June 1st, 1976
A pleasant couple in their early thirties occupied the seats opposite us on the plane. They were naturally curious about their exotic neighbors, and seeing me reading one of the volumes of the Kṛṣṇa trilogy,the woman asked to look at it. She recognized it because she had once bought one at a market. That set off an hour-long conversation. They asked me intelligent questions about reincarnation and the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The man had been a lay preacher, but had given it up because of some unanswered doubts about Christian doctrine eroding his overall faith in God. I tried to convince him not to lose faith, informing him that there was indeed a Supreme Lord and that to know Him is actually the goal of life.
When the meal was served we discussed the demerits of meat-eating, and they appeared to appreciate everything they heard. Seeing me carefully serve prasādam to Śrīla Prabhupāda and later take his remnants, the man asked me why we worship Prabhupāda. I explained the position of the spiritual master in terms of real ego and false ego: that a pure devotee isn’t after name and fame for himself but rather gives the service he receives to Kṛṣṇa; thus, we worship him as God’s representative but not as God Himself.
All this while, Śrīla Prabhupāda had been quietly listening to our conversation. Finally the man spoke directly to him, complimenting me on being such a fine representative. “He is speaking very nicely.”
Prabhupāda gave a big smile and said, “Yes,” which both relieved and gratified me. I had been feeling somewhat shy and quite unqualified to preach with His Divine Grace sitting right next to me. But he was happy to let me go ahead, and was drawing obvious pleasure from hearing his disciple speak. It is something he looks for because he often says that many young men enthusiastic to preach means that Lord Caitanya’s saṅkīrtana movement will go on.
As the plane taxied into Los Angeles International Airport the pilot made a special announcement. He informed us that because of an especially crowded arrival lounge anyone who had no one waiting to meet them could exit via a specially arranged bypass. What he did not mention was that the lounge was packed with of hundreds of eager, expectant devotees waiting to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. They had come from all over the West Coast and beyond.
The flight to the West Coast had taken four and a half hours. So with the time adjustment it was 9:00 P.M. when we arrived in Los Angeles.
Tamal Krishna, Hṛdayānanda, Trivikrama and Rāmeśvara swamis and Jagadīśa prabhu greeted Śrīla Prabhupāda, each bearing luxurious flower garlands of varying lengths, including one that reached down to his ankles. As they placed them around his neck the rest of the devotees, out of spontaneous affection, erupted with sheer ecstasy to see him. The long walk down the passenger concourse was tumultuous, with devotees chanting and dancing with sublime abandon, jostling to catch a glimpse of the pure devotee of the Supreme Lord. As he traveled along the moving walkways, Śrīla Prabhupāda appeared like the full moon crossing the night sky, surrounded by an entourage of bright stars, all gathered to pay homage to their lord and master. In reciprocation, he raised his hand high in the air, grinning broadly, his teeth flashing in the light. The devotees went wild with delight. The walls reverberated with the boom of drums and the clash of karatālas, and the transcendental vibration of the holy names turned the ordinary airport fixtures and surroundings into Vaikuṇṭha. It was the biggest reception LAX had ever seen, and Śrīla Prabhupāda very humbly accepted the tremendous accolade with folded hands and greetings of “Hare Kṛṣṇa!” and “Jaya!”
Once into the car his thoughts turned immediately to his unfortunate disciple Madhudviṣa, but Tamal Krishna’s report was not optimistic. He did not know if Madhudviṣa was coming because he was difficult to contact and, as Tamal put it, “pretty much entangled with these women.”
ISKCON New Dvārakā,
3764 Watseka Avenue
At the temple hundreds more devotees awaited His Divine Grace, flanking a carpet laid out from the roadside to the temple entrance. Prabhupāda stepped out, wreathed in gardenias and roses. As he approached the large wooden double doors, and again once he reached the inside of the temple room, thousands of multicolored flower petals showered down in great flurries, thrown by excited ladies on the mezzanine balcony. There were so many that he walked in on a veritable carpet of them. It was a real homecoming.
Śrīla Prabhupāda walked steadily through the opulent temple interior which I found amazing. The floors are marble, and many original ISKCON oil paintings, now reproduced in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, hang everywhere. The ceiling too is covered with large murals of caitanya-līlā, surrounding a central, mirrored recess. Green onyx columns and arches, topped with dioramas of celestial musicians, lead on both sides to the Deity room.
Walking steadily to the front of the altar, Śrīla Prabhupāda handed his cane to me and the heavy garlands he wore to the sannyāsīs. To the blast of conches and a hunting horn, he offered his prostrate obeisances to the resplendent and regal personalities situated upon three golden thrones, the ultimate objects of worship in all creation—their lordships Śrī Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga, Śrī Śrī Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa and Lord Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā. As Prabhupāda walked back across the floor to mount his opulent gold-leafed vyāsāsana I glanced around, taking in the grand opulence of the temple and the sea of devotees. It was easy to see why Prabhupāda has named the community after Lord Kṛṣṇa’s most opulent city, Dvārakā.
The sannyāsīs stepped forward to bathe Śrīla Prabhupāda’s feet, first with pancāmṛta—milk, yogurt, ghee, honey and sweet water—and then with rose-scented water, as the rest of the devotees worshiped him with ārati and flowers.
Finally, the arrival celebrations complete, Prabhupāda retired to his upstairs quarters, without giving a lecture. Before we had set off from Bombay in April he told us that, from a managerial point of view, there was no need for him to come to the West; his disciples were very competently taking care of everything. But still he was coming simply to enthuse the devotees, to give them strength and provide further impetus so that the preaching might continue to increase. His arrival tonight more than justified the effort of traveling so far. After this reception he was radiant and well satisfied to see the enthusiasm of his disciples.
June 2nd, 1976
Śrīla Prabhupāda has three rooms and a bathroom situtated on the second floor at the back of the temple room. The rooms are laid out in a U-shape. The first room serves as his study and darśana room, with his desk and āsana at the north end under a window facing an altar at the opposite end bearing small Deities of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi. The middle room, the largest, is his bedroom, and there also are small deities—their lordships Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā. The third and smallest room contains book shelves and another desk and has a sky light, which Prabhupāda sits under for his midday massage. Original BBT oil paintings decorate all the walls of the rooms, which are painted in Prabhupāda’s favorite color combination of pale blue and white with gold trim.
There is no servant’s room, the old one having been converted into a temporary kitchen, to be used exclusively for the preparation of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s prasādam. Fortunately both Yamunā dāsī and Pālikā dāsī, who both learned to cook in India and from Śrīla Prabhupāda personally, will cater for His Divine Grace while we are here. So that is a headache I am relieved of. I sleep on the stairway landing just outside Prabhupāda’s bathroom door and keep my luggage in the closet. Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami is in the building next door.
Coming down at about 6:15 A.M., Prabhupāda approached the two doorways at the foot of the staircase. Passing the one that leads directly into the temple room, he exited via the other, stepping out into the side alley. There, the devotees were waiting with a comfortable vehicle which Rāmeśvara Mahārāja described as a “semi-limousine.”
Prabhupāda took his morning walk along the Santa Monica beach, but the sand was soft and not to his liking. He suggested that tomorrow he could walk along the cliff top pathways instead.
* * *
After Prabhupāda greeted the Deities, devotees crowded round to offer him guru-pūjā and then listen to his discourse as he sat upon the magnificently upholstered vyāsāsana. For the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class, Prabhupāda continued on from where he left off in Hawaii with 6.1.33. The temple room was solidly packed, the men on the ground floor and most of the ladies on the mezzanine (Prabhupāda liked the separation and even suggested there could be separate entrances for men and women). After class a huge tray of cookies was handed to him and, with pleasure, he patiently distributed them to the children and whoever else could squeeze close enough to beg one. The procession of children and babies in mothers’ arms seemed endless as they came forward to receive the transcendental tidbits.
* * *
Rādhāballabha prabhu and Rāmeśvara Swami visited in the late afternoon. Prabhupāda questioned them about the expensive alterations to the Deity altars. The tops of the Deity thrones were cloth-covered the last time he visited, but now they are gold-leafed. Prabhupāda told them that he does not regard this as an improvement. He said that they now have the look of cheaply painted wood. “Why didn’t you ask me first before making this change?” He quoted a Bengali saying, “You must do something new. If you have to put your feet upward and head down, walk on your hands and clap your feet, but do something new!” He shook his head in slight exasperation. “This is your American disease. Always changing! Change every few minutes. Our qualification is we don’t change anything.” He quoted Bhagavad-gītā 4.2:“This supreme science was thus received in disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.”
“This changing will ruin everything,” he told them.
* * *
In a letter from Russia, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu reported that the Russians are appreciating the books. He has made many standing orders for libraries and universities in Moscow and Leningrad, and has obtained three very favorable reviews written by top professors, recommending the books. He wants to arrange for translations, but the Russians will agree only if they can do them in their own way. For example, in the Kṛṣṇa books, they want to make Kṛṣṇa the “Hero of the Veda,” but not introduce Him as God. Prabhupāda initially considered it, saying that at best they would read Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, but later decided against the notion. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa also reported the presence of about fifteen devotees actually chanting daily inside Russia, but they are unable to meet together, so they read and chant privately. Gopāla next hopes to visit East Germany, then return to India.
June 3rd, 1976
Accompanied by about thirty-five or forty men, Śrīla Prabhupāda took his morning walk along the cliffs above the beach at Santa Monica. There was an expansive vista of open, placid sea, its waves rolling onto the shore below. While striding along cropped grass and wending his way through the many tall palm trees, Prabhupāda kept up a lively discourse. When he stopped occasionally to emphasize a point, the devotees crowded around, eager to get close and straining not to miss a single precious word, yet still maintaining a respectful distance so as not hem him in.
He answered several philosophical questions, including how the body is maintained during one’s sleep even though the soul actually journeys away from it. He said sleeping and death are similar. If the body is still fit to be occupied, the soul can return to it; if not, it must go elsewhere. That is death.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja pursued the point in the car going back to the temple. “Is it actually Kṛṣṇa who’s maintaining the life in the body then? The life of the body is maintained by Kṛṣṇa or by the individual jīva?”
“No, by Kṛṣṇa,” Prabhupāda said. “Everything is Kṛṣṇa’s property. You are thinking, ‘It is mine.’ Kṣetra-jñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata. I am the proprietor of this body, but another body is there. He is the proprietor of all the bodies. The landlord, he’s the proprietor. You are occupier, that’s all.”
Rāmeśvara joined in. “Oh. So the Lord in the heart is keeping that body for that jīva, so that when he’s finished dreaming he comes back to it.”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda replied. He added that it was like keeping a car running with a chauffeur in it.
Rāmeśvara Swami switched topics and asked about independence. He told Śrīla Prabhupāda that Karandhara dāsa, an ex-GBC, BBT Trustee and president of the Los Angeles temple, has had many confusions and doubts about our philosophy since falling victim to sensual allurements several years ago. These center on what the actual nature of our relationship with Kṛṣṇa is. According to Karandhara, if Kṛṣṇa is all-knowing He therefore would know that we are going to misuse our independence and fall down from the path of devotional service. If He knows that, why doesn’t He stop us? Rāmeśvara paraphrased Karandhara’s doubt. “Kṛṣṇa knows that I will misuse my independence, but still He gives me independence.”
“That is Kṛṣṇa’s mercy,” Prabhupāda agreed.
“Even though it is bad for me,” Rāmeśvara continued. “He knows everything in the past and everything in the future. Kṛṣṇa is all-knowing.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda explained what it means to know the past, present and future. “This future means, just like a father knows how the child is. Now if the child changes and touches the fire, Kṛṣṇa knows it will burn. He knew when the child did not touch the fire, his future. And when he touched the fire, Kṛṣṇa knew the result. So He always knows. His position is to know the future. He always knows—now you are changing—what is the future due to your little independence.”
“So can you actually say that Kṛṣṇa knows you’ll misuse your independence? He knows if you misuse your independence what will happen. But can it be actually said that He knows you will definitely misuse?” Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa asked.
“Yes, yes.” Prabhupāda confirmed.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa nodded. “Also you can use your independence properly, it’s up to you?”
“But then that limits Kṛṣṇa,” Rāmeśvara challenged. “If you say that Kṛṣṇa did not know when I will misuse my independence, or if I will . . . ”
“No, no. That means you do not know what is the independence,” Prabhupāda cut in. “You can change your position at any time. That is your independence.”
“But doesn’t Kṛṣṇa know if I will do it?”
“Yes, because you are independent,” Prabhupāda told him. “That is the meaning.”
Rāmeśvara nodded to show he understood. “Marginal.”
Prabhupāda went further. “And the result He knows. Just as a lawyer knows that he has done this, criminal, he’ll be punished like this. So His position to know the future is always there. Either in this condition or other condition.”
He gave a practical example which made us all smile. “Why [just] Kṛṣṇa? Everyone knows. Suppose you have got this body; next body he’s a dog. I can say you’ll bark.”
“This is Karandhara’s problem, this point of philosophy. He cannot understand it,” Rāmeśvara told Śrīla Prabhupāda. “His argument is that he is having so much trouble due to his sense attraction. And Kṛṣṇa gave him the sense attraction, or Kṛṣṇa gave him senses; now he is having trouble controlling his senses. But he argues that Kṛṣṇa knows everything, so Kṛṣṇa knew that he would have trouble controlling his senses; therefore why did Kṛṣṇa give him senses?”
“That is nonsense,” Prabhupāda said, shaking his head.
Rāmeśvara brought in another angle, a part of what seems to be a cycle of negative thinking by which Karandhara has concluded that Kṛṣṇa is at fault for all his problems. “He says Kṛṣṇa is playing games.”
Again Prabhupāda gave a practical example, simultaneously exposing Karandhara’s faulty logic and indirectly praising Rāmeśvara. “I have given you charge of this BBT, millions of dollars you are dealing, but it is not for your misuse. As soon as you misuse, that is your responsibility.”
“Yes, but he says, but still you’ll know that I’m going to misuse it.”
“No. That Kṛṣṇa knows, when something charge is given. But because you are independent, I know that ‘Rāmeśvara is very good boy; let him be in charge.’ But you can misuse at any moment, because you have got independence. You can misuse at any moment. At that time your position is different. That is this Karandhara’s— he was in this position, but as soon as he misused it, immediately, Kṛṣṇa changed his position.”
“He’s so foolish,” Rāmeśvara said. “His argument is that ‘I should never be allowed to misuse my independence.’”
“There’s no question of independence then,” I added.
Prabhupāda agreed. “That is not independence. Independence means you can use properly or improperly.”
“He cannot understand that,” Rāmeśvara said.
Prabhupāda delivered his final analysis. “He wants to become a machine.”
Rāmeśvara confirmed this. “Yes, he’d rather be a machine and be in Kṛṣṇa’s service.”
Rāmeśvara brought up several other misunderstandings. “Then again he argues like this. He says, ‘The living entity cannot do anything without the sanction of God. So I am desiring certain sinful activities, but why is Kṛṣṇa sanctioning it?’”
“Kṛṣṇa does not sanction.”
“Then how is it going on?”
Karandhara’s main problem obviously lay in not understanding that our relationship with Kṛṣṇa is reciprocal. So Śrīla Prabhupāda gave another apt instance from his own life to demonstrate this principle.“You insist, so Kṛṣṇa, in disgust, says, ‘All right, do at your own risk. You rascal. You will not hear Me.’ That’s all. I have given this example many times, that my son wanted to touch the table fan. When he was only two years old, so the table fan was running, and the child, he wants to touch it. So I am, ‘No, don’t touch.’ So, and he was. . . . ” Prabhupāda poked his finger out like a mischievious child. “So there was another friend, he was a doctor. He said that ‘Slow the speed and let him touch.’ So I did it. So he touched—‘Tung!’ Then I said, ‘Touch again?’ ‘No!’” Prabhupāda’s eyebrows went up like a frightened child, making us all laugh. “So it is like that.”
“Oh. It is actually Kṛṣṇa’s mercy that He allows him to feel the pain,” Rāmeśvara said.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda affirmed. “He gives instruction. Just like I said, ‘Don’t touch, it will hurt your finger. It is not good.’ ‘No, no.’ ‘So all right, touch.’”
As the car pulled into the side alley, by the entrance to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quarters, Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa said, “You mentioned that the more intelligent person can become obedient by hearing; the less intelligent person has to see and suffer.”
Prabhupāda replied. “By practical experience. Dekhe sekhe thekhe sekhese.Tekhe sekhese means he’s a fool. Unless he comes to the actual position, he does not learn. And therefore śāstra-cakṣus—one who follows the śāstra’s instruction, he is safe. That is experienced already.”
* * *
During class Śrīla Prabhupāda reciprocated with the enthusiasm of the devotees. Many of them go out every day for many hours in the airports and parking lots selling his books by the thousands, and Prabhupāda is conscious of the effect that just a few of his words can have. It was standing room only in the temple as hundreds crowded in to hear him speak.
The verse described how the Yamadūtas challenged the Viṣṇudūtas but because they were following the order of Lord Viṣṇu they remained calm and confident. Perhaps also thinking about the conversation in the car, Prabhupāda gave a clear assurance about one’s position in devotional service. “There is no difficulty to become devotee. At once you can become a devotee, within a second. They ask sometimes, that how long it will take to become a devotee. It will take one second. How? Vāsudevokta-kāriṇaḥ. You simply accept that whatever Vāsudeva says, you’ll do, that’s all. Vāsudeva says so many things. Vāsudeva says to Arjuna that ‘You fight.’ So if you accept, ‘Yes, I’ll fight,’ then you become devotee. But Arjuna denied, ‘No, Kṛṣṇa, I’ll not fight.’ That is our disease. Our whole disease is that as soon as we agree to accept the words of Kṛṣṇa, we are liberated, immediately. We are immediately in the Vaikuṇṭha. As as soon we deny, immediately within māyā. Kṛṣṇa bhuliya jīve bhoga-vāñchā kare, pasate māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare. Two things are there. If you deny to keep yourself in the light, then go to the darkness. And if you deny to keep yourself in the darkness, then go to the light. So this is wanted. Liberation . . . But it is very difficult to accept the position that ‘I shall do whatever Vāsudeva says.’ Immediately our life becomes very clear and happy. Not only happy in this life, but also next life.”
He told us that due to being under the influence of ignorance, we become unfortunate and cannot accept Kṛṣṇa’s simple request. Therefore we have to rise above the modes of nature, even goodness, and come to the transcendental stage. At that point we simply do whatever Kṛṣṇa says, like the Viṣṇudūtas. “They were smiling because they knew their business. They have come to rescue Ajāmila by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So they know their position that ‘We have come from the supreme controller. You cannot do any more these things. That is your foolishness.’ They were smiling that ‘What these foolish persons are asking us question?’”
He surveyed the hundreds of eager faces before him and declared very confidently, “Our position is like that. Anyone who resists preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you may protest against Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we shall smile, that’s all.” When he said the word “smile” he pronounced it so deliberately, with such unshakable self-confidence, that everyone began to cheer and laugh. “We know our duty,” he continued. “Yes. We shall simply smile, that ‘What these nonsense speaking?’”
His words stirred the hearts of the devotees. Many of them responded, “Jaya!”
With strength and candor he said, “We shall go on, forward, because we are carrying the order of Kṛṣṇa. We shall be protected in every respect. Nobody can supersede our order. This is our position. . . .
“So the point is that those who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, if they are strictly following vāsudeva-uktaḥ, whatever Vāsudeva has said or Vāsudeva’s representative has said, if he’s simply prepared to carry out the orders, then his position is very secure. We are not manufacturing something imaginary. So our task is very easy, because we haven’t got to manufacture, tax our brain, to create something nonsense, no. Our position is very clear. Kṛṣṇa says that ‘Always think of Me.’ So we are saying the same thing. ‘My dear friend, my dear student, my dear son, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.’ Then you’ll think of Kṛṣṇa. Man-manā. And, who will chant Hare Kṛṣṇa? Mad-bhakto. Unless one agrees to become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, why he’ll chant? Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī. ‘You worship Me.’ So we have created this temple. Come on, worship Kṛṣṇa. And māṁ namaskuru. Whoever comes to the temple, he offers obeisances. We teach how to offer obeisances as soon as we enter. That is our business. Where is the difficulty? There is no difficulty. Either you are learned or a fool or rich or poor or black or white or American or Indian, Hindu, Muslim, never mind, take this lesson, you become perfect.”
Again his voice raised, impressing his message even more deeply into the hearts of his audience. “So human society should take advantage of this Movement and do these four things only—man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru.” His voice boomed into the microphone. “Then what is the . . . mām evaiṣyasy asaṁśayaḥ. I guarantee you come back to home, back to Godhead, by this process. Thank you very much.”
The devotees cheered his short, but powerful, class and then gathered around his vyāsāsana as a huge tray of cookies was placed before him. Agnideva dāsa led kīrtana as Prabhupāda handed out the prasādam, first to the group of saintly young brahmacārīs from the gurukula, then to the young angelic-looking girls, ladies and babies, and finally to the men. The distribution took almost as long as the class itself, there were so many devotees, and Śrīla Prabhupāda obviously enjoyed it.
Then, as the kīrtana reached a cresendo, Śrīla Prabhupāda wiped his hands, stepped down and walked across to the far corner of the temple room to disappear through the exit leading to his rooms.
* * *
A whole stack of mail was awaiting Śrīla Prabhupāda’s arrival and he has been dealing with it steadily over the last two days.
A letter arrived from Bhagavān dāsa in Europe reporting, among other things, the acquisition of a new center in a prominent location in Rome. His description of the place was very attractive: although in the city, it has two acres of land with fruit and rose trees, a marble temple room and comfortable quarters for Śrīla Prabhupāda.
He also described some measure of success in Corsica. The devotees were invited to speak at the only yoga club on the island, convincing the locals that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the genuine article and other yoga groups bogus.
He also enclosed a long list of new books and a copy of the new Dutch translation of the abridged Bhagavad-gītā, of which they printed twenty-five thousand copies. He said that in France they are doing the third reprint of Bhagavad-gītā, and in three weeks the first volume of the French Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is scheduled for printing. The new French Back to Godhead and Upadeśāmṛta are now completed, and the Italian abridged Bhagavad-gītā is being composed. Greek translations are due to start soon, and the opening of an official center in Athens is imminent. In New Māyāpur, the French farm Prabhupāda is due to visit, a good variety of crops are being grown and the gurukula has twenty-three full-time students.
