August 13th, 1976
Śrīla Prabhupāda wasn’t impressed with Iran Air. The service was poor and the facility shoddy. He was even less impressed with Karachi airport, where we had a forty minute stop over. Although we were not allowed off the airplane, no one objected when Prabhupāda and I walked through the open door to stand for a few minutes at the top of the mobile stairway. Scanning the dilapidated airfield heavily guarded by soldiers, Śrīla Prabhupāda shook his head. “Everything is so low class. This place has no importance; there is not one other foreign airline here. They wanted their independence from India, but what have they gained?”
With the two-hour time difference, it was 7:00 p.m. when we landed in Bombay. As we walked across the tarmac from the plane to the terminal building we heard devotees cheering and saw them waving from the roof top. Śrīla Prabhupāda held his hand up to greet them causing them to cheer even louder.
Inside, we were met by Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, Girirāja and our lawyer, Mr. Asnani, who in 1973 was instrumental in settling the purchase of Hare Krishna Land. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa asked Śrīla Prabhupāda and I to sit to one side while they went with our passports to the immigration counter. Harikeśa Mahārāja stayed to bring the luggage. Within a couple of minutes we were given clearance and allowed to proceed without any problem.
A host of jubilant devotees chanted “Jaya Prabhupāda! Jaya Prabhupāda!” as we entered the car to make the short trip to the temple.
As Kartikeya Mahadevia drove, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa eagerly informed Śrīla Prabhupāda of the progress he was making in book printing. He said the translation work was going quickly with the help of Nirañjana dāsa, who Prabhupāda saw in England. 45,000 copies of the first Hindi Back to Godhead were almost sold out, and he was planning a second print run of 30,000. A new issue is currently in production, also with a first run of 30,000. “People can’t believe it,” Gopāla said. “Even Hitsharan Sharma couldn’t believe that we distributed 45,000 Hindi magazines in two months.”
“We are distributing millions in English,” Prabhupāda reminded him.
Gopāla said that because he has cultivated a favorable relationship with the Joint Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, he now has government permission to import five lakhs worth of books to fulfill the library orders. He can also import paper, which will increase the quality of the books.
Prabhupāda was pleased with the news, but didn’t get into a heavy discussion. He told Gopāla and Girirāja that Iran had been very pleasant in the nights and mornings and inquired what the temperature was here. They told him it was 90°F and Prabhupāda nodded agreeably.
Prabhupāda also wanted to know if there was a lift installed in his new quarters, but Gopāla had to inform him that his new rooms would not be ready until December or January. Being aware that Śrīla Prabhupāda had difficulty climbing stairs he suggested he might like to move into a ground-floor apartment presently being used as the construction office. Prabhupāda’s response was negative. He said the place was too small.
Gopāla also had snippets of information from Vṛndāvana, where he said the traffic was so busy in front of our temple that the government had assigned two police officers to control it. And in Delhi, he said, the daughter-in-law of the Maharani of Jaipur was regularly attending our temple.
Prabhupāda asked whether Hyderabad would be ready for the opening next week, and Gopāla assured him it would.
Hare Krishna Land
Pālikā prabhu was waiting amongst a small crowd of devotees at the entrance to his apartment building. Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy, but surprised, to see her. “Oh, you are here.”
She was surprised at his surprise, telling him that she had come to cook for him.
They both looked at me inquisitively: she because she thought Śrīla Prabhupāda had personally called her to India, and he because he had not been informed that she was rejoining the party.
Thinking Prabhupāda may not agree to having money spent for his personal needs, I had taken a gamble that he would approve. Now, with some trepidation, I explained my actions in sending for her, motivated by my desire that he get good prasādam everyday. Then I waited for his response.
“Hmm. Anyway, now there will be no difficulty,” he said with a gentle smile, filling me with relief.
Prabhupāda had great difficulty getting up the steep steps to his flat on the third floor. He is still very weak from his illness in London, but the stay in Iran has cleared up his cough.
Once inside his sitting room Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted guru-pūjā, allowing the leaders to bathe his feet. They then happily sprinkled the caraṇāmṛta on everyone’s heads and passed the transcendental nectar around, to be drunk by the eager devotees.
Prabhupāda scanned the crowded room, spotting Mr. Asnani, who had made it back from the airport after helping to clear our luggage through customs. Śrīla Prabhupāda thanked him warmly for taking so much trouble and told everyone appreciatively, “He is the cause of this site. Unless he would not help, it was practically lost. I know that. Two, three hours how we finished that sales agreement.”
Mr. Asnani reported happily that the customs officers did not open any of our bags.
Prabhupāda smiled. He said seriously, “We are always traveling, they should give us some concession. Every time we get checked. Actually, the government should have given us the best facilities because I am distributing India’s culture all over the world.”
As the devotees cheered he added, “Unfortunately, I am not receiving encouragement from the leaders and the authorities. This is India’s glory, history will say. All people are responding all over the world. Money, men, strength—everything—they are supplying. But we are not getting very good encouragement from India. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission is that every Indian should become guru and preach the instruction of Kṛṣṇa. And people are hankering after receiving this instruction. Unfortunately, the so-called swamis, yogis, or even politicians, they are not presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Anyway, so long I live I shall go on struggling like this. That’s all.”
Once again the whole room erupted in appreciation. “Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda! All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda!”
Prabhupāda noticed Nitāi dāsa in the crowd and greeted him with a smile and a few words of encouragement.
Settling back on his āsana to relax after his journey, he addressed his adoring audience. “Jaya. Take prasādam and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. And we have now nice buildings. Live there peacefully, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Bas. This is my success. If I see that you are living very nicely, chanting very nicely, then all my labor is successful.”
A plate of prasādam was offered to him, and after taking a small sweet, he had the rest distributed to the crowd.
His Divine Grace relaxed, picking up a new book lying on his desk. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa explained that Ṛṣabhadeva dāsa, the president of our Los Angeles-based Spiritual Sky incense company, had brought it. The publication, 215 pages thick and measuring 7" x 8½", had a deep blue cover and a full color picture of Śrīla Prabhupāda on the front and back covers. The front one was a full face view of His Divine Grace sitting on the Los Angeles vyāsāsana, playing the gong. The back photo was a beautiful shot of him sitting on the elaborate silver vyāsāsana in Modinagar last March. The title of the book read:
The Most Blessed Event
ŚRĪ VYĀSA PÜJĀ
The Appearance Day of Our Beloved Spiritual Master
HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPĀDA
Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
AUGUST 19, 1976
Śrīla Prabhupāda leafed through it with interest as the devotees looked on. Then, placing it back on his desk, he tipped his head, signalling the end of his reception. The devotees dispersed and Harikeśa Mahārāja and I went about unpacking and setting up his desk paraphernalia.
After everyone left Prabhupāda took a little prasādam from Pālikā. Inspecting his plate he asked her about one of the preparations. Pālikā told him it was a sweet made by one of the girls here.
“Not everyone should make,” Prabhupāda told her. “She is initiated?”
