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Chapter Three

Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma

October 20th, 1976

Before leaving for Vṛndāvana this morning, Śrīla Prabhupāda took a short walk around the neighborhood accompanied by the members of the Library Party. As we strolled along a wide grassy strip near the temple, we saw many people out for walks and early morning exercise. One fellow was standing on his head, and Gargamuni started to laugh. But Prabhupāda corrected him: “Do not laugh. This makes the body fit for spiritual life.” 

Prabhupāda returned to Vṛndāvana by car, arriving in time to greet the Deities and receive gurupūjā. He didn’t give class but spent a quiet day relaxing in the spacious shelter of his quarters and back garden. It is evident that the short tour to Delhi and Chandigarh has drained his strength, and his general health is quite weak, though he is still meeting with his managers over temple matters. 

October 21st, 1976

No class today. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda called me in this morning and asked me to look after the secretary’s files as well as his bank accounting. This has always been the secretary’s duty, but due to so many changes, he has decided he wants some constancy. 

There are two main secretary’s files: the ‘standing file’ and the ‘running file.’ In the standing file are news articles, letters, and other preaching materials that Śrīla Prabhupāda frequently refers to and shows to various guests as he travels. In the running file the secretary keeps his regular correspondence, most of which is kept for only about a month, the older letters being sent off to Los Angeles for archiving. During some recent darśanas, however, Prabhupāda has asked for some articles only to be informed that they are no longer available because the incoming secretary unwittingly cleared them out and sent them to Los Angeles.  

As far as the banking goes, Prabhupāda relies on his secretary to keep an accurate record of incomings and outgoings, fixed deposits, transfers, etc. in certain accounts that he handles personally. Using the reverse accountancy method, he keeps his own set of books in order to check that the records supplied by the bank are correct. But each new secretary has to be brought up to date by His Divine Grace, which is a further inconvenience. 

I was a little surprised, though also happy, that he wants to entrust these duties to me. I set to the task immediately after breakfast, and it took me the whole day to clear out the files and organize them properly. 

October 22nd, 1976

Śrīla Prabhupāda resumed lecturing this morning from the first verse of one of his favorite sections of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: Fifth canto Fifth chapter Lord Ṛṣbhadeva’s Teachings to His Sons.  

* * * 

The management appears to be as bad as ever, but Prabhupāda seems to have resigned himself to the Bengali maxim: “A blind uncle is better than none.” He is not saying much about it anymore because he knows his instructions are falling on uncomprehending ears.  

He is not, however, remaining entirely mute. For the second time in two months, he spoke at length today to express his dissatisfaction with the number of women, children, and householders staying here on the temple grounds. He is not at all pleased with the current situation.  

Despite the acquisition in May of Taparia House behind the Fogel Ashram, and Prabhupāda’s repeated directives that they live there, a number of women and children are still occupying rooms in the guesthouse, and this is causing a great disturbance. Prabhupāda has several times complained about the noise, and at lunchtime today he sent me out to knock on people’s doors with requests that they keep their children quiet. Shaking his head with concern, he asked me how would it be possible for our guesthouse to be a success when so many screaming children are there all day. “If a respectable gentleman comes he will not be able to find any peace and quiet, although this is supposed to be a guesthouse,” he told me.  

Prabhupāda has already ordered that some of the rooms in the gurukula building be completed early so that all the women and children can be moved there. “I do not want to send anyone away,” he said, “but they may not come here and cause disturbance.”  

He is especially concerned about the problem of single women coming here and attracting the men. “This is a great offense,” he said. “Any sex life in Vṛndāvana is a great offense. If they have sex desire they should be tactfully asked to leave; otherwise those who have sex in the dhāma become these monkeys, turtles, dogs, and hogs. Single woman means ‘with sex desire.’ They should not come to Vṛndāvana [to live]. They should not make a show of spiritual life by living in Vṛndāvana and then simply looking for some man. Sex life is not spiritual life. Spiritual life is tapasya—sex life is material only. One with sex desire should not come to Vṛndāvana; it is simply for tapasya. The married couples must live as vānaprastha. If anyone wants to come to live in Vṛndāvana, they should sign a certificate saying that now they are finished with sex for good.”  

* * * 

A number of letters have accumulated, and Śrīla Prabhupāda, in his efficient and attentive way, gave his replies as Jagadīśa prabhu read the letters out to him during mid-morning.  

Mahāṁsa Swami sent a joyful report of a three-day visit he made recently to Kodai Kanal, a famous hill station in the south. While in Hyderabad in August, Dr. Ghosh Sinha came to see Prabhupāda and offered some land there, so Prabhupāda asked Mahāṁsa to check it. His letter was full of enthusiasm. “The place is extremely beautiful and has a tremendous preaching ground. There are over 7,000 students from all over the world and 20,000 local population. There is a floating population of lakhs (including the cream of society) for seven months of the year.” 

He stated that Dr. Ghosh’s intention was simply to make everyone chant the holy name. He is offering thirty acres, with a building to accommodate sixty and a hall for four hundred. He stressed that the Doctor’s offer is unconditional and that Dr. Ghosh is “extremely dedicated to Your Divine Grace . . . His last words were before we left: ‘I simply want Srila Prabhupada to come over here and put his lotus feet on my head and then I pass away.’ ”  

Mahāṁsa said that he would come to see Śrīla Prabhupāda shortly with a draft of the trust deed document for the Hyderabad farm project and bring color photographs from Kodai Kanal as well. He also enclosed some news articles from a Hyderabad newspaper in which they print a daily column of quotes from Prabhupāda’s books. 

Prabhupāda received his report with satisfaction and replied that he would await his visit for further discussion. 

From Buffalo, New York, Kulādri prabhu sent a letter, along with gurudakṣiṇā of $1,111, requesting initiations for six new devotees. He said that he has been there the last several months helping to organize saṅkīrtana and that now the temple is free of debt and standing number one in the book distribution rankings for small temples. He lamented a little about his change in service. “For almost seven years under the protection of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Vrindaban Chandra I’ve been trying to help Kirtanananda Swami please you at New Vrindaban. Now it appears that due to my offenses, I’ll not be allowed to stay. I have such a poor heart and little faith, but I’m humbly requesting some strength so that I can serve you here in Buffalo.” 

Prabhupāda smiled as he heard Kulādri’s prayers and report and encouraged him in his new assignment. “Yes, I was there in Buffalo, it is nice. Nitai Gaura is there. It is a very good opportunity. Take advantage and do it nicely. Surely Nitai Gaura will give you strength.” He accepted the new candidates as his initiated disciples and advised Kulādri to hold the fire ceremony and have Kīrtanānanda Swami chant on their beads. 

Rāmeśvara Swami sent a letter with some business and some personal concerns. He enclosed a bank transfer receipt for the October payment of $70,000 for the Bombay temple construction and a statement for the special Mayapur-Vrindavana Trust account. He also included a separate sheet of questions, sketches from the artists of the new artwork for ŚrīmadBhāgavatam Canto 8 Vol. 3, and the proposed new endpapers for Kṛṣṇa Book Vol. 2. He informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that the BBT is planning to put endpapers in each of the Kṛṣṇa Book volumes—Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Vṛndāvana-līlā in Vol. 1, Kṛṣṇa kidnapping Rukmiṇī in Vol. 2, and a Dvārakā-līlā pastime for Vol. 3. Rāmeśvara requested that Prabhupāda’s responses be relayed to him by telegram or phone to avoid costly delays in production.  

The BBT managers are extremely careful to keep the artwork up to a high standard and before anything is even painted send Śrīla Prabhupāda sketches of proposed art, along with any questions. The artists consult even over small details. As Jagadīṣa read out each of their questions, Prabhupāda surveyed the sketches and gave his answers: 

Q: In sketch #1 are Lord Visnu’s hand symbols correct? 

A: Check with Bhagavatam; chakra and gada switched. 

Q: In sketch #2 we have made Vamanadeva fair skinned with blond hair. Is that correct? 

A: Yes, bigger bunch of hair, or shaven headed – see description. 

Q: In sketch #3 and sketch #6 the rsis are shown. Would they look like munis with beards and mustaches? 

A: Yes, and bunched hair. 

Q: For sketch #3 what kind of telok do Sucracarya and the brahmins (descendants of Brighu dynasty) wear?  

A: Tri-pundra saivait, with Sucra. Vaisnava tilak for those who worship Vamanadeva. 

Q: Would the brahmins have shaved head and seka?  

A: Bunch of hair. 

Q: In the 7th Canto and previous volume of the 8th Canto we have shown Suchracharya with top knot and small beard. Is this correct? 

A: Yes. 

Q: Is sketch #8 and #4 OK? 

A: Yes, and yes. 

Q: Enclosed are the references for sketch #6. Prabhupada said if there were scriptural references showing that King Satyavrata and the seven rsis were “surrounded by all kinds of living entities” we could put them in. If His Divine Grace still wants us to change the picture please cable or phone Ramesvara Maharaja immediately; the painting is already underway. 

A: Initially, Śrīla Prabhupāda replied that man, animal, plants, trees, everything should be included. But after some consideration he changed his mind and said, “No, just the sapta-rsis.” 

Q: Sketch #9 – Krsna dressing up as Abhimanyu . . .  we showed Prabhupada a rougher version of this sketch in Mayapur last March. Was Abhimanyu blue? Otherwise how could Abhimanyu’s mother mistake Krsna for Abhimanyu? 

A: Yes, some resemblance was there; or Krsna changed His skin. Krsna can do anything. 

Q: Sketch #10 NOD pp. 367 ch. 40 . . . Krsna is telling his friends to steal butter while Jotila is sleeping. Jotila, who is actually not sleeping, is displaying the ecstasy of vihasita smiling. (Jotila is sitting on bales of cloth since the scene takes place in the storage room). Is the sketch OK? It is a picture of NOD. 

A: Yes. 

Q: Sketch #5, arrest of Bali Maharaja. Is it OK to show a rug on the ground even though the scene takes place outside on the grass? 

A: Yes. 

Business over, Rāmeśvara included a humble personal note: “Please kindly forgive me for my abominable offenses. You are the ocean of mercy, and despite my offenses I sincerely pray to be blessed with the strength to never deviate from your orders and always act as you would wish me to act. I hope your Divine Grace is feeling better and I would like to humbly request that during the month of January I be allowed to come to India to associate with Your Divine Grace for my own purification . . . I want very much to completely surrender so I can help relieve you of any management burdens and I feel this divine association will give me greatly needed strength to continue endeavoring as hard as I can to spread Krsna consciousness. I humbly beg for your mercy in this way.” 

As a footnote, he added that everything in Los Angeles is going well and that the Theistic Exhibit crew is working “day and night” to finish their diorama show by the Māyāpur festival. He also promised to send for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s approval photos of the Deities wearing Their new outfits. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was highly pleased with the letter. He considers Rāmeśvara both intelligent and efficient, and he reciprocated by conferring his full favor on him. “Yes, my blessings are there that you may always have the strength to act according to my orders. Yes, I am feeling a little better. You are welcome to come in January. Thank you for your wanting to help relieve me from the management burdens. 

“It is my satisfaction that everything is going nicely in Los Angeles. I want to see that those programs that we have begun will go on expanding and improving more and more.” 

Śrutakīrti prabhu, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s former servant, sent a letter from Boston. When Śrīla Prabhupāda was in Detroit in June, Śrutakīrti and Ambarīṣa prabhu had presented a proposal to open a new restaurant in Boston and Prabhupāda had given his enthusiastic approval. However, now Śrutakīrti explained that for various reasons, they had not been able to procure the desired building, or the manpower to run it. At the same time, he had received a call from Gurukṛpa Swami in Hawaii asking him to come there and manage the temple due to difficulties with the current president, Śukadeva prabhu. He would also run their restaurant. Tamāl Krishna Mahārāja, the GBC for Boston, has no objection, and Ambarīṣa prabhu has given a commitment to help if he goes there. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda noted the approval of his GBCs and told Śrutakīrti that he has no objection. 

The final piece of mail was from Sudāmā Goswami. As with almost every letter that is sent to Śrīla Prabhupāda, Sudāmā opened his with a reverent petition. “I fall at your lotus feet with deep respect and prostrated obeisance unto you in hopes that you will kindly accept my heartfelt prayers that I may always be engaged in your service.” 

He had heard that there was some rumor in India that he had again left ISKCON, so he now reassured Prabhupāda that there was no foundation to it. On the contrary, he said, “I am still here in New York working as hard as I possibly can to develop this Krishna consciousness Theater-Dance company in order to help Your Divine Grave spread the glories of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The results are coming nicely and people are anxious to see what pastime dance, drama we shall perform next.” 

Sudāmā Mahārāja had heard from some Godbrothers that Prabhupāda wanted the dance troupe to come to Bombay for the temple opening and asked if this was true;  if it was, he pointed out, they would need their expenses to be covered. Finally, he mentioned that he is still diligently studying Japanese every day with the hope that he will be able to continue to help the preaching there. His ambition is to be able to present his theater productions to the Japanese people. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to hear from Sudāmā. “Yes, there was some rumor, but I did not believe it. I am confident now that you’ll stick to our Krsna consciousness and do the needful. May Lord Krsna bless you.” He told him that he had never said his troupe should attend the Bombay opening and that it was not very necessary. He ended on a note of encouragement. “I appreciate very much your dedication to preaching in Japan.” 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was surprised and pleased to receive Yamunā dāsī today. She arrived from America just as he was taking his lunch. Normally he doesn’t receive guests while eating, but he immediately invited her to sit with him and offered her a small plate of his prasādam. After eating, they sat together in his darśana room and chatted. She showed him photos of their āśrama in Southern Oregon and their worshipable Deities, Śrī Śrī Rādhā Vanabehari.  

Yamunā has come to ask for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s formal blessings and approval to write a cookbook, something he suggested to her in 1967 but which she didn’t feel competent to do until now, although she has previously written and calligraphed a book entitled Krsna Prasadam but this has not been published. She told him that she intends to remain in Vṛndāvana for about a week and then go to Calcutta to stay with Mr. C.L. Bajoria, one of our prominent life members. Mr. Bajoria has a first-class cook with whom Yamunā has studied, and she wants to learn more from him about Bengali cooking. She is also planning further research and interviews with Pishima, Prabhupāda’s sister. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was most happy with her proposal and gave her his full encouragement.  

* * * 

Prabhupāda is following the same basic schedule as he did during September, occasionally meeting people in the day and at 6 p.m. holding darśana in the temple courtyard under the tamal tree. Then he retires to chant peacefully in his back garden until he takes rest. 

The weather has changed noticeably in the two weeks we have been away, and Prabhupāda caught a slight cold last night up on the roof, so this evening he had me prepare his bed with a quilt in the downstairs back bedroom and took his rest there. 

October 23rd, 1976

Śrīla Prabhupāda didn’t go for a walk this morning but instead circumambulated the temple three times before entering for the morning program. He has resumed his regular program of Deity darśana, guru-pūjā, and Bhāgavatam class. He continued with S.B. 5.5.1 today, focusing on the attainment of the human form as the means to purify our existence and the performance of tapasya as the essential practice to bring that about. Modern civilization, he said, makes many plans for its advancement but does nothing to prevent the misery of birth, death, old age, and disease. 

“That is not so easy. Therefore they have avoided it. They do not touch this point. They are making arrangement for temporary socalled happiness. That attempt is done even by cats and dogs. That is not successful life.” 

Prabhupāda cited the Vedic etiquette in the meeting of Viśvāmitra and Mahārāja Daśaratha. “Suppose a friend comes; we ask, ‘How are you, my friend? How things are going on?’ So similarly, when Daśaratha Mahārāja inquired of Viśvāmitra, ‘How are you?’ that was not ordinary question. The great saintly persons, sages, they are engaged in devotional service. What is the purpose? The purpose is not for some material gain. The purpose is different. That was inquired by Daśaratha Mahārāja: aihiṣṭaṁ yat punar janma jayāya. ‘You are undergoing tapasya, austerities, for conquering over rebirth.’ ” 

Briefly describing each of the four basic miseries, he gave a nice example of what it means to live in Kali-yuga. “A man is suffering from itches or sores all over the body. So where he shall give ointment? He should be dipped in the ointment. This is the position. Similarly, how much you will find out, ‘This is faulty, this is faulty, this is faulty.’ The life in the Kaliyuga itself is faulty. Everything is faulty.” And he stated the solution. “But still, Kṛṣṇa is so kind. He has given an opportunity that by chanting His holy name one can become free from this faulty position. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya muktasaṅga paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. It is possible.” 

Speaking earnestly, sometimes leaning into the microphone, sometimes surveying his audience with a sober and penetrating look, sometimes closing his eyes in concentration in the transmission of his message, Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that the practice of tapasya, austerity, was dependent on our state of mind and how we conduct our relationships. 

“There is life, ānandacinmayarasa. Not jadānanda. In the material world, the material happiness is jada—there is no life. But there is a place which is full of eternal happiness. So this life should be engaged for that purpose, not to fight like cats and dogs . . . We should be very careful not to become like cats and dogs but to become very humble—humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. Amāninā. Everyone wants that ‘I am very honorable man, prestigious man. And you should respect me.’ That is our material disease. ‘I do not want to respect you, but you should offer me respect.’ This is the position. Therefore, our system is to call another Vaiṣṇava as prabhu. ‘Sir, you are prabhu, you are master.’ But we call prabhu, but I think, ‘No, you are not prabhu; I am prabhu. You are servant.’ This cheating process will not help us. Actually, we should believe that he is prabhu. ‘He is servant of Kṛṣṇa; therefore he is my prabhu.’ This is Vaiṣṇava mentality. Gopībhartur padakamalayor dāsadāsadāsadāsānudāsa [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. One who wants to become servant of the servant of the servant of the servant, he is actually prabhu. If falsely one thinks that ‘I am prabhu,’ then his life is spoiled. So this word we use amongst ourselves, prabhu, means that ‘I am your servant, you are my master.’ But that should be practically exhibited. That is called tapasya, to learn all these things.” 

We should work hard, he told us, not for material comforts, but for selfrealization, divine contact. “That is called divyam. Divyam is explained in the Bhagavadgītā: janma karma ca me divyam If you simply take little trouble to understand Kṛṣṇa . . . That tapasya is required: to read Kṛṣṇa’s instruction, Bhagavadgītā, ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, and try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Because that tapasya, if you take little painful . . . It is not painful. It is very pleasing.”  

With more than a little irony, he looked out on his young, mainly Western audience and reminded us of our inability to perform even that simple ‘austerity.’ “But we avoid it.We think it is painful. ‘Ah! Who is going to read books? We are meant for selling books, not for reading books.’ This is not good. We should read also. That is tapasya. Saddhaya. That is tapasya. Don’t think that simply our books are meant for selling. No. It is meant for reading also. If we read regularly, at least two hours, three hours, that is tapasya.”  

It is a point Prabhupāda has stressed many times before, and he followed it by focusing on another item of sādhana that is still difficult for some devotees and that I, as a former temple commander here, could appreciate. Just a year ago it was my duty to wake everyone up at 4 a.m. by running around the brahmacārī āśrama and guesthouse banging a gong. Śrīla Prabhupāda had been visiting during Janmāṣṭamī and had inquired from his servant, Upendra prabhu, what was going on. When Upendra had told him that it was me waking everyone up for maṅgala ārati, he had shaken his head and commented, “They have to be woken like a bunch of cows!”  So now in class he continued, “These are the tapasyas. To rise early in the morning, that is also tapasya. Not that every day we have to ring bell—dung, dung, dung, dung—‘Get up! Get up!’ ‘No, I am sleeping.’ No, you have to accept. These are the tapasyas. We cannot avoid. If we actually want to avoid this body, working like cats and dogs, like animals, then we have to undergo tapasya, a very simple tapasya.” 

He told us that we can not expect to go to the forest or undergo meditation in the snow of the Himalayan mountains with no food or shelter from animals. Rather, we are living in the holy land of Kṛṣṇa’s birth in a wonderful temple and āśrama complex, but this also is for the performance of tapasya. Sounding another cautionary note, Prabhupāda continued, “We have constructed a big, nice building. But because the building is there, if you simply come here as a free guest and make life very easy for eating and sleeping, that is not tapasya. That is not tapasya. You must be very careful how to keep the temple very cleansed, yourself clean, worshiping the Deity. That is recommended. Śrīvigrahārādhananityanānāśṛṅgāratan mandiramārjanādau [Śrī Śrī Gurv-aṣṭaka 3]. This is also tapasya.”  

Using this verse, he stressed that all aspects of service are the same and warned us not to think that one service is superior to another. “Every corner of this temple is Kṛṣṇa. Don’t think that only Kṛṣṇa is here in the temple room. No. Kṛṣṇa is everywhere, especially this temple where Kṛṣṇa lives. Every part of this temple, every part of it is Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, why it is recommended, tanmandira mārjanādiṣu? This is tapasya. You should always remain engaged doing something for Kṛṣṇa. Don’t think, ‘This is very first class; this is last class.’ No. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s temple, they are the same thing. Don’t think that ‘Oh, I am given this work to cleanse the temple, and that man is given this work to worship the Deity.’ There is no difference. Ārādhya bhagavān vrajeṣa tanaya tad dhāma vṛndā-vanam. As vrajeṣa tanaya, Kṛṣṇa, is ārādhya, worshipable, similarly His dhāma, His place, this Vṛndāvana, is also worshipable, as good as Kṛṣṇa. What to speak of temple—whole Vṛndāvana. The whole of Vṛndāvana.” 

* * * 

Yaśodānandana Swami recently received a letter from Gurukṛpa Swami asking him to go to Australia. Gurukṛpa is unable to attend to his GBC duties there, so he has asked Yaśodānandana Mahārāja to oversee things, at least until the next Māyāpur festival. The Australian devotees arranged a ticket for him, but on the day he was due to pick it up, Prabhupāda told him he should not go, because he is more needed here in India. He said the GBC should arrange for someone from the USA to go. 

Gargamuni Mahārāja was also here for a few days and has now returned to Delhi. 

* * * 

Jayapatākā Swami sent a detailed and urgent letter describing new developments regarding our application to the government to acquire the land for our Māyāpur project. It appears to be still caught up in the bureaucratic machinery of local government. In mid-August Jayapatākā Mahārāja had reported that it was put in the hands of our friend Mr. Choudhuri for a final decision and that he had asked us to be patient, promising a decision within sixty days. He wanted to follow the standard procedures to avoid potential criticism of personal bias in our favor and had put the proposal to the local Nadia District Planning Committee (NDPC). Now Jayapatākā’s letter indicated that the application had been forwarded by the NDPC to its chairman and Minister of State in charge of Nadia district, Mr. Ananda Mohan Biswas. This has complicated things. “He said that in his meeting the members put forth the opinion that: ‘such acquisition of land from the common man and giving over in full proprietorship to one institution was not the policy of the Government. The Government was giving, rather, land to the landless and poor. ISKCON has offered to employ the displaced persons, but this is purely on the sweet mercy of ISKCON if they do so or not. In the allurement of 100 crores of development they cannot go against the policy of the Government.” 

Mr. Biswas has thus suggested that ISKCON form a “Māyāpur Development Cooperative” with all the local landowners as members. His idea is that these members would therefore always be “an active integral” part of the project, with guaranteed jobs. Further, they would share in any profits realized by the productive part of our project. 

Jayapatākā Mahārāja expressed his doubts. “This suggestion brought many questions to my mind and I felt that it posed more than anything a potential delay and hamper to the development work. I asked several questions the principal of which were: 1) The land owners are contributing only the value of their land, whereas ISKCON is contributing many crores, and the development is to be done along the lines of ISKCON’s cultural and philosophical tenets. Therefore won’t all these members pose a management problem? 

“He answered: ‘ISKCON shall be the management committee, you may be the president for that matter. There will be a committee on which a government representative will sit to see to the interest of all the members, but ISKCON shall manage the affairs.’ 

“2nd Question: There are four hundred persons involved in the whole land acquisition. What assurance is there that everyone will join this cooperative, and if they do not join then what will be done? Many are solvent parties with ample income from other sources who may not be attracted by this offer. 

“2nd Answer: ‘I shall pursue them! If ISKCON forms this cooperative then they will all join within two weeks! If they do not, then we shall acquire! I want to involve the local people in this project, not alienate them.’ 

“3rd Question: In any case, the central part of this project is the Planetarium and educational sector, for which there is no productive income, and which are purely cultural areas. Apart from the question of cooperative for the other areas, this particular area should be straightly acquired and given to ISKCON for development. The question of the cottage industry and agricultural areas being under cooperative should be kept a separate issue. Do you affirm? 

“3rd Answer: ‘Yes, that is all right. You say it involves only 50 acres?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied.” 

After this, Jayapatākā Mahārāja went to see Mr. Choudhuri, who advised him against accepting such an arrangement. He recommended going back to the District Magistrate and formulating with him a response that would assure Mr. Biswas that the local people will get jobs. He commented, “ISKCON should get the land with a ‘golden handshake’ and not be bothered again with any encumbrance.” 

Jayapatākā added that Mr. Biswas was not the final word on the matter, although he would now have to answer the minister’s points in detail. “Mr. Biswas’s actual attitude was favorable, he has been advised, rightly or wrongly, on this cooperative idea, and it has infatuated him for the time being. I am not sure what Your Divine Grace thinks about this cooperative point. I will hear what the D.M. has to say and write you on the matter’s further developments so that you may get a clear idea of the picture.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda frowned as he heard the report, and he dictated his reply. “Regarding this cooperative point, who will manage all the expenditure? We will spend so much money, why should it be managed by a cooperative? The cooperative society proposal is absurd. The poor members cannot pay adequately, neither are they interested. It is not tenable from all angles of vision. In the beginning the report was given to the DM. Now again DM, DM. Why again DM, he was first given proposal? 

     “It is up to Mr. Choudhari now. The chief minister has handed the matter to him for decision. He said to wait 23 months for a decision. So let us simply wait.” 

Jayapatākā also reported on another, more favorable meeting with a government minister—Mr. Mritunjoy Bannerjee, the Minister of Education for West Bengal. This gentleman recently had a darśana with Śrīla Prabhupāda and is favorable. He has promised to help place Prabhu-pāda’s books in government libraries and to procure for us government concessional paper for printing. 

Prabhupāda was pleased to hear this but pointed out that we are already getting government paper. “If you want, we can get as much as you require. It is already sanctioned. However many tons you require, just tell Gopal Krsna and he’ll do the needful.” 

In other news, Jayapatākā Mahārāja  said that Śatadhanya Swami is going out with a book distribution party on the boat Nitai Pada Kamala and meeting with good success. People are becoming attracted, and the strength of the Māyāpur temple now stands at 148 men, women, and children. Foreign devotees are few, and he is gradually training local men to take up the reigns of management. He has introduced a new system of accounting after observing how one of our life members did his. Śravaṇānanda prabhu, in pursuit of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions, has arrived, and together they went to see Mr. Biswas and showed the film Brilliant As The Sun. They also showed Mr. Choudhuri Śravaṇānanda’s film of the New York Ratha-yātrā, as well as the New Vrindaban documentary. This created a good impression, and they intend to visit other prominent contacts. After that, Śravaṇānanda will go on the boat and begin showing the films all around Bengal. 

Prabhupāda was satisfied with Jayapatākā Maharāja’s report. “Your description of how you are managing is nice. This is management. The British government was conducting the management of 600 million people with just 200 Britishers. We cannot expect all foreigners to come and manage Mayapur affairs. The best management is to turn the local men into devotees. Make the management perfect in this way. Things should be developed in such a way, based on devotional service, that there may not be any racial feelings. This is Kaliyuga. Very easily racial feelings are awakened on the material platform, but on the spiritual platform there is no such thing. Yes, what you are describing is the banking system. Every day, until the trial balance is calculated, no employee can leave the bank. That was the old system in Indian business.” He also added a note concerning a Godbrother of his who has asked to stay at our Māyāpur center. “One elderly gentleman, who claims to be my Godbrother, named Jayanarayan das Babaji, from Burdwan district, will be coming there. You may give him a place.” 

Bāla Kṛṣṇa dāsa, the temple president of Seattle, sent a list of six new devotees for first initiation and two for second. He also asked for a new name for their Seattle yātrā, reminding Prabhupāda that he had visited there in the early days of the movement and installed their Deities of Lord Jagannātha, Balarāma, and Subhadrā although his request for it was a little oddly worded: “Therefore I would also like to recommend Seattle Yatra for initiation.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted the new candidates but did not give a name for the Seattle yātrā. He did, however, enthusiastically endorse Bāla Kṛṣṇa’s efforts to increase the temple’s book distribution. According to Bāla Kṛṣṇa’s letter, the devotees there have just completed the biggest week of book distribution in the temple’s history, selling 681 big books, 5,018 copies of Perfection Of Yoga, and 657 BTGs. They collected $8,229.96 and have sent over $15,000 per month for the last three months to the BBT. Bāla Kṛṣṇa declared his intention to become the top medium temple and observed, “By concentrating our efforts on book distribution automatically everything else goes nicely. There is enough laxmi so that now we are making improvements on our temple, new devotees are coming and also we are developing a program for preaching at schools and colleges. 

“Srila Prabhupada, we think that the perfection of our lives can be achieved by following your instructions and participating in this Sankirtan Movement. We are eternally indebted to you for the causeless mercy you have bestowed upon us.” He added a footnote to say that one of the girls, Paśupati devi dāsī, had gotten through tight security and managed to give the Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, a Bhagavad-gītā As It Is

This is the kind of news that Śrīla Prabhupāda is always happy to receive. “Your report of book distribution is very encouraging,” he replied. “Please go on increasing more and more. Yes, you should become the topmost temple for distributing my books. This is a very good proposal. That is the only way to please me. Distribute my books profusely. That is real preaching.” 

Bāla Kṛṣṇa also asked for some advice. One of his best distributors, Rudrāṇī dāsī, although only twenty-three years old, is so badly stricken with arthritis that she can barely sit, walk, or even sleep. Despite this, when she is able to go out, she sells twice as many books as anyone else. She has a strong desire to continue with her service, but no doctor has been able to help her. She is currently taking twenty-five aspirins a day just to be able to function. Bāla Kṛṣṇa expressed his reluctance to bother Śrīla Prabhupāda, but due to frustration with any other solution, he now asked whether Śrīla Prabhupāda could recommend any Āyurvedic doctor or medicine, or whether she should “just accept it as her karma and go on serving as best she can until she dies.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was as philosophical about her problem as he is about his own health. He offered no panacea other than that given by Kṛṣṇa Himself. His advice came right out of the Gītā 2.14 and eighty-one years of experience: “The girl who has got health problems must learn to be tolerant. As long as the material body will be there, there will only be pain. Pleasure is a misconception.” 

Gurudāsa Swami is currently in London, where he has returned after a successful preaching tour of “war-torn Northern Ireland.” He presented some questions and observations about his proposed preaching in Poland and other Eastern European countries. He has yet to contact with Harikeśa Swami but has discussed some ideas with Jayatīrtha prabhu. He wanted to know from Śrīla Prabhupāda whether or not he should go into the communist countries undercover and listed some reasons why he felt it was not necessary. Undercover, he explained, means going in as a tourist. This means a maximum stay of only 3-4 weeks, during which little could be achieved and with the additional requirement that one has to spend at least £5-10 per day. A party of 3-4 men would be a big expense.  Apart from this, he was concerned about being discovered. “If we tried to go in undercover, the Communists are expert in finding out clandestine activities and so-called covers. That is their job, and they have become expert at it over the years and I don’t think that we could maintain that we were tourists for very long. They would eventually find out and this, of course, would then be a defect in our dealings, rather than an asset. Therefore, my feelings are that we should ask permission to come as a Vedic cultural society, or some other thing, perhaps you may have a suggestion. Jayatirtha and I also thought that it might be good to apply from India with our spiritual names, or having an Indian devotee (citizen) apply for our party because the Communist countries’ relationship is very good with India as they want to take India over eventually. This is their plan. Americans preaching Vedic culture or yoga is a very suspicious thing to them. Therefore we both thought that it would be a very good thing to apply through India and through some Indian citizens etc. I am interested in your thoughts on this.” 

Mahārāja presented another reason why he thought his coming to India would be beneficial. “I have certain ideas and thoughts of advertising Vrindavan on a wide-scale basis in India so as to have more people come to our guesthouse.” In summary, he expressed his feelings of separation from Vṛndāvana and his idea that if he were to base himself in India, he could both preach to the communist countries and serve the holy dhāma. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy both with his desires and with his approach to his preaching work. He wrote, “I never said that you should go undercover for preaching in Eastern Europe. Everything should be done openly and very carefully. Krsna will protect your efforts.” 

He was frank about his feelings on the guesthouse, but despite this he discouraged Gurudāsa from coming here immediately. His priority is always his worldwide preaching. “Up to date the Vrindaban guesthouse is a failure. Nobody’s coming. You are always welcome in Vrindaban, but I think you can come for the Mayapur festival. Right now, Harikesh and Sucandra are very eager to preach. So, you should find out where they are and make arrangements to assist them.” 

* * * 

Dhanañjaya prabhu is still trying to develop his Deity paraphernalia business, and Śrīla Prabhupāda is giving him much encouragement. A few days back, I mentioned to Dhanañjaya about Kīrtanānanda Swami’s taking Prabhupāda’s footprints in clay when he was in New York in July. I suggested he do the same, because every temple will want replicas. Dhanañjaya was reluctant to bother Prabhupāda, but he does want to make replicas of his footprints. He thinks that if he just has the size of Prabhupāda’s feet, he can get one of the mūrti-wallas to make facsimiles in the same way that copies of Lord Caitanya’s footprints are made. So today, immediately after massage, I asked Śrīla Prabhupāda to step onto two sheets of plain paper. He was happy to oblige, and his footprints have thus been recorded in mustard oil. I gave the sheets to Dhanañjaya, and he has taken them into town to see what can be made from them. 

October 24th, 1976

Today is Govardhana-pūjā

Continuing with the theme of tapasya, Śrīla Prabhupāda discoursed from the Bhāgavatam verse 5.5.2. As Prabhupāda surveyed his small array of disciples, Pradyumna prabhu led the devotees in chanting the Sanskrit and then read out the translation. “One can attain the path of liberation from material bondage only by rendering service to highly advanced spiritual personalities. These personalities are impersonalists and devotees. Whether one wants to merge into the Lord’s existence or wants to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should render service to the mahātmās. For those who are not interested in such activities, who associate with people fond of women and sex, the path to hell is wide open. The mahātmās are equipoised. They do not see any difference between one living entity and another. They are very peaceful and are fully engaged in devotional service. They are devoid of anger, and they work for the benefit of everyone. They do not behave in any abominable way. Such people are known as mahātmās.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda repeated the Sanskrit and immediately went to the essence. “Human life is meant for tapasya, and tapasya means beginning tapasā brahmacaryeṇa [SB 6.1.13]. Tapasya begins with brahmacarya, celibacy. No sex life . . . The whole yogic process means how to become free from sexual desire.” 

If we want to be free from our material desires, he explained, then we have to develop a humble attitude and associate with and serve the mahātmās.  

Prabhupāda is always keen for us to take the founders of modern Vṛndāvana as our exemplars, and again this morning he grounded his talk in the lives of the gosvāmīs. First citing Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī as the example of humility for telling Lord Caitanya that he was simply a fool although people thought him very learned, he then gave a vivid example from the life of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. “Do not approach the mahātmā for challenging. Then you will be cheated. Just like one great, learned scholar, socalled scholar, he came to Vṛndāvana and he saw Rūpa Gosvāmī. He said, ‘Sir, I have come to you.’ ‘Now, what is the purpose?’ ‘Now, I have traveled all over India, and I have become victorious. They have accepted me. So I have come to you to discuss on Vedic knowledge.’ So then Rūpa Gosvāmī inquired from him, ‘Actually what do you want?’ ‘I want also that you acknowledge me that I’m a great scholar. That I want.’ ‘All right. I acknowledge you are a great scholar.’ ‘No, then you give me in writing.’ So Rūpa Gosvāmī gave him in writing, ‘I met this man; he’s a great scholar and I am defeated.’ He gave in writing. Of course, Jīva Gosvāmī took that paper very tactfully and defeated him. So this is not the method of meeting Rūpa Gosvāmī. One should go very humbly, mahatsevām. Rūpa Gosvāmī is mahat. You should not go there to challenge. Then you’ll be cheated.” 

Prabhupāda then exposed the antithetical natures of material and spiritual progress. “The lower my position is [as a] servant, then I am great mahātmā. Ordinarily they think mahātmā, that ‘I am on the top, on the topmost platform.’ That is not mahātmā. This is our Caitanya philosophy. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā . . . This is mahātmā. So you have to approach such mahātmā.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda is our great living exemplar of a real mahātmā, and each morning we are privileged to hear him set forth the confidential knowledge of the śāstra. He is fit to educate the whole world, yet his morning audience is small; many come and go but fail to take advantage of his presence, and Prabhupāda explained why. “So actually this discussion, instructions, are to be executed amongst the guru and the disciples, where there is submission. Otherwise there is no need of. Nowadays, we hold some meeting. Some ordinary people they come to hear. But that kind of discussion Caitanya Mahāprabhu never did. Never did. Because these outsiders, they are not submissive. They come to see the fun. They do not come to learn something.  

“Guru means whatever instruction he’ll give, we have to accept without any argument. Vedic knowledge is like that. You cannot interpret. As it is, you have to accept. Similarly guru’s word also you have to accept. No argument. That is Vedic knowledge.”  

* * *  

There were no special arrangements for Govardhana-pūjā except for a feast. And in that Prabhupāda took a lot of interest. Right after class he called for Pradyumna prabhu and asked him what preparations were being made for the festival. Pradyumna had little idea of what was planned, so Prabhupāda told him to find the descriptions of the Annakūta ceremony observed by Nanda Mahārāja and later by Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī. Pradyumna took down the appropriate books from the shelves on the wall, and together they went through all the items. Prabhupāda told him which preparations should be cooked and in what quantities. Then he sent him off to the kitchen to supervise everything. As a result, a large and elaborate feast was prepared and offered to Their Lordships at midday. Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased with the cooks’ efforts, and rather than eat his own cook’s offering, he took some of the feast for his lunch.  

* * * 

As I gave Śrīla Prabhupāda his noon massage in the back garden, Jagadīśa prabhu came before him with the day’s mail. There was a letter from Bhūrijana prabhu and his wife Jagattāriṇī. After receiving association and instructions from Śrīla Prabhupāda earlier this year, they have become active again within mainstream ISKCON and are applying themselves sincerely to teaching in the gurukula in America. Prabhupāda was happy to hear from them and acknowledged their gift of $100 in traveler’s checks. He gave them encouragement to continue. “I am pleased to know that you are working hard in the service of Krsna and feeling settled in your engagement. Please take this movement very seriously.” 

A devotee called R. Gururaj sent a letter from Montreal, simply asking for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy and enclosing some dakṣiṇā. Gururaj offered his prayers and a plea. “Even as a piece of iron gets magnetized by contact with a real magnet, in the association of devotees I also feel I should take shelter at your lotus feet. But Srila Prabhupada, instead of becoming humble and sincere, I am caught up in a vicious circle of pride and passion and I do not know how to get out of it. By your mercy alone I can have the intelligence to give up all my nonsensical thoughts and deeds and take to the path of devotional service. I beg for your blessings to always remember your instructions and never forget Krsna.” 

Prabhupāda was happy to receive his offerings. Whether old devotee or new, anyone who writes to His Divine Grace gets his full attention and practical advice. He thanked Gururaj for his donation and advised him to continue to associate with the devotees. “If you are serious and willing to follow the four regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds daily,” he wrote, “you are welcome to live in our Montreal temple. Make an end to this material existence once and for all. There is nothing but suffering in this material world and we are offering the chance for eternal, blissful life. Kindly take advantage of this opportunity.” 

The temple president of St. Louis, Missouri, Makhanlāl prabhu, sent a long, four-page missive, recommending four new devotees for initiation but mainly detailing two specific questions regarding the development of his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He explained that for the last two years he has been bathing and dressing the Deities of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi. In particular, he has been trying to focus on Lord Nityānanda. He cited several references from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books about the importance of Nityānanda Prabhu and explained, “Because I always need more spiritual strength and the higher taste, param drstva nivartate, love of God; in pursuance of your instructions and other statements by the Vaisnava Acaryas, I have been trying to attain the mercy of Lord Nityananda and attachment to His lotus feet by your causeless grace.” He indicated, however, that this was drawing criticism from some of his God-brothers. Although he feels that it is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s desire that he, and all Prabhupāda’s disciples, ‘develop love for Lord Nityānanda and eventually Lord Caitanya,’ he now submitted the matter to Śrīla Prabhupāda for confirmation or correction. 

“Since you stated in Srimad Bhagavatam (3.25.44 purport) that ‘One should fix his mind on Krsna or any incarnation,’ I want to know whether my attempt to attain pure devotional service and love of God, by following your instruction to fix my mind at the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda, is a bona fide and/or necessary process for advancement in devotional service . . . On the strength of the statement by Narottama dasa Thakur that if one is actually serious about going Back to Home, Back to Godhead, one should take shelter of Lord Nityananda, we are trying to always take shelter at His lotus feet by your grace. Since this love for Lord Nityananda frees one from all material desires, is it necessary that every disciple eventually develop a desire to love Him in order to become a pure unalloyed devotee in this life?” 

Makhanlāl’s other question was whether, in the course of doing devotional service, he should try to fix his mind specifically on Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and form, or his temple Deities Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi, or whether, since devotional service to the Lord is non-different from Him, it was enough to simply be absorbed in the service itself. Again he cited several quotes from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books that the mind should be fixed on Kṛṣṇa and asked, “Is it sufficient for your disciples to meditate only on their prescribed duties, or, when you say man-mana bhava mad bhakto . . . are you actually requesting us to constantly think about the lotus feet of the Lord and simultaneously render our service?” 

He brought his letter to a close with a humble prayer. “I am asking these questions for my self-purification in order to expand my devotional service by your grace. However, I’m begging that you please don’t let these questions upset your translating work which is the heart and soul of your disciples. I just want to understand these points in your books so that I can properly represent you in this position you have given me as temple president.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to hear from one of his early disciples and praised Makhanlāl for his sincerity before answering his questions. “My blessings are always with you as you have requested. You are a very good devotee and servant of Krsna. So far your questions are concerned. Nityananda is the principle of the Guru. So, the Gurudev is the incarnation of Nityananda. Anyone strictly following the instruction of the Guru is following Nityananda. The price one has to pay if he wants to become Krsna conscious is that he must dedicate himself to following the order of the spiritual master, mahat seva. If the Spiritual Master is pleased with disciple then the blessings of Guru will be there. That is the best way to become Krsna conscious, and Krsna is nondifferent from Nityananda. You may pray to Lord Nityananda to help you become dedicated in the service of your Guru. Krsna consciousness cannot be achieved artificially. You should approach Nityananda Prabhu through your Spiritual Master.” 

October 25th, 1976

In his continuing discourse on mahat-sevā, service to the mahātmas, Prabhupāda this morning gave a few definitions how we can recognize such great souls, both by their behavior and by their work. He advised that we should go beyond outer appearances and study their actual character and activities.  

“What is the symptom?” he asked. “In the śāstra we’ll find not by one symptom that one has got saffron cloth or big beard, then he is mahātmā. No. There are other symptoms. Just like brāhmaṇa. In the Kaliyuga brāhmaṇa means one twopaisa thread, that’s all. But that is not brāhmaṇa. Brāhmaṇa means śamo damo titikṣva. These are the symptoms. Similarly, mahātmā does not mean a dress, but people have taken advantage of this dress. In India still, although povertystricken, if a person, simply by dressing in saffron cloth goes to a village, he has no problem. Everyone will call him, invite him, give him shelter, give him food. ‘Sir, come here; take prasāda,’ everyone will ask. Poor people have taken advantage of it. Without any education, they take it for solving economic problems. Here also in Vṛn-dāvana you’ll find so many people have come here because there are many chatras. You can get free capati, dal. You’ll find in the morning so many wretched class. They have come to Vṛndāvana just for this bread and dal. And they collect and they exchange. They purchase bidi [cigarettes].” 

A real mahātmā, he said, was a paṇḍita, a learned man who saw every living being equally. And Kṛṣṇa similarly offers the chance equally to any living being to go back to Godhead, no matter how lowly they may be by birth. So if Kṛṣṇa is making the offer for all to return to Him, “Then who will do it?” Prabhupāda asked. “You are a big sādhu, very learned sādhu, and if you sit down, ‘No, no. I shall not go out of India. As soon as I cross the sea, immediately I’ll become fallen,’ then who will do this business? Kṛṣṇa wants that te ’pi yānti parāṁ gatim, ye ’pi syuḥ pāpayonayaḥ. Then who will deliver these pāpayoni? If ‘I am a big sannyāsī and big devotee, I do not go outside Vṛndāvana, I do not go outside India. I am jagatguru . . . ’ ‘Have you seen jagat?’ ‘No. I’m selfmade jagatguru.’ This is going on. Cheating. This cheating is going on. What is mahātmā they do not know; still, they are posing themselves mahātmā.”  

A symptom of a great soul, he said, is that they are praśantā, peaceful, despite the difficulties encountered in the course of preaching. Lord Nityānanda was ideal in His reaction to the attack on Him by Jagāi and Mādhāi; He was hit by an earthen pot and still He asked them to simply chant. But Prabhupāda also pointed out that it was not always appropriate to be peaceful. “When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard it, He immediately came, and He was so angry, that ‘I shall kill these two men immediately. Bring My cakra.’ Nityānanda Prabhu said, ‘My Lord, You have promised not to take weapon in this incarnation, so kindly be merciful upon them.’ ‘No! They have insulted Vaiṣṇava!’ This is another example. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is teaching this humbleness: tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā [Cc. Ādi 17.31]. But when Nityānanda Prabhu was injured, did He stop punishing them? No. At that time He became fire: ‘I shall kill them!’ Tṛṇād api sunīcena does not mean that if a Vaiṣṇava is insulted or Viṣṇu is defamed, you remain silent. No. At that time you should become fire. That is the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Just like Hanumānjī; he’s Vaiṣṇava. But when there was need for the service of Lord Rāmacandra, he set fire in the Lanka. So when there is viṣṇuvaiṣṇavaninda, defamation, you should not remain tṛṇād api sunīcena. You should take steps. This is the instruction. Anyway, Vaiṣṇava is never angry, but that does not mean that you tolerate insult to Viṣṇu and Vaiṣṇava. No.” 

Citing several other examples of devotees who exhibited extreme tolerance in the face of demonic opposition, including that of Lord Jesus, whom he called a śaktyāveśa avatāra, God’s son, Prabhupāda then told us something very surprising—that mahātmās are found not only in the human species. “Don’t misunderstand that we are preaching that mahātmās are only in India. No. By the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are mahātmās even amongst the birds, even amongst the beasts, even amongst the lower than animals. Because this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is going on in different places, in different circumstances. That is God’s desire, yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham [Bg. 4.7]. 

“So Kṛṣṇa wants this. Just like in your country there are welfare activities by the government. Welfare department is seeing that nobody is unhappy for want of money. Similarly, mahātmās, they are in the welfare department of Kṛṣṇa. They are sent to different countries, different places, different species of life, so that the living entity may take advantage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” 

* * * 

Dhanañjaya prabhu returned Śrīla Prabhupāda’s footprints to me this morning. The artisans he has seen have all said that they cannot make accurate reproductions from the oil-on-paper impressions, so Śrīla Prabhupāda graciously agreed to make a set of clay ones. Remembering the difficulties we had in New York, I told Dhanañjaya what size to make the box, the texture that the clay should be (not too firm and not too soft) and to remember to leave a one-inch gap all around for the clay to spread into when Prabhupāda stepped onto it. I also suggested that he sprinkle a little talcum powder on the surface so the clay wouldn’t stick to Prabhupāda’s feet.  

Accordingly, just before massage, Dhanañjaya brought the box into Prabhupāda’s sitting room. His Divine Grace was full of smiles. As Dhanañjaya set the box down on the floor just in front of the fireplace, Śrīla Prabhupāda raised his eyebrows slightly and peered over. “What is that?” he asked.  

“I’d like to get your footprints, Śrīla Prabhupāda, if that’s all right with you.” 

“But we have already given a set to New Vrindaban,” Prabhupāda teased. 

“Well, I thought it would be nice if we could get a set for old Vṛndāvana, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” Dhanañjaya replied a little apprehensively.  

Prabhupāda tipped his head to the side in assent and, rising from his āsana, he stepped over to the box. Holding lightly onto the mantle shelf of the fireplace to steady himself, he deftly stepped squarely onto the clay. As he stood with his feet together on the surface, he allowed me to press down on his lotus feet as he had done in New York, to ensure a good impression. In a few seconds it was done, and the result was a set of clear lotus footprints, although the right foot came out a little deeper than the left. Dhanañjaya took the box away happily. His intention is to have some sets made from pure silver and sell them to the temples. 

* * * 

There was an interesting letter today from Vidya dāsī, the pūjārī for Śrīmatī Tulasī devī in Los Angeles. She wrote at length asking about the care of Tulasī plants. She has been experimenting with trying to grow Tulasī in the open ground but has not met with much success. She asked if they should build a special Tulasī house.  

Prabhupāda replied to the affirmative. “If it is not possible for Tulasi to survive the winters when planted in the ground, then a suitable house should be provided for her. Even the Canadian temples, which are in a much colder climate, are keeping Tulasi nicely. Why should there be so much difficulty in Los Angeles, which has such a nice climate? Just do everything very carefully. Tulasi flourishes where there is love and devotion.” 

Vidya dāsī also included a series of eighteen specific questions, some of which, I gathered from Prabhupāda’s reaction, he considered a bit trivial, but he answered them nevertheless. As he sat in the sunshine on a straw mat in the back garden receiving his massage, surrounded by Tulasī plants growing around the perimeter of the lawn, he listened carefully as Jagadīśa asked the questions and replied them one by one.  

Q1) Is each Tulasi a separate jiva soul or an expansion of one pure devotee? 

A: Tulasi is one devotee who appears wherever there is devotion to Krsna.  

Q2) Where does her spirit soul go when she leaves this body? 

A: Tulasi’s body is spiritual.  

Q3) May we place jewelry on her soil or just moon stones? 

A: Yes, jewelry is all right.  

Q4) When Tulasi is being cared for by householders in their homes, must two arotikas still be offered? 

A: If possible.  

Q5) When Tulasi is being cared for by householders in their homes, may they use her leaves and manjaris on their offerings, or should they take them to the temple? 

A: Tulasi leaves should be offered to the Deity.  

Q6) When Tulasi is being offered arotika by the householders, must she have a ghee lamp? 

A: If possible.  

Q7) Is it offensive to turn the baby Tulasis back into the soil when they appear? 

A: Yes.  

Q8) There are even questions concerning Tulasi’s arotikas. We have always offered her incense, ghee lamp, and flower. Is this correct? 

A: Yes.  

Q9) In the manual, it states that Tulasi should not be pruned. Does this also mean trimming the branches which no longer have leaves or life fluids flowing through them? 

A: You may cut the dead branches, but what is the necessity?  

Q10) We were told that once you spoke the “four regulative principles of Tulasi care” which will keep her from getting sick: a) keep her moist; b) keep her clean; c) give her morning sunlight (at least); d) give her two arotikas a day. Is this bona fide? 

A: I never said that.  

Q11) May Tulasi be made into a tea after she has been offered? 

A: No.  

Q12) May devotees carve Tulasi wood for Deities’ paraphernalia? 

A: Yes.  

Q13) When Tulasi leaves her body and the body is too soft for carving beads, how should she be used? Should a small fire sacrifice be performed? 

A: Use the wood for beads as far as possible; the balance may be placed within the earth.  

Q14) We have a letter from you requesting that no sprays be used on Tulasi devi. May we use a spray of buttermilk and whole-wheat flour dissolved in water, which coats her leaves to keep spider mites from causing Tulasi to leave her body? 

A: I said no chemical sprays.  

Q15) Does Tulasi sleep? Should she be left undisturbed after nightfall? 

A:15) Undisturbed means what?  

Q16) Is it permissible to use scissors to cut her manjaris and when transplanting, to use knives to loosen her from her pot? 

A: Use common sense and if you have none, then consult with others.  

Q17) Is it an offense to step on or across her shadow (or the shadow of any pure devotee)? 

A: You can step over the shadow but not on it1.  

Q18) For 2 years we have been waiting permission to use the following 2 prayers plus translations and translations of the already existing prayer. Please tell us if these are bona fide: 

Om govinda-vallabham devim bhakti caitanya karinim 

snapayami jagad-dhatrim hari-bhakti-pradayinim 

“Now I am bathing the mother of the Universe, the bestower of Krsna bhakti, the enlivener of the living force of the devotees and the dear one of Govinda.” 

cayanod bhava-dukhan ca yad hrdi tava vartate 

tat ksamasva jagan-matah vrnda devi namo’stu ‘te 

“O mother of the universe, please forgive whatever misery exists in your heart caused by the cutting of your leaves. O Vrnda devi, let me offer my obeisances to you.” 

Om tulasy amrta-jamasi sada tvam kesava-priya 

kesavartham cinomi tvam barada bhava sobhane 

“O Tulasi, you are born from nectar and are always dear to Lord Kesava. Now, for the service of Lord Kesava I am cutting your leaves, O one who is shining brightly.” 

A: Don’t try to introduce something new. The most important thing is the love and devotion. 

I was particularly interested in the answer to question 17. There are many Tulāsiplants growing in the garden here, and when Śrīla Prabhupāda comes out to take his massage, her shadow casts across the pathway. I have never considered that it might be an offense to tread on it. Now I know and will take special care to step over but not on it. 

There were several other letters. One came from Barbara Eady, who informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that two years ago she was a book distributor in Australia. After being trained by Buddhimanta prabhu and Tripurāri Swami, she was recommended for initiation but had some hesitancy and then left ISKCON. Now she is working under the guidance of Tuṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami in New Zealand. Tuṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja, in response to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s several requests, wants to set up a book distribution party and has asked Barbara to do this for him. She was now writing to ask for initiation. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to receive her request but advised her that he will initiate her only if Tuṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja sends a letter of recommendation. 

Last month, when Hansadūta Swami was briefly put in charge of the temple here, he sent off several teams of brahmacārīs to preach and raise funds for his Nitai Gour Traveling World Sankirtan Party. Citrakara, Śacīnāndana, and Ürdhvaga prabhus headed off to Afganistan in one of the old Mercedes buses that Hansadūta had brought from Germany at the beginning of the year, and today Jagadīśa prabhu read out their report, sent from Kabul. They met with some limited success in Kabul, preaching to the remnants of the Hindu population. The Hindus there, Citrakara wrote, number only about eight thousand and are quite suppressed by the authorities. Being separated from their original culture, they have gradually become degraded, “mostly becoming meat-eaters and hashish-smokers.” 

Still, they found an old temple and were able to set up some preaching programs there, particularly with the children. “Only a few hundred people are visiting the temples. At eight, the first shift of about one hundred children (first to sixth grades) came. We taught them the Maha-mantra, Kirtan, how to dance in ecstasy, the pastimes of Lord Krishna, and important slokas from Bhagavad-gita (18:66 & 7:7). At two, the second shift of another hundred came. They like this kind of school very much and were participating very enthusiastically.” Then in the evenings, he wrote, they held programs at a bigger, newer temple and at people’s homes. Despite the language problems, they were able to sell a few books and made two life members, although most gentlemen would not become members, due to fear of the government there. The Indian consul also refused to give any names of the Indian Association there, being fearful they would be accused of trying to spread Hindu religion. Finally, their last program was cancelled by the police, who had become suspicious of their activities. 

Citrakara thus concluded that having a center in Kabul is not possible at this time. His intention now is to sell the bus (which is always breaking down and is too big for their small party) in Syria or Turkey, buy a smaller van, and go to Europe. They will then raise funds and return to Afghanistan at a later date, at the same time providing funding for Lokanātha Swami’s party. As a footnote, he also wrote that he had “found some people who are translating your books (Perfection Of Yoga, Scientific Basis Of Krishna Consciousness) in Persian. We will print them when coming back in two to three months.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda greatly appreciated their report. The news of his disciples taking such risks and displaying such pioneering spirit visibly enlivens him, and he spurred them on in their saṅkīrtana activities. “Hansadutta Maharaj has also given me an account of your activities in Kabul. It doesn’t matter that you have been asked to leave. The important thing is that you are trying to spread the message of the Lord all over the world. In the Bhagavadgita the Lord says very clearly, that anyone who tries to broadcast His message is considered most dear, and there is no one dearer to the Lord than such a sincere preacher. 

“If you can collect money there as you have suggested and send it for Nitai Gour TWSKP activities in India, that will be good. There is no restriction for preachers, they may travel everywhere all over the world. NitaiGour means worldwide preaching, because Lord Chaitanya appeared to spread this movement to every town and village of the world, and by the grace of good souls like yourself, the desire of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is being fulfilled in the modern age.” 

He also added that their collections would help with the upcoming Kumbha-melā, to be held in Allahabad in January. Prabhupāda wants something big to be done there, and planning is already underway. He finished with a strong stimulus to their work. “You have my blessings all the time, continue to preach with enthusiasm, keep Hansadutta Maharaj informed about your activities.” 

Harivilāsa prabhu sent a short aerogramme requesting advice on a technical matter. A devotee in Paris wants to marry a woman five years older than himself. Since Harivilāsa had heard that such an arrangement would reduce the duration of life of the husband, he asked if their union could be sanctioned. 

As has been his trend lately, Śrīla Prabhupāda was not keen to get involved in such things. “Let this couple first of all legally marry. After that we bless them by observing a fire ceremony. It is not necessary to burden me with these matters. Please consult with the local GBC.” 

There was a poignant letter from Kṛṣṇa Vilāsinī dāsī in Los Angeles. She explained that she has a debilitating muscular disorder that over the last two years has practically incapacitated her. She can barely talk and has almost lost the use of her arms and legs. “Reading is very difficult but I force the issue because I am afraid I may not finish your books before I die.” Lamenting that she is unable to do even the simplest service, she wrote, “I am humbly asking if there is any way at all to regain even enough health to be able to sit and engage in some simple service . . . If it is my destiny to live a long time in this condition I am begging and crying that you will mercifully benedict me with spiritual strength to remain always at your lotus feet.” 

Prabhupāda was touched by her plea, but he again offered the same practical advice and philosophical perspective that he gave Rudrāṇī dāsī from Seattle two days ago. “As long as the body will be there, there will only be pain. Pleasure is only a misconception. Do not be sorry if you are in an ‘unfortunate’ situation. It can also be fortunate if you take advantage by becoming serious to become Krsna conscious. Follow the regulative principles, chant 16 rounds and as far as possible render service and study my books. Success is sure.” 

From Nairobi, Tribahaṅgānanda dāsa sent a more promising report than recent news had indicated. The five men and two ladies there were feeling enlivened after the visit of Tamal Krishna and Bhavānanda Mahārājas, and have just held a successful Janmāṣṭamī pandal with over  a thousand people in attendance. They are expecting another fifteen foreign devotees to arrive to strengthen their yātrā. Tribahaṅgānanda especially commended one of their first life members, Mr. J.K. Pankhania, for his increased involvement. Mr. Pankhania won a raffle at the festival; his prize was a large photo of their Deities, Śrī Śrī Rādhā Bāṅkebihārī, and the opportunity to perform the midnight ārati. Mr. Pankhania and his family are now offering ārati to the picture morning and evening in their home. 

