. “Therefore specifically mentioned go-rakṣya. Kṛṣṇa does not say that don’t eat meat. It is not clearly said that meat-eating is forbidden. But meat-eating is tamasic. But He’s speaking of go-rakṣya for our special material benefit, that if we protect the cows, we can have the facility of drinking milk, which will help us in keeping our health in order and developing very nice brain tissues to understand spiritual subject matter. Meat-eaters, they’re all dull. They cannot understand finer philosophy of life. Meat-eating, not good. But the śūdras, and less than śūdras, they eat. But for them there’s lower animals, not cow.”
In the car on the way back to the temple he was once again discussing his proposal that everyone should accept God as the father and material nature as the mother.
I brought up Freud’s view, which we recently discussed in his meetings with Hayagrīva, that eventually everyone has to leave the protection of the father.
“He can leave the father’s care,” Prabhupāda accepted, “But how can he deny father?”
Hayagrīva, who is well versed in the various arguments, joined in. “He denies the father. He denies God the father. He says that’s a wish fantasy for . . . ”
“Fantasy? Father is not fantasy,” Prabhupāda interjected. “He is fact. You are grown up. You can leave the protection of the father. But how can you deny father? Then you are a rascal. It is not good to live independent of father. If the rich, opulent, very kind, very merciful. . . . Why shall I leave? A father is generally, even though he’s personally a bad man, he’s still, he’s kind, merciful to the son. A rogue, he loves—just like Ajāmila. He was a rogue, but he was taking care of the youngest child. This is nature; we study that even the father is a rogue, he’s kind to his children. So practically he does all nonsense things, but giving protection to the family. So why should he give up the protection of father? When we say father, means all-kindness, all-mercifulness, all taking care. Immediately. In Bengali there is a word, ‘A son may be bad, but his mother is never bad.’ Son may be bad, but the mother or father is never bad. The father may also be bad, but the mother is never bad. The thing is, father and mother is always kind. That is natural. Extraordinarily, the mother may kill. That is another thing. Crazy. But if somebody’s coming to kill his child, mother gives protection: ‘First of all kill me.’ ”
Then he recalled an artistic competition he had witnessed. “So subject matter was that a child is being killed before the mother, and the artist has to give expression of the face. So different artists gave expression of the face of the mother when the child is being killed before her. So one artist made a picture like this . . . ” Prabhupāda held his hands to cover his face. “He got the first prize.”
“She couldn’t look,” I ventured.
Prabhupāda moved his head slightly from side to side in that most typical Indian indication of assent. “He got the first prize. You cannot express what mother’s feeling is. Best thing is not to see.”
“There are many famous paintings of Christ on the cross and his mother standing before the cross,” Hayagrīva observed.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda said. “Mother cannot see it. Impossible. Better close the eyes. That is artist’s realized. How a man can paint the expression of the mother, his child being killed. It is not possible.”
He said we should therefore learn life’s lessons by the study of nature, and he used himself as the best example of the love between the father and the son. “Generally means that is natural if one is under the protection of father and mother he must be happy. So why shall I give up the protection of father and mother? When my father is quite able, quite rich, and everything complete. Kṛṣṇa plainly declares. Teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ [To those who are fixed in devotion].Practically see. I came to your country without any of these things. You saw. When I came to your country first, I had no center, no . . . But who has provided all these hundred temples, big, big palaces, temples? Yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham. To remain under the protection of Kṛṣṇa you get so much facility. Why not be grateful to Kṛṣṇa? I was praying, ‘Kṛṣṇa I was loitering on the street and You are giving me so many sons, so many houses, so many protection.’ Shall I not feel grateful? Is it not my duty? What is this nonsense? Kṛṣṇa gives everything, and ‘No, no, I don’t believe in God. God is dead.’ All rascals. Those persons who deny God, he is the lowest rascal, immediately. Mūḍha.”
* * *
Trivikrama Mahārāja has arrived from Japan. Despite Śrīla Prabhupāda’s many requests, somehow or other he and Gurukṛpa Mahārāja have been unable to cooperate. He was hoping to obtain a visa to visit Korea, but so far he is unsuccessful. Prabhupāda therefore immediately instructed him to begin distribution of the new Chinese Bhagavad-gītāsin Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Prabhupāda also called Siddha Svarūpa Mahārāja, who had earlier talked of going to China, and asked him if he was still enthusiastic about the idea. He said he was, so Prabhupāda told him to go ahead and do it. Prabhupāda is keen to preach to the Chinese people, who constitute about a quarter of the world’s total population.
May 31st, 1976
On the morning walk we were discussing philosophies that have replaced the idea of God being supreme. Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami described to Śrīla Prabhupāda a new one—that of ecology. He told Prabhupāda that now, instead of thinking that man is the center of the universe, the idea is to understand that man is part of the universe. Therefore we should take care of the environment because man will ultimately kill himself if he doesn’t.