It was all great news, and Śrīla Prabhupāda was delighted to hear it, especially the number of books in production. He agreed to Bhagavān’s suggestion that he visit Rome after going to the French farm, as long as he arrives back in India by August 10th in time for the opening of the Hyderabad temple. He also was very pleased by the devotees’ activities in Corsica. “I have heard with delight of your preaching attempts in Corsica. That is one of our businesses, to expose these rascals who are cheating and who have no spiritual asset. We don’t say publicly that they are rascal, otherwise they will condemn also, but by practical action they will see and compare. Simply chant and dance, distribute prasadam, and where possible some books. Nobody will be grudged. This is our duty, yare dekha tare koha krsna upadesa. Everyone is fed up with this rascal civilization of sex and wine. How long one can artificially live on this. They have no other asset. Therefore, people are turning to Indian culture. Let us push on. Others cannot push on, they have no asset.”
An update on the Māyāpur development came from Jayapatāka Swami. The land acquisition application, made in the name of “Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Vedic Planetarium and Community,” is moving ahead, and the response has generally been favorable, even though some Gaudiya Matha members have been obstructing our attempts. Still, things look promising, and Jayapatāka Mahārāja said that he was spending most of his time working on it.
He also gave a good report on the boat program. Bhavānanda Goswami has taken it successfully to the Sundarban, the vast expanse of islands dotting the Ganges estuary as she meets the Bay of Bengal. They were greeted enthusiastically wherever they went, selling two thousand Gītār-gānas and making five new bhaktas in only two weeks. Śrī Māyāpur Chandrodaya Mandira is becoming famous everywhere. Sri Tarun Kanti Ghosh, the West Bengal Home Minister, personally greeted and hugged the devotees when they sailed into Calcutta harbor. Over eighty life members came to stay at the Māyāpur guesthouse for May Dayholidays, and on Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī over three hundred and fifty local citizens participated in temple programs. He also mentioned that he had been showing the ‘dog’s life’ news clipping from Melbourne (which Prabhupāda had sent him) to government officials and other important people he is meeting and it was well received.
Prabhupāda was very pleased with this good news and sent a long letter in reply. The only thing that disturbed him was his Godbrothers’ resistance to the development of the holy dhāma. “Do your best and simply depend on Krishna. We are not acquiring the land for sense gratification. It is for Krishna’s Glory. nimitta-matram bhava savyascin. 11.33. Just like Arjuna was asked to fight by Krishna, so it was Prabhupad’s dream to make Mayapur a transcendental city. What do we care for Madhab Maharaj or Damodar Maharaj. They are figs. We must be fixed. Just see; Madhab Maharaj is against us and he was supposed to be the greatest preacher.”
He also sent an unsolicited letter to his Godbrother B.R. Śrīdhara Svāmī. He requested him to intervene on his behalf with their other Godbrothers and ask them to desist from creating obstacles to ISKCON’s preaching programs. “I have received one letter from Jayapataka Maharaj in which it informs that Madhab Maharaj and also possibly Damodar Maharaj are making propaganda against our attempt to construct a township in Mayapur, with the centre of attraction being the ‘Vedic Planetarium.’ In this connection we have applied to the government for 350 acres of land and the matter is in the process. However, Damodar Maharaj and Madhab Maharaj are trying to frustrate our attempt. I shall quote the portion from Jayapataka’s letter to me: ‘After the report (request for land) was submitted, the District Magistrate sent some land officers to come here to our site to inspect the lands and their position, nature, etc. During this time the local people some how or other came to know about the acquisition. This was mainly transmitted through Damodar Maharaj initially, some persons say. Some local farmers raised a petition against the land acquisition, with about 90 signatures. Petitions for having the development plans go through are also being raised by the local people, the majority of whom support the ISKCON plan. About 2,000 should be raised in total in favor of this project. One supporter, while coming to show me his petition, with 500 signatures on it, was kidnapped and the petition was snatched away. He was taken to Madhab Maharaj’s Math doorstep and some of the local cultivators and Prabhu’s of the Math threatened him and demanded why he was supporting ISKCON. The supporter was now more determined to raise support in face of the rude behavior. Other persons have been also called to Madhab Maharaj’s Math and chastized for helping us. They say our mission is political and we want only the downfall of India and political power. They are so envious.’ (end of quote).
“As a matter of fact, I am trying to develop a township in Mayapur spending crores of rupees to give protection against the occasional innundation (flood) and construct a tall planetarium estimated to be 300 feet high. So why they are obstructing this program? What is the harm to them? People are already coming from all parts of the world to see Mayapur and join in the Sankirtan Movement, so if something more attractive is done, more people will come from all parts of the world. So what is their tangible objection? Of course, they cannot do all these things, it is beyond their power, but if somebody else does it, why should they be envious and obstructive to this plan?
“They are supposed to be very close associates of Your Holiness, so if you kindly ask them not to obstruct this program, it will be very kind of you.”
A letter from Gurudāsa Swami described what was going on at the United Nations Conference on Human Settlement in Vancouver. One hundred and fifty-seven nations are represented, but because of tight security he didn’t think it would be possible for either him or Śrīla Prabhupāda to address them. Still, his arrangements to preach sound good. They have a book table and photo display in a large exhibition building and a thirty by fifty foot tent in another area. He has divided the tent activities into three sections: The first is a display of sixteen large photographs with captions showing Śrīla Prabhupāda, Māyāpur, New Vrindaban, other farms, and other scenes depicting our ideas on simple living and high thinking. The second section is a cooking exhibit with continuous prasādam distribution, a stage for dramas, kīrtana, questions and answers and a book display. The third section shows slides and Kṛṣṇa conscious movies. The authorities there estimate 15,000 people will go through the tent each day. Many senior preachers will join Gurudāsa Mahārāja within a few days.
Another arrangement he has made is for a half-hour TV program. He outlined the four main points he will speak about—īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam, that everyone should accept only his quota as provided by God, otherwise he should be considered a thief; a spiritual solution is necessary to the economic problems, not another economic one; a God-centered culture is required in general for any problem to be solved; and people should leave the crowded cities and go back to the land for a life of simple living and high thinking, thus creating small Vedic cities such as Māyāpur which depend on the produce of the farm and solve the unemployment problem.
Gurudāsa felt our direct preaching approach would be far more effective than simply showing the sets of blueprints and drawings most other exhibits have. Gurudāsa described them as “visual indigestion,” whereas our exhibit is actually “living.”
After expressing his inability to come to Los Angeles because his former wife Yamunā dāsī is here, he outlined his future plans to travel to London and then in January, to preach in Vṛndāvana.
Prabhupāda was glad to hear about the arrangements in Vancouver and encouraged him. “Try to convince them that without God Consciousness, no plan will be successful. Of course, the demoniac class of men will always remain, but unless there is a strong body to present God Consciousness proposals to the leaders of the world, there will be no hope. We have taken Bhagavad-gita as the standard of all human activities. If the leaders of the human society take it as standard, then all the problems will be solved. That we can give practical suggestions for. Any plan of the atheists will never be successful.
“Your plan to go to Vrindaban in January is very nice.”
Śrīdhara Swami sent a letter from Dehra Dun in India. He is traveling with Gargamuni Swami, making life members. After four years in India, he expressed his desire for a short break, perhaps to visit the European and American temples, or even to go to China.
Prabhupāda has already spoken with Trivikrama Swami and instructed him to go to Hong Kong to begin selling the new Chinese Bhagavad-gītā, and Tamal Krishna Mahārāja is sending two men from the Rādhā-Dāmodara TSKP. News has also arrived that in Hong Kong four hundred Gītās have already been sold to Indian businessmen who buy the books and give them free to their workers. So Śrīdhara Mahārāja’s letter was very welcome. “I wish that you will meet Trivikrama Swami in Hong Kong and combinedly organize distribution of the Chinese Gita profusely. It will be a great triumph. After all, one third of the world is Chinese speaking, and they are also human, they have a very old culture, so why shouldn’t they be benefited by Lord Caitanya’s movement. You can go dressed as gentleman because it will be easier to travel in this part of the world. I have given full instructions to Trivikrama Maharaj and the both of you can cooperate in this very important mission.”
A reply came from the Chairman of the Indian Humanist Union in Lucknow, the same man Prabhupāda had corresponded with in Hawaii. Raja Sajid Husain gave a brief outline in flowery language to explain his humanist ideas of how to attain unity in human society, based on ethical dealings between fellow human beings—but his ideas did not include God. “Humanism affirms the unity and inter-dependence of man with a common responsibility of all men for all men for their welfare and improvement under conditions of free enquiry aiming at justice, equality and open society. In other words, it is concerned with an ethical life from the cradle to the grave without committing itself on the question of God or life hereafter. It was therefore the humanitarian aspect of our respective missions which prompted me to suggest a possible cooperation between us.”
Prabhupāda was frank in his reply. “Your idea of the ‘unity’ of man is utopian. It will never become. The United Nations has tried for so many years, and they will never agree. If we keep human beings in the status of cats and dogs, in the bodily concept of life, how can they live in peace? They will simply fight like cats and dogs amongst one another. However, when members of the human society come to the spiritual platform, then there is a genuine possibility of unity. Without God Consciousness, nobody can be ethical.”
A life member from Lusaka in Zambia wrote requesting clarification on two points of philosophy he could not resolve even after reading Prabhupāda’s books and Back to Godhead (although he complained the magazine was not being sent to him). “What happens when a heart transplant is done and that time heart is taken out and at times a donor’s heart is replaced. Isn’t it that the recipient loses his original individuality as a different soul is entering in that body along with that live heart of that donor and it looks as if that gets another’s life because his own life-giving heart is already out. Will you explain in detail to solve this mysterious but sensitive problem?”
His second doubt concerned the so-called moon landings. “As stated in these set of books, there is life on each planet; and the nearest planet is the moon. Now there were so many moon-landing experiments recently done. Why they couldn’t come to a conclusion of any life there except the rocky barren land? As already mentioned in these books, people who worship the moon god go to the moon, people who worship the sun god go to the sun planet and so on.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda answered his questions at length, giving clear explanations to settle his doubts. “Life cannot be prolonged by heart transplant. You cannot increase the duration of life. One can perhaps give some relief to disease, that is another thing, but the duration of life is destined. From the dead body, one cannot bring life. Similarly, it may appear that one is prolonging the duration of life by medicines or heart transplant, but that is not the case. If one lives 4 years after having had a heart transplant, then by nature’s law he was destined to live four years with or without having had a heart transplant. So what is the value of heart transplant? Only by the yogic process can one prolong the life. By stopping the breathing process, keeping in samadhi, the breath period is not being misused, and he increases the life span. Therefore, destiny can only be changed by devotional service or yoga. Otherwise, what you must suffer, you must suffer, and what you must enjoy, you must enjoy. For a devotee however, whatever it may be, he takes the opportunity to chant Hare Krishna, and if by Krishna’s Grace destiny is changed, then it is alright.
“What is the proof that they have gone to the moon? Why they are not now utilizing it, and they simply remain quiet? They have simply squandered so much money but there is no proof that they went. A foolish man squanders and does nothing and still we are to believe that they are scientists? According to the Bhagavad-gita, yanti deva vrta devan . . . without the necessary qualification, namely visa, etc., one cannot even go to another country what to speak of another planet, and the moon planet, Chandra-loka, being a heavenly planet, how can we accept that they have gone to the moon? Our point is that they are accepting foolish men as scientists.”
* * *
In the afternoon Bali-mardana dāsa unexpectedly arrived from San Francisco. He has been out of circulation in our Society for some time, but after a few words with Śrīla Prabhupāda he decided to stay on and do whatever Prabhupāda wants. He also gave His Divine Grace $10,000 dakṣiṇā from his jewelry business. Later, after conferring with Tamal Krishna Goswami he decided to travel with him, agreeing to shave his head tomorrow.
* * *
Prabhupāda visited his personal garden for a couple of hours after his afternoon nap. It is small, but very beautiful, adorned with a fountain and colorful shrubs, flowers and vines. The devotees have created a comfortable seat for him beneath a bower, flanking his spacious, white-sheeted āsana with beautiful potted tulasī trees. For two and a half hours he relaxed, although wrapped in his cādar due to an afternoon chill, and willingly answered questions from the devotees and guests, who sat on wooden folding chairs or at his feet on straw mats laid out on the grass.
One visitor was a middle-aged man with a doctorate degree, named Eugene Stansky, formerly a Roman Catholic priest for twenty-three years. He gave up the priesthood a few years ago in a continuing search to understand seriously who God is. Ṣrīla Prabhupāda preached to him for a long time. He seemed to hear sincerely and went away very visibly impressed.
Another visitor was Dr. Wolf, the German academic friend of Svarūpa Dāmodara and long-time correspondent to Śrīla Prabhupāda. He has returned from Atlanta after hearing that Śrīla Prabhupāda is not going to visit there. Happy to see him, Prabhupāda greeted him warmly. Dr. Wolf brought with him a letter from Svarūpa Dāmodara suggesting that if Prabhupāda is not going to visit Atlanta Svarūpa Dāmodara could come to New York to discuss the book he and the other scientists are working on. Prabhupāda wrote back that it would be a good idea.
The devotees presented Śrīla Prabhupāda two awards which the BBT has received for the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. The Printing Industries of Metropolitan New York have awarded Certificates of Excellence in the form of plaques for the layout and quality of these publications. Prabhupāda was very pleased.
* * *
Kṛṣṇa-kānti prabhu, who runs Golden Avatar Productions and the Bhaktivedanta Tape Ministry, has agreed to replace the bulky reel-to-reel tape recorder I carry for recording Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lectures and conversations. Now that we are here in Los Angeles there is so much happening, so many visitors coming and so many conversations going on, I told him the old Uher, with its large reels, just wasn’t good enough. Today he gave me a Nakamichi professional standard cassette recorder to try out. I balked as soon as I saw it because it is bigger and almost as heavy as the Uher. The only advantage is the quick change of tape made possible by the cassette. Anyway, I have agreed to try it out for a day or two.
* * *
Through the new public relations firm Rāmeśvara Mahārāja hired recently, a whole series of interviews have been arranged for Śrīla Prabhupāda with reporters from various publications. A young man named Richard came this afternoon from a newspaper with a circulation of nearly half a million. Richard began by asking what Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purpose was in seeking the growth of our Movement. Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that Kṛṣṇa consciousness was meant for ending the suffering of the present civilization by educating people how to trust in God. Recalling his recent letter to the President of the United States, he said that only when people know factually who God is, can they then place their trust in Him. People need factual knowledge, not just a slogan. Our purpose therefore is to educate people.
Richard asked if Prabhupāda had a specific program to educate mankind toward God consciousness. As he has done repeatedly over the last few weeks, Prabhupāda brought up his axiom that God is the father and material nature is the mother. He told Richard that when we accept this in fact, then there can be peace. “If you simply understand one verse in the Bhagavad-gītā. There it is stated that sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ/ tāsām brahma mahad yonir ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā [14.4]. Very simple thing. Everything is coming out of the material nature, beginning from the grass to the highest intellectual human being or more than that. Wherefrom they are coming? From this material nature: ether, earth, water, fire. These elements, same material nature. Let us see from the ground, the grass is coming, the vegetable is coming. From the water the fishes are coming, all the ants are coming, the germs are coming. Then, after eating that vegetable, the animals are coming. In this way everything is coming, generated from the earth, from the material nature. Is it not a fact?”
Richard agreed it was so. Prabhupāda developed his reasoning.
“So, we are coming from material nature. That means material nature is our mother. From the womb of mother, the child comes. Therefore according to Vedic knowledge, this earth is also mother. We have got seven mothers according to Vedic civilization: ādi-mātā, original mother, real mother. And guru-patnī, the wife of teacher. The wife of a brāhmaṇa. So, ādi-mātā, guru-patnī, brāhmaṇī; rāja-patnī, and the queen is also considered mother. And dhenu means cow is mother because we drink her milk. And pṛthivī, in the earth, we are coming out. Earth is mother. Really we see coming. And there may be different varieties of sons. That doesn’t matter. But anything coming out the earth—the earth is mother—and that is coming out, that is son. Then where is the father? There must be father. Is it possible mother can give birth to a child without father?”
“I wouldn’t think so.”
“So, there must be father. This is conclusion. So who is sanctioning about the father? The answer is in the Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā, ‘I am father.’ You cannot deny father; that is not possible. If there is mother, if there is child, there must be father. This is human sense. And animal sense is: ‘I don’t care for father. There may be father, may not be.’ That is animal sense. So do you want to keep the human society in such ignorance just like cats and dogs? The dogs do not care who is father. This Movement wants to give education to the human society: ‘Yes, there is father.’ And that is actual fact. Without father how there is child? Is it possible? Then? At the present moment, the human society is child playing on the lap of mother, that’s all. In big, big motorcars, that’s all. Without any knowledge of father. But will the human being remain simply satisfied with toys on the lap of mother, or you’ll try to understand who is father? So we are satisfied with the toys, and playing on the lap of the mother. The motorcar is running very swiftly, head-break or neck-break speed, and they are thinking they are civilized, advanced—‘Who is your father?’ ‘Don’t know.’
“That means the present civilization is childish civilization. Does not care to know the father. So, whether the human civilization will remain child, children? They fight amongst themselves, children. ‘My dear children, live peacefully.’ So for the time being they may be. Again they will fight, they will cry. That is going on. What the United Nations has done? For the last forty years, they’re fighting like children or animals. So if you keep them as child or animals, do you think there will be peace? That is not possible. It is to the talking of big, big words for peace. That is not possible. It is futile attempt.”
One of the devotees had just returned from Vancouver. He confirmed Śrīla Prabhupāda’s words. “The U.N. is having a Habitat Conference and they are not united, their discussions and arguments. Sometimes there are walkouts, so many things. They’re not able to reach any conclusions, they can’t agree with each other.”
Prabhupāda chuckled. “How they can? Do you mean to say dogs simply barking, they will come to a conclusion? It is not possible. There is no aim, what is the actual aim of life. So this is very important movement. At least the intelligent class of men, they must understand it thoroughly.”
Richard was impressed with his interview. After leaving Śrīla Prabhupāda, Rāmeśvara Mahārāja took Richard on a tour of the facilities before he left to write his article.
June 4th, 1976
Today’s walk was along the sands of famous Venice Beach. Matching spiritual dictum against scientific dogma, Prabhupāda cut down the pretentious claims of the so-called modern men of knowledge, talking very animatedly how foolish they are, especially about the moon and the position of the planets. Prabhupāda mentioned that they are unable to answer why Sunday precedes Monday—the “moon’s day”—and why the week ends with Saturday, or “Saturn’s day.” Then he gave the answer: this is the order of the planets according to many ancient cultures and it establishes the statement of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that the moon is further away from the earth than the sun. That being the case, he argued, how could they have gone there?
Tamal Krishna drew the conclusion that there must be an international conspiracy among the scientists to maintain the hoax. Prabhupāda agreed. He quoted a Hindi phrase about a snake charmer who cannot even catch a harmless water snake, but who is now trying to catch a cobra. The scientists have no proof for anything, but they are making such big claims.
Throughout the walk and on the way back in the car, Śrīla Prabhupāda was very enlivened. The devotees reciprocated, bringing up various theories for Prabhupāda to shoot down. But he was mainly insisting that first they explain why this order of the planets is universally accepted.
* * *
In class Prabhupāda strongly pursued the same point. The verse stated that the Viṣṇudūtas returned the challenge of the Yamadūtas by asking them that if they were the genuine representatives of Yamarāja they should describe what is real religion, dharma. Śrīla Prabhupāda told us the test of a devotee is whether or not he has actual knowledge. A show will not do. “Kṛṣṇa described what is the meaning of dharma. Here the question is,‘If you are servant of Dharmarāja, then explain what is dharma and adharma. Dharma means religiosity, and adharma means nonreligiosity. Everything in this world is duality. If there is black, there is white. If there is good, there is bad. If there is father, there is son. Otherwise, there is no meaning of father. ‘I am father, bachelor daddy.’ No. If you are father, you must have a son. If you are a son, then you must have a father. If the son says, ‘I dropped from the sky,’ how it is possible? These rascals say it, that there is no creator. First of all, prove that you have no creator. Your father has created. How you can say there is no creator? Silent. The rascal is silent. You are talking of ‘There is no creator,’ but you, yourself, you were created by your father. So these rascals are talking foolishly and other foolish persons are accepting them. But we are not so intelligent. Our answer is that you say, ‘There is no creator. How you are created?’ It may be we are rascals also, but this is our simple questions.
“This morning I was asking that why there is Sunday first and Monday second? Who can answer? Is there anyone in this meeting who can answer my, this simple question? Why, all over the world, everyone accepts Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Somavāra, Maṅgalavāra, Guruvāra, the same thing? There may be different language. And Saturday is last. Why this arrangement? Who can answer? Is there anyone? I’ve asked this simple question to so many. Even Svarūpa Dāmodara, our doctor Ph.D., he has not yet answered. And I’ve asked this question to Dr. Wolf also. He’s not present here?”
One of the devotees attempted to answer. “Because Sunday is God’s day. Sunday is Kṛṣṇa’s day.”
“That is your sentiment. Speak scientifically. Nowadays, the scientific days, you have to speak scientifically,” Prabhupāda said, still looking for the answer.
“The order of the planets,” another devotee called out.
“Yes, that is the answer. Anyway, he has got the right to ask that ‘You are representing Dharmarāja. First of all, explain what is dharma. Then we shall understand that you are the representative, or the order-carrier, or the servant of Dharmarāja.”
He went on to elaborate this principle of duality, and then really moved into high gear in his criticism of the scientists. “We have got two tests. One test is sufficient. If one is not devotee, if one is not Kṛṣṇa conscious, he’s a demon, bas, finished our conclusion. We simply ask whether you are Kṛṣṇa conscious, whether you know Kṛṣṇa. I think our Śyāmasundara’s daughter, she used to preach. She used to go to any elderly person when she was four years old. ‘Do you know Kṛṣṇa?’ she said. So he says, ‘No, I don’t know.’ ‘Oh, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ This is preaching. Finish, preaching. A child can preach. A child can understand. ‘Do you know God?’ ‘No.’ ‘You are a demon!’”