Prabhupāda was pleased to hear that the preaching is being maintained. He thanked Tribahaṅgānanda and sent his blessing for Mr. Pankhania. He also added a footnote: “N.B. please be sure that everyone there is following strictly the four regulative principles and chanting a minimum 16 rounds daily.” 

October 26th, 1976

Today’s verse was one frequently quoted by Śrīla Prabhupāda: 5.5.4 nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma . . .  Pradyumna read out the translation: “When a person considers sense gratification the aim of life, he certainly becomes mad after materialistic living and engages in all kinds of sinful activity. He does not know that due to his past misdeeds he has already received a body which, although temporary, is the cause of his misery. Actually the living entity should not have taken on a material body, but he has been awarded the material body for sense gratification. Therefore I think it not befitting an intelligent man to involve himself again in the activities of sense gratification, by which he perpetually gets material bodies one after another.” 

Explaining from various angles the frustration and futility of the pursuit of sense gratification, Prabhupāda provided compelling examples from Indian life. All over India now there are large hoardings and signs placed by the government exhorting people to be more disciplined and to work harder. On morning walks, particularly in the cities, Prabhupāda has frequently passed wry comments on the unfortunate lot of the Indian masses, especially those that have to labor very hard, pulling hand carts laden with huge loads just to scrape out a living, what to speak of increasing their material enjoyment.  

“So the same thing is repeated in different way in different places,” he said. “These rascals have become so mad, pramattaḥ. Prakṛṣṭha rūpena mattaḥ. Mattaḥ means mad, intoxicated. Pra means prakṛṣṭha, sufficiently mad. So these materialistic persons, you will see everywhere. They’re running here and there. Especially in the Western countries, from the early morning, from five o’clock or still earlier, the whole street is full of motorcars. They are going to their work. Those who have gone to foreign countries, you have seen. In every big, big city of the Western countries they are always busy. They work. Now we are also imitating them. Our leaders are advertising, ‘Work hard. Work hard. That you are pulling on rickshaw, that is not sufficient. Still you have to work hard. You are pulling on thela [hand cart]? That is not sufficient. You have to still [work harder].’ ‘What I can do more?’ This is going on. This is material civilization. Mad. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma. And what for they’re doing? Yad indriyaprītaya āpṛṇoti. The aim is how to satisfy senses. Eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy. That’s all. I get money, go to the restaurant, go to the liquor house, go to the prostitute house and nightclub, and so on, so on, so on. Because they have no other business. They do not know anything more than that. Indriyaprītaya. A little sense gratification.” 

Stressing the limitations of the senses and the pointlessness of exerting one’s entire energy to satisfying them, Prabhupāda gave another vivid example from his own experience to illustrate that no matter what body one has, and no matter how it is relatively situated, the basis of material existence is the same. 

“Anyone who has got this material body—material body means kleśada, different degrees of kleśada. Somebody is millionaire—but don’t think that his body is not kleśada. His body is also kleśada, giving some pain. Nobody is free from kleśa. There was a very big rich man in Calcutta. So he could not eat. His appetite—there was no appetite. So he’s rich man. So he was given sufficient foodstuff, and simply show, he could not eat. But a big rich man. And one poor man was passing on the street, taking a fish and singing very jubilantly. So this gentleman saw. He said that ‘I have become so rich man, but I have no appetite in spite of so many nice foodstuff before me. And that poor man is carrying one fish. He’s thinking that he’ll go and cook it and eat it very nicely. He is so jubilant. So if I would have become a poor man like him I could have enjoyed some food.’ He was wishing that. Because real business is sense gratification. So in spite of his becoming so rich, he could not gratify his senses.” 

Because of our unlimited desires, Prabhupāda said, Kṛṣṇa supplies so many different types of bodies. “Why there are so many varieties? Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavadgītā [18.61] that īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati.Īśvara, the Supreme Lord, Paramātmā, is situated in everyone’s heart. And we are always praying—even we do not pray, we are [wishing,] ‘If I would have been like this, if I would have got this opportunity, then I would have eaten like this, I would have done like this.’ This is going on continually. Continually. And it is God’s business, thankless business, that He is noting down, ‘All right, I will give you facility like this . . . This rascal wants like this,’ and still He’s so merciful, He asks māyā, the material nature, ‘Give him a body like this. He wants like this.’ So therefore we have got varieties.” 

It is these varieties of desires that enmesh us in material existence, Prabhupāda told us, and to free ourselves there is but one solution. “You have to stop these nonsense desires. That is wanted. Otherwise, you are implicated. You are implicated. So, therefore you can stop your desires only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious. Otherwise, they will go on . . . Tribulations there must be. Material body means kleśada. Therefore, the Vedic civilization is to stop getting this material body. That is Vedic civilization. Not that increase. That is explained in the Bhagavadgītā. Two things are there. You must accept; you must get the service of Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise you go on in this way Mṛtyusaṁsāra vartmani. If you don’t get Kṛṣṇa, then there is no other way. There is no other alternative . . . The only alternative is mṛtyusaṁsāravartmani [Bg. 9.3], you get one body and again you die, again get another body. This will go on. Therefore Ṛṣabhadeva said, ‘This is not good.’ Na sādhu manye yata ātmano ’yam asann api kleśada āsa dehaḥ. So this culture, this education, is practically nil. Especially in Kali yuga, it is very regrettable. But the informations are there; the science is there. If one is intelligent, he can take advantage of this science, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and mold his life accordingly so that he can stop this process of accepting a body which is kleśada. That is the perfection of life.” 

* * * 

Mahāṁsa Swami arrived today to go over the finalization of the Trust document for the Hyderabad farm land. Some six hundred acres, it was offered to ISKCON by Hari Prasad Badruka in 1975, but due to government regulations and legal requirements, the transfer is only now being completed. The Badrukas also want to be Trustee members but have acceded to Prabhupāda’s insistence that the majority Trustees be ISKCON members. Prabhu-pāda discussed the Trust status in detail and told Mahāṁsa that as soon as we are legally in control, he will come there to inaugurate the development program.  

Mahāṁsa also gave an enthusiastic report about his visit to Kodai Kanal, telling Prabhupāda about the good response to the two programs he did there and informing him that there are many people staying in the hill stations in that area. Dr. Ghosh is requesting Prabhupāda to visit, and so he agreed to go in December.  

So Prabhupāda’s current travel plan is to be in Māyā-pur by November 10th and then return west by December 18th to Wardha, Maharastra to attend the Gita Pratisthan meeting. He has been in correspondence since May with the organizers, a group of wealthy businessmen and followers of M. K. Gandhi. They have decided to meet each year to discuss ways and means of popularizing Bhagavad-gītā, and because Śrīla Prabhupāda is the most successful exponent of the Gītā, he has been invited as this year’s main guest. After this meeting, he wants to go south to Kodai Kanal and thence return to Māyāpur and Vṛndāvana for the Gaura Pūrṇimā festival. 

This is tentative, of course. Anyone who has been on Prabhupāda’s party knows that his travel plans are being constantly rearranged due to new invitations and changes in circumstance. 

* * * 

In today’s mail was a letter from Brahmānanda Mahārāja, sent from Mombassa. He is there with Nava-yogendra Swami, in a quandary because several life members have offered to raise funds to buy a large house there. The purchase price is Rs. 4,50,000, and they will raise Rs. 3,00,000. They want Brahmānanda Mahārāja to personally raise the rest, because previously Chayavana Swami had collected Rs. 2,00,000 in Mombassa but took the funds to Nairobi and no one knows what it was spent on. Accepting responsibility for not overseeing things properly previously, Brahmānanda said that he is willing to do the fund raising but has limited options. He cannot collect in Mombassa, because the life members will raise their portion from well-wishers there. He cannot collect in Nairobi, his main base, because people there will not like to give for a project in Mombassa. He doesn’t feel he can raise funds in America, because right now Śrīla Prabhupāda is sending all available funds to projects here in India. So he was writing to ask whether he can approach Ambarīṣa prabhu for the funds, since Ambarīṣa has visited Africa and was intending to send funds to our Nairobi center.  

Brahmānanda is well aware that Ambarīṣa prabhu has to be dealt with sensitively and has put himself directly under Śrīla Prabhupāda’s care as far as dispersal of his funds go.  

Prabhupāda was pleased that his GBC did not directly approach Ambarīṣa for the money. Nevertheless, in his reply he did not directly address Brahmānanda Mahārāja’s request, but by inference discouraged his proposal. First he delivered a mild admonishment. “Chayavana has misspent; that is clear. Therefore, indirectly we are responsible because we could not control him. Slack management. Arrange things so that in the future these things may not occur.”  

He then questioned the need for such a project. “Whether we require our own house in Mombasa? Why spend energy in that way when there is no money? Preaching is first and foremost. If by preaching people will contribute, then we can get, otherwise, what is the need?” 


From Hawaii came more managerial headaches. Gurukṛpa Swami sent a rather long letter informing His Divine Grace, “I have been put in the position of having to accept the resignation of the temple president.” After ten days investigation, he had discovered many discrepancies, which he listed. Since December, the temple has fallen into $20,000 worth of debt and “everything that could possibly be mortgaged or loan taken on had been done the same.” Although a small temple, there were nine different bank accounts, four of which were the president, Śukadeva dāsa’s, personal accounts, which he justified because he was a householder and therefore entitled have personal monies. Gurukṛpa pointed out, however, that since he was a full-time devotee with no source of income, the monies were actually temple funds.  

Gurukṛpa also reported that the restaurant, which once made $2,000 per month profit, was now practically closed, operating at a loss of thousands per month. The temple itself was unkempt with the garden like a jungle, garbage everywhere, and all the vehicles out of service and in disrepair. The temple books were not kept up, and so no one knew what had happened with incoming and outgoing monies. Nothing had been done to try to fulfill Śrīla Prabhupāda’s previous request to build a new temple on the grounds. 

In contrast, since his arrival with his collecting team from Japan, saṅkīrtana collections had gone up from $300 to $1,500 per day. In their first week there they had collected $10,000, more than the temple had done in six weeks.  

To cap things off, he said that the devotees were petitioning to have Śukadeva prabhu leave. “Seeing the dissatisfaction of the devotees I humbly requested to him that the management of the devotees and the financial situation (being very poor) be given a new manager. I suggested that he could continue with his college program which was his main interest.”  

The result, Gurukṛpa wrote, is that Śukadeva left in great acrimony, “taking with him many articles of the temple saying they were his own, purchased with his own monies. We do not know where a man gets his own monies, everything being the property of the guru.” Gurukṛpa’s plan was now to remain at the temple for several months and manage it personally. Śrutakīrti has arrived and will manage the restaurant, Ambarīṣa is coming to take up service, and he feels that many other devotees who have become estranged will now return. He made some pledges: “I am trying to arrange for a temple to be built here—a great need. Hawaii is one of the best preaching fields in the world as well as big for sankirtan spots . . . We plan to move the restaurant premises to a larger and better location. We promise Your Divine Grace that by the time you get this letter [written 15/10/76] this temple will be out of debt. Before I leave from Hawaii I’ll make sure there is a solid President here.” 

He ended with an apology: “I regret having to disturb Your Divine Grace but I wanted that you be informed first hand rather than second hand in possible gossip. I am at your mercy and suggestion.” 

Replying, Prabhupāda regretted the bad management and approved Śukadeva’s resignation. Recounting problems with predecessor managers, he continued, “The fact is that unless the management is strictly supervised, these things will happen . . . Be careful so that these things may not happen again in the future.” He was particularly concerned about the financial aspects and the encumbrance of the temple property. “The president cannot take any loans without authorization. This is a declaration. These things must not be allowed. Whatever he has taken must be returned and he must pay back the money that he has kept. How can he claim proprietorship, everything is the property of the Guru. You must inform them wherever he has gone that he must return whatever he has taken.” 

As he had advised Brahmānanda, another GBC whose zone suffered while he was out of station, Prabhupāda now told Gurukṛpa, “Now you please stay there until you have properly trained up a competent manager, and then you must carefully supervise so that this may not happen again. Hawaii is a good field, so do it carefully. You have done the right thing to inform me of the situation. Thank you for rectifying the situation.” 

Gurukṛpa Mahārāja also included in his letter a request for first initiation for a new Japanese devotee and some seconds. Prabhupāda obliged. “I am pleased to accept the devotees you have recommended for initiation. Hold a fire ceremony. Instruct the devotees in the necessary way. You may chant on the beads. Play the tape of me chanting the gayatri mantra, etc. Do the needful. The new initiate’s name is Naganatana dasa.” 

Another letter has arrived from Rāmeśvara Swami. No management this time; just an opening prayer of glorification and appreciation and a list of candidates for initiations. “It is beyond our power to appreciate our good fortune that you are allowing such lowly conditioned souls like us to associate with you. Yet there is no other way for us to become purified, for us to attain devotional service, than to associate with you as your eternal servants. Knowing this, the following devotees have begged for initiation and after examining them and waiting a sufficient period of time, I would humbly recommend them.” He listed eleven men and five women for first initiations, and four men and six women for second.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy to accept them. Among them was Allen Zupnick, the bhakta whom Rāmeśvara had brought for a personal darśana when Prabhupāda visited Los Angeles in June. He has been given the name Amala-bhakta dāsa. 

* * *  

Jagadīśa prabhu has had some contact with Yogānanda dāsa, Nitāi dāsa’s close friend. He came into Prabhupāda’s sitting room this afternoon with Dhanañjaya to report that Yogānanda had heard that a “newsletter” had been sent to all the GBCs about Nitāi and had asked how many pages long it was. 

Prabhupāda was puzzled by its mention. “What is that newsletter?” he asked. 

I reminded him of what he had asked to be sent out: “You said, ‘Please be informed that Nitāi has become a venomous serpent.’ ” 

Prabhupāda gave a little chuckle. “So this has been sent?” 

Jagadīśa confirmed that it had and told Prabhupāda, “Yogānanda asked how many pages, when he heard about the newsletter. He thought that you spoke so long about that. And I just said, ‘Just two lines.’ But they never asked me what the letter said.” 

“Yes, two lines is sufficient,” Prabhupāda said, dismissive of the notion that Nitāi’s leaving might be construed as a big or important event.  

Punar muṣaka bhava,” offered Dhanañjaya, quoting one of Prabhupāda’s more famous phrases.  

“Yes. This is exactly the same case,” Prabhupāda concurred, raising his eyebrows in agreement. “Punar muṣaka bhava, you know the whole story? A muṣaka, a mouse, was made a tiger, and the tiger wanted to eat the saintly person who made him. First of all, he was mouse. So he came to the saintly person. ‘Sir, I am troubled. Give me some benediction.’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘Now, the cat always chases.’ ‘All right, you become cat so that you’ll not be attacked.’ Then after some time he came. ‘I am being chased by the dog.’ ‘All right, you become a dog.’ Then again he came. ‘Still, they are chasing me. Fox.’ And then in this way, and ultimately he [was] made a tiger. And after becoming a tiger, he began to look, staring on the [saint] . . . ‘What do you mean by this?’ ‘I shall eat you!’ ‘Oh? You become again a mouse.’ Again he became mouse. That’s all.” 

We were all laughing, it was such a perfect example. 

Prabhupāda reflected on the misfortune of his misled disciple, now reportedly heading back to America. “He harassed, ‘He has not increased my . . . ’ Hearing and hearing, he wants to go. So if he found some real disciplic succession, some bābājī, why he did not remain there? He is criticizing that ours is not in the proper succession. So why he did not remain where he found the proper succession? Why he’s sometimes in Vṛndāvana, sometimes Delhi, sometimes here. Why he is loitering? Crazy. Unfortunate. Unnecessarily picking out some trouble.” 

Prabhupāda wasn’t that sympathetic though. He knows full well the tensions within the Vaiṣṇava community in Vṛndāvana and the criticisms he has inherited by accepting the preaching mantle from his Guru Mahārāja. “The bābājīs, they are against anything preaching. They are very, very much against preaching. So I am preaching. Bābājīs, the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, and all of them, their idea is that I am ruining this bhajana and Hindu dharma. This is the propaganda. What I am writing, they are all wrong. And they try to poison my disciples as far as possible so that the whole institution may be poisoned and break. This is their propaganda.” 

I recalled one of the points in Nitāi’s letter that particularly galled me. “That was one thing that Nitāi put in his letter, that the teachings of ISKCON are completely opposite or contradictory to what is actually in the śāstra.” 

Prabhupāda nodded. “Now he has become tiger. He wants to kill that philosophy. When he did not know anything, he came to us. Now he has become learned, he wants to criticize. The same philosophy. ‘You have made me tiger, now I can see you are my eatable.’ ” He laughed. “He could not find out any other eatable. ‘I shall eat you.’ The rascal. What can be done?” 

October 27th, 1976

Śrīla Prabhupāda was sitting at his desk putting on his tilaka in preparation for his walk this morning when he heard the loud and melodious chanting of the Brahmasaṁhitā prayers coming from the Deity room, which is adjacent to his house. On inquiring who was responsible, he was informed by Akṣayānanda Swami that it was Yaśodānandana Swami, who had learned the prayers and that particular melody while on tour in South India. He goes into the Deity room every day and chants the ślokas while the Deities are being dressed. Prabhupāda was so pleased that he asked Yaśodānandana not only to continue with it each morning, but also to train some of the gurukula boys as well.  

Prabhupāda went by car to the edge of Vṛndāvana village, then took an easy half-hour walk through a small forest. His gentle pace was quite a contrast to his strong strides of just a few months ago. He liked the simple, natural surroundings. As we walked, some villagers came through with a small caravan of camels. 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda gave an invigorating class this morning, emphasizing the difference between modern and Vedic education. In the verse, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva instructs His sons not to remain in ignorance, abodha-jātaḥ, and thence be subject to sinful reactions. Prabhupāda compared this with the phrase Lord Kṛṣṇa uses in the Gītā 10:9, bodhayantaḥ parasparam, which he translates as “always enlightening one another.” Strongly condemning modern education, he said that those who are without any idea of spiritual enquiry are simply dull like trees, which do not protest even as they are cut down. Similarly, although we are being cut down by the miseries of old age, disease, and death, we never inquire about how to stop this process. Real education lies in spiritual inquiry. One who has bodha becomes budhā, and to get out of ignorance we have to approach such a person. “Budhā bhāvasamanvitāḥ—one who knows what is the destination of life. So one has to approach a budhā. Therefore Lord Buddha’s name is Buddha. From this bodha. He has understood everything. He was a prince, and he never came out of the palace. When he came out he saw one old man with a stick, with great difficulty walking. So he inquired of his servants, ‘What is this?’ ‘This is old man. Everyone has to become like this.’ That was the inspiration of understanding. Why he should be like that? Why one should become old man? Why he should walk on sticks? So these inquiries made him Buddha, Lord Buddha, by meditation. That is his pastime. That means one should understand by nature study, why this man is diseased, why this man is old, why this man is suffering. Then bodhayantaḥ parasparam—the inquisitiveness can lead him to the proper knowledge.” 

Proper knowledge, he said, is attainable by approaching a guru. And he laid great stress on what the proper attitude must be in order to get benefit from such an approach. “To accept guru means the disciple should be very, very eager to know. Saddharma pṛcchāt. Ādau gurvāśrayam. Why you accept a guru? ‘It is a fashion.’ Fashion. ‘Everyone has guru. Everyone has a dog. Well, let me keep a dog.’ Like that. A pet dog. So similarly, to keep a pet guru. It should not . . . One should be very inquisitive. And everywhere the same thing, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraś-nena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. But don’t make inquiries cheap: ‘Here is my guru, and he’s meant for answering all my questions. Let me go on questioning, questioning, questioning.’ No. Sevayā. You must serve. You must be ready to serve him. Then you have got right to make question. Otherwise not. Two things; first of all, you must find out a person where you can fully surrender, praṇipātena. And then you can inquire, and the inquiry should be compensated by seva. The more you are inclined to render seva, the more the truth becomes revealed: yasya deve parā bhaktir yathādeve tathā gurau/ tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakaśante mahātmanaḥ [ŚU 6.23]. It is a different science. The more you are inclined to render service, the more spiritual truth becomes revealed.  If you are not inquisitive, don’t bother yourself to have a guru. Useless. There is no need.” 

Referring to our human propensity to make plans for happiness, Prabhupāda differentiated between the results of modern education and the knowledge coming from Kṛṣṇa. “So this abodhajātaḥ, this rascal civilization, whatever they are planning, whatever they are doing, that is simply defeat. He does not know what is the aim of life. They are being defeated. This life I have become prime minister, making so many plans and so many things and so many things; next life I become a dog. That you cannot check. The God’s law or nature’s law will not take account of your premiership, prime ministership. What you are actually—that is nature’s law. Kṛṣṇa is there within your heart. Outwardly you become a very big man—minister, president, and so on—and God is seeing within what you are. Within. Īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. Within you are a dog, and outside if you are a president, that will not help you. Therefore whatever plan they are making, that’s all defeat.  

“Planmaking is already there. Kṛṣṇa has given plan gradually. The last plan is sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. This is real plan. This is Kṛṣṇa has given so many plans: karmayogi, dhyānayogi, this yogi, that. But everywhere He has concluded that the real plan is how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is the real plan . . . If you do not get success, what is the use of your working so hard? 

“So without consulting śāstra, without consulting guru, without consulting Kṛṣṇa . . . Kṛṣṇa is so kind, He has given. He has come to help you because you are being misled by the socalled leaders. These rascals, these leaders, they will simply mislead you. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās. They are blind. They do not know how to live. They do not know. Therefore Kṛṣṇa personally comes: ‘All right. I shall lead you. Take My advice, take My instruction, and ultimately surrender unto Me. Then I’ll lead you back to home, back to Godhead.’ ”  

* * * 

The search is still on for a chef for the guesthouse. Akṣayānanda Swami brought a new Maḍwari cook this morning, and Śrīla Prabhupāda discussed what he wanted with the two of them before sending the man off to demonstrate what he could do. He was not prepared to allow the managers to confirm the cook’s appointment before testing his ability himself. Some of his preparations were brought to Śrīla Prabhupāda later in the day and Prabhupāda was satisfied. He said that his dishes were very palatable and so the man was duly hired. It was a relief, the closure of another saga in the Vṛndāvana managerial foibles, which only Prabhupāda has been able to solve. 

When Akṣayānanda Swami and the cook left Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room, I lingered a while as Prabhupāda, relaxed and in a warm and candid mood, talked about the art of cooking. He said that by this art, a man becomes the servant of a woman. Through her ability to cook she controls these three organs: the tongue, belly, and genitals. And she also becomes subservient to the man through the satisfaction of her belly and genitals, and through the acquisition of nice ornaments, jewelry, and clothes. In this way they become servants of each other, and a very hard knot is formed, binding them to material life.  

When I observed that it was inconceivable for such karmīs to even think of leaving home and family, Prabhupāda laughed reflectively and nodded. “Yes,” he smiled, “I also did not want to take sannyāsa—of course not for these things, but for another reason. But Prabhupāda forced me to. He arranged things in such a way that without taking sannyāsa, I was always disturbed. I was dreaming; he would come and take me away and tell me I must take sannyāsa, and I was following him, but I was afraid. I did not want to take sannyāsa, but I was thinking, ‘Oh, it is Prabhupāda’s order; I must do it.’  

“That was one thing,” he reflected gently, his features softening. “I always had a sublime interest in Prabhupāda’s instructions. Therefore I am having some success. Prabhupāda himself noted that. He said, ‘This boy is very nice; he does not go away. He is keen to hear.’ ” 

It is always a wonderful privilege to share these intimate moments when Prabhupāda, freed from the pressures of formality and management, confides a little of his personal relationship and service to his Guru Mahārāja. 

* * * 

Yudhiṣṭhira dāsa sent a five-page progress report on the development of a property called New Raivataka, near Friendship in upstate New York. He has been there for over a year after spending three years in New Vrindaban. He explained that the Buffalo temple had previously owned a farm, which he went up there to manage, but it was later adjudged to be inadequate and sold. Because the temple didn’t have the resources, they couldn’t purchase a replacement, and so Yudhiṣṭhira, not willing to give up the effort to develop a farm community, persuaded his father-in-law to buy a one-hundred-and-eighty-acre spread that he found at Friendship.  

He gave a glowing report of his year’s endeavors and the state of the farm. Using only one team of oxen and one of horses he has harvested sixty tons of hay, ninety bushels of potatoes, and ten bushels of sweet corn. They have also invested in a maple syrup evaporation plant which he hopes will yield 50-100 gallons of syrup worth between $650-$1,300. Accompanying photos attested to the beauty of the property, which has its own natural gas well fueling heating, cooking, hot water, and refrigeration; three ponds and two streams; two apple orchards and a sugar maple grove, and about $10,000 worth of standing timber. There are also two farmhouses, a large hay barn, and about thirty-five cow stalls complete with all the equipment for milking and storage. 

Despite all this, he said that only he and his family were living there. He would like other devotees to join them and turn the project into a fully Kṛṣṇa conscious community, but so far no one else has come. Because the farm is in the name of his father-in-law—who made the purchase, makes the monthly payments, and covers all the running costs—devotees are reluctant to commit themselves. His father-in-law is willing to sell it to them at any time, however, and Yudhiṣṭhira feels that with one or two more families they will be able to generate sufficient income to buy the place and put it in the Society’s name. So his intent in writing was to seek Prabhupāda’s endorsement with the hope that this will attract other devotees to join them.  

“We think that if you gave your written approval of this project,” he wrote, “it would serve to allay the doubts some devotees may have about the authenticity of our attempt. Your approval would encourage serious devotees to come here, and with a few steady families we would soon be able to buy the farm and transfer it to ISKCON’s name. 

“We pray that you will be pleased with our honest attempt to render some small service at Your Lotus Feet, but if you are not pleased, kindly chastise your servants.” 

Prabhupāda looked over the pictures and appreciated his efforts. However, while giving his encouragement, he did not want to be drawn into the managerial decision making, preferring instead to leave it to the local leadership to decide. “Please accept my blessings,” he replied. “I am in receipt of your letter dated October 13, 1976, along with photographs of your farm. It appears very nice. 

“As far as the farm being authorized, you discuss with Kuladri and Kirtanananda Maharaj. Whatever they say, I agree. Kuladri is an experienced man, so you may organize things there taking his advice. Please just work sincerely and Krsna will bless you.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda also received an encouraging letter from Jayatīrtha prabhu, who has recently accepted the GBC responsibility for South Africa, following Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swami’s resignation. He has not yet visited but said he will do so soon. The devotees have already sold Prabhupāda’s Mercedes, and Jayatīrtha reported that he had the funds in London and asked what he should do with them.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda has a high opinion of Jayatīrtha’s managerial abilities and responded positively, giving him personal encouragement in his increasing duties. “You are a fit man. I think you are the best experienced GBC. Yes, go to South Africa as soon as you get the opportunity to see that everything is going on there nicely.” 

As far as the money from the sale of the car is concerned, Prabhupāda has the funds here in India to pay for the three replacement Ambassadors, and since the exchange rate at present isn’t good, he told Jayatīrtha to bank it in one of his accounts in London. 

Jayatīrtha saved the best part of his report for last. He said that in Germany, where he has been GBC since March, Harikeśa Swami has organized and energized the saṅkīrtana devotees to wonderful effect. Taking the mood that “the best defense is a strong offense,” they have begun to counter the tremendous anti-ISKCON propaganda by the most effective means at their disposal—book distribution. Undaunted by frequent harassment from the authorities, the devotees are overcoming their depression and are going out preaching with great determination. The results are quite extraordinary considering that last year the yātrā there was almost shut down by the government. Two men in particular, Manidhara dāsa and Rohiṇī-suta dāsa, are doing exceptionally well.  

Prabhupāda was extremely pleased to hear about the renewed book distribution. Telling Jayatīrtha to thank these two men, he said, “Krishna will bless them. ye yatha mam prapdayante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham [Bg. 4.11]. Krsna becomes more and more pleased by seeing the increment of book distribution. Devotional service is absolute, but one who preaches His message becomes very dear to Lord Krsna.” 

He even took the unusual step of sending a personal letter of thanks to the two men in deep appreciation of their determination and sacrifice on his behalf.   

“Please accept my blessings. I have received a letter from Jayatirtha saying that you have distributed in one week 522 and 521 big books respectively. This is very wonderful. I thank you so much. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham [Bg. 4.11]. Krsna becomes more and more pleased by seeing the increment of book distribution. Devotional service is absolute but Krsna is especially pleased to see someone preaching His glories.” 

October 28th, 1976

Before the morning program, Prabhupāda took another tour of the gurukula building to see the progress. He has given a lot of instruction regarding the running of gurukula and is visiting the building site regularly. He is especially urging the completion of the ground floor rooms so that the women and children residing in the guesthouse can move. 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda referred to this morning’s śloka, SB 5.5.6, as “another important verse.” 

“When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vāsudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again.” 

He explained that the ignorance of thinking one’s self to be this body was derived from contact with the two lower modes of nature: passion and ignorance. These cover our consciousness. But in goodness there was some prakāśa, some illumination. Those who take birth in brāhmaṇa families or, better still, Vaiṣnava families, have a good opportunity for breaking out of the cycle of accepting one body after another. But the danger, he said, is that this present civilization is so bad that even those who take a birth in sattvaguṇa are being dragged down into the lower modes and eating meat, drinking, and having illicit sex. 

“Somebody, by pious activities, by good work, he’s already in the sattvaguṇa, but the social, political, economic arrangement is so bad that one is dragged to the tamoguṇa. This is not civilization. This is degradation. Civilization means elevation. The aim is how to become disconnected from this material body. This is civilization. Otherwise that is not civilization. It is animal life.” 

He told us that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is an attempt to bring the human society into the proper platform of civilization. “It is a very scientific movement. How it is done? If you place your loving tendency to Vāsudeva, then vāsudeve bhagavati bhaktiyogaḥ [SB 1.2.7]. This can be done perfectly by bhaktiyoga, not by any other.”  

There are other types of yoga, he said, but within all of them there is some bhakti. If the bhakti is not pure, however, if it is mixed with other motivations, “then it will take very, very, very, very long time, bahūnāṁ janmanām. One janma means hundreds of years. We are not talking of any other janma. Even human form of life. Because those who are advanced in spiritual life, there is every possibility for getting next life a human being.” 

His attempt to provide the best possible opportunity to those pious souls who have been given the connection to Kṛṣṇa through birth is displayed in his ongoing concern for the development of the gurukula. Surveying the young boys sitting attentively before him, he explained: “[They are] ringing the karatālas, chanting, dancing, offering obeisances to the Lord—temple atmosphere. Don’t think it is ordinary opportunity. It is very great opportunity. From the very beginning of life they are getting impression, bhaktiyoga. Vāsudeve bhagavati bhaktiyoga. These are not going in vain. Even a child is playing karatāla, imitation. Not imitation. He’s given the chance. He was previously Vaiṣṇava. Somehow or other, he could not make his life perfect. Therefore he is given again chance. So naturally he has got tendency to play the karatāla, to offer flower here, to offer obeisances. They take pleasure. It is due to previous life, yoga. But it was not perfectly done, so somehow or other they are getting chance from the very beginning of life.” 

And where better than Kṛṣṇa’s own abode to train them? Prabhupāda’s plan for an international school here in the holy dhāma is practical both materially, because it is so much cheaper here in India, and spiritually. 

“This is the ultimate goal. You have to come to this stage, vāsudeva sarvam iti, fully, firmly convinced that ‘Vāsudeva is my life. Vāsudeva is everything. Kṛṣṇa is my life.’ And the highest perfection is visible in the Vṛndāvana atmosphere, especially by the gopīs. Everyone in Vṛndāvana, even the trees and plants, even the grains of sand, everyone is attached to Kṛṣṇa. That is Vṛndāvana. So not all of a sudden we can get that highest stage of life of Vṛndāvana attachment, but still, wherever we stay, if we practice this bhaktiyoga, as we are preaching . . . It is becoming successful. People are taking. Those who were socalled mlecchas and yavanas, they are also taking to Vāsudeva. Their love for Kṛṣṇa is increasing. That is natural . . . Any other socalled religious system, that is avidya—will keep you in ignorance. There is no light. And the Vedic injunction is that ‘Don’t keep yourself in the darkness of ignorance’—tamasi mā jyoti gamaḥ. That jyotiḥ means to love Kṛṣṇa. And loving affairs of Kṛṣṇa is in the spiritual world. That is jyotiḥ, jyotirmāyā-dhāma, selfeffulgent.”  

Concluding, Prabhupāda emphasized the process of hearing and chanting, and the need to be seriously engaged in our task. “If you hear regularly ŚrīmadBhāgavatam  . . . We are therefore stressing, ‘Always hear, always read, always hear.’ Nityaṁ bhāgavatasevayā [SB 1.2.18]. Nitya. If you can constantly, twentyfour hours, hear and chant; hear means somebody chants or you chant yourself or hear, or some of your colleague may chant, you hear. Or he may hear, you may chant. This process must go on. Not any other nonsense talks, gossiping. Simply hear and chant. Then śṛṇvatāṁ svakathāḥ kṛṣṇa. If you seriously hear and chant, seriously—‘Yes, this life I shall engage only for increasing my love of Vāsudeva’—if you are determined, it can be done. There is no difficulty. And as soon as you do this, you increase fully your love for Vāsudeva, then there is no more chance of contacting material body.” 

Of course, our task is made easier by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s own example. No one could be more seriously engaged in hearing and chanting than he. He is fully absorbed in thinking not only of his own spiritual life, but also of ours. As we servants see on a day-to-day basis, his mind never leaves the lotus feet of the Lord, his tongue never ceases to glorify Kṛṣṇa, and his entire energy is constantly flowing in the current of love of Godhead. If there is no difficulty for us, it is because he has made it easy by his own example and his very being. Whatever our birth, our real fortune began when we met Śrīla Prabhupāda. 

* * * 

 Jagadīśa prabhu, while acting as Śrīla Prabhupāda’s secretary, is still heavily involved with the development of the gurukula here in his capacity as the Minister of Education. Prabhupāda has also asked Pradyumna to remain here to teach Sanskrit when we leave.  

After breakfast Prabhupāda talked at length with the two of them, discussing various aspects of the boys’ education. He is keen to see that things be managed properly and that the boys be trained to a high brahminical standard. While discussing some of the problems they face, Jagadīśa mentioned that he was looking for some “sane men” to teach in gurukula. Prabhupāda replied with amused irony, “Everyone is crazy! Take it for granted. You’ll not find any sane man. The problem is to train them how to become sane.” 

* * * 

Out in the garden at midday taking his massage, Prabhupāda heard the mail from Jagadīśa. Caitya-guru had written from Chandigarh. His letter was upbeat, describing how wherever he goes, people praise Śrīla Prabhupāda and want to know when he will return for more programs. At the time of writing, he was about to meet with the Chief Commissioner, who is very favorable, to get one acre of land for our future temple. Mr. Raj Kumar Gupta, who had met Śrīla Prabhupāda during his visit, has confirmed that he will give Rs. 1,00,000 for the land, plus a donation for the Deities. Caitya-guru expressed his hope that ISKCON would become more and more popular in the coming months and begged Śrīla Prabhupāda’s blessings for his preaching in Punjab; he is alone there at the moment.  

Prabhupāda was well pleased to hear from Caitya-guru, whom he considers to be a capable and energetic preacher who can do much if guided correctly. Impressed with the recent pandala programs, Prabhupāda encouraged his disciple to stick with his work. “Yes, Krsna will bless you with good success. Do it rigidly. Krsna will give you strength undoubtedly. I started this movement alone in a foreign country and Krsna gave me all success. Krsna will certainly help you if you simply remain sincere and try to present Krsna consciousness as it is. I know the atmosphere in Chandigarh is very receptive.” 

The only disturbance Caitya-guru reported was that Yaśodānandana Swami had borrowed a typewriter from a life member during the visit but had failed to return it. A record player and 16 mm. film was also taken, and he said that Hansadūta’s men had taken the pillow from Śrīla  Prabhupāda’s vyasāsana. He requested that at least the typewriter be returned and suggested that since the life member knew Yaśodānandana’s legal name and passport number, he could bring a case against him and thus put an end to the preaching. 

Prabhupāda didn’t respond to this in his letter, but he did tell Jagadīśa to try and settle the matter. 

From New York there was a letter from Tripurāri Swami with an enclosed copy of National Geographic. He had no particular purpose but was inspired to write after reading the magazine, which was full of reports on the latest theories on the origins of life. “It is very interesting,” he said, “how everything is worded just to lead one to believe that it is fact that life comes from matter. Such rascaldom! Such word jugglery! 

“Your books are the real science. By this Bhagavata science we can conquer death.” 

He said that he is touring the United States, preaching “your glories and the glories of Lord Caitanya” and enthusing devotees in book distribution. “They are just like men from Vaikuntha, undaunted by all this nonsense propaganda. I am encouraging them all to remain pure by chanting and reading, deity worship etc., that they might go on preaching life after life.” Finally, he requested Śrīla Prabhupāda’s blessings to go on with his work. 

Prabhupāda was happy to hear of Tripurāri’s enthusiasm for preaching and urged him to continue. “Please go on with your program, preaching and distributing my books, encouraging others to remain pure by following our simple program of chanting, reading, Deity worship, etc. Krsna will certainly help you. Keep yourself always engaged in the service of GauraNitai and that will keep you liberated from material contamination.” 

When signing the typed letter later in the day, Prabhupāda also hand wrote a postscript about the magazine: “It is over-materialistic.” 

Prabhupāda also received a welcome letter from Harikeśa Swami, who is now in Germany. He and Jayatīrtha have agreed that he will take charge there so that Jayatīrtha can concentrate on England and South Africa. Harikeśa opened his report by informing Prabhupāda that he has repaid him half the personal loan he received when he left Vṛndāvana, with 12% interest, and has placed the money in one of Prabhupāda’s accounts in Los Angeles.  

He then went on to describe the bold preaching of Dvārakeśa and Prabhujaka prabhus in Yugoslavia. They have been touring the country, visiting all the major cities. When they arrive they simply sit down in the main squares, hold kīrtanas with mṛdaṅga and tamboura, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Because their instruments are classical Indian, they are readily accepted, and the chanting is part of the show. They attract hundreds of people, many of whom buy books and want information about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Local newspapers invariably write favorable articles about them, and in Ljubljana they spoke and chanted for half an hour on the main radio station.  

The last day’s program held in Zagreb was widely advertised. Dvārakeśa and Prabhujaka were broadcasted over the radio and also appeared on TV. They posted huge posters all over the town advertising “Indian music and philosophy . . . . Dwarakesh das and Prapujaka das .. monks  . . . .!!” At the program, they chanted and lectured and were even paid a “very large amount of money.” About one thousand people attended, mostly university students, and they bought all the books, beads, and other items. The people were so eager that they even wanted to buy Dvārakeśa and Prabhujaka’s personal books and beads, which the devotees  managed to keep only after much struggle. All told, they sold about DM 2,500 worth. Dvārakeśa and Prabhujaka have also had some success holding programs in yoga schools, where members seem to prefer their lively kīrtanas to the dry fare they get from the impersonalist yogis who run the schools.  

This is not to say that they had no problems, however. Yugoslavia is a nominally communist-ruled country under the autocrat Tito, and the devotees have reported frequent contact with secret police who they believe followed them around the country. According to Harikeśa Mahārāja, it was only because of the important contacts they made that they weren’t thrown out. “They have many letters of commendation and many invitations for them to come and do programs at student clubs. Without these letters the police would have kicked them out of the country long ago; it was only because of the invitations that they were allowed to stay. And this was all gotten on the basis of music, because religion or even yoga etc. is not very attractive and in fact the police tried to smash it. But although they bill it as music they play only our standard kirtan chants and do not try to imitate popular music; it is just the drone of the tampoura and mrdunga, and they get everyone to chant Hare Krishna, lecture and then sell tons of books. They feel that it is basically essential but they are willing to take a risk as your last letter to them said that they should only use mrdunga. I feel that they do not play well enough to do much and without the covering story that they are performing musicians they would definitely be asked to immediately leave. We are all concerned to hear your reply.” 

Harikeśa also had some news about Gurudās Swami’s preaching in Poland. “I am arranging for two German boys to stay in Poland for a while because as it stands now Gurudas Swami will go to India; he can always join them later on. I have written to him with full advices and encouragement to stay but it seems a failure.” 

Harikeśa ended with a nice prayer: “I hope you are feeling well and willing to benedict me with a drop of your mercy by which I may be able to live and become a purified servant.” 

Prabhupāda was extremely happy to hear the report. Harikeśa is proving his worth and fulfilling the expectations that Śrīla Prabhupāda placed on him when he sent him back to Europe last month. First thanking him for repaying the loan, he dictated an enthusiastic response. “I am very pleased to learn of our success in Yugoslavia. When there is a little hope of success in these countries, it encourages me 100 times more than in other places. If they take up this Krishna Consciousness, they’ll take it very seriously. This is the perfection of Communist ideology. Everything belongs to God. No private proprietorship. They have gone on the radio, that means they have purified the whole atmosphere. That is the way to introduce, the transcendental sound vibration will act. Utilize this approach. Gradually try to convince them that this movement is the perfection of Communism. Go on singing Krsna kirtana. That is our program. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to go out chanting. He never spoke philosophy in public, only among higher circles. The chanting is very effective. Along with tampoura and mrdanga played very rhythmically, let them chant. Perform this musical demonstration and sell books as far as possible, and feasting. Then everything will be successful. It is good that they do not like these bogus yogis and they like Hare Krsna mantra. Give them the chance to chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra somehow or other, then very soon good results will be visible.” 

As far as Gurudāsa Swami goes, Prabhupāda wants him to preach in Eastern Europe, and he reiterated what he just wrote to Gurudāsa himself a few days ago, adding another reason why he should not come to India just yet. “I am not very much in favor of Gurudas coming here. Let him know that his former wife, Yamuna, is here, therefore he should not come. Why is he so adamant to come here? He can come later during the Mayapur festival. Why doesn’t he join with you until Mayapur at least?” 

October 29th, 1976

Sometimes in the morning now, Śrīla Prabhupāda is taking his walk by simply circumambulating the temple rather than going outside our temple grounds. His strength is depleted and he complains sometimes of not having any appetite. Despite his blood pressure remaining high, though, he is able to maintain his daily class schedule. The verse this morning was Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.5.7: 

“Even though one may be very learned and wise, he is mad if he does not understand that the endeavor for sense gratification is a useless waste of time. Being forgetful of his own interest, he tries to be happy in the material world, centering his interests around his home, which is based on sexual intercourse and which brings him all kinds of material miseries. In this way one is no better than a foolish animal.” 

Prabhupāda opened his talk by declaring that everyone works for their own self-interest, including the devotees. But the devotee’s self-interest is not the same as that of an ordinary person. “So, one has to be vipaścit, learned, to understand the interest of life, selfinterest. Everyone is working, especially the karmīs, the jñānīs, the yogis, and mixed devotees—they are working for selfinterest. The devotees also. So long there is self, there is selfinterest also. So there is a little difference, that the devotees, they work for Superselfinterest. There is self, but it is Superselfinterest. And the karmīs, jñānīs, yogis—they work for individual selfinterest. Selfinterest there must be.”  

He explained that the difference between the two types of self-interest is the difference between lust and love. “It appears almost the same, but Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has given a definition very clear: ātmendriyaprīti vāñchā—tāre bali ‘kāma’ [Cc. Adi 4.165] When one is interested for his personal sense gratification, that is called kāma or lust, and kṛṣṇendriyaprītiicchā dhare ‘prema’ nāma—and when one is interested for satisfying the senses of Kṛṣṇa, that is prema.” 

Ultimately, he said, we have to realize that working for individual self-interest offers no satisfaction. He alluded to a significant event in his own life that had helped him turn fully towards spiritual pursuit. “As soon as you see that it is all useless, sahasā vipaścit, that is actually enlightenment. So as soon as we find, by the guidance of bona fide spiritual master, by the guidance of Kṛṣṇa personally, as soon as we come to this understanding, that we are simply wasting our time, śrama eva hi kevalam. When, in the beginning, when I understood the one song of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, māyājāle baddha ho’ye ācho miche kāj lo’ye, Bhaktivinoda says, many times he has said, māyār bośe jāccho bhese’ khāccho hābuḍubu bhāi, jīv kṛṣṇadās, ei viśvās, korle to’ ār duḥkho nāi [O brothers! Needlessly under the control of māyā, you suffer and are carried away by her waves, sometimes floating and sometimes sinking in this ocean of illusion. If you have this faith—that the soul is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa—then there will be no more misery]. Very instructive, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s songs, very instructive and simple; and Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s hari hari biphale janama goṅāinu manuṣyajanama pāiyā, rādhākṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā. jāniyā śuniyā biṣa khāinu: Regretting, lamenting, my Lord, I got this human form of life. Unfortunately, I have simply wasted it. Why? It is exactly like drinking poison knowingly. Sometimes we become poisonous unknowingly. Sometimes food poison or something poison. But if one takes poison knowingly, that means he’s killing himself. He knows it. Similarly, in this human form of life, if we do not come to this understanding, sahasā vipaścit, that without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I am simply taking poison, then his life is spoiled.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda used to be a pharmacist and spent most of his adult life dealing with medicines, so he knows about diseases and how to cure them. His daily lectures themselves are like medicinal ambrosia, curing our disease of individual self-interest. Like Lord Śiva, who sucked up an ocean of poison and left only the pure substance, he is saving us from imbibing poison and giving us life-giving nectar. 

* * * 

Today Prabhupāda was telling me about faith—faith in the spiritual master. He said, “If one does not follow the spiritual master’s instructions, then it means he does not have faith. If he displeases or offends the spiritual master, then he will fall down. Faith means practical faith—action. Faith means practical first. Without service to the spiritual master, there is no question of advancement.” And he repeated his example of the dog: “Just like the dog. Dog is the lowest of animals—actually there is none lower than a dog. But still the dog has one good quality—faithfulness. If one does not become faithful, then he is less than a dog. Therefore there is no compassion for such persons.” 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda received a long letter today from Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. It is the first direct news from him since his resignation last month as a GBC and his declaration of intent to temporarily withdraw from mainstream ISKCON activities. He is in a miserable condition, being caught between his attachment and faith in Śrīla Prabhupāda and his inability to strictly follow the process. His letter was poignant to say the least. “Oh master, please forgive me for my mudha-like nature and restless tortured mind. As I write this letter I remember all of your perfect instructions and feel lower than the lowliest creature, unable to cut the knot of material attachment. 

“Somehow or another, undoubtedly due to my countless offenses and neglect of strict adherence to the principles, I seem to have had a tremendous lapse of determination. Material desires are attacking me like a swarm of locusts and I am a fit candidate to be tortured by the Yamadutas. However, I seriously accept Krishna as the Cause of all causes, the Highest Truth, and as my only Lord. By your grace these things are firmly established in my heart. Yet still, I have become so covered over that I genuinely cannot give an accurate prognosis of this disease except that I know that I have fallen in maya.” He went on to say that he is living near the Berkeley temple, attending as often as he can, and “trying my best to follow the principles.”  

He said that since his return to America after a five-year absence, he has noted a huge increase in the number of books and philosophies available to the public, who unfortunately cannot discriminate what is truth or not; thus he appreciates Śrīla Prabhupāda’s vigorous attacks on modern scientists and pseudo-religionists. He lamented that although he would like to preach to make Prabhupāda’s glories known, especially to the intelligent class of men, at present he is unable, due to his personal weaknesses. “I feel that it is possible indeed to take the offensive in challenging the shaky foundation of this decadent culture, as you your self have done all along. Now it is but words escaping from behind the illusions presently covering me, but I know that if I can somehow regain my strength, that it can be done. I would like to assist Your Divine Grace in this way in this lifetime, but please forgive me for my many offenses and for my weak-hearted condition.” He went on to say that he would like to preach in various educational institutions around America in a manner similar to what Svarūpa Dāmodara prabhu is doing; he also spoke of someday compiling a book “with quotes from your books and throughout the Vaishnava literatures giving full information about the term: Guru. People are so much confused about how to find a spiritual teacher and it would surely help them if they had a condensed form or small book that they could refer to which would surely help them from being cheated and which would gradually lead them to the correct implication and observation that Your Divine Grace is the emblem and standard of a genuine Guru and they will surrender to you.” 

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa expressed some confidence that eventually he would be able to fulfill these goals and conveyed his interest in assisting with the development of the Bhaktivedanta Institute. He has taken up the study of Hindi and Sanskrit grammar and feels he could be proficient in Hindi. He ended his letter with a sincere statement of his attachment to Śrīla Prabhupāda. “I trust and pray that Your Divine Grace will keep me in some corner of Your Lotus Feet. Otherwise, bless me with immediate death and rid me of the great burden which I am carrying. There is no one else in this world who I could admire, respect or love more than You, Srila Prabhupada. Kindly sanctify my mind with your mercy and rid me of the false pride with which I am constantly struggling. Eternally indebted to you for Your love and kindness, Your unworthy servant, Pusta Krsna Swami.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was certainly sympathetic and appreciative of his disciple’s esteem for him and his commitment to Kṛṣṇa consciousness despite his difficulties. The departure of another of his leaders is a blow in his establishment of ISKCON, yet he has an abiding interest in the personal welfare of his disciples. Despite his disappointment in Puṣṭa’s inability to stick with the process and maintain his vows, Prabhupāda wrote back to encourage him while also giving practical advice to keep him engaged in service. Although Puṣṭa signed his letter as ‘Swami’ and did not mention a change of āśrama, Prabhupāda got straight to the point in his reply. 

“I know that you are intelligent and can act very nicely to help spread Krsna consciousness. If you feel Maya attracting, then live an honest life as a householder and contribute to our movement. As a family man you can join Svarup Damodar to help with the Bhaktivedanta Institute. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says it doesn’t matter whether one is a sannyasi, grhastha, brahmana, or sudra. You have intelligence. Study more and more. If you think that you should be married, then do that and assist Bhaktivedanta Institute by giving service. My request is, don’t become an ordinary foolish man. Keep Krsna consciousness in any condition of life. That is success.” 

Rāmeśvara Swami sent a copy of an article entitled “The Hare Krishna People,” which was published in the October edition of Coronet, a magazine with a circulation of 500,000. It was the result of the long interview Śrīla Prabhupāda gave their reporter in early June in Los Angeles. It was in general quite favorable and especially complimentary to Śrīla Prabhupāda personally and also to his books. The reporter was a young man who had obviously been touched by Prabhupāda’s sincerity and knowledge, and that was reflected in his article. 

Rāmeśvara mentioned that Mukunda prabhu has returned to Los Angeles from London and is now working diligently on public relations, with good success. He referred to the New York court case about which the reporters in Chandigarh had questioned Śrīla Prabhupāda, but the only detail he gave was that a group of scholars are going to hold a press conference in New York to inform the public that our movement is authorized and should be respected. This whole affair is generating positive publicity, and Rāmeśvara wrote, “We are all very hopeful that we will be able to impress the general public substantially that we are different from other ‘bogus religious cults’ which simply steal from the public without giving them anything – that the Krsna consciousness movement has profound contributions to offer human society.” 

Rāmeśvara also informed Prabhupāda that a movie they have made about book distribution will not be released. It shows explicit techniques used in distribution, which he fears our enemies may distort and use against us “to sway the court judges and press to limit our access to airports etc. for sankirtan. It is just too controversial at this time.” 

He is also launching a court case for libel against a demon, Ted Patrick, a self-appointed “liberator” of people who have joined religious organizations. Patrick, who is currently serving a one-year jail term for kidnapping, is just about to publish a book that slanders us as an immoral and dangerous cult that kidnaps and brainwashes young people. Rāmeśvara stated his confidence that we would be successful in suing Patrick and his publishers. Apart from monetary damages, he thinks we will get excellent publicity and show that we are not going to stand for slanderous attacks on our movement. 

On a more positive note, he reported the printing of 500,000 abridged hardbound Gītās, all of which he expects to be distributed within 4-5 months. He also plans a further printing of 1,000,000, which should be sold before the end of 1977. “This will be a glorious achievement for Your Divine Grace,” he wrote, “to have published almost 2 million copies of hardbound Bhagavad-gita and sold them all within 2 years! We are simply praying for Lord Caitanya’s mercy that we may go on serving you by unlimitedly increasing book distribution.” 

Another item on the press is the first “commercial” Kṛṣṇa consciousness calendar, which will advertise the BBT and be given out to all professors visited by the Library Party. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa has also ordered five thousand copies for India. 

Finally, Rāmeśvara glorified the latest edition of Back To Godhead, which he said was being sent under separate cover by Jagannātha Suta prabhu. “I feel we have succeeded in presenting our philosophy and movement in a very palatable, readable way which will appeal to the broad spectrum of people to whom we distribute the magazine to.” He has taken personal responsibility for the editorial policy, following complaints from Rūpānuga prabhu, and “at the Mayapur festival Your Divine Grace and the GBC can review the editorial slant presently used to try and popularize BTG and decide what changes or improvements are needed.” 

He ended by praying that Śrīla Prabhupāda feel more and more enthused to continue with his translation work, “which is the only hope for avoiding widespread destruction and war which is currently threatening the world.” 

Prabhupāda very much appreciated the Coronet magazine article, which compares us favorably against other new religious and spiritual groups. “It is a fact that we are different from all bogus groups,” he said. “Now we should present our movement very nicely so that people will be able to understand. We are trying to raise the animallike humans to real human status.” 

He was happy that the saṅkīrtana film project has been abandoned and commented, “Yes, this book distribution movie should be excluded. Why has this been taken? Even if there is some bad dealing in the family, it should not be exposed.” 

Prabhupāda heard about the huge Gītā reprinting with great satisfaction yet, typically, he pushed Rāmeśvara for news about a new book: “What about that book Dialectical Spiritualism edited by Hayagriva?” He had spent more than a month this year finalizing the content with Hayagrīva, but still there is no word on its publication date.  

Prabhupāda approved Rāmeśvara’s overseeing BTG. Here in Vṛndāvana, his Godbrother Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor, who used to contribute to the magazine, has complained mildly that his work has been rejected. “The rejection by the BTG staff has somehow or other alienated Dr. Kapoor,” he wrote Rāmeśvara. “You must carefully oversee which articles are being accepted for BTG.” 

As far as dealing with the attacks on our movement, Prabhupāda is very clear on what is to be done. It is a fight, and he is fully prepared to meet it. “I approve your efforts to sue this Ted Patrick and his publisher. It must be done.” 

* * * 

Prabhupāda is continuing to go to the temple in the late afternoon and hold his darśanas in the courtyard. It is quite blissful to sit with him under the luxuriant branches of the tamal tree with all the devotees gathered at his feet as he leads kīrtana or listens to his leading disciples speak. Prabhupāda seems to enjoy it greatly, and it relieves him from the pressure of having to host large numbers of people within his rooms. When ārati begins he is able to gracefully withdraw to his quarters and relax in the privacy of his back garden where he often chants japa or sometimes meets with the local managers. Bhagatji comes at around nine o’ clock to prepare his hot milk, and they chat for a few minutes before Prabhupāda takes rest. 

October 30th, 1976

The verse for class this morning was one from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s “most quoted” list. As everyone sat in eager anticipation in front of the Deities and the vyasāsana, Pradyumna prabhu led us all in responsive chanting of the Sanskrit and then read out the English.  

Lord Ṛṣabhadeva’s instructions get down to the fundamentals, accurately describing our condition in this material world and the causes for our sufferings: puṁsaḥ striyā mithunībhāvam etaṁ tayor mitho hṛdayagranthim āhuḥ/ ato gṛhakṣetrasutāptavittair janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti: 

“The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives and wealth. In this way one increases life’s illusions and thinks in terms of ‘I’ and ‘mine.’ ” [SB 5.5.8] 

Prabhupāda’s class emphasized responsible, regulated living. We are here in this material world, he said, because we want to predominate, but Kṛṣṇa comes to teach us that He is the predominator and we the predominated. When we don’t want to accept Kṛṣṇa, we are placed here, and the binding force is the attraction between the sexes. It is best if we can remain brahmacārī, he said, but if we still have sex desire then we should get married. 

“So that is regulated, that you must have wife. Not must have, but if you cannot avoid, take one wife and remain as a gṛhastha. And there are so many rules and regulations of gṛhastha life. Gṛhastha life is not that ‘Whenever I like, we have sex.’ No, that is not. There is regulated. Once in a month. When there is menstruation—and if the wife is pregnant—then no more sex life. There are so many rules and regulations. Gṛhastha means one who follows the rules and regulation of sex life. That is gṛhastha. Not that simply united, man and woman, and live like animals. No, that is not gṛhastha. That is called gṛhamedhi. Gṛhamedhi and gṛhastha, there are two words. Gṛhamedhi means he does not know the rules and regulation. He thinks that this family, husband and wife, children and home, that is everything.” 

The point is to live according to āśrama. “Āśrama means the place where spiritual culture is cultivated; that is called āśrama. What is the difference between the āśrama and ordinary home? Ordinary home means without any regulative principles, and āśrama means real purpose is selfrealization, development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But if one is unable to accept sannyāsa āśrama or brahmacārī āśrama, that is gṛhastha āśrama. Not that animal āśrama.” 

He described the regulative principles as a part of a “big plan.” “The big plan is: here is the attraction, puṁsaḥ striyā mithunībhāvam—to cut down this attraction between male and female. This is the big plan. Otherwise there is no need of the varṇāśrama. Varṇāśrama means to train the candidates gradually to become free from this entanglement of man and woman. This is the basic principle. Yoga system is also the same thing.”  

Accepting that to get free from sex attraction is not easy, he pointed out that still, there is something more attractive. “We should not be entangled as far as possible. It is not possible, very, very difficult, but if it is possible, there is brahmacārī. This is tapasya. That tapasya begins, tapasā brahmacāryeṇa. That is tapasya. So if possible, we should try to remain. But Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice if we accept Kṛṣṇa very seriously. With Kṛṣṇa, anyone—either man or woman—can remain very happy. Kṛṣṇa can become my friend, Kṛṣṇa can become my husband, Kṛṣṇa can become my son—whatever you want. So in this way, if we advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then we can save ourselves: janasya moho ’yam. In this illusory galaxy, this material world, we may be saved, and that is wanted that we have to give up the attraction for this material world. Then there is possibility of spiritual advancement. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is canvassing personally that “You give up all these plans, sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. That will save you from this precarious position of material world, threefold miseries, suffering after suffering after suffering.” 

* * * 

After Prabhupāda rose from his post-breakfast rest, Jagadīśa and Bhagatjī came to discuss further ideas they have for the gurukula. At one point they mentioned a plan for having the boys go out and preach. Prabhupāda became most upset and he angrily stopped them. “How these young boys will preach? This is all nonsense! Who is the rascal who has suggested this? They are simply meant for studying English and Sanskrit and becoming very expert in our books. They should not go out before the age of sixteen. They should not do anything else, simply remain in Vṛndāvana.” 

I have never seen him get angry with Bhagatjī before. He always deals with him in a friendly, encouraging, and gentle way. He is the only local man to come forward and give practical daily help, and it was he who donated the land upon which the gurukula is being built. But Prabhupāda exploded with indignation when Bhagatjī suggested further that the boys could be sent to do programs in the homes of Life Members in Delhi to raise funds for the gurukula. “I can give any amount of funds,” he shouted, his face flushed and top lip quivering. “They shall not be used for this purpose, collecting money. This is very wrong!” He was most perturbed with these ideas, and as they talked for the best part of half an hour, he referred to these points repeatedly to make sure they understood. 