Pālikā confirmed that the girl was, but assured him that she would be making all his prasādam herself. She had had no time today because she had only just arrived.
By this time it was 10:00 p.m. I had to leave the sitting room to put something in Prabhupāda’s bedroom. When I returned a few minutes later, Prabhupāda was stretched out on his back across his āsana, his head against one bolster and his feet over the other, carefully reading his new Vyāsa-pūjā book. Leafing through it page-by-page, he glanced over at me and gave a little exclamation of humble delight and surprise. “Oh, they have put such intimate offerings.”
With a bright smile of satisfaction he continued to look through the entire book, announcing aloud the name of each center as he came to it, and reading to himself some of the individual and temple homages.
August 14th, 1976
Dr. Patel, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Bombay walking partner, showed up in the early morning with his raucous laugh and lively demeanor, bare feet and cane, to go out onto Juhu beach with Prabhupāda. However, because of the persistent swelling in Prabhupāda’s legs caused by his malfunctioning kidneys he wasn’t feeling up to it, but he happily spent the next half hour preaching. He was talking about material attachment using a vivid example from his own family. “So they were not crying very loudly, but the grandfather inquired, ‘It appears there is some great suffering?’ So from my father’s eldest brother, he inquired, ‘Is your mother dead? So I am also dead.’ He died later on, next day. He simply inquired, ‘I think your mother is dead.’ They said, ‘No, no.’ ‘No, I am also going to,’ and he died.”
Dr. Patel thought it not very wonderful and Śrīla Prabhupāda agreed. “From spiritual point of view this has no meaning. This is worldly affection. That is not very good asset for spiritual life. One has to give up āsakti. That is the process, renouncement. Voluntarily. Our Vedic process is that at a certain age you must retire from family life. Voluntary, forceful, giving up association. This husband and wife dying together, because āsakti is there, that āsakti will help him, that the wife will become a husband next life, and the husband will become wife next. And in that way they’ll have to take birth again.”
He said people in modern civilization have no idea about rebirth. They are simply after money by one means or another and the biggest men, even here in India, do not understand they will have to take another body. And although the concept is clearly explained in Bhagavad-gītā, it is being misinterpreted and spoiled.
Dr. Patel said, “Each man understands according to his own level of understanding.”
“No,” Prabhupāda corrected him. “Suppose, just like you are medical man, you are giving somebody medicine, you are giving the direction. If he wants to be cured, he must take your direction. Not that somebody comes, ‘No, no, you can take it this way, you can do this.’ That is nonsense. This nonsense we want to stop. Kṛṣṇa is giving the instruction, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What business you have got to poke your nose and give interpretation? Are you bigger than Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa left it for you? This nonsense going on. Big, big svāmīs, big, big yogis, big, big politicians, simply misinterpreting. Very serious condition.”
He was taking so much trouble, he said, just to save others. “These fools and rascals are leading, they are going to hell, and they are taking the followers to the hell. This is going on. Stop this, at least in India. Save, that is real para-upakāra; that is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission. Our India is not meant for exploiting others; doing good to others, that is India’s mission. Our teachers, our ācāryas, do not teach us, ‘Go and exploit others and bring money’—British Empire—this is not India.”
Prabhupāda said the spirit of para-upakāra was gone because India had lost its own culture. “India was open, ‘Come everyone, learn.’ Lord Jesus Christ also came here. All the Chinese, learned scholars, they used to come. The history is there. And India was open. This is Indian culture—even the enemy comes, ‘Yes, please come, you stay.’ But later on, they took advantage: ‘Oh, they are very liberal, enter there.’ And still we are liberal. ‘Please come here, stay here and take prasādam free, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.’ Open to everyone.”
He spoke determinedly. “I shall manage anyway; I shall travel, still I shall lay down my life and bring money. Come here, stay. Still we are liberal. This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission, janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra. First of all, make your life successful by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then do good to others.”
He recalled his meeting with the young Englishman Peter, in Teheran yesterday. “He proposed that, ‘Is it not good to help others?’ I immediately challenged, ‘What you have got you can help? What is your asset? You cannot help. It is simply bogus proposition. If you can help, you can simply help by spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness.’ ”
When Dr. Patel said the problem was that people had no faith, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply revealed why he is so successful. “Therefore you have to canvass. They have no faith, I know that. Then why there is necessity of preaching all over the world? They have no faith, it is a fact. And you have to create faith. That is preaching. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī said, kāku-śatam, padayor nipatya, ‘I fall down on your feet and I am flattering you with folded hands.’
“ ‘Why? Why? What do you want to say?’
“ ‘Yes, I have to say something.’
“ ‘What is that? Say it! Why you are becoming so humble?’
“ ‘Yes, I have to say.’
“ ‘What? Say it!’
“He sādhavaḥsakalam eva vihāya. ‘You are a very nice sādhu. But whatever nonsense you have learned—forget.’ Then what to do? Kāku-śatam bravīmi sakalam eva vihāya dūrādcaitanya-candra-caraṇe kurutānurāgam. ‘You just become devotee of Lord Caitanya. I am flattering you, I am falling down on your feet’—this is preaching. And if you do that, then what is the result? Na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ. If one is doing like that, Kṛṣṇa immediately recognizes, ‘Oh, you are the best friend of Mine.’ So if you are recognized by Kṛṣṇa, then what you want more?”
Yaśomatīnandana prabhu was also present. He had brought some life members from Ahmedabad to meet Śrīla Prabhupāda. His Divine Grace was pleased to hear that Yaśomatīnandana has rented a new house for Rs. 1,000 per month and that he is translating and producing a new magazine each month.
* * *
Harikeśa Swami brought in a small stack of mail during the morning. With Prabhupāda’s appearance day coming up, most of the letters were offerings of dakṣiṇā and pledges of surrender and service.
The package Ṛṣabhadeva dāsa had brought from Los Angeles contained more than just the Vyāsa-pūjā book. The residents of New Dvārakā had combinedly sent dakṣiṇā of $2,340, some photos of Śrī Śrī Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādīṣa, and a wonderful letter glorifying Prabhupāda for preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. It read, “Our eternal duty is to render loving service at your lotus feet. More than anything else, we beg to be engaged by you in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. . . . even though we are so fallen, so full of ignorance and ugly desires—still we hope against hope that you will lead us to preach, teach us to deliver the whole world by drowning all conditioned souls in the nectar-flood of your transcendental books. Sometimes, on hands and knees, with tears in our eyes, we cry to Lord Caitanya to please give us the desire and strength to distribute your books for the rest of our life. Sometimes, we dare to think that we might even take another birth to continue selling your books in every town and village, until the entire world knows of this movement and Your Divine Grace.
“On this holy occasion of your divine appearance day we humbly submit a small offering of guru daksine. We feel ashamed that we are so insignificant and can do nothing to serve you in any way. Yet, as we go on, struggling to obey your every instruction, we ask of Your Divine Grace one boon: please, please engage our bodies, minds, words—everything we possess—in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness up to our last breath. Never let us deviate from this work of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness and distributing millions and trillions of your books.