Śrīla Prabhupāda asked for the meaning behind this reasoning. So Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa explained that people now think that man himself has become a problem, especially within the last two hundred years, because we have exploited the atmosphere and the earth so badly that, practically speaking, man is on the verge of self-destruction.
I recalled something I read in the newspaper and offered it as a practical example. “They’re getting scared because they put so much pollution in the atmosphere, into the water, into the earth, that now it’s reacting against them. I was telling you about that blob of garbage that was left out in the sea, headed toward the harbor in New York. For the last fifty years they’ve dumped all the garbage in the sea, and now it’s collected together, and it’s coming back into the shore. They think that in about fifteen years time, if it travels at its present rate, it will be blocking the entire New York Harbor. So ecology means they have to try to find out ways and means of avoiding things like that.”
When Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa explained how science is now discovering new ways of reusing waste products like newspapers, Gopavṛndapāla prabhu made Prabhupāda laugh by mentioning another type of recycling that didn’t involve paper. “They also say they were going to recycle their own urine and stool and use it over and over.”
Prabhupāda stopped walking and raised his eyebrows. “How?”
“Like in the spaceship. When they go to the moon they recycle their own urine and drink it over again.”
Amidst our laughter Prabhupāda grinned in surprise and shook his head. “Madman!”
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa told him that man has created so many problems in the environment, but no one thinks that the problem is man himself and his way of doing things. They simply think if they can make some adjustments in the environment then everything will go on very nicely.
Śrīla Prabhupāda shook his head. It would never be. “They will try to make adjustments with material nature; everything will be failure. They will never be able to adjust. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām, chewing the chewed.”
Recycling is not a new concept he pointed out. In India it is common practice. The paper and plastic plates we use in the West are rejected there; people prefer reusable materials. “In India still the system is they use metal; when it is broken you can sell it. They take half price and supply new. They use metal pots, on this understanding, that when it when it is broken and old we can exchange with new plates. Silver is not half price. Silver, little less than new one. They purchase one rupee less. It was 200 rupees new, and the purchaser will take 190. Bell metal, copper . . . If they have got excess money, they invest in metal—gold, silver, copper, bell metal. Immediate loan—you can mortgage the metal pots, the metal ornaments, you get money immediately. Once in a year, that is a metal purchasing ceremony. Every family will purchase, according to his means, some metal pots. They reserve some funds. So if there’s some extra money—not big, big men, middle class, poor man—they invest in metal purchase. That is a good business day, for the utensil seller. You know Diwali? Just one day before Diwali.”
* * *
Trivikrama Swami has gone to Los Angeles to discuss with Tamal Krishna Mahārāja about preaching in China.
June 1st, 1976
Today is the last day of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s long stay here in Hawaii. After a final walk around Magic Island he returned to the temple, greeted Their Lordships Śrī Śrī Pañca-tattva, received guru-pūjā and then delivered his last lecture on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Canto Six, chapter one, verse thirty-three.
“Translation: Dear sirs, whose servants are you, where have you come from, and why are you forbidding us to touch the body of Ajāmila? Are you demigods from the heavenly planets, are you sub-demigods, or are you the best of the devotees?”
Śrīla Prabhupāda gave a brief, yet deep, description of the attractive Viṣṇudūtas. “The Yamadūtas, they are not very good-looking. So when they saw the Viṣṇudūta, they were surprised, that ‘Wherefrom such nice features of the body?’ They saw that their eyes were just like petals of the lotus flower, so beautiful. And all dressed in saffron cloth, yellow. With helmet and earrings, and with flower garland. Just imagine if somebody is very good-looking, with helmet and nice earring, bedecked with jewels, and the helmet bedecked with jewels, and cloth yellow, with garland, four hands. All young, not old like me, all young like you, just immediately growing, young men. And four-handed. Here we get two hands, in the Vaikuṇṭha planet we get four hands. Each hand is decorated with bow, arrow, sword and conchshell, and disc. Like that. This is the description of Vaikuṇṭha features.
“So always young. There is no old age, disease, or birth and death. Here in this material world these four things are there: birth, death, old age and disease. In the spiritual world the men are so beautiful, and imagine the women also still more beautiful, very attractive. But there is no sex. That is the feature we find in . . . Why? Because, after all, we want pleasure.”
He explained that the pleasure principle is manifest in the material world as sex desire. Everyone is entrapped by this sex desire so much so that no one can imagine life without it. Yet in contrast, the sex impulse is completely absent in the spiritual world. “So one may question how they are living? Life is finished if there is no sex. So somebody committed suicide, who was telling? Because doctor asked him not to have any more sex. He was famous man. So he was forbidden. Especially when one is attacked with tuberculosis the medical man advises, ‘No more sex. Then you will die soon.’ So this was ordered and he committed suicide. Ernest Hemmingway.”
He described involvement in sex life as a great entanglement which causes all kinds of suffering. Declaring it very abominable, he told us that the after effects are very, very bad. He gave the practical example of how young men and women intermingle with the result that the girl becomes pregnant. The man goes away, and the girl is faced with either killing the child through abortion or begging from the government. Therefore he stressed the need for women in society to be always protected, then they will be happy. Here in the material world sex life is the highest pleasure, and in the spiritual world there is no sex.