* * * 

When Prabhupāda flew from New York to London in July, Śrutadeva prabhu and his family from Baltimore accompanied our party to take up a new service in England. On Jayatīrtha prabhu’s request, he has taken up the post of temple president at Bury Place. Śrutadeva used to compile the weekly Sankirtana Newsletter, which, along with the official BBT monthly newsletter sent out by Rāmeśvara Swami, keeps the temples around the world (and Śrīla Prabhupāda) up-to-date with temple book distribution scores. Whereas the BBT newsletter bases the temple rankings in the monthly competition on the amount of laxmi they send in to the BBT each month, Śrutadeva’s Sankirtana Newsletter lists individual book distributors’ scores as well as all of the books sold by category—small, medium, large, and mahā-large—in each temple per week. Since he started it in 1974, his newsletter has helped fuel the competitive book distribution spirit amongst the temples and devotees and is read and appreciated by Śrīla Prabhupāda. Now, with his move to England, he has stopped this service and handed it on to another devotee in Los Angeles.  

Today, Prabhupāda heard a letter from him containing five interesting questions that he still had even after asking other senior devotees. He also enclosed a picture of the London Deities nicely framed in a travel kit so that Prabhupāda can keep it on his desk wherever he goes.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda answered his questions one by one as he took his massage in the sun in the back garden. 

Q1) What is the correct name of the Deities – Radha London Iswara (Radharani and Krsna, the controller of London), or Radha London Iswari (Radharani, the controller of London). 

A: The Deities in London are named Radha London Isvara. Krsna is the proprietor everywhere, but especially London. 

Q2) Do we have your permission to sing: Radha London Iswara Radhe – Prabhupada prana dhana he? 

A: Yes, you have my permission to sing as you have requested.  

Q3) In the Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila Vol. 9, p.195 [Mad. 24.205] you say that “Those who claim to be devotees but do not engage in Kṛṣṇa’s service to elevate all living creatures to Kṛṣṇa consciousness are to be considered kaniṣṭhaadhikārīs (people in the lowest stage of devotional service). When one rises to the second platform of devotional service, his business is to propagate Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Those who are active in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should not remain in the neophyte stage but should rise to the platform of preachers, the second platform of devotional service.” 

Does this mean that those devotees in ISKCON who are not directly preaching should aspire to preach? Are book distributors and preachers able to reach a higher platform than others? Should pujaris and others who are not directly preaching aspire to personally preach or should they just try to perfect their service as part of Lord Caitanya’s movement? Should everyone go out on Sankirtana at least once a week even if they are pujaris? 

A: One has to be qualified to preach. It is a gradual process that one becomes sense controlled and a personal example. Preaching is not an easy thing. In the beginning one should worship the Deity and follow the basic practices. When one becomes advanced he can preach. The kanistha adhikari is not condemned. It is a comparative study. The kanistha adhikari can also achieve perfection. If one does not preach, it does not mean that he is fallen, condemned. It is not artificial; one gradually becomes perfect by association. 

Q4) There are some sannyasins and temple presidents who say that in the ultimate issue there is no impersonal energy. They say that the brahmajyoti is in actuality innumerable living entities and that the material energy, being a transformation of the brahmajyoti, is also ultimately living souls. In other words, there is no impersonal brahmajyoti or dead matter, only living entities.  

However, in the Caitanya Caritamrta,  Adi lila 2.96  you refer to Jiva Goswami’s Bhagavatsandarbha “ . . . the Supreme Transcendence, the summum bonum, eternally and simultaneously exists in four transcendental features: His personality, His impersonal effulgence, His potential parts and parcels (the living beings), and the principle cause of all causes.’ And in Adi 4.62 you state ‘Therefore the Absolute Truth includes these four principles – the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, His internal energy, His marginal energy, and His external energy.”  

My understanding is that there is a difference between the spirit souls and the impersonal brahman and material energy or dead matter. They are one in the sense that they are all Krsna’s energy. They are personal in the sense that they all emanate from Krsna. But they are not one and personal in the sense that the three different energies are all ultimately spirit souls. Which is the proper conclusion? 

A: It is correct that the brahmajyoti is comprised of spiritual souls and that ultimately nothing is impersonal. Dead matter means forgetfulness of Krsna. 

Śrutadeva’s fifth question was an honest revelation of his own condition, alluding to problems he—as well as other senior devotees—is experiencing. “In the past few years many older devotees, sannyasins, and even GBC members have left the movement. These are devotees who had been respected as fixed up or advanced. I also have been in the movement for what is considered a long time, 6 years. Although I have fallen down numerous times I have never left your service. Not once. But now, even though I am a temple president, I feel weaker than ever before. Maya seems to be attacking me very fiercely. At times I feel very discouraged and feel like leaving. Although I have attained a certain position in the Society my heart is still hard and cold. I feel very lonely and unhappy. Sometimes my mind seeks female companionship because I can’t seem to make contact with you or Krsna. Even though I am married I am full of illicit desires. 

“Please tell me why so many older devotees are leaving the movement? Please instruct me how I can stay in your eternal service and become free from this maya.” 

Prabhupāda was very sympathetic to Śrutadeva’s difficulties, but his reply made it clear that each of us has to take responsibility for his or her own life. As our guru, he can give us the facility for making advancement, but it is up to us to take advantage of it. “If you want to stay in Krsna Consciousness,” he replied, “you will have to develop firm faith in Guru and Sastra. Therefore, you must study my books very scrutinizingly, follow the four regulative principles very strictly and chant 16 rounds daily avoiding the ten offenses. Don’t take this movement as something cheap.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda ended with a thank you for the photo of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Londonīśvara. 

Along with his letter to Prabhupāda, Śrutadeva had enclosed a letter to Jagadīśa with two samples of small leaves. He explained that the devotees have been worshiping the plant from which the leaves were taken, thinking it to be Tulasī-devī. However, now that it is growing bigger, there is some doubt as to whether it is in fact tulasī or not. The devotees can’t tell, and even when they inquired from some botanists, they were told they would have to wait until the plant matures before its identity could be positively ascertained. Once before, the London devotees worshiped a plant that was not tulasī and were strongly chastised by Śrīla Prabhupāda, so being fearful of another mistake, Śrutadeva sent the leaf samples with a request that Śrīla Prabhupāda verify them. Jagadīśa showed the samples to Śrīla Prabhupāda and then added a postscript to his reply: “N.B. The tulasi or whatever leaves you sent were too old and dried out when they got here. Srila Prabhupada said the test is by smelling and tasting.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda has finally received a full account of the court case in New York. There are some major developments, and it is clear that our movement is under serious attack. In a special report, Tamal Krishna Mahārāja detailed recent events centering around two devotees, Vasu Gopāla dāsa and Mūrtivanya dāsī. Both of them were kidnapped by thugs—now advertised as “deprogrammers” —hired by their parents in an attempt to break their faith in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As a result, Vasu Gopāla left for some time but then came back. Mūrtivanya, on the other hand, could not be broken by their tactics and once free of their clutches decided to file a criminal suit against both her parents and the deprogrammers. This was about two months ago. Her irate parents, frustrated in their attempts to take her out of the movement, then contacted a group known as “Rescue,” a national group composed mainly of parents of people who have joined various religious groups, with connections to professional deprogrammers. They decided to use the opportunity as a test case to attack us, and in the process, the fundamental right of any person to practice the religion of their choice.  

Tamal Krishna described what seems to be an outrageous abrogation of the process of law. “The District Attorney called a private meeting grand jury hearing and many parents of children who have left our or other movements testified that our Movement was controlling people by mind-control (also known as ‘brainwashing’). The amazing thing about the jury is that the District Attorney got over one half of the members of the jury to consist of parents whose children left various cults and who were therefore very antagonistic towards our Society. After hearing so many one-sided testimonies (never was our side ever called into the hearing or informed of it) the jury dropped the charges against the parents and deprogrammer and instead the State indicted our Society, our temple president Adi Kesava Swami and another devotee, Trai dasa, on charges of unlawful detainment of Vasu Gopal and Murtivanya dasi by threat of violence (by ‘brainwashing’) and also a second criminal charge of grand larceny was placed on our Society and the temple president Adi Kesava Swami, for supposedly trying to extort $20,000 from Vasu Gopal’s father for which we supposedly agreed to hand him over his son.  

“Trai das and Adi Kesava Swami were immediately arrested and Vasu Gopal and Murtivanya dasi were put under arrest as material witnesses and held on $50,000 bail each. Eventually Adi Kesava Swami and Trai das were allowed to go on their own recognizance but despite all efforts Vasu Gopal has now been placed in a mental institution in Mass. for surveillance to determine his competency to testify and the District Attorney is attempting the same thing with Murtivanya dasi. The actual trial will not come up for 6-8 weeks. In the meantime the District Attorney will attempt in every way possible to destroy Vasu Gopal and Murtivanya’s Krsna consciousness and thus have them testify as witnesses against our Society and Adi Kesava Maharaj.” 

Tamal Krishna Mahārāja listed five issues that the District Attorney is pursuing under a demand to investigate the internal affairs of our Society:  

1) The right of our Movement to exist as a bona fide religion.  

2) The right of adult individual devotees (Vasu Gopal and Murtivanya dasi are each over 21 years of age) to belong to the Krsna consciousness Movement and not be taken out by their parents against their will. 

3) Whether our devotees are participating in Krsna consciousness due to faith in God or are they kept in our Movement by psychological manipulation (‘brainwashing’)? 

4) Do we as a minority religious group have the right of due process of the law? 

5) Do we have the right to collect donations and distribute books as a non-profit religious organization or are we a commercial enterprise whose accounts can be investigated and eventually taxed? 

He commented that the court’s decisions so far have been “strange” considering that the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. “The future of our Movement is being severely tested,” he continued. “There is a nationwide feeling that the various cults, Guru Maharaji, The Moonies and others are cheating and dangerous and should be driven out of America. Unfortunately we have been lumped in with this group. This case is of major significance because it will determine in the future whether at any moment devotees can be taken right out of the Movement against their will by misunderstanding relatives and the officers of our Movement jailed. This court case has been planned for months by our opponents and they have numerous influential persons to testify against us as well as substantial funds to finance the legal proceedings. At the arraignment for us there were not less than seven lawyers representing the parents.” 

Noting that the mass media has “taken up the case with full relish,” he enclosed a number of newspaper clippings, both local and international. 

He said that in our favor we have very qualified and sympathetic lawyers; beyond that, “the Constitution of the U.S. and the whole legal system is our greatest defense.” Noting that “brainwashing” has already been rejected by the courts because it cannot be defined medically, he said that the issue is still very tricky. Devotees on both the east and west coasts have taken the offensive and already called a major press conference to good effect, and he enclosed some statements by prominent sympathetic professors. With Balavanta prabhu heading up our public relations work and with Armarendra prabhu as his chief assistant, a major publicity campaign is being launched to counteract the bad publicity. In addition, he added, Satsvarūpa Mahārāja is now contacting favorable professors to garner their support in the courtroom. 

Despite these many difficulties, however, Tamal Krishna Mahārāja’s tone was upbeat, and he is not daunted by the challenge. On the contrary, he sees that the whole affair is advancing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Movement. “In the long run I would have to say that this is all the arrangement of the Supreme Lord, Krsna, Who wished for His Movement to become prominent and established. This whole affair is forcing us to become most serious and conscientious to secure our Movement permanently as an established fact in Society. Furthermore this affair is encouraging influential men of distinction, especially professors, doctors, and other others to raise up their voices and declare our Krsna conscious Movement is bona fide and good for humanity. Therefore we have to see it as the will of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that all of this is happening and because it is His desire we are certain of victory. This does not mean that we shall sit idly by waiting for the Lord to protect us. Rather, we shall fight on His behalf and defend our Movement from all demoniac attacks. Krsna has declared it in Bhagavad-gita: ksipram bhavati dharmatma sasvacchantim nigacchati, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati [Bg 9.31]. 

“Please Srila Prabhupada keep us in your mind and heart and thus give us all strength to emerge victorious.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda reacted enthusiastically. He is fired with determination and resolute conviction. It is going to be a fight, and he relishes the opportunity to stand for Kṛṣṇa against the demons. Seeing all the news clippings saying “Kṛṣṇa this” and “Kṛṣṇa that,” he takes it as very good that Kṛṣṇa’s name is being advertised so much and dictated a long reply to Tamal Krishna Mahārāja, first giving pointers that his men can use in our defense. 

“Please accept my blessings. I am in receipt of your letter dated 22/10/76, along with pictures, newsclippings, etc. 

“Regarding the point about whether our movement is bonafide, you can use the following arguments. Bhagavad Gita has got so many editions. Our books are older than the Bible. In India there are millions of Krsna temples. Let the judges and juries read our books and take the opinion of learned scholars and professors. Regarding the second point about the parents’ jurisdiction over their children here are some suggestions. Do the parents like that their children become hippies? Why don’t they stop it? Do the parents like their children to become involved in prostitution and intoxication? Why don’t they stop this? When the government takes the children for the draft neither the parents nor the children like it. This question should be raised.  

“There are so many men over 30. Are they brainwashed? It may be a minority in your country, but in other places it is the majority. The diamond seller caters to a minority. Why are they allowed to sell? Always when there is something valuable only a minority will be able to purchase. Our books are not commercial, they are religion and philosophy.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda stated his defiance against any attempt to stop his Movement. Strongly affirming his disciples’ intentions to fight any attempts to limit our preaching, he declared boldly, “They are now feeling the weight of this movement. Formerly they thought these people come and go, but now they see we are staying. Now we have set fire. It will go on; it cannot be stopped. You can bring big, big fire brigades, but the fire will act. The brainwash books are already there. Even if they stop externally, internally it will go on. Our first-class campaign is book distribution. Go house to house. The real fighting is now. Krsna will give you all protection. So chant Hare Krsna and fight. One movie expert has opined there are so many ideas in our movement. Try to get our ideas into movies. 

“Get some Indian professors’ opinions. Get a list of standing orders from Indian universities. Take this opportunity for being well advertised. They are afraid. So many young men are being affected. They have rightly said that it is an epidemic. Let all the Indians say that this is bona fide. Have profuse testimony. Collect testimony in London and Toronto. Ask Subhavilasa to collect opinions that this is bona fide Indian culture. This same attack came in Germany. By propaganda you cannot suppress the truth. You cannot suppress fire by propaganda. Now we have to become strong to defend. The fighting has become acute, but if you stick to the regulative principles, Krsna will give all strength. Whatever is done is by Krsna’s mercy. They are afraid that a different culture is conquering over their culture. Param drstva nivartate. That is natural. If someone finds something better he’ll give up the old, how can he stop? It is a fight, do not be afraid.” 

Tamal Krishna also raised two other matters. One was the revival of The New World Harmonist, a newspaper-style publication put out a couple of years ago based on the original published by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in the 1920s. Because BTG has to be planned months in advance and is quite expensive to produce, he pointed out, we have no literature with which to comment on current events such as the court case. Nor do we have anything we can give out to people who contribute less than one dollar to the saṅkīrtana collectors. A newspaper is an ideal medium to compensate for these two deficiencies. His idea is to resume production of the paper in New York; he has already ordered 50,000 copies for the Radha Damodar TSKP. However, two days before writing this letter, he had gotten a call from Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu saying that Śrīla Prabhupāda had heard about it and was not enthusiastic about the idea. Since no explanation was given, Tamal now asked what was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s desire. 

Prabhupāda confirmed that he is not much in favor, although he did not kill the idea dead. “I am not very enthusiastic about the Harmonist idea,” he replied, “but if you have to sell Back To Godhead for minimum $1.00 then do it, what can be done?” 

Tamal Krishna’s final topic concerned a letter he had received from Hansadūta Mahārāja written when he was Prabhupāda’s secretary last month, that Śubhavilāsa prabhu be considered for appointment as the GBC for the whole of Canada. Hansadūta had said that this would depend on the agreement of all the temple presidents. Accordingly, Tamal Krishna said that he had rung all of the presidents and that there was a unanimous agreement that Śubhavilāsa not be made GBC; they were all happy with the current GBCs (Canada is a split zone).  

Śubhavilāsa prabhu had visited Śrīla Prabhupāda on September 20th and pushed himself for consideration as the GBC. Śrīla Prabhupāda had discreetly declined to get involved, telling him that if the GBC body agreed, then he had no objection. Hansadūta had championed his cause and thus sent the letter. Tamal Krishna noted that Śubhavilāsa himself has been suggesting that he is going to be the GBC. So Mahārāja asked Śrīla Prabhupāda for his clarification. 

And Prabhupāda gave it: “Regarding Subhavilas as Canadian GBC, if the presidents are satisfied with things the way they are and do not want Subhavilas that is alright. It was just a suggestion of Hansadutta.” 

* * * 

Prabhupāda’s preaching fire has been stoked on the deprogramming issue. He is energized by the prospect of a battle and talked about it all through his massage, fully endorsing Tamal Krishna Mahārāja’s view of events. He told us, “Now I have set the fire and no one can stop it. This is our opportunity to fight for Kṛṣṇa and firmly establish Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the West. Arjuna did not sit back and let Kṛṣṇa do everything. No, he fought, and by Kṛṣṇa’s grace he won.” Gopāla Kṛṣṇa has been asked to help by soliciting support from the Hindus here in India, and Prabhupāda discussed with him at length who could be approached. He wants to rouse as much support as possible, and Gopāla is eager to do it. 

* * * 

In the evening, rather than stay in the darśana, I went off to preach to a middle-aged Frenchman who is staying in the guesthouse; I had Akṣaya fill in for me. Prabhupāda called me into his garden later to inquire where I had been. As he relaxed on the seat under the thatched shelter chanting his japa, I told him about the guest and complained that no one in the temple seemed to be interested in preaching to the people who come to stay in the guesthouse. Prabhupāda’s response was not what I had expected. He said that if our guests are interested at all, then they will approach us, not that we have to go to them all the time. “The process is tad viddhi praṇipātena, that one should approach the pradarśaka. Sa gurum evābhigacchet, one must approach the Guru.” 

I was still doubtful. “But Śrīla Prabhupāda,” I asked, “isn’t there a song that describes how Lord Nityānanda over-flooded the land with the nectar of love of God and dug a channel to each and every house from the main stream?” 

“So we are doing that,” he replied. “We are traveling all over the world preaching and distributing books, and we have so many centers. But if someone comes to the center, then we have our program—classes in the morning and evening—and if he is interested, then he can inquire. There is a Bengali saying that if one is thirsty he must go to the river, not that the river can be brought to all the thirsty persons.” 

October 31st, 1976

Śrīla Prabhupāda is still suffering quite severely from high blood pressure and has hardly been seeing anyone. He is not taking his morning walks on a regular basis, although he does sometimes circumambulate the temple several times before greeting the Deities. But he gives class every day without fail. He has to be seriously unwell before he will consider not speaking on the Bhāgavatam. For the devotees, the morning program is their main opportunity not only to see Śrīla Prabhupāda, but more importantly to hear him. The afternoon darśanas are wonderful, but His Divine Grace is not speaking, preferring instead to have his disciples either speak or chant. The Vṛndāvana atmosphere is ideal for spiritual progress, with every facility for surrendering and rendering service to Lord Kṛṣṇa, but it is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s realizations and instructions that enable us to know what constitutes surrender and how service is to be performed here in the holy dhāma

Prabhupāda frequently underscores the mood and example of the six gosvāmīs so that we understand the implications of our living in the dhāma. This morning’s verse, SB 5.5.9, provided further grist for his frequent reminders that we are here to cultivate a mood of renunciation and detachment from material enjoyment and entanglement, to better enter the sense of liberated life. After allowing Pradyumna to lead the devotees in chanting the verse, and after he read out its English translation, Prabhupāda got right down to business. “The conclusion is given here. One should be completely satiated from this attachment of sex. Then he is liberated. Liberation means no more material life, and the basic principle of material life is sex. Therefore, whole Vedic civilization is based on to train people how he becomes free from sex desire.”  

Quoting the great devotee Yāmunācārya, who said that since he had become attracted to the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa even the thought of sex life made him want to spit, Prabhupāda told us that “this is the test of advancement of Kṛṣṇa conscious life.” 

He instructed that by avoiding the four pillars of sinful life and rendering service to Kṛṣṇa, we can easily become situated in our eternal constitutional position. “As soon as we place ourselves in our original place,” he said, “then you are liberated immediately. If we determine, decide finally, that we shall now continuously remain fixed up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, [it is a] very simple thing. 

“Kṛṣṇa consciousness is described by Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavadgītā, manmanā bhava madbhaktaḥ [Bg. 18.65]. That’s all. Always think of Me, manmanāḥ, and bhava madbhaktaḥ, be ready always to serve Me. Bhakta means where there is bhakti and Bhagavān, then bhakta. If there is no Bhagavān, and there are no activities to serve Bhagavān, there is no bhakta also. They are demons. So bhakta means there must be Bhagavān. Sevya, sevaka, and sevā. Sevya sevaka sevā, three things. Sevya means who is to be served, the master, sevya. And sevaka means the servant. If there is master and servant then there is sevā. This sevā is called bhakti.” 

Our service to Kṛṣṇa is rendered according to our capacity, Prabhupāda told us; it is not regimented or restricted. “Kṛṣṇa is not stereotyped, that He has to be served in this way only. No, Kṛṣṇa can accept service in so many ways. There are dvādaśarasa [twelve relationships]. Just like Kṛṣṇa is enjoying when Bhīṣmadeva was piercing His body with the arrows. He was enjoying. This is also rasa. Bhīṣma, purposefully, he knows Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. Still, he is devotee; he was giving Him pleasure by throwing arrows on His body. So Kṛṣṇa takes pleasure in that. Kṛṣṇa does not take pleasure only when you throw rose flowers. He can take pleasure when you can pierce. If you are actually able to do that. So that is Kṛṣṇa.” 

In order to get to that platform, though, Prabhupāda impressed upon us, we have to follow the proper process. “You have to know how Kṛṣṇa will be pleased, then you are perfect. That you have to practice, first of all, in the vidhimārga, according to śāstra, according to the instruction of guru. To accept guru means to be inquisitive. Just like Sanātana Gosvāmī—he approached Caitanya Mahā-prabhu, ‘I was minister. I was implicated in material activities. You have relieved me from this implication. Now please tell me what I have to do.’ Therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī was given instruction for two months continually, what to do now. So that is called saddharmapṛcchā [Brs. 1.2.75]. Not that a fashion, I have made guru, I have accepted guru, my business is finished. No, saddharma pṛcchā, the disciple must be ready to ask. Sanātana Gosvāmī, he was a minister; he resigned the post. That does not mean he was silent, stopped all work. He was asking, ‘What I have to do?’ Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered him to come to Vṛndāvana and renovate the vṛndāvanalīlā

“This place, before Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s advent, this city, or this whole Vṛndāvana area, Rādhākuṇḍa, it was all field only, agricultural field. Nobody knew where Kṛṣṇa had His pastimes. So it was the direction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu that this is Rādhākuṇḍa, this is this, this is this, and the Gosvāmīs they did it. Although they were sitting underneath a tree. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī had no opportunity to come to a nice temple like this. They came when the whole thing was only agricultural field. But they constructed gradually the Madanamohana’s temple, the Govindajī’s temple, the Rādhākuṇḍa. They engaged fully, writing books and establishing temples. Then after them, others. Just like first of all, Mahārāja Mansingh—he carried out the order of Rūpa Gosvāmī. He spent so much, in those days, lakhs and crores of rupees. You have seen the Govindajī’s temple, broken. It is not possible to construct such a temple at the present moment. But it was done by the order of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī. It is the system: If you want to see a saintly person, you must go there to serve him.” 

To contrast this genuine mood of associating with a saintly person, Śrīla Prabhupāda made an amusing indirect reference to an incident on the train to Nellore on January 3rd of this year, when he was approached by some gentlemen for benedictions. 

“Not that simply asking, ‘Give me your blessing.’ And ‘Why? Are you worthy for blessing?’ Cheap blessing. And blessing also—they do not know what is blessing. Blessing, they think that ‘I have got some disease; if the saintly person gives me some blessing, I will be relieved from this disease.’ Now why don’t you go to the doctor? But you go to saintly person for curing your disease. This is anyābhilā-ṣitā, that they do not know even how to approach a saintly person. So Mansingh was very important man—he was the commanderinchief of Akbar—and he approached Rūpa Gosvāmī, ‘What can I do for you.’ So Rūpa Gosvāmī, he did not require that temple, but he wanted to engage this rich man to the service of the Lord and he asked him that ‘You construct a temple like this.’ Rūpa Gosvāmī was living very humbly, you know at the RādhāDāmodara temple, his bhajanāśrama. He did not require a temple.” 

Then Śrīla Prabhupāda explained why he is putting so much stress on our making life members and collecting funds all around the world. The attacks on our Society are on his mind, and to make sure that we are not daunted by them, he made it perfectly clear why he is engaging us in activities that may appear controversial to others. “We are making members. Why? The idea is they’ll spend the money for nothing in sense gratification. Take some money from them and engage in constructing temple. This is our consciousness. Not that we want to live in big palatial building and take subscription from others. No, this is not our policy. He’ll spoil the money in sense gratification, so try to engage him. This is the policy. And exactly following the footprints of Gosvāmīs, we do not require any money. We are quite confident Kṛṣṇa will supply all the necessities. But to engage the whole world who are spending money in so many rascaldom way, if that money is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they’ll get a chance. This is called ajñāta sukṛti. He does not know how he is making progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Ajñāta, it is unknown to him. But the person who is trying to induce him to be engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service—that is his friend, real friend. They are misunderstanding that these people are exacting money by force. Even it is done by force, it is good for the person who is contributing. But you should not use any such means; people will misunderstand.” 

Everyone laughed heartily as Prabhupāda gave a graphic example of how people waste the products of their life’s endeavor. “In Western countries they accumulate millions of dollars, and at the last moment he gives to his dog!” he chuckled. “There are many instances, you know better than me. He has nobody, because they do not marry, no children, no friend, so the dog is the best friend in Western country. Every gentleman must have this best friend, pet dog. So ultimately, because there is nobody to give, he gives it to the dog. Makes a will that my dog will get it and they’ll give him jewelry, ornaments, and so on, so on, so on. We have got practical experience, the big palace which we have purchased in Detroit, the man [Laurence Fisher] did not marry, so ultimately he bequeathed the whole estate to the dog. And there is a tomb of the dog!”  

Laughing along with the devotees, Pṛabhupāda concluded by citing an instruction of Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, that whatever money a man has, it will be spent, either by the owner or by his descendants. “You cannot keep it,” he told us. “Either the money will go from you, or you have to go from the money. You cannot keep together. That is not possible. If you don’t spend the money for Kṛṣṇa, if you keep it, that ‘I shall see it. I shall lick up this money and become happy . . . ’ Kṛpaṇa, those who are miser, they do not spend money for Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it has become a problem for us, how to spend the money. How to spend the money for Kṛṣṇa—that is our policy. We do not want to keep money. We cannot keep; that is not possible. Somebody will take it. Ultimately, the government will take. Better spend it for Kṛṣṇa; that is the right use. Sannimitte varaṁ tyāgo vināśe niya . . . Cāṇakya Paṇḍita—he was great politician—he is advising that if you have got money, spend it for Kṛṣṇa. Don’t keep it. Spend it for Kṛṣṇa. Why? It will be spoiled. Today or tomorrow it will be spoiled. Somebody will take and spoil it. Better if you spend it for Kṛṣṇa—at least your service will be recognized. Kṛṣṇa will see that this man is spending his hardearned money for Me. That is called ajñātasukṛti. This service to Kṛṣṇa, this inclination, does not arise unless very, very, good asset he has got.” 

* * * 

Yamunā has prepared Śrīla Prabhupāda’s breakfast several times during her stay and also cooked his lunch a couple of times. Now today she left for Calcutta to take up her cooking research. Śrutirūpa dāsī, who often helps Pālikā with Prabhupāda’s cooking, decided that she wanted to accompany her, and since the two of them were going, Pālikā decided she also wanted to go. Pālikā currently has a bad case of weeping eczema on her hands, and this is interfering with her service to Śrīla Prabhupāda. She took permission from Śrīla Prabhupāda after giving assurances that Arundhatī would cover her cooking duties, although Arundhatī is not as experienced and expert in the art. Last night when Prabhupāda called Arundhatī in and asked her to prepare iddli for his breakfast, she was quite nervous about it because she hasn’t made them before.  

* * * 

Hansadūta Swami spent a few minutes this morning discussing with Śrīla Prabhupāda about his bus program. He has recently been down to Hyderabad to check out the farm there and came in to give a report. Hansadūta started his Indian bus preaching earlier this year after being inspired by Prabhupāda last December when we went to Gujarat.  

Since the 1950s, Prabhupāda has had a desire to tour and preach in the villages where some spiritual culture is still extant, and he is happy that Hansadūta has taken up the idea. His enthusiasm has also been rekindled by the recent reports of the village preaching in West Bengal. He was in good humor and the meeting was light and pleasant. “I want to do something in India,” he said, “so if you can, arrange. Now I am purchasing car; I have given money to Gargamuni. One car here in Delhi side, one in Calcutta side, one in Bombay for my going.” He laughed and looked over to me. “And he is a good driver; he will drive. Eh?” He was teasing me. “I do not know, but he said.” Prabhupāda chuckled and I was a bit embarrassed. Recently he has asked me to start driving him, but first I have to retrieve my license from Australia. Quite apart from being apprehensive about driving Śrīla Prabhupāda, driving in India is a bit daunting to me. It is a different proposal entirely from what it would be in the West.  

Prabhupāda smiled and continued, “So I want to preach a little in the village. For that purpose in the big bus like that, we shall go with our tents, and we camp in a place where there is water and begin our preaching. And Hindi book we are getting. In this way let me try in India, in the village, not in the city.” 

Hansadūta is keen, but he is aware of Prabhupāda’s weak health. “For us there is no problem, Prabhupāda,” he told him, “but it may be difficult for Your Divine Grace.” 

Prabhupāda again laughed. “No, what is difficult? But I want to do something for India in the village.”  

He said that if we get some land, we can set up a center and use it as a base for coming and going, camping out for a night or two and then coming back. The Trust deed for the Hyderabad farm is almost settled, and he has some plans for that. 

When I expressed some doubt about whether we had sufficient management, Prabhupāda told us that that is in our hands. “Who will give you management? You have to manage with local men. Bon Mahārāja was failure that he could not get the local men. But I did not try to bring men from India and preach in England or America.” 

It doesn’t take much to set Prabhupāda off talking about the British Raj, especially when the topic is management. He always expresses his admiration for India’s former rulers in that respect. “The British Empire was established on management,” he told us. “They did not bring men from England. Few managers, that’s all. That is called management. One man can control hundreds and thousands of men; that is management.” It was the British, he said, who had established the zamindari, or landlord system, and he explained in brief how it worked. 

“Any third class man, if he’s given some land, naturally he will be very much pleased. They created that aristocracy. They used to give one lease, that you give government four annas per bigha [1/3 acre], and whatever you can collect, that is your business. So that created an aristocratic society, and they all supported Britishers, because they’re obliged. Similarly in business also, they appointed brokers, that I am bringing cloth from Manchester and if you can sell you’ll get so much commission. So without any investment they established a broker club business. So the businessmen, the zamindars, and gradually they started their factories, railways. In this way they started. And they are big politicians, so it is their management.” 

Despite their creating friends initially through good management, he said, the British failed later when their policies changed. “First of all friendship, and that established them. And then they began to create enmity. Hindus against Muslim. When they forgot this idea that if they wanted to stay for the benefit of the people, nobody could drive them away, but their policy was for the benefit of the English people; therefore they failed. Lord Curzon, he made a statement that ‘If you want to stay in India, rule India for the benefit of Indian people. You can keep control over India. They are fond of kings, so one member of the royal family can become king here and they’ll earn respect and honor (from) these Indian people. But rule for their benefit. Then British Empire will stay.’ Very good advice, but his advice was not taken. You have seen Lord Curzon’s statue in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall?” 

He reminisced that Curzon was a very good governor general, and many after him also, but the last one, “that rascal Chelmsford,” created havoc. 

Prabhupāda chuckled when he thought of how the British were so expert in advertising themselves, and he recalled when he had discovered the reality behind their propaganda. “I saw near London there is a village, Chelmsford. And he is ‘Lord Chelmsford.’ We thought ‘Chelmsford, the big state.’ ” He gave a big grin, and we laughed as he sat back with great amusement and described his discovery of other great British landmarks. “We were under the impression, Thames River is four times bigger than Ganges and . . . it is a canal! When I saw it, it is nothing but a canal. But they advertise this river, very big river; and underneath the water men are going, and upper and wonderful!” 

Getting back to the topic of village preaching, I asked him when he would like to begin. When he responded that he had no personal experience, I suggested that perhaps Bengal would be good because the weather there now is conducive and the devotees have already some good experience. Hansadūta added that in Hyderabad people don’t speak Hindi.  

Prabhupāda seemed undecided and also admitted, as he rubbed his head, “This blood pressure is troubling.” 

Without coming to anything decisive, Prabhupāda shifted his focus to the challenges in America. He has received many news articles and statements by prominent professors who are concerned that this is an attack on religious freedom in general. He is happy that we are becoming prominent by all the publicity the “brainwashing” cases have attracted. He doesn’t see it as a detriment; rather, it will further his attempts to establish Kṛṣṇa consciousness.  

His mood was jovial and upbeat as he discussed with us the charges and how to respond to them. It’s clear that he is going to play an active part in the fight. The idea of brainwashing, he said, was a subtle thing that could not be proved. “Just like I, ‘I am sick.’ ‘How you are feeling?’ ‘I am feeling some pain’—Who is going to see? Who can say? It is like that.” 

Hansadūta, who has now plenty of experience with government interference in Germany, told Prabhupāda that he thought the real issue was money. Many of the articles that have been sent mention our finances.  

Prabhupāda agreed. Here in India the question of where we get our finances has been raised in Parliament and has led to accusations by the Communists that we must be funded by the CIA. Still, he said that because all our money comes from selling books and he has set up the BBT so that 50% must go for building temples and 50% for expanding the printing, there was little anyone could object to. He asked Hansadūta to suggest what may be done to counter the attacks.  

Hansadūta supported Tamal Krishna Mahārāja’s approach. “We have to make a presentation of our movement properly, just like Tamal suggested in the letter. Prominent persons, they have to speak on our behalf. And of course, the [financial] books must be in order.” 

“Another thing,” Prabhupāda added, “is that all the Indians in Europe and America, they should sign that this Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Movement is genuine religious. Similarly here also, all the Kṛṣṇa conscious persons, especially here in Vṛndāvana, all the Goswamis, they should be approached that this is the genuine Indian culture.” 

I suggested that we approach prominent politicians like the Home Minister and Tarun Kanti Ghosh in Calcutta. 

Prabhupāda was eager for it. “Yes. So do like that, that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is a genuine cultural and religious movement. This should be taken from all prominent persons and sent there. And the copies of the standing orders [from the Library Party] for all the universities. Original orders—that should be copied and sent. This arrangement—ask them all over India. We have recently got a testimony of one university authority; just like one Goswami from Calcutta University, and many others they have got. These copies should be sent immediately. We can approach even the chief justice of Allahabad high court—he came here; the governor of Punjab, he came to see me; Andhra Pradesh chief minister; Vṛndāvana. Collect all these and send it that this is a genuine movement because it is great cultural movement. Therefore Swami Bhaktivedanta wanted to give it to Europe who are in the darkness.” 

He leaned back against the soft cotton bolsters on his āsana and laughed gently over the effects of his preaching. “So anyway, now they are feeling the action of the medicine. So many big, big signboards: ‘Kṛṣṇa is coming.’ ‘Here is Kṛṣṇa.’ ‘Here is Kṛṣṇa.’ That is our trap. That will help us in selling Kṛṣṇa books. ‘What is this nonsense, Kṛṣṇa, let us see.’ It is not in our disfavor; it is in favor.” Although he chuckled at the irony of the attacks leading to an increase in sales of his books, he was still mindful that we have to mount a serious response: “But still we have to defend. So as I suggested you collect.” 

From here in Vṛndāvana, he said, we could get help from various spiritual leaders and temple managers. “Anyone will sign for Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is genuine India cultural religious movement. They have got doubt: ‘Whether it is bona fide religion?’ ‘Yes it is.’ ” 

When I mentioned that Westerners see the chanting as some kind of inducement, Prabhupāda grinned broadly. “Brainwash? No, it is heartwash! We can send this: ‘It is not brainwash,’ that ‘it is heartwash.’ Of course brain and heart practically same.” 

Western parents, he said, are fearing that their children are lost altogether. From other groups there may be some chance that they will come back, but after contacting the Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement, he laughed, “One who comes, he’ll be lost. There is no hope of their coming. Gargamuni’s father tried so much to get him back. Then he became hopeless.” 

He finds it highly amusing and satisfying that he is the center of such controversy, and he made us laugh as he reflected on his position. “For me it is better to remain in Vṛndāvana or die. Hmm? Because they may be very envious: ‘Here is the man who is behind all this.’ ” 

Hansadūta told him that in Germany a man had written that our movement was very dangerous “because these boys and girls they make themselves completely subservient to the dictation of one man.” 

Prabhupāda smiled and recalled the recent comment of one American professor about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal influence. “What is called? Charmistic Guru?” 

“Charismatic,” I said. 

Prabhupāda nodded. “Charismatic. Yes, what is that charismatic?” 

“Charisma means a person who has a very strong attraction, he attracts,” Hansadūta offered. 

Prabhupāda liked it; it was spiritually authorized. “Yasya deve parā bhaktir, yathā deve tathā gurau [ŚU 6.23]. This is the Vedic principle of our movement. To respect and love the spiritual master as God. Therefore it is ‘brainwash.’ ” 

Hansadūta nodded. “This is the strength of our movement, faith in the guru and śāstra.” 

Prabhupāda agreed. “And everyone is writing; they see that ‘Why this one man is so respectfully accepted? It is brainwash.’ They may sometimes give me trouble.” 

“Yes,” Hansadūta agreed. “Generally it happens like that. If someone becomes very prominent, then they want to remove him. This is the tendency in the world.” 

 “Yes, because the demons,” I added, “they think anyone who will allow themselves to become the servant of someone else, they think he has very weak character. Then they accuse the person who is in charge of manipulating that person.” 

Prabhupāda agreed, saying that was the case even at the very inception of our movement. “That happened when Caitanya Mahāprabhu was being praised by the Nawab. They were asking about Caitanya Mahāprabhu, ‘What is the position of this man that so many people are following him?’ So Sanātana Gosvāmī, who was very bright, took it as a warning and asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu that ‘You leave this place as soon as possible.’ Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not afraid, but He, as usual, He left that place. But Sanātana Gosvāmī—at that time a minister—he took advice, the Nawab was so serious about Him. A Mohammedan may do something. So he said, ‘It is not good to stay here. You should go away.’ They decided that we shall go now with Him but in the meantime let Him go. So this was warning. Then he told the Nawab that ‘He is a beggar. Why do you think of him as serious man? He is beggar. Some people follow him, not many.’ So he [the Nawab] said, ‘Don’t try to mislead me. I know. He’s not beggar; He’s God. Otherwise how so many people are following Him? He’s not ordinary man. Don’t say that He’s beggar. Nobody follows a beggar like that.’ After all, he was king; he had some brain.” Prabhupāda laughed at Sanātana’s diplomacy. “So he wanted to brainwash, ‘Don’t think of Him very seriously. A beggar. Some people, sentimental.’ ” 

Hansadūta mentioned that Jesus also was crucified because the rulers were becoming alarmed. Prabhupāda nodded and smiled as he recalled Balavanta’s report. “That Houston politician, ‘It is spreading like epidemic. Something must be done. Otherwise one day they’ll capture our government.’ That’s a fact. If so many young men join this movement, they will vote. Because your country is democratic.”  

Urging us to follow his suggestions, he chuckled again at the effect he is having, creating pressure in society, and debate over whether Kṛṣṇa consciousness is good or bad. “Here also, they are feeling the pressure, the socalled swamis, yogis, goswamis, religious groups, Māyāvādīs, communists. That is our success. Everyone is now feeling the pressure. And they are talking that ‘in such a short time, so much money, so much expansion, so many devotees, what is this?’ That is Kṛṣṇa.” 

Hansadūta laughed and said it was like Lord Vāmana-deva expanding His foot to cover the whole universe.  

Prabhupāda’s frame shook jovially at the thought of the Lord appearing to be so insignificant yet possessing such great potency. He asked for the statements by the supporting professors. One of them, Dr. Saligram Sukla, who met Śrīla Prabhupāda in Washington DC and is his great admirer, has spoken with great appreciation of his work and suggested that Śrīla Prabhupāda himself should be more appreciated as the person behind the movement. This amused Śrīla Prabhupāda, that the focus was coming more upon himself. “Doctor Saligram, he has spoken very nice. Where is that? ‘So now better to see the movement from behind, who is that man behind it?’ ” Prabhupāda laughed again. “That British government said, ‘Gandhi in jail is more dangerous than he is free.’ ” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda had me read out several of the professor’s testimonies given at the recent news conference. Dr. Allen Gerson, himself Jewish, gave a long, firmly supportive statement strongly condemning the legal attempts to attack us. Prabhupāda heard the whole thing, sometimes interjecting to express his appreciation. I read it aloud: “I am here today as a citizen who dislikes injustice, as a person whose own people, because of their religious beliefs, are being persecuted repeatedly, and as a scientist who knows how ignorance can turn the normal rationality of people into blind hatred. 

“As a citizen I can see a great injustice perpetrated here. Several people, all of legal age, have chosen a lifestyle which, because it differs in form from our lifestyle, has been viewed by their families as unacceptable. These families with honest but misguided intentions have had their children removed from the Hare Kṛṣṇa Temple and have attempted to reprogram them to the behavior and attitudes of society at large. The reprogramming obviously did not work and their children returned to the Movement, thus angering and frustrating their parents. Not being able to understand the wishes of their children, or their behavior, or their motivation for returning, and needing to blame someone they effected through devious means to have two members of the New York Hare Kṛṣṇa centers to be arrested.”  

Prabhupāda’s eyes opened wide in appreciation when he heard the word “devious.” “He has used very nice strong words.” 

I continued: “Therein lies the injustice. To compound it, a judge and a grand jury agreed with their charges of unlawful imprisonment and brainwashing, a charge which is unheard of to my knowledge in civil legal proceedings, and ordered the devotees to be jailed. As a citizen I am appalled by the overreaction, the lack of understanding, and the hate that finds wrongdoing, not only by the people that make the charges but by the court as well.” 

Hansadūta also liked Dr. Gerson’s words. “He says the same thing. That there was never such a charge in the history of law, someone who’s been brainwashed.” 

Prabhupāda nodded. “You can charge anyone with brainwashing.” 

He thought it amusing and ludicrous that these were being made as serious charges, and indulged in a bit of mimicry: “ ‘I’m controlling your mind’ charges. ‘No, you are controlling mine.’ These are the charges?” 

Stating that historically, any group that tried to find God through belief systems different from the norm were always persecuted, Dr. Gerson traced the progression of negative reaction. “From this misunderstanding came fear then hatred and from hatred grew injustices and often atrocities. An injustice is now being perpetrated through ignorance. Are atrocities far off? This may sound like an overstatement, but for those who say, ‘It can’t happen here,’ it already has, such as to the American Indians and to our people of Japanese descendant.  

“The time to stop such action is at the beginning, now. The way to stop it is to replace ignorance with knowledge, and hatred with understanding. Sometimes people stand off at a distance and look at another person’s belief and laugh at them or fear them. But as they get closer, they may come to understand how similar the observer’s beliefs may be to their own beliefs. As a scientist, a psychologist, I have tried to learn about and understand the Hare Kṛṣṇa people. For nearly a year I have spent hours each week, talking with, reading about, and testing members of the movement. I have been to their temples in this country and in Europe. I have eaten in their homes and I have been to their children’s schools. What I have found is a group of people trying to find God and live as closely to the way that He would like them to live. There is no place in their lives for immorality, for cruelty to other people or animals, for artificial stimulants or harmful chemicals such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. At first glance their approach to God may seem alien to us with their different dress, the incense, and the many statues and their unique ceremonies, but a closer look reveals similarities to our religious practices that are just the same. In Catholicism we find the holy water, chanting on the rosary, statues of saints and incense.” 

Prabhupāda chuckled as he thought about another supposed practice of ours that has been used as evidence of our weirdness. “And they say, the cow’s urine, they are forcing to eat, that they are forcing the devotees to drink cow’s urine.” He found it extremely amusing and as we laughed along with him he said, “These are the charges: brainwash, mind control, forcing cow’s urine to drink. How clever they are to find out some fictitious faults.” 

Hansadūta agreed. “They put these two boys in a mental institution. This is what happens in these countries. When they can’t find any legal point, they can put the person into a mental institution to be examined. The premise is that if we find that a person is drinking cow’s urine, we may think he must be crazy, because we have never heard of such a thing.” 

I continued reading: “In Judaism we find the blowing of the shofar, or ram’s horn, and in the orthodox synagogue there is separation of men and women. Differences of dress are expressed amongst orthodox Jews and amongst various Christian orders. Our own Pilgrim ancestors differed in dress form the popish gentry of their time.  

“I have studied and tested the Hare Kṛṣṇa people and have not found them to be weird or insane, only different form the mainstream. Like any other evangelical or proselytizing religion, their converts could only become converts if they choose to believe. For example, no one can drag a person to a Baptist Church and brainwash him into taking God into his heart, he has to want to accept willingly. No one is ever held against their will by the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. I have never seen it, nor have my colleagues ever seen it. In examining the various members of this religion, I have not found one who appears to be brainwashed or dopey like. In fact their mental health and normality astounds me. If you cannot accept Kṛṣṇa, God, they will sympathize with you and hope that you will eventually find Him and will wish you well as you go on your way.  

“There have been devotees who have left the movement and have said negative things about it, but the sour grapes syndrome is not unusual for dropouts anyway. I wonder how many West Point dropouts vilify the Army, or how many Seminary dropouts leave and disdain their religion? After a rational person spends time with the Hare Kṛṣṇa people and learns to understand them, he could never believe them to be guilty of the charges which have been made here in New York recently.” 

As I ended his statement, Prabhupāda commented with satisfaction, “That’s all right, positive.” 

There was another one from Dr. Stillson Judah, the author of Hare Krishna and the Counter Culture, a book that Śrīla Prabhupāda appreciates so much that he has his secretary carry it around with us wherever we go. 

I began by reading out his qualifications: “He’s a graduate from University of Washington, majoring in oriental studies, graduate from University of California with a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Languages, and he received an honorary degree from Chapman College, Southern California. And he has various posts as professor of history of religion. 

“Dr. Stillson Judah says, ‘The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement and more formally the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, ISKCON, is a western representation of an important Hindu sect, Vaiṣṇavism . . . ’ ” 

Prabhupāda liked that and cut in: “He says, ‘Important Hindu sect.’ How they can [doubt] whether it is a genuine? Important, not only genuine but important, Vaiṣṇavism.” 

I proceeded: “ . . . whose worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, in one of His many forms is one of the most important religions of India. The American devotees of ISKCON worship Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Being, the highest Personality of Godhead, whose worship according to the archaeological and epigraphic evidence, is preChristian in origin, as found in India’s early sacred texts, the ṚgVeda, Atharva Veda, etc. The detailed history of Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation is found in the religious text of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, and the philosophical basis of the Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement is found in India’s most sacred book the Bhagavadgītā. These sacred texts and others have been translated and commented upon by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda and are being studied today in many major universities across the United States.  

“The particular form of Vaiṣṇavism of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement dates from Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one of India’s saints born in 1486 A.D. in Nadia, India. His immediate followers organized this philosophy in a number of Sanskrit texts, and His religious practices such as chanting and dancing are most authentically represented in America by the Hare Kṛṣṇa devotees according to this tradition.  

“Lord Caitanya, worshiped as the last incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, initiated a disciplic succession. In the mid19th century, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura appeared in this spiritual lineage. Soon afterwards, his son Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī became the spiritual master of India’s Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, and his most prominent student was Śrīla Prabhupāda. It was at Bhaktisiddhānta’s command that Śrīla Prabhupāda later came to America to bring the teachings and practices of Caitanya to the West.  

“My study of these American devotees, which I have pursued since 1968, was published in my book, Hare Krishna and the Counterculture, published by John Wiley and Sons in 1974, New York. The sociological data revealed through a detailed questionnaire and many hours of taped interviews, indicates that many of the devotees had been influenced by the hippie culture of the 1960’s. However, after they joined the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, their lives became completely changed from a life of drugs, illicit sex, and violence to one of dedication to a spiritual discipline and morality and to helping others in their search for happiness. In this period of rapid social and cultural change, this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is giving many of our youths new meaning to their lives without which many would have remained alienated, disenchanted, irresponsible citizens.”  

Prabhupāda greatly appreciated Dr. Judah’s testimony and asked me to read others. Not all are from professors. Some parents have also spoken out in strong support. Prabhupāda had me read one by Mrs. Polly Perlmutter: 

“My son Daniel, Śravaṇānanda Dāsa, entered the Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement almost 5 years ago. The only request that he made of me and my husband was that we read about the Hare Kṛṣṇa philosophy and try to understand his new way of life. My husband and I have read everything we could find about the movement and the philosophy. We have visited the Hare Kṛṣṇa Centers in Philadelphia and New York frequently, always speaking to the devotees and having our questions answered. Evidently these youths feel a revulsion towards the sense gratification of forbidden permissive values of our society . . . He recently returned home after almost 3 years in India. My husband and I could see the awareness and maturity in him gained from his experiences in working with the Indian people. He learned firsthand about a different culture and it certainly has enriched his life. In our minds we can compare our son’s life to the life of a Catholic monk or a religious Jew of the Hasidic sect.  

“Do I think that my son is brainwashed? I can best answer this by answering the question, ‘Is our whole society not being brainwashed daily by the advertisement media?’ Liquor, smoking, pornographic movies and literature and which is worse? And what about the children who are being educated by the violence and killing on T.V.? I prefer that my son is devoting his life to the love of God and the service of humanity, a rare endeavor in this age. Since I know that my son has voluntarily chosen the Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement to exercise these rights and that he can leave it whenever he wishes I cannot see how the term ‘brainwashing’ can be applicable to this movement. I sincerely believe from my contacts with many devotees that they are happy and have found fulfillment by loving and serving Lord Kṛṣṇa, God. This may not be my wish for my life but my son has chosen it for his, and I whole heartedly respect it.” 

There was also a letter of support from Mrs. Thomas A. Murphy, the mother of Ādi Keśava Swami, the president of our New York center and one of the co-accused. Mrs. Murphy is an educational administrator in New Jersey, and she gave a strong endorsement in our favor: “As far as we are concerned, Angus has not been brainwashed. Being a member of the Hare Krishna movement is something that seems right for him. 

“I, as Angus’ mother, have been professionally involved with the educational establishment for ten years, a period of great doubt and questioning for all of us. Many young people have found the institutions of Western culture wanting and have turned to other cultures for inspiration. Since many Americans admired the peaceful movement for change initiated in India by Gandhi, it was natural for young people, then, to expect to find some answers in Indian religion and culture. Angus, whose upbringing included some strong emphasis on regular religious practice, chose a religion based on ancient Indian scripture and which required personal sacrifice of its adherents. It takes strength of character to be a member of the Hare Krishna movement. I am aware of some who are not fully committed to, but supportive of, the movement and no one pressures them to increase their involvement. 

“We as Angus’ parents have had Hare Krishna members at our house. During their visits they have come and gone freely. True, they are assigned daily errands, but it is left to the individual to see his job through his own way. 

“We have visited the temples where Angus has lived, and we have welcomed Angus and as many as fifty devotees at a time to our home. Devotees who visit have been known to stay off and on for as long as a month. 

“Angus’ sister lived for a month in the Boston temple to observe and better understand the movement. During that time she was free to come and go at will. She is now pursuing studies in anthropology. 

“Nothing in our own ethical and religious practice has been altered. To be honest, we do miss Angus on traditional holidays, but our basic understanding and communication remains intact.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was extremely happy with the responses. It is clear that the attention he has paid on getting his books reviewed by prominent professors and having the devotees cultivate good relationships with them is now having a bonus effect, and he intends to take full advantage of their endorsements. 

There was one interesting if unrelated aside that Prabhupāda made to Hansadūta while I was reading the letter from Mrs. Perlmutter. He suddenly called over to him and said, “The Ceylon is educated and if they are receiving, why not open a branch?” 

* * * 

With no letters to answer today and no visitors, Śrīla Prabhupāda spent a quiet day following his usual routine, giving darśana in the temple this afternoon under the tamal tree and then spending some time chanting quietly in the back garden in the evening before retiring for a short while and then continuing with his translation work throughout the night. 

November 1st, 1976

Early this year Prabhupāda requested Nitāi dāsa to make available for the devotees the book Arcanapaddhati, which details the system of Deity worship according to the Haribhaktivilāsa by Sanātana Gosvāmī. Śrīla Prabhupāda wants this standard followed throughout ISKCON. Here in Vṛndāvana, Turīya prabhu, the head pūjāri, has been steadily implementing the new standards for the daily worship of Their Lordships.  

He has already adjusted the food offerings to comply with the changes Śrīla Prabhupāda made in early September. Instead of offering ten plates of bhoga, one for each of the main Deities, they now offer six, two for each altar, and they are strictly following the new menu Prabhupāda worked out with Bhagatjī: 

Maṅgala-ārati: sweet rice, rasagulla, two other milk sweets 

Breakfast: two puris, halvah, subji, fruits 

Rāja-bhoga: six rotis, rice, dal, four different subjis, khicuḍi, khera, puspana-rice, chutney, all-day sweet 

Utthanapan: fruit, sweet 

Sundara: two samosas, halvah, puspana-rice, two puris, two pakoras, two other pakoras, two subjis, chutney, fruit, all day sweet (2 pieces), fried flat rice, peanuts or chips 

Night offering: eight puris, two kacuris, two sweet balls, two burfi, two samosa, three to four subjis, halvah, hot milk 

Turīya has also begun the changeover to the new standard for bathing the Deities. Prabhupāda had originally given a simple system of bathing Them by ladling water from one bowl to another while chanting the Brahma saṁhitā prayers. In the new system, the pūjārī calls the Deity down, offers a seat with the mantra “idam āsanam,” and then offers padyam (water for bathing, usually mixed with lotus petals, tulasī leaves, darbha grass, and śyāmadhānya [a grain], or simply rose water or rose petals), arghyam (a water-based mix ofitems such as yogurt, milk, white rice, kuśagrass tips, barley, sesame, and white mustard seeds), ācamana (water for sipping mixed with a mouth freshener such as ground nutmeg or cloves, madhuparka (a refined refreshment offered to a respected person, composed of auspicious elements such as cow’s milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, and sugar), and then ācamana again. The Lord is bathed with water from a conch shell instead of a ladle. The pūjārīs are also offering pādyam and ācamana when waking the Lord and putting Him to rest, and when Their Lordships take Their meals, a seat is offered along with a foot wash and mouth wash. Tulasī leaves, formerly placed on the offering plates in the kitchen, are now put on directly in front of the Deities as part of the offering. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda was in great form while giving class this morning. The subject matter was three verses, 5.5.10-13. It proved to be an excellent topic, with Prabhupāda taking special advantage of the mention of higher planets. 

Pradyumna read out the long translation after leading us in responsive chanting of the Sanskrit. Prabhupāda touched on three main areas in his talk, stressing the need to fully detach ourselves from useless material endeavors and instead strive simply for the pleasure of the Lord. As an example of ugra-karma, the unnecessary, severe activities of modern civilization, he cited the production of cars in Detroit, which requires “3,000 small parts”, huge stocks of millions of tires and wheels, and factories open day and night. Transportation is necessary, he said, but he offered a pleasing contrast from the Kṛṣṇa books to our modern complex arrangements. “There was a meeting headed by Nanda Mahārāja’s brother, Upānanda and all the villagers, they assembled together. They discussed that ‘Our Kṛṣṇa is being repeatedly attacked by the asuras and it has become very troublesome. So let us leave this place.’ So they are villagers . . . Immediately Nanda Mahārāja agreed. So immediately, they transferred the whole village with their possessions, everything, within one hour. And they transported by bullock cart to Nandagrāma. So the transport is required. The bulls are there, they can be used for transport. Or the asses, they can be used for transport. And the camels can be used for transport. There are so many animals. And big, big kings, royal families, they have got their transport service by keeping elephants and horses. . . . 

“So nature’s arrangement, God’s arrangement is there. Transport is required in the human society, but you can utilize so many animals for your purpose. But at the present moment, ugrakarma. The transport is there, but they have manufactured big, big buses for transport, big, big cars, and the animals, they are now killed and eaten, that’s all. This is civilization – not to reduce the labor, but increase the labor. Therefore they are called ugrakarma, and that will create a disastrous condition of the human society. This is discussed in Bhagavadgītā.” 

Simple life, he said, is not agreeable to modern men. We are introducing the principle of simple living on our farms, but this is a puzzle to others. “In Australia, one psychiatrist, he remarked that ‘If this kind of simple living is introduced, then where you stand?’ So they want ugrakarma. They want to work day and night in the factories, and to pacify themselves, they immediately require drinking, illicit sex. Thence, by working on motorcars, they have not enough food; they want to eat meat, kill animals, and to digest the meat, they must drink. One after another, one after another.” 

By ugra-karma, Prabhupāda told us, no one can be happy. Real happiness is not available by any material endeavor, even, as the verse mentions, by going up to the heavenly planets and living for millions of years. The reference to higher planets was irresistible to Prabhupāda. He takes every opportunity to criticize the material scientists and their faulty perceptions, and he cut their credits down to size with a few well-chosen words. 

“Of course, these rascals, they are finding only stones and rocks in other planets. They have got everything only in this planet. And you have to believe them. Wherever they are going, in the moon planet or in the Mars planet, what do they see? Simply rocks and sands. But that is not the fact. Each and every planet is full of living entities. Just like we see in this planet also, the Europeans are of different features, the Americans have different features, India different features, Africa different features. So there are varieties of living continents, varieties of living entities, but no planet is vacant. That is not the fact. This is rascaldom. They are declaring the planets are vacant; only their father’s property here, that is full of living entities. This is nonsense.” 

Citing the Brahmasaṁhitā 5.40 he attacked what has been a bugbear for some of his disciples. “Vasudhādi bhinnam. Just as moon planet, that atmosphere is different. Otherwise how it is possible that the moon planet, it is so nice, soothing rays are coming? And why not from the sun? The sun is differently constructed, different rays. It is God’s arrangement. In daytime you require sunshine; and you become tired, so at nighttime there is very soothing moonshine, you become pacified, cleansed, soothing. Each and every planet is differently constructed. They do not know. These rascals, they are passing as scientists and simply giving this conclusion, that ‘Every planet is full of dust and rocks.’ If they are dust and rocks, then why from the sunshine so much heat is coming, and why from the moonshine so soothing and pleasing shine is coming? These rascals, they do not know. And they are passing as scientists. I call them directly rascals, simply, set of rascals. They have never gone to the moon planet. They do not know what are the different positions of the different planets. Simply they are, I mean to say, cheating people to get good salary. That’s all. And in the name of scientist. But you should know from the Vedic literature the position. You should know that each and every planet is full of different types of living entities, and in the higher planetary system, the standard of living, it is mentioned, thousands and thousands of times better than this planet.” 