“Your most unworthy servants, The residents of ISKCON New Dvaraka.”
Deeply gratified with the sentiments the letter expressed, Śrīla Prabhupāda sent a lengthy response, echoing his words written to Catur Mūrti dāsa five days ago: “My Dear Sons and Daughters, Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated August 9, 1976 and the enclosed daksina and pictures of the murties in New Dvaraka which I am having framed and put on my wall here in Bombay.
“If you feel at all indebted to me then you should preach vigorously like me. That is the proper way to repay me. Of course, no one can repay the debt to the spiritual master, but the spiritual master is very much pleased by such an attitude by the disciple. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said: vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. Our only business is to be fixed up in devotional service by pleasing the spiritual master. Those who are not fixed up they have various lines of action. (eka means one and bahu means many).
“The real ocean of mercy is Krsna and it is the duty of the spiritual master to tell his disciple to come to the ocean and be happy. The spiritual master’s duty is to lead the disciple to this ocean. I am trying my best and if you try to follow surely you will benefit.
“Bhaktivinode Thakura has sung, ‘Krsna sei tomara, Krsna dite para, tomara sakati ache. Ami ta’kangala, krsna krsna boli, dhai tava pache pache. ‘Krsna is yours and you have the power to give Him to anyone you wish. I am poor and wretched and running behind you shouting Krsna, Krsna!’
“Krsna is unlimited, no one can catch Him, but if someone follows the parampara, He agrees to be captured. Everyone is afraid of Krsna, but Krsna is afraid of Mother Yasoda. That is Krsna’s special mercy.
“I hope this meets all of you in good health. Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.”
Rāmeśvara Swami included his monthly BBT report which showed increasing sales of Prabhupāda’s books. A long list of English language reprints and new titles scheduled for printing over the next nine months ran into the millions.
Extremely pleased, Prabhupāda wrote to him and Rādhāballabha, “The report of the book printing is both encouraging and surprising. Every time I see this I remember the words of my Guru Maharaj when he told me that wherever there was money it should be used to print books, not that we shall have big big temples and then fight in the court. He asked me to do this and I am trying my little bit, that’s all. It is all by his blessings for without his blessings this wonderful thing would not have happened. He said personally to me, ‘If I could sell this Gaudiya Matha building, that would have been better.’ He predicted that there would be fire within these walls. So I took it, ‘O, His Divine Grace wants some books.’ So I accepted it, ‘Yes, I shall do it.’ It is all by his blessings. Mukham karoti vacalam pangam langhayate girim, by his mercy a dumb man can speak and a lame man can cross a mountain.”
Commenting on Rāmeśvara’s report that Indrapramada dāsa, one of the top BBT art designers, had returned after a period away from devotional service, Prabhupāda replied, “Thank him for coming back. Krsna is so kind that anyone who does some service for Him, Krsna immediately captures him. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat, a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear. There are many instances. Tyaktva sva-dharman caranambujam harer bhajan na pakvo’tha patet tato yadi . . . ’If someone gives up self-gratificatory pursuits and works in Krsna consciousness and then falls down on account of not completing his work, what loss is there on his part? And if one performs his material activities perfectly, what gain is there?’ So let us try to render service to Krsna very sincerely. Even a drop will never go in vain, nitya. In this connection Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prayer, ayi nanda tanuja kinkarama patitam mam . . . is very instructive. Let us remain in that attitude and Krsna will give us protection.”
Rādhe-śyāma dāsa, a London-based lawyer working with Jayatīrtha prabhu on the German court case, sent a package containing a variety of gifts and a letter expressing his surrender at the lotus feet of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda wrote thanking him for the presents and told him, “This is the correct attitude for a disciple. The disciple should be prepared to offer everything he has including his body, mind, and words, in the service of the guru. Anyone who is sincerely serving to his greatest capacity becomes dear in the eyes of the Lord.”
Dhṛṣṭaketu dāsa, who works in the BBT Archives department in Los Angeles, sent a separate letter, with his personal offering of $1,000. Requesting Śrīla Prabhupāda’s blessing that he might continue to assist him in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Dhṛṣṭaketu said he may be getting more funds from his father’s trust fund, and asked where he should send them. Prabhupāda advised him to deposit any future money directly into the Māyāpur-Vṛndāvana Trust Fund and then send him the deposit slip.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja sent a one page report of the San Francisco Ratha-yātrā and the temples in the north-west zone of America. He described a grand procession led by a marching band of twenty men in bright red uniforms playing the “Hare Krishna March” and “Bhaja Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya” on trombones, trumpets and drums. Devotees from all over the West Coast attended, along with thousands of visitors. For weeks after, he said people were stopping him in the street glorifying the festival. He expressed his desire to help relieve Śrīla Prabhupāda of the burden of management, and indeed, his zone seems to be thriving. Apart from the $2,300 worth of books that were sold at the festival, in Berkeley alone he said they are selling anywhere between 300–600 big books daily, along with thousands of magazines. “Your books will be the lasting credit to the human society,” he wrote, “and I hope that we can assist you in fulfilling this desire of Your Divine Grace’s. I pray to Sri Krishna that your health will always be satisfactory as you are the light in this dark world and we all need you very much. Please give me the strength to carry on. I pray for your Divine Grace.”
Prabhupāda was happy to hear from him and encouraged him to continue preaching. “If you relieve me of the burden of management, that will be a very great service to Krsna and the movement. See that everything is going on nicely. With great endeavor we have made the framework, now we have to see that things are going on nicely.
“Yes, this preaching work is our mission. It is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, my Guru Maharaj’s mission, and my mission. It is through the parampara. As I am trying to discharge my Guru Maharaj’s mission, you also try and things will go on nicely.”
One thing Śrīla Prabhupāda isn’t so pleased with Puṣṭa about is the delay in his completing the editing of the Bhavan’s Journal questions and answers which he has been working on since late June. Prabhupāda added a postscript to his letter requesting the article be sent immediately.
* * *
Harikeśa Swami came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda during massage with some disturbing news. He said that a former president of one of our American temples who is now believed to be here in India is dealing in drugs and saying that Śrīla Prabhupāda has condoned it. Apparently he has twisted our philosophy to such a degree that he believes that if he sells drugs and uses the money for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness it is all right.
Prabhupāda’s reaction was strong. “We don’t want your money! Stop this immediately!” he said. He agreed that a letter should be sent to the GBC that this kind of activity should not be allowed in the name of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
* * *
This evening Śrīla Prabhupāda held a darśana lasting over two hours. His mood was mellow, but his words were as penetrating and strong as ever. The small sitting room was filled, mainly with local devotees and a contingent from Gujarat headed by Yaśomatīnandana prabhu.