Prabhupāda said the word “demon” with such aplomb everyone burst out laughing. And he kept them going with a parody of a devotee approaching a scientist. “Finished. Where is the difficulty? As soon as you say, ‘I do not know God,’ you are a demon. Bas!First-class demon. ‘I am scientist.’ ‘You are rascal.’ ‘No, I have studied, I have got my degrees.’ ‘Māyayāpahṛta-jñānā!Rascal, you have studied so long, simply waste of time. Your real knowledge is taken away. Because you do not know God.’ That is described. We have got very simple test in Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement how to distinguish between an intelligent man and a rascal. As soon as we understand that he’s not Kṛṣṇa conscious, he’s a rascal. Bas. There is no need of testing. Even though he’s M.A., Ph.D. D.H.C. and so on, so on, still we shall call him a rascal. This is open challenge; it is not secret.”
He added weight to this seemingly radical conviction with a quote from the great brāhmaṇa Cāṇakya Paṇḍita. “He very nicely says that rascals and fools—must give up their company. Tyaja durjana-saṁsargam. ‘No, I have got many friends, they are university educated.’ But he says, vidyayālaṅkṛto ’pi san. Even they are with degrees of M.A., Ph.D., even he is educated, so-called educated, he’s not educated. Anyone who does not know God, he’s not educated, he’s a rascal. This is our conclusion. Not our conclusions, this is śāstra’s conclusion. So ‘he has got so many degrees and he’s rascal and he’s durjana, a bad man?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Why?’ Now maṇinā bhūṣitaḥ sarpaḥ kim asau na bhayaṅkarah. Suppose a serpent, he has got a gem on his head. Is it not fearful? Very good example. Suppose a snake comes here and he, it has a jewel on the head, so you’ll be all safe? No. He’s dangerous. So that is going on. So-called educated scientist, degrees, what they’re doing? Atom bomb, kill men. This is their scientific discovery. That you can kill a man with a knife, one man or two men. Now we have got scientific discovery, millions of men in a moment, come on, discovery. So ‘Why don’t you discover something that millions of hospitals, diseased men can be brought into life again?’ ‘That we cannot do.’ Kill, killing, killing is going on. What you have discovered? So this is their scientific . . . Discover something and declare that ‘There is no more death. Here is medicine.’ Then that is scientific discovery. What is this nonsense? People are dying, and you have discovered something to facilitate death? Is that discovery? Therefore they are this snake with jewel. That’s all. They’re not gentlemen even. A gentlemen thinks that ‘I shall kill so many persons by dropping one atom bomb. I have discovered such nonsense thing?’ And they are going on as scientist. So be careful. They are like snakes with jewel on the head. That’s all.”
Returning to the text Prabhupāda gave his summary. “So here we must know what is dharma and what is adharma. Simply rubberstamp, ‘I am Christian, I am Hindu, I am Muslim, I am this.’ Like the tilaka and mālā. No. You must know the science. . . . A human being can understand what is God, what I am, what is my relationship with God. And if we act according to that, our life is successful. Simply denying God and manufacturing atom bomb and killing, is that civilization? No. Thank you very much.”
* * *
Rādhāballabha prabhu came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda in the afternoon to express concern about two groups of devotees here, one of men and one of women, who meet against the objections of temple authorities. They study the lives of the gopīs as described in the recently published Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Rādhāballabha reported that their aspiration is to make this the mood of their future service. Rāmeśvara and others have tried to stop the meetings, but with no success. The meetings are now going on in secret with these devotees accusing the temple managers of not understanding higher devotional sentiments.
Prabhupāda was not at all happy to hear this. He immediately condemned it as prākṛta-sahajiyā tendency. He said that to study the dealings of advanced devotees while one is conditioned is comparable to a young boy trying to understand sex life; it is not possible, and he will be ruined. The boy must wait until he reaches maturity, and then sex desire will arise automatically. So before studying the gopīs’ lives we must be completely free from material desires, otherwise there is every chance of becoming a sahajiyā, a cheap imitator. He said that beyond simply trying to serve Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotee there must be no cultivation of such desires at our stage of advancement.
* * *
Eugene, the ex-priest, came to the garden again this afternoon. But this time his head was shaved and he was wearing a dhotī; he has moved into the brahmacārī āśrama. Prabhupāda was very happy to see him and told him to study the books very carefully. He advised him to tour with Satsvarūpa Mahārāja, who has recently acquired a vehicle for preaching in the Detroit–Chicago zone.
* * *
Jagannātha dāsa, the BBT Sanskrit editor has just returned from Vṛndāvana. This afternoon he reported to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Just a week ago Prabhupāda received news that Jagannātha and Nitāi dāsa were no longer working on his books. Jagannātha informed Prabhupāda Nitāi is now the head pūjārī in Vṛndāvana.
Jagannātha had a question to ask. He wanted to know whether siddha-praṇālī was bona fide. (Although this is a very elevated form of spiritual practice, there is a concocted initiation rite going on under the same name being given by bogus sādhus and bābājīs in the Vṛndāvana area. In it a person is told what his name and original spiritual form is in Goloka Vṛndāvana. The initiate then practices being a gopī, a peacock, etc., while still remaining habituated to material impulses. Thus the ritual is a mockery of the authentic process or worse.)
Prabhupāda’s anger flared up at the very mention of it. He demanded to know why Jagannātha and Nitāi had been associating with the “nonsense bābājīs who proclaim such things.” “Their siddha-deha,” he said, “is smoking biḍis and keeping three or four women. And our men are becoming polluted by such things. This is very dangerous.”
Jagannātha appeared shaken by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s very strong response and he agreed not to associate with such persons again.
* * *
In the evening Jayaśacīnandana dāsa, who had translated Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Bengali poem Mārkine bhāgavata-dharma, sang it for him in his darśana room. He played the harmonium and we accompanied him with karatālas and mṛdaṅga, while Prabhupāda listened. Jayaśacīnandana sings just like a Bengali kīrtaneer,very melodiously and with all the right accents. Prabhupāda liked his rendition but declined to sing himself, preferring to hear his disciple. He was pleased to hear that Jayaśacīnandana has learned Bengali and requested him to start a Bengali BTG with Jagannātha dāsa.
June 5th, 1976
Prabhupāda returned to the cliff-top gardens of Santa Monica after having decided yesterday that Venice Beach was too dirty. He enjoys the expansive view. The well kept grass and palm trees prompted him to comment that it was the best place in Los Angeles for walking.
Because of my complaints about the size of the Nakamichi recorder Kṛṣṇa-kānti has replaced it with a much smaller professional standard Uher cassette recorder. The Nakamichi was too difficult to carry, especially when trying to record Śrīla Prabhupāda in the car. The new one however, is very convenient. The cassette can be changed within a second because it drops straight into the machine without any door needing to be opened. Thus hardly a single precious word His Divine Grace speaks will be lost.
Since Yamunā has been here, Rāmeśvara discussed her farm program with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda suggested that some brahmacāriṇīs could be sent to her for training. This morning Rāmeśvara asked if perhaps she could come down to Los Angeles instead because it would be cheaper. There was some suggestion by Tamal Krishna that devotees going there may develop a bit of a separatist mentality from ISKCON but Śrīla Prabhupāda didn’t take it seriously. He simply said he had no objection if Rāmeśvara wanted to make that arrangement. But when Rāmeśvara told him that Yamunā objected and that her idea is to make their farm a little bigger, with more women living with them, Prabhupāda told him, “I like that idea.”
Rāmeśvara said there would be no men involved and Śrīla Prabhupāda approved. “Just like in Vṛndāvana there is bhajana-āśrama, they’re only women.”
“So that’s a good idea?” Rāmeśvara asked.
“With man is dangerous for both,” Prabhupāda told him. “I have given that: man is good, woman is good, when they come together—bad. Both of them bad.”
As we walked at a steady pace in the morning sunshine the conversation inevitably turned to book distribution and its polarizing effects. Book distribution is the primary concern of all the leaders here, as it is with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Rāmeśvara reported on their recent mass mailing of The Krishna Consciousness Movement is Authorized. “That little booklet, we gave the names of professors who appreciated our movement, and their school, their college. So there are some demons in America who got a hold of that book, and wrote all the professors letters blaspheming our Movement and Your Divine Grace and telling them that ‘Professor, you should withdraw your name. You are giving your support to a horrible movement.’ So we have many enemies. Dr. Judah got a copy of one such letter, and he mailed it to Jayādvaita; so I’ve seen it. Very, very blasphemous, poisonous, but it was written by a very educated person. I could tell by the style of writing that the person who wrote that letter was very literate.”
“He did not disclose his name?” Prabhupāda asked.
“Yes, his name and address.”
“So we cannot bring to the court?” Prabhupāda asked.
“Perhaps. I’ll see,” Rāmeśvara said prudently. “But this is an example.”
The opposition wasn’t a surprise to Prabhupāda. “No, I know that.”
Rāmeśvara explained that it is mostly parents who are objecting, because they have lost their children to this Movement. Tamal Krishna Mahārāja also confirmed this. “Yes, that’s the big propaganda now. There’s a number of men, their professional business is to kidnap devotees and other people who belong to other groups like ours. And they’re paid by the parents to kidnap the children back, and they call it deprogramming.”
I reminded Prabhupāda that he had seen an article on a man called Ted Patrick who is at the forefront of the disturbance. Tamal Krishna related a funny incident about how this man had been made to look silly on a recent TV show. “I saw it in New York recently, our president, Ādi-keśava, he went up against Ted Patrick on television, and he completely defeated him. So Ted Patrick was saying that, you know, these people are all fanatics. So Ādi-keśava, at the end, he said, ‘So, if we’re fanatics, then the Pope is even more fanatical, so why don’t you deprogram him?’ And everybody laughed at that Ted Patrick.”
Rāmeśvara explained that these men are well-versed in our operations. They have managed to recruit some ex-devotees to give them information on our problems—such as in Germany and Japan—and they use this against us. Now Patrick is trying to publish a book blaspheming us, however Rāmeśvara is trying to block its publication through the courts.
Prabhupāda gave a little chuckle. “America is feeling the strength of Hare Kṛṣṇa movement.”
Tamal Krishna also laughed. “Yes, they’re getting pinched. You have really come as an aggressor, Prabhupāda.” Prabhupāda broke out in a big grin as Tamal went on, “Actually I think we are the most dangerous revolutionaries in the whole world.”
“To the rākṣasas,” Prabhupāda confirmed.
“And everyone is rākṣasa practically,” Tamal observed, laughing. “If the government even understood your mission in coming here, they would never have granted you this permanent residency visa.”
The talk of parental resistance brought forth some interesting and entertaining stories. Dānavīra dāsa, who is in charge of making and training new devotees in Los Angeles stepped up to the front and told Śrīla Prabhupāda about a new recruit. “There was one boy who just joined a few months ago, and he had been reading your books, and he came to join the temple. He had graduated from college and he’s been to law school. And we found out after some time that his father, his name was Dr. Royal McClain, he was a very, very big preacher in the South, and he had his own television program.”
Rāmeśvara couldn’t resist coming in on it. “Christian. His father was the biggest Christian preacher in the South. He had his own TV show. Very big preacher, very strict Christian, and his son joined our Movement. So the father calls up the son, ‘How could you desert our religion and join this Kṛṣṇa movement?’”
Dānavīra said the boy told his father he was feeling real love of God now for the first time in his life, thus convincing him why he should stay in the Movement.
Tamal Krishna had a couple of funny stories to tell about his parents, who are favorable. “Recently, in New York, my parents came to visit me. You know they . . . Actually they didn’t come to see me, they came to the restaurant, but I happened to be there.” Prabhupāda laughed. Tamal went on. “One of their friends is a lawyer in New York. So they were having dinner with him the other day, and he mentioned that recently he had gone to Las Vegas for a vacation. In Las Vegas there are many gambling casinos. So when he was about to depart on the plane, one of his friends gave him a five dollar bill and told him that ‘In order that your gambling to be fortunate, the first good person you see there, you give this five dollar bill to him, and it will automatically bring you good luck.’ So the man went to Las Vegas, and when he got out at the airport, one of our devotees approached him, and this gentleman happens to be a lawyer who’s fighting against us to keep us out of the New York airport, he’s representing the airline company. So he didn’t know it was one of our devotees because they were in the regular clothes, civilian clothes. So the devotee said, ‘Please, we’re doing good work, educating people, you kindly give a donation.’ So the man thought, ‘Well, my friend gave me this,’ so he gave him five dollars, and naturally, the devotee gave him a book. So the man didn’t look at it, but he went into the taxi, the lawyer, and then when he looked he realized—he was supporting the enemy.”
With everyone still laughing Tamal Krishna told another, even more amazing thing that happened to his parents. “They go on vacation to South America. So there they were in the Amazon, in the jungle, right in the middle of the jungle, suddenly the devotees were there. Hṛdayānanda’s men were there preaching, and they said they could not imagine that they were in this most unusual place, no one was around, but suddenly the Hare Kṛṣṇa devotees were.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja confirmed the story. “They told me they met Tamal Krishna’s mother.”
As he walked briskly across the cropped grass, occasionally glancing over the beach and sea, Śrīla Prabhupāda told us this was the best place in Los Angeles for walking. Rāmeśvara brought up another topic. He said he thought it possible to arrange for tour groups of western students and professors to go to visit our center in Vṛndāvana, but the difficulty was most of them smoke. Prabhupāda suggested something a little revolutionary. “You, first of all you GBC think, then and . . . Make one room, smoking room, that’s all right. Just like a, that kind of restriction is there in the airplane, smoking, non. So you keep a room separately, a smoking room.” People may not be allowed to smoke in their rooms he said, but they could be asked to go to the smoking room.
Driving back in the car is really nectar. Rāmeśvara and Tamal Krishna Mahārāja take as much advantage as possible of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence and ask many questions for clarification and verification. Rāmeśvara put a particularly interesting inquiry to him this morning. “Śrīla Prabhupāda, when I first came to your Movement, the first thing I was told is that Lord Caitanya’s movement in this age will, like a moon, rise for ten thousand years. I was told that number, ten thousand years. Is that true?”
Prabhupāda hummed softly in assent. “This Movement will go for ten thousand years without any impediment.”
“So that means increasing, because it’s the nature of the spiritual energy?” Rāmeśvara asked.
“It increases; you should take this opportunity,” Prabhupāda urged us. “You work sincerely; it will increase, it will increase. Many fallen souls will be delivered back to home, back to Godhead.”
“These demons that are trying to challenge us, they cannot stop our Movement for ten thousand years,” Rāmeśvara extrapolated.
“What is their challenge?” Prabhupāda asked him. “They have nothing to challenge. Unless they are violent. That much they can do, like demons.”
“You think that they will do that eventually?” Tamal Krishna asked.
“No, now people are civilized. But they want to do it. But on the garb of civilized person it looks odd, especially in America when religious freedom is there; otherwise they would have done.”
* * *
When Prabhupāda arrives back at the temple he doesn’t enter it through the front doors. He goes in through the side entrance which leads up to his rooms, and then enters the temple room from there. This brings him in on the opposite side of the temple room to his vyāsāsana. On his immediate left as he enters there is a beautiful life-size diorama made by the devotees here, of mother Yaśodā trying to tie naughty Kṛṣṇa with a rope. Prabhupāda sees it every morning and during class today he told us a story illustrating how the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa can become the son of Nanda and Yaśodā. “Kṛṣṇa is always joyful. Just like you see before you. Kṛṣṇa is joyfully accepting to be bound up by His mother. He is Supreme Lord; nobody can chastise Him, but He is taking pleasure: ‘How My mother chastises Me.’ This is also another pleasure. Just like a very rich man, he always eats very nice foodstuff. So sometimes he wants, ‘Can you give me little puffed rice?’ Puffed rice is not very valuable food, but he likes. This is change of variety of enjoyment. So everyone worships God: ‘My Lord, my Lord, my Lord.’ So therefore God sometimes wants that ‘Who will chastise Me?’ He selects one of His devotees, first-class devotees. ‘You become My father, you become My mother, and you chastise Me.’ This is God’s pleasure—ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. Then that is God. Ānanda, that is ānanda. Here, mother Yaśodā is going to bind Kṛṣṇa. It is not His displeasure, He is not unhappy; He is feeling happy. That is Kṛṣṇa. So in this way we have to understand Kṛṣṇa thoroughly. And if you simply understand thoroughly Kṛṣṇa, you are liberated.
“One may question that. They may neglect that ‘If Kṛṣṇa is God, why mother Yaśodā is binding Him?’ But he does not know that is a pleasure. That is a pleasure. There are many instances. I’ll cite one instance that there was a big prime minister in England, Gladstone. Perhaps you have heard the name, Queen Victoria’s prime minister. So somebody came to see him, and the servant informed him that ‘The prime minister is little busy. You wait.’ So he was waiting. One hour passed, and still no message. Then he opened the door. He wanted to see what the prime minister is doing. He saw that the prime minister has become a horse, and his grandchildren driving him. That is enjoyment. He is the prime minister, but he has become a horse of his grandchild. So this is the position.”
* * *
Prabhupāda had just sat down in the middle room for breakfast when Pradyumna came in, obviously quite disturbed. Prabhupāda allowed him to come up to his small table, already set out with his silver ṭhālī of cut fruits, puffed rice and fried cashews. Pradyumna began to complain about the study group Rādhāballabha mentioned yesterday. He told Prabhupāda one devotee was reported to have said that the Gīta was too bodily conscious and “external” and that he became inspired only by reading about Kṛṣṇa’s confidential, internal dealings, especially those of the gopīs in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was so disturbed by this news that the piece of fruit he held in his hand never made it into his mouth. Abandoning breakfast, he went back into his darśana room and called for all GBC men and sannyāsīs, as well as for several members of the study group. He demanded to know who was invovled. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja told him that the head of the men’s group was Purañjana dāsa, the manager of the Spanish BBT operations. He was immediately sent for, as was Sulocana dāsa, a brahmacārī I had gotten to know in Māyāpur during the festival.
As we awaited their arrival Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja tried to assure Śrīla Prabhupāda about Purañjana. He said he was actually a sincere and levelheaded person and he didn’t think he had sahajiyā tendencies; he thought he was simply misled.
I told Śrīla Prabhupāda that Sulocana had approached me yesterday in an excited and conspirational mood to tell me about the surreptitious meetings. He was quoting parts of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta without, it seemed to me, understanding them, and had many misinterpretations of the text. He had cited some verses which he interpreted to say that in each relationship with the Lord there is something lacking which is found only in the next rasa. He indicated that they actually considered paternal affection inferior to the gopī-bhāva platform because Lord Caitanya said that there is no higher way to serve Kṛṣṇa than in the mood of the gopīs. They were therefore concentrating on the gopīs’ lives very closely, for they exhibited the highest and most pleasing way to satisfy Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
As I related the incident Śrīla Prabhupāda’s anger flared. “Just see.” he declared disgustedly, “Mother Yaśodā is less than the gopīs! This is their thinking. And they want siddha-deha!”Prabhupāda was furious that such things could develop within ISKCON.
By this time the men were in his room and for almost three quarters of an hour he strongly rebuked the group, angrily refuting its reasoning. He compared their exclusive focus on the gopīs to “jumping like monkeys.”
Purañjana said their intention was to simply scrutinize the activities of the gopīs and develop the same aspirations because this was recommended by Lord Caitanya.
Prabhupāda got even angrier. He was in no mood for being mollified. “You want to scrutinizingly study Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instructions, but why just the parts about the gopīs? Why don’t you scrutinizingly study where Caitanya Mahāprabhu says guru more mūrkha dekhi’ karila śāsana, that His guru found Him to be a fool and told Him he was not fit for anything but chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? Why don’t you scrutinize that part? First become a fool like Caitanya Mahāprabhu before jumping over like monkey!”
Purañjana tried to reassure him that they were not attempting to imitate the gopīs’ love of Kṛṣṇa; they were simply studying the descriptions so that they could develop such desires.
Prabhupāda flushed, his top lip quivering. “First deserve, then desire! There is no question of desire unless one is actually liberated. Until that point you simply do whatever service you are given. So long as there is any pinch of material desire there is no question of desiring on the spiritual platform!”
He said the intimate gopī-līlās were discussed by Lord Caitanya only among His three most confidential associates—Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāmānanda Rāya, and Śikhi Māhiti. Siddha-deha is for liberated souls—no one else.
Sulocana said that they had thought it was all right because it was in Prabhupāda’s books, and they were only reading his books. Prabhupāda told them that just because a drug store has every type of drug it does not mean that one can get them without prescription. The doctor prescribes according to the disease. He said that from the beginning stages of devotional service up to the highest rasas, everything is there in his books, but they are not all to be immediately studied.
He ordered them not to hold any more meetings and to disband the “club.” He directly linked this sahajiyā tendency to our ISKCON devotees meeting with the bābājīs in Vṛndāvana, and he strongly criticized Jagannātha dāsa (although he is not one of the study group) for even leaving his ears unblocked while the man spoke to him about so-called siddha-deha.
After sending them out duly chastened, Prabhupāda explained to us that this sahajiyā philosophy means the preaching will be finished. “So try to save them,” he advised the GBC men. “In Vṛndāvana many sahajiyās would ask, ‘Oh Svāmījī, why are you bothering to preach? Why not just be content to stay in Vṛndāvana and do your bhajana?’”
* * *
At 10:00 A.M. Prabhupāda, along with a small group of senior men, visited the place inside the temple buildings where the diorama exhibit is being constructed. It occupies the site of the old temple room, and consists of a narrow passage which takes the viewer past various alcoves wherein the dolls will reside. Although the walk-through exhibit will be small and cramped Śrīla Prabhupāda appreciated that the devotees have made use of every available inch of space.
From there he went over to the diorama workshops directly opposite the temple complex on Venice Boulevard. Bharadvāja dāsa and his crew are working long hours making a variety of displays which depict verses and philosophical concepts from Bhagavad-gītā. They have spent $70,000 so far to make the complete exhibit. Ameyātmā dāsa has custom-built a computer to control the audio-visual effects and partial animation.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was taken on a guided tour, stopping at each exhibit-in-the-making. Before they make anything to actual size, they construct miniature figures. Prabhupāda saw these as well as some full size ones. He gave advice and complimented the devotees for their expertise.
The dioramas are indeed beautiful. They include the changing bodies, showing a body going through the various stages from baby to youth, to middle age and finally death, while the soul remains the same; one of a chariot being pulled by five wild horses plunging off a cliff’s edge to illustrate the body and its out-of-control senses; the daśa-avatāras surrounding a particularly attractive full-size figure of Gopāla Kṛṣṇa sitting on a rock; and a grand display of the universal form as seen by Arjuna, complete with hosts of demigods, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, swirling planets and universal elements. Standing in the workshop surrounded by multiple figures of winged Gandharvas lined in racks above our heads was almost like being in the heavenly planets.