Of course, Prabhupāda’s attack on the material scientists was secondary to his main purpose of convincing us that wherever we may reside in this material world, the same conditions of deterioration ultimately apply. Our purpose, therefore, should be to eschew our connection with it and aim for something higher. For that, he said, we need guidance, and not just any will do. “The first thing is haṁse gurau mayi bhaktyānuvṛtyā. This is religion. Ādau gurvāśrayam. If you do not get a qualified guru, then everything is bogus. By good fortune, if you get the association of a guru, qualified haṁsa, paramahaṁsa; paramahaṁsa guru means sannyāsī’s last stage is paramahaṁsa. Kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, parivrājakācārya, and paramahaṁsa, these are the different stages. When one takes sannyāsa, he lives outside the village in a kuṭī, in a cottage. In the beginning, he keeps up this association of neighborhood or family, but he is not practiced. He therefore lives outside the village, and if somebody gives some food, he eats. Then when he becomes experienced, then he does not accept food from one [source], either his own home or one home. He takes foodstuff from many homes: ‘Give me a little piece of capati.’ So somebody gives half, because they are also not overburdened. If they have to deliver, so many sannyāsīs come, and sumptuous food, then how the gṛhastha will provide? There may be other sannyāsīs, therefore little only. Madhupuri. The Gosvāmīs practiced this madhupuri in Vṛndāvana. They lived, but they would take little only from the house. This is called bahūdaka. Then when he has practiced more, he travels all over the world, parivrājak-ācārya. And when he is fully experienced, in spiritual life and everything, then he is paramahaṁsa.  

“So one must find out a guru who is paramahaṁsa. Neither kuṭīcaka, nor bahūdaka, nor parivrājakācārya. Paramahaṁsa. So in the Caitanyacaritāmṛta also, Lord Caitanya says, gurukṛṣṇakṛpāya pāya bhaktilatābīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. This bhaktilatābīja can be obtained through the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa. Here Ṛṣabhadeva, who is incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, therefore He says, haṁse gurau mayi. You cannot jump over [to] Kṛṣṇa. ‘Well, I know Kṛṣṇa. I shall go to Kṛṣṇa directly, without guru.’ There are many rascals, they say like that. No, that is not possible. First of all guru; then Kṛṣṇa. 

“So these are descriptions; this is the beginning. If we actually practice the description of the prescription given in the śāstra, then it will be possible that, as it is said, karmānubaddho dṛḍha āślatheta, our strong desire to enjoy this material world in different ways, that will be slackened. That is wanted.” 

* * *  

In today’s mail there was a letter from Prabhupāda’s eldest son, Mathura Mohan De. M.M. is not very appreciative of his father’s preaching work, or of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in general. He bears Prabhupāda some resentment for having taken sannyāsa and left the family, and whenever he contacts Śrīla Prabhupāda it is usually with the intention to extract some money. M.M.’s letter complained about the obstruction of some payment that he thought he was due.  

Despite his son’s attitude, Prabhupāda deals with him equitably, and in recent contacts he has tried to engage M.M. in different forms of devotional service that at the same time might satisfy some of his material wants. Thus today Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote him with an offer to help with the construction of our temple in Bombay. “There is a good job for you in Bombay. Free quarter and boarding and salary up to one thousand per month. If you like you can come to see me immediately.” 

Jayatīrtha prabhu wrote with some good news. An ongoing court battle over our use of the Bury Place building in London has been unexpectedly resolved, at least temporarily, in our favor. We can now continue to use the building for at least one or as much as two more years. Jayatīrtha therefore asked for some direction on the proposed purchase of the building on Soho Street that Śrīla Prabhupāda saw in July. “Our idea at this point is to go through with the new building purchase in as much as the papers have already been signed and to install a restaurant there as planned, not moving the Deities in until we are forced to move out of Bury Place. This will give us some chance to settle into the new location and make friends with the neighbors etc. before we begin with kirtans, etc. 

“Mr. Charles Patel, who drove Your Divine Grace in his Rolls Royce when you were here, has indicated he would buy the new building from us if Your Divine Grace thought that in the light of the extension on Bury Place we should not invest in a new building at this time. (We would still have to close the deal as he would need a few months to raise the cash to purchase it from us.)” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy with the turn of events and informed Jayatīrtha, “So if we can stay at Bury Place that is Krsna’s arrangement. Let Mr. Patel purchase the new property.” 

There was also a letter from Śrī Ramakrishna Bajaj, the big industrialist who is the secretary of the Gita Pratisthan (Foundation). Śrīla Prabhupāda has confirmed his attendance at their meeting in Wardha on December 19th and 20th. Mr. Bajaj’s letter was to acknowledge Prabhupāda’s acceptance and also to finalize the program. Girirāja prabhu has been dealing with the Pratisthan, discussing with Mr. Bajaj a proposal that they set aside some time for Prabhupāda’s disciples to do saṅkīrtana and show the Hare Krishna World movie. Mr. Bajaj suggested that if Śrīla Prabhupāda and his disciples come a day earlier and hold a program on the evening of the 18th, that would be acceptable. 

Prabhupāda replied that he was happy to accept whatever arrangements Girirāja prabhu makes. But his mind was also on something else. Prabhupāda has told his leading men to muster as much support as possible for the legal fight in America, and he is eager to show the way himself. Mr. Bajaj is very influential both here and abroad, as are many of his associates on the Pratisthan. Here now was an opportunity, which he was quick to seize. 

“One thing has developed now in the Western countries,” he wrote to Mr. Bajaj. “They are feeling the weight of our movement. Therefore, an attempt is being made to suppress or stop the movement in Europe and America. In America the parents of my disciples are combining together. 

“On account of the Hare Krsna Movement people in the Western countries are being attracted. There is now counterpropaganda by the enemies. They are now organizing opposition. Will Gita Pratisthan help this Hare Krsna Movement to face the cultural fighting between East and West? 

“The idea is, that the rapid advancement of the Hare Krsna Movement has threatened the foundation of Western Civilization. One American politician has remarked in this connection, that ‘the Hare Krsna Movement is spreading like an epidemic. If we do not take steps to stop it, it may one day capture the government.’ This is a good certification for our success, but the time has come now when we have to meet strong opposition. After all this Hare Krsna Movement is Indian culture. If the leaders of Indian culture will take it seriously, then certainly India’s glories will be magnified. 

“In the foreign countries India is much advertised as a poverty stricken country. But, if India can give Her spiritual culture, Krsna consciousness, she will be glorified everywhere. This should be the aim of Gita Pratisthan.” 

November 2nd, 1976

In class this morning Prabhupāda continued to define what a guru is. Although the morning’s verse was 5.5.14, he spoke mainly on the previous day’s ślokas. He opened by stating that the process of bhaktiyoga is not sentiment; it is a science. Because it is taken from authorized Vedic sources, there are none of the four imperfections and it is not just theory. Therefore, he said, in order to know this science we have to approach a perfect teacher, and that means haṁse gurau mayi. “The mayi is also significant. Paramahaṁsa guru means he’s as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because he does not deviate from the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the symptom of guru. He does not manufacture something new, novel. No, the same thing. Just like Kṛṣṇa says in the Fourth Chapter, millions of years ago He instructed the science to the Sun god, and again when He instructed Arjuna, He said that ‘I am instructing the same thing.’ Sa evāyaṁ, purātanaḥ. Not that on account of change of time, the instruction has been changed; no. There cannot be something new. Everything established. Scientific knowledge means it is not something new. Just like the sun rises from the eastern horizon. So millions of years ago, the sun used to rise from the eastern horizon, and still it is going on. Not that because time has changed, the sun is rising from the western side or northern side; no. That is Vedic know-ledge. Established knowledge. It cannot be changed in any circumstance. So in order to know that factual knowledge, one has to approach the bona fide spiritual master. 

“We have several times explained this, who is bona fide spiritual master, confirmed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that āmāra ājñāya guru hañā, ‘You become a guru on My instruction.’ So those who are affiliated with Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instruction, he is guru. Not anyone else. Then one may argue that if Caitanya Mahāprabhu is ordering, so anyone can order? No, Caitanya Mahāprabhu is not ordering something new. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that ‘Under My instruction you become guru,’ but the instruction is Kṛṣṇa’s—yāre dekha tāre kaha kṛṣṇaupadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Caitanya Mahāprabhu also does not deviate from kṛṣṇaupadeśa, what to speak of others. And those rascals who are deviating from the instruction of Kṛṣṇa, how he can become guru? They are interpreting in a different way; how they can become guru? That is not guru. We should simply remember this fact, whether this person is speaking the same thing as Kṛṣṇa says, as Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, as Rāmānujācārya says, even Śaṅkarācārya.” 

Prabhupāda’s recent experience with his errant servant Nitāi dāsa added emphasis to his explication on the role of guru and disciple. “Anuvṛtyā means following. Not that I have become more than my guru, I can invent something. No. Bhakti means sādhumārgānugamanam [Brs. 1.1.74] You have to follow the sādhu, the ācārya. That is bhakti. Bhakti does not mean that I am so learned I can manufacture something. That is rascal. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, gopībhartuḥ padakamalayor dāsadāsadāsadāsānudāsaḥ [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. That is bhakti. You have to become servant of the servant of the servant of the servant. Not that at a point you become suddenly very learned scholar, and you do not remain a servant, but you want to become a master, to dictate the guru. That is rascal. That will not help us. Here it is said, bhaktyānuvṛtyā. Bhaja means sevayā. So we have to understand this bhaktiyoga by bhaktyānuvṛtyā, not otherwise. Not that I am very learned scholar, I can give a different interpretation and . . . No, that is not bhakti.” 

He also took a shot at those who hold the so-called bhāgavatakathās or bhāgavata-saptas, whereby, in imitation of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, for seven days they speak and people come to officially hear the Bhāgavatam. “There are 365 days, and other 355 days I go to the share market and simply inquire about the raise of this share and that share—that will not help you. Nityaṁ bhāgavatasevayā [SB 1.2.18]; then it is bhaktiyoga. This manufacturing of seven days bhāgavatakathā, it is business. It is not bhāgavatakathā. In the Bhāgavata comments there are so many authorized comments, just like Śrīdhara Svāmī, Vīrarāghavācārya, Vijayadhvaja, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Jīva Gosvāmī, and Giridhārī Gosvāmī; so many. Nowhere it is stated that you hear bhāgavatakathā for seven days. You will not find. Therefore this seven days bhāgavatakathā, so far we can understand, it is not authorized. Here also it is said, matkathayā ca nityam. Never you will find seven days. Nityam: you have to hear Bhāgavatam daily.” 

Prabhupāda’s conclusion was that if we practice according to the prescribed method, śāstravidhi, then we can become liberated. Otherwise, he said, it is not possible. Quoting both Lord Kṛṣṇa and Rūpa Gosvāmī, both of whom advised that we not act whimsically but only according to the scriptures, he condemned concocted forms of spiritual practice. He also criticized in that connection the fashion of making up one’s own mantras. “There are so many they have invented. Just like Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is prescribed in the śāstras, and they have invented so many. Although there is the name of the Supreme Lord, still you have to follow the śāstra. If you say Rāma Rāma Rāma, Rādhe Rādhe Rādhe, Kṛṣṇa, there are so many mentioned. That is also name, but you have to follow the śāstra. Śāstra says: 

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare 

Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare 

“You have to take that. Not that you can say, nitāigaura rādheśyāma, hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma; no. Why? Is there any in the śāstra? No; you have invented. What is the value of your invention? You are not perfect. But they like that ‘It is my guru, I have got some followers, I invent some type of chanting.’ This is nonsense. You must follow, mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. You cannot invent.” 

* * * 

The gears are beginning to mesh in what is becoming an ISKCON-wide effort to counter the deprogramming attacks in America. Spurred on by Śrīla Prabhupāda, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu has been active in the effort to garner support here in India. He spent quite a while last night on the phone with Rāmeśvara Swami in America discussing their requirements, and this afternoon he, Hansadūta, Jagadīśa, Akṣayānanda, and I met with Śrīla Prabhupāda to discuss the fight. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa told  Prabhupāda that another case has come up in Los Angeles. One of the top young female distributors was kidnapped and held for several days, but she managed to escape and return to the temple. Now she and the devotees are suing her parents and their hired deprogrammers, and the case is attracting of favorable publicity. The whole issue is becoming very big. Articles are appearing in every major paper in America, and even many overseas publications are carrying the story. In New York, however, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa reported, most news reports are currently not so complimentary. 

Prabhupāda is not at all worried. He said that as we gain importance our enemies will try to suppress us. “So that is natural. Even Kṛṣṇa was suppressed. Kṛṣṇa could not be suppressed, but the attempt was there: Kaṁsa.So these things go on. Still, we have to work. If we work sincerely, then we’ll come out successful.” 

It was a good indication, he said, that they are feeling the pressure of the movement. Otherwise they would not bother with us. He was particularly pleased to hear that Professor Shaligram Sukla had attended the press conference and declared that the attacks were an insult to his religion. Again Prabhupāda stressed that the devotees should canvass the expatriate Indians to step forward and support their culture. “They should take signatures from all Indians that ‘this is genuine Indian cultural movement, and it a great fortune for Indians. They were bereft of their own culture, and now we have got this culture again. The Rathayātrā is going on; we are so much enlivened.’ In this way they should file petition.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda doesn’t want to just talk; he made it clear that he wants positive action. Speaking directly to Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, he said, “So you note down; you are simply hearing. Note down and inform them. Yes. Ah, it is being recorded, that’s alright. So give them this direction. Combine the Indian community. There are many thousands of Indians, New York, Canada, London. These are very important places. Yes, many thousands and thousands of important Indians, very rich men there are. In London there are very rich Indians. They can form immediately a solid association. They should present that ‘this Kṛṣṇa is our God. In every Indian home we observe Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī.’ Even though one does not follow Kṛṣṇa cult, still if he is Hindu he follows the Janmāṣṭamī. Inevitably, everywhere.  

“So this Kṛṣṇa cult is genuine, Vedic, based on Bhagavadgītā, which was spoken long, long years ago before any religion, any religious literature in the world. The Buddha literature or the Christian literature and Jewish literature, they cannot be counted more than two thousand years. A little more than that. But this Kṛṣṇa cult is coming from—I have already explained in the introduction—it is coming from four hundred millions of years ago. But even historically, it is five thousand years. Beyond all religious literature in the world. We have to present this case in the court. And let it be discussed thoroughly, and see our books, compare any religious books with our these books. Present all the opinions of big, big professors how traditional Indian culture is there. You have to fight, organize.” 

Prabhupāda was in a feisty mood. He isn’t going to simply sit back and allow ignorance and prejudice to stop his mission. “How they can defeat us? We have got so solid ground. How they can defeat, these rascals? We consider them simply rascals and fools. And we call them rascals and fools. What do they know of religion? What do they know of God? They know slaughterhouse and killing, and illicit sex and killing the fetus. That’s all. What do they know? They are not even civilized. We have come to make them civilized. They should understand. They are not civilized.  

“They do not know how to eat even. The first principle of life is eating. They do not know how to eat. We are teaching them how to eat. When men are uncivilized, they do not how to grow food; they kill animals in the jungle and eat. When they are civilized, they know how to grow food, nice food grains, fruit, flowers; now why should they say, ‘You eat the meat’? The meateating is meant for the most uncivilized persons. That means they do not know even how to eat . . . how to sleep, how to have sex. Nothing. They’re having sex like cats and dogs. No marriage, girl’s friend, boy’s friend, and then illegitimate . . . So many things. They should be exposed. And there is no harm exposing, in truth.  

“Simply by manufacturing, constructing a big, high skyscraper building, does it mean he is civilized? It is passionate work . . . but this is not civilization. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita has given the formula of civilization—three words: matṛvat para dāreṣu. Where is that civilization? To consider every woman as mother. Except one’s own married wife, all women: mother. Where is that civilization? That should be; otherwise there cannot be social regulation. Matṛvat para dāreṣu para dravyeṣu loṣṭravat, other’s property is just like garbage in the street. Nobody touches the garbage. That is civilization.”  

Prabhupāda inquired about several members of Parliament who have expressed support in the recent past, but Gopāla Kṛṣṇa told him that although they speak favorably in private they will not put anything in writing, because of the ruling Congress Party policy. He recalled that one member with whom Tejīyas is friendly had nevertheless refused to sign a recommendation for Tejīyas to get his Indian citizenship.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda is quite disgusted with the Indian leadership, but he told Gopāla Kṛṣṇa that at least a recent letter from Brahmananda Reddy, the Home Minister, granting non-Commonwealth devotees two-year visas could be used. 

“Yes. I have that letter,” Gopāla confirmed. “That letter says they have come to study Vedic literature.” 

Prabhupāda stated emphatically that the support of the Indians in America is essential. “That is a most important thing. That you cannot discriminate [against] minority communities. That is against American constitution.” 

Drawing from his experience in dealing with similar attacks in Germany, Hansadūta Mahārāja suggested that we should have all our centers in important cities around the world form delegations to visit their local United States consulates with petitions. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa added that Rāmeśvara has suggested that here in India we fund our Life Membersto send a petition of telegrams to the American consulate. The consulate would then transmit the telegrams to the State Department in Washington. Śrīla Prabhupāda approved both ideas. 

On the whole, he is very pleased with all the commotion. One devotee had seen a prominent article about the court cases in a British newspaper when he visited the British embassy. The more publicity, the more Prabhupāda likes it. Smiling, he recalled once again the comments of the Texas legislature reported by Balavanta prabhu. “That has been expressed by this gentleman, that it is going like epidemic. They must stop it. That is their feeling. That ‘Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is spreading so fast, like epidemic, we must take some steps.’ ” 

He also asked me to repeat what I had told him previously about a case we had in Sydney and the subsequent comments made by a psychiatrist to the newspapers.  

“The Sydney city council is trying to have us banned from the city altogether,” I said, “and they took us to court, and we didn’t contest the case, and they lost. And then afterwards they worked out that they spent ten thousand dollars and so much manpower to try and get rid of us, and it didn’t work. And one newspaper man went to a psychiatrist and asked him, ‘Can you explain why this huge reaction against just a few people singing and dancing in the street?’ So he said basically it’s because the citydwellers feel very threatened by our simple lifestyle.” 

Prabhupāda’s eyes lit up. “Yes. Just see. So this whole Western civilization is threatened. 

“Their whole economic structure will fail. Theoretically, take it for granted that if people give up meateating, then whole civilization finished. Even theoretically taken, no smoking, no gambling, no intoxication, no illicit sex, their whole civilization is finished. Sir Valentine Chiro, British, important—when Gandhi started noncooperation, he remarked that ‘If Gandhi’s movement, this nonco-operation movement, is one percent successful, then we will have to leave it.’ And actually that happened. Because they were ruling over India by Indian cooperation. Gandhi struck to the right point, noncooperation, and he scented the danger, and he remarked at that time that if one percent of the Indian people noncooperate then our British empire finished. So there are intelligent persons, and they are thinking in their own way that this movement is so strong against this modern material civilization, if it is allowed to spread then our whole civilization, whole economic structure will be finished . . . And the most dangerous point is that young men are taking part.” 

“The future of the country,” Gopāla Kṛṣṇa nodded. 

“Yes. That means it will continue. Young men, they take anything very seriously. So this movement is threatening the foundation of material civilization in the Western countries. That’s a fact. The foundation is threatened. Their whole foundation is this: meateating, illicit sex, gambling, and intoxication. They have no other formula. Lord Zetland, when he was asking one of my Godbrothers that ‘Can you make me brāhmaṇa?’ So ‘Yes, why not? You follow.’ He said, ‘It is impossible for us. It is impossible for us.’ So that’s a fact. If some percentage of the population, European and American population, take it seriously, then it will be dangerous for their government, their economic situation. That’s a fact.”  

Prabhupāda recalled with a smile the play that Sudāmā Mahārāja and his theater troupe had put on for him in New York depicting the personality of Kali and his nefarious associates meeting with the saṅkīrtana party of Lord Caitanya. “The purport of the play is that this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is threatening to all the associates of pāpa [sin].” 

He was pleased especially with all the publicity advertising Kṛṣṇa’s name, and he said that this case would also help to distinguish us from the bogus groups and false gurus. “So we have to fight. Here is a chance for fighting, so why they’re afraid? You have to fight. Keeping our principles strictly. Yuddhyasva mām anusmara [Bg. 8.7]. We should not be afraid to fight. Now Indians and Americans should join for fighting on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. Then it will be successful. How they can say it is not genuine movement? Other socalled yogis, swamis, they may be rascals, but this is not the rascaldom.”  

When Gopāla Kṛṣṇa mentioned that we are also being accused of not being Hindus, Śrīla Prabhupāda didn’t think that a bad thing, as long as it is understood correctly. “Hindus; we are ‘Kṛṣṇian.’ Kṛṣṇa, in the dictionary it is said, ‘Hindu God,’ but we are claiming that Kṛṣṇian, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa conscious. Kṛṣṇa conscious means ‘Godder than the Hindus.’ Kṛṣṇa says, sarva yoniṣu, ‘In all forms of life, I am the seed-giving father.’ Why He should be simply Hindu? This point should be stressed. Sarva yoni means eight million four hundred thousands, all forms. Kṛṣṇa is for all of them. Hindus are included, but Kṛṣṇa is not restricted to Hindus.  

“Kṛṣṇa’s picture, that Bal Gopāla. He’s embracing the calves. Kṛṣṇa does not embrace only the gopīs; He’s embracing the calves also. That is Kṛṣṇa. He’s equal to everyone. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye ’pi syuḥ pāpayonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32].Pāpayonayaḥ. So many lowgrade forms of life, they’re also His. Quote this: Kṛṣṇa is not restricted to the Hindu. We say, ‘We are not Hindu,’ means we embrace everyone. We embrace everyone, and actually we are doing that. Why should we simply be compact within the limitation of Hindus? That is not our purpose. Then we would not have come to Western countries. We are actually spreading universal brotherhood. Kṛṣṇa is the father and everyone our brother. We are claiming all our fallen brothers to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. This is our movement.  

“Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma, this is our movement. Why you should be restricted to India and amongst the Hindus? Our ācāryas, they asked that ‘Go, go,’ bhārata bhūmite, you have taken birth in India, that’s all right; make your life successful and go abroad, para upakāra. Janma sārthaka kori koro paraupakāra [Cc. Ādi 9.41]. This is our mission. We have come to you to make you civilized. This is our mission. And the best men of your country, they are recommending. All the learned circle, they are coming. How can you defy us?”  

“ ‘You are trying to brainwash.’ Actually you have no brain. Just see how important it is, this movement. ‘You are trying to brainwash.’ We are not brainwashing. We are giving you good brain. That is our mission. That you are so dullheaded we have come to give you good brain, sumedhasaḥ. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtanaprayair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. We have come to make you intelligent. Receive us well, for your benefit. Tell them like that. Bring one court case, and I shall sit, go and sleep there. And expose them, item by item. I know my case is strong.” 

He started laughing. “Yes, I will speak. If you cannot speak, I shall go and speak.” 

Prabhupāda is fearless. The same fearless nature that propelled him eleven years ago to the other side of the world—alone at the age of seventy with nothing but his strong conviction and uncompromising presentation of the Supreme Godhead—still burns fiercely within. His body may be getting frail, but his spirit glows bright and strong. He doesn’t see the enemies of this movement as just the deprogrammers either. He mentioned how Bhavan’s Journal decided not to publish his response to their questions, and although they had given the excuse that the article was too late for their publication deadline, he felt that there was another reason underlying their reluctance to publish his words. “That Bhavan’s Journal, he did not dare to publish my statement. Everyone is combined to kill Kṛṣṇa. Everyone, all over the world. ‘There is no God’—the scientists, these philosophers, the politicians, everyone. This is the only movement talking of God. Nirviśeṣaśūnyavādī. Everywhere, impersonalists and zero. ‘There is no God’. The zerovādīs, they are a little frank, but these rascals, nirviśeṣavādīs—God has no head, no tail—they are dangerous. Zerovādīs, they call Him zero; that’s  all right. That is, we can understand, they admit. But these rascals, nirviśeṣavādīs—‘Yes, there is God, but He has no head, He has no tail, He has no hand, He has no leg.’ Then what He has? They are greatest cheaters. More dangerous than the śūnyavādīs. That is the version of Caitanya Mahāprabhu: veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta’ nāstika/ vedāśraya nāstikya-vāda bauddhake adhika [Cc. Madhya 6.168]. These Buddhists, they do not care for the Vedic injunction. We can understand. But these Śankarites, they take shelter of the Vedas and they say, ‘There is no form of God.’ And that is being followed by the socalled Hindus. All the invitees in that meeting, Bajaj meeting, they are all nirviśeṣvādī.” 

When Jagadīśa suggested that the impersonalist mentality might create problems for us in our efforts to get support from the Indian community, Prabhupāda responded with his bottom line. “No, we don’t care for Indians and Europeans. We care for Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. I didn’t care for anyone. I simply care for Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. And my Guru Mahārāja, that’s all. I went to your country, not supported by Indians and Europeans. I went on the order of my Guru Mahārāja and under the shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s protection, that’s all. That is wanted. Gurukṛṣṇakṛpāya pāya bhaktilatābīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. We want two favors. One from guru, one from Kṛṣṇa. That’s all. We don’t want anyone’s favor. So you have to fight. Kṛṣṇa never said, ‘Arjuna, oh, you are My devotee, you sit down and sleep, I shall take care of . . . ’ He never said that. So if you take that position—we are devotees, nonviolent, and let us sleep . . . Fight! With all the resources that we have got. That is wanted.” 

Prabhupāda isn’t daunted by the odds, which at the moment seem to be stacked against us. “So prepare for fight. Don’t be afraid. Arjuna, they were five brothers and the other party, one hundred brothers. Therefore Dhṛtarāṣṭra was confident that ‘What are these five brothers without any help? We have ruined them. They were in the forest for thirteen years. Lost all connection, no kingdom. I have got government in hand, and my hundred sons, and we are well equipped.’ ”  

As he was stoking up his disciples to face the attack, several local gentlemen came in, at least one of whom was a friend of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s. Prabhupāda immediately drew them into the discussion, briefly explaining how the movement is now under attack. When they agreed that it was certainly a great credit to Śrīla Prabhupāda to be the focus of so much concern, he pushed for their active participation. “Don’t say certainly; you must come forward to fight. If you simply sit down in Vṛndāvana, then Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission is not being carried. He says, pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma. That is His mission. I am a teeny person; singlehanded we shall fight? Why you should see the fun and do not fight? That I am asking you. I shall fight and you shall see the fun?” 

They smiled in agreement. “No, no.” 

Prabhupāda smiled back and pressed home his point. “Now, you appear to be educated gentlemen. You combine all the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava gosvāmīs and come with me to fight, because there is a world fight now.”Declaring that the whole of America and Europe is now feeling threatened, and again citing the words of the Texas legislature, he told them, “All these fathers of these young men, they are combining together to charge me that I am kidnapping their boys. So it is a serious situation; you should not see simply the fun and claim to belong to Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Now you should come out to fight. Am I wrong or right?” 

They nodded in agreement and Prabhupāda again asked, “Then do that. Hold a meeting among the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas here, and I will explain the position. Now we should combine together and fight. As soon as you introduce something strong, there will be fight. There will be fight. Even Kṛṣṇa had to see the fight, Kurukṣetra. Dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ [Bg. 1.1]. The fight must be there, yuyutsavaḥ. So if you belong to Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s party, then you should come out to fight. Whatever’s done is done, and it is done singlehanded. Nobody has helped me. Even not my Godbrothers. These American boys, they have helped me. They understood the philosophy and they helped me. Rather, they are criticizing that I am making these American boys sannyāsī and giving them sacred thread. They are criticizing. What is your opinion?” 

The gentlemen were a little reluctant to say anything negative and agreed that anyone who is worshiping Kṛṣṇa should be recognized as a Vaiṣṇava. Again Prabhupāda drove home his point, to everyone’s amusement. “They criticize me. They do not recognize this temple as a Vaiṣṇava temple; they say angrej [English] temple.” 

They laughed and acknowledged that the temple was for everyone. 

“Yes, yes,” Prabhupāda replied. “Jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108109]. We are trying that. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye ’pi syuḥ pāpayonayaḥ. Why the pāpayonis should be neglected? 

“So this thing has been done single handed; now you should come forward, all combine together. There is a great fight. We are just planning how to fight. Now when there is fight, it requires real strength. Now their fight is confronting us because they are feeling the strength. Their whole civilization is threatened. We are recommending no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, and no meateating. This is the basic principle of modern civilization. So the foundation is threatened. Theoretically they are taking that ‘If these four things are stopped, then where is our civilization?’ The millions of liquor manufacturers, breweries, millions of gambling houses, cigarette factories, so theoretically if this movement is successful, then whole civilization is finished. Because these young men have taken seriously, so they are threatened and they are making a strong party to fight with us.” 

Prabhupāda decried the ludicrous charge of kidnapping, pointing out that he does not go to people’s houses to kidnap anyone; they are coming to him. He again urged his guests to solicit the support of the local Gosvami families. The original gosvāmīs, he said, were śrīcaitanyakṛpābhara —carrying the mercy of Lord Caitanya to the whole world, so those who claim to be in their line should be prepared to do the same. “They are descendants. Now prove; come forward. Śrīcaitanyakṛpābharau. Simply sitting at home. And in Bengal there is Nityānandavaṁśa. What is Nityānandavaṁśa? Nityānanda went forward before JagāiMādhāi and He was hurt. Blood came out. Where is that Nityānandavaṁśa? Fight between JagāiMādhāi and Nityānanda. That is Nityānandavaṁśa. Simply taking advantage of coming from Nityānandavaṁśa, ‘I have become guru, give me your money,’ and sit down, ‘Let me enjoy life with my wife and children’—that kind of Nityānanda vaṁśa will not help. Come forward to fight. This fighting is now. Here.” 

Telling Gopāla Kṛṣṇa to show his guests the newspaper clippings, he continued, “Make a big arrangement to fight this. First of all they [Westerners] thought that so many swamis and yogis come, all rascals; they stay for some time and go away. Even Vivekananda,” he said with a laugh. “So this is not a bogus movement; it is taking stand.” 

As his guests perused the news articles, Prabhupāda told them that their coming in just as he was discussing how to counter these attacks was auspicious. “This is fortunate that you have come in this moment. So I’ll give you this inspiration; now combine together all Vṛndāvana gosvāmīs. Kṛṣṇa cult is for everyone, either Gauḍīya or Rāmānuja or everyone. Now all of you should come forward. That you do. They are concerned with the Kṛṣṇa cult. Kṛṣṇa cult means all the ācāryas, all the ācāryas, either Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, or anyone, they should combine together.  

Speaking occasionally in Hindi, Prabhupāda quoted a verse written by his Guru Mahārāja: duṣṭa mana! tumi kisera vaiṣṇava? pratiṣṭhāra tare, nirjanera ghare, tava harināma kevala kaitava (My dear mind, what kind of devotee are you? Simply for cheap adoration you sit in a solitary place and pretend to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, but this is all cheating). Thus he encouraged his guests to become active in the fight. “So we should be very alert in this point. All the Vaiṣṇavas of different sampradāyas, especially Gauḍīya sampradāya, you should come forward to fight this. They are gathering their strength. We should gather our strength. Fight. Kṛṣṇa never said that ‘Don’t fight.’ Never said to Arjuna that ‘You are My devotee; you don’t fight. You are very good gentleman, nonviolent, and I shall do everything for you.’ Never said that. He said, ‘Now there is a great dangerous fight. Why you are saying like a nonsense?’ anāryajuṣṭam, like nonAryan. This fight is another good news that they are feeling the strength.” 

He briefly mentioned how Gargamuni had gone back to his home to take over his father’s business but that because he had refused to eat meat, his father had rejected him, lamenting that now he was lost. “So there, that one father, now the all fathers have combined that ‘Our children are now lost. They do not come home, what to speak of adopting again our way of life.’ They cannot accept the way of life, meateating and . . . That is not possible. That they’re finding dangerous. And other movements, they join and they come back; they remain what they are. Simply they say that ‘I belong to this grouping.’ But ours is different. Not only he belongs to Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, but a different type of life.”  

The gentlemen were more than agreeable to help and asked how long Śrīla Prabhupāda intended to remain in Vṛndāvana. Prabhupāda said he would stay as long as necessary in order to get some meetings organized and suggested that they be held here at our temple. He asked where our car was (the temple has only one vehicle), and when Akṣayānanda Mahārāja reported that it was being used in Bareilly on a preaching program for ten days, Prabhupāda told him to call it back immediately so that it can be used for going around to visit the different leading Vaiṣṇavas.  

Instructing Akṣayānanda to accompany his guests, Prabhupāda thanked them for their willingness to help and again urged everyone to face the challenge. “Combine together in Vṛndāvana. Fight! Without fight, where is life? If there is no fighting, then what is that life? That is dead stone. Fight must be there. Kṛṣṇa’s whole life is fighting from the very birth. His father carried Him to Gokula and He fell down in the Yamunā and . . . Just born, the fighting began. Just born. And at Yaśodāmayī’s house, Nanda Mahārāja’s house, so many demons daily coming—Śakaṭāsura, Aghāsura, Bakāsura, Pūtanā, so on, so on, so on. Ultimately Kaṁsa, when He was young boy. Vṛndāvana, so many asuras came. You have seen the pictures? Kṛṣṇa is fighting with the horse demon, with the bull, fighting. If Kṛṣṇa is fighting, why not Kṛṣṇa consciousness the same thing? You cannot expect peaceful life. No, there must be fighting; then think, ‘That is Kṛṣṇa’s presence, His fight.’ So this fighting means they’re feeling the presence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Otherwise why they’re making fight? Had it been an insignificant thing, there was no question of fighting.” 

Prabhupāda remembered something from the Second World War, which served as an amusing comparison to show that his movement is a serious thing. The Germans, he said, had made a huge gun that was designed to fire shells from France right over the English Channel to hit London. “So this gun is required not for killing a mosquito!” As we laughed he exclaimed, “Big enemy! So they are preparing this big gun and not for the mosquito. And this Mahesh Yogi and this yogi . . . you see, they are mosquitoes. For them, they don’t require any gun. So for big enemy, big gun, you see. They are preparing big gun. That means Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is big enemy. It is not mosquito. So you remain a big enemy; you don’t become a mosquito. That is wanted. Immediately arrange this meeting here. Call all the Vaiṣṇavas, all.” 

Although Prabhupāda’s inclination has been more and more to delegate management responsibilities to his GBC men and leaders, on this issue he is not going to take a back seat. He wants to participate actively. His blood is heated and he is exhibiting a vigor and enthusiasm that I haven’t ever seen. As he said when he left New York in July, he simply wants the benediction of being able to fight for Kṛṣṇa, like Arjuna, to the last breath. 

* * * 

Preaching in South America is going very well. Hridayānanda Mahārāja, now assisted by Pañcadraviḍa Swami, is heading up a continent-wide effort to spread Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. He sent another enthusiastic letter reporting on-going progress in printing and distribution. The whole of the First Canto of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam is now published in Spanish, the first foreign language division to accomplish this. The Spanish softbound unabridged Gītā is coming off the press, and Prabhupāda has already received the Portuguese BhagavadgītāAs It Is and the second volume of the Portuguese Bhāgavatam. In Brazil alone, the devotees are selling up to four thousand Bhāgavatams a week. Hridayānanda Mahārāja listed over twenty countries in his Latin American zone where books are being sold. 

His letter contains the kind of news that Śrīla Prabhupāda likes to receive. He was happy and full of gratitude for his disciples’ endeavors. “I am in receipt of your letter dated nil accompanied by two copies of the first edition of the Portuguese Bhagavadgita. It is very nice. You are doing very nicely. This enthusiasm is required. It is the basic principle in making advancement in Krsna’s service. You have written to say you want to start printing Caitanya Caritamrta. I think it is too difficult. It is better for the time being to simply continue with the Bhagavatam. Caitanya Caritamrta is the postgraduate study. 

“You have written that chanting, dancing, and book distribution are going on nicely. Prasadam distribution should also be introduced. This will make the program even more effective. I am glad to know that Pancadravida is doing so nicely. He is a very good assistant.” 

Morris Lapidus, a 69-year-old man who has been attending our New York temple for several years, sent a letter mainly complaining about the way he feels devotees at the temple deal with him. Mr. Lapidus has sent several letters this year, all with the same critical theme—that various things are not done correctly, or the building is not utilized properly, or the devotees are not behaving properly. Śrīla Prabhupāda has previously referred him back to the local GBC, but today he answered him directly, trying mainly to placate him so that he will continue with his association with the devotees. 

“I am sorry to see that you have so many quarrels with my disciples. They are working very hard on my behalf trying to serve Krsna. Why not try to cooperate with them, instead of trying to get them to cooperate with you? I understand you are older, but then please just try to be tolerant and help in whatever way you can. Krsna will see your sincere desire, and if He wants you will be recognized, and if not, there is nothing you can do to force it.” 

Prabhupāda was pleased to receive a letter from Egypt today. Pṛthu-putra Swami is attempting to introduce Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the Islamic countries and wrote from Cairo. Enclosing a news article, he reported that despite difficulties, particularly from the government, he was still finding some success. “I am contacting very interesting people and there is very good possibilities to do something. I am now giving some private programmes and studying the best way to spread the chanting of the holy name. By Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy I got a few encouraging success which are inspiring me to push forward. This article in a student’s newspaper is a very good publicity for us. So I am carefully analyzing the possibilities to establish a center in Cairo and I will present to Your Divine Grace the results of my investigations in order to receive your advice.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy to hear of Mahārāja’s attempts and wrote back with encouraging words along with some practical advice on how to approach the Egyptian people. “I am very happy to see you are trying to spread Krsna consciousness in Egypt. You should present Krsna consciousness not as a religion, but a science of God realization. Try to convince them that it is not just a kind of faith. It is a chance to understand God. In every religion there is a glimpse of the idea of God. This Movement is explaining what God is. The educated persons should be convinced about this fact. Every sane man should be interested to know God and then love Him.” 

There was another letter from Hawaii concerning the recent removal of Śukadeva prabhu as president. Shasta dāsa, a friend of his, wrote complaining about some rough treatment meted out by Gurukṛpa and some of his men when they came to see Śukadeva at his apartment. This resulted in some brief physical violence against Śukadeva and another devotee, Bharata dāsa. Shasta thus felt compelled to inform Śrīla Prabhupāda. 

While Śrīla Prabhupāda was concerned about the rough dealings of his GBC man, he was not very sympathetic to other aspects of Śukadeva’s reported behavior. “Regarding Sukadeva, it has been found that he has got a substantial amount of money in private bank accounts. Perhaps you do not know this. He has caused a great difficulty in the management of our Honolulu temple. Of course Gurukrpa has got to handle the situation nicely, but what can I do from here?” 

These kinds of dealings are a frustration for Śrīla Prabhupāda, but as he says, he cannot be everywhere at once, and if his disciples fight amongst themselves despite his pleas to the contrary, it becomes a disturbance to his efforts to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. He has in the past complained about the fighting spirit of his Western disciples, but it is still going on. Yet he has to delegate responsibilities to them and hope they transcend their personal differences for the sake of Lord Caitanya’s mission. Management is a headache from which he has repeatedly said that he wants to be free so that he can retire to do his main work, the writing of his books, but incidents like this make that prospect more difficult.  

November 3rd, 1976

In the course of reading the Madhya-līla of Caitanya caritāmṛta, I came across the following entry (Chapter 24, verse 336):  

nāmamahimā, nāmāparādha dūre varjana/ vaiṣṇavalakṣaṇa, sevāparādhakhaṇḍana 

“You should glorify the holy name and explain that one must carefully give up offenses when chanting the holy name. You should also describe the symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava and explain that one must give up or nullify all kinds of sevāaparādha, offenses in Deity worship.” 

In his commentary Śrīla Prabhupāda says: 

“The devotee should always be very careful not to commit the ten offenses when chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. If a devotee very strictly follows the methods of Deity worship, he will naturally and quickly become a pure Vaiṣṇava. A pure Vaiṣṇava has unflinching faith in the Lord, and he does not deviate at all. He is always engaged in perfect Deity worship. 

“One should also note the specific offenses against Deity worship. These are mentioned in the Skanda Purāṇa (Avantīkhaṇḍa), spoken by Vyāsadeva himself. One should liquidate all kinds of offenses . . . ” Prabhupāda lists these thirty-two offenses; number 26 states, “One should not offer obeisances to others before the Deity.” 

This immediately brought a doubt to my mind. Every day, after greeting the Deities and before class, we worship Śrīla Prabhupāda in the temple room with the Deity doors open. We line up, offer him flowers on the vyasāsana, and then offer him our prostrated obeisances on the floor, directly in front of the Deities. So this morning I brought my doubt to Śrīla Prabhupāda.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda replied quite simply, “It is a technicality,” and that was it.  

From this I have understood that whereas we should not offer our obeisances to any other person, including the Vaiṣnavas, directly in front of the Deities, the formal respect shown the spiritual master, who is the direct representative of Kṛṣṇa, by the offering of guru-pūjā is different and supercedes the ordinary technical considerations. Kṛṣṇa becomes pleased by seeing His pure devotee honored, and this is more important than observance of ritual. 

* * * 

During his class Śrīla Prabhupāda found the opportunity to refute the accusations that we are brainwashed. In ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 5.5.15 Lord Ṛṣabhadeva advises His sons that the leaders of society should instruct their dependents only to one end: how to go back home, back to Godhead. Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that the positions of the king and the guru are the same. The positions of a citizen and a disciple are comparable. “Putrāṁś ca śiṣyāṁś ca . . . The citizens, they are also śiṣya. Śiṣya means one who is controlled. The same meaning. Disciple means one who is controlled, one who is disciplined.” 

Therefore, he said, because the only business of life is how to get out of suffering, the guru or the government should rule over their dependents with this aim in view. “Mallokakāmo madanugrahārthaḥ. These two things required: how to get the pleasure or the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and how to go back home, back to Godhead. This is the aim, not that we are making plan to be happy. Unless we go back home, back to Godhead, there is no question of peace or happiness. We are trying to be happy within this material world by material adjustment. That is not possible. Duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam;Ābrahmabhuvanāl lokān punar āvartino ’rjuna [Bg. 8.15-16].  

“They say it is brainwash. We are enforcing something by controlling the mind, some ideas, ‘There is God, and we have to go to back home, back to Godhead.’ They are accusing us of brainwash, ‘mental control.’ But this is the fact. We are not brainwashing; we are clearing the brain. The rascal brain is full with cow dung. We are clearing. You see? That is our movement. But these rascals are understanding that we are enforcing some idea.” 

He wasn’t criticizing just the Westerners either. Atheism is on the increase even here in India. “What to speak of others, even in our country—they do not believe that there is God. Nowadays, not formerly. We have become so rascal: ‘There is no God,’ ‘These are all,’ what is called ‘mythology.’ ‘These are mythology ideas—there is God and there is sin; there are pious activities.’ Big, big sannyāsīs, they are asking that ‘Don’t care for all this “There is God, there is sinful, there is pious.” You can do whatever you like, because you are yourself God. There is no pāpapuṇya. You are immune from pāpapuṇya because you are God.’ ” 

Despite this propaganda, people are nevertheless suffering, and thus Prabhupāda said that the guru’s business is to stop his disciples from “making plans to be happy”—happy in the material world that is. Plan-making for material advancement is simply dreaming; he told a funny story to illustrate his point. “Energy should be utilized how to please Kṛṣṇa. That should be done. Energy should be utilized for that purpose, not waste energy simply for a false hope that ‘I shall become happy. I shall do this. I shall do that. I shall make money like this.’ The story of the potter. The potter is planning. He has got few pots and he is planning, ‘Now I have got these four pots and I will sell. I will make some profit. Then there will be ten pots. Then I’ll sell ten pots, I’ll make some profit. I’ll get twenty pots and then thirty pots, forty pots. In this way I shall become millionaire. And at that time I shall marry, and I shall control my wife in this way and that way. And if she is disobedient, then I shall kick her like this!’ So when he kicked, he kicked the pots and all the pots broke.”  

Prabhupāda’s expressive account brought peals of laughter from his audience, and he shook with amusement as he looked out earnestly over his followers. “So then his dream is gone. You see? Similarly, we are simply dreaming. With few pots we are simply dreaming that ‘These pots will be increased into so many pots, so many pots, so many pots,’—then finished. Don’t make imagination; make plan. The guru, the spiritual master, and the government should be careful that ‘These rascals may not make plan. This rascal may not make plan to be happy.’ ” 

Rather than a life wasted pursuing false dreams, he told us that the Vedic idea was quite different. “The great sages, ṛṣis, they wrote so many books, but they used to live in a cottage. Only the kings, the kṣatriya, because they had to rule over, they used to construct big, big palaces. No one else. They lived very simple life, very simple life. Not waste time for socalled economic development, skyscraper building, subways, and so on, so on. This was not Vedic civilization. This is asuric civilization.” 

Conceding that it is very hard to drag people away from their material pursuits, Śrīla Prabhupāda nevertheless reiterated that human life is actually meant for tapasya, austerities, by which we can gain the recognition of the Supreme Lord. “So Kṛṣṇa will be very much pleased. Here it is said that mallokakāmaḥ. How one can go to Kṛṣṇaloka or Vaikuṇṭhaloka? Very easy. Very easy. Kṛṣṇa personally says. It is not our manufactured word. Kṛṣṇa said, manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. Do these four things: ‘Always think of Me.’ That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. ‘Become My devotee. Worship Me and offer obeisances to Me,’ and asaṁśaya, ‘you’ll come.’ Malloka. Very good. Very easy thing. Asaṁśaya. ‘Without any doubt you’ll come to Me.’ Why do they not accept this proposal of Kṛṣṇa? It is not our manufacture. We are not washing brain. It is Kṛṣṇa’s word, that simply by doing four things, manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru mām evaiṣyasi asaṁśayaḥ, without any doubt. That is required. Kṛṣṇa will be pleased.”  

* * * 

The brainwashing issue has become the main topic of conversation. Śrīla Prabhupāda brings it up frequently, discussing all the aspects and analyzing the psychology of our accusers, revealing their deficient thinking. When I went to join him after his breakfast nap, he immediately took it up again. I can understand how people feel threatened by their children taking up a completely different way of life and different values, but still it seems to me that from a practical point of view what Śrīla Prabhupāda has introduced can hardly be criticized. “How can they take it that what we’re doing is a bad thing?” I asked. “If we’re training people how to avoid intoxication, how to avoid illicit sex, abortion, contraception.” 

Prabhupāda just smiled and shook his head. Right from the start of his preaching, he’s had experience of these kinds of objections. “They say, ‘Why you should avoid? This is life! Why you are brainwashing?’ One boy was there in the beginning. What was his name? Ranchor, his name, I gave him. So his father argued, ‘Why you are avoiding illicit sex? This is life! Why you are afraid? I’ll give you car. I’ll give you girls. You enjoy. What is this philosophy, nonsense philosophy?’ His father was arguing. I think everyone’s father argues like that. Lord Roland said, he said, ‘Why you are prohibiting this thing? This is our life. It is impossible.’ ” 

I observed that there are vegetarians in general society and also people who abstain from the various sinful activities. They are not accused of being brainwashed, so why, I mused, should they object if we avoid the combination of these things? 

Prabhupāda had a succinct answer. “ ‘It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss.’ If the majority are fools and rascal, if you say something sane, then they’ll . . . the sane man, he is insane. He’s crazy.” 

“Then how to fight them?” I asked. 

“That is the position,” Prabhupāda replied. “The only means is that in spite of all opposition we have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That will cleanse. Otherwise there is no other way. Argument and logic, they have no brain to understand. It requires this transcendental method, cetodarpaṇa mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. That is wanted. You have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and let them get the chance to hear. Then they will be able to catch it, what we are saying. Not directly; it is not possible.” 

I agreed with the spiritual premise, but it seemed too general and long range for the current dilemma. “Then how are we going to fare in this court case?” I asked. “Because in these court cases it’s a question of presenting one side against the other.” 

But Prabhupāda was talking on two tracks, presenting two approaches. “No, the philosophy is there. Court case means there is philosophy—there is logic. So for that we have got so many books. But general mass of people, chanting. When there is court case we are prepared to defend. We are not fools. We can talk that what is the aim of life. They cannot say anything. The transmigration of the soul, the aim of life which we are discussing in our book, that’s fact. How he can deny the transmigration of the soul from one body to another? And if that is accepted, the whole problem is solved. He does not know what kind of life he is going to get. Therefore they do not accept this philosophy. If once accepted, then next question—‘What kind of life we are going to get, either to become a tree or a dog or human being?’ What arrangement you have done that you will get next life human being? Then the pious and impious activities comes one after another. The basic principle they are denying. ‘After this body is finished, everything is finished.’ Bhāsmi bhūtasya dehasya punar agama . . . ‘The body will be burned into ashes, and where is life? Who is coming? Who is going? That’s all.’ They do not see the soul. Their medical science cannot find out where is soul.” 

He had me look up the definition of brainwashing in the dictionary. I read it out: “Brainwashing: clearing the mind of established ideas by persistent suggestion and indoctrination.” 

Prabhupāda chuckled. In one sense it was true. “We are doing that. They are under the impression, ‘Work hard, earn money, and enjoy life.’ We say, ‘No. Don’t work hard for sense gratification but work hard for selfrealization.’ Indoctrine.” 

I made the point that any form of education is indoctrination. “Whatever you teach someone, you teach according to whatever you see as the correct value.” 

Prabhupāda agreed. “Yes. The child goes to the school. His brain is packed up: ‘I shall play all day.’ He likes to play, but it is indoctrination that ‘No, you should read. You must become graduate.’ Education is required. The child wants to play, but we have to educate him that ‘No, play is not all. You have to be educated.’ Similarly, this animal life—eating, sleeping, mating—this is already there. No. We say, ‘Not only this; you have to realize God.’ This kind of ‘brainwash’ is required. If we do not understand God, then what is the difference between you and dog? He knows how to eat, how to sleep. He doesn’t require any high education how to eat. Everyone knows how to eat, how to use sex. Nobody requires any university education. 

“When the animals enjoy sex, they know which part of the body has to be used. There is no need of education; he knows it. And these rascals, they are presenting Freud’s philosophy, sex. Just see how they are wasting time.” 

When I responded that nowadays there are so many books on sex education, Prabhupāda told a little story. “One man was canvassing, hawking. So he was [saying], ‘Here is a book of cow protection.’ He has written one book to take care of the cows. So one old man called him, ‘What you are selling?’ Now, ‘I am selling this book.’ ‘What is that book?’ ‘Maintaining the cow.’ So, ‘Why you are selling? First of all give this book to your mother, because you are no better than cow, so she will learn how to give you protection!’ That means he wanted to impress upon him that ‘Cow protection doesn’t require any education. You have written a book? So you are such a rascal, cow intelligence. Better give this book to your mother. She will maintain you. Don’t sell it. Everyone knows how to give cow protection.’ So similarly, this sex literature; there is no need of sex literature. Sex literature is there in Sanskrit also. That is how to restrict sex. For what purpose one should indulge in sex, that is called Kāmaśāstra.”  

Then he told me another anecdote, an experience he had while traveling during his householder life. “I have seen this Freud philosophy became so prominent that sometimes in the year . . . 1940s maybe. So one young woman was traveling, and another young man was traveling. So they began to discuss about sex very openly. And both of them unknown. Still, they engaged themselves in discussing the sex literature without any shame. Young boy, young girl, they began to discuss on sex openly, as ‘scientific.’ ” 

“What is this scientific?” I asked, a bit puzzled. 

Prabhupāda again chuckled and with a good deal of sarcasm got down to the real point. “Scientific means after discussing for some time, you propose that ‘Let us enjoy sex.’ That’s all. It is common thing in your country—unknown girl, unknown boy, and talk for some time, ‘Let us go to some restaurant,’ and then talk more intimately, and then sex.” 

I agreed from my own previous practical experience. “That’s the whole social system. The only reason they go to a dance is to pick up some woman for sex life. That’s all. Most of my friends used to go out specifically to find some woman to have sex.” 

“Yes,” Prabhupāda rejoined. “This dancing club means this.” 

* * * 

Prabhupāda heard today from Hṛṣīkeśānanda dāsa. A former sannyāsī, he is now married and living in Nepal, where he is trying to open a center. He sent an effusive letter describing the possibilities and mentioned several important contacts he has made, including, impressively, the King of Nepal himself. He was asking for some help and invited Prabhupāda to come at his earliest convenience. 

Prabhupāda was pleased to hear from him, as it has been a while since he was last in contact. He was glad that he is still intent on preaching despite his change of āśrama. “I shall send Aksayananda as soon as possible,” he wrote back. “Let him survey the situation there. As soon as possible I shall also come. 

“Worship Saligram Sila nicely, husband and wife. Do not forget to follow strictly the four regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds minimum daily. 

“My thanks are due to H.H. Sri Kali Baba Maharaja and His Majesty for trying to help our movement there. I am eager to open a nice center in Nepal.” 

Śacīmātā dāsī wrote a short letter from Germany. Two weeks ago Prabhupāda advised her that she should stay there rather than come here to India, where he feels it will be difficult for her. She appreciated his advice and stated her desire to follow it. “You are an ocean of mercy and You are my dear spiritual master. So I accept all and I try to serve You and Krsna here.” 

Because her plans to come to India were now curtailed, she offered her airfare of one thousand Deutschemarks to Śrīla Prabhupāda for use in the Vṛndāvana temple. Still, she added a note expressing her hope that she may yet make it here. “Later, I hope that You call me to a service in India. I know, Krsna is everywhere and I made the experience last year for the festival, that to live in India is difficult for an older body. But because we are not the body, I could bear all, encouraged through Your preaching and the power from the holy places. My desire to the Supreme Lord is, to live the rest of my life in Vrindaban or near Himalaya and that I can give back to Krsna my body and my soul in the holy country India. Thank you for your blessings! Hare Krsna!” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda appreciated her offering and sent a brief reply giving the account information where to send her gurudakṣiṇā.  

Prabhupāda got a brief letter from Vāsudeva prabhu in Fiji. Vāsudeva briefly stated that he had received a copy of the letter Rāmeśvara Swami had sent to Śrīla Prabhupāda in mid-September regarding the situation in Fiji, but he has not seen Prabhupāda’s reply. He also enclosed a photocopy of the land title to confirm that everything was in ISKCON’s name. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to hear from Vāsudeva. He is keen to see that Vāsudeva is encouraged and helped in developing ISKCON Fiji, and he is happy that Rāmeśvara has succeeded in resolving some of the misunderstandings there. In his reply he quoted his entire letter to Rāmeśvara from September 26th, adding an extra paragraph at the end. “Whatever Ramesvara and yourself will do, that is alright. Now you order huge quantity of Hindi and Gujarati books from our BBT office in Bombay. Distribute as much literature as possible, English, Hindi, and Gujarati. That is real preaching. Thank you very much.” 

* * * 

As Prabhupāda was walking back into the house from the garden after his noon massage today, he suddenly reached out and took hold of my hand. He shook his head and said with a sympathetic smile, “Too hot!” and then went in to bathe. This is the second time he has done this. It’s obvious that he doesn’t feel that it’s a good thing, but I am not sure what he means by it—I don’t know if he means it affects him adversely or me adversely—and there seems little I can do about my bodily constitution. I am unfortunately largely in the mode of passion, and I guess that my body being overheated must be a symptom of that. But since Prabhupāda hasn’t given me any advice how to rectify this or even that I should, or indicated that it is too much of an inconvenience (for either of us), I guess I have to live with it as best I can. 

* * * 

Bhagatjī comes every evening and prepares Śrīla Prabhupāda’s hot milk in the kitchen. He brings it to Prabhupāda in his darśana room and has a chat with him before he retires. Normally Prabhupāda doesn’t like to eat with others around to distract his attention, but this evening, as he ate some potato pakoras and a little subji his cooks had prepared for him, he allowed Hansadūta and me to join him and Bhagatjī in some light conversation. His mood was jovial and accommodating, and as he enjoyed the simple fare he glorified the simple lifestyle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, wondering how anyone could possibly find fault with it. Some papers have put a critical tone in their reports about how the devotees spend everything on God and little on themselves, but Prabhupāda’s view is naturally different. “So is it not credit? We spend for God. We are servant of God. We want to see God gorgeously situated, and for us we have no comforts, we don’t care for any comfort. We simply spend minimum just to keep the body and soul together, that’s all. This is our principle. We don’t spend a farthing for our sense gratification.” 

He thought this a strong point in our favor in court. “This should be noted down if some case is there; this should be presented. We don’t go to restaurant, we don’t go to cinema, we don’t spend lavishly for dress or something else, no.” Looking around at us sitting on the floor in his almost vacant room, he laughed, “Neither for furniture. Eh? If you sit down on a pad, is that faulty? We sit down, don’t use any chair, any couches, unnecessarily, carpet. What expenditure? We have no expenditure for personal self. And still, ‘You are faulty.’ What can be done? We don’t purchase any cosmetic; this clay tilaka is sufficient. We don’t apply any pomade or cosmetic or ointment. Either for our girls or ourselves. We don’t do that; we live very simply. After fifteen days we shave; there is no use of cutting or decorating. Note down all these things. 

“We have no doctor’s bill even. At least I save doctors bill,” he said with a chuckle. “I am always sick, but I never go to the doctor. Give me little neem, give me little this, that’s all. Then what less expenditure we can make? As far as possible we do not go even to the doctor.” 

I suggested that it was because of this that people wonder what happens to all our money. 

Prabhupāda had a ready answer. “We spend for Kṛṣṇa! Just like spending it, lakhs of rupees in Bombay for Kṛṣṇa. Every month.” 

“We just have to show them how many books we are printing too,” I added. “It’s not that we’re letting the money sit and accumulate.” 

Prabhupāda’s eyes brightened. “Yes. I am daily canvassing Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, ‘Print book! I don’t want to keep the money in the bank; convert into the books and keep it in our almira.’I am asking. Whatever little money I’ve got, I don’t want to keep in the bank. I want to convert it and purchase paper, print book. Then these rascals will never be able to take anything from us. That I am asking every time. Ask Gopāla that ‘Print books and keep it nicely; otherwise somebody may steal and sell in the market.’ Our books should be printed and kept very safely. This is our program. And they are speaking from the Vedic literature.” 

Referring to certain other popular gurus who have recently come under investigation in the newspapers, he said, “We don’t manufacture any magic, any jugglery, any mystic power. We have no mystic power. So,” he said with a laugh, “which point they will find fault? I don’t think we have got any loophole. Our only business is how to establish Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the only business. Our [only] quarrel [is] with our men: Why this temple is not clean? Why there is no flower in the Deity room? This is our fight. We have no other cause of fight. And why should we show magic? But these inquiries are going on—it is good—these rascals will be exposed.” 

When I said that due to lack of knowledge as to what is bona fide or not, people had become skeptical, Prabhupāda agreed and with a laugh told us a Bengali saying to the effect that there was once a man who had all his eating utensils stolen. So he made a vow that he wouldn’t buy any more and would henceforth eat off the floor. Similarly, most people, having been cheated, are now skeptical of everything. 

I thought of another comparison. “You give the example that just because someone may be passing counterfeit money, that doesn’t mean that all the money you get . . . ” 

Prabhupāda laughed and finished it for me. “Yes. They conclude that ‘no more take any money, all counterfeit.’ At least in India, Bhagavadgītā is there. Accept it, the Godscience literature all over the world. Every country. So why they do not take the Bhagavadgītā as the standard?” 

He was relishing his meal, and as he chewed on a piece of pickle it reminded him of his childhood days, and his mother. “My mother was very much fond of pickles. After resting in the afternoon, she would take something very sour, pickle. We used to take with her also. We were small children. My mother died when I was only fourteen years old.” 