Kartikeya Mahadevia, who is always enthusiastic in conversation, told Prabhupāda how he had convinced someone to become a member. “He himself is not trained, so he cannot give any answer to his children. So I told him, ‘At least you get their ISKCON books. You can read now before the children can read.’ So he immediately signed up. He immediately paid 2,222 rupees by check and he agreed, ‘I’ll read Bhagavad-gītā and everything.’ ”
Śrīla Prabhupāda wasn’t so much concerned about the money as the fact that his books are selling at a tremendous rate. “There is no scarcity of money. A business started with forty rupees bringing six lakhs daily, it is not ordinary business.”
“Most extraordinary,” Kartikeya agreed. “Everybody wondering that only, how it has been done.”
“Kṛṣṇa is giving,” Prabhupāda said mildly. “I never thought my books will be sold as much. Neither in the history of human society religious books sell six lakhs of rupees daily. This is unique in the history.”
Asking Gopāla Kṛṣṇa to bring Rāmeśvara’s BBT report, he said, “Now we are going to print . . . I am surprised—50,000, one lakh, 500,000—each item.”
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa read out the report. “Bhaktivedanta Book Trust tentative printing schedule: Vyāsa-pūjā. This is first the title, then the print run and the delivery date. ‘July: 2,000 copies, very early August.’ Nectar of Instruction goes to the printer in late July, 100,000 copies to be ready by early September. Śrīmad-BhāgavatamFirst Canto Part 2, reprint, goes to the printer in late July: 50,000 copies ready by September. Śrīmad-BhāgavatamEighth Canto Part 1, goes to the printer in August: 20,000 copies ready by late September. Bhagavad-gītā reprint goes to the printer in August: 500,000 copies ready by late September. Then there’s a book by one of Prabhupāda’s disciples, Satsvarūpa Goswami [Readings In Vedic Literature], goes to the printer in late August. Kṛṣṇa trilogy paperback goes to the printer early September: 100,000 copies each and ready by late September. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam First Canto Part 3, being reprinted, goes to the printer in early September: 50,000 copies ready by late October. And three catalogues go to the printer early September: 55,000 copies ready early October.
“There’s another new book by Prabhupāda: Perfect Questions Perfect Answers, goes to the printer in September: 100,000 copies ready late October. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Eighth Canto Part 2, goes to the printer late September: 20,000 copies ready early November. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Second Canto Part 2, reprint, goes to the printer late September: 20,000 copies ready November. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam First Canto Part 1, reprint, goes to the printer in early September: 50,000 copies ready in November. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Eighth Canto Part 3, goes to the printer in late October, ready early December: 20,000 copies. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Second Canto Part 1, reprint, goes to the printer early November: 50,000 copies ready early December. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Ninth Canto Part 1, goes to the printer in late November: 20,000 copies ready early January. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Ninth Canto Part 2, goes to the printer early January: 20,000 copies ready late February. Kṛṣṇa book, hard-bound, Volume 1, reprint, goes to the printer early January: 100,000 copies ready late February. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Ninth Canto Part 3, goes to the printer early February: 20,000 copies ready late March. Kṛṣṇa book, hardbound, Volume 2, reprint, goes to the printer in February: 100,000 copies ready early April. Kṛṣṇa book, Volume 3, reprint, goes to the printer in February: 100,000 copies ready early April.”
When the report was finished Śrīla Prabhupāda told his audience with humble satisfaction, “We are the biggest publisher in the world about religious and philosophical.”
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa added that he had shown the schedule to other publishers and printers, and all have said that even big publishers cannot match it.
Prabhupāda then preached for a while, on the theme that no one knows their real self interest. He had Yaśomatīnandana read out a Bhāgavatam verse: “Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in the human society, O emperor.”
“See the newspapers?” Prabhupāda asked his attentive guests. “Hundreds of thousands of news. Here they are ten pages. In foreign countries, such a big bundle. Śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ. Thousands and thousands news. But no news about ātma-tattvaṁ. Therefore they are purchasing our books. They are intelligent; they are seeing something new, because they have never seen such books. There is elaborate science of God. One can go back to home, back to Godhead. You can talk with Him, you can eat with Him. These things are surprising.”
“First time they are hearing,” Kartikeya said.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda agreed. “That is the cause we are selling six lakhs of rupees’ worth books daily. They understand it is not so-called religious sentiment, it is science. Our so-called swamis and yogis, they never tried. They did not know. Also big, big swamis, they went there. Instead of teaching them, he was taught how to eat meat. Sannyāsī eating meat. He was convinced, ‘Yes, why not?’ At least, in India still, the sannyāsīs they do not eat meat. Except that rascal missionary. No one. There may be difference of opinion, Māyāvādīs, but their behavior is the same. Sadācāra is there. But these people, asadācāri, and passing as sannyāsī. Cigarette, meat-eating and everything, drinking. We are asking common men to give it up, and they say, ‘Oh, what is the wrong there?’ They do not know what is the wrong there.”
He complained, as he often does, that from M. K. Gandhi down, the leaders do not know what real religion is. “Bhagavad-gītā without Kṛṣṇa. Take Bhagavad-gītā, but don’t touch Kṛṣṇa. Untouchable. Take the egg and cut the throat of the chicken; it is expensive. Take only the hind part; you’ll get the egg. And mouth is expensive; cut it. Very intelligent, that this part is expensive and this part is productive; keep this part and cut. So as soon as in Bhagavad-gītā we say you have to become devotee of Kṛṣṇa—no, cut, that part, cut. And Kṛṣṇa said karmaṇy evādhikāras te [you have a right to perform your prescribed duty], and work like ass day and night. ‘Ah, yes, we’ll do.’ ”
Yaśomatīnandana nodded. “That is the most favorite slogan of everybody.”
“Yes. Because they’re asses,” Prabhupāda declared. “Asses. Even in Teheran I saw the ass. This is Indian civilization—loaded, some tons of things. The ass does not know why he is carrying so much load, therefore mūḍhā. What for he is carrying? What is his profit? He does not know, but he’s carrying so much. ‘I am big industrialist. I have got so much business.’ ‘What for you are doing industry?’ That he does not know—ass. Karmīs are described as asses, they do not know what is the interest.”
One of the visitors identified himself as Mr. D. Mukherjee, the movie maker Saurabha had written to Prabhupāda about in mid-July. He was keen to discuss his idea on spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness through the media of films and reminded Śrīla Prabhupāda of his proposal. “I have about thirty acres of land at Udaipur, in Rajastan. I was trying to make a campus with studios, laboratories and residential places for these producers, stars, casts and things. I have been thinking about this campus for some time back. And when I met Girirāja and we started getting more close together, association, I thought that why not should we have a temple of Lord Kṛṣṇa as the center from where we start the activities?”
Prabhupāda smiled. “That’s nice. We must have Kṛṣṇa, that’s a fact.” Then specifically addressing Mr. Mukherjee s proposal, while not denying it, he expressed his reservations. “We have got experience. Caitanya Mahāprabhu also introduced this dramatic play, but the play was performed by a great devotee. So unless devotees are trained, this play will not be effective. First of all, all the devotees, they are also in the training, and if they have to learn another training, it may be very difficult.”