One exhibit in particular is truly wonderful—that of Śrīla Prabhupāda himself sitting at his writing desk in his Rādhā-Dāmodara room in Vṛndāvana. Made by Locana dāsa, the exhibit will be designed so that the head of the diorama slowly looks up as the rays of the rising sun fill the room. Śrīla Prabhupāda had not been informed that his figure actually moved. As he approached it the devotees switched on the mechanism causing the head to look up just as Prabhupāda reached it. His reaction was a delightful mix of humility, appreciation and wonder. So realistic is the figure that it was like gazing at two Śrīla Prabhupādas simultaneously.
Bharadvāja has also made a Garuḍa-stambha, a column with Garuḍa, the bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, on top. Prabhupāda said it should sit outside the front of the temple looking toward the Deities.
He sanctioned their fiberglass mass production methods since this brings savings in original costs and wear and tear, plus the molds can also be used for other exhibits. They are already planning museums in New York, London and other sites.
At the end of his tour Śrīla Prabhupāda sat for a few minutes in the office while the devotees offered him guru-pūjā and prasādam.
* * *
During Śrīla Prabhupāda’s massage a former sannyāsī, Ṛṣi-kumāra dāsa, visited. He sat before Prabhupāda, his hair an unruly mass, his mind so disturbed that his eyes constantly wandered and his complexion a dark pallor. Prabhupāda had previously held high hopes for him. He asked Ṛṣi-kumāra why he had come and what he was doing.
Ṛṣi-kumāra said that he had not come for any particular purpose, just to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. He said he was thinking of working as a cook at the new devotee restaurant, Govinda’s, in Laguna Beach.
Prabhupāda eyed him very gravely and said, “My advice to you is that now you are here, you stay with us and do not go away again. You have been away for some time—nevermind, what is done is done. Now again you can rise up. A soldier may go down in the fight, but he can rise up again and still become victorious. I was so surprised that you have become like this. I never even dreamed you could become like this!” Although Prabhupāda spoke so frankly to him, it did not seem to take much effect. Ṛṣi-kumāra returned to Laguna Beach in the evening.
* * *
Tamal Krishna Mahārāja reported that Praghoṣa dāsa, one of the top book distributors in the USA, is learning how to distribute sets of books door-to-door from an encyclopedia sales team. He also said that news has come about Madhudviṣa. He arrived in Hawaii one day after Prabhupāda departed for Los Angeles and isliving with Subala dāsa, another former sannyāsī. So it seems he wanted to avoid meeting His Divine Grace. This is the shameful position that the illusory energy of the Lord places us in— that we cannot not even face His pure devotee, our spiritual master. Prabhupāda was sad to hear this, but reconciled to the fact that this is Madhudviṣa’s own choice.
* * *
In the late evening, Prabhupāda relaxed on his bed in the semi-darkness with me standing by his side massaging his legs. Prabhupāda’s mind turned to the morning’s confrontation with the gopī-bhāva study group. He talked a little of the perversions of the bogus bābājīs in Vṛndāvana who in the name of siddha-deha, dress up as the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa in order to enjoy illicit sex life. He chuckled and asked, “So? They are wearing sārīs?” He was asking about our men. Although he said it in a light manner, it made me realize just how dangerous this attitude is if left unchecked.
June 6th, 1976
The morning walk was as usual, up on the cliffs in the brisk morning air. Because of the chill Prabhupāda walked with his cādar draped over his head. Sometimes he wears his woolen hat. Then as the sun comes up and it heats the atmosphere he allows me to remove his heavier coverings.
In the car on the way back to greet Their Lordships, Prabhupāda said something very interesting about the future possibilities of our Movement. Rāmeśvara Mahārāja was telling Prabhupāda that he thought as our Movement becomes greater and greater, the act of taking Kṛṣṇa prasādam at a restaurant or at our Sunday Feasts will be like a national pastime. Prabhupāda agreed and added, “Ratha-yātrā, introduce in every city. You have already got some national holiday? You’ll get everywhere. In this way, one day we’ll capture the whole government—and you’ll become the president.”
Tamal Krishna smiled at Prabhupāda’s unexpected statement. “Rāmeśvara,” he said for confirmation.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda said, grinning along with us.
Thinking of the former attempts to enter politics by the devotees in Atlanta, Rāmeśvara asked Prabhupāda, “You said Balavanta.”
Prabhupāda continued smiling. “Balavanta may be his secretary.”
A little shy to accept Prabhupāda’s praise and not wanting to upstage Balavanta, Rāmeśvara asked, “Śrīla Prabhupāda, I was told you once said that he would be in the White House before he’s forty years old.”
Prabhupāda laughed and shook his head. “No, I did not.” Then he went on quite seriously. “If you bring public in your favor, it is not difficult. Yes. ‘A Kṛṣṇa conscious man. He’s a Kṛṣṇa conscious man. Give him vote.’ This opinion. That’s all.”
Prabhupāda has said this before, that if enough people desire it, a country could have a Kṛṣṇa conscious government; it is simply a question of attracting enough votes. He is sure it can be done.
“One day our men will be leaders of government?” Rāmeśvara asked.
“Yes. Leaders means as soon as you make the public in your favor, you are leader.”
“But they’ll actually manage the government?”
“Yes, why not?” Prabhupāda told him. “That is Kṛṣṇa’s desire. The Kurukṣetra battle was for this purpose. The Pāṇḍavas should be on the throne, not the Duryodhana. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. All-round, not that we’re simply chanting. We’re fighting also.”
“Arjuna monks,” Tamal Krishna quipped.
“Oh, yes,” Prabhupāda agreed. “All-round. They may not misunderstand us that we are pacifists, or a sect of religious faith. We want to remold, remodel everything.”
“That’s something we have to get out of their heads,” I ventured, “that we’re just some kind of select sect or something.”
“That they’ll understand as they read our books,” Prabhupāda assured us. “That we are all-round reformer.”
Rāmeśvara Mahārāja made a pertinent observation. “They have created so many problems, that to manage their government is the biggest headache.”
Prabhupāda agreed and pointed out where to begin reform. “ISKCON government means this, stop all these four things. No slaughterhouse, close. The meat-eaters may become agitated, they may complain. So, ‘No, you are not forbidden to eat, you can eat, but slaughter in your house.’ The government is not going to maintain slaughterhouse, that’s all. We don’t forbid you; you can do at your home.”
“Yes. The cows will die one day from old age,” Tamal Krishna Mahārāja observed, “then they can eat.”
“Yes, if you like to eat, the dead cow.”
It was yet another of those little insights into the vision Śrīla Prabhupāda has for the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. He has many ambitions and they are unlimited, yet only partly revealed to us.
* * *
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class was on 6.1.40. The Yamadūtas replied to the Viṣṇudūtas that whatever is in the Vedas constitutes dharma, and anything outside of that is irreligion. As Śrīla Prabhupāda delivered his lecture the devotees sat attentively before him, packed into every corner of the spacious temple room, eager to hear his every word. And what he spoke today was perfectly apt for us. “The Yamadūtas were not very advanced so far their position was there. They were very odd-looking and not to be supposed very civilized. Uneducated, but how they are explaining about dharma? Because the challenge was that ‘If you are the servants of Dharmarāja, then explain what is dharma. It doesn’t matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized, or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide then he can speak the right thing. They’re not manufacturing anything. They’re saying iti śuśruma. ‘We have heard it from our master.’ This is knowledge.”
In a sense, we are like the legions of Yamarāja—rough, uncultured individuals, uneducated in the principles of real human life. We have but one asset—the perfect master, Śrīla Prabhupāda. And we have but one good trait—full faith in whatever he tells us. As Yamarāja sends his dūtas all over the universe to safeguard dharma, similarly Śrīla Prabhupāda is sending us all over this planet as his representatives to reintroduce real dharma to a world immersed in irreligious living.
As he told us this morning, “You just try to hear from the saintly person, devotee. If we hear from the devotee who is actually self-realized, one who has seen God through the śāstra . . . And nevermind what you are. You may be a brāhmaṇa, you may be kṣatriya, you may be śūdra, you may be sannyāsī, you may be American, you may be Indian—whatever you may be, that doesn’t matter. Remain in your place, sthāne sthitaḥ. Simply hear, śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ. Then one day, what will be the result? Now God is unconquerable, nobody can conquer He’ll be conquered simply by hearing. This is the process. Therefore he says śuśruma, humble and meek and hear. Then you’ll understand God; then you’ll understand what is religion; then you’ll understand everything. Not only religion and God, but everything.”
* * *
At 10:00 A.M. Śrīla Prabhupāda went to Golden Avatara Productions, just a few blocks from the temple. Kṛṣṇa-kānti dāsa has a recording studio and $30,000 worth of equipment. They pay for it by leasing it out to karmīs a few times a week at the rate of $20 per hour.
After inspecting the control room, Prabhupāda sat down behind a microphone to sing. I had suggested to Kṛṣṇa-kānti that he should ask Prabhupāda to sing his own poem, Mārkine Bhāgavata-dharma, but Kṛṣṇa-kānti wasn’t interested. He requested Prabhupāda to sing the mahā-mantra because there is no recording of His Divine Grace which ISKCON actually owns. Prabhupāda happily obliged, and chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa while playing the harmonium. After that he sang one of his favorite bhajanas,Gaurāṅgera duṭi pada. Wearing his black rimmed spectacles, his face reflecting a deep intensity of devotion, he pumped the harmonium with his left hand and dexterously pressed the keyboard with his right. Producing a wonderful melody of notes in accompaniment, his sonorous voice resonated the glories of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Unfortunately, no one could play the drum properly to accompany him. Because of a shortage of time Prabhupāda therefore agreed to return later and play it himself. Kṛṣṇa-kānti will dub it in.
Kṛṣṇa-kānti and Maṅgalānanda prabhu, who is an excellent singer, requested permission to record an album of modern music. After they assured him that the songs would all be Kṛṣṇa conscious, Śrīla Prabhupāda agreed. Rāmeśvara Swami enthusiastically asked if such a record could be played in the temple. Prabhupāda pulled a face. “Why in the temple?” he asked.
* * *
More news of the Indian Library Party successes came from Amogha dāsa, the Bombay vice-president. Ten new orders have arrived from Jaipur and Agra along with two from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. They even received two orders from a college our men have not yet visited. Amogha also mentioned that a Bombay hotel developer has just bought one hundred and twenty Bhagavad-gītāsto give out.
In response to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s previous written request from Hawaii, Amogha gave a detailed description of what books constitute a “standing order.” Most of the big colleges and libraries are ordering the full seventeen volumes of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, all the available seventeen volumes of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, as well as single volumes like Bhagavad-gītā, The Nectar of Devotion, Teachings of Lord Caitanya and other small books. They usually pay on invoice, and the books are all shipped out immediately. For smaller colleges they make more flexible arrangements, supplying some books immediately and then perhaps one per month, billing them as each volume goes out. Some libraries may order just the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, or just the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
Naturally Śrīla Prabhupāda was very glad to hear the news. Having lived in and preached all over north India, and having made the attempt to get his original set of three Śrīmad-Bhāgavatams into many of the same institutions, either personally or through a distributor, Prabhupāda is more than happy that his disciples are now succeeding in this work. “The library party is doing very nicely,” he wrote back. “It is nectar to my ears to hear the list of schools which are taking our standing order.”
Girirāja prabhu, the president of the Bombay temple, also sent a letter, hand delivered by Yogamāyā-devī dāsī. She brought the three bottles of Brahmi oil Śrīla Prabhupāda requested from Girirāja while in Hawaii. Girirāja reported some progress in selling rooms for fifty thousand rupees each in the new guesthouse. At least ten have been sold with the understanding that the donors and/or their immediate family may occupy the room any time they like during their lifetime. However, he mentioned that in Tirupati they only allow occupation for two months per year. If Prabhupāda desired, he said we could change to this standard without the donors objecting.
Śrīla Prabhupāda thought this two month plan was better and instructed Girirāja to make the change. He told him that apartments in Bombay cost at least two lakhs, and if people know they can get a self-contained room for only fifty thousand, and remain permanently, it will cause great difficulty. He also told him to limit the time life members can occupy the rooms to a maximum of three days.
Most of his reply though, concerned the upcoming Gita Pratisthan meeting. Ramakrishna Bajaj has replied to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s last letter and it seems the date is fixed, so Śrīla Prabhupāda will not be able to attend. Prabhupāda advised Girirāja to go along with Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu in his place, “if it appears wise.”
The organizers are all highly placed men, with direct connections to the government, so Prabhupāda gave some lengthy, detailed instructions to Girirāja on how to deal with it. “This is the line that you should adopt: We are already propagating Gita, but ‘As It Is,’ without changing. This should be the method. Krishna is not going to flatter the politicians and learned scholars, rather Krishna is teaching them how to flatter Krishna. Na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah, etc. If one is not prepared to surrender to Krishna, then what is the meaning of preaching Gita. If one has got their own philosophy, then let them preach their own philosophy, but do not do it in the name of the Gita. This is our protest to all of the interpreters of the Bhagavad-gita. If they do not believe in God, Krishna, and they don’t want to surrender to Him, then let him preach atheism. Everyone has got the right to do this, but why through the Gita. This is like a man who wants to smoke ganja, but he does not want to be caught. So he takes a friends’ hand and smokes it in his hand, and then when the authorities come, he says, ‘Oh, I have not smoked ganja, see, my hands are clean!’ The idea is that if one wants to preach the Gita, then he must preach it as it is, otherwise, don’t go through the Gita. So as my students, you can speak very tactfully.
“One thing, if they are serious, we are prepared to preach, so together your men, and our men, let us preach. If the Gita is seen as important preaching work, then the Government should help, they should give all facilities. The government can help in the following ways for instance: 1). Our members want to stay and preach but the immigration department is giving us trouble. They are driving us away. So few Indians are coming, but the Americans and the European are coming. Indian educated boys, they are after some service to get income, they are not joining. This must be tackled tactfully. Our mission is to preach Gita. The best thing is that if we can conjointly preach, we can benefit the whole of India, and the whole of the world. Vinobaji is very respected and they can do a great deal to help our preaching mission.
“Secondly, just like we require vehicles, we can bring vehicles and men, but they should be allowed to stay without the immigration gagging that we should go out, go out. Unnecessarily we have to spend so much money. So do it very nicely and tactfully.”
Prabhupāda also added a note about his new residence at Hare Krishna Land. “I am anxious to know when my quarters will be ready. In your last letter you gave me an attractive idea of my quarters, so I am anxious for it. Please keep me informed.”
* * *
Today is Sunday and the traditional feast was held in the afternoon. I went down just to check out the crowd and was surprised to see a small procession of placard-carrying demonstrators pacing back and forth on the front side-walk. They were apparently disgruntled parents hoping to attract the attention of His Divine Grace while he is here. I asked Rāmeśvara Mahārāja about it on my return upstairs, and he informed me they were part of the new so-called ‘deprogramming’ group. He dismissed them as a nuisance only. I asked if Śrīla Prabhupāda knew about them, and he said no; he had not told him because he didn’t want to unnecessarily disturb him. I agreed that was the best policy.
Because Śrīla Prabhupāda was not requested to speak to the feast crowd, he went on with his usual program of receiving guests in his darśana room and remained unaware of the demonstration.
* * *
A famous professional tennis player visited in the late afternoon with some members of his coaching organization who are interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He told Śrīla Prabhupāda that the men he signs up as staff coaches must follow the four regulative principles, and if they break them they are released and cannot rejoin; this is actually written into their contracts. They try to preach, although not too directly, and if someone shows a favorable attitude they try to nurture it. A few of them who are tuned into the more spiritual side of things are gradually introduced to the philosophy if they show some inclination. He said the biggest difficulty, is the long hours they work; a regimen of sixteen-or eighteen-hour workdays makes it difficult for them to chant sixteen rounds each day. He asked Prabhupāda if it was all right to chant only eight or ten rounds. Prabhupāda appreciated their sincerity and was very friendly to them, but he held firm to the standard of sixteen. The meeting was very congenial. Śrīla Prabhupāda thanked them for their efforts, and encouraged them to continue.
* * *
Prabhupāda is still meeting with Hayagrīva prabhu on the philosophy book. He has done Sartre and several others during the last few days. Today he finished his critique of Augustine and started with Aquinas.
* * *
Prabhupāda continues to go into the garden each afternoon, at least for a couple of hours. Many guests come and when there are no questions to answer he has the devotees read from his books.
June 7th, 1976
Going out in the car for his morning walk Prabhupāda gave further warnings to Tamal Krishna and Rāmeśvara mahārājas on the dangers of the sahajiyā tendency spreading in ISKCON. Tamal Krishna is returning to New York a little early because he is concerned that it might be spreading there also. Pradyumna prabhu’s ongoing investigation has discovered that the gopī-bhāva group have been transmitting their ideas to other temple communities by some sort of unofficial newsletter.
Tamal Krishna told Prabhupāda that one of the symptoms he has noticed about these people is that they don’t go out on saṅkīrtana.
As soon as he said that Śrīla Prabhupāda cut in. “Then everything will be finished. Preaching will be finished. In this sahajiyā party, then preaching will be finished.” Declaring the siddha-praṇālī process as nonsense, Prabhupāda told us where the whole thing was coming from. “They have learned it from these Rādhā-kuṇḍa bābājīs.”
“From Rādhā-kuṇḍa bābājīs?” Tamal Krishna asked.
“Bābājīs, yes,” Prabhupāda reasserted. “After all, they’re fool, rascals, so whatever they say. . . . ”
Rāmeśvara said he felt that the danger lay in their use of Prabhupāda’s own books for authority. But Prabhupāda told him it was all right that they are taking some authority, the problem is that they are not taking all the instructions in his books. “That I’ve already explained. Why these rascals do not take the lessons of Caitanya Mahāprabhu that we are all rascals, fools? No. That they will not take. They’ll take the Rādhārāṇī’s bhāva. What Caitanya Mahāprabhu is teaching by His practical life, that we have to take.”
Rāmeśvara repeated one of the statements from their newsletter. “Regarding service in a reverential mood; so they have found some quote, that reverential devotional service is an impediment toward developing pure love.”
Tamal added another. “They quote that regulative principles are a hindrance on the path. There’s a statement somewhere in one of your books that when one attains the highest platform . . . ”
“Then where is that highest platform?” Prabhupāda interupted.
“One must go through stages,” Rāmeśvara said. “You gave the example of trying to get an M.A. degree.”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda agreed. “One has to come to that highest stage. It is not forbidden. That may be ideal, but not for the neophytes. One who does not know ABCD, what he will know about M.A. degrees? That they do not know. They think that they have already passed M.A. degree. That is their fault.”
Tamal Krishna Mahārāja brought up another item from the newsletter. “There’s another statement, I saw them, where it says, it’s a quote, that you can treat Kṛṣṇa as your lover and Kṛṣṇa will reciprocate.”
“And they underlined the two words ‘you can’ treat Kṛṣṇa as your lover,” I added. “In this way they’re taking your quotes out of context.”
“This is one of the main ideas in their philosophy, that the living entity can desire to have any relationship he wants with Kṛṣṇa,” Rāmeśvara said.
“That’s all right,” Prabhupāda told us, “he can desire. I already explained: first deserve, then desire. You are rascal, how you can desire? You have no qualification, you desire to be High Court judge. What is this nonsense?”
Rāmeśvara was keen to get Śrīla Prabhupāda’s response to every possible argument. “But then they have an answer.”
Prabhupāda obliged him. “What is that answer?”
“Let me just try it anyway, to keep my mind thinking . . .”
“How you can try it?” Prabhupāda challenged. “First of all, be qualified, a big lawyer, then you become High Court judge. Where is that qualification? You are after illicit sex and biḍi, and you want to be associated with the gopīs.”
“They say that ‘In ISKCON, we do not . . . ’”
“Let them say all nonsense,” Prabhupāda replied. “They are disqualified. Sahajiyā bābājīs, that’s all.”
Tamal Krishna put their number at about fifty, just in Los Angeles alone, split fairly evenly between the women’s group and the men’s.
Speaking from my own experience with Sulocana and from other information heard over the last few days, I told Prabhupāda they weren’t content to keep it to themselves. “The thing is that they’re going around and they’re soliciting for people to come and join their group, and then immediately they come, they take them into all the details of the gopīs with Kṛṣṇa.”
“Then let them . . . Unless they follow the regulative principles, there is no place for that in the temple. Let them go out,” Prabhupāda said.
When Rāmeśvara said he thought they were following the principles, Tamal Krishna Mahārāja presented evidence to the contrary. He said the leader of the women’s group was known to have had an abortion, even after she became a devotee.
This news stretched even Prabhupāda’s credulity. “That is their fault. They want to utilize the love affairs of Kṛṣṇa and gopīs for their debauchery. That is a support for their debauchery. That is sahajiyā.”
“That’s the meaning of sahajiyā. So that’s on their minds,” Tamal Krishna said.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda said. “We are restricting, ‘No illicit sex.’ They will put that ‘Here is illicit sex between the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa.’” Prabhupāda knows full well how the cheating propensity acts within the realm of devotional service. He confirmed it would act as a justification for breaking the regulative principles.
When I postulated that their mentality was one of impatience, not wanting to go through the gradual process of sādhana-bhakti but rather immediately jumping to the highest perfection, Prabhupāda agreed. “That is the danger. But if they at once go to rāsa-līlā, because they are not trained up neither they are liberated, they’ll think this rāsa-līlā is just like our young boys, young girls mix together, have sex like that. So it is supported our . . . ‘Why should we restrict to no illicit sex, no this, no rules and regulations? We shall do all nonsense.’ That’s all. And become a gopī. It is very good to aspire to become High Court judge, but how you can become High Court judge without qualification? That they are not thinking. They have no qualification, they have illicit sex, pregnant, going to abortion and they’re High Court judge.”
What he had to say next was really telling. He saw serious consequences for the progress of the movement unless it was stopped. “Anyway, if we give indulgence to these people, then this preaching work will be hampered.”
Tamal Krishna Mahārāja gave his firm assurance. “No, we’re not going to do that.”
“Or they should be separated,” Prabhupāda continued. “Otherwise, it will be bad example, and all restrictions will be broken.”
“If they don’t change their mentality,” Tamal nodded in agreement, “then they should live separately, do their own society.”
“And they’ll do that,” Prabhupāda affirmed.