That triggered further childhood remembrances, which he willingly shared with us. He had initially gone to a school that was actually attached to his house. “That means the house belonged to one of our relatives, and her son, stepson, he sold the whole house to a Marwari without the knowledge of this, my, she was in relation, grandmother. So when the house was sold in those days, say about ninety years. In Mahatma Gandhi road, most important, that Mullik’s house you have seen? That was one of the Mullik’s houses, for twelve thousand rupees. One bighā of land and grand building. So it was unknown to the stepmother, the stepson sold it. Then she appealed to the high court that ‘I belong to a respectable family and this my spoiled stepson has sold the house without my knowledge; then where shall I go?’ The high court considered that ‘The drunkard son has sold at a cheap price, and she belongs to a respectable family; where she’ll go?’ And the high court order was ‘The half of the house shall be used by this lady. During her lifetime, you cannot take possession,’ the Marwari who purchased.  

“So under that grandmother we used to live. Therefore this half portion of the house was a Marwari school. So it is just like our temple and this [referring to his quarters being adjacent to Krishna-Balaram Mandir]. So my father first admitted me in that Marwari school. So I learned this Devanāgarī there; for a few days I was going. I was the only Bengali student there. Because I was little, my father thought that instead of going outside the house, within the house there is a school, get him admitted. The school name was Visuddhana Marwari Vidyalaya, something like that, and later on they constructed huge building. Then the house was vacated. So in the beginning I was admitted in a Marwari school and I learned a little Hindi there, that’s all. That was little chance also, understanding Hindi. And I was maybe six or seven years old, that’s all.” 

As we talked, Bhagatjī repeatedly coughed. Śrīla Prabhupāda is also coughing quite a lot and has had a lot of mucus, so his voice is a little thick and nasal. But Bhagatjī was unusually quiet during the exchange, because of some throat infection. Śrīla Prabhupāda diagnosed the problem and had Hansadūta read out a description from the dictionary. “LARYNX. Cavity with enclosing muscles and mucus membrane behind and communicating with nose, mouth and larynx.” 

Prabhupāda indicated his own throat. “Here this side, this space some connection—when it is affected that is called laryngitis. I know some of the medical terms.” 

And as always, he immediately gave the philosophical overview of the problem. “Śarīraṁ vyādhimandiram. It is a temple of disease. The temple of miseries. Not only disease; there are so many other things. Mātrāsparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkhadāḥ [Bg. 2.14], simply giving trouble. Śarīrabandha, asann api kleśada āsa dehaḥ [SB 5.5.4]. Deha means kleśada—troublesome. They do not know this science. And they do not know how to get out of this body; there is no science. This is the only science—Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They do not know this science; they do not know what is the real position, how troubles come, how we are suffering. Nothing of the sort. And our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is simply dealing with this, how to get out of this entanglement of the body. That is the only problem. And the materialistic person, they do not think it as a problem. We are dealing with the real problems, and others, they do not know what is the problems, what to speak of dealing with them. Completely in ignorance, how the body is changing, why there are different forms of life, wherefrom they are coming. They do not deal with these things.” 

As he often does when discussing philosophy, Prabhupāda had me bring the Bhagavadgītā and look up the verse beginning tribhir guṇamayair bhāvair [Bg. 7.14]. He listened to the whole purport, which is about a page long, and smiled. “I don’t think in any other edition such explanation is there. Dr. Radhakrishnan—other, this Dada Krishna. Radhakrishnan and Dada Krishna. Hmm. Nābhijānāti mām ebhyaḥ param avyayam [Bg. 7.13]. Therefore they cannot understand what is God. Especially the communist countries. Completely in ignorance. They’re thinking that by external adjustment, by following the Marxist theory or Lenin’s theory and killing the capitalists, inventing some bogus ways of happiness . . . ”  

Hansadūta Swami has been to Moscow several times to visit with Ānanta Śānti prabhu, Prabhupāda’s only Russian disciple, and he and Prabhupāda shared some observations and realizations about the poor quality of life there. Ānanta Śānti’s entire family lives in a couple of rooms half the size of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s darśana room, taxi drivers beg money from their clients, and the only vegetables available are frozen. 

Prabhupāda screwed up his face a little in disgust. “That is also nasty. Frozen means nasty. I never take frozen. In the beginning I thought, ‘Oh, it is very nice; you can get fresh vegetable.’ But they are not at all fresh. All rotten. Rather the same vegetable, as we have got in Indian practice, we dry it and keep it. That is tasteful. In season time—suppose this season there is huge quantity of vegetable—so here the system is they cut into pieces during the season and dry it in the sun and keep it. And during out of season it is soaked in water. It revives the old taste; then you can cook.”  

Speaking of vegetables made him reflect once again on the glories of a simple rural life devoid of grand material endeavors. “This I want to introduce: let them be satisfied whatever they can produce themselves locally. What is that, little cloth, little food? Any man can produce these things. There is no difficulty at all. They must agree to this simple life. Everywhere you can produce your own food and cloth and cottage. If possible you can construct big buildings—there is no need. And they should be satisfied, happy with Kṛṣṇa. Then life is successful. This I want to introduce now, anywhere. And it is practical. It is not something bogus. We have already experimented. By God’s grace we can produce everything from the lands, sarvakāmadughā mahī [SB 1.10.4]. You can get everything. If they are satisfied with this simple life, then they save time for Kṛṣṇa consciousness and happy life.” 

Life not so long ago in India, he said, was very simple and pleasant. “In India they don’t require even cottage. One katiya [wooden cot] is sufficient. Keeping in one place and lay down. Eight months, at least six months, it is very nice. At night—even in daytime it is very hot—at night it is cool. So you have got very good sleep, soothing, then you become refreshed in the morning. If you have got good sleep at night, then you become refreshed; your health is regained. Hmm? Take morning snāna and chapati. During very hot season they don’t take even chapati. They take some fruits, guava, and melon, yes. During hot season you get watermelon, this other melon, honeydew melon—oh very nice! In the upcountries still in the village during daytime they don’t eat. During daytime they take some fruits, and at night when it is cool, the cool refreshing air, they make some chapati. Because in daytime it is so hot, it is embarrassing to cook and to digest also. Better take fruit, this melon, and at night they take three or four chapatis, and good sleep. Very happy life it was, all over India. There was no question of poverty. People did not know what is poverty, and now it is poverty. They do not get even sufficient food.” 

“Industrialization,” I observed. 

Prabhupāda nodded. “Ugrakarma. I don’t like industrialism.” 

That brought a very pleasant and satisfying end to the day, and as the others returned to their quarters, Śrīla Prabhupāda rose and after washing his mouth and hands, retired to his bed for his massage and a brief hour’s rest before rising to work through the night on the Ninth Canto of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam

November 4th, 1976

I have been corresponding regularly with Rakṣaṇa prabhu, the devotee who accompanied Śrīla Prabhupāda’s party as his personal bodyguard for nearly two months in America. He wrote recently to say that due to some serious problems with his left leg, he has decided to have it amputated from the knee down. It seems a radical solution to mitigate his painful condition, but he is determined to go ahead with it. So I have decided to send him the footprints Śrīla Prabhupāda made on paper last month as a kind of spiritual compensation for his loss. 

* * * 

The verse in this morning’s class, SB 5.5.16, stated that the basic principle of material life is ignorance, which leads a person to pursue sense gratification, which in turn leads to envy between living beings. In such a society everyone suffers, but people are so foolish they cannot realize this. Śrīla Prabhupāda gave weight to the dangers of such a society in which countries compete with one another over resources that belong to neither, manufacturing atomic bombs that will destroy them all; or in which individuals, in order to enjoy immediate sense pleasure, destroy their own children in the womb without knowing the consequences. “If there is legal sex, one man and woman, married, and only for progeny they get into sex life, that is allowed in the śāstra. But illicit sex is most abominable. But either illicit or legal, there are so many sufferings. So many sufferings. Illegal—now they are giving opportunity, abortion, killing the child, go to the hospital . . . And behind that—the killing of the child, very sinful—he has to suffer. He does not know. Anantaduḥkhaṁ ca na veda mūḍhaḥ. He’s taking the risk of suffering life after life. Those who are killing the child within the womb, they will be punished. They will also enter within the womb of the mother, and somebody will kill, and again he will enter another mother’s womb; again he’ll be killed. So as many child he has killed, he has to go to the womb of the mother, to another womb, another. He will never see the light of the world. He’ll be killed. This is the punishment. But he does not know.” 

Although people think this to be mythology, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, nature’s laws will still act. Therefore, he told us, we should be intelligent and act only for our long-term benefit. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so simple that anyone can make advancement even though he or she may not be well educated. To illustrate how easy spiritual life is, he told us the story of Śrī Caitanya’s meeting with the illiterate brāhmaṇa in South India. “A devotee will be simply satisfied if he has got the opportunity of reading, reciting Śrīmad Bhāgavatam anywhere, any part of the world, sitting down underneath a tree. One who has got education, he can read ŚrīmadBhāgavatam. But even one who has no education—he cannot read—still he has no problem. He can chant: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare. So he can enjoy anywhere. There is a practical example in this connection. While Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was touring in the southern India, in the Ranganātha temple He saw one brāhmaṇa. He was reading Bhagavadgītā. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu approached him, and He saw the brāhmaṇa was reading Bhagavadgītā and tears gliding down. So He could understand that ‘Here is a pure devotee.’ So He asked him, ‘Well, brāhmaṇa, what you are reading?’  

“So he said, ‘Sir, I cannot read. I am illiterate and I cannot read what is Bhagavadgītā, especially Sanskrit.’ His neighbors were criticizing him. They knew that ‘This brāhmaṇa is illiterate, and he is making a show of reading Bhagavadgītā.’ So they were criticizing.  

“But Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He could understand that ‘Here is a pure devotee.’ So He asked him that ‘What you are reading?’  

“He said frankly, ‘Sir, I cannot read. I have no education; illiterate.’  

“Then? ‘It appears that you are reading something. And if you are illiterate, why you are reading Bhagavadgītā?’  

“ ‘No, my Guru Mahārāja said. He knew that I am illiterate, but still, my Guru Mahārāja said that “You read every day the ślokas of Bhagavadgītā.” So on account of his order, although I do not know anything what is written there, I am trying to read.’  

“ ‘Oh, that’s very nice. You are carrying the order of your Guru Mahārāja. But it appears that you are crying also. How you are crying if you cannot read?’  

“ ‘Yes, sir, that’s because as soon as I take this Bhagavadgītā in my hand I see the picture that Arjuna is asking Kṛṣṇa to place his chariot in the war field, and Kṛṣṇa is driving the chariot by his order. So this is creating some feeling in me: “Oh, Kṛṣṇa is so kind, so nice, that although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is carrying the order of His devotee as servant.” When I feel this, I cry: “Oh, how Kṛṣṇa is kind. How Kṛṣṇa is merciful.”’  

“So immediately Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced him: ‘You are reading Bhagavadgītā. It is not the literacy or education or knowing grammar and putting jugglery of words. That is not reading. If one feels what is the purport of Bhagavadgītā, that is reading Bhagavadgītā.’ 

“So it does not depend on literary career. A devotee is simply satisfied if he can think of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa wants that. Kṛṣṇa never said that ‘You become a great paṇḍita or grammarian to read Bhagavadgītā or ŚrīmadBhāgavatam.’ If you have, you can. Otherwise, anyone, even a child, can do this. Manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. One can come into this temple and offer obeisances. That will also do. Therefore a devotee can be satisfied in any condition of life, provided he can think of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, that’s all. That much.” 

* * * 

After Śrīla Prabhupāda returned to his rooms from giving his afternoon darśana in the temple courtyard, Akśayānanda Mahārāja came in to discuss the evening temple schedule. Winter is approaching, and the darkness of night is setting in earlier. It is the tradition in Vṛndāvana that the timing of temple programs is adjusted according to the season, and Prabhupāda has previously instructed the devotees to follow suit. With sunset now occurring quite early, Akśayānanda wanted to know at what time to hold the evening ārati.  

Prabhupāda immediately called for his resident paṇḍita, Pradyumna prabhu. After first suggesting that they inquire from other temples, he asked Pradyumna whether there was any information given in the Gauḍīya Pañjikā. Whenever there is a question about timings for fasts, feasts, and various other temple procedures, Prabhupāda always refers back to the Pañjikā. There was nothing mentioned about the ārati timings, however, other than stating when the Deities should take rest.  

“The ārati, it is called sandhyā-ārati,” Prabhupāda said. “Sandhyā-ārati means just in the evening. So when evening time is there . . . After sunset it is not evening. What is the time of sunset nowadays?”  

“It’s about 5:30.” 

Prabhupāda nodded. “Then one hour after. Then 6:30 is all right.” 

Akśayānanda then inquired as to when His Divine Grace would come for his afternoon darśana. So far, he has been going in from six o’clock until seven. Now he decided to make it half an hour earlier. “Instead of coming there at six, I come there 5:30. And one hour, then 6:30 [ārati] begins. Make that like that. That will be nice.”  

That settled, Prabhupāda turned to Pradyumna. “So why you were not present in the meeting?” Prabhupāda generally keeps his eye out for Pradyumna because he has a habit of being unregulated and not attending programs although Prabhupāda always insists that the members of his party must attend at least maṅgala-ārati (the servant is the exception on this), his morning walks, and whatever programs he himself is holding. 

Pradyumna assured Prabhupāda that he had attended, and Prabhupāda was pleased. “Jaya. That’s all right.” 

He asked him if he could understand Hindi, because a large part of the afternoon program consists of Prem Yogi sitting by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s side reading aloud his Hindi translations of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purports from the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam.   

Pradyumna confirmed that he is learning and has some grasp, and Prabhupāda told him that he should learn both Hindi and Bengali. He asked him if he is learning any from Prem Yogi’s readings, and Pradyumna replied that Prem speaks a little quickly for him to follow. 

Prabhupāda agreed, but he is pleased with Prem’s efforts. “I am studying [him]. He is translating nice. He is learned.” 

The talk of Prem Yogi reminded me of an obstacle that has arisen in his work. Pradyumna is training him to do the English editing, but, I informed Śrīla Prabhupāda, there was no one to transcribe Prabhupāda’s tapes. 

Prabhupāda was surprised and wondered why; Pradyumna immediately suggested that Pālikā could do it.  

I wasn’t aware that she knew how. “Pālikā can do it? That will be all right, then.” 

Prabhupāda look at me. “You also learn.” 


“Yes.” Prabhupāda confirmed. “In case there is none, you should do.” 

I was happy to receive his instruction to learn another new service, although I haven’t a clue how. 

When Pradyumna said that Pālikā had done it before and Akṣayānanda added, “She is expert,” Prabhupāda readily agreed. “She is expert in typing. Amongst the women, she is expert typist. She is expert in so many things. Only defect is that she is woman. But Kṛṣṇa says, striyaḥ śūdrās tathā vaiśyaḥ [Bg. 9.32]: ‘Never mind woman. If she is devotee, she also comes to Me.’ Striyaḥ śūdrās tathā, ‘no one barred.’ Especially naming striyaḥ śūdrās tathā vaiśya te ’pi yānti parām. Kṛṣṇa is so kind. There is no restriction. Everyone is open to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108109]. This is open to all living entities. There is no restriction. And so long this body is there, material, there is distinction between this and that. Otherwise, when you come to the platform of spiritual understanding, paṇḍitāḥ samadarśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18], then there is no restriction. Higher, lower, this, that, so many.” 

That being settled, Prabhupāda took the opportunity to mention to Akṣayānanda Mahārāja another management problem. “One complaint is standing, that with our life members and others, subscribers, they always complain they are not getting paper, they are not getting book. That is the general complaint.” 

Akṣayānanda asserted that Back to Godhead is being sent out regularly but that unfortunately, many times the mail is stolen; he hasn’t yet figured out a way around this.  

Prabhupāda shook his head in disgust. He has had practical experience of the dishonesty of the postal workers. “It is a fact. Because there are so many nice pictures. I have seen. When I was printing my books in a Delhi press, so one peon was coming there to work part time as compositor. So his mailbag he will put somewhere in the press and he will begin composing. And all other compositors, they’ll check the mailbag, and if something is attractive, they will take. I have seen it. Our magazine is full of pictures, so naturally, as soon as they see the picture, they take it.” 

“Yes, that’s the trouble,” Akṣayānanda said. He told Śrīla Prabhupāda of a system he is trying to introduce whereby he engages volunteers in different towns to receive a batch of magazines and then go out and deliver them by hand to our life members. 

Prabhupāda pulled a face. He was skeptical. “That is not possible.” Even though Akṣayānanda said that the system works in the cities where he has implemented it, he also admitted that he doesn’t have it in all the cities to which he sends magazines. 

Still Prabhupāda was not convinced. “How it is possible? Some are living ten miles from him. It is not possible.” 

Prabhupāda expressed his dissatisfaction with his countrymen and the current state of affairs. “No; that is happening in India, not in other countries. In your country the peons are very responsible. Here they are never satisfied. This is the modern mentality. Nobody is satisfied with his income. He wants more money. And for that purpose he can do anything rascal. I have seen it. This peon puts his bag without any responsibility. Letters are strewn and maybe some letters stolen. Who can say? And he came to earn some money. For some time he’ll compose and get some labor. And in Calcutta I have seen all the office peons, they are sleeping in Dalhousie Square; the peon [uses a] book as the pillow for hours together. And after distributing, when they return to the office, it is going to be closed. And if they are asked explanation, ‘Why you are so late?’ ‘Oh, he was not there. I had to wait three hours,’ and so on, so on, so on. Everyone is dishonest. Nobody is working honestly. Especially in India, because they are povertystricken. If they can sleep two hours, he thinks that he has made some profit. Formerly, people were God conscious. They did not like to cheat, that ‘God will be displeased.’ Now they don’t believe in God, so they can do anything.” 

The conversation closed with the arrival of some local gentlemen and bābājīs. Prabhupāda was pleased to see them. They were responding to his invitation to help him fight the court cases in America and spent some time discussing the details of the case and how they can lend their support. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda is following his regular schedule, but his health is becoming weaker and weaker. Now he takes rest in the back bedroom instead of on the roof. Because of the cold at night, he called me in this evening and asked me to set up a portable brazier of hot coals from the kitchen to keep the bedroom warm. Unfortunately, I am so dull that after bringing in the grate and filling it with coal, I couldn’t get it to light. I didn’t realize I had the wrong type of coal, and in the end Prabhupāda had to personally supervise me, sending me off for the correct type of fuel while he set about lighting the fire. After just a short while, he had a good blaze going. I felt embarrassed that my incompetence had inconvenienced His Divine Grace, but he was good-natured about it, and once again I was impressed with how practical he is. Now that I know the procedure, I can ensure he will have a warm room to retire to each evening. 

November 5th, 1976

Even though the building is not yet completed, Śrīla Prabhupāda is keen to get the gurukula operational. This morning about nine boys, all between eight and twelve years old, arrived from America to join the few that are already here. They brought with them ghee from the Pennsylvania farm to offer to Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda was glad to see this new batch of students for his new gurukula, and he has been meeting regularly with Jagadīśa on its organization. 

The arrival of the boys inspired this morning’s talk; Prabhupāda was surprisingly frank and realistic about what he is attempting. The verse, 5.5.17, was appropriate to his attempt to establish an educational institute aimed at the higher goals of life. “If someone is ignorant and addicted to the path of saṁsāra, how can one who is actually learned, merciful, and advanced in spiritual knowledge engage him in fruitive activity and thus further entangle him in material existence? If a blind man is walking down the wrong path, how can a gentleman allow him to continue on his way to danger? How can he approve this method? No wise or kind man can allow this.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda told us that there are generally two classes of men—those who teach and those who are taught. The modern idea of classless society runs counter to real progressive values. Therefore even in a socialist country like Russia they have had to recognize at least two classes, managers and workers. Using the democratic idea as another prime example, he explained why failure to recognize the natural differences in propensities among people in human society leads to difficulty for all. “At the present moment, without any class, the government has made adults vote. Anyone who is above certain age, say eighteen years or twenty years, he can vote. And people are not educated in this division: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. They are all classless. Classless means fools, rascals, śūdra.  

“If you classify—classify means ‘Here is intelligent class, here is next class, here is next.’ If you don’t classify, that means śūdras. So śūdras, they have got votes. Similarly, what they will elect? They will elect another rascal, that’s all. Big rascal. A small rascal and big rascal, that’s all. Therefore in the Bhāgavata it is said, śvaviḍvarāhoṣṭrakharaiḥ saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ [SB 2.3.19]. ‘Here is our president. Here is our prime minister.’ But what is he? He is elected by the śūdras, so he is a big śūdra. How you can expect nice things? If you say, ‘Now, he is elected President, he is so much honored and he’s exalted post, His Excellency,’ so Bhāgavata says, ‘Yes. This is all good, but by whom he is praised?’ Śvaviḍvarāhoṣṭrakharaiḥ saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ. Just like lion. Lion is very strong animal. He is considered to be the king of the forest. So all other small animals, they are very much afraid of, very respectful. But does it mean because he is lion he is not an animal? He is animal. He may be lion, very powerful, very strong; he can subdue others. But that does not mean he is any advanced intelligent person like brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya.” 

Actually, Prabhupāda went on, if one is not Kṛṣṇa conscious, then he is a paśuḥ, an animal. Therefore, the natural God-created social system of different classes has to be followed if there is to be success. He emphasized, as he has many, many times, that qualification depends on training rather than birth. “A person born in brāhmaṇa family, if that family is strictly following the brahminical rules and regulation—in the śāstra it is said that in higher section, brāhmaṇa specially, if garbhaḍhaṇasaṁskāra is not observed, the whole family immediately becomes śūdra. Śūdra has no saṁskāra. Śūdra has only one saṁskāra—marriage. And the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, they have got daśavidhāsaṁskāra. Before birth, when the child is in the womb, there is ceremony. Then when he is born there is ceremony. Then he’s little more, little more . . . Just like Parīkṣit Mahārāja; when he was born, immediately all the brāhmaṇas came. Jātakarma ceremony. A child is born. There will be some pūjā, pāṭha, and then there will be horoscope made immediately, in what moment this child is born, what will be his feature. All the brāhmaṇas made immediately horoscope. You’ll find in this Bhāgavata. This is called saṁskāra. Not that like cats and dogs they are born without any saṁskāra, and because he is born in a certain family he becomes brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya. No. 

“So there must be a firstclass man in the society. Śamo damo titikṣa. Where is that educational institution at the present moment that ‘Here is a school where education is given how to become a brāhmaṇa’? This is Kaliyuga. Nobody will go there. Nobody will go there. If you start a school . . . I was thinking that now . . .  Just like we are starting this gurukula to train small children how to become brahmacārī. Brahmacārī gurukule vasan dānto guror hitam [SB 7.12.1]. But I am very doubtful whether people will send their children here. Because before starting this movement, I wanted some boys from respectable family, that ‘Give me your one son. I shall train him how to become brāhmaṇa, how to become preacher.’ Nobody gave me. They said, ‘Swamiji, what they will be by becoming [brāhmaṇas]?’ Because they have seen the socalled brāhmaṇa begging, no education, and if there is no begging, then stealing, then cheating. So a gentleman sees that ‘This is brāhmaṇa in the society.’ ” 

Prabhupāda was very frank in his assessment of the state of affairs in modern day Vṛndāvana. “You will find in Vṛndāvana socalled brāhmaṇa, paṇḍita, paṇḍas—no education, and they do everything. It is known to everyone. So because there is no training . . . Paṇḍas, they were guiding the tourists or the visitors. They were trained up brāhmaṇa, paṇḍitas. Now practically higher section of the society, they do not come. One gentleman asked me in Delhi in the beginning that ‘Swamiji, why you have made Vṛndāvana as your headquarters?’ Because they have got a very bad experience. So even the Vṛndāvana city, you see how they are neglected. We are a little far off from the city. You go. How they are neglecting city, no uptodate gentlemen can go there, because the culture is lost. And from big, big Goswamis’ family they are becoming rogues and thieves because training is not there—training, the firstclass man to train them. 

“So therefore it is our little attempt that to train some boys to become firstclass character. Śamo damo titikṣa. That is required in the society. Simply all fourthclass, fifthclass men, how the society will improve? That is not possible. And therefore, one who is actually educated in the Vedic knowledge, how he can say that ‘You are all right’? He cannot say. He gives chance for being trained to be free from the avidyā. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, śarīra avidyājāl. This material body is a network of avidyā, ignorance. So if we take shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, then we can become firstclass men. There is no doubt about it. Training. Training is there. Otherwise, how Kṛṣṇa recommends, ye ’pi syuḥ pāpayonayaḥ te ’pi yānti parāṁ gatim [Bg. Bg. 9.32]? To become high court judge, does it mean it is ordinary qualification? If you say that ‘That man has become high court judge,’ and the other man who has seen him before, ‘No, no. How you can become high court judge? No; he is born of a very lowclass family. No.’ ‘No, no; he has become a high court . . . ’ ‘No, no. I don’t believe.’ ‘No; I have seen it.’ This is possible. It is not that because one is born in lowclass family he cannot become high court judge or he cannot become a Vaiṣṇava. Oh, he can be.” 

As the best of the brāhmaṇas, Śrīla Prabhupāda is determined, even though he himself has doubts on whether it can succeed, to give us the best training to make our lives successful. And already he is succeeding beyond expectations. 

* * *  

Jagadīśa and the gurukula teachers, along with Yaśodānandana Mahārāja and Bhagatjī, had a long discussion this morning with Śrīla Prabhupāda about the boys’ schedule and some disciplinary matters. Now that the number of boys has expanded and the school is taking positive shape, they are keen to take advantage of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence to give clear definition to its functioning. Śrīla Prabhupāda is very concerned that the boys be well-looked-after, and from his responses it was abundant that their health and welfare should be paramount.  

Prabhupāda went over every item in the boys’ day, beginning with their waking in the early morning. All the boys get up by 3:30-3:45 a.m., and after bathing they chant some japa before attending maṅgala-ārati. Then after ārati and tulasī worship they complete their japa before attending guru-pūjā and ŚrīmadBhāgavatam class.  

He made it clear that in following the morning schedule, the boys should not be unduly taxed. He said that they must get sufficient rest and must not be required to do things beyond their practical ability, according to their age. He thought 3:30 might be too early for them to rise, but he accepted it when he heard that the boys were already accustomed to it and were also getting to bed by 8:15 p.m. 

Prabhupāda was also concerned that the younger boys not be forced to do a long period of chanting japa, it being too difficult for them. Instead, he said, they could be engaged in regular kīrtana chanting. He was satisfied, however, with Jagadīśa’s clarification that the older boys between thirteen and fifteen years, some of whom are initiated, chant sixteen rounds, while the younger boys may do only six or eight and the rest of the time study. 

When Jagadīśa mentioned that some of the boys were going into the Deity room as the Deities were being bathed, to chant mantras from Brahmasaṁhitā and Śrī Īśopaniṣad with Yaśodānandana Mahārāja, Śrīla Prabhupāda objected. “Why? Why? Deity room? Within the Deity room there is no need of chanting. Who told you this? There is no need. Within the Deity room?” He looked questioningly at Pradyumna. “You told?” 

“No,” Pradyumna responded, but then added, “Sometimes you . . . I thought you said, for installation or at other times when the Deity is being bathed, to chant Brahma saṁhitā prayers.” 

“No. Within the Deity room there is no business,” Prabhupāda said. “No business.” 

Jagadīśa told him that in the early morning when we hear the sounds of the boys chanting, it is coming from the Deity room. 

“Oh,” Prabhupāda responded. “They can chant outside, yes. The Deity bathing or whatever, dressing, may go on. You can chant not within the Deity room. That you can do outside.” 

They moved on to the schedule in the school itself. When Jagadīśa said that the first study period was one and a half hours of English followed by forty-five minutes of math, Prabhupāda told him it was too much for the boys. “Not continually. They should be given a recess ten minutes. Then again come to the class. And a class should not be more than fortyfive minutes; then begin another class.” 

Accepting that they should interrupt the extended class for a mid-session break, Jagadīśa asked what the boys should do during the recess. 

“Nothing,” Prabhupāda told him. “They’ll be free. Nothing to do. Recess means nothing to do. That is brain rest. All continually you cannot do that. That is not good. Utmost, forty minutes or fortyfive minutes. Then give them ten minutes freedom. Then begin another. Not more than forty to fortyfive minutes at a time reading, writing.” 

When they discussed prasādam times, Prabhupāda told them that the period from rising at 3:30 to breakfast at 9:30 was too long for the children to go without eating. They should be given maṅgalaārati sweets immediately after the ārati. And when informed that they had a second bath at 12:30, he said that they should not bathe for at least four hours after eating, but he was happy with their taking lunch at about one o’clock and then resting for an hour after before attending their afternoon Sanskrit class. 

At 4:30 they go in procession to the Yamunā for bathing, and they return by 6:00 for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s darśana session in the temple room, although this will be adjusted now for half an hour earlier. Prabhupāda was satisfied with that and said that the boys could also chant during his temple darśana period. After that, they attend the evening ārati, take a little prasādam, and then rest. 

Prabhupāda was happy with the schedule, and so Jagadīśa moved onto the teachers’ duties. Rūpavilāsa is teaching English and math, Pradyumna Sanskrit. Dhanurdhara oversees the āśrama, and Yaśodānandana Mahārāja is conducting the recitation of mantras and will oversee the boys during their japa and kīrtana.  

Prabhupāda liked the arrangement of having a sannyāsī involved to set a good example for the boys. 

Lastly, when Jagadīśa said that Bhagatjī would also be involved, Prabhupāda laughed and said, “For feeding. Feeding. Give them sumptuous food so that they may become healthy; nice food.” Bhagatjī laughed heartily as Prabhupāda went on. “Yes, that is also wanted. Children, they must eat sufficiently. Not overeat—even overeat, that is not wrong for children. And that will be exercise, by going to Yamunā and coming. That will be bodily exercise. This is nice. Do that. Strictly follow. There is no scarcity of space there. Vṛndāvana is holy place. And there is no government interference, so increase it. Bring more students from all over the world. Then it will be unique. And you also make scheme to get Indian children from aristocratic family. Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yogabhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate [Bg. 6.41]—those who are born in highclass, rich family or brāhmaṇa family, they are not ordinary. But there is no brāhmaṇa family now. So at least the richer section, they can be induced to send their boys to learn Sanskrit and English and Bhagavadbhakti. They can do business, and whatever they like, they can do later on.” 

He told Bhagatjī to make an attempt to attract the sons of the wealthier Indian people because those from the general sectors of society are too busy making a living to be able to become paṇḍitas or spiritually advanced men. “But if the richer section, they get their sons—good character, good devotee. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says, ko ’tha putreṇa jātena yo na vidyā na bhaktimān: ‘What is the use of such son who is neither devotee nor learned?’ Kāṇena cakṣuṣā kiṁ cakṣuḥ pīḍaiva kevalam. ‘What is the use of blind eyes? It is simply troublesome.’ So if the aristocratic family, they do not give education in spiritual line, they’ll become all hippies, loafer and drinking and wasting father’s money. They should be informed.”  

Bhagatjī took the opportunity to push for an additional class that he considers necessary but has so far not been included in the curriculum. “In my opinion, Prabhupāda, there should be one period for Hindi classes.” 

Prabhupāda brightened. “Oh, yes, very good. That is essential. If the Indian students come, they will require some vernacular like that. Hindi is essential, must be compulsory, Hindi. That is state language.” 

“For the Western children also?” Jagadīśa asked. 

“Oh, yes, everyone,” Prabhupāda told him. “Hindi, Sanskrit, English compulsory.” He added that if the foreign students learn Hindi it will also please the government. 

Prabhupāda also approved that they open a separate bank account for the gurukula, for which Bhagatjī and Rūpa-vilāsa will be the signers. 

Organizational business finished, Jagadīśa moved on to the question of discipline. He had one of the older boys specifically in mind, thirteen-year-old Jagaman dāsa, who came here to the Vṛndāvana gurukula after a spell in the Māyapur school. Jagaman, he explained, comes from a troubled background, although his mother is a nice devotee. But the boy has been a great disturbance in the school and is practically uncontrollable. He is given to telling frequent lies, and according to Jagadīśa he terrorizes the other boys, misleads them, and, Jagadīśa feels, will spoil them if he remains as he is. Yaśodānandana Mahārāja corroborated his report. He had Jagaman travel with him in south India recently but said that the boy could not be disciplined in any regard. Jagadīśa suggested two alternatives for dealing with him. “I was thinking, to make an example of him, either we should beat him or send him back.” 

Prabhupāda, remaining consistent to his opposition to corporal punishment for the gurukula children, was not in favor of physical correction and offered another alternative. “No. Then he should be sent back. Or he can be sent to Bombay to work ordinarily. Or Hyderabad farm. Like that. Let him work on the ground.” 

On hearing that Jagaman spoke Bengali, Prabhupāda suggested that he could be sent back to Māyāpur to join the preaching party under Bhāvānanda Mahārāja, but Rūpa-vilāsa said that Bhāvānanda had had enough of him and did not want him back. In Hyderabad also, Yaśodānandana said, he had caused such a disturbance at the recent temple opening that they would probably also not want him back.  

It was a dilemma with no easy solution, and Jagadīśa pushed several times for making an example of him through some corporal punishment. “The thing is, if we beat him here and keep him here, then all the boys will straighten up because they will see that if they go bad, then this will be their punishment.” 

Prabhupāda, although quoting the Sanskrit equivalent of the Latin phrase argumentum ad baculum (to deal with a fool you have to use a stick), still felt that this should be only a last resort. “As you think, you can do. But I wanted to engage in farm work, in digging.” 

Yaśodānandana agreed. “Yes, that is his propensity. Actually, it’s a fact when he was with me I would try to teach him Īśopaniṣad and your purports, which are so clear and simple, but after three or four times explaining the same thing, he would become angry to receive the instruction.” 

“No, no,” Prabhupāda agreed. “He is meant for śūdra’s work. You cannot expect that everyone is brāhmaṇa. No. He has got śūdra mentality, so let him till the ground for Kṛṣṇa. Svakarmaṇā tam abhyarcya. He is fit for tilling, so let him till and produce grain for Kṛṣṇa.” 

“In Hyderabad?” Jagadīśa asked. 

“Yes. Hard work. He should be given hard work. This gurukula is for high, high class brāhmaṇa, kṣatriyas, not for the vaiśyas and śūdras. Everyone is required for Kṛṣṇa’s service, but there are—that I was describing today—there must be division.” 

They mentioned another eight-year-old boy who is a similar problem. His father has left him at the school for a few days, but he has not the slightest interest in learning. 

“He is not interested in education; not at all,” Bhagatjī said. 

“If the father takes care, that’s all right,” Prabhupāda said. “Otherwise he can go to Hyderabad. Hyderabad should be for gṛhasthas—for plowing, for growing and flowers, like that. No education required. That is waste of time. For such boys who are not interested, why they should be enforced, education? They are not meant for that. Education is for higher brain, sober brain. And not that everyone has to become literate. It is not required. He can do other work. Yes.” 

He repeated several times that the boys should be engaged according the principles of guṇa and karma. “We should not enforce something. We should see for which work he is suitable. You should engage him. And we must have all departments of work—the weaving department, the plowing department, the cowkeeping department, the Sanskrit department, the English department, the trading department. We should have all the departments. Guṇakarmavibhāgaśaḥ.” 

Jagadīśa nodded in agreement. “Head, arms, belly, and legs.” 

“Yes. Whichever suitable,” Prabhupāda replied. “One must be suitable for any of these. It is the guide’s intelligence. For which purpose he is suitable, engage him, like that. That is required, not that everyone has to become a big scholar in Sanskrit. That is not required. Let him come to gurukula, but if he is not suitable . . . ” 

As far as a person’s character was concerned, he said that general training could be given to anyone. “Just like early rise in the morning, chanting, and going to the temple. What is the objection? Anyone can do it. That is practice. And for working, if he is not suitable for higher education, let him go to the farm, take care of the cows, and grow food, flowers, fruits; eat, and dance and chant. Chanting, dancing, everyone will take part. There is no doubt.” 

The mention of character raised a specific issue in Bhagatjī’s mind. “How to mend from lies?” 

“That is by your good association,” Prabhupāda told him. “What lies he tells? Don’t believe him at all. That’s all. Take him that he speaks only lies. Then don’t believe. Whatever he says, you force him to do. Take him that he speaks only lies. Why should you consult him? He’s a liar. But see that he’s working, that’s all. Now we are getting so much land. We can develop. We can utilize everyone’s service. That requires brain. Not that ‘He cannot do this; therefore reject him.’ No. Engage him in some other way.” 

That settled the matter, and Jagadīśa had only one further item. He wondered if, because of the current limited living facilities, they should continue to encourage more parents to send their boys, or wait until the construction was completed. Prabhupāda told him to move ahead and expand as much as possible. They could use the spare rooms in the guesthouse, he said. “Let them come. And arrangement should be made when Vṛndāvana is too hot. At that time we can send them to Mahabalesvara, or if we get that Madras place, that is very cooling, Nilgiri hills. That will be good recreation for them.” He gave his summary of what he wanted. “They should be kept quite comfortably and built up, their character, education. That is wanted. There is need of some good firstclass men, ideal men. The world is full of rogues and thieves and bad character.” 

With those clear instructions implanted in their minds, the small gurukula delegation took their leave and Śrīla Prabhupāda prepared for his midday massage. 

* * * 

During Śrīla Prabhupāda’s massage, a Member of Parliament from Hyderabad came to see him. The man told Prabhupāda how he had received a grant from the government of Rps. 25 lakhs (about US$250,000) to open a yoga club that will specialize in reviving ancient medicines for bodily health. Prabhupāda listened patiently and then told him candidly, “Ancient or new, it does not matter so long it does the job. By yoga you can develop the ability to walk on water, but why bother when you can pay a few paisa and cross by boat? Concentration on bodily health is simply a waste of time. Even the animals know how to look after this body.” He gave the example of the mongoose, which when fighting with a snake runs off into the jungle if it gets bitten. There it finds a certain herb to eat that counteracts the venom, and then again it comes back to fight. “So even animals know how to take care of the body,” he told the man. “Therefore we should take care of the soul within the body first.” 

* * * 

Due to weakness and ill health, Prabhupāda is taking some dahlia, cracked wheat, with his milk in the evening. It helps with a better bowel movement, and he has been feeling some benefit from it the last couple of days. Another thing that has helped his digestion is some water from Bhubaneswar in Orrisa, from the Bindu Sarovar lake. A Calcutta devotee, Debu, brought a 20-gallon container of it across India on the train because he had heard that it has curative and health-giving properties. Prabhupāda has been drinking it regularly and says he is benefiting from it. 

November 6th, 1976

Prabhupāda spoke this morning on the famous gurur na sa syāt svajano na sa syāt verse [SB.5.5.18]: “One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.” 

It was an excellent class in which he made clear the difference between a real guru and the many false varieties. He started out by expressing that in human society there is a need for responsible guardians. Animals, he said, have no guardians and therefore are loitering in the street. “Some of the responsible guardians are described here,” he told us. “First of all, guru. Either you take ordinary teacher in the school or colleges—they are also called guru—and the sublime guru is the spiritual master. Not only the spiritual master, but anyone who has taken the post of becoming guru to teach others, he must be very learned, very responsible, vipaścit,abhijñaḥ.” 

The quality of being abhijñah, possessing spiritual knowledge, mentioned in the previous verse, is found fully only in the Supreme Lord, he said, but “a little quantity” of that must be present in anyone who has taken responsibility for the life of another. A guru is not someone we go to simply to get a cure for physical ailments, as has become common practice nowadays. Such exchanges in which the ‘guru’ is simply a substitute for a doctor take place between one rascal and another. “The socalled gurus also take advantage of the ignorance of the public, and they become a guru. This is going on. The guru does not know what is his responsibility, and the rascal public, they do not know what for one should go to guru. This is the difficulty.” 

Similarly, there are other so-called gurus who seek to gain a following by showing some magic, making gold, or offering material benefits. “In the Western countries we are seeing so many socalled rascal gurus go there and cheat the public, because the Europeans, Americans, they have got some conviction that India has got some spiritual knowledge, so anyone goes as a sannyāsī, as a swami, they expect to get something from them. So they gather round them. But these rascals cheat them. Somebody says, ‘I am incarnation of God, and I can make my secretary pregnant and marry and get some money.’ This is going on. And somebody is ‘Transcendental Meditation.’ What is the result of prānayama? He will get strong; he will get money; your health will be right. These things are going on.” 

Prabhupāda repeated the real criteria for being a guru given in the verse. “Śāstra says that you should not become a guru, because you have no power to save your disciple from the clutches of imminent death. We will not cheat others. Gurur na sa syāt; this is Bhāgavatam. You are rascal if you are not confident that you can save him from the clutches of birth and [death]. This is my problem, but they do not know what is the problem. They think that little pain in my belly or in the head, if the guru can give me a little dust and it is cured. You will find that there are so many cheaters.” 

He told us about a ‘guru’ some forty years ago near Lucknow who was dispensing dust as a cure for all diseases, attracting many thousands of people. “Even big, big capitalists. Everyone has got some disease, and they want to see the miracle by giving little dust, and he is curing disease: ‘Oh! Such a guru!’ These things are going on.” Later the man was understood to be a cheater. Prabhupāda made it clear that it was the public’s responsibility to understand what is the actual purpose and qualification of a guru. The guru is for solving our problems in life, but the real problem is repeated birth, death, disease, and old age. 

He reiterated something that many of us have heard right from the beginning of our joining ISKCON—that by the grace of God, one gets guru, and by the grace of guru, one gets God. “If you are sincere, if we actually want Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is within your heart, īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśe ’rjuna [Bg. 18.61]. When Kṛṣṇa sees that ‘Here is a sincere soul; he wants Me,’ He’ll give you nice guru. And if you have really a bona fide guru, then by pleasing him you will get the favor of Kṛṣṇa.” 

Quoting from the prayers to the spiritual master, yasya prasādād bhagavatprasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ’pi (By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Kṛṣṇa. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement), Prabhupāda also condemned another type of cheating. “If you have become more than your guru, then ‘Overcoming guru, I shall get Kṛṣṇa’s prasāda, Kṛṣṇa’s favor, I have learnt more, guru māra vidyā,’[learn from the guru and then kill him]—that is also not good. This is the injunction of the ācārya, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. He has described very nicely, vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru nandana [Bg. 2.41]: The order of guru should be the life and soul of the disciple, without caring for his personal salvation. This is the qualification of śiṣya. Fully surrendered. And guru’s duty is to guide him how to overcome this cycle of birth of death. These are the relationships between guru and disciple or father and son, mother and son, friend and friend.” 

Prabhupāda described still another type of cheating, by those gurus who advise their followers to worship the demigods, claiming that whomever one worships, the result will be the same. “There are so many you will find; rascal gurus, they are preaching like that, that ‘Whatever you do, it is all right.’ There is a big Mission; they say also that yata mat tata patha, ‘Whatever you have manufactured, the way of salvation, that’s all right.’ But Kṛṣṇa does not say, or the śāstra does not say. Śāstra says, hariṁ vinā na mṛtiṁ taranti: unless you surrender to Kṛṣṇa, Hari, there is no question of salvation.”  

Finally, Prabhupāda rounded on the impersonalists, those who preach that the goal is to merge into the existence of the Supreme. Simply merging, he said, does not mean liberation. The idea of merging is another mistaken idea. “Just like you will find one aeroplane is going up and up, up, up, and at a time you will find the aeroplane is no more seen. That does not mean he has merged in the sky. He has got a separate existence, but you cannot see. Even one has got so high, it does not mean that he has merged into the sky. If he does not get another shelter, he will come back again. He has not merged.  

“There is no question of merging. Brahmajyoti means it is the combination of millions and trillions of sparks of living entities. That is brahmajyoti. They are not mixed up. They are just like the sunshine. The sunshine, it is not one homogeneous substance. There are millions and trillions of shining particles. Combination is called sunshine. It is not that they are merged. Similarly, every individual soul is individual. Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Arjuna, you, Me, and all these soldiers and kings, they were existing before, they are now existing now, and they will continue to exist in the future.’ So where is mixture? There is no question of merging. Mamaivāṁśo jīvabhūtaḥ jīvaloka sanātanaḥ [Bg. 15.7]: eternally they are individuals, and eternally they will keep individual.” 

The real idea of merging into God’s existence, Prabhupāda told us, is displayed right here in Vṛndāvana. “Just like we are here, mixed together. We have got individuality, but for a certain purpose we are sitting together very peacefully, and the real purpose is to learn how to serve Kṛṣṇa. So when we agree to serve Kṛṣṇa, then that is mixing up of the devotees. What is Vṛndāvana? The devotees of Vṛndāvana, they are all individuals. The gopīs are individuals, the cowherd boys are individuals, the calves are individuals, the cows are individuals. Everyone is individual. But the purpose is how to love Kṛṣṇa. That is ‘formless.’ There is no disagreement in that purpose. The gopīs are trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, the cowherd boys are trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, Mother Yaśodā is trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja is trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. The whole center is how to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That oneness is required. Not that I become one with Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. So this is the Bhāgavata’s instruction: One should not begin to become a guru, or to cheat the disciple, showing him wrong path. That is not good. That is instructed by Ṛṣabhadeva.” 

* * * 

A letter has arrived from Girirāja prabhu reporting  on his recent activities in Bombay. After informing Śrīla Prabhupāda of some banking arrangements, he gave an update on the upcoming Gita Pratisthan meeting. “I spoke to Ram Krishna Bajaj the day before he left for Europe, and since then I have met his secretary in charge of Gita Pratisthan. The secretary says that Mr. Bajaj will arrange for accommodations for all devotees in our sankirtan party and in addition he is willing to publicize our programme throughout the District. Mr. Bajaj suggested that we have the programme in his family temple in Varda since Paunar is just a small town about 8 miles away. He suggested we could have the programme the day before the actual Gita conference begins and that day is Saturday. I told Bajaj’s secretary that we would like Vinobaji to attend our programme also and he said that Vinobaji has taken a vow and never leaves Paunar. He suggested that we could arrange a separate programme for Vinobaji in Paunar perhaps on one of the two evenings of the conference itself. The official talks by members of the committee will take place throughout the day and the two evenings are free. Mr. Bajaj wants to arrange a committee meeting on one of the evenings so we might be able to have our programme on the other evening. The secretary said that Mr. Bajaj did not want to pay for the transportation of the sankirtana party and that Mr. Bajaj will be returning to Bombay around November 15th.”  

Prabhupāda advised Girirāja to circumvent the secretary and deal only with Mr. Bajaj himself. Otherwise, he advised, our men could go in our own bus if it is available. 

On his other current main business, Girirāja wrote that he and the Bombay devotees have been busy enlisting the support of our life members and leading citizens, and that many are coming forward to help with statements attesting to the authenticity of ISKCON and Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He had some suggestions on how to further the campaign. “Many of our friends in Bombay are helping to counteract the movement against us in USA. Sadajiwatlal suggested that Your Divine Grace include Swami Gangesvar Anandji Maharaj in your efforts from Vrindavan. Also perhaps a delegation of leading citizens and government leaders from Delhi could accompany us to the American Embassy to officially protest the harassment of our devotees and request the Ambassador to inform the authorities in America that this harassment will damage IndoAmerican relations and should be stopped.” He enclosed an article from a Bombay newspaper, which was strongly in our favor.  

Prabhupāda was pleased with Girirāja’s efforts. “It is good that our friends are coming forward to help in Bombay. Let them present a statement that it is a genuine movement. All Indians are interested in spreading this movement. Krsna is accepted as the Supreme Lord by all Indians. His birthday ceremony, Janmastami, is observed by all Indians. In Bombay there is an embassy branch. Our Bombay friends should go there to express their protest.” 

Girirāja also gave an upbeat account of the recent festivities at their temple. “We had a very nice celebration for Govardhan Puja and about 1,000 persons attended. We prepared a big mountain of prasada and served full meals to all of the guests. Of course, we had a full programme of Krishna Consciousness, including a drama of the story of the lifting of Govardhan Hill. We also had a very important programme at the house of a leading doctor of Bombay Hospital who is also related to the Birlas. Mr. and Mrs. Mohatta and Mrs. Birla (Ashok’s mother) also attended and were exceedingly pleased. Later Dr. Jhawer said he would help us collect funds for the Gurukul. He said he could get at least Rs. 1,00,000 from Mr. Maheshwari (who has already given me Rs. 50,000) and a ‘very substantial’ donation from the Birlas. He said he would approach members of all communities and he seems more sincere and enthusiastic than Mr. Mohatta himself. Presently I am compiling a brochure for the Bombay Gurukula to facilitate the collections.” He signed his letter, “Your dog, Giriraja dasa Brahmacari.” 

Prabhupāda was very pleased to hear that wealthy, influential persons are actively supporting us. “Encourage Dr. Jhawer, I know he is very enthusiastic. Mohata can give lots of help.” And, practical as ever, he asked, “One thing, is the sanction there for our Gurukula construction?” 

Girirāja also included some information for me in response to a letter I recently sent him. I am having trouble with the Uher cassette tape recorder because the electrical voltage here in Vṛndāvana fluctuates so much. Sometimes it drops to 130 volts and sometimes it shoots up over 300 volts. The power supply has already burnt out once and I got it fixed, but just in case it becomes irreparable, I thought to carry with us a spare Uher reel-to-reel that is stored in Prabhupāda’s almirā in Bombay. I had also asked him to send some spare tapes for Prabhupāda’s Grundig Dictaphone and a voltage converter that was in storage. He was able to retrieve the Dictaphone tapes and converter and is sending them with Dvijavara dāsa tomorrow, but he said that the keys I sent him for Prabhupāda’s almirā don’t work, which is a mystery to me.  

Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja sent a copy of the latest edition of New Vrindaban’s Brijbasi Spirit. Prabhupāda read through it, enjoying the feature articles and especially the update on the Palace construction. It kindled his interest and he wrote back encouragingly, “I am in due receipt of the October issue of Brijbasi Spirit. It is very nice. I have read with great pleasure the article about the construction of my palace. When is it going to be finished? When it is finished I will be anxious to come there to stay.” 

* * * 

Taking Śrīla Prabhupāda’s advice yesterday, Jagadīśa immediately arranged for Jagaman to go to the Hyderabad farm to be engaged in practical service there. Jagaman left by train today. 

* * * 

Late this afternoon Śrīla Prabhupāda had a visit from Dr. Theodore Kneupper, a professor since 1969 of oriental philosophy at Slippery Rock University. Dr. Kneupper earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Louvain in Belgium with a special interest in the philosophy of science. His initial studies of Ernst Mach’s ideas of space and time had led him to investigate the philosophies of both Buddhism and Hinduism. Having a special interest in the nature of higher consciousness, he is currently on sabbatical interviewing various spiritual leaders and scholars throughout India.  

Dr. Kneupper first met the devotees through a close friend, Mohanlal Sharma, a professor in the English department. Dr. Sharma had met Śrīla Prabhupāda personally when His Divine Grace had visited the Slippery Rock campus in September 1965, during his first month in America when he was still staying with the Agarwals in Butler. He had invited Śrīla Prabhupāda to his home and later on helped him get his visa renewed. More recently, he has written an enthusiastic review of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. Dr. Sharma also knew both Kīrtanānanda Swami and Hayagrīva prabhu when they were graduate students at Ohio State University. So through him, Dr. Kneupper had invited Kīrtanānanda and other devotees to Slippery Rock in 1970, where they held a workshop for several days. Then in 1971, along with some colleagues, he went to New Vrindaban while Prabhupāda was staying there. Unfortunately, Prabhupāda was ill, and he missed the opportunity to meet him.  

Dr. Kneupper is thus quite well informed about Śrīla Prabhupāda and his work and recognizes him to be a leading authority on the Bhakti traditions. He has already interviewed the Dalai Lama and several other spiritualists, and today he finally got his chance to meet Prabhupāda in person.  

Their conversation started out with Śrīla Prabhupāda describing a few of the effects of Kali-yuga predicted in the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam—no rainfall, lack of food, and heavy taxation by the government. He especially singled out rascal scientists, atheist philosophers, and politicians, pointing out that their attempts to control nature are a defiance of God.  

When Dr. Kneupper asked if we had any practical solutions, Prabhupāda had a ready reply. “Yes. We are teaching people God consciousness. Then everything will be solved.” 

“You say that man does not understand nature,” Dr. Kneupper said. “The scientist studies nature, but yet he doesn’t really understand it.” 

“Why they do not understand it?” Prabhupāda asked. “Why don’t you understand that there is control over us? Where is the difficulty? Foolishly, we do not try to understand. Do you admit it, that above us there is control? Do you admit?” 

“Oh, yes,” Dr. Kneupper replied. 

But Prabhupāda was referring not just to his guest, but to people in general. “No, anyone.” 

Dr. Kneupper nodded. “Some people do.” 

When Prabhupāda responded that those who do not are foolish, Dr. Kneupper admitted, “Yes. Well, each person has his own thought.” 

Prabhupāda, however, was making a practical point. “No, no, that means . . . He may be rascal, but it is a fact there is control over us. Just like if there is no rain, is it not control over you? Can you produce rain?” 

Dr. Kneupper agreed. “I would say that there is a universal intelligence guiding everything.” 

Glad to see that his guest was in agreement, Śrīla Prabhupāda repeated that the materialistic scientists attempt to deny the existence of God and that their attempts to belittle religious thought was the real problem. “So these foolish rascals, because they have improved little, they are denying, ‘Oh, now there is no need of God. That is opiate. They make the man foolish, God consciousness,’ and so on, so on. These scientists, they declare, ‘What is God? This is all superstition.’ ” 

Dr. Kneupper wanted to know what Prabhupāda thought about other religions, pointing out that there may be many different types of faith. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply made it clear that he is not criticizing those who believe in God. “Religion you may have. Religion means to try to understand God. Any religion—you take Christian religion or Hindu religion or Mohammedan religion—there is little attempt to understand God. So any religion which gives you knowledge of God and you understand what is relation with God, that is perfect religion. We have no quarrel.”  

Dr. Kneupper was going to ask something about all the different religions combining, but before he could complete his question, Prabhupāda wanted to ensure that their understanding of religion was the same. Going beyond the commonly held sectarian definitions, he offered an understanding of religion in its essence. “Religion means to understand God and to follow God’s order. That is religion. Just like government and government law. So if the citizen understands what is the law of the government and abides by it, then he’s a good citizen. Similarly, any person who understands God and abides by the order of God, then he is religious. You may be Christian; I may be Hindu; he may be Mohammedan. It doesn’t matter. Everyone should understand God and the relationship with God, and act accordingly. Then it is perfect religion. And if there is no conception of God, no carrying out order of the God, that is not religion. That is cheating.” 

There is a problem, he went on, in that people take the name of a particular religion but neither believe in God nor follow their scriptural tenets, and in the name of religion they simply fight with each other.  

Dr. Kneupper asked whether there is a special way that Hinduism regards the universe. Once again Prabhupāda brought things to a more definitive level. “The Hindu religion is a vague term. It is not clear. Real term is, it is called, ‘Vedic principle.’ And in the Bhagavadgītā it is said, Vedic knowledge means to understand God. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyam [Bg. 15.15]. So anyone who tries to understand God, he is in the Vedic line. ‘Veda’ means knowledge, so as you get the stock of knowledge, that is called ‘Vedas.’ But as soon as we say ‘Vedas,’ they think it is Hindu. Mathematics is a science. So any scientific man will accept mathematics. Where is the question of Hindu mathematics? Gold is gold. If it is in the hand of Hindu, it is Hindu gold? Hindu, Muslim gold? Gold is gold. When we give the Vedic knowledge, they think it is Hindu idea.” 

Dr. Kneupper wondered if the knowledge of the Vedas, then, appears in other religions such as Christianity and Mohammedanism.  

“No, no. I say that every religion, there is an attempt to understand God,” Prabhupāda replied. The problem, he said, is that now that modern man has science, he is decrying God and saying that God is dead. “In every step they are trying to kill God. That’s all.” 

Dr. Kneupper felt that nevertheless there are many sincere seekers. Prabhupāda agreed. But even among the sincere, he said, very few actually understand clearly what is the meaning of God. He used a familiar example. “Just like in America they say, ‘We trust in God.’ But what is God, he does not know. So what is the meaning of this ‘I trust in God’?  

“It probably means many things,” Dr. Kneupper offered. 

Prabhupāda continued to press his point. “If I say, ‘What do you mean by God,’ they cannot give any clear definition. And our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is ‘Here is God; take Him.’ But they have no knowledge. They will say, ‘They are presenting some Hindu god,’ and then they do not accept Him.” 

“What do you understand by that word ‘God’?” Dr. Kneupper asked thoughtfully.  

“ ‘God’ means supreme controller,” Prabhupāda told him without hesitation. 

“The master of the universe,” Dr. Kneupper rejoined. 

“That’s it,” Prabhupāda confirmed. 

Dr. Kneupper was politely probing. Perhaps he perceived Śrīla Prabhupāda’s assured and direct presentation as a little dogmatic. “Do you think that this concept is the special insight of the Vedic?” he asked. 

But Śrīla Prabhupāda responded so as to make it clear that there was no question of the view he was expounding being in any way narrow or doctrinal. “No, no. You, as a philosopher, you can understand that there is supreme controller. Can you deny it?” 

“Only with great difficulty, it seems to me.” 

“Yes,” Prabhupāda nodded. “You cannot deny. But they foolishly deny it. Therefore they are rascals. So how you can convince the rascals the right way? If you give me a dozen dogs, can I convince him that what is God?” 

“Hardly,” Dr. Kneupper smiled. “They have no capacity to understand.” 

Prabhupāda nodded again. “But they have no capacity,” he said referring to modern civilization. “We are creating dogs and hogs, so how they will understand God?” 

Dr. Kneupper asked if Prabhupāda felt that there will always be a few who understand, and Prabhupāda affirmed. “Certainly. But if there is a class of men, ideal, who understands God, then people will follow. We require one moon. Then the darkness will be dissipated. But if in the millions of stars, what is the use?” Then he added with a smile so as not to offend his scholarly guest, “So they are creating millions of rascals, not one sane man, the modern civilization, the socalled philosophers, socalled scientists. Don’t mind. This is the fact.” 

When Dr. Kneupper asked if he rejects modern civilization, Prabhupāda said no, he just feels that people are badly trained due to a bad educational system. There is hope for change provided people accept the correct way. 

“But would you say the right way would have to be, let’s say, to be a follower of Kṛṣṇa?” Dr. Kneupper asked. 

It was clear from his line of questioning that Dr. Kneupper was still wary that Prabhupāda might be an advocate for a particular party line. To allay his fears and establish the commonality of his view, Prabhupāda immediately replied, “God means Kṛṣṇa.” And he referenced the Viṣṇu-purāṇa: ‘Kṛṣṇa’ means ‘allattractive’. So God must be allattractive, full controller. Our definition of God is aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ/ jñāna vairāgyayoś caiva sannam iti bhagam itīṅganāḥ [VP 6.5.47]—all wealth, all power, all intelligence, all beauty, all renunciation. In this way.”  

Stressing that he is simply trying to give people a proper idea of God, Prabhupāda raised another challenge that he faces in his attempts to help others. “Now in India another danger is that so many rascals, they are declaring, ‘I am God.’ And this India, people have become so fallen down, they accept all these rascals as God.” 