Then he revealed the secret of how we can conquer material sex desire by experiencing a higher pleasure, thus becoming eligible to enter the spiritual realm. “So what is that pleasure? That pleasure is this chanting and dancing, Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. That is stated in the śāstra. They are so much absorbed in this chanting and dancing, they are no more interested in sex. That is the only way. If you want to stop the pleasure of sex then you have to take this pleasure, this transcendental pleasure. You’ll forget everything. That is said by Yamunācārya. He was a very big king so he had very good opportunity for sex life, he was king. But later on he became perfect Vaiṣṇava, devotee. So after he became devotee he was expressing his experience, that ‘Since I have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and I am enjoying that ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa, whenever I think of sex with woman I spite on it.’ So if we want to be free from the entanglement of this world, we should practice . . . Simply artificial practice will not help. Unless we advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, unless we become accustomed to enjoy this ecstasy of chanting and dancing, it is not possible.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda also emphasized that the description of the Yamadūtas dragging the soul of Ajāmila from his body, and the intervention of the Viṣṇudūtas, is not a fictional account, or mythological. Vyāsadeva and other great sages have no concern for presenting something which is not the truth.
Again he attacked the scientists, criticizing their endeavors to go to the moon. The Vedas give an account of the formation of the universe, a much different story than what the scientists tell us. “They have simply made false propaganda. They cannot go there. So because the atmosphere is different . . . There is also blazing fire surrounded by ice. That is the description. I am speaking from the description. And therefore at night it is so pleasing. You have got experience. Fire coming through ice, the rays, that is very pleasing. Therefore sunshine is making the whole thing very hot and the moonshine making it pleasing. So God’s arrangement is so nice that everything is going on nicely. There is brain behind it. Why there is sunshine, why there is moonshine, everything is described. You’ll read in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam moon is the cause of vegetation in all planets; and they say there is no vegetation, it is simply dust. So we have to believe it? And when you present actual fact it is mysticism or mythology. Anyway, we are not concerned with their statement. Our process is to know things from the śāstra.Sādhu śāstra guru vākya cittete koriyā aikya. Our process is deductive, not inductive. We take knowledge, just like this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam written by Vyāsadeva under the instruction of his guru, spiritual master, Nārada.”
He urged us to read and reread the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Even at two verses a day, he said it would take most of our lifetime. And the result will be to make our lives perfect. “Don’t take this nonsense instruction that except on this planet there is no life on other planet. This is simply nonsense. Every planet is congested with living entities. This is the description of the śāstra. This is God’s creation, different varieties. Just like we see on this planet. Why on this planet, even on this Hawaii island how many beautiful things, flowers, trees and fruits. That is God’s creation. Ānanda. Variety is the mother of enjoyment. If you want enjoyment there must be variety. Because we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa we have got the same quality. So you see Kṛṣṇa, He is enjoying with the gopīs, with the cowherd boys, friends, in Vṛndāvana, in the forest, with cows, with calves. This is enjoyment, variety. Zero is enjoyment? No. Zero is not enjoyment. Ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. This is the Vedānta-sūtra, that the Absolute Truth, Personality of Godhead is simply enjoying. Everything enjoyment. You find Kṛṣṇa always, wherever He is, He is playing on flute with company, either gopīs or cowherd boy or somebody. This is enjoyment. And He comes personally on this planet to show His enjoyment life in Vṛndāvana. That place is Vṛndāvana. Therefore Vṛndāvana is so important. To invite us, that ‘Why you are not in here? Come with Me. Enjoy with My dance.’ ”
Looking up at the beautiful forms of the Pañca-tattva standing before him, Their arms raised, Prabhupāda smiled. “Similarly, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also you see dancing. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi . . . All dancing. So the life is this enjoyment, dancing, that is life, not meditation. For fifteen minutes meditation I become God—these are all rascals. Enjoyment is real life. Enjoyment. That enjoyment, not this material world, the sex. No. Above this. Transcendental. That we find information in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So I am very glad that you have all taken. Continue this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Read books, chant, dance, eat nicely and be happy. Thank you very much.”
Knowing it was the last opportunity to hear their spiritual master speak in person for a long time, the devotees all shouted in ecstasy. “Jaya Prabhupāda!” and to a very enthusiastic kīrtana Śrīla Prabhupāda stepped down from his vyāsāsana for the last time and, wreathed in smiles, disappeared up the wooden staircase.
* * *
After an early massage and lunch we set off for the airport in time to catch the flight to Los Angeles. Śukadeva prabhu drove, and as we approached the terminal he told Śrīla Prabhupāda, “I’m going to miss you Śrīla Prabhupāda.”
Prabhupāda smiled and returned the compliment. “And I shall miss you. You were cooking very nicely.”
The devotees were all there at the terminal to give him a rousing send off. At midday we embarked on United Airlines flight 194 to Los Angeles.