After saying that the sahajiyā tendency is a very easy thing to take up, he again cautioned us. The good of the Movement was more important than any individual or group of individuals. “Anyway, keep your Movement very pure. You don’t mind if somebody goes away. Don’t mind. But we must keep our principles pure.”
Tamal Krishna recalled that Prabhupāda had once said that in the battle sometimes some men may be lost. Prabhupāda told him, “Yes, that is natural.”
After a few minutes Rāmeśvara raised another criticism they have of our Society. “Śrīla Prabhupāda, some devotees, sometimes they feel that in ISKCON we’re talking so much about the business of how to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness but we’re not talking enough about Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, kṛṣṇa-kathā, they say. So that’s another reason why they want to read all these pastimes.”
“Then let them read,” Prabhupāda said. “But why they’re making pregnant and abortion? What kind of kṛṣṇa-kathā? The kṛṣṇa-kathā test is as soon as he’ll get the taste, he’ll lose this taste. What is this nonsense?”
“Won’t it purify them? That’s what they say, ‘It will purify me.’”
“What you are purified?” Prabhupāda asked skeptically. “You have become, what is called, putrified, not purified. You can read; be purified. You can read. But where is your purification?”
Again he spoke from his own experience. Theirs is not a new criticism. He already had experience of this kind of mentality. “The books are there for reading. By reading, you become purified. In 1935, our Guru Mahārāja, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he went to Rādhā-kuṇḍa for kārtika-vrata. So at that time he was reading Upaniṣads. So first of all, these bābājīs they were coming. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī had come at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. He’s giving some class. So they used to come. But as soon as they saw that he was reading Upaniṣads, they stopped coming. They saw: ‘They are jñānīs, they are not bhaktas.’”
“What did they want to hear?” Tamal Krishna asked. “Daśama-skandha?”
“Like that. So Prabhupāda condemned them that ‘They are not living in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. They’re living in Nara-kuṇḍa [hell].’ I heard it, ‘They’re living in Nara-kuṇḍa.’”
“So our men who go to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and live there . . .” Tamal ventured.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda said.
What Śrīla Prabhupāda witnessed in 1935, he experienced again in the 1960s, when as a resident of Vṛndāvana’s Rādhā-Dāmodara temple he made plans to go abroad to fulfill his spiritual master’s order. As we traveled back to the temple in the car he repeated what he had said two days ago. “Before coming to the USA, many sahajiyās they requested me, ‘Sir, why you are going? You are in Vṛndāvana, continue your bhajana. What is the use of preaching?’ They advised me like that.”
“They don’t believe in Lord Caitanya, these sahajiyās in Vṛndāvana?” Rāmeśvara asked.
“Mostly,” Prabhupāda said, agreeing. “They have no knowledge. Material. Prākṛta-sahajiyā. Their real name is prākṛta. Their thoughts are on this material platform. Just as they are preferring this conjugal love because here the sex is prominent. They are thinking that is the highest stage. What is the lowest stage here, they’re taking that as the highest stage. Of course, in the spiritual world there is such thing, but as Kṛṣṇa has many other līlās, why they are not attracted to other līlās?”
“They don’t want to be limited,” Rāmeśvara said. “They think that Kṛṣṇa is the kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. So why . . . ”
“That is good. That is always true, but Kṛṣṇa says, manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye/ yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ. How you have understood Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Out of many millions of people, one becomes siddha, and out of many millions of siddhas, hardly one can understand Me.’ So how you have understood Kṛṣṇa so easily, within two years? What you have understood Kṛṣṇa, that is materially understood. You do not know what is Kṛṣṇa. That is prākṛta-sahajiyā. ‘Oh, we have understood. Kṛṣṇa was a playboy, dancing with His girls. Bas, we have understood.’”
Rāmeśvara continued to paraphrase their arguments. “If I follow the regulative principles and go on hearing about rāsa-līlā, then I’ll be purified.”
Prabhupāda gave the counterpoints. “You say that; in the śāstra does not say. Śāstra says that after you have studied all the nine cantos of Bhāgavatam then enter into the tenth. Sahajiyā means they take very easily. ‘Everything is all right. Now I am perfect.’ Kṛṣṇa says, ‘To understand Me, it will take millions of years.’ And they understand Kṛṣṇa immediately. That is called prākṛta-sahajiyā.”
“Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation is to attract the living entities to Kṛṣṇa. So let me read about rāsa-līlā, because I’m feeling some attraction,” Rāmeśvara said.
“Then why not Kurukṣetra līlā?” Prabhupāda said. “Kṛṣṇa’s līlā is the same, absolute. You are attracted to rāsa-līlā means you have got sex desire. That’s all. And actually, what you said, that one girl?”
“He said she killed her baby,” Rāmeśvara answered.
“This is their business. This rāsa-līlā is for the person who is completely purified. When one is impure, he should not think of. That is stated in the Bhāgavatam.”
“In this they have misunderstood your Kṛṣṇa book,” Rāmeśvara told him.
“They must have misunderstood,” Prabhupāda said. “They are all rascals.”
Prabhupāda told his GBCs that they must try to rectify the situation and save the devotees involved. “Otherwise, they are finished.”
* * *
After class, as he sat in his darśana room waiting for breakfast, Prabhupāda looked lovingly at the beautifully dressed Deities of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi on the small altar in his room. He was very appreciative of the service the devotees are rendering to Their Lordships. When he goes out for his walk each morning, a team of ladies comes into his quarters and cleans everything very thoroughly. They bathe and dress the Deities in a different outfit every day. The altar is decorated with fresh flowers and the whole atmosphere is purified. “I have not asked them to worship the Deities but they are doing it so nicely,” he told me. “This is genuine devotion.”
* * *
Rāmeśvara Mahārāja brought in a reporter in mid-morning. This man had interviewed Śrīla Prabhupāda in the late sixties, before the so-called moon landing. Now, for this meeting, he had a number of interesting points to discuss, including a review of Prabhupāda’s previous comments about the moon.
He first inquired about the degree of involvement Śrīla Prabhupāda currently has in the management of the Movement. Prabhupāda told him that since he first arrived in America the volume of his work had increased “a hundred times,” but he was getting help from his disciples. “I simply give the instruction and they carry out, but the work has increased voluminously, there is no doubt about it. The whole Society is going on under my direction. Whatever they do, they take my permission and they put into action. Nothing is allowed without my permission.”
The reporter then asked him, “I wonder if you might have any opinions on some of the leaders of cults and groups in the United States, such as the Divine Light Mission, or the T.M. and so forth. I’m wondering if you have any opinions on Guru Maharaj-ji or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.”
Prabhupāda didn’t want to directly say they are fools and rascals, but by sticking to Kṛṣṇa’s own statements, he made their position very clear. “There are different groups. I know that, but I do not go in detail to understand them. But we have got a crucial test, that anyone who does not know about Kṛṣṇa, he is put into four different types of categories as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. One category is that he is sinful; another category is that he is rascal; another category is that he’s lowest of the mankind; another category is that his so-called knowledge is taken away by illusory energy. So this is our test. That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, that na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ/ māyayāpahṛta-jñānā āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ. Anyone who is not talking about God, he is either of these group: sinful, rascal, lowest of the mankind and knowledge taken away by illusion. This is our conclusion, and that’s a fact. Because a person who does not know about God, what he is? He is animal. The animal has no knowledge about God. But a human being, if he poses himself to be very learned, then he must have knowledge about God, otherwise what is his knowledge?”
The reporter was also interested in the future of our Movement. He asked about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s health and he inquired about Prabhupāda’s arrangements for perpetuating his work. “Is there anyone who is designated to succeed you as the primary teacher of the Movement?”
“I am training some, I mean to say, advanced students,” Prabhupāda replied, “so that they may be very easily take up the charge. I have made them GBC. They are under my direct training, and I think they will be able to conduct this Movement.”
“Do you expect to name one person as your successor or have you already?”
“That I am not contemplating now,” Śrīla Prabhupāda told him, and indicated how he expected things to go on. “But there is no need of one person. As other things are managed, but by committee, so this can also be managed, and the committee may elect one person as chief. As, just like in the democracy there are senators and there is president, so it may be I may nominate or they can nominate.”
Then the reporter came to the subject of his previous visit, the moon. “When I interviewed you perhaps five or six years ago, it was before there were reports of the astronauts landing on the moon, and I asked you at that time what you thought about it, and you said that, as I recall, that they would not be able to land or explore, because spirits or creatures that lived on the moon would not allow it. The reports of course said that indeed people did land and explore and return safely. I understand you have further thoughts about that [at this point the devotees all broke out laughing], and you’ve even written a lot about it. I wonder if you could tell me, not at great length perhaps, but what your belief about those events is.”
Prabhupāda happily obliged. I don’t know if the reporter was present this morning for the class but Prabhupāda preached to him on the days of the week theme. “Yes. That question I was discussing the other day. In the common sense, gross sense, that all over the world, they accept Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, in this way Saturday last. So why these arrangement? Sunday first and Monday second, and nobody could reply it. But as a layman I can conclude that sun planet is first and the moon planet is next. So if you cannot go to the sun planet, which is ninety-three million miles away, how you can go to the moon planet within four days? Nobody could answer. Can you answer?”
“Well, I don’t think it’s worth the answer now, but I’m wondering what your response is.”
“But this is the arrangement all over the world. Sunday first, Monday second, then Tuesday. So Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, in this way. Last Saturn. This is the arrangement of the planets. So if this is the arrangement of the planets, moon day next to . . . Moon next to sun, and if you cannot go to the sun, how can you go to the moon?”
The man was becoming a bit perplexed. “Do you, in other words, do you believe that astronauts landed somewhere?”
“That is next question. First of all, whether you actually went to the moon, that is the first question. You have to conclude that you did not, because the sun planet is first, the moon planet is second. You cannot go to the sun planet, ninety-three millions of miles, how can you go to the moon planet?”
“Well, except that . . . ”
“According to our śāstra, the moon planet is above the sun planet, and the distance is 1,600,000 miles. So accepting that the sun is 93,000,000 miles away, then you add another 1,600,000, almost 2,000,000, it becomes 95,000,000 miles away. So if you go at the speed of 18,000 miles per hour, it takes more than six months. So how you go there in four days? And you advertise in the paper: ‘Now, they have reached.’ After four days.”
Rāmeśvara made a point to Śrīla Prabhupāda. “They don’t accept that the moon is further away.”
“They don’t accept, that is another thing, but we have got this information. How we can accept it?”
By this time the reporter was having a little trouble following the conversation, so Rāmeśvara clarified things for him. “I said to Prabhupāda that the modern man believes that the moon is closer, but Prabhupāda said, ‘But our ancient literatures teach that the moon is further away.’ So since we have that information, how can we accept the version of the modern scientists?”
Now the reporter was becoming a bit bewildered. It was obvious that for him that the moon landings were a fact. “Hmm, hmm,” he agreed doubtfully.
Prabhupāda again came back to his point of common sense observation. “Not only that. Why this arrangement that Monday and, Sunday first, Monday second?”
The reporter didn’t see it as that obvious. “Well, that doesn’t necessarily speak of distance.”
“Distance may not be,” Prabhupāda said, “but you have to accept the sun planet first, moon planet next.”
“Er . . . ”
“Distance is not the question,” Prabhupāda told him.
“OK,” the reporter consented.
“Why this arrangement: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday? There is some system. The system is, just like first, second, third, fourth. So it is naturally concluded the moon planet is next to the sun planet.”
Clearly not able to follow Prabhupāda’s line of thought, the reporter tried to bring things back to something he could grasp. “Do you feel—maybe you answered this, but I didn’t understand the answer—do you feel that astronauts did land somewhere, but it was some other planet?”
Prabhupāda’s answer was ambiguous; that wasn’t really his concern. “That may be. Or it may not be also.”
Tamal Krishna raised a point we had discussed on this morning’s walk. He wanted to see what Prabhupāda would say in front of the reporter, in order to know how to handle such questions himself. “What about that sometimes people ask us what about the pictures of man on the moon?”
And Rāmeśvara added, “They show man in a spacesuit walking on some other planet.”
Prabhupāda gave a little smile of skepticism. “That is also, what is called, argumentative. Somebody says it is laboratory arrangement.”
The reporter was also skeptical, but of Prabhupāda’s statement, “Hmm. Laboratory.”
Prabhupāda didn’t want to stray from his initial unanswered question; it is a significant point that no material scientist can answer satisfactorily. “Of course, we do not go into the details of this. My question is that why Sunday first and Monday second? Nobody can reply.”
The reporter left shortly after, satisfied with his interview, if not a little confused. It is obvious to men like this that Śrīla Prabhupāda is not a crank; he is lucid and highly intelligent and always speaks with authority based on books of vast knowledge and depth. He is both a scholar and a spiritual visionary. No one can refute what he says, even if they can’t understand it.
Rāmeśvara Mahārāja, in his usual efficient way, immediately sent the tape recording of the interview for transcribing, promising the reporter he would have it later in the day. He is doing this to make sure the article he writes accurately quotes Śrīla Prabhupāda.
* * *
While replying to his mail during his noon massage Prabhupāda also dictated a letter to Nitāi dāsa in Vṛndāvana. The more he hears about the sahajiyā group, the less he likes it and the more concerned he becomes. He has traced the roots of it back to Vṛndāvana and is actively stopping it before it develops into something more serious. “I have received information that some of our devotees are mixing with the babajis in Vrindaban. This has produced so many problems amongst our men and women who visit Vrindaban. Here in Los Angeles, we have found that there is a group of about 40 devotees who privately meet to discuss the intimate pastimes artificially thinking that they can enter into the understanding of the gopis prematurely. This will create havoc in our society, and the result will be that if this is allowed to go on, our preaching work will be greatly hampered. This premature desire to understand the lila of Krishna is due to mundane sex-life desire as we have seen amongst many of the babajis and sahajiyas in Vrindaban. Our Jagganath das came back from Vrindaban asking me that he had heard some babaji speaking about siddha-deha and he also was listening to these babajis. So I want this immediately stopped. If it continues, this mixing with the babajis, then it will mean spoiling. In many cases, these babajis keep 2 or 3 women. Asatsanga tyagi. Their association is to be avoided and prohibited amongst all of our devotees who visit Vrindaban.”
India continues to occupy his attention in other ways; letters came in from Abhirām dāsa, Gargamuni Swami and Saurabha dāsa. Prabhupāda sent lengthy replies to all three.
Abhirām’s report on the lake project was not very encouraging. Although the Calcutta municipal authorities are enthusiastic for us to spend a large amount of money to develop the piece of public property, there is one objection: they will not allow any structure with Deities in it. Abhirām said that after extensive inquiries, there seems to be no way around this.
He also responded to Prabhupāda’s previous request for information on the land in Puri—it is all sand. He said that anything within a mile of the beach is built on sand, and living further inland would not be so good because there would be no breeze and many mosquitoes.
Prabhupāda replied in a positive fashion, encouraging him to continue on with the lake project. He suggested we present it as a tourist attraction; if a statue is kept in a museum, it does not mean it is sectarian. He told him to say we are prepared to spend any amount of money to beautify the park and will invite tourists from all around the world. It will be an artistic exhibition which will glorify Vedic culture, so why will the corporation not agree? “So try for the sanctioning by all means. Somehow or other, by flattery or whatever, get it sanctioned. It is very important.”
As far as the land in Puri goes, Śrīla Prabhupāda told him he should check to see if any vegetation can grow, otherwise it will be desert and not suitable.
Gargamuni Mahārāja sent in his first GBC report, which was mainly positive. He had just arrived back in Māyāpur after two months traveling all over northern India with his buses. He and his men have had good success, selling over fifty standing orders valued at Rs. 40,000 and making thirty-five life members. They held programs in eleven different cities, and in one place a group of thirty Russian families attended. They joined in with the chanting and all took prasādam. The only real problem has been the heat, with some of his men getting sick. However, when they went into the mountainous regions their health improved, so his plan is to visit Kashmir next.
As far as Māyāpur is concerned, the news was mixed. Gargamuni is very dissatisfied with the pace of the work on the new long building. He ascribes this to inefficient supervision on our part, because our men are uneducated and inexperienced in building. He previously had visited Bombay and was very impressed with the new contractor’s work methods. Many jobs were being done simultaneously, all were efficiently supervised and the quality was good—we simply have to check the bills each month. He therefore suggests that we do the same in Māyāpur for any future construction.
On the other hand the land acquisition application seems to be progressing favorably. “During my stay in Mayapur I witnessed intense political activity amongst the villagers affected by the land acquisition. The government has notified the farmers of its intentions and wants to see their reaction. Already our enemies have submitted petitions against the idea to the Chief Minister. However we have sent our supporters into all the surrounding villages and have secured ten times the names the opposition has gathered. Every day village leaders from all different parties, including Congress, Communist, Socialist, Farmers, etc. are coming to speak to Jayapataka and all leave fully satisfied. Jayapataka has ample opportunity for preaching and so far all party leaders are satisfied. Most are concerned about receiving jobs for the different projects. Practically all the leaders have faith that this project will benefit the people and therefore I think they will give their support. Jayapataka is doing a fine job in this regard.”
Gargamuni also asked for funds to bolster our food relief program there, since it also helps create a favorable climate for the acquisition.
The day he arrived in Māyāpur was the same day Bhavānanda Mahārāja returned from his boat trip to the Sunderban on the “Nitāi-pada-kamala.” The boat party sold nearly three-thousand Gītār-gānas and when they went into Calcutta Harbour they were met by the Home Minister, Śrī Tarun Kanti Ghosh, and two police launches. “Mr. Ghosh climbed aboard the boat, offered his respects to Gaura Nitai, embraced Bhavānanda with tears rolling down his eyes and thanking Bhavānanda for starting such a program in West Bengal. Mr. Ghosh met the boat without any prior message given to him. In other words, he has some genuine regard for Your Divine Grace.” Gargamuni Mahārāja wanted to know if they could use motor launches, since this would make it easy to travel upstream rather than have to rely on the wind.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy with his report. He agreed that the future construction should be handled by a large and reliable contractor in the same fashion as Bombay. He was pleased to hear about Mr. Ghosh’s support, since this means the government will support our preaching program, so he told him it should continue on by whatever means they think necessary. “I simply want to see that the preaching goes on. That’s all.”
He had some practical advice for maintaining the health of the traveling party also. “In the hot climates, hold programs at nighttime, and the daytime can be used for resting. Also, green mango sherbert can be prepared. Roast the green mango, and take out the pulp. Mix this pulp with a little salt, black pepper, sugar, and make a liquid by adding some water, then drink it. This will give protection from stroke from the heat.”
After consulting with Rāmeśvara Mahārāja, he also informed Gargamuni that twenty-five thousand rupees will be sent from the Food Relief account in Los Angeles for their distribution program.
Finally, he voiced the same concerns about the Puri land that he had to Abhirām. He also added a short note asking for information on our land in Bhuvaneswar.
Saurabha prabhu’s letter was mainly concerning the Bombay project. Work is going smoothly, mainly all in brick and concrete, and in about one month the floors and woodwork will be started. In response to Prabhupāda’s inquiry where marriages might be held, Saurabha suggested the theater and its roof, since this can hold up to one and a half thousand people.
Although the devotees already worship Śrī Śrī Rādhā-rāsavihārī, new Deities of Sītā-Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, Hanumān and Gaura-Nitāi will also be installed. Since They will be shipped within the next two months, he inquired from Śrīla Prabhupāda whether there should be any change in the present standard of worship or any special type of arrangement, such as extra bhajanas, etc.? He enclosed sketches of three new siṁhāsanas they have ordered. Each one is different—Lord Caitanya’s is in Bengali style, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s is in Vṛndāvana style and Lord Rāma’s is in kingly style.
Saurabha’s practical experience that our men lack the expertise to manage such big buildings made him worry how they will be maintained. He suggested we try to attract older, experienced Indian men to take up this kind of service. This will leave our younger devotees free to go out and preach. He mentioned one local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Vyas, as possibilities.
Prabhupāda’s reply was brief on each point, giving clear directions. “Concerning the altars, it is not necessary to have three altars of different style. All the three altars should be of the same style. I am enclosing the copy of the style which I have approved for all three altars. This style is nice, the one which you had chosen for Lord Ramachandra’s altar, so you can use this style for all three.
“Your plan for holding marriages in the theatre, and on the threatre roof will be acceptable. What will be the expected income?
“For worshipping the Deities in Bombay, including Sita-Rama, there is absolutely no change in worship. Adopt the same method as in our Vrindaban centre, simply with 3 pujaris just like in Vrindaban. They are all Visnu-tattva, Ramachandra, Radha-Krsna, Gaura-Nitai. No additional kirtans, simply do exactly as in Vrindaban.
“Concerning using some Indian gentlemen for managing our buildings, that is a good idea. Mr. Vyas is a competent man, but the difficulty is that he is not joining.”
Bhūrijana prabhu also sent a letter from Dallas where he has settled with his wife and daughter. He began by expressing his thanks to Śrīla Prabhupāda for the personal care and attention he has shown them. “How can I thank you Prabhupada for taking so much trouble just to make me happy. It astounds me that although you have so many disciples and such a large organization, still you care for this insignificant soul who has nothing to give in return. It is the love and compassion of Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that is coming through you (sometimes with the strength of Lord Nrsinghadeva).”
He is now in charge of the Dallas gurukula and he gave a brief overview. It has been down-sized to about twenty children after the GBC decision to create smaller regional schools; he feels this was a good move as it is more manageable and economically more maintainable. He said the other benefit is that the children get more individual attention, “which is important as most of them come from unsteady pasts and are bereft of their parents at such a young age.”
Prabhupāda was happy to hear that he has taken his advice seriously and settled into some regular service within ISKCON. “Krishna is sending us so many children and they must be nicely guided and educated so that they can grow up to become first-class vaishnavas. Go on with your service now and do not be side-tracked and create unnecessary problems. If you simply follow the simple program that I have initiated you will be happy in this life time and in the end you will go back to home, back to Godhead.”
* * *
Later in the afternoon and again in the evening he gave press interviews. The reporters were rather dull-headed so Rāmeśvara once again had transcriptions made for them.
* * *
Tamal Krishna Goswami and Bali-mardana flew back to New York. They made a grand promise to develop the new center so that it will bring in at least one million dollars each month!
* * *
Sleeping on the upstairs landing just outside Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quarters, I occasionally hear him come out of his room to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. As he passes by I roll over in my sleeping bag onto my knees and offer my obeisances. Prabhupāda paused tonight and with concern asked, “So, you cannot sleep? You are suffering from insomnia?” And then, with mild amusement, he aded, “I also have the same disease.” Still, it was clear he would have preferred me to sleep.