He agreed with Mr. Mukherjee that drama was a viable media, and gave the example of our theater in New York, but he said films were a different proposition. “To make a film it requires huge amount of money.”
Mr. Mukherjee felt the money problem could be overcome. “What I was thinking that a short film, say, about eight to ten thousand feet, which occupies an hour and twenty minutes or so, initially made. And dubbed into as many languages as can be done, because the sound portion is always separate.”
As he had been in Tehran, Prabhupāda was cool towards the entire concept. “The life of Kṛṣṇa is known to almost everyone,” he said. “So what benefit they will get?” And when Mr. Mukherjee proposed that film could be a good educational media, Prabhupāda again disagreed. “By practice. We are training them to practice how to become devotees. By superficial seeing the activities of Kṛṣṇa, this is not . . . One has to practice. Just like we are going to start gurukula. Gurukula means practice. Brahmācāri gurukule vasan dānto. How to become self-controlled, dānta. That is the idea. So our mission is to awaken the original consciousness, and that can be done by practice. Without practice, it is not possible. It is not by seeing some picture one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is not possible.”
“But sir, do we not convey to a larger people?” Mr. Mukherjee persisted.
“That is being done through books,” Prabhupāda said.
“But sir, books are for such people who can read, who can understand.”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda conceded. “Something can be done by showing the picture, but taking consideration of the labor and money invested in that way, the response will be not satisfactory; it is not possible.”
Apart from this, Prabhupāda had another objection. “Simply by seeing that Kṛṣṇa is lifting the Govardhana Hill, many of them will laugh, that ‘This is all mythology. A boy is lifting Govardhana Hill.’ Many of them will laugh instead of taking seriously. Because unless one is devotee, he cannot understand what is Kṛṣṇa.
“That is elsewhere,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
“Everywhere,” Prabhupāda told him. “Here also.”
“Mostly here,” Yaśomatīnandana emphasized.
So although Mr. Mukherjee’s proposals did not get a blank rejection, Śrīla Prabhupāda showed no interest in helping him. If he wants to do it, it will be without any endorsement from Śrīla Prabhupāda or help from ISKCON.
* * *
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu came to see Prabhupāda with an article from the local newspaper. It reported that the Bengal state government is going to investigate us as a result of our Māyāpur development proposal.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was not concerned. He said we have already been investigated by the Indian government.
August 15th, 1976
Śrīla Prabhupāda rang his buzzer early this morning. I entered his room, offered my obeisances, looked up—and got a shock. Śrīla Prabhupāda was smiling—revealing a gap where his tooth should have been.
With mixed dismay and surprise I asked, “Śrīla Prabhupāda, what happened to your tooth?”
Without saying anything, Śrīla Prabhupāda reached down and pulled open the drawer of his desk. The tooth was lying inside. During the night it had either fallen out, or Śrīla Prabhupāda had pulled it out. He had simply put in the drawer and then gone on with his work. I was both amazed and concerned—another tooth gone and Śrīla Prabhupāda had not said a word.
But then as I sat before him, another thought flashed through my mind. In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta I recalled how because Mahārāja Pratāparudra was unable to personally associate with Lord Caitanya he obtained a piece of the Lord’s clothing which he worshipped as if it were Lord Caitanya Himself. It occurred to me that at some point in the future my personal service to Śrīla Prabhupāda would stop. However, if I had the tooth, I could worship it instead and get the same benefit.
But I was torn. I knew full well that the spiritual master is never to be asked for anything. Yet at the same time I realized that within a second or two he would close the drawer and the tooth would disappear into the bowels of the desk.
I made a snap decision and hoped I wasn’t being offensive. “Ahm, Śrīla Prabhupāda? Do you think that I could have that tooth?”
Śrīla Prabhupāda didn’t say a word. Reaching into the drawer he picked up the tooth and, with a smile, dropped it into my hand.
Ecstasy! With relief and excitement surging through me, I offered my obeisances and returned to my room, eager to give it a closer inspection.
The tooth, a lower canine, is astonishing: a huge cavity has eaten away more than half the side at the point where the tooth entered the gum. Bits of prasādam (spices and the like) are lodged inside, as if some squirrel has stored them away for a rainy day. How many more of his teeth must be in the same condition I can only speculate; and how he is able to tolerate such a condition is inconceivable.
I have carefully put the tooth in a bag with other pieces of his paraphernalia. When the right time comes I shall worship it and thus keep up my direct service to His Divine Grace’s transcendental body.
* * *
Deciding that a walk along the beach this morning would be too strenuous, Śrīla Prabhupāda went instead onto the roof of his apartment. Acyutānanda and Harikeśa Swamis accompanied him, as did Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, Yaśomatīnandana, Vāsughoṣa, and Kartikeya Mahadevia prabhus. Saurabha prabhu joined us a few minutes later. Prabhupāda walked steadily back and forth, enjoying the pleasantly fresh breeze, and the dawn chorus of hundreds of birds.
The roof is a good vantage point. Numerous palm trees dotted among the other apartment buildings poke their fronds just above the roof line and beyond them the construction on the twin towers of the temple complex guest house is clearly visible. Prabhupāda stopped and counted off the six floors and asked if there were to be more.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa explained that a new ordinance introduced under the auspices of Indira Gandhi now limits the height of any building in Bombay to only five floors. In order to complete the sixth floor on the towers, they had to work at night.
As he walked Gopāla Kṛṣṇa told Prabhupāda that Śrī Laksna Pandit, the sister-in-law of one of our western devotees and a famous actress and singer, was scheduled to sing bhajanas at our pandala tomorrow. He wondered if that was all right.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda told him. “Before Deity one can do. Before Deity one can show devotional activities, but not otherwise. Otherwise it will be sense enjoyment.”
Just to make doubly sure, Gopāla said, “In Vṛndāvana once you told me not to have the rāsa-līlā by these professionals also.”
“No, before Deity everything,” Prabhupāda told him.
Acyutānanda Mahārāja also had a question about a program involving outsiders. “We’re invited to do kīrtana to inaugurate a Bhāgavat-saptāha and the Dvārakā Śaṅkarācārya will be present.” He said that since Sumati Morarjī is the patron of the event, he assumed it would be a Vallabhācārya sect function.
Prabhupāda was agreeable. “No, no, we have no objection with Vallabha.”
Then he mentioned the letter he had recently sent to Sumati Morarjī from France. “About that Vallabhācārya, she wrote me letter, I’ve replied it.”
“Yes, Girirāja told me,” Acyutānanda said. “I never mention those . . .”
“No, don’t mention it,” Prabhupāda said.
Acyutānanda explained, “Their history is that Vallabhācārya had the dream and discovered at Govardhana the Śrī Nāthajī, Gopāla Deity, and there was no Mādhavendra Purī.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda gave a little look of surprise. “Ācchā? But in the court it has been established. One lawyer in Delhi, he told me that this Deity belongs to the Gauḍīya-sampradāya.”