In the West, Prabhupāda told him, the problem is people’s conception that “there is no God,” while in India the problem is their conception that “I am God,” or everyone has their own idea of God. But no one knows what God is in fact. 

In response to Dr. Kneupper’s question about how to distinguish what is true from what is false, Prabhupāda repeated his reference of aiśvaryasya, that although we can make small claims of proprietorship, such as over a certain amount of money or some tract of land, in a particular state or even the whole of America, no one can claim that they have possession of all the money or all the land. Only God can do that. He encouraged Dr. Kneupper as a philosopher to consider this dictum by the example of the ocean. Who, he asked, is the proprietor of the sea? 

Dr. Kneupper thought and replied, “There is no proprietor, strictly speaking.” 

“Why no proprietor?” Prabhupāda asked. “A small tank if you dig, you immediately claim, ‘This is my tank,’ and such a big ocean and there is no proprietor? As philosopher, how you can think like that? Suppose I go in a park. There is nice tank, reservoir of water, very decorated. And if I think, ‘There is no proprietor,’ is it not my foolishness? There must be one proprietor, but I do not know him. That is real sense. Similarly, everything has got proprietor. Why the sea and the land, the so many other things, why there is no proprietor? This is foolishness.” 

Dr. Kneupper wasn’t quite sure where Prabhupāda was headed with his points. “I don’t understand how this relates to distinguishing who are the true teachers . . . ” 

But Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that his example was meant to show that nowadays, no one has any real knowledge; practically everyone is foolish and a rascal.  

Dr. Kneupper was having a little difficulty with Prabhupāda’s generally negative assessment. “But surely there are some who are . . . ” 

Prabhupāda again assured him that there are indeed some who know and are sincere; he was not tarring everyone with the same brush. “Some must be there. There is no doubt about it.” But, he went on, such persons are in a minority, and even when they come forward to speak, there are attempts to stop them. He cited his own current experience. “Who will hear about them? ‘It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss.’ The whole world is rascal. If somebody is intelligent, who cares for him? Just like people laugh at me that I am talking of God. I am not only talking. I am writing so many books. My only endeavor is to understand God, that’s all. There is no sectarian.  And I am selling my books all over the world. So not that everyone is foolish. They’re trying to understand my presentation, big, big scholars, big, big philosophers. Yes.” 

Dr. Kneupper acknowledged that Prabhupāda’s books are in the library at Slippery Rock.  

“Yes,” Prabhupāda said. “So there is knowledge. If people kindly take it, everything will be solved. But they have stubbornly denied, ‘No God!’ And I am stubbornly fighting, ‘Yes, there is God.’ Now the whole America is combining to fight against me, opposition that ‘This man is brainwashing, controlling the mind, and our children are kidnapped.’ They are bringing these charges against us. Just like you have come. Have I kidnapped you?” 

“Oh no!” 

“But these rascals say that I have kidnapped their children,” Prabhupāda told him with mild indignation. “So I am trying to convince, although singlehanded, that ‘There is God,’ and they are bringing opposition.” 

One of Prabhupāda’s other visitors, an Indian gentleman, was tipping his head from side to side in satisfaction with Prabhupāda’s words, appreciating his non-sectarian stance. “That is the real philosophy. That is not only Indian philosophy; this is universal philosophy.” 

“Yes,” Prabhupāda affirmed, pleased to see his message getting through. “God is for everyone.” 

“God the almighty powerful,” the man agreed.  

“God is not Hindu God, Muslim God, Christian,” Prabhupāda said. “God is God. Now, when I say, ‘Here is God. His name is Kṛṣṇa. His father’s name is Nanda Mahārāja,’ now they will laugh.” 

Still, Dr. Kneupper wasn’t clear in his mind that what Śrīla Prabhupāda was saying was free of any kind of sectarian concept. “Do you think if a person is to be a real believer in God he has to also worship Kṛṣṇa or speak of Him?” 

“No,” Prabhupāda assured him. “God means Kṛṣṇa. He has to understand it. Therefore so many books. God has many names, millions, of which Kṛṣṇa name is the most important. Kṛṣṇa means ‘allattractive.’ Then you have to understand the science of God. How Kṛṣṇa is God, that you have to understand.” To that end, he said, he has already published eighty-four books in many different languages. 

He passed around the new French editions of KṛṣṇaBook and Upadeśāmṛta, along with the new Italian abridged Bhagavadgītā, which one devotee had brought in while he was speaking to his guests. Dr. Kneupper speaks French and said that he had already seen the books when he had met with Umāpati prabhu earlier. He was very appreciative of them. The Indian guest also perused them happily. He couldn’t speak the language, though, and asked if they were about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Prabhupāda said yes, but more specifically, he said, they are about Kṛṣṇa the person, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

The focus of the conversation changed a little when one of the guests observed that now people generally don’t want answers to their questions; they want only to become rich. Prabhupāda agreed and pointed out that no matter what one gains in this life, he has to change his body and immediately it is all finished. “Either you become Napoleon, Hitler, or Gandhi, or this or that; any moment everything will be taken away. ‘Get out.’ Not only that, tathā dehāntaraprāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13], you have to accept another body.” 

Dr. Kneupper asked whether it is possible to escape the conditions of being in the body. Prabhupāda told him yes, by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. 

“What is the purpose of there being a body?” the professor asked. 

“What is the purpose of being in the jail? Is there any purpose?” Prabhupāda returned. 

“Some punishment.” 

“Yes. So because we are punished, therefore we are getting this body.” 

Dr. Kneupper was thoughtful and asked the age-old question, “Why does the soul come into the body in the first place?” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda repeated that it is simply for punishment. 

But Dr. Kneupper wanted to know why the soul is being punished. 

And Prabhupāda readily answered, in the same way that he has many times before. “You want to enjoy. Can you understand this? Everyone is trying to enjoy. So enjoy independently means that you don’t care for God. So because they don’t care for God, therefore they are punished: ‘You take care of your body.’ And as soon as you care for God, then there is no material body. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti [Bg. 7.14]. So God, therefore, teaches us how to get out of this body.” 

Dr. Kneupper, a student of the Gīta, asked if that is mokṣa

Prabhupāda confirmed it is. Mokṣa, he told his guests, means to get back one’s original body, and bondage means to get a body according to one’s desire for independent enjoyment, such as that of a pig or a tiger. 

Dr. Kneupper asked if there are planes of existence beyond the physical, three-dimensional world. In reply, Prabhupāda immediately quoted Bhagavadgītā 8.20: Paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ’nyo ’vyakto ’vyaktāt sanātanaḥ. Looking over to me, he told me to find the verse and read it aloud, a practice he often employs in his preaching. 

I read both the verse and the short purport while Dr. Kneupper listened carefully. He then asked Prabhupāda if time exists in the higher nature, and when Prabhupāda said no, he asked if that means there are no changes.  

Prabhupāda explained that changes occur in the inferior energy due to our desires, and with a graphic example he illustrated the relationship between the inferior and the superior. “Just like you get a lump of dirt. You can mold it. You can make a pot. You can make a doll. So we are doing that. Child. The father has given birth to the child and father has given the child a lump of earth and he’s playing, that’s all. For both of them, the father is the proprietor. If the child wants to play, father says, ‘All right, play.’ So he’s sometimes breaking, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing. This is going on.” 

Dr. Kneupper appreciated the example. “Then he goes back.” 

“Yes,” Prabhupāda said, “if he gets sense. Therefore the father comes, that ‘You give up all this nonsense. Come home.’ sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja/ ahaṁ tvāṁ sarvapāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi . . . [Bg. 18.66]. So if you surrender to God, if you have grown up from the childish nature to the real human nature, then surrender to Kṛṣṇa, or God. Then our life is perfect.” 

Again he had me look up verse 7.19, in the Gītā and read the translation. “After many births and deaths he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” 

“That’s it. So everyone can become a great soul if he accepts the proposal of God. Sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śara . . . [Bg. 18.66]. Everything solved. But that he’ll not do.” Prabhupāda then brought his guest back to the starting point of their discussion. “Just like your first question was ‘How to solve these problems?’ The problems will be solved as soon as he surrenders to God. But that he’ll not do. He is bigger than God. He will make solution by his own plan. This is the difficulty.” 

Prabhupāda pushed his point home. “We should stop all rascal plan and should take the plan given by God. Then everything will be all right. Simple solution. The God’s plan is there in this book. Let us take it. Then everything solved. But ‘No, we are scientist. We are philosopher. We are big man, politician. We shall make our own.’ Do and suffer. God has given freedom: ‘All right.’ Yathecchasi tathā kuru [Bg. 18.63], Kṛṣṇa said in the Bhagavadgītā after explaining Arjuna everything. Then He asked, ‘What you have decided? Your plan or My plan?’ So Kṛṣṇa said, ‘I am giving you freedom. Whatever you like, you can do.’ The plan is there. Now it is up to us to accept it or reject it. If you reject, you suffer. If you accept, you become happy. So we are requesting people, ‘Accept it.’ This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. ‘Then you’ll be happy.’ But who cares for us? He is making his own plan. Therefore he must suffer.” 

Repeating that God’s arrangements through Nature are unavoidable, Prabhupāda invited Dr. Kneupper to cooperate with him. “So all philosophers, all scientists, all politicians, let us combine together. The formula is there.” 

 Again referencing the Gītā, Prabhupāda went on to explain that the way to deal with nature is to follow the prescribed duties given by Kṛṣṇa. He had me read out the verses detailing the qualities and duties of the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, and vaiśyas, adding comments where appropriate. He told his guests that if we advocate these ideal standards such as truthfulness, people will simply laugh at us. “People will say, ‘Can anyone exist nowadays, simply becoming truthful?’ Then damaḥ, selfcontrolled. If I say, ‘Come here; I shall teach you how to control your senses,’ he will laugh that ‘What is this nonsense? We shall enjoy life and shall control senses?’ This is the description of the firstclass man, śamo damas titikṣā ārjava, saralatā, simplicity. No one is prepared to become firstclass man. They will laugh. These are all primitive ideas.” 

“You think there is nobody like that?” Dr. Kneupper asked. 

Prabhupāda conceded that there are a few, but he was speaking of people in general. “Not nobody; there are. But people generally will not like that ‘These are primitive ideas, to become truthful, simple, and controlling the mind. These are all imaginary things. How one can live in the struggle for existence by becoming truthful?’ They will say like that. Therefore everyone is fourth class.” 

Describing the vaiśyas, Prabhupāda said that now, instead of producing food grains, they produce useless items like car wheels and tires. He recalled his visit to Detroit where he had seen billboards advertising how many millions had been made. He shook his head in disapproval. “The time will come when there will be no purchaser for tires and wheels, and they’ll starve. That is coming. What they will do? If they become hungry, there is no food grain. For some time they will eat, killing the cows, and then there will be no food, and what these tire and wheels will do? But there is no firstclass brain that ‘We are wasting time by manufacturing tires and wheels. Without wheels we could live, but how we shall live without food grain?’ There is no brain, no firstclass men, no secondclass men, no thirdclass men.” 

Again Dr. Kneupper seemed uncomfortable with what seemed to him Prabhupāda’s sweeping generalizations. “There are farmers who produce,” he said. 

And Prabhupāda was happy to acknowledge this. He wasn’t saying that one hundred percent of the world’s population is off the mark—but pretty close. “Well, in your country there is some adjustment because it is very big country and you are all intelligent people. But even though you have got resources, if you do not properly utilize it, then the bad time is coming. You should expect.”  

Warning of future shortages due to sinful life, he quoted a short Bengali phrase and told its purport. “One man wanted to take statistics, ‘How many thieves are there in this village?’ So when he began to take statistics, he saw everyone is thief. Then he said that ‘What is the use of making statistics? This is village of thieves, that’s all.’ So at the present moment, this is the position. If you make a statistics who is sinful and who is not sinful, you will find all sinful. And because they are sinful, they decry the existence of God.” 

Dr. Kneupper observed that the problems are complex but the solution simple. Prabhupāda agreed while still regretting the lack of receptivity to his preaching. “Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etām . . . And that we are preaching, that ‘You become God conscious. Everything will be solved.’ And who is caring for us? Rather, they are giving opposition, that ‘These rascals are kidnapping our sons, brainwashing, controlling the mind,’ creating court’s case. Just see. This is going on.” 

Dr. Kneupper was trying to follow the points, but the descriptions of the different classes of men were throwing him off a little. It seemed to him that Prabhupāda might be advocating the infamous caste system, and he expressed his doubt. 

Prabhupāda assured him that it has nothing to do with caste. “This is not caste system. It is natural. There is always an intelligent class of men in the society. So they should be, what is called, listed. They should be trained up properly.” 

Dr. Kneupper was still struggling to understand exactly what Prabhupāda envisions for a God conscious society, so Prabhupāda gave him a practical example. “Just like you are a philosopher. So you should not make only theories, ‘perhaps’. But actually, by your philosophy, you establish the existence of God. Then you are philosopher. Idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā sviṣṭasya sūktasya . . . [SB 1.5.22]. If by your philosophical knowledge you prove, ‘Yes, there is God,’ then your philosophy study is perfect. And if you philosophize, ‘There is no God,’ that is useless waste of time. To gain popularity, if you make philosophy like . . .  In your country there are so many rascals philosophers, Darwin, Freud. They are all rascals. They are predominant.” 

Dr. Kneupper said that he thought there are some misunderstandings that Americans have about our movement. He revealed that from Prabhupāda’s disciples he had gotten a clearer impression about the teachings. “I’ve learned it from other of your devotees, or devotees of Kṛṣṇa.” 

Prabhupāda interjected and advised him to go directly to the source rather than through any intermediaries. “No, we have got our books. You are philosopher. You can read. You can understand the whole thing. There is no question of ‘This devotee, that devotee.’ We are giving in writing. So we cannot deny that.” 

All along it seemed that Dr. Kneupper, while very polite and respectful, was laboring under some preconceptions he had picked up from previous contact with devotees. There was a certain reserve that Śrīla Prabhupāda had sensed at the beginning of their exchange and had repeatedly tried to address, a resistance based on Dr. Kneupper’s mistaken impression that Prabhupāda is trying to introduce a restrictive, sectarian approach to religion. Prabhupāda pinpointed it once again without getting too personal. Explaining that the word ‘veda’ means ‘knowledge’ Prabhupada told him, “Knowledge is for everyone. Why do they take, ‘Oh, Vedas, oh, it is Hindu’? Immediately you reject.” 

“I don’t think it’s so much a question of rejecting the Vedas,” Dr. Kneupper said. 

“No, Vedas—they do not know what is Vedas. They think it is Hindu. This is the difficulty. As soon as you say, ‘Bhagavadgītā,’ ‘Oh, it is Hindu idea.’ But that means they do not know what is the meaning of Bhagavadgītā, what is the meaning of Vedas. Unnecessarily they put some outside [obstacle]. Just like they are doing now. They do not know what is knowledge, and they are accusing us that we are brainwashing. We are forbidding our devotees, ‘Don’t eat meat.’ Oh, they are taking it, ‘It is revolutionary. Eh? How these men, they are stopping?’ So this is difficulty. If I say, ‘Here is a person who knows mathematics,’ why there should be [objection]? Any person who is interested in mathematics will welcome him. So similarly, here is Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge means real knowledge. Here is Bhagavadgītā, the knowledge of God, but they misunderstand. They think, ‘Oh, we have got another God.’ How God can be another?  

‘So people should be sober, that we are giving books. They should understand. And it is accepted by the educated class, big, big professors; big, big philosophers. It is not blind faith. Just like this version of Bhagavadgītā, tathā dehāntaraprāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]: ‘As we are changing body even in this duration of life, similarly, when this body is finished, then another body.’ So where is the difficulty to understand? But they will say, ‘It is Hindu idea.’ Fact we are presenting, that ‘You are changing your body. When you came out of the womb of your mother, the body was so small. And then little bigger body, little bigger body, little bigger body. Now you are full grown young man.’ So the body is changing, everyone can understand, but I can understand also that ‘I had . . . small body and this body. Then body is changing; I am existing.’ Then where is the difficulty of the transmigration of the soul?” 

“Many people do accept,” Dr. Kneupper assured him. 

“But as soon as we say [it], ‘Oh, this is Hindu idea!’ Reject immediately. This is a science, and they are taking ‘Hindu idea.’ ” 

The favorable Indian gentleman had a clear grasp of Prabhupāda’s points. “The problem is that identification only. Otherwise it is universal philosophy.” 

Prabhupāda nodded, raising his eyebrows in acknowledgment. “It is universal, but they are taking it as Indian. Knowledge is knowledge. It may be Indian or American. It doesn’t matter. Just like university. Some students from India go to university in America to study higher knowledge. So that means that because he has gone to America, that is American knowledge? Knowledge is knowledge.  

“So they should take on this background, but they are thinking that we are spoiling their children, brainwashing, controlling the mind, because against their principle, against their uncivilized way of life: meateating, illicit sex, intoxication. This is uncivilized life. Why a man, civilized man, shall eat meat? He can prepare so many nice things. He has learned how to produce food, food grains. When they are uncivilized—there is no food; they do not know how to grow food—they can eat animal in the jungle. But if after becoming civilized, if you are eating the same thing, then what is the difference between civilization and not civilization? And especially in your America you can get all nice foodstuff. You have got sufficient grains, sufficient fruits, sufficient vegetables . . . everything sufficient. Why you should eat meat? This is uncivilized life. They could not give up the uncivilized way of life. And when you teach that ‘You become civilized. Give up this all nonsense. Don’t eat.’ ‘Oh, it is brainwashing.’ You see? We are teaching them to become civilized, and they are taking it brainwashing.” 

Dr. Kneupper asked if not eating meat was part of the teaching of the Bhagavadgītā. Prabhupāda answered yes, but modified his reply. “Meateating is thirdclass man’s eating. It is not denied. Amedhya. But to give us our life, don’t kill cows, because it gives you milk, very substantial food. If you want to eat meat, you can eat the hogs and dogs. But don’t kill the cows. Kṛṣigorakṣyavāṇijyam [Bg. 18.44]. This is special. It is not forbidding meateating, but don’t eat cows’ flesh. That is loss. It is a great loss to the human society. If they do not have sufficient milk production, then their brain will be dull. They will not be able to understand subtle things. Therefore it is better to avoid it. But if you cannot avoid, you can eat some inferior, useless animals. But don’t touch the cows. This is Bhagavad gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, gorakṣya. He never says, ‘Pig-rakṣya.’ You can eat pig. You can eat the goats, the lambs. There are so many small useless animals. They are eating dogs also. The Chinese people, they eat dogs. So you can eat dogs, hogs, so many other animals. But don’t touch the cows. This is God’s instruction. And they are advertising that ‘These Hindus, they are so fool, they are worshiping an animal, a cow.’ They do not know what is the economic value of this cow. In the beginning of your life you want milk immediately in the morning. And you are killing the mother? You are civilized? Do you think? You take milk. Instead of killing, you prepare so many nice things from milk which is good for brain, good for intelligence. But they do not know because uncivilized. Foolish fourthclass men. So we are trying to bring them to become firstclass men, and they are accusing of brainwash. ‘It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss.’ We are teaching that ‘These boys, they are becoming firstclass.’ Anyone will worship them. How nice they look, how behavior, how their character. We are creating this, and they are accusing, ‘Oh, they are kidnapping our children.’ So this is our position.”  

Prabhupāda appealed to the small gathering. “Now you are philosophers. You try to understand the whole philosophy and combine together. People have become all fourthclass, tenthclass, uncivilized men. They should be given the idea of God consciousness. I don’t say only in Western country. Everywhere this is the problem, all fourthclass men. So there is possibility to bring the fourthclass men to the first class. That is educational. It can be done. There is no difficulty. So this is the education, how to make fourthclass men or fifthclass men to come to the firstclass standard.”  

Prabhupāda was keen to motivate his learned guest to join in the effort to give people real knowledge, unfettered by mundane misconceptions. He asked Jagadīśa prabhu to read from the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 1.5.22: 

“Learned circles have positively concluded that the infallible purpose of the advancement of knowledge, namely austerities, study of the Vedas, sacrifice, chanting of hymns and charity, culminates in the transcendental descriptions of the Lord, who is defined in choice poetry.” 

“Now, suppose you are a well-known philosopher,” Prabhupāda told Dr. Kneupper. “If you say, ‘There is God,’ so many people will hear: ‘Oh, here is a big philosopher.’ Therefore, your studies of philosophy will be perfect when you establish, ‘Yes, there is God.’ Otherwise it is useless, because you will waste your time and you’ll waste [everyone else’s]. Already they are Godless.” 

Dr. Kneupper seemed receptive and asked, “How does one establish clearly?” 

“That requires thinking. That requires knowledge. Therefore we are giving so many books. You can study. You can present the case nicely with argument, philosophy. That is your duty. When you are able to describe God very philosophically, scientifically, mathematically, then your education is perfect.” 

Dr. Kneupper asked if there are any books focusing on the topic. 

Prabhupāda of course has dedicated his whole life to producing such books for the benefit of the world, and he replied readily, “There are so many books. The primary book is the Bhagavadgītā, yes, As It Is, if you take it as it is. If you amend it to your whimsical way, then it is gone. Therefore we are presenting. This word we have added, “BhagavadgītāAs It Is.” Don’t try to amend it. Then it will be foolishness.” 

As there are many different Gītā translations, Dr. Kneupper inquired how he could distinguish which was correct. 

“That depends on your philosophy,” Prabhupāda told him. “You are reading so many books. How do you select, ‘This is nice.’ That depends on your philosophy. But if you accept it that it is spoken by God, then there is no argument. But why should you accept it, spoken by God? You read it, whether how much logical, how much full of knowledge. Then you can say. The same thing. Just like Kṛṣṇa says, tathā dehāntaraprāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]: ‘Within this body there is the soul, and because the soul is there, therefore body is changing.’ So any layman can understand; there is no difficulty. If we take ‘Oh, this description, the transmigration of the soul—Hindu idea,’ why Hindu idea? It is science. As soon as we consider it ‘Hindu,’ then it becomes sectarian. Then you will say, ‘I have got my Christian idea. Why shall I take your Hindu idea?’ 

This addressed Dr. Kneupper’s earlier misgivings directly and prompted him to ask about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s opinion of Christianity. Prabhupāda responded that the problem is in knowing which branch of Christianity is authentic. Apart from that, he said that although the Ten Commandments say “Thou shalt not kill,” all Christians eat meat. 

“Not all of them,” Dr. Kneupper said dubiously. 

“99%,” Prabhupāda told him. “They are maintaining all big, big slaughterhouse, all Christians. And Lord Jesus Christ ordered, ‘Thou shall not kill,’ but they are killing. What kind of Christian he is? Disobedience to the order of Christ? And still he is Christian? These things are going on. Then again, party, this ism, that ism, that ism. First of all, all of them are disobeying the Ten Commandments, and then there are parties. So which one you’ll accept?” 

Dr. Kneupper asked if there is no such diversity of interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā

But Prabhupāda kept to the point in discussion. “No, no, apart from Bhagavadgītā, I am talking of Christianity. How you can disobey the orders of Christ and you become Christian at the same time?” 

Dr. Kneupper said that there are always people falling short of their religious tenets. 

“That’s it,” Prabhupāda said. “That means they are all useless. If you are Christian, how you can defy the order of Christ? You will disobey the orders of Christ; still you are Christian? Just like in India, they are all denying the Vedic culture, and still they are Hindu? All these rascals. So therefore, I say, the whole world is full of rascals. If the Christians accept this word, that Lord says, ‘Thou shall not kill; why shall we kill?’ Welcome. Never mind whether Christian or Hindu. Welcome. Similarly, in India, if they accept Bhagavadgītā, welcome. But everyone is rascal, mūḍhā. Nobody cares for God; nobody cares for God’s messenger. All rascals. This is the position. They are creating God. They are creating religion. They are creating sect. This is going on. Therefore we are opening gurukula, sane brain. Otherwise their brain is spoiled by socalled bad education.” 

Dr. Kneupper said that he felt that the confrontations we are now facing will perhaps give our devotees a chance to teach and clarify our position. 

“Well, that we are doing,” Prabhupāda said. “But this is the opposition. That our boys are trained up, they are trying to meet the opposition. But my point is that such a nice thing we are giving. Why they should oppose? That means uncivilized. Why good thing should be opposed? They say, ‘In God We Trust,’ and we are speaking of God only. We have no other business, and they are opposing. And they write, ‘In God We Trust.’ Hypocrisy. ‘If we believe in God, we trust in God. All right, they are talking of God. Let us hear.’ That is sense.”  

Once again he appealed to Dr. Kneupper, as a philosopher and theist, to take up the practical work of real education. “So now, if educated men of your country, they come forward, understand this philosophy, then combined effort . . . My philosophy is that American and Indian, American money and Indian culture, combine together; the whole world will be changed. That is my philosophy. It is coming to some extent.” 

Prabhupāda asked Jagadīśa to read out the newspaper article he just received from Girirāja in Bombay. It lays out a brief history of Prabhupāda’s beginning his mission, and his idea of the blind man and lame man assisting each other, America being blind and India being lame. The article focuses on Prabhupāda’s presentation of genuine Vedic culture through his books and describes our current Indian projects, especially Māyāpur: “ISKCON is also building a model Vedic community in Māyāpur near Calcutta based on cottage industry and agriculture. The important principle is that everyone must be gainfully employed. In ISKCON’s Māyāpur project hundreds of persons operate spinning wheels and more than a dozen handlooms, dye the cloth, process rice and dahl by hand, crush sugar cane for sugar products, and manufacture by hand, wooden shoes and other items of daily use. On twentyfive acres of agricultural land in Māyāpur, ISKCON is developing and demonstrating scientific farming procedures such as crop rotation, organic fertilization, and using improved strains. ISKCON is also crossbreeding cattle from Canada and Australia with Indian cows to increase milk production. Thus the community provides it’s daily needs, acts as an agricultural development and demonstration center, and additionally feeds thousands of people twice every week. Within the next ten years, according to ISKCON’s plans, the Māyāpur project will extend into a complete Vedic city with fifty thousand inhabitants, its own university, airport, and stadium. It will also claim the world’s largest planetarium with four hundred and ten feet high Temple . . . ” 

Prabhupāda, listening with pride and satisfaction, interjected to inform his guests that we have applied for three hundred fifty acres of land from the government. If we get it, he said, we will spend many crores of rupees on the project. 

Dr. Kneupper seemed impressed and inquired where Māyāpur is and how things are progressing. 

Prabhupāda told him that the preliminary inquiry by the government has now been completed and that they are currently considering whether to give us the land. “There were many others, land offers in Hyderabad,” he said, “but I wanted to start this institution on the birth site of Lord Caitanya. Otherwise we have got better land. We have asked government for three hundred fifty acres, but we have already bought in Hyderabad six hundred acres. Here also we can get immediately five hundred, six hundred acres, like that. We have already got another plot of land, one hundred acres, in Ahmedabad. So there are so many lands available, but I wanted to start this project in Māyāpur, the birth site of Lord Caitanya. Therefore we are applying. If they say no, then we shall attempt it somewhere else.” 

It had been a lengthy session, and while Prabhupāda could have gone on, Dr. Kneupper was in Vṛndāvana for only a few hours. He thanked Śrīla Prabhupāda for his time and attention and excused himself. “Well, it’s been most interesting to meet you and hear you. Unfortunately I have to go to Agra this evening. So I really want to thank you, and I will remember this, and I will read your writings and think very deeply on what you said to me.”  

He told Prabhupāda that the Bhagavadgītā is a wonderful book that he reads frequently for spiritual inspiration. 

Prabhupāda was very pleased to have met Dr. Kneupper and he asked him to write to him if he has further inquiries.  

Dr. Kneupper thanked him. “Good. I’ll take back your blessing to Slippery Rock when I go back there.” 

Prabhupāda smiled. “Yes, and there, so many old friends, you can offer them.” 

Recalling Prabhupāda’s visit to Slippery Rock in 1965, Dr. Kneupper told him that whenever he enters the hall he thinks of the story of how Prabhupāda spoke there. 

Prabhupāda was happily surprised. “Oh, they still say.” 

“Yes. You must have left some kind of blessing upon it,” Dr. Kneupper told him. “It has a nice atmosphere.” 

Dr. Kneupper expressed his desire to visit Māyāpur once the city is built, and Prabhupāda encouraged him to do so. As a final encouragement he also had Jagadīśa complete the reading of his purport to SB 1.5.22. 

Dr. Kneupper listened attentively and at the end again thanked Prabhupāda. “I will remember this. And I will read, look into your writings much more closely when I get back.” 

Then he asked a small favor. “Could I ask you if you might sign . . . Put your name in . . . Autograph?” He proffered his personal notebook, and Prabhupāda was happy to oblige and asked the devotees for one of our books. He was handed a Scientific Basis of Krishna Consciousness authored by Svarūpa Dāmodara prabhu, which he duly signed and presented to Dr. Kneupper. 

“Hare Kṛṣṇa,” Prabhupāda smiled appreciatively. “I thank you very kindly. Nice to meet an educated boy like you.” And as his last note he again expressed the universality of his message. “It is for all human society. It is not a sectarian thing.”  

The meeting seemed to have cleared up a few doubts and misconceptions for Dr. Kneupper. “I’m very glad I had the chance to meet you, to learn . . . Because when you meet . . . When you hear things second source . . . Secondary source, it’s not like . . . ” 

“Do you think our presentation is all right?” Prabhupāda asked him. 

“Yes,” Dr. Kneupper replied. “And I’ll try to help the people understand better what the situation is.” 

“Thank you very much.”  

Prabhupāda bid him a warm goodbye, and Dr. Kneupper departed. 

November 7th, 1976

In this morning’s verse of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam we heard how Lord Ṛṣabhadeva’s form is transcendental even though it appears human. Pradyumna led everyone in chanting the Sanskrit and then read out the translation: “My transcendental body, saccidānandavigraha, looks exactly like a human form, but it is not a material human body. It is inconceivable. I am not forced by nature to accept a particular type of body; I take on a body by My own sweet will. My heart is also spiritual, and I always think of the welfare of My devotees. Therefore within My heart can be found the process of devotional service, which is meant for the devotees. Far from My heart have I abandoned irreligion, or adharma, and nondevotional activities. They do not appeal to Me. Due to all these transcendental qualities, people generally pray to Me as Ṛṣabhadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all living entities.” (SB 5.5.19). 

Śrīla Prabhupāda devoted most of the class to explaining how the Lord has a transcendental body and how thus, whenever He appears in the material world, even as the Deity, He is durvibhāvyam, inconceivable. Although ordinary men think of the Deity as a product of men’s imagination, a stone idol, this is not the case; the Supreme Lord is personally present in His Deity form. Due to the imperfection of our senses, we cannot understand the presence of the Lord, although He is within the heart of all living beings. God’s senses, however, are so perfect that they are interchangeable. Prabhupāda quoted Brahmasaṁhitā 5.32 and told us, “Now, it is inconceivable. Aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya vṛttimanti. Now we have got this understanding, that we can see with our eyes, but God can not only see with His eyes; He can eat with His eyes. This is inconceivable. We shall think, ‘How it is possible that one can eat with His eyes?’ Just like we offer foodstuff to the Deity. The atheist will say, ‘Oh, you have offered this, so many nice foodstuff, but He has not eaten. It is there, lying there.’ But he does not know that God has His indriyas, sakalendriya vṛttimanti. As soon as sees the foodstuff is offered, He has eaten. That they do not know. This is inconceivable. Unless we accept the inconceivable energy of the Lord, there is no question of God.” 

The appearance of the Lord in his Deity form is therefore simply for our benefit. We cannot ordinarily perceive the Lord, so He kindly appears to us in way that He is conceivable to our senses. “Therefore, out of His causeless mercy He has appeared in a form which you can see, you can touch, you can dress, you can offer garland, you can offer food—to accept your service. That is God’s mercy. Don’t think that ‘Because God mercifully has come before me in a form which we can perceive, which we can see, with which we can serve,’ that ‘He is not God.’ That is rascaldom. God is there. Otherwise, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as soon as He entered the Jagannātha’s temple, immediately He fainted. Does it mean He made a fun? No. He saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead present there.” 

The perception of God, Prabhupāda said, depends upon how much love we have for Him. Only a bhakta, a devotee, can understand the form of the Lord, and even if one is a siddha—perfected in knowledge or yoga—without contact with a bhakta, he cannot know the Lord. We become a bhakta by the primary utilization of one of our senses, hearing. By the power of only our own minds, we think the Lord as an impersonal force and He remains durvibhāvyam, but by hearing about Him or from Him we can go beyond our limitations and understand Him properly, as a sleeping man can be brought back to wakefulness by alerting him through his ears. 

Therefore, Prabhupāda told us, we should not rely upon our own abilities to understand what is God. The impersonalists hear that He is all-pervasive but then think that because He is everywhere, He cannot have a form. “Ṛṣabhadeva said that ‘I have got My body,’ idaṁ śarīram, when He appears to solve our problem, whether God is personal or impersonal. Impersonal is there, there is no doubt, but what is that impersonal? Mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagat avyaktamūrtinā [Bg. 9.4]. That is impersonal. No, His māyā: ‘By Me.’ That means His energy. His energy is distributed throughout the whole creation, cosmic manifestation. But He is still there. Not that because He is spread everywhere—vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19]—it does not mean He is finished. That is material understanding. Materially, if you take a piece of paper and make it into small pieces and throw it, then the original paper is no longer existing. That is material conception. But spiritual conception? If you take cent percent God from God, still He is cent percent. That is pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate [Īśo Invocation]. 

“The Māyāvādīs, the poor fund knowledge, they say, ‘Why you are worshiping God here? He is everywhere.’ ‘He is everywhere? He is in the temple also.’ ‘No,’ they will say, ‘not in the temple. He is everywhere except in the temple. Don’t go to the temple.’ This is rascaldom. If God is everywhere, why He is not in the temple? So this is their knowledge, poor fund of knowledge.”  

Thus, when we offer prayers or foodstuffs in the temple, the Lord, Prabhupāda told us, even though “many, many millions and trillions of miles away,” can still accept our offerings. “Because we do not understand—everything we try to test with our limited understanding—therefore we do not believe in the activities of the Lord, and we are deceived in that way. God is allpowerful, but when we hear that God at the age of seven years old, He lifted the Govardhana Hill, immediately we dismiss, ‘Oh, this is all mythology.’ Why? If He has got inconceivable power—He is allpowerful—is it very difficult for Him to lift the Govardhana Hill? ‘No, we don’t believe in God. Even if we believe, we want to believe in our own way.’ That is bhāvyam, conceivable. But He is durvibhāvyam. You cannot conceive.” 

Prabhupāda concluded that we therefore have to hear about the Lord from the right sources. “He comes, Kṛṣṇa comes, out of His causeless mercy to inform us. Not only Kṛṣṇa—many others incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. Just like Ṛṣabhadeva. He is also incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. He is explaining Himself. So we should take advantage of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, from the Absolute Truth. Don’t speculate. Speculation has no meaning. So we have got this instruction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavadgītā. If we are serious about understanding about God, then we can hear from Him. And whatever He says, whatever He instructs, you take it. Then our life will be successful.” 

* * * 

About one year ago Śrīla Prabhupāda received a letter from Mr. Morris Yanoff, a resident of Chicago, along with a news clipping about the disappearance of his twelve-year-old grandson, David, whom he believed was living with his mother in one of our temples. Mr. Yanoff did not like his grandson being associated with our movement and hinted that if the boy was not returned to his father, there would be serious ramifications. In response, Prabhupāda sent out a letter to all temples instructing them that if they knew David’s whereabouts they should contact Mr. Yanoff.  

It seems that the boy was not returned, and now Śrīla Prabhupāda has received information that the Yanoffs launched a major campaign against our Society throughout this last year in an effort to force the return of the boy. The boy’s father, along with some friends, has been regularly going out to the Chicago airport, which was one of our best distribution sites, and harassing the book distributors as they try to sell books. The result is that our book distribution has been reduced very dramatically with a loss of thousands of dollars per week. On top of this, Yanoff has campaigned successfully with the Evanston council where our Chicago temple is located to have our permit withdrawn. The Yanoff campaign has not been kept local either. Negative news articles have appeared accusing the devotees of kidnapping the boy, the American Embassy here in Delhi has been contacted with result that there was difficulty for our gurukula boys obtaining their visas, and the purchase of a building in San Diego has been thwarted. Now a legal case has been filed against us. 

Prabhupāda was disturbed by the reports and even more so when Jagadīśa prabhu, who is familiar with the case, gave him the background information. It seems that the boy’s mother wanted to become a devotee but his father did not. As a result, they split up and the mother gained legal custody of the boy and moved into our Los Angeles temple. Later, the father came to Los Angeles and attempted to take the boy back with him by force. He was evicted from the temple, but he then went back to court and got custody of the boy. The mother and son then left the Los Angeles temple and went into hiding. The Yanoffs began a campaign for the boy’s return, part of which was their appeal to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda took the matter seriously and thus sent out his letter to all the temples last December. According to Jagadīśa, however, Rāmeśvara Swami informed the other GBCs that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s letter was actually a ruse to pacify the Yanoffs. Of course Prabhupāda did not actually intend for the boy to be returned to his karmī father, Rāmeśvara claimed; he would obviously prefer for the boy to be a devotee, and since the boy himself wanted to be a devotee, he should be kept with his mother. In the meantime, the mother and son moved from one temple to another, and as the father increased the intensity of his campaign, they eventually relocated to our New Mayapur center in France, where Jagadīśa said he believed they were still residing.  

Prabhupāda was very disturbed to hear what was happening. So much damage has been done to our preaching, and now we face a court case. He expressed great dissatisfaction with Rāmeśvara’s actions and told Jagadīśa that the boy must be returned immediately. He said that Rāmeśvara should attempt to settle the case with the Yanoffs, preferably out of court. He also dictated a letter to Rāmeśvara: 

“My dear Ramesvara, 

Please accept my blessings. Please find enclosed two letters which have just reached me here in Vrindaban after being forwarded several times, and my reply to them. 

“I think this matter is serious. Previously I sent one newsletter asking that this boy be returned to his father or at least that his father be notified of his whereabouts. My directions were not followed and now this is becoming a very burdensome situation unnecessarily. Why should we sacrifice the reputation of our Movement for one boy? If Krsna wants, how can his father force the boy not to become Krsna’s devotee? We should do everything legally. Just show in the court that the boy wants to remain with his mother and that the mother wants to keep the boy very nicely. You can say that his father may force the boy to eat meat, etc. and in this way convince them not to take the boy away from his mother. 

“I understand that due to this incident we are now voted out of our Evanston temple by the city council, and that in San Diego we have been stopped from purchasing one building. Now, this Mr. Yanoff is creating a very bad impression of our movement. What is our gain? These things should be done legally not whimsically. If the father is victorious in the courts then what can we do? Our business is not to kidnap. People must come voluntarily. It is always voluntary. Krsna is offering the chance to go back home, Back to Godhead, but He leaves the choice up to the living entity. 

“The example of Prahlada Maharaja is there. Despite all efforts on the part of his atheistic father to change him, he remained a staunch devotee of the Lord. It is undoubtedly unfortunate circumstances, but why should we jeopardize the reputation of our Movement? You have been handling the affair. Please now rectify the situation. Do everything legally. Do not cause unnecessary troublesome situations. Our main business is to distribute my books and people will come gradually. Everything should be done for that purpose. People will criticize and oppose us, there is no doubt, so why should we create more trouble unnecessarily. 

“N.B. They have also given us trouble in getting visas for the Gurukula boys to come to India on account of complaints to the U.S. embassy by Mr. Yanoff.” 

A copy of the letter was also sent to Bhagavān prabhu in Paris. 

Apart from this, Prabhupāda also had Jagadīśa, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, and Hansadūta write a separate letter to Rāmeśvara to the same effect, jointly signed by them as GBCs. 

Along with the new French and Italian books that were delivered to Śrīla Prabhupāda yesterday evening, Bhagavān prabhu has sent his monthly report for the southern European zone, which Jagadīśa read out to him this morning. It was all upbeat, reporting good progress, and Prabhupāda was pleased with his efforts.  

Bhagavān opened his report with a nice prayer: “Practically speaking, only when we feel there is not enough time in the day to do everything necessary for the spiritual master, can we feel relief from the distress of the material energy. Therefore I thank you very much for giving us this highest blessing of Krsna consciousness.” 

He briefly presented the preaching activities in Spain, Greece, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, and France. Twenty-five thousand copies of Kṛṣṇa bookhave been printed along with 100,000 French BTGs. In Spain we have just been granted official permission to perform our saṅkīrtana activities after one and a half years waiting for approval. Devotees were careful not to do anything previously so that we had no record of arrests for unofficial book distribution to go against our application. The wait was worthwhile, and now they can proceed full force. Bhagavān has sent a ticket to Hai Haya prabhu, who is currently residing here in Vṛndāvana, to go begin a preaching center in Spain. 

In Greece Dīna Dayāl prabhu is still there by himself but will be joined by several others this month.  The translation of the first Greek language BTG has been completed, and the Śrī Īśopaniṣad is almost complete. Bhagavān said that he will go there personally to arrange our legal statutes and tax documents. 

The devotees from Amsterdam have gone to Belgium and started a preaching center in Brussels. They hold a feast and lecture program every Friday night, and about forty people are attending. Devotees sell about eight hundred Dutch abridged Bhagavadgītās each week, and a second printing of fifteen thousand is on order. The unabridged version will be finished and printed by January. He said that the translator, whom he didn’t name, was formerly the head of translation for the biggest Dutch magazine in the country “and everyone says his translation is wonderful.” 

In Switzerland devotees now have a preaching center in Zurich and have made several new devotees. Because Switzerland is a multi-lingual society, many thousands of German books are also being sold. Bhagavān reported that for the first time, members of the small Indian community in Geneva are now attending, and about 150 came for Govardhana-pūjā. They were amazed to see the temple. One of them identified himself as coming from Navadvīpa. “He said he had never before felt so happy.” 

Bhagavān’s report on Rome was even more enthusiastic. “The Rome devotees are in ecstacy upon having their first big book to distribute. After a little practice last week they distributed over 1,000 Bhagavadgitas. Even though the Italian people are not so rich they are paying almost $3.50 per book. Also as the Italians are so fond of eating and festivities the temple holds two full feasts a week now and at least 100 people attend each feast. The temple itself is one of the most important buildings we have and is even on the official map of the city. It is in the middle of Rome with almost 2 acres of land and the guests appreciated the atmosphere very much.” 

In France, between Paris and New Mayapur things seem to be booming. Bhagavān reported that almost twenty new devotees have joined since August and that book distribution is going extremely well. Devotees are now sometimes selling all three big books (ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, Bhagavadgītā, and Kṛṣṇa) at once, receiving between forty and sixty dollars for them. 

Other forms of saṅkīrtana are proving successful too. “Now we have started a program which we have been desiring for a long time. That is that each traveling party is required to put on a festival in the area in which they are distributing. This is the perfect follow-up to our book distribution, and people really get to know and appreciate the devotees. There is a standard poster for all the parties and they simply fill in the time and place. At our last festival there were almost 750 people attending and many big books were distributed. In one festival we had in the south of France one boy became so interested he actually visited Vrndavana and Mayapur and came back to Paris with a mrdunga and shaved head. His family owns one of the biggest chain stores in the country.” 

The devotees are now applying for permission to have Ratha-yātrā in the south, in Nice or Cannes. 

When Prabhupāda visited New Mayapur in August he met all the children, and he was pleased to hear Bhagavān say that the gurukula is progressing well. “Every afternoon after their play they offer flowers to the Deity and each one tells the Deities what they did during the day. They all look forward to this very much.” He added that because of the expansion of the school, Jyotirmayī dāsī was finding the management a bit difficult, so now her husband Yogeśvara prabhu will co-manage it with her. Because Yogeśvara was supposed to go to Thailand, Bhagavān asked if Harikeśa Swami could go in his place. 

Finally, he detailed their agricultural activities at New Mayapur. “We have just finished a harvest of 20 tons of sugar beets and 20 tons of grains. The flowers we have harvested for the Deity worship have thus far saved us almost $6,000 in three months. In our farm in the north we have harvested 13,000 bales of hay which are worth close to $50,000. We will be selling some in the winter and bringing some to New Mayapur.” 

Bhagavān closed with a declaration of affection that confirmed the points Śrīla Prabhupāda made in class this morning. “I hope this report meets your approval. Your satisfaction is the object which completely satisfies the mind and senses.” 

As an addendum, Bhagavān wrote in the names of six devotees for first initiation and eighteen for second. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled with satisfaction as he heard about the preaching activities. It was exactly the kind of report he likes to hear. The thought of so many new centers and devotees filled him with enthusiasm to go there and be with them. “Yes, let Hai Haya go to Spain and work very carefully. When it is established I shall go there. It is very good news that we are opening a center in Greece. I have been to Zurich. It is a very clean city. Develop it nicely. Many important persons who were very interested in our movement came to see me when I was in Geneva. All the news of these centers is very encouraging. May Krsna bless you that you always remain fully engaged in His service. Also, it is nice that you are holding two feasts each week in Rome. On my next tour I must go there. 

“When people are enlightened they take this movement seriously. We are given to understand that formerly in Europe only the French people were enlightened. Therefore it is to be expected that many people in Paris will join us. Regarding Rathayatra, you can change the date according to a suitable time. You may hold it in Paris whenever it is the best time. It will attract many persons. Please do it.” 

The news of New Mayapur was of special interest to Prabhupāda, not least because of the summer drought in Europe, which he mentioned to Dr. Kneupper last night as a symptom of sinful life. 

“Have there been rains at New Mayapur? There should at least be rains in our area. Yes, increase the flowers. You have got sufficient space. Produce flowers, fruits, vegetables and grains in ample quantities. We should be fully selfsufficient. I like New Mayapur very much.” 

Prabhupāda approved of Harikeśa Mahārāja going to Thailand, and he accepted all the candidates for initiation, telling Bhagavān that he should chant on the beads of the new devotees. He also added a note about the Yanoff case. “I am enclosing herewith a copy of a letter to Ramesvara. Consult with him in the matter and do the needful.” And as a postscript he added, “Everyone has praised the Krsna Book.” 

November 8th, 1976

In today’s verse for ŚrīmadBhāgavatam class, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva instructed his one hundred sons to follow their eldest brother, Bharata, for peace and prosperity. Prabhupāda told us that by accepting his leadership, all the brothers were happy. Bharata was so qualified that after his rule the name of this planet was changed from Ilāvṛtavarṣa to Bhāratavarṣa. Formerly, the entire planet was under one rule and everyone was happy; due to a sense of God consciousness there was no sense of division. But nowadays, Prabhupāda said, the culture is lost and therefore everything is becoming increasingly divided according to personal interest. Even a single city may become its own state, and the United Nations, instead of uniting everyone under one flag, simply adds more and more flags each year. Although the whole planet was formerly ruled by the kings from Hastinapura, now India itself had recently been divided into Pakistan and already, within only thirty years, several wars had been fought. 

“So this is the position, that without Kṛṣṇa consciousness everyone will try to enjoy sense gratification independently. Either individually, collectively, socially, economically, politically, go on dividing, dividing, divide. There is no oneness, simply division. So Ṛṣabhadeva is advising His other sons—He had one hundred sons—that bharataṁ bhajadhvam: ‘You just be obedient to Bharata. Don’t try to rule independently, because if you follow the principles of Bharata Mahārāja, that will satisfy the citizens, not ruling over independently.’ ”  

In the same way, Prabhupāda said, “Just like the son is part and parcel of the body of the father, similarly we are also sons, everyone, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. There is no scarcity. Kṛṣṇa has created this world in such a way that there is no question of starvation in any part of the world. But because we have rebelled against the principle of universal brotherhood, we are all suffering. I have several times said that there is ample space. There is no question of scarcity. Ample space. I am traveling all over the world. So much space lying vacant in America, in Africa, Australia. Why the Chinese or the Indians should be congested, overpopulation? But they will not allow. ‘It is my country. Have you got visa?’ Immigration. ‘Yes, I have got.’ ‘All right, three months; then get out.’ This is going on. Because they are rascals, they are falsely claiming, ‘This is my country. This is my property. Nobody can come here.’ This is a dog’s philosophy. Just like the dogs. They have selected one neighborhood, and three, four dogs, they live peacefully. Not peacefully—they also fight amongst them. But if another dog comes, immediately the four, five dogs will attack: ‘Why you have come here? Why you have come here? Gow! Gow! Gow!’ So this kind of socalled immigration department means dog’s department; they are maintained for checking the human life. Why there should be immigration? We are all brothers. Why you should stop? It is my father’s property; it is your father’s property.” 

Prabhupāda glorified India’s original spiritual culture for its broad and generous vision. “India was like that. The foreigners took advantage of India’s simplicity, magnanimity. They came here, the Muhammadans and the Christians, to exploit it. But India was very much magnanimous. Anyone who comes—‘Yes, come here. Learn Vedic literature.’ India’s philosophy is gṛhe śatrum api prāptaṁ viśvastam akutobhayam: ‘Even if the enemy comes to your place, you should receive him so nicely that he will forget that he is your enemy.’ That is India’s philosophy. What to speak of friend, even if you get your enemy, you shall receive him. That is India’s hospitality.” 

He illustrated his point with a story from the Mahābhārata. “We have got incidences in the history. There was fight, Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas, but in the eveningtime they were friends. Eveningtime there is no animosity. Just like Arjuna went to Duryodhana. Duryodhana criticized his grandfather. Grandfather is sometimes criticized by the grandsons. It is not an offense. You cannot criticize superiors, but between grandfather and grandchildren the relation is different. The grandfather also criticizes the grandchildren. So Duryodhana criticized Bhīṣmadeva, ‘My dear grandfather, you have got affection for the Pāṇḍavas. Then you are not fighting sincerely. You have been appointed the commanderinchief, but out of your affection you are neglecting your duty.’ Indirectly he said. So old grandfather became a little angry. ‘What do you want?’ ‘No, you can finish them in one day. Why you are taking so much time?’ ‘All right, I shall finish today. Tomorrow I shall do that. At least I shall finish Arjuna tomorrow. Either his intimate friend Kṛṣṇa will have to break His promise or His friend will die. You’ll see tomorrow.’ So Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa, and Pitāmaha, the Grandfather Bhīṣmadeva, this is the scene. 

“Now, Bhīṣmadeva has promised. Bhīṣmadeva knew that ‘Arjuna cannot be killed. I will show Duryodhana that I am not partial. He is not to be killed.’ Jayas tu pāṇḍu putrāṇām yeṣāṁ pakṣe janārdanaḥ. ‘Nobody can kill them. But this rascal is criticizing me, so I shall show tomorrow.’ So he made five weapons to kill the five brothers, and he said that ‘I am keeping these five arrows to kill the five brothers tomorrow. Don’t worry. Sleep nicely.’ So Kṛṣṇa could understand that ‘This arrangement has been done.’ So Kṛṣṇa reminded Arjuna that ‘Duryodhana wanted to give you some benediction, being pleased upon you. Now you go there and take the five weapons from him.’ So my point is that how the fighting was in a sporting spirit. So Arjuna, when he came to the camp of Duryodhana, Duryodhana well received him: ‘Yes, my dear brother, come. What do you want? Why you have come?’ ‘Now, you promised something to give me. I have come to take that.’ ‘Yes, I will give you. You want without fight the kingdom? Take it immediately. You want that?’ ‘No, no, no. I don’t want that. Fighting must go on. I have not come to beg you that. I have come to take that weapons which you have kept.’ Immediately he delivered. He kept the [arrows] safely for killing them, and because he has come to beg ‘A kṣatriya should not beg, but he is begging? All right, take it.’ This is India. This is India’s civilization.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s main point was that there must be a sense of unity if there is to be peace, and Kṛṣṇa consciousness can provide that. “So if we actually formulate peace formula, then everything is possible. Simply we have to accept the instruction of Kṛṣṇa. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for this purpose. We are simply requesting to accept the Kṛṣṇa philosophy. Then the whole world will be peaceful. There is no doubt about it. Bhoktāraṁ yajñatapasāṁ sarvalokamaheśvaram/ suhṛdaṁ sarva bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati [Bg. 5.29]. These rascals, their mentality is like the dogs, and they are making United Nation. A dog can be united? Is it possible? No. You bring several dozens of best dog and ask them, ‘Please live peacefully. We shall give you food, everything.’ It is not in their capacity to live peacefully. So even there is already ample economic development, sufficiency, but because the mentality is doggish, the socalled farce of United Nation, they are fighting with one another. It is not possible. So without Kṛṣṇa consciousness everything will be failure. Therefore Ṛṣabhadeva Mahārāja is advising that ‘You concentrate your service to Bharata.’ ” 

* * * 

Rūpānuga prabhu has sent his zonal report for September, along with a copy of a check for one thousand dollars, which he has deposited in Prabhupāda’s Los Angeles account. As Śrīla Prabhupāda sat in the back garden basking in the rays of the warm winter sun while I massaged him, he listened carefully as Jagadīśa prabhu read the letter aloud. Rūpānuga apologized for the delay in sending the report, which he said was due to having spent a week in New York “helping to mount an offensive against the fools who would criticize and slander our movement.” He said that he thought it a great boon for our preaching. “It gives us an opportunity to preach on a national public issue, the 1st Amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution, which deals with religious freedoms. And it also gives us a first-class opportunity to establish ourselves in the public vision as a strictly bonafide movement and not some temporary cult.” 

Prabhupāda agreed with Rūpānuga’s assessment, that the attacks were a positive development. “Yes, we should take advantage of this opportunity to preach. I see it that somehow or other they are chanting Krsna. Either they criticize or chant.” 

Rūpānuga’s zonal responsibilities cover six temples—Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis in the United States, and Montreal and Ottawa in Canada. In addition, he is overseeing the development of the Bhaktivedanta Institute (BI). He has relocated to Washington due to problems there surrounding the temple president, Bṛṣākapi dāsa. “He has left the temple with an unmarried woman whom he has taken as a ‘second wife’. According to Your Divine Grace’s resolution at Mayapur prohibiting polygamy in ISKCON and after consulting with three other GBC, I informed Bṛṣākapi that it was an incompatible situation to remain as Temple President and practice polygamy.” Rūpānuga said that the GBC had advised Bṛṣākapi to part from the girl and take up his responsibilities for caring for his four children and his wife of twelve years, whom, he said, had reluctantly agreed to her husband having another wife. “Although his distraction has caused disturbance to the management of the Temple, he is hoping that you will allow him to take the girl as a wife and still remain as president. In the meantime I have assumed the management of temple affairs. Have I acted correctly?” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda shook his head in strong disapproval at Bṛṣākapi’s actions. “This incident with the president of our Washington temple is not good,” he wrote back. “He can’t even maintain one wife. Just see how lusty he is. Now he’ll dare to take another. Anyway he cannot live in the temple. If he wants two wives it must be done outside. He should maintain his family by working and give 50% to the temple. He may not live off temple funds. Temple president is generally meant for sannyasi, but a grhastha may be if he is restrained. It is not good if he remains as president.” 

The temple runs on a monthly budget of thirty-nine thousand dollars, and in book distribution they are the leading medium-size temple. Rūpānuga said that he is willing to remain in Washington as long as it takes to train another president and thought that he can also get the BI going there. Prabhupāda gave his approval on both counts. “Our place there is very nice, now develop it.” 

The Baltimore temple, which Prabhupāda visited in July, had their best month ever for book distribution, collecting over ten thousand dollars. They have twenty-two devotees and a solid program of free literature distribution, and follow-up preaching at the nearby university campus is attracting many students. 

In Philadelphia the temple president, Ravindra Svarūpa prabhu, is working on his Ph.D. dissertation. They were second for the month in the medium temples for book distribution, contributing $15,500 to the BBT, and the budget is $49,500 per month. They are currently negotiating for a new building. 

The St. Louis temple has fourteen devotees with another fourteen at their farm. They are also negotiating for an ex-church with residences. Of their budget of fifteen thousand dollars a month, Rūpānuga informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that a regular amount is going for legal expenses involved in saṅkīrtana expansion. “The kind of extensive legal work going on there to open distribution spots and keep them open is further indication that legal expenses will continue to be a regular part of the budget for the majority of temples. Legal expenses will increase as expansion of book distribution increases and they should be calculated into monthly budgets.” This prompted him to suggest that some of our devotees become lawyers to save the movement money and because “I have never met a karmi lawyer I trust enough. I think that in the long run we will need Krsna conscious lawyers to fight effective battles in the courts, but lawyers do not join the movement.” He said that by simply becoming a clerk for a lawyer for five years, a person could then sit for the state bar exam without going to law school. “I think we should seriously consider training up devotee lawyers.” 

Prabhupāda was agreeable. “Regarding our men becoming lawyers, yes do it. For a graduate it is not difficult. You can also take a degree. However, five years is too long for our men to work as a clerk. That is not good.” 

Prabhupāda was pleased to hear that in Montreal there are now fifty-five adult devotees and eleven children. The monthly budget is twenty-three thousand dollars, and they distributed 13,610 French language books along with 2,952 English ones. This was despite the fact that they have no airports open for distribution, very cold weather, and a limited saṅkīrtana area. 

Ottawa is a small temple, and Rūpānuga reported that the ten devotees there are having problems with accommodations and have taken up temporary quarters. 

He ended his report with compliments. “I have just seen the new French Bhagavatam and it looks very high class.” 

Prabhupāda was satisfied with the progress in Rūpānuga’s zone and ended his reply on a personal note. “Your son has arrived here. I am happy to see him.” 

Gour Govinda Mahārāja wrote from Bhubaneswar expressing his ongoing frustration over the registration of our land there. He made a special trip to Calcutta to meet with Mr. Bijayananda Kanungo, the husband of Mrs. Chhabi Kanungo, the donor of the land. Mrs. Kanungo had purchased the land and then donated it to ISKCON. Because her name does not appear on the settlement records, she has to sign some documents to establish her legal ownership, and she also has to produce an affidavit in connection with the Land Ceiling Act stating that she does not own more than ten acres in Orissa. Then the gift to ISKCON can be registered. Gour Govinda Mahārāja complained that Mr. Kanungo was not being straightforward with him. First he did not want to meet with him, then after several days he did meet him, telling him that he had already sent him the affidavit by registered mail five days before.  When Gour Govinda returned to Orissa, however, no such documents had arrived. Furthermore, Mr. Kanungo had told him that the deed of sale for the land had already been given to Śrīla Prabhupāda in Māyāpur when he had given Prabhupāda the deed of gift. Later, Mahārāja found out that this was not so. “Why he tells such lies?” Mahārāja wrote. “I don’t know; what is the mystery behind it? Srila Prabhupada! You know the best why such things are happening. Kindly tell me what I shall do in such circumstances. Still I am trying to get the certified copy of the sale deed from the district office, Puri. Kindly bless me that I may come out successful in serving you here in Orissa.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda advised him not to worry. “Try to get the certified copy. Otherwise, what can be done? Do not be discouraged. Go on serving sincerely. Your success is your sincere desire to serve Krsna.” 

* * * 

Just after taking rest at about 11:00 p.m., I heard the buzzer ring. Rolling out of my sleeping bag, I went into Śrīla Prabhupāda’s darśana room, where he was already sitting at his desk, microphone in hand, peering over the pages of the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam. After offering my obeisances, I sat before him, eager to know the purpose for his call. Prabhupāda looked at me over his glasses and, indicating something in mid-air, said, “There is some noise disturbing. Just stop it.” 