June 8th, 1976
Today is Bhīma-nirjalā Ekādaśī.
During his walk Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to promote discussion on his thesis that God is the father and Nature is the mother. He argued that life cannot come from anything other than life, as we can see practically that every living being has been generated from another. The seed is implanted from the father and the mother provides the suitable conditions for the living entity to develop a body. Using the tree as an example, he said that this principle applies to all forms of life. The seed comes from the tree and grows in the ground—thus there is a father and a mother. Even with the bugs and cockroaches, which are said to be sveda-ja, produced from perspiration, this is true. The perspiration is the condition supplied by Mother Nature for the body to develop in. The father is God Himself, who puts the living entity into that situation via His agent Yamarāja.
It took me a while to grasp this concept, how something could be born from perspiration. When I told Prabhupāda it was confusing, he laughed. “Confusing must be. How you can understand the subtle laws of God? You have dull brain, with cow dung. You cannot understand.”
During the course of the discussion Prabhupāda confirmed that animals, like children, do not create karma because they are helplessly acting under the force of nature. The animals are souls suffering from previous sinful acts performed in the human life who are now being punished by birth in a lower species. They are receiving karma already created, like a prisoner in the jail who cannot do anything in the jail because he is strictly controlled. His duration of stay has already been decided by his previous acts and when his karma has been sufficiently mitigated by passage of time, he gets out. Similarly, the animals automatically move up through the different species, until they again come to the human form. Then again they can make choices which will either elevate them or degrade them.
Duryodhana-guru raised a question about our own situation. “Śrīla Prabhupāda, in Bhagavad-gītā it is said śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate. So, for somebody who is now a disciple of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, are we to understand if he is not born in a family of devotees and if he is not born in an aristocratic family, that he was not a yogi in his past life?”
“Past life, they had some good deeds,” Prabhupāda replied. “Therefore they have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is called ajñāta-sukṛti. Besides that, whatever he may be in the past life, the Movement is there; it is open for everyone. Everyone can come and take advantage, despite whatever he did in his past life. It doesn’t matter. If he comes and if he is fortunate, if he chants, then he becomes advanced.”
“This is Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s special mercy?” Duryodhana-guru asked.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda affirmed.
The devotees like to take advantage of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence to clear up any philosophical turbidity they or others might have. Even having full faith in Śrīla Prabhupāda and Kṛṣṇa, there are many things which are virtually inconceivable until one is liberated, as we have seen over the last few days. So the walks, which are almost the only chance most of the regular devotees get to engage in any kind of conversational exchange with Śrīla Prabhupāda, are peppered with a variety of different topics, some of which can be very revealing.
This morning Bharadvāja prabhu asked something directly applicable to Prabhupāda himself. “I understand, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that the pure devotee can be as pervasive as Supersoul? By the mercy of Supersoul, he can be present in many places at once?”
“Yes. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa,” Prabhupāda told him, “a devotee can become anything.”
“So in other words,” Duryodhana-guru asked, “that means the pure devotee can be omniscient?”
“Everything,” Prabhupāda confirmed. “God is omniscient, so a pure devotee can be omniscient by the grace of God.”
* * *
During guru-pūjā Śrīla Prabhupāda plays the gong. The devotees have supplied him a small gold-painted hammer with a decorative, jeweled handle. As the kīrtana went on today he tapped the brass cupola-shaped gong, producing a vibrant, hollow tone as it rested against the āsana’sleft front rail. Prabhupāda has an elegant way of sitting, upright, not slouched, his head tipped slightly up, moving from side-to-side in time with the rhythm. His alert eyes and mien of concentration and sobriety give him a distinct, regal aspect; yet in his face there is a subtle blend of soft approachability which invites us, one and all. He is our supreme commander and at the same time, one of the troops.
* * *
Class today on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.42 described the Yamadūtas’ response to the Viṣṇudūtas. “The sun, fire, sky, air, demigods, moon, evening, day, night, directions, water, land, and the Supersoul Himself all witness the activities of the living entity.”
Prabhupāda continued his morning walk theme. “In the Christian religion they do not believe karma, that I did something in my past life. ‘Where is the evidence that I did something; therefore I am suffering?’ They take the analogy just like a criminal in the court is convinced when there is sufficient witness; not that ‘I have complained against you, and you go to the court; you are punished.’ No. My charges against you should be corroborated by sufficient witness. So the Christian religionists, they do not believe in the next birth, transmigration of the soul, something like that. So they do not believe also in the fruitive activities’ resultant action of our past life. This very word witness . . . It is my personal experience. I was student in the Scottish Churches’ College, and we had to attend half an hour Bible class. So Dr. W. S. Urquhart, he was teaching, Reverend W. S. Urquhart. He said, I remember, that ‘Where is the evidence? The Hindus believe in the karma, but where is the evidence that I did it?’
“The answer is here. We may not compare our inefficiency with the arrangement of the Supreme Lord. Now, God has kept so many witnesses, how you can escape? Here is a list of witness. Sūrya first of all, the sun. So how you can escape sūrya’s light? You cannot escape. So here is one witness. Then agni, fire; then kham, the sky. Where there is no sky? Here we are sitting; there is sky. And there is light also. Then marut, air. Deva. Who is deva? Demigods, yes. Then soma; at night there is moon. Sandhyā, evening or noon. Noon is also sandhyā, means junction. When the night is going away, the day is coming early in the morning, that is also sandhyā. When midday, the forenoon is passing, the afternoon is beginning, that is also sandhyā. So every sandhyā, day and night together, whole day, twenty-four hours. Every day hundreds and thousands of living entities are dying. Still, one who is not dead, he is thinking, ‘I’ll not die. I’ll remain.’ This is the most wonderful thing. Everyone should be prepared for death.
“How you can hide your sinful activities? That is not possible. You can hide yourself from the material laws that ‘the police has not seen me; then I may escape.’ No. God’s law you cannot do that. That is not possible. We should remember it that when we act sinfully, then there are so many witnesses and we have to be punished. You cannot escape.”
He condemned the empirical attempts to gain knowledge employed by the modern scientists. “This is Vedic knowledge that ‘Don’t be simply after your, these defective eyes.’ What is the value of these eyes? There are so many things; just like this morning we were discussing. You take photograph from the sea, what you will see? But there are many millions of fishes within the sea; what you will take, photograph? They say that ‘We have taken photograph on the moon planet. There is no life.’ What is the value of this photograph? Can you take photograph in the water, how many fishes are there? So what is the value of your photograph? This is the difficulty, that these rascals, they do not accept that they are defective. With their defective senses they are thinking, ‘We are perfect. Because we have got a photograph, telescope; therefore it is sufficient.’ It is made by you. You are defective, and whatever you make, that is defective. This is the conclusion.”
He told us to take the example of the Yamadūtas who had heard about the laws of God from their authority; they never claimed to have understood through their own sense perception. He stressed it was necessary to hear from a person who has also heard. “You must if you want to learn. Otherwise you remain in darkness. This is Vedic injunction. Śuśruma. You must hear from the right source; then you will get perfect knowledge. So therefore, whether there is witness or not witness, we cannot understand from a so-called professor.”
* * *
Prabhupāda returned to Golden Avatara studios and finished his recording of “Gaurāṅgera duṭi pada,”playing the harmonium and then the mṛdaṅga. Nalinī-kānta dāsa sat next to him holding the song book as he played, and Yadubara filmed the event. Both Bharadvāja and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa tried to play the mṛdaṅga, but neither could get the beat, so Prabhupāda provided the accompaniment himself. We were amazed at his expertise, for he has not played in several years. He sat back with the drum on his lap. Pointing to it he laughingly said that his father had wanted him to learn this. “He never wanted me to be a worldly man,” he smiled.
* * *
The leading members of the sahajiyā group wrote a letter to Prabhupāda apologizing for “jumping like monkeys.” Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja delivered it and reported that they had obeyed Prabhupāda’s order and stopped having any further meetings. Unfortunately, a short while later he came back and informed Prabhupāda that Purañjana dāsa had abandoned his service at the Spanish BBT and blooped. “And you said he was sincere!” Prabhupāda remarked to Hṛdayānanda.
* * *
Trivikrama Mahārāja came in the afternoon to report that he will be flying to Hong Kong to begin his China preaching right after Śrīla Prabhupāda leaves Los Angeles. He also brought what he said was the very first newsclipping of Prabhupāda in America, printed in the Butler Eagle in 1965 just a few days after Śrīla Prabhupāda had first landed in America. It had a wonderful photo of him looking innocent and humble, a saintly, scholarly person holding his Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It was accompanied by a brief description of his activities and intentions, describing him as an “ambassador of bhakti-yoga.”
Prabhupāda was surprised and happy to see it and fondly recalled how he was first sponsored to come here through a chance meeting. He was full of smiles as he recalled the events. “So I did not say anything seriously, but perhaps he took it very seriously, Gopāla’s father. So he might have written to Gopāla that ‘Swami Bhaktivedanta wants to go to America. If you sponsor, then he can go.’ So whatever the correspondence was there between the father and son, I did not know. I simply asked him, ‘Why don’t you ask your son Gopāla to sponsor so that I can go there? I want to preach there.’ So after some months, three, four months, the No Objection Certificate from the Indian embassy in New York, Gopāla sent to me, yes, that he had already sponsored my arrival there for one month. So all of a sudden I got the paper, No Objection Certificate by the Indian embassy. After so much inquiry, I learned that so much inquiry was done and so on, so on. Then I tried to take a passport and paper process. So I got the passport. Then I approached that Sumati Morarji. She once gave me five hundred rupees in exchange of my Bhāgavata book, so I approached her, that ‘Give me one ticket.’ They have got their shipping company, Scindia Navigation. So she said, ‘Svāmījī, you are so old, you are taking this so responsibility. Do you think it is right?’ ‘No, it is all right.’ At that time, I was seventy years old. So all the secretary, they thought that ‘Svāmījī is going to die there.’ Anyway, they gave me the ticket, one return free ticket by their ship. Then arrangement was going on. So there is another process to get a P-form sanctioned by the state government. So it was applied for. No sanction was coming. Then I went to the State Bank of India, the officer Mr. Bhattacari. So he told me: ‘Svāmījī, you are sponsored by private man. So we cannot accept it. If you are invited by some institution, then we could consider, but you are invited by a private man for one month, and, after one month, if you are in difficulty, and there will be so much obstacles and so on.’ ‘Well, I have already prepared everything to go.’ So I said that ‘You, what you have done?’ ‘No, I have decided not to sanction your P-form.’ ‘No, no, don’t do this. You better send to your superior. It should not be done like that.’ So he took my request and he sent the file to chief officer of foreign exchange, something like that. Anyway, he is the supreme man in the State Bank of India. So I went to see him. So I asked his secretary that ‘You have got such file? You kindly put to Mr. Rao, ‘I want to see him.’ So the secretary agreed, and he put the file and put my slip that I wanted to see him. I was waiting. So Mr. Rao came personally. He said, ‘Svāmījī, I have passed your case. Don’t worry.’ In this way.”
“So it is a great history. There was two days I was attacked in heart on the ship. So hardship.”
Not wanting to miss any drop of the nectar of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s recollections of the momentous events, Tri- vikrama prompted him to go on. “Then you had a dream?”
“Hmm,” Prabhupāda said thoughtfully, but a little reluctant to reveal anything further.
I hadn’t heard this kind of detail so I also wanted him to continue. “What was that, Śrīla Prabhupāda?”
Prabhupāda smiled bashfully. “That is . . . The dream was I must come here.”
“It was some instruction that you got?” I asked, eager to delve but trying not to demand.
“The dream was that Kṛṣṇa in His many forms was, bowing the row—what is called?”
“Rowing the boat?” I offered.
“Yes. And when I arrived in Boston I wrote that poetry.” He continued for a few minutes describing his first year in brief, how he kept extending his visa and how another heart attack forced him to return to India because he thought he was going to die. When he boarded the plane he said that Brahmānanda and the others were all crying, thinking he would not return. But six months later he did come back. And shortly after that this Los Angeles center was started in earnest.
It was wonderful to sit and hear him recall his efforts to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and again it drove home the great personal sacrifice he made, ultimately just for our benefit.
* * *
The garden sessions are continuing, and Śrīla Prabhupāda spends at least two hours or more discussing Kṛṣṇa consciousness from various angles with devotees and guests. Acyutānanda Swami’s father came today and Śrīla Prabhupāda greeted him warmly.
* * *
Once again Prabhupāda and Hayagrīva discussed St. Thomas Aquinas as well as Duns Scotus. Hayagrīva should be finished with his interviews by the time Śrīla Prabhupāda leaves Los Angeles.
June 9th, 1976
As we drove out to Santa Monica for the walk this morning, Rāmeśvara Mahārāja told Prabhupāda that he had heard that the demigods like the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement so much that they are standing in line to take birth it.
Prabhupāda smiled. “Yes. They like to come here on this planet. Just like you Kṛṣṇa conscious men, you are very much enthusiastic to go to India. India has no material attraction, but why our men wanted to go to India in spite of so many difficulties? Similarly, in the higher planet, heavenly planet, they are so much engrossed with material happiness that there is no facility. But here there is facility, in this earth, Bhūrloka. Bhogaiśvarya-prasaktānāṁ tayāpahṛta-cetasām. One who is too much attached to material convenience and everything, they have no opportunity for Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”
And wherever there is Śrīla Prabhupāda and Rāmeśvara Swami, there must also be talk about books. Rāmeśvara praised Śrīla Prabhupāda for his prolific literary output. “People are surprised that you have written so many books. They cannot understand how you could write so much. They wonder whether you were a great Sanskrit scholar for many years, so they try to guess. They just can’t imagine anyone writing so much.”
Prabhupāda modestly acknowledged the compliment. “We are exceeding all material authors; except Vyāsadeva. One book, seventeen volumes, Caitanya-caritāmṛta. That is also . . . So many, our Godbrothers, attempted.”
“Have any of your Godbrothers translated anything?” I asked curiously.
Prabhupāda shook his head. “They died halfway finished,” he said, somewhat wryly.
Rāmeśvara said, “They wonder where you have made the time to study so much about ancient Indian culture that you could write so much. They cannot understand that. There is a biography of Your Divine Grace in the Bhāgavatam that mentions different things, and they just can’t understand how you could know so much. It is beyond material. . .”
Prabhupāda smilingly narrated an incident he is fond of recalling. “One young man in Tokyo or some airport, very nice young man. He came, I was sitting. ‘Svāmījī, can I talk with you?’
“So, ‘I have seen your photograph. Where you have got so much vast knowledge?’
“And I . . . ‘It is not my knowledge; it is Vyāsadeva’s knowledge.’ So his first question was . . . Intelligent boy.”
* * *
etair adharmo vijñātaḥ sthānaṁ daṇḍasya yujyate
sarve karmānurodhena daṇḍam arhanti kāriṇaḥ
Pradyumna led the devotees in chanting the Sanskrit and the word-for-word meanings. Then he loudly read out the translation of verse forty-three: “The candidates for punishment are those who are confirmed by these many witnesses to have deviated from their prescribed regulative duties. Everyone engaged in fruitive activities is suitable to be subjected to punishment according to his sinful acts.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that although Yamarāja’s business is to punish the sinful living beings, the purpose is correction, it is not done out of envy. Using his favorite example of how the finger is meant to serve the rest of the body, he told that because the living beings are parts and parcels of the Supreme, dharma therefore means that the part should serve the whole, and adharma is the unnatural condition of trying to be separate from God. This human form is the chance to correct ourselves and learn how to serve Kṛṣṇa. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the best means to take advantage of this opportunity.
He stressed the necessity of hearing and chanting and said that there are different levels of religious activity to take us from the sinful stage to the liberated, fully surrendered stage. Lord Buddha gave śūnyavāda, nihilism. When a person is too sinful, then first the sinful life has to stop. That is Buddhism. Later on, Śaṅkara gave the impersonal idea, that there is something positive also—negate the material world but come to Brahman.But he did not disclose what is Brahman.Then the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas gave the complete picture, describing the Supreme in His personal feature.
As he surveyed the crowded, gorgeously decorated temple room, so clearly full of life and vibrant spirituality, he stressed the need to take advantage of the opportunity we have in contacting this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. “We are forgetful of Kṛṣṇa since a very, very long time and going within the cycle of birth and death, transmigration. So we get the opportunity, this human form of life. So we must revive our consciousness by going through, by understanding, by hearing these literatures. Our position is: we have forgotten God. But this forgetfulness can be subdued, and we can revive our original consciousness. Just like a man sleeping, but if you call him again and again, ‘Mr. Such and such, get up. Get up. Now your time is to go to office and do this, to do that.’ Similarly, although we are sleeping on the lap of māyā, so we can be awakened by simply this chanting process: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. So this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra will cleanse our heart. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to cleanse the heart of the human being and kick out all dirty things, and concentrate on devotional service of Kṛṣṇa. And the beginning is sṛṇvatāṁ, this process. It doesn’t require that you should be very rich man or you should be very educated or so on, so on. No. In whatever position you are, remain. There is no question of artificial improvement. There is no question. You remain. Simply God has given you the ear. Utilize it properly. That’s all.”
Then he gave practical proof of its potency. “So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is opening so many centers just to give people opportunity to hear. This was a church, and nobody was coming here, and therefore it was sold to us. You are all belonging to America, Los Angeles, and the church also was there. Now why it is crowded? It is not that you are imported from India to hear about Krsna. So if there is substance, they will hear. If there is no substance, who will hear? That is the difference. So substance is here. Ataeva kṛṣṇa veda-purāṇa karilā. You hear these Vedas and Purāṇas and make your life successful. Thank you very much.”
* * *
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu is back in India after a successful trip to Russia. He sent two letters within days of each other, along with typed copies of book reviews he garnered from Russian professors. He reported on the new arrangements in Vṛndāvana as well as his BBT work. It seems there is some disagreement developing between him and Yaśodānandana Swami. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa is of the opinion that, without any authorization, Yaśodānandana Mahārāja wants to have his own book printing independent of Bombay BBT.
Prabhupāda replied to both his letters together. He was very concerned to hear that despite our having now occupied the new property in Vṛndāvana, the Taparia house, our guesthouse is still being used for housing women and children and the mukut business. “In your letter to me of May 4, 1976 from Vrindaban you said: concerning the Taparia house, ‘Dhananjaya and his wife and other grihasthas will live on that land (house) . . . Three or four brahmacarinis who are working on the mukhats can also live there.’ You suggested like this, so if some women can live there, why not all? Somehow or other, the guesthouse must be freed from all encumbrances. It will be absolutely used by guests. I have received reliable reports that on account of the devotees staying there, guests were sometimes refused places because all the rooms were taken up by the devotees there. Also, the fact that the mukat business takes up 8-10 rooms is very bad. The guest house cannot be occupied by anything. It is already spoiled, and they must move. Why there are so many women in Vrindaban? Vrindaban is meant for retirement, elderly persons in Krishna Consciousness can devote all their time to devotional service. Such men are wanted to live in Vrindaban, not women and children. That is a fact, the holy dhamas are meant for the sanyasis and brahmacaris especially. If necessary, the management must be done by sannyasis and brahmacaris, not grihasthas.”
As far as the brewing dispute over the printing operations, Prabhupāda wasn’t happy that he personally had to settle the issue and he made his position very clear. “The printing should be managed by the BBT. Yasodanandan Swami is printing through the agency of the BBT, simply for convenience sake due to the inefficiency of the order department in Bombay. Even a letter from Fiji was not replied. However, the accounts should be kept by the BBT. The printing of Yasodanandan Swami is only for some small books. The quality of the big books must remain, and so they should not be printed by Yasodanandan Swami independently. So you can keep the account what is being sold, and what is the profit. But what is the wrong if Yasodanandan Swami prints the books on behalf of BBT for convenience. You are accusing him of so many bogus complaints. What is bogus? What is genuine? If all these complaints come to me it is too much taxation for me.”
Finally, although he was glad about the reception of his books in Russia, he told Gopāla his typed up versions of the reviews were virtually useless. They were simply dictated to Gopāla but not written by the professors themselves. “Then what is the value of such testimonial? Please clear it. Testimonial means it must be written or typed on their official letterhead, and duly signed by them. If it is not so, then what is the value of it?”
* * *
Rāmeśvara Swami and Rādhāballabha delivered the latest volume of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the second part of the Seventh Canto, to Śrīla Prabhupāda in mid-afternoon. Śrīla Prabhupāda was beaming with pleasure. He carefully inspected it, looking through the many beautiful paintings that depict the killing of the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva.
Prabhupāda was laughing as he described the fight. “ ‘All right, let me see how your strength is coming. Now I shall kill you, come on. Let me see how your God is coming to save you.’ This is atheism, challenging. And when He appeared, Hiraṇyakaśipu became a fly in front of . . . Eh? Where is such language? Even there are many Sanskrit scholars now, they cannot produce such language. That is not possible. And five thousand years before, Vyāsadeva presented this unique language.”
Rāmeśvara informed him that it was the twentieth volume of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam now in print.
“Out of sixty. Still forty,” Prabhupāda said. “Twenty already printed, and two or three ready for being printed.”
“But this is the bulk of the cantos, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” Hayagrīva mused.
Rāmeśvara reminded him that the Tenth Canto will be very long and Prabhupāda gave the breakdown. “Tenth Canto will be like Caitanya-caritāmṛta, fifteen volumes, Tenth Canto. Generally six chapters a volume, eh? So there are ninety chapters. That means minimum fifteen volumes, and maybe more. We have presented Kṛṣṇa book, just a summary study, not explained. But when it will be explained, with each and every śloka, purport, then it will be not less than fifteen volumes. Tenth Chapter is the face of the Lord. We have described the legs, hands, belly, that’s all, and Tenth Chapter is the face, smiling face. Therefore we should not jump over to the face all at once. It must go from the legs, gradually, and then face, then forehead, then hair. Eleventh, Twelfth, finished, the whole body of Kṛṣṇa. Hmm. So thank you very much.”
As he looked over the new volume, admiring the high quality of the presentation, Kīrtanānanda Swami arrived. He had flown in from Pittsburgh especially to view the premiere of a new film made by Yadubara dāsa about New Vrindaban, called Spiritual Frontier. He brought with him some homemade ice cream and a considerable quantity of delicious New Vrindaban sweets.
Prabhupāda greeted him warmly, asking about his health and how things were going in New Vrindaban.