“How did it come to them?” Acyutānanda asked.
“Somebody delivered to Vallabhācārya. Mādhavendra Purī is not possible, somebody else.” Then Śrīla Prabhupāda asked, “Dvārakā Śaṅkarācārya, he’s a Māyāvādī, and he’ll give Bhāgavata?”
“No,” Acyutānanda told him. “He’s just going to give blessings to the . . . He’s presiding, I guess.”
Apparently satisfied, Śrīla Prabhupāda walked for a few minutes. But then he brought the matter up for discussion again. “Bhāgavat-saptāha, it is not authorized,” he said.
“No,” Acyutānanda Mahārāja acknowledged. “But in some editions of Bhāgavatam they have a Bhāgavata-māhātmyam. And there’s a story about bhakti and jñāna and vairāgya and Nārada Muni.”
Prabhupāda shook his head disapprovingly. “That no ācārya has mentioned.”
“That’s Gita Press again,” Harikeśa Swami said.
Acyutānanda added, “They say how this is the instructions for how Bhāgavata should be read in seven days up to this canto.”
Prabhupāda dismissed it. “Gita Press was Māyāvādī.”
Always attentive to everything, as Śrīla Prabhupāda walked, he noticed a light on and had it switched off. Then he asked about an old water cooler standing to the side of the roof entrance and asked whether it was still functioning. He also noted that, despite the recent monsoons, which the devotees had said were quite heavy, the tops of the trees were still not green.
Saurabha told him that because we are so near the sea, the salty air adversely affects their growth.
After about twenty-five or thirty minutes Prabhupāda decided to sit for a while.
Acyutānanda Swami is also very sharp. He noticed that Prabhupāda had new japa beads and commented on it.
Prabhupāda smiled. “Yes. From tulasī. It was made in Honolulu. In Honolulu tulasī plants are very luxurious.”
Dr. Patel arrived, having curtailed his usual walk on the beach early when he didn’t see Śrīla Prabhupāda by the sea. He quickly inquired from Śrīla Prabhupāda about his health and whether he was taking any medicine.
Prabhupāda accepted his concern, but in his usual self-effacing manner, shook his head and quoted Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.1.4, saying that the real medicine is the chanting of the holy name. “Nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād. This chanting is properly done by a person who has fully satisfied his material desires, satiated, no more. Bhavauṣadhi, and it is the medicine for this bhava-roga. Bhava, punar bhava. Once take your birth, then die, then punar bhava. So this is bhava-roga. So except paśughnā [animal killer] nobody can be aloof from this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. It is bhavauṣadhi.”
Dr. Patel laughed. “Shall we call that Pandit Āyur-Vedācārya of India for you? If you don’t believe in our medicine?”
Śrīla Prabhupāda also laughed. “No, no.”
“What I mean to say,” Dr. Patel continued, “is that kṣetra [body] and kṣetrajña [its owner] are dependent on each other; if there is no kṣetra, there will be no kṣetrajña to stay. So you have got to look after that kṣetra, or what the kṣetrajña will be happy there to live there? I think I am not wrong.”
Prabhupāda chuckled. “No, you are right. Kṣetra is changeable, kṣetrajña is permanent.”
Although Dr. Patel knew very well His Divine Grace’s opinion on taking medicine, he still tried some friendly persuasion and this led into a short discussion about Indian medicines. Dr. Patel said that there is a research plant in Calcutta that is extracting penicillin from cow dung.
Prabhupāda knew about it, adding that Dr. Monmohan Ghosh, a pathologist of Dr. Jagadisha Candra Bose, conducted the original research proving the antiseptic properties of gobar.
Dr. Patel said there were many medicinal properties in cow urine also. “Go mūtra, sir, there are so many hormones coming, and a big sample of hormones which can be resynthesized as human hormones.”
Prabhupāda agreed, saying that if drunk, it was a good medicine for liver disease.
Dr. Patel expressed his concern again for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s own health. Taking permission to raise his question he asked, “Now then, Arjuna was so advised that he should fight out. So in that case, I mean we all consider he was right to follow Kṛṣṇa’s advice? Then if a man is overtaken by disease and if he fights out that . . .”
Prabhupāda smiled at his persistence. “No, no, I don’t say that he should not fight. It is my personal choice. Not that one should not take care of the body or one should not eat medicine, that is not . . . I like this, ‘Let me do without medicine.’ That is my personal . . .”
“What is medicine?” Dr. Patel asked. “Any herb is a medicine. Even food is a medicine.”
“Whatever it may be,” Prabhupāda said. “I don’t decry medicine. That is not my business.”
“No, no, I don’t say decry. But you don’t want to take advantage of medicine,” Dr. Patel insisted.
“Medicine,” Prabhupāda said objectively. “Just like a type of vairāgya, sometimes they do not eat. That does not mean eating is forbidden. It is not. It is my personal, I am trying to avoid, that’s all.
“You have heard the name W. C. Bannerji? He was a big barrister. He was one of the three inaugurators of Congress in the beginning. So he had his friend, contemporary, he was a brāhmaṇa. He was taking daily his bath in the Ganges, and if he was diseased, was drinking Ganges water. So he became seriously sick. So this W. C. Bannerji, he was a big man. So he asked his permission to bring some doctor. ‘You’ll die in this way.’ So he persisted, ‘No, I shall simply drink this Ganges water.’ So it is not that medical science is in defeated position.”
After a few more minutes of discussion Prabhupāda went down to the temple for the morning darśana of Their Lordships Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Rasabihari. He also accepted guru-pūjā but there was no class.
* * *
A letter arrived from Ambarīṣa prabhu today. He presented Śrīla Prabhupāda with a proposal regarding his donating funds to ISKCON. “I have been thinking about how would be the best way to dispense money, and have come up with an idea. If you approve, I will set this up immediately.
“I would open a savings account here in Boston, whose funds would solely be for your use. I would personally make regular deposits into this account, and also the restaurant would make deposits. I would be the only person who could sign the checks. At the beginning of every month, I would send you a statement saying exactly how much money was in the account. Whenever the need would arise, you would write to me explaining where the money was to be sent, and how much was to be sent. I would then write a check for that amount and give it to the Boston temple. They in turn would write a check for the same amount, and send it to wherever Srila Prabhupada has directed. In this way I would be able to take a tax deduction for the donation, while the account would be under the control of Srila Prabhupada.
“It would also put the power to allocate funds under the control of Your Divine Grace. If you approve please write and I will immediately start this program.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda deeply appreciated Ambarīṣa prabhu’s surrendered attitude. He wrote back, “I approve of your idea cent per cent. You have voluntarily put yourself under my control. Thank you very much.”
* * *
Today is Indian Independence Day, so at noon some of the karmīs who live on our land assembled in the modest park in front of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s building. They stood in silence for a minute before a small statue of Gandhi before holding their celebration.