I listened, but to my ear there was only silence. Seeing my puzzled expression, Prabhupāda’s eyebrows raised and his finger pointed upwards. “No, just listen.” Again I listened hard, trying to open my ears and perceive whatever it was that was disturbing His Divine Grace. After a few seconds I started to pick up on what seemed to be a very faint, distant hum. Prabhupāda was observing me closely, and when he saw the dawn of recognition on my face he confirmed my perception. “Ha! Now go and find it and stop it.” 

Now tuned in, I walked off toward the entrance door, following the sound, which seemed to be coming from a source high up and distant. Going outside, I moved towards the temple and the sound receded. Going the other way, towards the guesthouse, the faint vibration began to increase. When I entered the building and started up the staircase, the humming got louder, and the volume increased as I climbed higher. By the time I reached the top floor of the four-story building, I was sure that I had identified the cause. Going down the corridor, I banged on the door of one of the single rooms. After a minute the door opened to reveal a sleepy, agitated Viśāla dāsa, quite grumpy about being awakened at such a late hour.  

“Viśāla prabhu,” I said humbly, “you’ve got your fan on, and it is disturbing Śrīla Prabhupāda in his translation work.” 

The fan was hanging from the ceiling, whirring around at full tilt. I couldn’t think why he would want to have it on in the cold of a winter night, but in any case there was no discussion. Viśāla was immediately profusely apologetic at the thought that he might be causing an inconvenience to Śrīla Prabhupāda, and he quickly shut off the fan. After thanking him I went back down to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quarters; when I entered he was deeply absorbed, sitting by the light of his desk lamp studying the texts and flicking on and off the switch of his Dictaphone microphone as he constructed his purports. He gave me a brief glance of acknowledgment, and I took rest, impressed by the intense concentration he applies to his work and grateful for the opportunity to assist him in his efforts. 

November 9th, 1976

Verses 21–22 of the fifth chapter, Fifth Canto of the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam describe the hierarchy of living beings within the universe, beginning with non-moving beings as superior to dull matter, up through animals, humans, subtle beings, demigods, siddhas, and all the way to Lord Brahmā, the original person in the universe. But Brahmā is subordinate to Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, Who is therefore the Supreme Living Being. Yet He says, “Because I am inclined to the brāhmaṇas, the brāhmaṇas are best of all.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that this was the true understanding of evolution—the evolution of consciousness through matter, not matter into consciousness. He told us that even if one develops in consciousness to the point that one can leave the material universe altogether and enter into the brahmajyoti, that is not the ultimate expression of consciousness, and he gave a nice example to illustrate his point. “Fully conscious means a devotee. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ [Bg. 7.19]. That is full consciousness. Without this consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no question of fullfledged. Just like a small bud of a flower. First of all the seed. The seed grows, then the buds come out, then gradually the buds develop; it becomes flower, then fullfledged flower, then fragrance, beauty. Everything is developed. That is real development. Similarly, this is the process of development. When one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is fullfledged flower with fragrance, beauty, and everything. That is the perfection.” 

He spoke a little on some of the different kinds of beings within the universe, comparing them to the forms of life on this planet that many consider to be the most advanced– the material scientists. Scientists want to travel to other planets in search of life, but their efforts are futile. But space travel, Prabhupāda told us, is possible. “Siddha means those who have got yogic mystic power, aṣṭasiddhi. Aṇimā, laghimā, mahimā, prāpti, īśitva, vaśitva; these are called siddhis. Nowadays, socalled yogis, they show some gymnastic. That is not siddhi. Siddhi is different thing. One can become smaller than the smallest. That is called aṇimā. One can become bigger than the biggest, just like Hanumānji. He jumped over the sea. This is mahimāsiddhi. One can become as big as required. Just like there is water. A grownup man can cross water by jumping, but a small child cannot do. So proportionately, if you increase your body by the mahimāsiddhi, you can jump over the sea. That is possible. So these are called siddhas. We have got description in the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam about the Siddhaloka. There the people can go from one planet to another in this body. That is called siddhi. Here we are trying to go to other planet with the machine and still we are failure. But in the Siddhaloka they can go very easily from one planet to another with this body. They are siddhas.” 

Stressing that life is to be found all over the universe on every planet, Prabhupāda briefly related an incident from Lord Caitanya’s pastimes to show that even this vast material universe is insignificant compared to the whole of God’s creation. “In Brahmasaṁhitā we understand, yasya prabhā prabhavato jagadaṇḍakoṭikoṭiṣu aśeṣavasudhādi vibhūtibhinnam [Bs. 5.40]. Aśeṣavasudhā vibhūtibhinnam. Within the brahmajyoti there are innumerable brahmāṇḍas, universes. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was requested by one of His devotees, ‘My Lord, You have come here to deliver the fallen souls, so kindly take them with You. And if You think that “They are sinful, they cannot go with Me back to home, back to Godhead,” so You kindly transfer all their sinful life to me. I shall suffer here. Let them go with You.’ This is Vaiṣṇava, para duḥkha duḥkhi. Vaiṣṇava can accept all kinds of sufferings, provided others are benefited. This is the sample of Vaiṣṇava. He is requesting Caitanya Mahāprabhu that “My Lord, You have come to deliver the fallen souls. In the material world everyone is fallen. So You take them. And if You think they are so sinful they cannot go, then transfer their sins to me. I shall continue to suffer many lives, but You take.’ So Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very pleased by his statement. So He replied also. He said, ‘Suppose the whole universe I take with Me. Then what is the loss in this material world? There are millions of universes.’ He compared that ‘In a bag of mustard, if I take out one mustard, then where is the loss there?’ So similarly, Kṛṣṇa’s creation, God’s creation, is unlimited. That they do not understand.” 

Prabhupāda said that material scientists are suffering from the logic of the frog in the well—kupamanduka nyāya—who thinks that there cannot be anything bigger than the small span of water within his own well. “So these rascals, those who are unaware of the potency of God, they think that ‘God may be like me. I am so little powerful. He may be little more powerful.’ Therefore they cannot understand what is God, because they are thinking in their own terms. And somebody is thinking that ‘I am God.’ So this misconception should be given up.” 

Prabhupāda also had some interesting things to say about ghosts and subtle beings. “Pramathāḥ, they are also living entities. We have heard, some of them, about the ghost. They have no material body. They are covered with mind, intelligence, and ego, but their gross body—earth, water, air, fire—that is not there. One can remain like that, without this gross body and subtle body, material. Just like in the Vaikuṇṭhaloka. But in the material world, when one is not covered by the gross body but subtle body, they are called ghosts or pramathās. Those who are good, not harmful, they are called pramathās. And those who are harmful . . . As in this material world there are good men and bad men, similarly, amongst the persons who have no this gross body, they are sometimes called ghosts and sometimes they are called pramathā.” 

Ultimately, though, Prabhupāda said, the devotees have no interest in any kind of body within the universe because no mater where one is situated, as long as one has a material body, he is conditioned. “Ābrahmabhuvanāl lokān punar āvartino arjuna [Bg. 8.16]. All these conditioned souls, according to karma, they are getting different types of body. One has got the body of an ant, and one has got the body of Lord Brahmā. But that is not our aim. Our aim is how to avoid this material body. For that purpose, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”  

* * * 

Two members of Gargamuni Mahārāja’s Indian Library Party, Satyanārāyaṇa and Vaiyāsaki prabhus, have arrived, just back from a trip to the far north. They had heard that Śrīla Prabhupāda was in Vṛndāvana and drove here with the hope they might see him. Their hopes were more than fulfilled when quite unexpectedly they got a private darśana with His Divine Grace in mid-morning. They both know Jagadīśa prabhu from America, and they approached him with the news of their preaching and a tentative request to personally tell Śrīla Prabhupāda. Thinking that Śrīla Prabhupāda would be interested to hear about their book distribution, Jagadīśa immediately informed him about their arrival. Even though Prabhupāda was meeting with Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu and a guest, he agreed straight away to see them. As they entered, Jagadīśa introduced them by name. “Śrīla Prabhupāda, this is Satyanārāyaṇa and Vyāsaki.”  

Prabhupāda didn’t catch Vaiyāsaki’s name because of Jagadīśa’s American accent. “What is that?”  

“Vyāsaki,” he repeated.  

Again Prabhupāda didn’t catch it, nor when he repeated it a third time. “All right; it doesn’t matter,” he said.  

By this time, Vaiyāsaki was feeling a bit low, thinking he wasn’t making a connection with his spiritual master. But that soon altered as Prabhupāda smiled and for the next fifteen minutes gave them his undivided attention as they eagerly told him of their exploits in selling his books. They had all good news about their efforts to sell standing orders of full sets to the libraries and universities, telling Śrīla Prabhupāda that they had been well received wherever they went. Living out of one of the large Mercedes Benz vans that the party had driven overland into India from Germany last March, they traveled up into the highlands through Harayana, Punjab, Jammu, and finally to Kashmir.  

At the mention of Kashmir, Prabhupāda perked up considerably and took interest in all the details of their trip. He asked them if they had gone through the tunnel that leads through the mountains from Jammu into the Kashmir Valley. Realizing that Śrīla Prabhupāda knew the place, they grinned and described vividly the awe of driving through the long, dark passage and coming out suddenly into the light to see the splendorous Kashmir Valley spread out panoramically before them. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s eyes lit up, and he added his own description of the journey to theirs, glorifying the natural beauty of the place. Feeling excited by a now-growing rapport between themselves and their spiritual master, Satyanārāyaṇa asked Prabhupāda how he knew about it. 

“Oh, I have also been to Kashmir,” he told them, “and I had to pass through that tunnel.” 

He talked happily about his visit, telling them that he had gone there in the 1960s to sell his books.  

That was a good cue for Vaiyāsaki. They were in fact already aware that Prabhupāda had been to Kashmir, because of a chance meeting Vaiyāsaki had had. He enthusiastically told Śrīla Prabhupāda that in the course of his sales work he had gone to the Oriental Library, a small private Indology collection. When he approached the owner and showed him Prabhupāda’s books, the man reacted with great pleasure and immediately brought out copies of the three original Indian prints of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam First Canto. He had purchased them directly from Śrīla Prabhupāda more than a decade before and was only too happy to make a standing order for the rest. 

Prabhupāda remembered the man with appreciation and was gratified that he had ordered all his new publications.  

With a large Muslim population in Kashmir, the men had especially anticipated the prospect of selling Prabhupāda’s books to the Muslim colleges there, thinking they would gain some extra mercy. And indeed this was the case. Satyanārāyaṇa informed Prabhupāda that by his grace, he had gotten his books into Anantnagar, a Muslim university in Srinagar. The moment he said the word ‘Muslim,’ Prabhupāda’s demeanour transformed. His face lit up, his eyes widened with pleasure, and his teeth shone white in one of his oceanic smiles. “Oh, that is very good!” he said. The two of them were happily amazed at his reaction. It was clear to them that getting his books accepted into the Muslim world held a special place in his heart, and they bathed in the warmth of his appreciation. 

Prabhupāda was greatly pleased with their efforts. They and the other members of the Library Party were breaking new ground in a field of preaching that he holds dear. He infused in them the importance of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness and told them to keep on perfecting their lives by following the order of Lord Caitanya—yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’upadeśa/ āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa (Cc. Madhya 7.128). “Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as they are given in the Bhagavadgītā and ŚrīmadBhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.” 

On the way back, the men had stopped at an apiary and purchased a full liter of pure Himalayan honey, which they eagerly presented to Śrīla Prabhupāda. He was sincerely touched by their thoughtfulness and called Arundhatī, asking her to keep the honey in his kitchen so that he could take some each day. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda considers the work of the Library Party to be of primary importance, and he is fully conscious of the efforts his disciples are making on his behalf. Having done the preliminary work himself, he knows the sacrifice they are making and values their efforts highly. Thus he gave them their impromptu personal darśana. At the end of their meeting the two of them offered their humble obeisances and left, grinning from ear to ear, feeling that they had connected with Śrīla Prabhupāda in a personal and intimate way via their shared experiences in distributing his books. 

As ā footnote, Vaiyāsaki and Satyanārāyana told me that they happened to meet Prabhupāda’s missing gardener, Caraṇāravindam while driving up into the Himalayas. He was hitchhiking and they stopped and gave him a ride. Although he quit the temple in September after an argument with Akṣayānanda Mahārāja, it seems that he has not given up on his personal service to Prabhupāda. He told them all about his redevelopment of Prabhupāda’s garden and how pleased Śrīla Prabhupāda was with it. Informing them that he had previously brought lotus flowers for it from Kurukṣetra, he said that he was on his way to Kashmir to find lotus and other types of flowers to continue beautifying it. He was even talking about going to the Tibetan cities of Ladakh and Lei. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda received a welcome letter from one of his Godbrothers, His Holiness B.S. Bodhayan Mahārāja, today. Formerly Śrī Nārāyan Chandra Mukherjī, he informed Prabhupāda that he had taken sannyāsa from another Godbrother, H.H. B.D. Mādhava Mahārāja, at the Sree Caitanya Gaudiya Matha in Calcutta on January 21st this year. He visited our temple in Māyāpur on Nandotsava, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s birthday celebration, and was impressed by the lectures given by two “foreign” disciples, one in English and one in Bengali. “A very devotional spirit was expressed by them,” he wrote. He had also been invited to speak but declined due to suffering from high blood pressure, something Prabhupāda himself has been troubled by in recent weeks. 

Bodhayan Mahārāja glorified Śrīla Prabhupāda. “It is clear to me that you are great powerful Acharya in the Vaisnab world at present.” He requested a darśana when Prabhupāda next comes to Māyāpur and concluded by conveying the homage of another Godbrother, Swami B.S. Santo Mahārāja. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was both moved and enthused that one of his Godbrothers was giving him credit for his hard work in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness around the world, and he replied in the spirit of brotherly cooperation that he spoke of recently in his morning class. “I’m very much obliged to you that you write to say, ‘It is clear to me that you are great powerful Acarya in the Vaisnava world at present.’ Sometimes Sridhara Maharaja also says like that. So, actually if you are feeling like that let us work conjointly. There is great prospect for preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message all over the world and in India also. At least in India we can preach very vigorously if we combine together. It is already tested in many cases. Whenever we held some festival in big, big cities like Calcutta, Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras, Delhi, etc. thousands of men gather and they request regularly to continue the program. Recently we held a similar program in Candigargh and the devotees of Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math also participated. They invited me in the local center of Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math and many thousands of people came to hear me. So there is great prospect if we work conjointly at least in India. So you can consult Sridhara Maharaja also. He’s also of that opinion s you have opined and if in this old age we can do something combinedly it will be a great triumph. I thank you very much once more.” 

He added that he expects to be back in Māyāpur in January. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda received a letter from a Mr. S. N. Sharma offering to “make available” some land in a prestigious location in Delhi. Of course, Prabhupāda has had many offers of land in various Indian cities in the past, but invariably they are always encumbered, either with some conditions designed to benefit the “donor” or some legal complication that makes it extremely difficult to utilize. Sometimes the land is some useless plot that the owner wants to dispose of. Prabhupāda is therefore cautious and doesn’t get too excited about such offers. 

Mr. Sharma’s offer, if it may be called that, since he didn’t actually say he wanted to give us the land, is for a substantial amount of property in a good location. The man has been to our land in Juhu, Bombay and was suitably impressed. “Swamiji, it is my earnest desire that you should consider to have big ashram in Delhi which is the nerve centre of India. I can make available about 15,000 square yards of land just very close to Connaught Place. The site is most ideal for such an ashram.” Typically, there were some conditions. “But according to the latest laws the land has to be utilised for the benefit of the weaker section of the Indian society. So you have to think of a project in which such class of people can be benefitted. I shall be very happy to know your views in the matter.” 

Prabhupāda replied unambiguously. He wasn’t interested in buying anything, but he had no problem with the conditions. “Yes, if you want to give us this land we shall be willing immediately to invest in developing a project there. We have long been interested in developing something in Delhi, but we were waiting for the opportunity. What Krishna preaches is meant for the weaker section. If they feel weak and abide by my direction – it is not my direction, it is Krishna’s – they can be raised to the standard of the most exalted persons, even if they are all fools and rascals. The teaching is very simple, ‘manmana bhava madbhakto madyaji mam namaskuru.’ Even a child can do it. Even the weakest child can do it if he is trained up. Let all the weaker section come to me. I shall train how to become first-class men by chanting Hare Krishna Maha mantra and be fit for Krishna consciousness. That will solve all their problems. It is doing practically all over the world. I don’t think there is any other institution throughout the whole world which can take charge of a weaker section and raise them to the standard of most exalted persons.” 

The second part of Mr. Sharma’s letter outlined a business proposition, a clue to which was apparent from his letterhead. On it he has a picture of the famous Bengali Nobel Laureate for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore, along with a personal message from the poet. It read: “Uttarayan, January 30, 1939, Santiniketan, Bengal – Mr. Sachchidananda Sharma has performed a remarkable artistic feat in copying out the whole of my Gitanjali on a single postcard. He has also very generously presented it to our Kalabhavana Museum where it will be preserved.” The letterhead includes Tagore’s signature. 

Sharma’s proposal was to bring out a book entitled “Tagore’s Gitanjali in Miniature,” which would feature a reproduction of his postcard along with other information about Tagore. He was exceedingly optimistic about his potential market. “I estimate that a million copies of my book can be sold all over the world.” He was similarly hopeful about his potential profits. “The price of the book shall be one dollar and against that a little less than ½ a dollar the book shall cost. In other words the gross profit shall be ½ a million dollars.” He saw a great opportunity if Śrīla Prabhupāda was willing to back him. “With your influence in U.S.A. and other parts of the world my project can easily go through. So I request you to kindly give a thought to this proposition.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply was clear and to the point. The talk of money and business has no attraction for him. Nor does he have any interest in promoting some mundane author. His only concern is preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. “We have no business with Tagore’s Gitanjali. We are simply interested in spreading Krishna’s Gita. When the greatest author, Krishna, is there, there is no need of bringing smaller author. When there is brightest sunshine, there is no need of bringing small lamp. When there is brightest moonshine, there is no need of bringing glowworm. This is our principle. If you want to write something, read our Bhagavadgita As It Is carefully and write something simple to benefit the common people. In Gitanjali there is a little hint to surrender to the Supreme.” 

* * * 

Following Śrīla Prabhupāda’s recent instruction that I learn to type, from seven until eight each evening I have been going into his bedroom, where I have the secretary’s portable typewriter set up on a small desk. Arundhatī has given me a basic chart showing which fingers operate which keys, along with some practice exercises, and I am applying myself diligently to the task. Bhagatjī has also recommended that I practice typing the famous sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” which contains all the letters of the alphabet. It isn’t easy; progress seems painfully slow, and trying to coordinate my finger movements to type actual words seems an almost impossible task. It is an exercise in tolerance if nothing else, but I am sticking with it largely because Śrīla Prabhupāda is taking a personal interest in my learning. He is keen that I become competent to do all his secretarial duties, and he has called me in several times to ask whether or not I am learning. Again he called me in during my practice session this evening and asked me how I was progressing. I told him that I am practicing but that it is slow going and sometimes very frustrating trying to make my fingers work the keys properly. He smiled and said, “Two things required; everything comes with patience and practice.” So I am sticking to it and will hopefully gradually improve. 

* * * 

Now the evenings are getting too cool for Prabhupāda to sit out in his garden, and he is preferring to spend them in his sitting room, either quietly chanting, reading, or more often, meeting with his managers and individual guests. 

November 10th, 1976

After greeting the Deities and an energetic guru-pūja, Pradyumna prabhu led the devotees in the responsive chanting of the Sanskrit verse, 5.5.23 and then read out the translation: “O respectful brāhmaṇas, as far as I am concerned, no one is equal or superior to the brāhmaṇas in this world. I do not find anyone comparable to them. When people know My motive, after performing rituals according to the Vedic principles they offer food to Me with faith and love through the mouth of a brāhmaṇa. When food is thus offered unto Me, I eat it with full satisfaction. Indeed, I derive more pleasure from food offered in that way than from the food offered in the sacrificial fire.” 

In his half-hour lecture Śrīla Prabhupāda focused our attention on the principles of brahminical culture. He told us, “Kṛṣṇa is first of all interested to see whether in the society the brāhmaṇa and the cow is properly respected. Namo brāhmaṇyadevāya gobrāhmaṇahitāya ca. . . . Then jagaddhitāya, then automatically the whole world will be peaceful. This secret of success they do not know. Nobody is prepared to become brāhmaṇa, and so far as cow protection is concerned, it is in the oblivion. This is the whole world position. Therefore it is in chaotic condition.” 

The previous verses had described the different stages of developed consciousness, and Prabhupāda said that the highest evolution of consciousness was exhibited by the brāhmaṇas. Quoting the description of the qualities of a brāhmaṇa from Bhagavadgītā, he explained that elevation from the animal platform to the human depends upon controlling the mind and senses. For this purpose, he told us, he is setting up the gurukula, but people are not now interested in having their children trained in self-control.  

To increase our spiritual consciousness, he said, we have to decrease our bodily demands. Vṛndāvana, the site of what he intends to be his main gurukula, is the best place to do this. “That is human civilization, not to increase. Just like the Gosvāmīs in Vṛndāvana. They did not come here to increase āhāranidrābhayamaithuna [eating, sleeping, defending and mating]. No. They came here to decrease– nidrāhāravihārakādivijitau. That is wanted. This is vṛndāvanavasi, not that to live in Vṛndāvana and increase this āhāranidrābhayamaithuna. This is not vṛndāvanavasa. The monkeys are also living in Vṛndāvana, and the dogs are also, and hogs are living in Vṛndāvana. But they do not know how to decrease āhāranidrābhayamaithunam. You’ll see the monkeys. They are also in Vṛndāvana. But you’ll find one male monkey followed by three-dozen female monkeys. That is not vṛndāvanavāsa. That means it requires brahminical culture, damo, śamo. That is wanted.”  

To go back to Godhead is not easy, he said. It requires making our material life zero, “not almost–practical zero,” which is difficult, but this can be achieved by practice. Therefore, he said, he is establishing Kṛṣṇa conscious centers around the world to bring people to the brahminical platform. And if someone cannot come to the standard, “it is better they may go away.” 

Brahminical life is so exalted that when the brāhmaṇa Sudāmā visited Kṛṣṇa, the Lord personally washed his feet while his queen Rukmiṇī fanned him. Nowadays though, Prabhupāda said, brahminical culture is all but lost because no one wants to perform the sense control required to come to that level. “India, the brāhmaṇas, their sons later on, later ages, taking advantage of the facility offered to the brāhmaṇas, so without qualification of brāhmaṇa they wanted the facility for nothing, very cheap. Therefore the brahminical culture is failure now. They should be real brāhmaṇas, but nobody is prepared to practice śamo damo titikṣa, but he wants the respect of a brāhmaṇa. This is the cause of India’s culture being failure at the present moment. ‘First deserve, then desire.’ So without deserving, they desired. Therefore whole thing it became false. So that is not the purpose. Even somebody says that ‘Without culture one can remain a brāhmaṇa,’ but śāstra does not say that. Śāstra says culture is the first consideration.” 

Looking out gravely at his international contingent of aspiring and initiated brāḥmaṇas, Prabhupāda cited ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 7.11.35 and entreated us to take seriously the opportunity he is offering. “So lakṣaṇam, the symptom, what is brāhmaṇas’ symptoms. So my request to you, the Europeans and American boys, you have been initiated as brāhmaṇa, but you must practice the lakṣaṇa. Otherwise, if you think, puffed up, that ‘Now I have got the sacred thread, my business is finished; I can do whatever I like,’ no. That is not. Lakṣaṇam means symptoms. That you must observe, yasya hi yad lakṣaṇaṁ proktam. Then nobody can check you. You will be very much dear of Kṛṣṇa. Namo brāhmaṇyadevāya go brāhmaṇahitāya ca. If you keep yourself in the platform of a true brāhmaṇa as you are expected . . . It is not difficult. We have selected the four principles: no illicit sex, no meateating, no intoxication, and no gambling. That’s all. If you keep to these practices, then you remain. And if you chant—then above brāhmaṇa, you become Vaiṣṇava. Qualify yourself as a brāhmaṇa. Qualify yourself as a Vaiṣṇava. Then your position is guaranteed. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati [Bg. 9.31]. Sure. Guaranteed.” 

In the same way that the police do not touch honest citizens, if we are honest in our practices, he told us, then Kṛṣṇa’s protection is assured and māyā cannot touch us. And there is a simple method for advancing—the service of the bhāgavatas, the representatives of the Lord. “Naṣṭaprāyeṣu abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavatasevayā [SB 1.2.18]. The book Bhāgavata and the person bhāgavata. The guru is the symbolic representation of person bhāgavata, whose life is bhāgavata, and book Bhāgavata. So you have to serve two bhāgavata. Who can do that? Naṣṭaprāyeṣu abhadreṣu. By developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, whose sinful life is almost nil, not completely nil but almost nil, prāyeṣu. How? Nityaṁ bhāgavatasevayā. If you engage yourself to serve, to hear ŚrīmadBhāgavatam and to serve the person bhāgavatam. Uttamaśloke bhaktir bhavatinaiṣṭhikī. Then your bhakti will increase uttamaśloke, to the Supreme. Uttamaśloka means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And when you come to that stage, not that completely pure, almost pure, and increasing your devotional service, then you will immediately be situated in the brāhmaṇa qualification. As soon as you increase your devotional service by serving person Bhāgavatam and hearing ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, immediately you become situated on the sattvaguṇa. Tato rājastamobhāvāḥ kāmalobhādayaś ca ye, ceta etair anāviddham [SB 1.2.19]. Then this rajoguṇa, tamoguṇa cannot touch your heart. The whole process is purification of the heart. Cetodarpaṇamārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. Everything is there. It is not an artificial thing. Nitya siddha kṛṣṇa bhakti. It is our natural relationship with Kṛṣṇa because we are part and parcel.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s words, as always, rang true, and the devotees cheered at the end of his class, thankful that we have such a wonderful guru whom we may serve. His words and example do indeed make the process of bhakti-yoga simple and easy. We are not pure, but by following the process given by him, we are certainly becoming purified, and this is all he wants, that we continue to make progress and become genuinely situated as servants of his worshipful Lords, Śrī Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma. 

* * * 


In Bengal, Ras Purnima is one of the biggest festivals of the year. Śrīla Prabhupāda was so encouraged by the news that he dictated a letter to Bhavānanda Mahārāja to spur him into action. “This means that by the grace of Krishna, not only our Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir has become very popular all over Bengal, side by side you have also become the attractive feature in Bengal. So it is Krsna blessing you. Take this opportunity for preaching in Bengal. Especially please go from village to village with a party of 5, 6 men and preach the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu with great enthusiasm. Along with preaching simultaneously Gitar Gana will be distributed.” 

It seems that all the publicity earlier in the year has had its effect, although quite the opposite of what our antagonists had wanted. Tremendous propaganda had been circulated about the American leaders of ISKCON in Māyāpur, the CIA, and how Bhavānanda in particular was being forced to leave the county. But in truth, he had simply run out of time on his visa and had to leave, returning a few months later with a new one. He had been featured in all the newspapers, and people would stop and point him out when he walked down the street. Now all they remember is that he is a celebrity, and it is evident that he has become our star attraction in Māyāpur.  

In his letter Prabhupāda added a note about his travel plans. “So far my going to Mayapur, I am expecting to go to Hyderabad, therefore I shall fix up my date later on. In the meantime both Gargamuni and yourself preach vigorously.” A copy of the letter was also sent to Gargamuni Mahārāja. 

* * * 

There was an unexpected arrival this evening. At about 9:00 p.m. a taxi pulled up in front of the temple and out stepped Mahāvīra dāsa, complete with his new wife.  

Mahāvīra is an American who has been preaching in Brazil under Hridayānanda Mahārāja. As a brahmacārī he came to Māyāpur last February with the intention of taking sannyāsa but then had second thoughts and, wisely it seems, withdrew. He also tried his hand at managing in Māyāpur, but due to inexperience he succeeded only in agitating the local devotees. Finally he decided to return to Brazil and took Prabhupāda’s permission to leave. Prabhupāda actually told Mahāvīra that he would prefer for him to remain in Māyāpur, but seeing that his desire was strong and that he was feeling out of his depth, he gave his blessings for him to go back to South America.  

As soon as Mahāvīra arrived back in Brazil, he saw that there was a new bhaktin who had joined while he was in India. He felt immediately that Kṛṣṇa had sent her to be his wife. So they married and a few months later set off for India via Europe. Jayatīrtha prabhu met him in London and tried to persuade him not to go on to India but to become the president of the German temple. They traveled there to size things up. Mahāvīra, however, considered that with his lack of familiarity with the European scene it would be better if a local devotee would take it up, and so they traveled on by train to New Mayapur in France, arriving just before Śrīla Prabhupāda installed Śrī Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma. His wife was among the first initiates during the big initiation ceremony held there, receiving the name Jaya Gaurī dāsī. After that they returned to London where they have been residing for several months. In his heart though, Mahāvīra had a nagging desire to please Śrīla Prabhupāda by taking up his suggestion that he manage in India. So now he is back, eager as ever, keen to fulfill that desire. 

Ironically, Mahāvīra didn’t know that Prabhupāda was here in Vṛndāvana. Nor has he been to Vṛndāvana before. He flew into Delhi and drove straight here. When he stepped out of the taxi, the first person he saw was Akṣayānanda Mahārāja. He introduced himself. “Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. My name is Mahāvīra dāsa. I am a temple president, and Prabhupāda wants me to serve in India. Who is the GBC here? I’ll do whatever you want.”  

Seeing an opportunity, Akṣayānanda told him simply, “Come with me,” without saying where. He took him straight to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quarters. Jagadīśa prabhu, an old friend of Mahāvīra, took them right in to see Prabhupāda.  

“Śrīla Prabhupāda,” Akṣayānanda began, “this is Mahāvīra dāsa, he’s . . . ” 

Prabhupāda was already smiling brightly. “That’s all right; I know him. We are old friends. He can help here. He is intelligent.” And without further ado, Prabhupāda appointed him the new temple manager. There were smiles all around. Prabhupāda welcomed his man and after a few minutes of encouragement sent him off to settle in with instructions to report to him in the morning.  

November 11th, 1976

Although Śrīla Prabhupāda is not taking the vigorous early morning walks that he used to, he is still going out regularly, even if it is just to circumambulate the temple three times before entering to greet the Deities. He has several times inspected the gurukula building site, checking the progress and giving advice. A couple of mornings he has also driven out to a nearby lightly wooded area and taken a casual stroll for twenty minutes or a half hour. He speaks little and is content to amble along the pathways gaining a little exercise and some fresh air.  

* * * 

This morning’s verse described the eight qualities of a brāhmaṇa. Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that at birth, everyone is foolish and that therefore there is a need to educate every child. Similarly, although there is the facility to become a brāhmaṇa by birth in such a family, it is by training and practice that one actually acquires the qualities and becomes a brāhmaṇa.  

In a likewise manner, he told us, bhakti-yoga is developed. Bhakti means to be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours per day, even when sleeping. He gave an amusing example to show how this can be possible. “Superficially we engage from four o’clock in the morning till ten o’clock at night, and that is resting time. But when one is advanced in devotional service, while sleeping he also serves Kṛṣṇa. That means twentyfour hours, satatam. Because in sleeping you also dream, so what we do during daytime we dream at night. So if one is cent percent engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service, naturally he’ll dream also at night. I have seen one of our intimate relatives. He was a businessman, selling cloth. So in dream also he was quoting price of cloth. So that is natural. That is not unnatural. Therefore we have to practice. At the time of death, somehow or other, if we quote the price of Kṛṣṇa, then our life is successful. Therefore we should practice: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. If we practice Kṛṣṇa, then naturally it is expected that at the time of death we remember Kṛṣṇa. Then immediately we are transferred to the Kṛṣṇaloka, immediately. Immediately. There is no doubt about it. Simple thing, but it requires practice.” 

Declaring that “to practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness we have to practice other things,” Prabhupāda stressed the need for us to come to the pure platform, that of Vasudeva, the father of Kṛṣṇa. “Pure goodness. Pure goodness means there is only vāsudeva. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19]. That is pure sattva, when there is no other conception, simply vāsudeva. Vāsudeva is the platform. Just like Vasudeva was the father of Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa appeared, Vasudeva was the father. So śuddhasattva is vāsudeva. Vāsudeva means there is no contamination of ignorance or passion, simply sattvaguṇa. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye/ ceta etair anāviddhaṁ [SB 1.2.19]. When your mind and consciousness will not be contaminated by the modes of ignorance and passion, that is śuddhasattva. That is spiritual platform, vāsudeva. Then vāsudeva will beget Kṛṣṇa. Sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ vasudevaśabditam. So if we purify our existence, another Kṛṣṇa comes, or Kṛṣṇa’s devotees come. They come in śuddhasattva. Then naturally there is śamo damo titikṣa ārjavaṁ jñānaṁ vijñānaṁ āstikyam [Bg. 18.42] Naturally there is brāhmaṇa behavior. And when one becomes brāhmaṇa, pure, no material contamination, then bhakti appears, after becoming brāhmaṇa or brahmabhūtaḥ, not material platform. Brahmabhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. In the material platform, jīvabhūtaḥ. But in the spiritual platform, brahmabhūtaḥ.”  

The accusations of brainwashing very much on his mind, Prabhupāda also made the point that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is natural to the soul. As much as a finger detached from the whole body is diseased, similarly we as souls, when detached from service to God, Kṛṣṇa, are also diseased. And the training we receive in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to free us of that disease. “Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means purification of our diseased condition, infectious condition. It is not anything artificial. Nityasiddha kṛṣṇabhakti śrādhya kabhu naya [Cc. madhya 22.107]. Not that by artificial means, as they are making propaganda in Europe and America that we are brainwashing . . . It is not that by some means or by some artificial, what is called, hypnotism, we are making these European or American boys, girls kṛṣṇabhakta. No. It is there already, kṛṣṇabhakti. Otherwise why they should take to Kṛṣṇa? They have got their other, I mean to say, worshipable. There is Jesus, Jesus Christ, and others. Mostly they are coming from Christian family. Why they should agree to worship Kṛṣṇa? No, it is there already. It is not that because they are born in Europe and America they are different from Kṛṣṇa’s relationship. No.” 

Pointing out that Kṛṣṇa says that He is the father of all living entities, including insects, birds, plants, animals, demigods, and all other species, Prabhupāda said that there is no question of Kṛṣṇa consciousness being limited to a particular section of society. “He doesn’t claim that ‘I am interested with the Indians,’ or ‘the Hindus’ or ‘the brāhmaṇas,’ or ‘this.’ No. He claims all forms of body. So therefore these foreigners, socalled foreigners, they have got already relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Nityasiddha kṛṣṇabhakti. Every living entity has got relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, mamaivāṁśo jīvabhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. How they can be separate? It is not possible. But they forgot it. And this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to revive their original consciousness. Śravaṇādiśuddhacitte karaye . . . ‘Oh, I am Kṛṣṇa’s.’ As soon as this consciousness comes, he becomes perfect. It is already there.” 

* * * 

 Śrīla Prabhupāda spent some time this morning discussing temple management with Akṣayānanda Mahārāja, Mahāvīra prabhu, and Bhagatjī. He wants Akṣayānanda Mahārāja to remain temple president, because he likes the idea of a sannyāsī as head of the maṭha, but for practical purposes Mahāvīra will be the temple manager. Mahāvīra was added as a signatory on the temple accounts. Prabhupāda has some good hopes that with his energy and enthusiasm, Mahāvīra will be able to invigorate the management, improve its efficiency, and accomplish all the many things that Akṣayānanda Mahārāja has proved so incapable of doing. Prabhupāda likes Akṣayānanda and has said previously that his credit is that he is very sincere, but his poor grasp of management has been a source of great frustration to His Divine Grace.   

* * * 

Another recent arrival has been a mother and daughter, Antardhyāna dāsī and Manīṣā dāsī. Manīṣā is initiated even though in her early teens, but she is terminally ill with leukemia. Having given up any hope of a cure, they have come here so that Manīṣā can leave her body in the holy dhāma. They requested a darśana with Śrīla Prabhupāda, and he received them this morning just before his massage. When they came in, Manīṣā burst into tears as they explained her condition and prognosis. She is frightened by the prospect of imminent death and is clearly not mentally prepared for it.  

Despite the girl’s weeping, however, Śrīla Prabhupāda was firm and spoke rather strongly, focusing in on the reality of her condition. Rather than offering sympathies with some sentimental, body-based words of solace, Śrīla Prabhupāda cut through the fear and doubt shrouding his disciple’s mind and intelligence and met the problem head-on. “Everyone is going to die,” he said. “Who is going to live? Who is here? Can you show me anyone who is going to live? Can you show me?” 

Antardhyāna shook her head. “No. Everybody’s going to die.” 

“So today or tomorrow, everyone will die,” he affirmed. “So where is the anxiety? Die or not die, tomorrow or today, but one should chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. Why one should be depressed? And everyone is going to die. I am going to die tomorrow, he is going to die day after tomorrow—everyone will have to die. Who will live here? So what is the anxiety? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That’s all.” 

Jagadīśa told Śrīla Prabhupāda that she had come to die in Vṛndāvana. 

“Nobody will live,” Prabhupāda repeated. “Don’t be in anxiety. That’s all. Anyone who has come to this material world will die. One is going to die today; another is going to die tomorrow. It is a question of first and second, but everyone will die. So before death one should be complete in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is success of life. The tree is standing for thousands of years. So what is the use of living like that? A tree cannot chant Hare Kṛṣṇa but lives for thousands of years. Do you think that kind of living is very worthy, standing in one place, cannot move even, and what to speak of chanting? So you have got the chance to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Utilize that. Don’t be anxious that ‘I am going to die.’ Who is going to live? Why don’t you understand that? Nobody is going to live. So before death one should be complete in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is success.” 

Prabhupāda’s direct and practical words helped Manīṣā focus. She stopped sobbing and regained her composure. But still she had a fear. “But if one is not, Śrīla Prabhupāda, what will happen?” 

Prabhupāda didn’t quite understand her query and I repeated it. “If one is not complete in their Kṛṣṇa consciousness then what will happen?” 

“She will get again birth in a human body,” he assured her. “That is guaranteed so that he’ll get again chance of chanting. That is also great gain. Ordinary person, he does not know what body he is going to get, next body. But a person who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, chanting, he is guaranteed. Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe [Bg. 6.41]—he is guaranteed to take birth as human being in a very sacred family like brāhmaṇa and very rich family.” 

Because he had other commitments, Prabhupāda had to end the darśana at that point. “So I have to go.” 

Despite the meeting being so short, however, Manīṣā was visibly relieved and thankful. His words had struck home. “Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” she said. 

“Hare Kṛṣṇa. Nobody is going to live here,” Prabhupāda told her again as he rose from his seat. “Everyone is going to die. Before death, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.” With a compassionate smile of reassurance to his young disciple, he added, “Don’t be worried.” 

Manīṣā’s mother, though, still sought some further comfort. “She is worried, Prabhupāda, about . . . ” 

“What is the worry?” Prabhupāda interjected “I have already said everyone is going to die.” 

Antardhyāna managed to be very specific. “She is worried about seeing the Yamadūtas. This is what she is worried about.” 

Prabhupāda addressed Manīṣā directly and repeated the practical formula for overcoming death. “Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Always think of Kṛṣṇa. That’s all.” 

Manīṣā nodded, accepting his words as the proper solution. “Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda.” 

“This is our business,” Prabhupāda concluded. “The cats and dogs cannot do this. That is the advantage of human form of body.” 

Both the mother and daughter were grateful and happy to get a few words of encouragement and guidance. Manīṣā left feeling heartened by her first personal meeting with her spiritual master, and the two of them will reside in the guesthouse until her departure. 

* * * 

In the mail today there was a letter from Bṛṣākapi prabhu. Although he is now living outside the temple with a woman who is not his wife, he still feels that he should be allowed to remain as the Washington D.C. temple president, and he appealed to Prabhupāda to retain his service. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda declined to get involved in the details. He has already given his opinion to the GBC, Rūpānuga prabhu, and he referred Bṛṣākapi back to his zonal managers. “This matter must be decided by the GBC. Let them consult together and decide. Whatever they decide is approved by me.” 

A package from Gour Govinda Mahārāja also arrived today containing a letter and some new Oriya-language publications. This letter was written in Calcutta prior to the one Prabhupāda had already received and replied on the 9th. It detailed Gour Govinda’s frustrations in his dealings with Mr. Bijayananda Kanungo. Since Prabhupāda has already informed him what to do, he simply reiterated his instruction. “I have already informed you that I received only one document, which I have received from Gargamuni Swami. I received no sale deed. You may take one certified copy and use that.” 

Prabhupāda was glad to see the books. One is the Oryian Bhagavat Darśana, reprinted for the third time, ten thousand copies, and the other is a new printing of Mahārāja’s translation of Krishna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System. “I cannot read the Oriyan books,” Prabhupāda replied, “but I thank you very much. Please go on increasing. You can ask for paper from Gopala Krsna. Ask him where he is printing, what his cost is, the size of the paper, etc.” 

From Bangkok, Thailand, Rajni dāsī wrote a four-page report on her efforts to establish Kṛṣṇa consciousness there. She said that she had written several times before but had so far not received any reply, so it is likely that those letters were sent to different addresses and have not yet caught up with Śrīla Prabhupāda on his travels.  

The former secretary of a Thai multi-millionaire, Mr. Jootee Boonsoong, Rajni has with his help recently returned to Thailand to establish an ISKCON center. Yogeśvara prabhu had informed Śrīla Prabhupāda in late July that Mr. Boonsoong was willing to help us. He had offered a house and promised to arrange a meeting for Prabhupāda with the king. Now from Rajni’s letter it is apparent that he has delivered on his promise. She has had a meeting with a member of the royal family, Princess Poon Pisma Diskul, who is the president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. The princess travels to many different countries speaking on Buddhism and had just returned from Russia. According to Rajni, she believes Lord Brahmā and Lord Buddha to be God. The princess had asked Rajni about her understanding of Buddhism, nirvāṇa, brāhmaṇism, and Hinduism. Rajni explained to the princess that we are not presenting these things, but only about Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She told the princess how Lord Brahmā is born from Lord Viṣṇu and that he dies, and she also informed her that Lord Buddha is an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Neither of these facts was accepted by the princess, but the meeting was friendly nevertheless.  

Mr. Boonsoong also arranged for Rajni to meet with a prominent advisor to the king. The advisor, she said, though externally humble and religious, had no real knowledge of God, and she did not speak too much with him, “because I was not sure if it was the right occasion to talk much about our dear Lord’s message. I was afraid to commit the offenses by glorifying the holy name to a faithless person.” On the whole, she thought these leaders of society to be lacking any real understanding of God but to be pious and respectful to religion. Thai people in general, she observed, are also pious but are being strongly influenced by Western materialism. She also mentioned that a recent change in government has brought some stability to Thailand after a lot of political unrest but that a midnight curfew is being strictly imposed after many students were killed during the upheaval. 

Even in this environment, however, Rajni did report some progress. “With your mercy,” she told Śrīla Prabhupāda, “everything in ISKCON here is going well. We have two boys, one girl, and one old lady. We have set up a sign board and registered the place and also decorated a bit in the house. The kids are going to university but they also engage in devotional service.” 

Since there is already a plan for a senior devotee to go to Thailand to help Rajni set up, Prabhupāda didn’t comment about her preaching strategies but chose to stress the importance of keeping our standards. “Please be sure that anyone who comes to live with us there follows strictly the four regulative principles and chants a minimum of 16 rounds daily. Try to distribute my books as much as possible, as this is the best method of giving a chance to the conditioned souls to understand Krsna consciousness.” 

* * * 

I have been having lots of trouble with the Uher cassette tape recorder. I discovered that in the middle of some of the tapes recorded in Chandigarh, a loud noise like an electronic heartbeat cuts in for a while before the tape returns to normal. Not only that, but some of the cassettes recorded here in Vṛndāvana have a loud buzz on them caused by the temple sound system. So I have sent the recorder with one of Gargamuni Swami’s men to Calcutta, where I am told it can be fixed. I have also asked Kṛṣṇa Kanti dāsa at Golden Avatar Studios to send over two rechargers for the recorder, because the crazy electricity supply here in Vṛndāvana is wreaking havoc on the existing one. I haven’t been able to get our Uher reel-to-reel from Bombay, and I have been using Hansadūta Swami’s Uher 4400 Report reel-to-reel recorder since the end of October. 

November 12th, 1976

There are now about twenty boys in the gurukula. Their attendance at the full morning program has livened things up, especially during Śrīla Prabhupāda’s guru-pūjā. When Śrīla Prabhupāda sits on his vyāsāsana after greeting the Deities, they all dance and chant with great enthusiasm along with the temple devotees, as Śrīla Prabhupāda smiles approvingly. He had actually complained to the teachers when the boys first arrived that they were dull and not dancing much in kīrtana. He took it as an indication that their teaching was deficient. “There is no life,” he had told Jagadīśa. But now they dance with abandon, grinning and jumping and scrambling for the flowers that Śrīla Prabhupāda showers over their heads as the kīrtana reaches its climax. At the end they bow down as Prabhupāda recites the prema-dvani prayers and then sit attentively as he gives his lecture.  

This morning’s verse was a continuation of the glorification of the brāhmaṇas by Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, with the Lord declaring them to be so exalted that they have no interest in anything material, even the attainment of the heavenly planets. Prabhupāda described vividly how there is no such thing as material enjoyment and gain. Citing Śrīla Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī, he told us that material pleasures are ākāśapuṣpāya—flowers in the sky and “as good as the egg of horse.” That means there is no such thing. And to merge into the existence of the Lord is even worse, narakāyate, a hellish condition. Yet despite the devotees’ disregard for all things material, Prabhupāda said, they do not desire to give up the material world. “Karmī is trying to go to the Svargaloka; jñānīs want to go to the brahmajyoti. The yogis also, they desire like that because they do not feel very comfortable within this material world. But a devotee, there is no such thing that in the material world they are uncomfortable. No. Why? Wherever there is Kṛṣṇa, wherever there is Nārāyaṇa, that is all right. That is the view of the devotional service. Nārāyaṇaparāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati/ svargāpavarganarakeṣvapi tulyārthadarśinaḥ [SB 6.17.28]. Nārāyaṇaparāḥ, they are not anxious either to go to Svargaloka or to refrain from it. They are satisfied: ‘Wherever Kṛṣṇa keeps me, that is all right. Never mind whether it is heaven or hell.’ Because he has got Kṛṣṇa within him. Premāñjanacchuritabhaktivilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti [Bs. 5.38]. He is concerned with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So wherever Supreme Personality of Godhead is there, that is Vaikuṇṭha.” 

The Lord is in everyone’s heart, Prabhupāda said, even the dog’s and hog’s, but He is not living with the dog and hog. He is always in Vaikuṇṭha, and because the devotee is always with the Lord, he is also in Vaikuṇṭha. Nārada Muni, Prabhupāda told us, sometimes goes to hell. But when he goes there, just as when he goes to heaven, he advises everyone he meets to simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. “Similarly, those who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they should not be afraid of this hell and heaven. Wherever they should go, they will simply preach, ‘Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.’ This is their business.” 

To get to this stage, though, means we have to be like Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Queen Kuntī, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, all of whom prayed to attain the stage of akiñcana-gocara, complete freedom from all material wants. “If we want to enjoy something material,” Prabhupāda told us, “Oh, there is no question of bhagavadbhajana, because even if you have little pinch of desire to enjoy material comforts, you’ll not be admitted.”  

Although coming to that stage may sound difficult, Prabhupāda said that it isn’t if we have the right mood. “So bhakti, devotional service, is not easy, but at the same time very easy, one moment’s business, one moment’s. But I must be willing. Kṛṣṇa says, sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam [Bg. 18.66]. If I do it, immediately . . . But that, I am not willing.” He gave a little chuckle of irony. “We have seen so many persons. Kṛṣṇa says directly that ‘You surrender unto Me,’ [but] still, he says, ‘When Kṛṣṇa will be merciful, then I shall do.’ What is this nonsense? Kṛṣṇa is directly asking you. Again He has to become merciful? What kind of mercy? These are all pleas, different pleas. Actually He doesn’t want that. ‘I shall not surrender unto You, sir. I shall place some pleas. That’s all.’ ” Despite taking birth and dying millions of times, he said, “Still, we are so shameless, we want to do again and again that thing.”  

Using the eating propensity to illustrate his point, Prabhupāda gave a graphic example of how sense satisfaction is ultimately a meaningless mental concoction. “I am eating now without any plate, and if I can eat on the golden plate,’ they are thinking, ‘this is advancement of civilization.’ So the eating process . . . Eating means kṣut nivṛtti tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ [SB 11.2.42]. When one is hungry, when he eats something, according to the taste . . . A gentleman is eating halavā, purī, and the hog is eating stool. So the taste is the same. Either you eat halavā, purī, or stool, you are eating according to the taste. Just like in the airplane we sit down. They are asking, ‘Sir, what can I . . . ?’ We say, ‘We refuse.’ We don’t touch anything in the airplane, because we know what is that. And the next man, he is eating very nicely the intestine of hog. We have seen it. He is very nicely eating with spoon and fork, very enjoying. And we are saying, ‘Oh, what nasty thing he is eating.’ We don’t, do not touch even what is offered. We are [eating] whatever little things we have taken with us. But the result is the same, tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣut nivṛtti. You are hungry, you take something, so your appetite will decrease and your satisfaction will increase. You will get strength—tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣut nivṛtti. So this is not improvement. Eating by the hog and eating by the human being, the result is the same. But eating the intestines of the hog or eating halavā, purī, it does not make any difference. Ei bhāla, ei manda’ saba ‘manodharma’ [Cc. Antya 4.176]—in this material world, ‘This is good and this is bad,’ this is all mental concoction. ‘Dvaite’ bhadrābhadra sakali samana. So we should not be attached. We should completely give up anything material. That is niṣkiñcana.”  

The purpose in a devotee’s life, Prabhupāda told us, is simply the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa and nothing else, and he continued with his example of eating to impress this upon us. “We have no business with anything material, either in the golden plate or on the street, on the floor. It does not make any difference. Our business is how to accept the prasādam, what Kṛṣṇa has eaten; that is our concern. We are not interested with the intestine of hogs or halavā, purī. No. We are interested to eat [that] which is already accepted by Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa bara dayāmoy, koribāre jihwā jay, svaprasādanna dilo bhāi. Our business is that ‘Kṛṣṇa is so kind . . . ’ The Kṛṣṇa prasāda, those who are eating Kṛṣṇa prasāda, they are enjoying everything. Kṛṣṇa bara dayāmoy, koribāre jihwā jay. We have got thousands of nice preparations. Why should we go to the hotel and restaurant? There are so many nice preparations offered to Kṛṣṇa. Patraṁ puṣpaṁ. Kṛṣṇa is ready to accept from a devotee whatever he offers, but within the limitation. Otherwise he will bring hog’s intestine. That is not desired. If people say, ‘Whatever I eat, I can offer to Kṛṣṇa . . . ’ There is a class, they say, ‘Whatever I eat you can offer.’ But that is not the process. The process is you must offer to Kṛṣṇa what He wants.” 

Prabhupāda’s concluding words, although seemingly general, directed some further good philosophical advice to his disciple Manīśā, who was sitting at the back of the temple room with her mother. “So we have to learn what is bhakti. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt [SB 11.2.42]. If actually we advance in devotional service, then naturally viraktir anyatra syāt. That is niṣkiñcana, no more taste with the material world. Niṣkiñcanasya bhagavad bhajanonmukhasya/ pāraṁ paraṁ jigamiṣor bhavasāgarasya [Cc. Madhya 11.8]. We must know why we shall take to devotional service, pāraṁ paraṁ jigamiṣor, not to remain within this material world. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām [SB 10.14.58]. Here in the material world, padaṁ padaṁ vipadām—every step there is vipada; there is danger. So don’t think that ‘She is dying’ or ‘He is dying, and I shall not die.’ Everyone will have to die. Every step, there is danger of dying. So before that death we must become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious so that ante nārāyaṇasmṛtiḥ [SB 2.1.6]. The end will come today or tomorrow or day after tomorrow. Nobody will live here. But the success is if we can remember Nārāyaṇa at the end of life. That is success. Ante nārāyaṇasmṛtiḥ; we should practice that. Don’t bother about that ‘I shall die tomorrow. You are dying today, so I am better than you.’ Nobody will live here. Everyone will die, and we must be prepared for death. And the devotee has no fear for dying, because if he is completely surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, then he is going back to Him. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9]. Simply by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa . . . Our bhaktiyoga is so easy, simply manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], very simple thing. So we should take to bhakti, devotional service, and reject everything. Niṣkiñcana. That will make your life successful.” 

Prabhupāda ended with his customary “Thank you very much,” and the devotees cheered and offered their obeisances as Viśāla prabhu called out loudly, as he does every morning, “His Divine Grace, Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya! His Divine Loving Grace, Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya! Saviour of the Whole World, Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya!” 

* * * 

Pālikā and Śrutirūpa have returned from a successful cooking excursion to Calcutta, and Yamunā has gone back to America. Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to see them, as was Arundhatī. She has been having some difficulty in preparing a Punjabi badi subji, a vegetable stew with spicy dried dal cakes simmered in a seasoned stock. Somehow she hasn’t been getting it quite to Prabhupāda’s liking. It has become such a frustration for her that Prabhupāda decided to show her himself.  

Today, right after his massage, still wearing his gamcha and with oil glistening on his golden skin, Prabhupāda went to the far corner of his back garden and entered the kitchen. His presence filled the small kitchen with the fragrance of sandalwood and mustard. The ladies were already at work, preparing freshly ground spices. Because of his delicate digestion and the likelihood that any powdered spice is either old or adulterated, Prabhupāda has his cooks grind various spices fresh every morning. He often instructs them on which spices and combinations he wants—cumin; cumin and black pepper; turmeric; fresh ginger; hot chili paste; etc. It often takes an hour or more to prepare them, and some, like turmeric root, must be softened for five days before grinding. With the spices already prepared, the ladies were cutting up vegetables when he entered. 

Accompanied by Bhagatjī, Prabhupāda stopped briefly at the entrance and quickly surveyed the interior before stepping in. It’s a tiny place, about eight feet wide, fourteen feet long tapering to a point, and six and a half feet high. He was in good humor and smiled with satisfaction as he stepped inside. “I’ve never been in my kitchen before. It is very nice.” Relaxed and unhurried, he looked around the benches, at the burners and the pots and pans, and then unexpectedly dipped into a small bucket of vegetable scraps next to where Śrutirūpa was sitting with a knife. Fishing out a large cauliflower core, just denuded of its florets, he asked her, “Why are you throwing this?” She flushed in embarrassed silence; Prabhupāda shook his head slightly but didn’t say anything more. His inquiry was enough to tell them not to waste anything. 

Prabhupāda chatted amiably with Bhagatjī as he sat down on a low stool in front of the two gas burners. With the ladies standing at the side, ingredients at the ready, he heated ghee in a heavybottomed brass pot over a high heat. In quick sequence, he briefly fried a few paste masalas and added potatoes and cauliflower. He then added water and badis and simmered the stew until the vegetables were tender. As he cooked, he spoke lightly in Hindi with Bhagatjī, chuckling intermittently. At one point Pālikā stirred the pot, turned down the flame, and continued to stir; Prabhupāda looked at it, turned the flame back up and turned to Bhagatjī.  “See, so simple, and still they cannot do.” After twenty minutes it was done and Prabhupāda got up to go take his bath.  

Bhagatjī, who generally comes every morning to ask Śrīla Prabhupāda what he wants for lunch and always makes his chapatis, was impressed. As they made their way along the small brick path to the house, Prabhupāda laughed and told him, “Oh, I can cook for one hundred men in less than one hour.”  

Bhagatjī laughed and shook his head. “No, Prabhupāda; that’s not possible.” Prabhupāda laughed louder and declared, “I bet you one lakh of rupees I can do it!” Bhagatjī cracked up laughing. “No, I am not going to take your bet. You will win both ways. If you do it, you get one lakh. If you don’t succeed you will tell me to donate it!” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda shook with amusement. He loved the joke and admitted that it was so. 

* * * 

Prabhuswarup das, the sevait from Sripat Bari, Thakur Haridas Sevashram in Haridaspur, West Bengal, sent some good news about the land there. On November 6th the Deed of Gift for the whole property was registered in the name of ISKCON. He had originally offered the land in February, and Śrīla Prabhupāda visited there with his foreign disciples on March 20th. Now the transfer is finalized. Prabhuswarup has also sent maps of the land to Māyāpur and Bombay. “So ISKCON can kindly begin works accepting me and the ‘Deed of Gift’ immediately and I pray to your feet for the same. I think a boundary wall and an ISKCON sign board are of immediate need to have the timely possession of Sripat Bari.” He also submitted a prayer for his own engagement within ISKCON. “In this connection I beg to let you know that I prayed to you for my permanent accommodation in this Patbari, Haridaspur for devotional services and I also prayed to you for necessary spiritual instructions to serve you through your ISKCON.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased that the land has finally been officially transferred, and he is keen to begin development there. “Yes we shall begin work immediately. Where is that Rs. 10,000 which you have already collected? With that 10,000 plus 10,000 from us you can begin work immediately to construct a boundary wall. I am going to Mayapur by the fifteenth instant. From Mayapur I may go to Haridasapur and begin work immediately. Our architect has been ordered to make a design plan. The boundary wall you can begin immediately. 

“Please chant regularly the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and observe the regulative principles. Then you’ll get spiritual strength.” 

He also sent a letter to Jayapatākā Swami asking him to advance ten thousand rupees to Prabhuswarup and to open a bank account with himself, Prabhuswarup, and Bhavānanda Goswami as signers, with any two of three to sign checks. 

From Los Angeles, Kīrtirāja prabhu sent an ecstatic update on his efforts to develop the preaching in Poland. He reports that there is a family with whom he and his family stayed two years ago who since then have all become vegetarians. They chant Hare Kṛṣṇa regularly, read Prabhupāda’s books, and with Kīrtirāja’s encouragement have been actively preaching. Kīrtirāja sends them small packages of books, which they sell to friends, depositing the money they collect in a bank account in Kīrtirāja’s name. As a result, he is now corresponding with over twenty people. Beyond this, he has encouraged them to get Prabhupāda’s books into the educational institutions, and their efforts have now borne fruit. “I have encouraged them to show your books to University professors and request them to purchase them for the library and for themselves. They live in the same town where there is the only ‘private’ university in Poland. I have just received a letter from them and they have informed me that this private university, the Catholic University of Lublin, has just purchased for the library five of your Divine Grace’s books—English and French Bhagavadgita, Easy Journey to Other Planets, The Perfection of Yoga and Sri Isopanisad. They have also purchased three of your Divine Grace’s record albums. They at the university have also ordered from this boy and girl one copy of every one of your Divine Grace’s books that has been published. I will begin sending them all of your books in small installments. This is the first STANDING ORDER for a library in Poland!!!! I will encourage them to visit other libraries and try to do the same. I hope that your Divine Grace is pleased by this activity.” 

He also said that the girl and boy have just completed translating the pamphlet On Chanting Hare Krishna, and in Germany Easy Journey to Other Planets has been completed in Polish. Now he is working with Jayatīrtha prabhu and Harikeśa Swami to find a devotee who can check the fidelity of the philosophy.  

Kīrtirāja expressed his keen desire to fulfill Śrīla Prabhupāda’s desire to introduce Kṛṣṇa consciousness in communist countries. “I will never forget that you have told me so many times ‘Try to get my books translated and published in Polish and Russian.’ I am trying now to do this. I can see that there is a great field to distribute Polish and Russian books and there are even societies that smuggle into these countries many Bibles for distribution. I am contacting these groups now.” 