“The devotees are all anxious for you, to see,” Kīrtanānanda said.
Prabhupāda broke out in a grin, and looking at Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja’s old friend he joked, “Yes. And Hayagrīva Mahārāja is being forced?”
“You should cane me more, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” Hayagrīva joined in, appreciating the affectionate attention.
“No,” Prabhupāda laughed. “Kṛṣṇa is very cunning. One may try to leave Him, but He is not going to leave you. Once come, ‘No sir, you cannot go out.’ Just like our Ajāmila. He was devotee in the beginning, and later on, by bad association of prostitute, he fell, but Kṛṣṇa took him at the end. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt. Kṛṣṇa gave him chance to give him a son. He kept the son’s name Nārāyaṇa. So on account of affection of the son, he was chanting, ‘Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa.’ Just Kṛṣṇa is so kind that ‘All right, this rascal is going out of My hand. All right, give him a child, Nārāyaṇa. He will chant, “Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa,” and that will be his credit.’ Ajñāta-sukṛti. Na janma-koṭi-sukṛtibhir api labhyate. Sukṛti, pious activities, of many millions of birth is not equal to love of Godhead. ‘Purchase Kṛṣṇa consciousness anywhere it is available.’ What is the price? Tatra laulyam ekalaṁ mūlyam: ‘Only greediness, hankering. That is the price.’ ‘Oh, that I have got.’ ‘No, no. Na janma-koṭi-sukṛtibhir api labhyate. You cannot obtain this price even after millions of births’ pious activities.’”
As he took some fresh juice and a little prasādam he noticed that I laid out a new silver spoon. He asked about it casually and I told him it was a gift from a few of the devotees. He didn’t inquire further and I was relieved. I had forgotten his original solid silver one in Hawaii and when we arrived I had to ask the devotees to buy him a new one.
Prabhupāda asked Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja if he had seen the new book, offering to give him one. Kīrtanānanda said they were getting better and better.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda happily agreed. “And our Rāmeśvara Mahārāja is guiding them.”
Most of the other sannyāsīs were there and Prabhupāda was in an expansive mood, so he told Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja to open up his closet and had him give one of his personal kurtās to each sannyāsī.
Before going down into the temple room to see the film he also had time to give a short personal darśana to Jay Warner, a young lawyer who has been giving a great deal of help to the devotees here and charging only his own costs. Jay appreciates the Movement and the devotees, although it was evident from his questions that a full grasp of our philosophy has not yet dawned in his consciousness. Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy to offer his help and guidance.
“I do have one question,” Jay asked. “How can one establish faith in the principle of reincarnation? How can one come to believe in it?”
“That is very simple thing,” Prabhupāda told him. “That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Now, you were a child. That’s a fact. Were you not a child?”
“Where is that body?”
“Where is the body of the child?”
“Yes. You were a child. Where is that body?”
“It has grown into a man.”
“Grown, or it is changed?” Prabhupāda said. “The same thing. But that child, that body, is no more existing. Is it not?”
“Yes,” Jay agreed, “it is gone.”
“The body may vanquish, but you are going through. That is incarnation. The child body is vanquished; it is no more existing. Either you say grow or I may say it has changed, that body is finished. Is it not?”
Jay understood the point but he had still had some doubts. “The difficulty for me reaches the moment, retroactively, before the moment of birth, or past the moment of death. How can one come to have faith that there is life after one leaves his body?”
“This is the proof,” offered Prabhupāda. “A child may not understand that, after his childhood body, there is another body, boyhood body or youthful body. He may not understand. But that is the fact. If the child says, ‘There is no more body. This is the final body,’ that is not the fact. He is going to get another body which is boy’s body, young man’s body, old man’s body. Similarly, you may believe or not believe, you are going to get another body. The proof is that you have no more the child’s body; you have got a different body. The common sense reasoning.”
Although what he had told Jay was simple, clear and logical, something was holding him back from accepting it. “That is true. But the difficulty for me is that although my spirit wants to believe in transmigration, the scientific upbringing that was inculcated in me from a child has a hard time . . . ”
Prabhupāda perked. “What is that scientific?”
“Through empirical evidence, through evidence . . . ”
“This is evidence,” he told Jay. “I ask you to show me your childhood body. Where it is? Can you show? That is finished. So if the childhood body finished, you get another body, boyhood body. Similarly, the conclusion should be that after this body—I am old man; it will be finished—then I’ll get another body.”
“That makes sense.”
“Very common sense,” Prabhupāda told him. “But we are so dull-headed we cannot understand.”
Then he gave him the example of a film strip as further evidence to make sure he understood. “There are hundreds of bodies in the film, and when they are played, it seems that it’s the same—one man is moving—but actually, in the film there are hundreds of bodies, but it is changing so swiftly it appears one.”
Now Jay began to catch on. “A man’s eye cannot see it changing.”
“Yes. By nature’s law it is changing every second in such swift way that we cannot understand.”
“How does one give up the fear of dying?”
“There is no death,” Śrīla Prabhupāda told him positively. “You change body. Because the body is lost, you are no more, you do not possess the childhood body, youth-hood body, that does not mean you are dead. You are living; the body has changed. But because we do not know the science, we think, ‘The body is finished; therefore he’s dead.’ Therefore you have to learn Bhagavad-gītā—na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit [“The soul never takes birth nor dies at any time.” Bg. 2.20]”
* * *
After his short meeting with Jay it was time for Śrīla Prabhupāda to go downstairs for the film premiere. All the devotees had gathered for the occasion and the temple was completely packed with expectant and excited devotees. Before the movie was shown Jayaśacīnandana prabhu led the whole assembly in singing Prabhupāda’s Bengali poem, Mārkine bhāgavata-dharma as Śrīla Prabhupāda sat listening on his vyāsāsana. Then the lights went off and the film was screened.
Prabhupāda really enjoyed it, and at one point in the film, as some wholewheat purīs sizzled and inflated in a ghee-filled wok, a big smile appeared on his face and he reached out as if to pick one out and eat it.
Agreeing that it was Yadubara’s best to date, everyone loved the film and Prabhupāda’s verdict was very favorable. Kīrtanānanda Swami gave a short speech praising Yadubara and glorifying Śrīla Prabhupāda for giving us such a wonderful way of life. Śrīla Prabhupāda also had a few words of gratitude. He told us, “When I came here I was thinking, ‘How horrible a place, where there are so many slaughterhouses to kill the cow,’ but here we are protecting them.” He praised Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja because he was putting his instructions into practice.
June 10th, 1976
This morning it rained, so Prabhupāda said he would “take his walk in the car.” Accompanied by Kītanānanda Swami and Rāmeśvara Mahārāja, Śrīla Prabhupāda sat comfortably in the back. He occasionally made comments about the passing scenery, chanted japa, and responded to our questions and remarks. While the car plied along Wilshire Boulevard and around the opulence of Beverly Hills, taxes and government became the focus of conver-sation. Rāmeśvara Mahārāja said, “You have written in the Fourth Canto that because the government is so expert in taxing, the people are becoming so expert in cheating the government to avoid the taxes. So the government is simply training the people how to cheat.”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda nodded in agreement.
“And then you wrote that one day the taxes will become so great that the people will revolt, refuse to pay, and then the government will be finished. There will be chaos. You’re giving all these warnings, Śrīla Prabhupāda. You’ve also warned them about taking the oil from the earth.”
“Yes. I think of these things,” Prabhupāda smiled. “There is analogy, just like when you fly in the sky, you take sufficient petrol in the wings, sufficient, so many thousands of gallons. And if there is no petrol, then you’ll fall down. So I theorize these things, that these planets are floating in the air on account of petrol. If you finish the petrol stock, then we drop. Analogy. Indirectly, my desire is that ‘Why you are wasting your time in this way? Your life is short here. Then utilize it for self-realization.’ What is the use of this civilization, civilization that for artificial necessities of life you waste your whole duration of life and next life you become a cat or dog? Suppose you are successful in this life manufacturing these big, big skyscrapers; next life, if you become a cockroach in the same house, toilet room . . . There is possibility. You have to change your body, and there is no guarantee that you’ll have to change in this type of body. Any body. The cockroach is also a body. Therefore they don’t believe in the next life.”
“You said they have developed so many different weapons, so they must use them. They will not waste their time making nuclear bombs and so on without using them,” Rāmeśvara said.
“That means it is ordained by God,” Prabhupāda replied. “That ‘You have manufactured this, and use it for your destruction.’ That is nature’s way.”
As the car glided past Twentieth Century Fox film studios, Rāmeśvara allowed himself to indulge in a little speculative extrapolation, just to get Prabhupāda’s reaction. “When they have this war it will reduce everything, just finish off all the industries and factories. So everything will be reduced to a primitive stage.”
“No,” Prabhupāda told him. “They will again repair.” He cited recent history as evidence. “Just like Germany was finished. The American planes bombed in such a way that Germany was finished, very heavily bombed. One lady in Hamburg, she was showing me one wall, big wall, building dismantled, and it has become black on account of bombing. She was showing me how injustice they have been done.”
“So then after the war, nothing will change. System of government, the industries, everything will just be rebuilt.”
“They’ll try at least,” Prabhupāda said. “Just like after the Second World War, Germany or England finished. They could not recoup; they are now poverty-stricken. Germany is little recouped, but England is finished. Therefore I say India got independence not due to Gandhi, it is due to Hitler. That is my opinion.”
We put aside our Western-oriented view of history as Prabhupāda gave his analysis of the true cause of India’s emancipation. “I have got reason. The Hitler fighting with England made them smashed, so their political power became nil almost, and on this opportunity, Hitler helped Subash Chandra Bose, one of the leaders of India, to organize Indian National Army. This Indian National Army, when they attacked, at least made a show of attack from Imphal, especially on Calcutta dropped bombs, and the whole Calcutta became vacant. Perhaps myself and a few others remained. I sent my sons . . . Of course, daughter was married, but they were sent to Navadvīpa, Śrīdhara Mahārāja’s āśrama. My wife refused to go out of Calcutta. She said, ‘I’ll be bombed maybe, but I’ll not go out.’” Śrīla Prabhupāda laughed. “So I had to remain in Calcutta. So I’ve seen bombing and Calcutta all vacant. And one day I was eating in the evening, night—immediately bombing. Kacaurī . . . I was hungry, but the eating finished.”
Of course, I have heard Śrīla Prabhupāda’s analysis before. Only a couple of days ago he was telling an Indian visitor his views, and how he felt it was his old school friend Subash Chandra Bose who actually forced the British out of India. Yet I am always eager to hear more. I asked how frequently they were bombing Calcutta.
“Almost daily, but it was meant for bombing the European quarters. So when the Britishers saw that ‘Now this Subash Bose has organized I.N.A. Outside India, all the Indians, they contributed money, especially from Singapore, Hong Kong, this side— all the Indians, they contributed sufficiently. And he got men from the fighting Indian soldiers. The Britishers, they were fighting with Indian soldiers, with Germany and Japan and others. So the contract with Hitler and Subash Bose was this, that ‘All the Indian soldiers which you arrest in the war, please give me them. Then I shall organize.’ So the soldiers, when they understood they’re being arrested—’We shall go to Indian side’—they voluntarily surrendered. So Hitler, all others, Hitler and Japan, Tojo, arrested them and gave them to Subash Chandra Bose, and he was organizing in Singapore.”
“He had a large army?” I asked.
“Large or small, whatever; there was. But England had no soldiers. Whatever they did, fight, with the Indian soldiers, Gurkha and Sikh. Indian money, Indian soldiers, everything Indian—they were fighting. So when the Britishers saw that ‘The nationalism has come amongst the soldiers. It is not possible to maintain the Empire,’ they voluntarily gave independence. ‘Better give us good relations, and our business . . . Make some agreement. But before departing, make them weak and divide Pakistan and India.’”
“That the British arranged,” Rāmeśvara said.
“Yes. Because they are doing these things in Ireland, Germany. That is their business: divide and rule. Before leaving India, immediately they partitioned. Burma was Indian. Ceylon was Indian. So they had already divided. Now England is finished. Their aristocrat-type statues are now rolling on the ground. Who takes care? Their Lennon? John Lennon and George Harrison, they are purchasing big, big palaces.”
Being born in England I had to agree. “All the aristocracy, they just go out to work like anyone else.”
“The lords are roaming on the street. I have seen many lords,” Prabhupāda said. “They’re ordinary . . . Even they haven’t got car. The Queen also, just like ordinary, common man—Royal family.”
Rāmeśvara ventured that one day America would be poor like that also.
“Yes. Luxury leads to poverty,” Śrīla Prabhupāda observed. “When the American becomes too much luxurious, they will not be able to defend their country. Then it will be finished.”
“That is the fear even now, that America has lost their fighting spirit against the Communists,” Rāmeśvara said.
“Oh, yes, yes. Vietnam. It is proof. When the Vietnam is attacked, American soldiers, they began to fly, flee away, became afraid. Naturally. They were not soldiers. They have no fighting spirit. By force they have been made soldiers.” He paused for a moment and then gave his solution. “Let them take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. America will be saved.”
Being one of the leading organizers of book distributon in America, Rāmeśvara Mahārāja naturally thinks a lot about the future impact of our Movement on society. He likes to solicit Prabhupāda’s comments and direction on our activities, so he brought up the comment made previously about the duration of the Movement in this Kali-yuga. “You said a few days ago, that this Movement will go on unimpeded for ten thousand years, so . . . ”
Prabhupāda interrupted to add an important proviso. “Yes, provided we keep it uncontaminated. You should take this opportunity.”
“So after ten years we have gotten so many devotees and so many houses, so I can’t imagine how big this Movement will be after ten thousand years.”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda said. “You’ll get the government.”
Trying to take in the full import of Prabhupāda’s short statement Rāmeśvara asked, “The whole world will be delivered?”
Prabhupāda was sure of it.“Yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhaḥ. America will be the best; people will follow. They are already following—skyscraper building, that’s all. Any nation in the world, they are all aspiring to have skyscraper buildings. Full of skyscraper buildings. Now they are thinking this is opulence, skyscraper building. When you are giving it up, no more skyscraper building, the others are imitating.”
As the car drew up to the temple Rāmeśvara made one final point. “All the instructions for the future—like you said that one day even we will have the goverment—how to run the government, everything is explained in your books.”
“Yes. I think like that,” Prabhupāda chuckled. “Is there mention, ‘The slaughterhouse must stopped’?”
“You’ve given all the major policies for the future government, Kṛṣṇa consciousness government,” Rāmeśvara assured him.
Śrīla Prabhupāda tipped his head slightly to the side. “Let us hope,” he said modestly.
* * *
Class followed on today with Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.44. Pradyumna loudly read out the Sanskrit and then the translation. “O inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭha, you are sinless, but those within this material world are all karmīs, whether acting piously or impiously. Both kinds of action are possible for them because they are contaminated by the three modes of nature and must act accordingly. One who has accepted a material body cannot be inactive, and sinful action is inevitable for one acting under the modes of material nature. Therefore all the living entities within this material world are punishable.”
Here, Prabhupāda said, we have to work, no matter who we are or how powerful we might be. He gave an apt example from the animal kingdom. “In the forest the lion is supposed to be the mightiest animal, and he is sometimes called the king of the animals, paśu-rāja. So in one place it is said that even the lion who is the king of the forest, if he sleeps and he thinks that animals will come and enter in his mouth, that is not possible. He has to also find out how to eat. Na hi suptasya siṁhasya praviśanti mukhe mṛgāḥ. The lion is so powerful, but he cannot also dictate.”
Telling the story of how a small rabbit, with a little intelligence, killed a big lion, Prabhupāda described intelligence as a symptom of the mode of goodness, the quality of the higher section of society.“So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to create a section of the human society—real brāhmaṇa, intelligence. And the intelligence means Veda.”
He explained that whichever mode of nature one is influenced by determines what one’s actions will be. “Now, here is temple, and a few yards after this temple there may be a brothel, there may be liquor house. So somebody is coming here, and somebody is going there. So what is the reason? Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya. One is attached to sattva-guṇa; one is attached to rajo-guṇa; one is attached . . . But everyone is working, and that working must be under the influence of one of these three qualities.”
He described how the living entity gradually develops proper intelligence and good qualities by elevation through the modes of nature, coming finally to the transcendental platform. After decrying the falsely intelligent scientists, who he said cannot go to the moon planet unless they are in the mode of goodness, he allowed us a deeper insight into the prayers which we sang last night, that he wrote on his arrival in America on Boston pier. “Therefore in my poetry, on the strength of śāstra, I said that rajas tamo guṇe erā sabāi ācchanna, bāsudeb-kathā ruci nahe se prasanna: ‘Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied; therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vāsudeva. So I do not know how they will be able to understand it.’
“Actually that is the fact. Everyone, so many swamis and yogis, come in this country. So they advertise in India that they went out of India for preaching Vedānta,but being influenced, what Vedāntathey learned? When they returned to India, they have learned how to entice women and how to eat meat. This is their Vedānta. Because kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya—if you are not strong enough, then association will induce or influence. If you are not a Vaiṣṇava, then if you go in a brothel or a liquor house, then you will be influenced by the drunkards and prostitute-hunters. But if you are strong enough, then you will give your effect of association; they will be Vaiṣṇavas. That is the difference.”
As an example of the effects of association he told us about “Typhoid Mary.” “Many people were suffering, but she was not suffering. So by analysis of the blood, it was found that this girl . . . the blood was full of typhoid germs, but she was so strong that she could resist. She was not suffering, but wherever she used to go, everyone was infected with typhoid. So that is the explanation. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya. If you are strong enough, then the lower qualities will not affect you. And if you are not strong, if you are weak yourself, then where you are going to convert, they will induce their infectious quality, and you will be victimized.”
He said that lust and greed are the symptoms of the two lower modes of nature. “And if one is not greedy and lusty—satisfied in every circumstance, and is Kṛṣṇa conscious or trying to become Kṛṣṇa conscious—then it is sattva-guṇa. He is turned. Just like our students. Little association with this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, they immediately come to sattva-guṇa, at least officially. Although rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa was there, but it overlaps. So how it overlaps? What is this process? Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ/ hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi vidhunoti suhṛt satām. Kṛṣṇa is within everyone. If we simply hear the words and instruction of Kṛṣṇa, this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā—full of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, Kṛṣṇa’s instruction—if we hear this, especially these two books, then you become pious. There is no need of separate attempt. By hearing the message of God, gradually you become devotee. This is the process, how to transcend the material qualities. That is explained.
“So this, my song . . . I was thinking on board the ship that rajas tamo guṇe erā sabāi ācchanna, bāsudeb-kathā ruci nahe se prasanna. Nobody is interested. At the present moment, everyone is covered by the rajas-tamaḥ, the base qualities, ignorance and passion, so they have no interest in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So these can be counteracted simply by hearing about Kṛṣṇa. So therefore I wrote, tabe jadi taba kṛpā hoy ahaitukī, sakal-i sambhava hoy tumi se kautukī, that God is all-powerful, Kṛṣṇa is all-powerful. He can do everything impossible, possible. So whatever is being done in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, don’t think that it is my influence. It is Kṛṣṇa’s. Kṛṣṇa can do everything. He can change sattva-guṇa into tamo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa into rajo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa into sattva-guṇa. That is as He likes. Just like an expert electrician. He can turn the heater into cooler and cooler into heater. The electric energy is the same. Similarly, parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate. He has His energy. If He likes . . . My point is that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has come to your country by the will of Kṛṣṇa. So here is favorable situation because the will of Kṛṣṇa is there, that ‘Now the Westerners, especially the Americans, they should become Kṛṣṇa conscious.’ That is His will. So you take the opportunity, cooperate with Kṛṣṇa, and you will be successful. Thank you very much.”
To loud shouts of “Jaya! All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda!” he sat back and made space for the large plastic container full of cookies. Giggling and jostling, the small boys from the gurukula came forward one by one for their transcendental snacks as the devotees crowded around, chanting the mahā-mantra. After ten or fifteen minutes everyone had received their mahā-mahā-prasādam; the supply exhausted, Śrīla Prabhupāda wiped his hand, dismounted his seat and returned to his room.
* * *
After breakfast a reporter from one of the biggest periodicals on the West Coast, L.A. Magazine, arrived to interview His Divine Grace. The reporter had already been shown around and Rāmeśvara Mahārāja had given him a variety of literature to use in his article. So when he saw Prabhupāda, he didn’t have too many questions.
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s age seems to be of particular interest to reporters. This one wanted to know whether Śrīla Prabhupāda could continue with such a rigorous travel schedule. He also wanted to know if there would be a single appointed successor to him. As before, Prabhupāda said he was training his GBCs and they would continue to guide the Movement.
Apart from this, the man admitted he was not too spiritually aware, and thus even though Śrīla Prabhupāda tried to engage him in a philosophical discussion, he was unresponsive. Prabhupāda explained the difference between a live body and a dead one. He asked that if life indeed comes from chemicals, why can’t the scientists make a chicken egg by combining the various chemicals. He gave the answer that the life is different from the body, and he asked the reporter what he thought.
The man excused himself. “Ah, my spiritualness is strongly absent from my own person. I . . . ”
Prabhupāda challenged him. “How? Why do you say absent? You are talking.”
“Well, in the sense that I, I look beyond who I am now, I don’t look very far. At this point in my life, I haven’t made the decision that I need to look.”
“You may decision or not decision, there are two things. There are two things. One is your body and the other, the living force which is moving your body. There is no question of decision; it is already decided. There are two things. But our point is that two things are there, the material body and the moving force. So what we are speaking, we are speaking of the living force, moving force, and people in general, they’re interested with this body. Therefore our subject matter is little difficult for such common man. We are speaking simply on the subject matter of that living force, what is that living force. Our beginning is from that point, that body is different from the living force. And general people, they do not understand. Although they feel that there is living force something, they say it is chemical combination and so on, so on. But that is not the fact. It is a different commodity, material, or it is not material, spiritual identity which is different from this combination of matter, this body. So it requires little training to understand. Although it is very simple fact, but their brain is very dull, material. They see daily, but still, they propose so many things which is impractical.”
The interviewer thought people had to be interested before they would take to spiritual life. But Prabhupāda told him that was not the point.
“Interested or not interested. Child is not interested for education, but it is the duty of the father to make him educated, sometimes punish him. So a child may be foolish, but how the parents can be foolish? It is not that because the human society is not interested, this should be stopped. No.”
“How can you make them interested if they’re not?”