As I gave Prabhupāda his massage on the balcony adjoining his bedroom he made some practical observations about it. “Where is the question of independence?” he asked. “We are all dependent at every step on Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Indians have struggled to become independent of the British, but who is independent of the laws of material nature?”
As an example he cited the present drought in England. It is afflicting so many people. The vegetation is drying up, animals are being killed prematurely because there is no fodder, factories in Wales are closing and there is talk of importing water. No one can do anything about it and they think it is all happening by chance. Prabhupāda said there is not a single person in the whole world who actually knows anything.
So I said, “No one except you, Śrīla Prabhupāda.”
He smiled and without ostentation or false modesty said, “Is that just flattery or do you actually acknowledge that?”
I assured him it was not just eulogy and Prabhupāda accepted it with pleasure as a heartfelt submission.
He recalled how his Guru Mahārāja used to call everyone bokha—a strong word meaning a complete fool or rascal. “I used to think ‘Why does he call everyone like that?’ But now I see it is a fact,” he said. “All big, big scientists, philosophers, they are all fools and rascals.”
* * *
During Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lunch, Mrs. Brij Rattan Mohatta came to visit with four friends. She is a member of the famous Birla family and her husband has helped our movement in many ways. Śrīla Prabhupāda had us lay out seats and chonkis in his reception room for them. He sat nearby and entertained them with light conversation as they took prasādam. Before they left we also showed them the film Spiritual Frontier.
* * *
There was no darśana this afternoon, although Śrīla Prabhupāda did go up onto the roof to sit for a while with a few devotees. Then it began to rain so he returned to his sitting room. There he met with Girirāja and Nitāi prabhus to discuss requirements for a library for the new building. Nitāi has been given Rs. 4,000 by the temple to purchase books for it. Śrīla Prabhupāda said the library should contain all his own books, those of all the ācāryas, as well as the Upaniṣads and other bona fide Vedic texts. He said even those of Śrīpad Śaṅkarācārya could be included—but not anything from Gandhi, Vivekananda or Rama-tirtha. “They are all rascals,” he said. “The Vedas instruct us that we should not even look at their faces.”
I was puzzled. “Doesn’t Caitanya Mahāprabhu instruct that if anyone read’s Śaṅkarācārya’s books he is doomed?”
“Not if he reads with proper understanding,” Prabhupāda said. “We can read to know what is their philosophy.”
After we left Prabhupāda’s room, I spent a few minutes with Nitāi. His pallid, lackluster complexion prompted me to ask about his health. He assured me that he was all right, but to me he seemed drained and lacking in vitality.
* * *
Prabhupāda is attempting to treat his disease by adjusting the spicing in his diet. In the morning he instructed Pālikā to soak black pepper and cumin seed and then grind them into a paste. He had her do the same with tumeric. She cooked his lunch using this spicing, carefully mixing the paste with the required amount of water and adding it to his lunch preparations. Then this evening he called her in and had her make two parathas and a potato and eggplant subji. We were delighted to see him eat and he told us that the spicing had given him a good appetite.
Along with a flower garland and fresh sandalwood paste I have also been offering Prabhupāda watermelon every afternoon after his post-lunch nap. The melons are so large that I only use a portion and save the rest in the refrigerator for later use. Śrīla Prabhupāda happened to notice it and told me to stop, declaring, “Cut fruit must be distributed immediately.”
* * *
Late in the evening Harikeśa Swami and I met with Śrīla Prabhupāda about the possibility of him being attacked by the Communists. Since our arrival several reports have appeared in the newspapers indicating that in Delhi the Communists are instigating the government to investigate our Society. A tabloid-style paper, obviously appealing to the lower class, carried a report saying that the Māyāpur scheme was “fishy.”
We discussed whether Śrīla Prabhupāda should have a body guard, debating the pros and cons. Harikeśa Mahārāja put forth some convincing arguments. His recent experiences in eastern Europe have made him doubly cautious and fully aware of the extremes that these people might go to.
At one point I began to say, “Well, in my opinion Śrīla Prabhupāda . . .”
Prabhupāda cut me off. With a look of disdain he said, “Oh, then it is useless!” He meant that there was no value in my speculation. We should either speak authoritatively, or not at all.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was not very concerned for his own safety, although he conceded there may be some danger. He said that his Guru Mahārāja also had a guard due to threats on his life. So he finally agreed that a man could be added to the party, at least to guard his door in the night.
August 16th, 1976
Prabhupāda took his walk on the roof again this morning. When Dr. Patel arrived, they sat for a while in the open air and discussed vairāgya, detachment. Prabhupāda told him that if one has bhakti, detachment automatically comes. “Now, ‘I have got some bhakti and some material desire also.’ That is not bhakti; that is markaṭa-vairāgya [monkey renunciation]. That does not mean that I shall stop bhakti. No, you take bhakti to the regulative principle, then automatically vairāgya will come. The vairāgya is not coming, that means you have not been a pure bhakta. That is adulteration. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ; that is bhakti. And because there is not anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ, it is adulterated.”
Dr. Patel knows a fair amount of Sanskrit, and he quoted from Bhagavad-gītā, “Bhakti-avyabhicārini.”
“Yes,” said Prabhupāda, saying the full verse. “He is above three guṇas. So if I am still under the modes of material nature, that means I’m not in avyabhicārini bhakti. This is the warning. Therefore Lord Buddha rejected Vedas.
“Because, sir,” Dr. Patel said, “in the name of Veda people were misbehaving.”
Prabhupāda agreed, adding that just as people then were justifying their desire to eat meat by citing Vedic references to animal sacrifices, so similarly there is a class of men now who misuse the works of the six Gosvāmīs to justify living in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. “But whether you have followed other things. Vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ; pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. You are manipulated by the udara-vegam, upastha-vegam . . . First there is test: etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ, then for him Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Dhīras tatra na muhyati. But he has got three dozen sevā-dāsī, and living in Rādhā-kuṇḍa.
“My Guru Mahārāja wanted to publish Govinda-līlāmṛta. He asked permission of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. So first of all Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, ‘I’ll tell you some day.’ And when he reminded, he said, ‘Yes you can print one copy. If you are so much anxious to print it, print one copy. You’ll read and you will see that you have printed. Not for distribution.’ So we are printing all these books for understanding properly. Not that, ‘Here is Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Let us go.’ Jump over like monkey. ‘Here is rāsa-līlā. Immediately . . .’’
Acyutānanda Swami suggested that even Prabhupāda’s description of rāsa-līlā in his Tenth Canto summary study, Kṛṣṇa, should not be narrated in public.
But Prabhupāda told him, “No, why? Kṛṣṇa book must be there, in the book must be there. But you should go gradually. You first of all understand Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa-līlā. If you have not understood Kṛṣṇa, then you’ll think Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā is just like we mix with young women, and that becomes as polluted. Because they do not understand Kṛṣṇa. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye yatatām api siddhānāṁ. Kṛṣṇa understanding so easy? If you do not understand Kṛṣṇa how can you go to the Kṛṣṇa’s confidential activities?”