“Well, how these boys are becoming interested? They are young men, they have got so many ideas of bodily enjoyment, but how they have become interested? Thousands. They are all young men. How they have become interested? And you cannot withdraw them from this interest.”
Prabhupāda allowed Rāmeśvara to supplement his preaching. He explained, “Śrīla Prabhupāda has taught us how to experience spiritual pleasure or spiritual happiness by chanting, taking the food that you and I just took, and through this philosophy. There is genuine transcendental bliss. So when one experiences that pleasure, then other pleasures appear to be insignificant in comparison. So even though someone may not be interested now, if we can give him a chance to experience this higher pleasure, then it’s natural he’ll become interested. That’s the idea.”
* * *
As part of his investigation, Pradyumna has obtained a letter authored by the woman who was prominent in the gopī-bhāva group. She wrote it to a friend, and began by describing the activities of the group. She said that she was hoping to start “a movement within the Movement” and how she was “experiencing the ecstasy of Rādhā for Kṛṣṇa.” After these extraordinary statements, in the next paragraph she asks her friend, “Did you hear about my relationship with . . . ” and names a man who she is not married to. It is another strong indicator of the danger to our Movement if this mentality is spread. As Prabhupāda said, if it catches on, all the preaching will be stopped.
* * *
In the early evening Prabhupāda granted another interview to a reporter representing Coronet Magazine. Richard, a young man in his mid-twenties, showed some personal interest in the Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy. Śrīla Prabhupāda preached to him for a considerable amount of time, patiently explaining the principal points of spiritual life. Prabhupāda often does this in his interviews. Rather than simply make statements, he preaches to the reporters themselves. After all, they are also spirit souls, and if they become philosophically convinced they write much better articles, as well as derive great personal benefit.
Richard’s idea of what is spiritual wasn’t very transcendental. It seemed to him that it was something to enhance one’s material existence. He had an overly optimistic view of material life, and had difficulty accepting that it was a struggle. For him, it was simply a question of one’s frame of mind and attitude.
When Śrīla Prabhupāda tried to explain that Kṛṣṇa consciousness was meant for overcoming all the obstacles of life, Richard had a hard time grasping it.
“Everything is aimed at to eliminate obstacles,” Prabhupāda said. “Now, so far the body is concerned, there are so many obstacles. Whole struggle for existence is to save ourselves from the obstacles.”
“Right. How do you determine what’s an obstacle?” Richard asked.
“Obstacles, the ultimate obstacle is that you don’t like to die, but you can die any moment. This is greatest obstacle. Why don’t you think of it? You are sitting here, you are young man, so you may die immediately. That is the greatest obstacle. You have got so many plans to do in your life, but you can die any moment. Is it not obstacle?”
“The presence of death or the possibility of death?”
Richard thought for a second. “Um, to me, I don’t think really it is, for me.”
Prabhupāda’s eyebrows went up slightly. “Why? Why not? You don’t like to die.”
“I don’t think . . . That doesn’t bother me,” Richard said thoughtfully.
Prabhupāda told him very definitely that he was wrong. “It bothers. Suppose you have got some plan you have to do—everyone has got some plan, ideas, some improvement—but what is the guarantee that you’ll be able to execute that plan? Because you can die at any moment.”
Politely trying to follow Prabhupāda’s line of argument, Richard agreed. “Right, there is none.”
“So it is not obstacle?” Prabhupāda said logically.
“How is that, is not obstacle? You are planning something, ‘I shall do this . . . ’ You may not be very important man, but there are many important men. The leaders of the society, they are planning that ‘I shall make my nation like this way, my family like this way.’ Everyone is planning. But where is the guarantee that he’ll be able to fulfill the plan? Death may take place any moment. So is it not an obstacle?”
Richard still couldn’t see the point. For him it seemed just a question of mental adjustment. “Hm. I really don’t view it as an obstacle, the fact that my plans may be altered.”
Prabhupāda wasn’t going to get caught up in a theoretical debate. He immediately gave his oft-repeated example of his friend in Allahabad. “You may not. You may not, but we have got personal experience that people do not want to die until he fulfills some, his brainwork plan. I have seen. One, my friend, he was dying, he was at that time fifty-four years old only, and he was begging the doctor, ‘My dear doctor, medical man, can you not give me four years time only, I can fulfill my plan?’ He was very big businessman, so he was planning something to do, but doctor said that ‘You cannot survive.’ So he was begging the mercy of the doctor, ‘Doctor, can you not give me at least four years time?’ As if the doctor can give him life. He was feeling this is obstacle: ‘I’m going to die without fulfilling my plan.’ I think that psychology is everywhere.”
Richard continued to ruminate. “Generally, how can you determine an obstacle . . . ”
“I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it,” Prabhupāda pressed upon him. “That he was begging the doctor, ‘Please give me four years life. Give me some medicine so that I’ll live at least for four years, I’ll finish my plan.’ I’ve seen it. You are the first man that you are not afraid of death, but I see everyone is afraid of death.”
We were all smiling at Prabhupāda’s quip while Richard continued on in a serious vein. He asked, “Are you afraid of death?”
“No,” Prabhupāda said confidently. “My position is different, because I know I’m not going to die. My position is different. Because we are confident, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre. We are not going to die. Death is no question for us. Therefore we are not afraid of death. That is another thing. But generally, people, they are actually. Are you not afraid of disease?”
Richard conceded he would not wish to be in great pain or agony.
“But there is pain,” Prabhupāda told him. “As soon as you are in disease, there is great pain.”
“Uh, yes, but there are quick deaths and there are slow deaths.”
“No. Everyone is afraid of this. Are you not afraid of old age and invalidity?”
“Not particularly,” Richard replied seriously. “I mean, it’s a part of life.”
Prabhupāda shook his head and laughed, declaring, “You are liberated.”
And so it went, with Richard trying to be open-minded and liberal and not really catching the practical urgency of spiritual life that Śrīla Prabhupāda presented to him. He was genuinely interested though and had obviously done some reading of various philosophies. He tried very hard to follow Prabhupāda’s line of reason, presenting his own thoughts for discussion and listening respectfully whenever Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke. When Prabhupāda had Rāmeśvara Mahārāja read out a lengthy passage from Bhagavad-gītā he was attentive, made notes and asked questions on various points raised in the purports. The obstacle was simply that his idea of spirituality was limited to the mundane sphere, a rather sentimental notion that there is nothing negative about life.
After about an hour the interview came to a close and Prabhupāda complimented Richard as an intelligent boy. Rāmeśvara went off with him and continued to preach to him for some time after.
* * *
Afternoon darśanas in the garden continue to produce lively discussions. Dr. Wolf-Rottkay has been attending every day. He is a linguistics professor, in his late sixties, and a sincere person. He sometimes has differing points of view but always accepts Śrīla Prabhupāda’s word as final, having great appreciation and faith in Prabhupāda as a spiritual leader. Nalinī-kānta prabhu was reading verses and purports from the new volume of the Seventh Canto and Prabhupāda made occasional comments, expanding on the meanings. Every so often he threw it open to his audience for comment or question, especially to Dr. Wolf.
After Nalinī-kānta read Prahlāda Mahārāja’s analysis of the one hundred years of human life, how it becomes wasted by material activities like sporting and economic endeavor, Prabhupāda invited his guests, “Now discuss on this point. If anyone has objection. Yes, Dr. Wolf.”
“Do not some physical means come into the keeping the body strong, healthy, so that devotion is possible at all? Because to produce sick people, of course, is not in the Lord’s spirit either, I think.”
“No. Our aim is not to create sick people,” Prabhupāda told him. “That is not our aim.”
“Swimming, walking, is still important I think.”
“No, we do not say. Neither.”
“I miss it in the Movement,” Dr. Wolf told him. “I think it should not be made a sport, but it should be made, perhaps, a physical ‘must,’ under control.”
Although Prabhupāda affirmed that good health was necessary, he didn’t agree that it required some special regimen or arrangement. “No, if you eat more, then you require more exercise to digest unnecessary loading; but if you eat simply, just to keep our body and soul together, you don’t require exercise. Little movement is going on, we are walking. But not this severe type of exercise as surfers and fighting with the sea waves for four hours, five hours, ten hours.”
Everyone laughed, but Dr. Wolf thought there might be circumstances for some types of people where special training was required. “But Śrīla Prabhupāda, a kṣatriya has to be strong. And kṣatriyas have to be there.”
“This [Movement] is especially meant for the brāhmaṇas, intelligent,” Prabhupāda told him. Then, turning to the devotees, he said, “Go on.”
After Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja read a few more verses and purports Prabhupāda again asked for questions.
Nalinī-kānta raised his hand. “Prahlāda is instructing his schoolmates, but his schoolmates, I think they would argue, ‘That’s all right, but we are young now; let us enjoy. Then later on in life we shall take up Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”
“Education is given when one is young,” Prabhupāda replied. “And when one is old enough, he cannot take any education. The education, receptive faculty is there when one is young. Otherwise, he cannot take any education.” Turning to Dr. Wolf he asked, “What do you think?”
As a professor and an educator Dr. Wolf had to agree. “Prabhupāda, I always thought, ‘Later, later, I will. Later, later.’ But now I’m sixty-eight.”
As the evening chill set in and Prabhupāda prepared to return inside, he gave his solution to the dilemmas of the world. “So the modern civilization, there is no program for peaceful, happy life. Things are becoming more and more problematic. Everywhere. Here our Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja is asking everyone to go to his New Vrindaban. There is no problem. We have seen yesterday pictures of our New Vrindaban. There is no problem. Practical. If you can see the picture, you’ll see that they have no problem. Is there any problem?”
Rādhāballabha joked that sometimes there is too much milk.
“That he can send to us,” Prabhupāda quipped. “Milk is so nice that it cannot be wasted, even a drop. First of all you get milk, that is the Indian system. So there is a big milk pan, and as soon as the milk is drawn it is put into the pan. The pan is in the fire. So as much as you like, drink milk, children, elderly persons. Then at night, when there is no demand for milk, it is converted into yogurt, not wasted. Whatever balance milk is there is converted into yogurt. Then in daytime also you take yogurt, as much as you like. If it is not all consumed, then it is stored in a pot. Then when that pot is enough stored, then you churn it. Churn it, and you get butter and the, what is called? Buttermilk. So again you take buttermilk with capātī and everything, not a single drop is lost. Then the butter, you melt it, convert into ghee and store it, it will stay for years. So not a drop of milk can be wasted.
“And this butter, because in the village they are eating so much milk products, they do not require butter or ghee. Maybe little, so that is stored. They go to the city. The city men they require, especially. Ghee is very important thing in the city. So they purchase. So in exchange of that money, whatever they want, they purchase in the city and come back. By simply maintaining the cows, their economic problem is solved. And to maintain cow there is no difficulty. The boys . . . Just like Kṛṣṇa, as boy, was taking the cows, the calves, in the fields. They are grazing here and there, and coming back they’re giving milk. Only one attendant required to take them into the pasturing ground and bring them back home. You don’t require to give them food even. Simply take care, they give milk, and with milk you make so many preparations.”
Dr. Wolf caught his eye. “Yes?” Prabhupāda invited him to speak.
“Last year,” Dr. Wolf said, “I drove with Svarūpa Dāmodara through Texas on the way to Atlanta. We watched those thousands and thousands of cattle, only beef cattle, only for slaughtering, not one milk cow anymore. And I was so acutely aware of what I had learned from you.”
“They do not know the civilized way of life,” Prabhupāda said. “They are still barbarians. In the jungle, the barbarians, they do not know how to produce food, how to utilize milk. They can kill animals. That is also not like this, by machine you kill thousands of cows. They did not know this. For their simple eating they might have killed some animals, not particularly cow. Perhaps they were not killing cows because they were getting milk. Other, nonimportant animals. But what is this civilization? I learned that in South Africa, before killing the cows, they take the last drop of milk, and then it is sent to the slaughterhouse. They are so expert that if there is still little milk, take it before her death. Is that civilization, that you are taking milk? So Vedic civilization is as you are drinking milk from the cow, she’s your mother. Actually she’s mother. But what is this civilization, killing mother? Hm? Is that civilization? Take from mother whatever she can deliver up to the last drop of milk, and then kill her. Advanced civilization, scientific. Killing scientifically. This is not civilization.”
This last point about draining out the last drop was something I had heard several times from Prabhupāda. I joined his party last year shortly after his South Africa trip, and I reminded him of what else he had said. “And just to emphasize it, they deliberately moved the Indian community next to the slaughterhouse, because they know they don’t like cow killing.”
Prabhupāda nodded, giving further analysis. “The Indian quarters near their slaughterhouse, and the animals screaming like anything whole night, and they have to hear it. The real purpose is that the Indians may go out.”
* * *
A few of the senior men and sannyāsīs escorted Śrīla Prabhupāda back to his room. Prabhupāda relaxed against the gold lamê-covered bolster behind his desk, leaning back so that his head was framed by the orange window drapes.
Bharadvāja prabhu showed him some prototypes of the Kṛṣṇa-Kāliya Deity Prabhupāda has asked him to make for Fiji. There was some discussion whether bronze or brass should be used for the casting and Prabhupāda emphasized that the Deities should be shiny, not dull. Prabhupāda told him to get quotes for the casting from India. Govinda dāsī is also here working with Bharadvāja prabhu on the project.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja had some good news to give about book production and distribution. “In a few days we will be sending the printer a complete Portuguese Bhagavad-gītā and Spanish Kṛṣṇa book. I think within one or two weeks, we will send both to the printer. I just received information that in Caracas they were selling every day one thousand Bhāgavatams.”
Prabhupāda’s eyes lit up and the devotees exclaimed their appreciation. “Wow!”
“What is the price?” Prabhupāda asked him.
“Each book about two and a half dollars,” Hṛdayānanda answered.
“That means about three thousand dollars daily?”
Hṛdayānanda added, “And they have been defeated by Mexico.”
Prabhupāda laughed. “Mexico is selling more?”
“Yes. Last month in Mexico they sent in $23,000 for a month. Now all of South America combined this month has almost defeated Rādhā-Dāmodara [TSKP].”
Prabhupāda laughed again in appreciation. It was news he is delighted to hear. “This competition must go on,” he declared.
Kīrtanānanda said he was returning to New Vrindaban because he had to prepare for Prabhupāda’s visit.
Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled and glorified the farm life, saying there is no need to travel fifty miles a day simply for getting life’s necessities; one can live on the farm and eat fresh vegetables and milk. “This is celestial.”
* * *
Rāmeśvara Mahārāja brought a new bhakta named Alan to see Prabhupāda in his room. Alan had studied with Yogi Gupta for eighteen years and represented him as a sannyāsī. But he became disgusted and eventually left. Alan said that he realized he was simply capitalizing on the American people’s ignorance in order to make money. Alan is now living in the brahmacārī āśrama here in Los Angeles.
Alan’s previous organization has an āśrama in North India which is in his name, and he wants to give it over to ISKCON. Prabhupāda was a little cautious and suggested that he go there for some time to occupy it and then decide whether he actually wants to give it or not.
June 11th, 1976
Prabhupāda took his final L.A. walk along the cliff tops in Santa Monica. He strode along the pathways and over the well-mown grass at his usual steady gait but didn’t talk much, just occasionally commenting on subjects the devotees raised.
* * *
The verse for Prabhupāda’s final class concerned the Yamadūtas’ statement to the Viṣṇudūtas that in proportion to one’s religious or irreligious activities in this life, one has to enjoy or suffer the corresponding karma in the next life. Śrīla Prabhupāda told us that following the order of God is dharmic, religious life; and disobeying it is irreligion. One therefore has to know who God is, and what He wants in order to be religious.
Prabhupāda also gave an unambiguous warning to everyone to avoid the sahajiyā mentality. He didn’t accuse anyone but by the great amount of emphasis and elaborate description of the highly spiritual nature of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes that he gave, it was very clearly an admonition to all. “First of all, He establishes Himself, that ‘I am the Supreme Lord’ mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya. So, the Māyāvādīs, they also think that ‘I am also Kṛṣṇa. I can also speak.’ No, that you cannot do. Just like we are singing this song daily, gopī-jana-vallabha giri-vara-dhārī. Kṛṣṇa is playing with the gopīs. The sahajiyās, they take it very easily. But giri-vara-dhārī. Oh, that is very difficult thing. He raised the whole Govardhana Hill in His finger; that nobody is imitating. But gopī-jana-vallabha—very easy. ‘You are gopī, I am Kṛṣṇa. Let us enjoy.’ This is sahajiyā. This is going on—’parakīya-rasa.’ All rascaldom is going on. But one should understand that here is Kṛṣṇa. He can dance with the gopīs and He can lift the Govardhana Hill also, simultaneously. That is also for pleasing the gopīs. When there was incessant rainfall, all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana became so disturbed, and they had no other friend than Kṛṣṇa. So they appealed, ‘Kṛṣṇa, do something!’ ‘Yes!’ Immediately, He raised the whole hill as umbrella. ‘Come on under this.’ So that is Kṛṣṇa. So don’t imitate Kṛṣṇa, but hear Kṛṣṇa, what He says, then our life is successful. We cannot imitate God. We have to simply follow His order. That is dharma.”
He told us there are two processes; anukaraṇa, which means imitation, and anusaraṇa, following. Our process is anusaraṇa. He emphasized that as God, Kṛṣṇa can do no wrong. Nor, he said, are the gopīs ordinary women; they are expansions of His spiritual potency. “They are Kṛṣṇa. Śakti-śaktimator abhedaḥ. They are not different from Kṛṣṇa. But to give Kṛṣṇa pleasure, Kṛṣṇa expands Himself by His spiritual energy, sandhinī hlādinī. That is the expansion of His pleasure potency. It is not that to imitate gopīs. That is sahajiyā. When Kṛṣṇa wants pleasure, His pleasure is full spiritual. There is no question of material.
“It has been very broadly described by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī. Read all this. Don’t try to imitate. That is sahajiyā. We should know the position of Kṛṣṇa. His expansion of pleasure potency. Therefore Kṛṣṇa’s līlā is put into the middle of the Tenth Canto. First of all, try to understand Kṛṣṇa from the very beginning. Janmādy asya yataḥ. Here is the original source of everything. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate. First of all, try to understand Kṛṣṇa. So therefore Vyāsadeva has dedicated full nine cantos for understanding Kṛṣṇa.
“Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye [‘Out of many thousands of men, one may endeavor for perfection.’ Bg. 7.3] The siddhis, they think of gopīs. That is recommended in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, siddha-deha. Where is siddha? Siddha-deha means there is no more any material lusty desires. So long we shall think of nārī-saṅga, association, unity with woman, we must consider this is material body. Not siddha body. Siddha body means anyābhilāṣita-śūnyaṁ. All material desires, zero. That is siddha body. So therefore it is very confidential. . . .
“But to clear it, [Parikṣit Mahārāja asked] that ‘How Kṛṣṇa accepted to dance with so many gopīs?’ This was for clearance. In that question, you’ll find, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has answered that unless one is liberated, he should not think of it even. Should not think of it.”
Prabhupāda ended his lecture with a note of encouragement for the preachers, urging them to continue spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness far and wide. “Simply, fervently, very honestly, obey the orders of Kṛṣṇa. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru. Four things. And what is the result? Mām evaiṣyasy asaṁśayaḥ. ‘Without any doubt, you’ll come back to Me.’ What do you want more? That Kṛṣṇa is so nice. So spread this Movement all over your country. Your country is . . . By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, everything is there. And the first qualification is that you are not poverty-stricken. So take the instruction of Kṛṣṇa and be happy. Open similar temples all over your country. Your country is not poor. You can establish such temples, hundreds and thousands. And similarly assemble, hear Kṛṣṇa’s instruction, and see how happy you’ll become. Thank you very much.”
There was a tremendous shout of thanks, happiness and impending sadness, followed by an emotional final kīrtana as Prabhupāda handed out the cookies for the last time in L. A. He blessed everyone with smiles and “Hare Kṛṣṇa!” before retiring to his rooms.
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Jadurāṇī dāsī and other artists from the BBT Art Department were granted a special audience with Śrīla Prabhupāda mid-morning. They showed him the new paintings and sketches they have done for the third part of the Seventh Canto, due to be published soon. Prabhupāda gave his approvals and advice, carefully looking over each one.
During the meeting he made a special request of Jadurāṇī. There was a photograph of him published in a recent Back to Godhead, issue 13.4, where he is shown leaning back on a saffron-colored bolster resting on his left elbow. His right knee is up, his right hand resting on his foot. He has a wonderful, beaming smile on his face and looks completely happy and satisfied. He showed it to Jadurāṇī and asked her to paint it in oil.
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Since Prabhupāda’s arrival here Yamunā and Pālikā prabhus have been cooking wonderful meals for him, and Śrīla Prabhupāda has been appreciating their service very much. Both are expert and so the prasādam has been to his full satisfaction. I also found out that despite his rejection of avocado in Melbourne, he does like a yogurt and avocado whip called guacamole that they have been giving him.
With Śrīla Prabhupāda’s agreement and after conferring with Rāmeśvara Swami, it was decided that Pālikā will join our party for the rest of the American tour in order to ensure a consistently high standard of cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda. Viśākhā dāsi, photographer and writer from Back to Godhead, will also accompany Prabhupāda on his travels, recording his tour for an eventual article in the magazine. Hayagrīva prabhu’s interview work is completed and he will remain here.
Rakṣaṇa dāsa, a former police officer (Rakṣaṇa means ‘protector’) and an expert in martial arts, will also join our group as Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal guard. He has faithfully stood guard for fourteen hours a day since our arrival. The devotees feel some precaution is necessary, given the extreme reactions our Movement can sometimes draw in America. Prabhupāda does not really think this arrangement absolutely necessary, for he is completely surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and under His protection, but he nevertheless agreed to it in order to satisfy his loving and concerned disciples. He conceded that on principle some desperate act of fanaticism is within the realm of possibility.
Thus, accompanied by this expanded entourage, we left for the airport to catch the 1:00 P.M. flight to Detroit. As on his arrival ten days ago, literally hundreds of devotees followed Prabhupāda the length of the airport concourse to the departure gate, chanting and dancing all along the way. Prabhupāda was flanked by his sannyāsīs and GBCs —Rāmeśvara, Hṛdayānanda, Trivikrama, Revatīnandana and Jagadīśa—as he walked at their head, mildly smiling with transcendental serenity. He was clearly proud of his enthusiastic disciples and content to see the burgeoning strength of his Movement on the West Coast of America.