Acyutānanda mentioned one of the rationales given by some of the devotees. “They said that it is for liberated souls. So they said, ‘Well, we are all liberated.’ ”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda said. “Liberated for going to hell.”
When another devotee said that Prabhupāda’s explanations in the Kṛṣṇa book were so clear that they could not be misinterpreted, Prabhupāda agreed. “No, you read all the books first of all. Then you’ll be able to understand. Every devotee, they must follow the rules and regulations, that’s all. Guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete kariyā aikya, āra nā kariha mane āśā. Has he taken order from Guru Maharaja that ‘I am going to jump over Rādhā-kuṇḍa’? Why does he go? Daily singing, guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete āra nā kariha. Why should he desire like that?”
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa started to say that there are always devotees who want to do their own thing, but Prabhupāda cut him off. “They are not devotees,” he said emphatically. “Rascals. Don’t say ‘some devotees.’ Devotees will hear: guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete kariyā aikya, āra nā kariha mane.”
Acyutānanda Swami said, “They also wear the Rādhā-kuṇḍa mati, tilaka.”
“There is no harm,” Prabhupāda told him, “but they should understand what is Rādhā-kuṇḍa and how to deal with Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī showed how to live in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ kālāvasānīkṛtau. He was circumambulating Rādhā-kuṇḍa, falling down, making a mark. That is Rādhā-kuṇḍa-vaśi. Saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ. Not only counted holy names, but offering obeisances so many hundred times. That is Rādhā-kuṇḍa. So much vairāgya he showed. He can take bath in the Rādhā-kuṇḍa. First of all, do this like Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.”
“In other words, first one should understand Bhagavad-gītā,” Yaśomatīnandana said, “then gradually the First Canto of Bhāgavatam, then ultimately Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Without that, simply taking Caitanya-caritāmṛta . . .”
Śrīla Prabhupāda tipped his head. “Yes. Bhagavad-gītā is the entrance. Then Bhāgavata is graduate and Caitanya-caritāmṛta . . . This is the step-by-step. But if one is sincere, everything becomes revealed; he does not commit mistake.”
Stressing that everything depends on obedience to the guru’s instruction, he pointed out, as he had done so effectively in Teheran, that we have a choice. “You can become independent, nobody can check you. Everyone is independent. Yathecchasi tathā kuru. But one who wants to be regulated, he has to surrender. That is voluntary. And those who are surrendered souls, they will wait for the instruction of guru and do accordingly. Even if I say that you do not do it, you are independent, you can do it. Even Kṛṣṇa gives independence to Arjuna. Yathecchasi tathā kuru, ‘I have told you everything. Now you do whatever you like.’ Everyone is free to do anything, but if he’s actually serious then he has to do guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete āra nā kariha.”
Acyutānanda Mahārāja asked why some misuse their independence and others never do.
“That depends on him,” Prabhupāda said. “If one is determined that ‘I shall only act according to the advice of my Guru Mahārāja,’ then he’s perfect. One has to submit like Arjuna said—śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam, otherwise he’ll argue.”
Yaśomatīnandana said that even the liberated souls, nitya-siddhas, have a guru, and Prabhupāda emphasized what it means to be really liberated. “As soon as he says ‘liberated,’ he’s a rascal. A liberated soul will never say that ‘I am liberated’—that is liberated. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He is God—guru more mūrkha dekhi’ karila śāsana, ‘My Guru Mahārāja saw Me a fool number one, and he has chastised Me.’ He’s God; this is the example. If one remains always a servant everlastingly of guru, then he is liberated. And as soon as he thinks that he is liberated, he’s a rascal. That is the teaching of Caitanya Mahāprabhu . . . You must be ready always to be chastised by guru, then he’s liberated. And as soon as he thinks that ‘I am beyond this chastisement, I am liberated,’ he’s a rascal. This is sahajiyā-vāda. He is thinking, ‘Oh I have become liberated. I don’t require any direction of my guru. I’m liberated.’ Then he’s rascal.”
He said some strong words about his Godbrothers. “Why this Gaudiya Matha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He, before passing away, he gave all direction, and never said that ‘This man should be the next ācārya.’ But these people, just after his passing away they began to fight—who shall be ācārya? That is the failure. They never thought, ‘Why Guru Mahārāja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be ācārya?’ They wanted to create artificially somebody ācārya and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense that if Guru Mahārāja wanted to appoint somebody as ācārya, why did he not say? He said so many things, and this point he missed? The real point? And they insist upon it. They declared some unfit person to become ācārya. Then another came, then another ācārya, another ācārya.
“So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Mahārāja. That is perfection. And as soon as he learns the Guru Mahārāja is dead, ‘Now I am so advanced that I can kill my guru and I become guru.’ Then he’s finished.”
As he left the roof, Prabhupāda cautioned us once more about Rādhā-kuṇḍa. He said we should not bathe in Rādhā-kuṇḍa, but we should simply touch the water to our heads. He said that unless one is very respectful to the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, they cannot bathe there; it is only for very advanced souls.
* * *
After breakfast Girirāja prabhu discussed with Śrīla Prabhupāda the requirements for men who desire to live with us after they retire.
Prabhupāda said the main thing is that they may not live with their wife and they must attend our programs. “Retirement does not mean everything nil. It means to retire from material life to increase spiritual life.” He offered his own example of becoming more and more active in preaching work after his retirement. So anyone who wishes to come and live with us must live in the same way—it is not for becoming lazy.
* * *
At about 5:00 p.m., with everything packed and ready to leave, Prabhupāda went down and walked around the building site, carefully inspecting the progress. Six floors of the two towers are up and the temple and theater are both begun.
In the area where the darśanamaṇḍapa will be the devotees had erected a temporary stage and set out rows of chairs among the construction work and scaffolding. Taking a front row seat, Śrīla Prabhupāda spent the next half hour enjoying the first act of a play put on by the devotees entitled “The Appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa.” It ended with Jagat Puruṣa dāsa, in the lead role as King Kaṁsa, rolling on the floor in madness at the impending appearance of the Lord. Śrīla Prabhupāda enjoyed the performance and applauded enthusiastically. Then he rose and left directly to the airport.
Somehow, although Prabhupāda s car left first, some devotees managed to arrive at the airport before him. When he stepped out onto the curb, Anaṅga-mañjarī and Aditya dāsīs were there, shouting “Jaya Prabhupāda, Jaya Prabhupāda!” Anaṅga-mañjarī had played Devakī in the drama and she was still dressed in her costume. Her makeup was smeared by tears shed in anticipation of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure, but despite her unusual appearance, or perhaps because of it, Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled widely. He stood for a moment as the two women offered their obeisances and continued to stand and smile at them as they got up. Then, as they jumped up and down in the bliss of recognition, he proceeded on into the airport.
At 7:15 p.m., accompanied by Vāsughoṣa and Ṛkṣarāja prabhus, we flew to Hyderabad on a French Caravelle.
Akṣaya dāsa has been chosen as the new guard and will join us in Hyderabad.