He said that the mail-order department at the Los Angeles BBT is also receiving orders for Polish books both from people in Poland itself and from others in America. His plan is to relocate his family to Bhaktivedanta Manor in England within the next year so that he can easily travel back and forth to Poland, as Śrīla Prabhupāda had suggested to him at the Māyāpur festival earlier this year. “I know that there is no hope of making any spiritual advancement without following the instructions of the spiritual master and pleasing him. I am sorry that I did not carry out your order immediately and I hope that your Divine Grace will forgive me for this mistake. Does this plan of relocating meet with your approval? Everything is going on nicely with the production of your books in Spanish and Portuguese and I hope someday to be able to send you copies of your books in Polish and Russian.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was more than happy to hear his news. He has steadily encouraged Kīrtirāja prabhu over the last couple of years to take advantage of his Polish antecedents to introduce his teachings in communist countries and is well pleased at his continuing efforts, which are now bearing results. The penetration of the university was especially good news. “Now you have got good contact in Poland. You must immediately supply the books for the University library. It is a very good order. Yes, encourage them to visit other libraries. It is my earnest desire to have my books translated and published in Russian and Polish. Yes, the translations must be checked. Work with Jayatirtha in that connection.” He was pleased to hear that the first book he wrote, directed specifically at the modern scientific mind, is early on the list for translation. “I think Easy Journey to Other Planets will be very much appreciated because it is the scientific basis of our Krishna Consciousness Movement. I approve your plan to relocate to Bhaktivedanta Manor within the next year.” 

November 13th, 1976

Śrīla Prabhupāda wasn’t feeling too well this morning. He is still suffering from high blood pressure, making it difficult for him to give lectures. After Pradyumna read out the verse, 5.5.26, Prabhupāda asked him to also read the purport, something he rarely does. Then Prabhupāda gave a short but potent class on the principle of seeing Kṛṣṇa.  

The verse stated that by not envying any living being, a person can offer respects to them and in that way also offer respects to the Lord, knowing that He is situated within all living entities. Prabhupāda told us that an advanced devotee can see God at every moment. “And what is that God? It is not manufactured God. Śyāmasundaram, Kṛṣṇa. Yaṁ śyāmasundaram. It is particularly mentioned. God means śyāmasundaram. This appears to be contradictory. Śyāmasundaram—we have got idea: what is black is not beautiful. But here Kṛṣṇa, śyāmasundaram. Although He is black, He is sundaram. Barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda sundarāṅgam.Asitāmbuda, black cloud. Black cloud, like that, color, but He is very sundaram. Kandarpakoṭi kamanīyaviśeṣaśobham [Bs. 5.30]. He’s so beautiful that if you compare with millions of Kandarpa, Cupid—Cupid is supposed to be very beautiful—so if you bring together millions of Cupids, still, their combined beauty cannot be compared with Kṛṣṇa’s beauty.” 

Seeing Kṛṣṇa, he said, is not a question of our asking and our desire; it is solely a question of His desire. “You cannot ask Kṛṣṇa, ‘Please come here. I’ll see You,’ just like you ask your dog or your servant. Kṛṣṇa is nobody’s servant. Kṛṣṇa is the master. He may like you; He may not like.” 

Still, he said, there is a condition that we have to fulfill. “But He is not visible to the non-devotees. Unless you are devotee, you cannot see. Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ [Bg. 18.55]. So that bhakti must be there. 

“So Kṛṣṇa is present here in this temple. This temple is meant for this purpose, that you come here, see Kṛṣṇa, and become attached to Him. Then you will see Him twentyfour hours. This is the process. Not that—I have several times explained—this Kṛṣṇa is marble statue. No. Kṛṣṇa is here. Kṛṣṇa is here in the temple, but He has come mercifully to be seen by you. Otherwise you are blind; you cannot see Kṛṣṇa. But He has appeared as arcāvigraha. You are accustomed to see wood and stone, so He appears in your visible form, but He is Kṛṣṇa. You will understand He is Kṛṣṇa present when you have got enough love for Him.” 

Prabhupāda stressed that to develop that love, we have to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa not directly, but through His devotee. Only a devotee can give us access to Him. “This bhaktiyoga should be practiced not from the non-devotees. Then it will be not possible. Mayy āsaktamanāḥ pārtha yogam . . . madāśrayaḥ [Bg. 7.1] Not jñānīs’ āśraya or yogis’ āśraya, no. Then you’ll never be able to see. Madāśraya. You cannot take shelter of Kṛṣṇa directly—that is not possible—but one who has taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa, you can take shelter of him. That is matāśrayaḥ: ‘a person who has taken shelter of Me.’ That means His devotee, a pure Vaiṣṇava, a Vaiṣṇava guru. You have to take shelter of. Then you can practice bhaktiyoga.” 

Although the previous verses have stressed the glorious nature of the brāhmaṇas, Prabhupāda told us that being a brāhmaṇa is still not a guarantee to seeing Kṛṣṇa, as much as being from a fallen section of society is not a guarantee of not seeing Kṛṣṇa. It is entirely up to the Lord Himself, and He always favors His devotees. “If you take shelter of a devotee of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu, then śuddhyanti—you’ll be purified. How it is possible . . . ? He’s born in lowgrade family, kirātahūṇāndhrapulindapulkaśā [SB 2.4.18]. How he became so purified that he can see? Now prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ. This is Kṛṣṇa’s influence. He can do that. If you take shelter, upāśrayāśrayāḥ, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa is pleased to reveal Himself. That is Kṛṣṇa’s special power, Viṣṇu’s special power. He can be seen even by the kirātahūṇāndhra andhra, and He cannot be seen even by the most purified brāhmaṇa. That is His option. He is not exposed to be seen by everyone.” 

It is a mark of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s special power that we are all here seeing the Lord on a daily basis. And not just in Vṛndāvana, the Lord’s abode, but also in Kṛṣṇa conscious centers all around the world—an unprecedented revelation of the Lord just to please the desire of His pure devotee. Through Śrīla Prabhupāda’s love of Kṛṣṇa and his ability to see the Lord everywhere, we are also now developing the sense of the Lord’s presence everywhere. As Prabhupāda himself concluded, “So we have to learn through bhaktiyoga how to see Kṛṣṇa, how to understand Him. Tadvijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet samitpāniḥ śrotriyaṁ brahmaniṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]. These are required. You cannot jump over Kṛṣṇa and see Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. So everything is sitting place of Kṛṣṇa. Aṇḍāntara sthaparamāṇu cayāntarastham [Bs. 5.35]. He is even within the atom, so why not within yourself? He is everywhere. This vision should be developed. And viviktadṛgbhis tad ahārhaṇam. If you see in that way, that Kṛṣṇa is everywhere present, but that presence can be experienced by love and devotion. There is no other way.” 

* * * 

As the new temple manager, the ever-enthusiastic Mahāvīra has already been quite active, getting large painted signs put up at the front of the temple for the public to see the darśana and ārati times for the Deities, and regulating the ringing of the front bell by the guards. Recently, Prabhupāda’s front garden has been largely neglected, another reflection of the state of the management here, especially since Caraṇāravindam left. So this afternoon Mahāvīra decided to do something about it. Keen to render some personal service for Śrīla Prabhupāda, he went in there with his wife to tackle the overgrowth. She doesn’t speak much English and he was telling her in Portuguese, “Let’s make this a nice garden.” As he gave her instructions what to do, Śrīla Prabhupāda, sitting at his desk, overheard them through the French windows. Curiosity aroused, he called Mahāvīra in and asked if he was speaking Mexican to her.  

“No, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” Mahāvīra replied. “It is Portuguese, from Brazil.”  

“So, what are you doing?” asked Prabhupāda.  

Mahāvīra, pleased that Śrīla Prabhupāda had called for him and eager to inform him of his efforts to improve his garden, began to describe his intention to clear it and replant. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda shook his head with a frown. “You Americans, you ruin everything. When one of you comes, you change everything the other one did. You go away, another one of you comes, you change everything the other one did, and then he goes away and another one comes, changes everything he did.” It was a theme he has taken issue with many times with his Western disciples, what he calls our disease of change. He told Mahāvīra emphatically, “Don’t change it—save it.” 

* * * 

Another telegram arrived today from Gargamuni Mahārāja, this time from Calcutta. It was short and straight to the point. “DUE TO YOUR DISPLEASURE WITH VRINDABAN MANAGEMENT GARGAMUNI, JAYAPATAKA, BHAVANANDA OFFER TO COJOINTLY MANAGE VRINDABAN. PLEASE ADVISE. GARGAMUNI.” Yet, in marked contradiction, just a couple of days ago Gargamuni sent a letter to Jagadīśa suggesting that the Calcutta temple be closed due to lack of funds and manpower, a proposition that Śrīla Prabhupāda found highly unpalatable.  

Prabhupāda was not at all pleased to receive this telegram, and when Jagadīśa read it out he reacted sharply, declaring caustically, “Oil your own machine! Just see! He cannot manage his own temples, but he wants to manage others.” 

Prabhupāda was due in Calcutta by the fifteenth, but he doesn’t want to go there if there are more management problems. Apart from that, Gargamuni is due here anytime with one of the three new Ambassador cars bought to replace Prabhupāda’s Mercedes (one for Calcutta, one for Vṛndāvana, and the other for Bombay), so after due consideration he dictated a reply. 

It wasn’t as sharp as his initial reaction to Jagadīśa and reflected his appreciation of Gargamuni’s ability in financial areas. (Prabhupāda sometimes jokingly refers to him as ‘Garga-money’ a ‘pot of money.’) “Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your telegram reading as follows: ‘Due to your displeasure with Vrindaban management . . . ’ 

“Before this I received one letter from you addressed to Jagadisa. The reply to that letter is sent with Debu. There I have requested you to come here with the car. I’ve sent one letter to Bhavananda also, in which I requested him to preach in the interior of Bengal. Now he is in the limelight, so his attention should not be diverted. 

“Regarding management in Vrindaban, it is improving in my presence. I hope it will go on nicely. The only problem is the guest house. There are practically no guests. Out of 44 rooms we cannot engage even one daily. So, here is the real problem. We have invested in this guest house about 25 lakhs. So, without utilization of these rooms, we are losing about 20,000 per month. This is the real problem. Other problems are minor, they can be rectified. So, amongst yourselves discuss this guest house problem, and when you come, please bring the solution scheme. Then I will be able to talk with you how things can be improved.” 

As for the problems in Calcutta, it is an added headache, and Prabhupāda doesn’t want to get involved.  He told Gargamuni frankly, “The proposal of closing Calcutta center is very inauspicious. Any center we open cannot be closed at any cost, what to speak of the Calcutta center. You have asked for 2 lakhs loan. That can be also arranged, but why Calcutta center bank account is broken. I’m too much perturbed on this point. I was just planning to go to Mayapur when Jagadisa received your letter, therefore I postponed my journey to Mayapur until you come here and I shall discuss with you. My health is also not very sound, still I wanted to go to Mayapur. But, I think the Calcutta problem would give me more trouble even if I am in Mayapur. Thus, I postponed. So, when you come here we shall discuss the matter in detail.” 

In pursuance of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions to him to introduce Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the Chinese people, Trivikrama Swami has been preaching for several months in Hong Kong, selling the Chinese Gītā in offices and business establishments. A few weeks ago he went to Taiwan with Buddhimanta prabhu and in a letter that arrived today reports that they are meeting with some success. They go into offices dressed in karmī clothes and present business cards with their names and the BBT logo. They ask to speak to the person in charge and are almost always successful because the people think they are potential customers. They then present the Gītā to the manager and explain how our non-profit society is helping people all over the world, in poor countries by feeding the people and in wealthy countries like Taiwan by educational work. They explain how the books are full of real spiritual knowledge, show photos of prasādam distribution in Māyāpur, and tell the person that they are giving the books freely but request a donation for their work. In this way they are each selling between twenty and twenty-five Gītās per day and maintaining themselves quite easily. On weekends they go out on harināmasaṅkīrtana, and people are coming to their apartment on Sundays for prasādam

Śrīla Prabhupāda was highly satisfied with their efforts. Trivikrama Mahārāja was originally selected by Śrīla Prabhupāda to go to China with Tamal Krishna Goswami in March, and although Tamal Krishna chose Dhṛṣṭadyumna Swami to assist him instead, Prabhupāda has continued to encourage Trivikrama to be involved. When the first copies of the Chinese Gītā (the first six chapters) came out in May, Prabhupāda immediately requested Trivikrama Mahārāja to go to Hong Kong and Taiwan to sell them and try to create a group of Chinese devotees. Although Trivikrama has a reputation for being a bit of a loner and not always getting on well with his Godbrothers, Prabhupāda has said about him that his credit is that “whatever I tell him, he does.”  

So in response to Prabhupāda’s request, Trivikrama Mahārāja is now so doing, and Prabhupāda was smiling brightly as he dictated his reply. “I’m very glad to hear about the good response you are getting in Taiwan. Krsna is blessing you. You have taken a bold step. Krsna will help you. My blessings are with you. Do your best, surely you’ll be successful. Print books and distribute. For now there is no need of opening temples. 

“If you can go to the mainland that will be the greatest mercy of Krsna. Once we can set the fire of Krsna consciousness in the country, there will be spontaneous combustion.” 

* * * 

Saurabha prabhu is here from Bombay. He was called by Śrīla Prabhupāda to discuss details of the temple construction there and the remaining work here in Vṛndāvana. This evening at about eight o’clock he joined Jagadīśa, Pradyumna, Mahāvīra, and myself in a half hour’s informal get-together with His Divine Grace. Prabhupāda was relaxed, leaning back against the bolsters of his thick cotton-padded āsana, smiling and chatting with us about the state of affairs in the world. His hand was in his bead bag and his tulasī-mālā clicked together audibly as he ran them between his fingers and thumb, his mind always fixed on the holy name even as he shared his thoughts on modern civilization.  

The Vṛndāvana school is nearing completion and he plans another in Bombay. It is our young, he told us, who are the future, and therefore we need to make a serious effort to educate them in devotional activities. Although his mood was mellow, his words were still weighty. “So you combine together, make a batch of good character, ideal character in the whole world. There is no ideal character. Everyone is drunkard and meateater or womanhunter. What is the civilization? Hog civilization. Work hard, get some money, and spend it for intoxication, illicit sex. This is civilization. Is it not? They have no idea how to make civilized.” 

His mention of intoxication reminded Mahāvīra of some commotion he had read in the English press as to whether children in Scotland should be allowed into the pubs with their parents. 

Prabhupāda wasn’t surprised. “They allow the children sit down. They take soda water and the father, mother drinking. I have seen it. They are learning from the father and mother from the beginning.” 

He was spot on. It brought back some memories for me, and I told him how every Sunday my father would go to the local pub and then for a Sunday treat would give us kids a glass of beer. 

“Just see,” Prabhupāda acknowledged. “Father, mother take . . . Because they think it is civilization. Elder boys, the father mother tell, ‘What is the wrong, illicit sex? Take woman, take car. Enjoy life.’ I have seen it. They know, ‘This is life.’ . . . Therefore they say, ‘Brainwash. This Swamijī is controlling their minds and brainwashing.’ That is their charge.” 

He paused for a second and with a dose of satirical humor chuckled and said, “Wash, ne. The brain should be operated, surgical to take out all rubbish things . . . It is all gobar [cow dung]. Take out.” 

He laughed. He was at ease but still was thinking of the preaching, not only globally but also locally. He gave some suggestions to Mahāvīra for prasādam distribution, since they have just had a program. “Make khicuḍi.” 

Puṣpānna rice?” Mahāvīra asked. “Always keep it simple, puris, and one other thing?” 

Even that, Prabhupāda indicated, was not necessary, as long as there was something. “No, one kind. Either puri or puṣpānna or khicuḍi, like that.” He seemed to think it would be too much endeavor for them to do more. But when Mahāvīra said that he had organized sabji and puri, Prabhupāda tipped his head. “Yes. That is easiest, puri and sabji. Similarly, khicuḍi and sabji, puṣpānna and chutney, like that. Temple means feeding them with prasādam.”  

He asked Saurabha if the Sunday feast was going on in Bombay. 

Saurabha told him that right now our facility is so limited that they have to serve in two shifts because there is always a big crowd. But when the new work is completed there will be sufficient space for everything.  

Prabhupāda smiled at the thought. “Take prasādam, see drama, read books, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Bas. And if you like, you can live with us. So where is the difficulty?” He paused again and then chuckled. “That American politician has predicted that ‘This Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, within ten years, they will capture our government.’ ” He loves to recall this; it is a mark of real success. Laughing, he told us, “So, DO it actually!” His emphasis sparked our mirthful enthusiasm, and he went on, his mind set on the possibility. “Then it will be very nice. It is not [impossible] . . .  Simply take the people in your favor; the government is yours. That they are afraid of. The young boys, they are taking Hare Kṛṣṇa movement seriously, so the government can be changed in their favor. After all, it is democracy. So you can do it. You become president. You become senator. In America it is possible. And if America accepts . . . ” 

He thought for a second and then asked about the new American president, Jimmy Carter. “What about this new president? Formerly, I heard about him that he is religious man.” 

Saurabha confirmed that Carter’s mother had worked in India and is therefore quite favorable to the country and culture. The Carters have many friends in India, and there is one particular man in the movie industry in Bombay with whom they are close. Jagat Puruṣa, who has extensive contacts in that arena, is going to approach him.  

Prabhupāda liked that. “At least let them understand the philosophy.” 

Prabhupāda suggested that Balavanta prabhu, who formerly headed up our “In God We Trust” party in America, could see him and explain the philosophy.  

It turns out that Balavanta already knows him. Jagadīśa prabhu said that when Balavanta was running for the post of mayor of Atlanta, one of the candidates dropped out of the race and instead supported Balavanta. That man has now been appointed lieutenant governor under Carter. “So Carter and this man are close,” Jagadīśa said, “and through this man Carter knows about Balavanta and the movement.” 

It was an interesting prospect, and Prabhupāda endorsed it. “Balavanta is very intelligent boy. He can do that.”  

Prabhupāda asked me to bring some of the spring water from Bhubaneswar; as he sipped it he inquired a little about what Carter’s mother had been doing in India. Jagadīśa said that she was part of the Peace Corps. 

Prabhupāda had not heard of it. Pradyumna explained that it was a kind of social development organization set up by the American government. I was surprised to hear him say that Tejīyas prabhu was once a participant. Pradyumna revealed more. “He was sent to India. In Telegu Nagara he was helping with agriculture. He would go to some village, underdeveloped. He would teach them how to plant nicely, fertilize, different things. He knows all about agriculture.” 

I turned to Śrīla Prabhupāda. “Why don’t we send him to Hyderabad?” 

Prabhupāda already had it mind. “Yes. Let him go to Hyderabad.” 

“And he speaks the language too,” I added. 

Prabhupāda was happy with this idea and repeated his consent. 

Pradyumna elaborated a bit on the Peace Corps. “It was Kennedy’s idea, the Peace Corps. Kennedy started. They started it because many young men did not want to go in the army, but army was forcible. So they said, ‘If you go in the Peace Corps, then you don’t have to go in the war corps; you don’t have to go in army.’ So many people took that: ‘Oh, we’ll go in the Peace Corps. We’ll go as an alternative.’ ” 

Prabhupāda thought it a good idea, but Saurabha said that it had lost its popularity and was mostly shut down in India due to suspicions that it was a front for the CIA. 

Prabhupāda smiled. He was neither surprised nor critical. From one angle, he told us that it was the natural course. “That is politics. He was a politician. That you cannot blame. Politics require all these things. A politician cannot be a saintly person. That is not possible. For politics he has to do so many things. That is necessary. Just like Arjuna wanted to be a nonviolent. Immediately it was condemned by Kṛṣṇa, ‘What is this nonsense? You are a military man—nonviolent . . . ’ And similarly, politicians, they require all this. Businessman must deal in black market. It is inevitable. Otherwise he cannot improve. Because the world is bad, you, if you become honest, then you cannot become prosperous.” 

That was the worldly situation. But as far as spiritual dealings go, he explained that these are quite different. “Brāhmaṇa’s dealing must be very straight and honest. They are not meant for politics or business. They are for transcendental knowledge.” And beyond that, he said, the position of a devotee is also different. “Kṛṣṇa conscious person should be allinclusive. He must be a politician, he must be a brāhmaṇa, he must be a kṣatriya, he must be a śūdra—everything. Allinclusive. Because he is transcendental. In otherwise he is neither a brāhmaṇa, neither a śūdra, neither a . . . Nāhaṁ vipro na ca narapatir na yatir vā [Padyāvalī 63]. Neither of these. In other side he is everything. That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. As Kṛṣṇa is sometimes cowherd boy, politician, sometimes dancing with, artist—He is everything, not onesided.”  

Prabhupāda inquired a little from Mahāvīra what books were being sold at the program and then returned to the subject of the new American president. “So Carter is good.” 

Saurabha provided further encouraging news. “Yes, I got a letter from Dharmādhyakṣa two months ago. He was invited to the White House. He had an exhibition at Vancouver, that Habitat. So it was a world conference of solution to life, living. So he was invited. He met some of the officials there. He was invited to Washington, but he had to wait for Carter to become the president because then it would be fifty percent more favorable because they had a relationship. Then he said there’s a great chance they will help us in India. So he is going to go there and speak with them in Washington, D.C.” 

Saurabha said that Dharmādhyakṣa prabhu was going to talk with them about our proposed development of Māyāpur; he explained to Prabhupāda that Dharmādhyakṣa is one of our Back To Godhead writers and did the Vedic Habitat exhibit along with Gurudāsa Swami at the UN conference in early June. 

Prabhupāda remembered reading the pamphlet Dharmādhyakṣa had sent him during his stay in Hawaii in May. “His article, one is there?” 

“Yes,” I said. “ ‘Simple Living High Thinking.’ You saw that.” 

Prabhupāda nodded. It was a well-written document that he had enjoyed and felt had explained his ideas clearly and succinctly. “So he met him?” Prabhupāda asked. 

Saurabha clarified. “Not Carter. He met the government officials who were representing the United States government at that exhibition, and they were very favorable. They were one of the most favorable, he said, the United States.” 

Prabhupāda was happy with the news that someone from government was taking his ideas seriously. “Yes, our ‘plain living, high thinking’ is very nice idea.” 

It seems that Carter himself is a farmer and made millions from growing peanuts. 

Prabhupāda grinned and returned to his opening idea. “Capture America, government. Then all world will follow. As they are known as communists, we should be known as ‘Hare Kṛṣṇas.’ We are already known as such, ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa.’ Keep that name. People at least chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is already well advertised all over the world. So keep this name, ‘Hare Kṛṣṇas.’ ‘Vote for Hare Kṛṣṇas.’ Anywhere you live, you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.” 

It was getting late; with a yawn he brought the informal gathering to a close so that he could prepare for his night’s engagement of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam translation and commentary. 

November 14th, 1976

Today’s verse, ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 5.5.27, described that the true engagement of the senses is service to the Supreme Lord; otherwise it is impossible to get out of material existence. 

At the beginning of class Prabhupāda was just beginning to make the point that the body is full of ignorance when a child began to cry loudly, disturbing everyone’s concentration. He quickly and humorously capitalized on the incident, making a practical point and causing everyone to laugh as well. “So the entanglement is made by the senses. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung that śarīra avidyājāl, joḍendriya tāhe kāl, jīve phele viṣayasāgore. This body is covering of ignorance, śarīra avidyājāl. Everyone has got a material body, and according to the different proportion of ignorance . . . [child cries] . . . This child is so crying. From three miles we can hear! Balanaṁ rodanaṁ balam, this is strength of the children, crying.” He started chuckling. “They can disturb the whole world simply by crying!” Everyone broke out laughing and Prabhupāda continued with a large grin on his face. “So just see. This is the body, immediately. You cannot cry like that. Even if you are aggrieved, you cannot cry so loudly that up to four miles one can hear. That is not possible. Why it is not possible? Because he has got a different body and you have got a different. Everything is going on according to the body. This is mahāvimoha. This is going on, 8,400,000’s of different forms of body according to mano [mind], vaca [tongue], dṛk [eye], karana [senses], etc. This body is the entanglement, and the senses are the instruments, and we are acting with the senses and we creating another type of body. This is going on.” 

Condemning the type of civilization that keeps people in the ignorance of thinking that there is only the body and nothing more, Prabhupāda quoted Locan Dāsa Ṭhākura and told us that the chanting of the Lord’s name is the potent remedy for all our problems. “Viṣaya chāriyā, se rase majiyā, mukhe bolo hari hari. This is instruction, that we can chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, we can chant the holy name of the Lord, purely, without offense. Because if we can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra once only—if it is pure—then immediately you become liberated. Harināma is so powerful that once chanting, immediately vanquishes the accumulated sinful reaction of millions of lives. Pāpi haya tata pāpa karibāre. Every pāpi, sinful man, is very expert in committing sinful activities. But harināma is so expert that once chanted, the pāpi, the sinful man, will be failure to commit sin anymore.” 

Prabhupāda cautioned us, however, that chanting is not a cheap process. “But the difficulty is that we cannot come to the pure stage of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Due to our past habits our mind is disturbed. We cannot concentrate. Therefore we have fixed up the minimum. We cannot imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura. That is not possible. If somebody imitates Haridāsa Ṭhākura . . . We can see this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and smoking bidi. We can understand what is the position. The offense is going on. Therefore we should try to avoid the ten kinds of offenses. Of course, in the beginning the offenses will continue. But chanting, chanting, chanting, chanting, as soon as we become purified Cetodarpaṇamārjanaṁ bhavamahādāvāgninirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. By chanting, chanting, chanting repeatedly, the core of heart will be cleansed.” 

I got an unexpected bonus from the class. At the beginning, Prabhupāda was telling us that we have to purify our senses by engagement in bhakti. He was going to refer to a verse from Bhagavadgītā, but it slipped his mind. “In the Bhagavadgītā it is said . . . What is that verse, the body and the senses? I forget now.” Somehow I knew which verse he was thinking of and prompted him. “Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhuḥ?” Prabhupāda gave me a quick nod of appreciation, “Ah, very good. Thank you. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ, manasas tu parā buddhiḥ [Bg. 3.42],” and he continued with his discourse.  

After class he went back to his house and as usual, sat down for a few minutes before taking his breakfast. I came into his darśana room, and he called me over to his side, a big smile on his face. “I was very happy that you could give me that verse without my asking,” he said. 

I was at once embarrassed and gratified. I felt undeserving. I tried to shy away from his praise and minimize my deed. “Well, I actually haven’t learnt many verses, Śrīla Prabhupāda. It was just one of the ones that I happen to know.” 

“No,” Śrīla Prabhupāda pressed, both seriously and reassuringly. “This is required. It is very good if you can quote śāstra. If you can learn these verses you will be able to preach very nicely.”  He smiled again in appreciation, and I could understand that he has a great hope that we disciples can emulate his own abundant qualities as a preacher of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He naturally wants his legacy to be carried forward, and it is his hope and expectancy that each and every one of us, no matter how insignificant, will rise to some level of efficacy as his representative. He quotes profusely from śāstra to establish the authority of his words, and he is keen that we also become proficient despite our not knowing Sanskrit. 

I left his room feeling deeply satisfied. Even though I am with Śrīla Prabhupāda all day every day and routinely do many personal services, to have him single out a specific incident and thank me for it was still special and uplifting. 

* * * 

Tejīyas came from Delhi and put in a short appearance this morning to inform Śrīla Prabhupāda of some progress in the effort to garner support for the New York court case. He reported that he had just met with the governor of Uttar Pradesa, Dr. Channa Reddy. 

Prabhupāda’s ears pricked up. “Why?” 

“About getting letters, this letter for the court case in America,” Tejīyas replied. Mentioning that we are getting a good response from some Members of Parliament who are our life members, he told Prabhupāda, “Channa Reddy himself, he said that he would approach the External Affairs Minister and ask him that the External Affairs Minister, he can make some sort of protest, either official or unofficial, about this type of dealings that are going on.” 

“So he has not given anything, writing?” 

Tejīyas shook his head. “No, but he said that he is the head of the state of U.P. . . . So he said if he gives a protest to the American government directly that ‘This is not . . . ’ ” 

Prabhupāda frowned with mild concern. “There is no question of protest that . . . This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is genuine movement.” 

Tejīyas told Prabhupāda that he was acting on the direction of the local GBC. “I had gotten a letter from Gopāla Kṛṣṇa that he also wanted some letter in the form of protest.” 

Prabhupāda shook his head. This was not the tack on which he wanted to approach the case. Concerned, he asked, “Protest? Why this nonsense suggestion is done? These are rascal things. You have no experience and you do something which is . . . ” 

Tejīyas tried to elaborate, saying that he had asked the governor to give a letter of protest, but Prabhupāda checked him. “Why did you approach the governor without asking me? You cannot make the governor so cheap thing that you will go always and ask something. Unnecessarily spend money and waste time.” 

Tejīyas explained that he had met Dr. Channa Reddy when he was visiting Delhi rather than having gone to find him, and Prabhupāda accepted his reason, but that was not his main point. “But how governor can protest?” 

“What he suggested in this case . . . ” 

“He will suggest hundreds of things,” Prabhupāda interrupted, “but he cannot protest personally.” He laid out his main aim, which is not merely to make some political protest at our treatment, but rather to establish our bona fides in court. “What is the court case? That we have to place before the court that ‘This is genuine cultural or religious movement.’ We are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. What Kṛṣṇa has said, we are trying to spread. This is genuine, the simple thing. We have not manufactured anything, ‘Transcendental Meditation’ or like that. That is not our business. We are presenting simply what is stated there in the Bhagavadgītā. If somebody said that ‘Bible is not genuine,’ will it be accepted? Thousands and thousands are claiming to be Christian on the basis of it. Similarly millions and millions of people in India, they know Kṛṣṇa, Bhagavadgītā. How it is not genuine? That we have to prove, that’s all. Repeatedly we are speaking that what Kṛṣṇa said, that is perfect. That’s all. This is our business. Who will object to that? Anyone can say, ‘Yes, it is based on Bhagavadgītā. It is genuine.’ Any Indian can say. You have to take that to present in the court. If from official, it is . . .  How the official can deny it? It is genuine.” 

That clarified, he turned his attention to other matters, notably the ongoing battle with the locals and municipality about the sewer disposal from our guesthouse. 

 * * * 

A letter arrived today from Ādi Keśava Swami recommending one of the RDTSKP boys for initiation. With it he enclosed a feature article, “Religious Freedom vs. Parental Care,” from the New York Times “About New York” section, about the upcoming court cases. Printed on November 1st, it presents on one side the view of Queens Assistant District Attorney Michael Schwed, and on the other, that of Merylee Kreshower, Mūrtivanya dāsī, the girl who was kidnaped from the New York temple and who is now free after being held by the court for two weeks (as, ironically, a “material witness”). Written by Francis X. Clines, the article is a succinct and well-crafted representation of the case, and on the whole, it comes out in favor of religious freedom. 

“The people passing by the chanting group of Hare Krishna religious devotees had never seemed threatening to Merylee Kreshower, one of the chanters, as she danced and celebrated the name of God within the strangely joyous, saffron-robed sidewalk throng. But now the people, by way of their elected representative, the Queens District Attorney, have taken sides and charged that Merylee has been brainwashed by her religious leaders, a victim of ‘mind control’ at the age of 24 years. The charge is ludicrous to Miss Kreshower . . . ” 

Briefly describing Mūrtivanya’s kidnapping, attempted deprogramming, and restraint by the courts, Clines states, “The case is an extraordinary one because here in middle-class Queens, it poses one of the country’s founding issues, religious freedom, against one of its perpetual concerns, parental care. And in the process it seems to get at whatever disturbing suspicions ordinary passers-by might have at the sight of the distracting, monkish, bands of religious believers who stand like happy aliens in the middle of the city’s great commercial tides of pedestrians.” 

Stating that the district attorney hopes to create a legal precedent for parents worried their children have “gone off to brainwashed lives,” the article quotes Schwed as saying, “ ‘The thing that frightens me is that a group like this or any other group can use mind control to create an army of zombies or robots who could undermine the government or law enforcement.’ ” 

“But,” Clines goes on to observe, “one era’s ‘captive’ can be a later era’s saint, critics of the charge say, noting for example, that Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas stirred strong resistence from disappointed parents and social clamor too when they launched their saintly vocations.” 

“Whatever the outcome of the charges and the reader’s opinion of the issue,” Clines states, “the case undeniably is rooted in the mind of Miss Kreshower and of the second alleged brainwashing victim, Edward Shapiro, who at 22 years of age, has been taken by his parents back to Massachusetts for treatment in a mental hospital where he is also fighting to return to the temple. 

“Were they brainwashed? 

“ ‘Certainly not, that’s ludicrous,’ Miss Kreshower said in an interview . . . ‘My mother got the idea I was brainwashed. She can’t accept the fact of my developing a love for God.’ 

“Miss Kreshower, who has lived apart from her parents since she was 20, said her mother had her kidnaped after setting up a doctor’s appointment back in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood where her parents still reside. Mr. Schwed, the prosecutor, concedes she was taken from the street by people working in behalf of her mother, but he notes the grand jury did not view this as kidnapping. Miss Kreshower, who got loose five days after being taken, does.” 

Clines quotes Schwed as accepting that the charge of “unlawful imprisonment through mind control” is an unprecedented charge and then goes on to state, “Mr. Schwed says that religious freedom itself is not part of the mind-control allegations and that this will be demonstrated in court.” 

In reply to this, Clines quotes Ira Glasser, the head of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Mr. Glasser says the prosecutor has made ‘a laughing stock’ of his office by taking sides with parents trying to regain control of the lives of sons and daughters in their 20’s and 30’s. He feels the indictment was made possible, in part, because there may be less public sympathy for Eastern religions than for more familiar Judeo-Christian religions, which have their own monasteries, chants and dictates about life from leaders.” 

Clines dedicates the last three paragraphs to quotes from Mūrtivanya, leaving for the reader a positive impression of our side of the dispute. “ ‘My mother says she was acting in the best interests of my health and happiness,’ Miss Kreshower says. ‘I’ve tried to explain I’ve never felt healthier and happier. The purpose of life is to inquire into absolute truth. That’s what I’m doing.’ 

“ ‘Love is voluntary,’ she said, adding that in her religion, ‘it’s called surrender to God. Nobody forces us. That’s why there’s love there.’ 

“Having been held against her will by two different strains of authority–parental and state–Miss Kreshower is not entirely free. She cannot return to live at the Hare Krishna temple until the case is settled, so her own religious freedom is abridged in the meantime. The closest she has come to brain control, she said, was when the ‘deprogrammers’ were shunting her from motel to motel for five days, asking her to recant. ‘It’s a simple issue,’ she said. ‘Nobody can make me change my mind.’ ” 

Previous reports from our devotees have suggested that most news coverage in New York has been negative, but the New York Times is undoubtedly the most influential paper, and this editorial, although presented as a neutral observation, shows that there is sympathy for religious rights. 

Prabhupāda liked the article and asked Jagadīśa to keep it in the standing file. He is continuing to rouse support here in Vṛndāvana, and his Godbrother Dr. Kapoor has been meeting regularly with him to discuss a time, date, and list of invitees for a general meeting of local dignitaries. 

* * * 

In his efforts to improve management, one of the items that Śrīla Prabhupāda has emphasized most is the guesthouse. As he told Hansadūta Mahārāja when he had his brief stint as temple president, if he simply makes the guesthouse a success, he will be happy. Accordingly, one of the brahmacārīs, Bhāgavata-āśraya prabhu, is to be sent to Delhi to advertize our guest facilities and try to attract tourist agencies to work with us. 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda lectured to about a hundred people this evening at a gentleman’s house in Mathurā. After taking prasādam we returned by car, getting back at eight-thirty. 

On our arrival back at Krishna-Balaram Mandir, Śrīla Prabhupāda received his advance copies of the newly printed ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 8.2. They were sent by the BBT with a couple from California, Alex Kulik and his wife. Alex, whose wife is initiated but not now living in the temple, is a businessman involved with the Laguna Beach temple. He has met Prabhupāda before and has given donations for different projects. Prabhupāda has encouraged him to take up the Kṛṣṇa conscious way of life and was happy to receive him in his darśana room even though it was so late. Alex also brought the first reprint of the First Canto Part Two in the new format. 

Alex produced plans and photos of a site for a new temple in San Diego. Prabhupāda was already aware that we have lost permission to use the main building of the property we now occupy. Guṇagrāhī prabhu, the temple president, has been obliged to move the Deities into a small room of what had been the main residential building. Now another place has been found, near to the university. Alex explained that it would give us close proximity to approximately thirty-six thousand students. The property has buildings, as it was formerly a motel (which went out of business). The main building, where they intend to start a Govinda’s restaurant, contains thirty units for the āśrama and a small swimming pool. There are about two acres already landscaped with various types of trees including palms, pomegranates, peaches, and plums. At the mention of pomegranate, one of his favorites, Prabhupāda grinned. “Pomegranate is a very nice fruit.” There is sufficient space to construct a custom-built temple with enough left over for growing flowers and some market gardening. When Alex mentioned clearing some of the land for the construction, Prabhupāda expressed concern that no big trees be removed and also suggested that they keep a cow, though Alex didn’t think this would be possible, since the property is within city limits. Alex said that the only problem he foresaw was getting the zoning changed, because although the current law allows for a church, an application would nonetheless have to be formally submitted.  

Prabhupāda immediately suggested how to avoid having to apply. He said that our men could simply say that it was a community project. “There is no need of re-zoning, because we are Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa community. So wherever we live we worship Kṛṣṇa. It is not a public show; it is our own private worshiping Deity. I can keep Deity in my home. Just like Christian Deity, Mary, Jesus Christ, in the room. There is no objection.” 

Alex did concede that local authorities in San Diego seem to be against us, because each time the devotees have applied for a property, they have been refused.  

“That’s why I say don’t call it temple,” Prabhupāda told him. “We are just establishing a community project. But because we are Hare Kṛṣṇa people, so wherever we live we worship Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. Don’t say ‘temple.’ ” 

After some discussion, Alex did show some confidence that interference would be minimal, but he promised that if there were problems they would adopt Prabhupāda’s strategy. In fact, the property is already in escrow, and a zoning change has been applied for. He said that the chances of it been rejected are “very slim.” 

As far as the design goes, Prabhupāda gestured just outside his windows at the three towering domes of Krishna-Balaram Mandir and asked, “So why don’t you make a temple like this? You see?” Then he thought again and said that of course, if they did that, it would be obvious that the building was a temple. Still, he said, “ Best thing is this type temple.” 

Alex said that it would all depend on cost. At thirty to forty dollars per square foot, a new temple would range between $140,000 and $260,000. He was happy to tell Prabhupāda that he had personally collected about $100,000 and that one other devotee had about $25,000. He was confident they would have the money within six months. Prabhupāda was pleased to hear all the plans and encouraged Alex to proceed. 

Putting the plans away, Alex produced a record album. It was the first test pressing from Golden Avatar Studios in Los Angeles of a modern musical offering called Change of Heart. This summer Śrīla Prabhupāda gave the devotees the go-ahead to produce songs containing Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy but set to modern music. Up until now, the only song tapes and records we have in ISKCON are traditional bhajanas. Everyone present was keen to hear the music, so Prabhupāda asked me to play it. Seeing the actual vinyl record, he asked me why we don’t get a player to take around with us. A cheap Japanese one would cost only fifteen dollars, and anyone coming over could bring it with them.  

I wasn’t enthusiastic and explained why. “We can’t carry it all. We’ve got so much baggage, we couldn’t possibly carry all . . . ” And I pointed out that everything was available on cassette, including this new album.  

Prabhupāda tipped his head from side to side and accepted this as being more practical. I set up the Uher tape player on his desk and, surrounded by a dozen smiling disciples, Prabhupāda sat back to listen to the songs. Apart from wanting to hear it, we were eager to see Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal reaction to this first attempt to attract the public through the current musical idiom. Played and sung by Maṅgalānanda prabhu, it is an eclectic fusion of middle-of-the-road “pop” music. Although some lyrics were allegorical, much of the contents directly glorified Kṛṣṇa and presented the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Prabhupāda was quite amused to hear all the weird electronic sounds and laughed when he heard some of the fancier guitar riffs, his eyes opening wide and his teeth showing as he grinned in mock surprise. It was obviously not to his personal taste, but he listened to the whole of the first side and at the end declared his approval and said that it is  all right for the devotees to begin selling the album. 

Prabhupāda was very satisfied with all the new developments and pleased beyond measure to see his movement constantly expanding. The new plans for San Diego, the possible challenges they bring, and the inventive and expert preaching strategies of his disciples, coupled with the recent attacks and accusations all combined to put him in a jovial and expansive mood. “So take your country and make it Kṛṣṇa conscious. Then surely we shall get the government. This is the prediction of a politician: ‘Kṛṣṇa conscious, the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is spreading like an epidemic. That I’m afraid within ten years they’ll get the government.’ ” 

“If they find out that that’s our actual plan . . . ” I began, but Prabhupāda interjected with a big grin, “Why you should not need? It must have. Hare Kṛṣṇa party. You have got Democratic Party, Republican Party—another party, Hare Kṛṣṇas. Bas.” 

“ ‘Prasādam Party,’ ” Alex suggested. 

“No,” Prabhupāda said, thinking of a specific reason. “Hare Kṛṣṇas. That will be main thing.” His grin brightened mischievously. “At least they will criticize Hare Kṛṣṇa and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.” With everyone around laughing and he himself shaking happily at the thought, he told us, “That’s all. We want. It is said that if we respect chanting, it is very good, even by neglecting chant, that is also good. Just like Ajāmila, he chanted. He never meant ‘Nārāyaṇa.’ He meant his son, but he got result. Ante nārāyaṇa smṛtiḥ [SB 2.1.6]. He never meant that he’s calling for Nārāyaṇa. He did not follow up bhakti. But Nārāyaṇa took care of it that ‘Now anyway he’s chanting “Nārāyaṇa.” He must come to Vaikuṇṭha.’ ” 

Alex produced some other gifts for Śrīla Prabhupāda —honey from his wife, a present from Viśakha dāsī in Los Angeles, and cow ghee from the devotees in San Diego, all of which Prabhupāda happily accepted. Alex also had something for me—two new power supplies for the Uher cassette recorder, sent by Kṛṣṇa Kanti prabhu. 

It was late, but as the darśana ended and devotees began to file out, Jagadīśa announced the arrival of a gentleman, Mr. Saxena from Rajasthan, who before he retired was an inspector of schools. After having met Jagadīśa through one of our traveling parties, Mr. Saxena has come to Vṛndāvana on Jagadīśa’s invitation. Jagadīśa is thinking that he might be suitable as a Hindi teacher for our gurukula

Despite the hour, Prabhupāda greeted Mr. Saxena warmly and after briefing him on the principles of the gurukula, told him that there was one underlying principle that was necessary to make it successful. “You cannot teach others if you are not fixed also. Otherwise it will be useless. It is useless, āpani ācari prabhu jīveri śikāimu. If you are fixed up in principles, then you can teach others that principle. That will be effective. If you smoke, and if you tell others that ‘Don’t smoke,’ that is useless. First of all give up these bad habits. Then you can teach; it will be effective.” 

Prabhupāda wants qualified, experienced teachers, but not at the expense of the standards in both philosophy and behavior that must be instilled in the students. Mr. Saxena said something about vidhi, religious regulations. 

Prabhupāda was quick to explain that religion has two aspects. “Vidhi, mostly theoretical and when you practice it—it is jñāna,vijñāna. So jñāna means theoretical knowledge, and vijñāna means practical application.” 

Mr. Saxena, showing his own limited understanding, asked Prabhupāda, “Is religion a practical knowledge?” 

Prabhupāda elaborated patiently. “Religion means the law given by God. That is religion. They do not know it. They do not know what is God; they do not know what is the words or order of God. Whole world is like that. They profess some religion, but religion means the law of God. But if they do not know what is God, then how he’ll understand the law of God? That means there is no religion. All cheating. Dharmaḥ projjita kaitavo. The Bhāgavata rejects all kinds of socalled religious system, accusing that they’re all cheating. Cheating, all cheating. If you do not know God, what is the meaning of their religion? It is simply cheating. If you have accepted a style of religion without any understanding of God, then it is simply you have been cheated. And that is going on. Everywhere.” 

Mr. Saxena told Prabhupāda that he has been to the four corners of India, Badarikāśrama, Rāmeśvaram, Jagannātha Purī, and Dvārakā, and has visited many big āśramas and spiritual centers, but that despite what is spoken in large gatherings, the caretakers of the tīrthas are not practicing. “But if you see that practical life, you realize all this tīrthas, they are no more tīrthas now. All use that word ‘shopping centers,’ what we call.” He listed off a few of the more well-known Māyāvādī gurus who run courses of meditation and yoga ranging from fifteen days to three years, but in none of them has he found what he is looking for. “Everywhere I found there is no . . . We are after peace. There is no peace there.” 

Prabhupāda told him that religion is obedience to God. “This is the religion. God says that ‘You surrender unto Me.’ This is religion. So if one does not know what is God and where to surrender, then where is religion? Is it wrong for God to say that ‘You surrender unto Me’? Can you say like that?” 

Mr. Saxena, a humble and unpretentious person, agreed. “How can you say?” 

Prabhupāda said that the problem is that the Māyāvādīs want to take the position of God. “ ‘Everyone is God. I am God; you are God.’ This is they are claiming.” 

 Mr. Saxena again agreed, and mentioned the so-called “Bhagavan Rajneesh” who is currently popular.  

Prabhupāda shook his head in disapproval. “This is going on. People also do not ask that ‘How you become God?’ That’s also so foolish. They accept any rascal as God. That Rajneesh, what he is? He advertises ‘Bhagavān,’ and there are many rascals, they accept him. What he has done?” 

“How to stop it then?” Mr. Saxena asked. 

“Stop, but unless you are intelligent, how it can be stopped?” Prabhupāda asked him in return. “If the people are not intelligent, the cheaters will cheat.” 

“But Swamiji, mostly educated persons, Ph.D., D.Lit., M.A., postgraduates, they are the followers of this.” 

For an ordinary person, titles of learning are certainly impressive, but not for Śrīla Prabhupāda. “Therefore in the Bhagavadgītā it is said, māyayāpahṛtajñānā. They are supposed to be very learned, but actually they’re fools, māyayāpahṛtajñānā. These socalled educated, they are bereft of knowledge. They have no common sense. That I was asking: this debauch, as God. That also [is] ignorance. He does not know what is God. He does not know. We have got the definition of God, aiśvaryasya samāgrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ/ jñānavairāgyayoś caiva ṣaṇṇaṁ bhāga itiṅgaṇa [Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47]. Aiśvaryasya samāgrasya, that one who is in possession of all the wealth, vīryasya all strength, all faith yaśasaḥ, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation, that is God. Now so far Kṛṣṇa is concerned, He showed all these things. Aiśvaryasya . . . For example Kṛṣṇa married sixteen thousand wives, and for each wife a different palace. And for each wife ten sons. Woman requires very nice accommodation, sons, husband; that is their ambition that He fulfilled, although he married 16,108 wives. This is aiśvaryasya samāgrasya vīryasya. This socalled rascal Bhagavān, who has shown this? Why shall I accept this cheap god? Show me something that you are God. Seven years old Kṛṣṇa, He lifted the Govardhana hill.”  

Prabhupāda told Mr. Saxena that although information about God is in the śāstras, people are unaware of it and thus are easily cheated. “There is, but they have no knowledge to compare with the idea of God. So far knowledge is concerned, Bhagavadgītā, left by Kṛṣṇa, it is adored all over the world. Especially nowadays we are presenting Bhagavadgītā As It Is and millions of copies we are selling.” He referred his guest to an advertisement about the Kṛṣṇa book declaring “1.5 million in print” and proudly told him, “All these Kṛṣṇa consciousness books, we are selling daily five to six lakhs of rupees. All over the world. I have estimate. That religious book, it is full of religion and philosophy; still they are selling.” 

 “That is an achievement,” Mr. Saxena said, his eyes widening in appreciation. 

And his books sales are not only in the West, Prabhupāda informed him. “In India, we have got standing order from all universities, libraries, and many other places. Complete standing order value is forty thousand rupees.” 

An intelligent man, Mr. Saxena ventured that having books is not enough; teaching the contents is the important thing. Otherwise people have the tendency to speculate. Prabhupāda agreed and said that therefore he had established over a hundred centers.  

“Yes, there should be centers too,” Mr. Saxena replied. “[They] could give right interpretation to all these things. Because interpretation means everybody is not in contact with Sanskrit.” 

Jagadīśa showed him a copy of BhagavadgītāAs It Is and the arrangements Śrīla Prabhupāda has made in all his books to minimize the risk of interpretation, not only elaborate purports but also Sanskrit/English transliteration and word-for-word translation.  

Mr. Saxena had not seen Prabhupāda’s books before and was duly impressed. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he told Śrīla Prabhupāda. “You must have also this missionary spirit. So I am at your disposal now.”  

Prabhupāda was pleased with his attitude and submissive approach and told the temple managers to immediately give him a single room. 

On being told by Prabhupāda that he had already published eighty-four books, Mr. Saxena acknowledged the effort and said that at a program he had attended held by our traveling saṅkīrtana party, he had seen the film “Brilliant As the Sun.” He had only one request: “that you once make us away from this saṁśaya [doubts]. Saṁśayātmā vinaśyati. There should be no saṁśaya.” 

Prabhupāda smiled and gave his assurance. “If you increase your attachment for Kṛṣṇa, then it will automatically. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate [Bg. 9.59].” To substantiate this, he quoted the verse by Rūpa Gosvāmī from Caitanya caritāmṛtaAdi 5.224 in which one gopī warns another not to look upon the beautiful form of Kṛṣṇa. “There is govindākhyāṁ haritanum, standing in keśitīrtho ‘pakaṇṭhe, with flute and smiling and with the moonshine He has become very, very bright. So, but don’t see, don’t see. Why? Provided you have the desire [to] no more [have] your association with socalled society, friends. If you have got desire to enjoy society, friendship, and love of this world, then don’t see. The purport is that anyone who sees Kṛṣṇa actually, he loses interest in this. So therefore we must increase our interest in Kṛṣṇa, then automatically . . . Mā prekṣiṣṭhāstava yadi sakhe bandhusaṅge ’sti raṅgaḥ. If you want to enjoy the company of your society, friendship, and love, then don’t see. It will be finished.” 

With this verse he revealed that this is the true power of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, why there is so much agitation against us by the materialists. “For this reason they are now bringing charges against us that we are spoiling these young men by brainwash. There is great opposition in the United States to our movement that we are spoiling these young men by giving some speculation, controlling over their mind, and simply injecting some ideas in their brain, brainwash.” 

It was quite late, and Mr. Saxena was sensitive about taking up too much of Prabhupāda’s time and attention. He made to take his leave and, gripping the Bhagavadgītā As It Is in his hand, thanked Śrīla Prabhupāda. “So I’ll keep this one for my room.” 

But Prabhupāda checked him. “No, you cannot keep. This is a sample.” 

Mr. Saxena acquiesced. “Acchā.” 

“Pictures you can get,” Prabhupāda told him.  

Mr. Saxena smiled happily. “Ah, yes, yes, it makes no difference. Your preachings are more than pictures.” 

With that, their meeting closed. When everyone had exited, Pālikā brought in a bowl of dalia, cracked wheat, made with milk. Prabhupāda has been experiencing some weakness and poor digestion so recently he has been taking this in the evenings. It is a definite help and it is giving him some strength; he says he has been feeling some benefit from it the last few days.  

November 15th, 1976

Class was quite short this morning. Prabhupāda finished just after the eight-o’clock bell rang, having spoken for just over twenty minutes.  

The verse, 5.5.28, described how Lord Ṛṣabhadeva completed his instructions to His sons and then renounced the world. “Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Thus the great wellwisher of everyone, the Supreme Lord, Ṛṣabhadeva, instructed His own sons. Although they were perfectly educated and cultured, He instructed them just to set an example of how a father should instruct his sons before retiring from family life. Sannyāsīs, who are no longer bound by fruitive activity and who have taken to devotional service after all their material desires have been vanquished, also learn by these instructions. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva instructed His one hundred sons, of whom the eldest, Bharata, was a very advanced devotee and a follower of Vaiṣṇavas. In order to rule the whole world, the Lord enthroned His eldest son on the royal seat. Thereafter, although still at home, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva lived like a madman, naked and with dishevelled hair. Then the Lord took the sacrificial fire within Himself, and He left Brahmavarta to tour the whole world.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda noted that the important point here concerned monarchy. Formerly, every country was ruled by a monarch, and even now there are some, although they no longer have much power. Here in India, he said, people still recall the rule of Lord Rāmacandra, and sometimes the politicians create a party of “Rāma-rajya”—but without Rāma. The key to good governance, however, is not just that a qualified ruler is in charge, but that the citizens also are well behaved.  

“When Lord Rāmacandra returned from the forest, His brother, Bharata, was ruling as a saintly person. But as soon as the eldest brother came back, He entreated that ‘Now You sit down on the throne.’ But He first of all tested what kind of people there are in Ayodhyā. So when He understood that all the citizens, they are strictly following the varṇāśramadharma, then He agreed to accept the throne. 

“So both ways. The king should be ideal, as here it is, paramahaṁsa,mahānubhāvaḥ. And the prajā should be also strictly following varṇāśrama-dharma. Then this world will be happy. Otherwise it is not possible.” 

As usual, Prabhupāda had strong words about the prevalent modern political system. “Not one sided. ‘The king is not good. Dethrone him. Kill him,’ and some rascals and fools in the name of democracy, they occupy the seat. What benefit will be there? The whole thing has to be changed, the prajās and the king. The advantage of democracy is there. By votes you can elect somebody as president. One has to follow the principle, monarch, one man on the head of the government. It may be a monarch or it may be a president—it doesn’t matter—but there must be one chief executive officer on the head. That you cannot avoid. That is essential. Therefore, if we do not have an ideal president or ideal king on the head and the prajās also, the citizens, they do not follow the varṇāśrama, then there cannot be any peace.” 

As far as peace goes, he said that it can come about only by following the instruction of Bhagavadgītā 5.29. People are making a vain attempt for unity through the United Nations, but due to neglect of God their attempts are a failure. “Unfortunately, we are claiming God’s property as our own. That means we are thieves. There is United Nations to formulate peace of the world, but truly speaking, it is an assembly of thieves and rogues. How there can be peace? The people must be trained up to know who is the proprietor. If the United Nations immediately accepts that this whole planet is the property of God and we are simply sons of God, not only human being but also the animals, the trees, the plants—there are 8,400,000 different forms of living entities, and Kṛṣṇa claims, ahaṁ bījapradaḥ pitā [Bg. 14.4]: ‘I am the seedgiving father.’ And we, all living entities, we are sons of the Supreme Proprietor. Let us enjoy the father’s property without encroaching upon others’ share. But they will not accept it. They will artificially create some assembly of rogues and thief and pass resolution for fifty years but no peace. They want to be united, but flags are increasing daily. We have seen in New York the flags are increasing.” 

Formerly there was just one flag, as when the Pāṇḍavas ruled the entire world and there was peace. Similarly, Prabhupāda told us, this entire planet is called Bhāratavarṣa, after the rule of Bharata Mahārāja, who was actually fit to rule due to being an advanced devotee. Again he contrasted the Bhāgavatam’s example with modern politics. “He is not ordinary person. Bharataṁ paramabhāgavatam bhagavajjanaparāyaṇam. He is the follower of devotees. Bhagavajjana and harijana, the same thing. Hari means Bhagavān, and here it is stated, bhagavajjana, and harijana, the same thing. But nowadays harijana means if somebody comes and presents himself as harijana, immediately we understand he must be a chamar or bhangi. This is the position. Harijana means persons like Nārada, Vyāsa, Asita, like that, the personal servant of Kṛṣṇa. By rubberstamp.  I want some political aims, so I stamp the chamars and bhangis as harijana. That’s all. That you can call for your political purpose. But harijana does not mean that. Here it is, an example of harijana. Parama bhāgavata means the highest stage of devotees.” 

He described the three different classes of devotee, kaniṣṭhaadhikārī, madhyamaadhikārī, and uttamaadhikārī. “Kaniṣṭhaadhikārī, he worships the Deity, but he does not know how to do good to others; neither he knows who is devotee. . . . But he should be engaged fully in Deity worship so that gradually he will develop his mahābhāgavata stage.” 

He put more emphasis on the role of the second stage devotee. “Madhyamaadhikārī means he knows how to make others harijana, or devotee. Īśvare tadadhīneṣu bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca/ premamaitrīkṛpa upekṣā yaḥ karoti sa madhyamaḥ [SB 11.2.46]. He not only worships the Deity wholeheartedly . . . That is prema. But beyond that, tad adhīneṣu—he knows how to respect the devotees. He must have power to see that ‘Here is a devotee.’ 

“So how to deal with devotee? Maitrī: to make friendship with him. Not with others, friendship. Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised. When He was asked by a gṛhastha devotee how to behave like a Vaiṣṇava, He immediately answered that the standard Vaiṣṇavism is asatsaṅgatyāga—ei vaiṣṇavaācāra [Cc. Madhya 22.87]:  ‘He must give up the company of asat, nondevotees.’ Asato mā sad gamaḥ. Don’t associate with non-devotee. If you want to make progress, don’t associate. Associate does not mean to talk with a non-devotee is association. No. That we have to do. As gentlemen, as devotee, we can. But not intimately. Associate means dadāti pratigṛhṇāti bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva, guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati ca [Upadeśāmṛta 4]. These are intimate relationship, dealing: giving something to your friend, accepting something from your friend, feeding your friend, accept food from him, and disclose your mind to your friend, and understand his mind. Ṣaḍvidhaṁ prītilakṣaṇam. So with devotee we should deal in six ways. This is friendly behavior. And kṛpa bāliśeṣu. Those who are innocent, do not know what is God or what is our relationship with Him, but they are not atheist—they do not know—to such persons, kṛpa, daya [show mercy].” 

He told us that because atheists are so envious, a preacher should not waste his time on them. Indeed, it is an offense to attempt to preach to them. “That is nāmaaparādha. Because we have not so much power that we can convert an atheist to become theist or devotee of God. That requires special power.” 

In describing the symptoms of the topmost devotee, Prabhupāda used the same example of the microphone that he had used at the Chandigarh pandala, but this time he embellished it to help us understand how Kṛṣṇa is simultaneously one with and different from His energies. “So mahābhāgavata means he is above the madhyama adhikārī. He does not see anyone non-devotee. He sees everyone devotee. He sees all living entities existing in Kṛṣṇa, and he sees Kṛṣṇa is living within the heart of everyone. He is broadvisioned. Mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam [Bg. 9.4]. In everything He sees Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s hand, Kṛṣṇa’s energy. Actually that is the fact. What is this microphone? This is also Kṛṣṇa, because what is this? This is made of this material gross matter. This is combination of bhūmir āpo analo vāyuḥ [Bg. 7.4], Kṛṣṇa’s energy. Therefore it is Kṛṣṇa. Śakti śaktimatayor abheda. There is no difference between śakti and śaktimat. Śaktimat is Kṛṣṇa, and śakti, the manifestation of His gross energy—prakṛtir me bhinnā aṣṭadhā. Bhinnā . . . Just like I am speaking, and this is recorded in the tape recorder, but when replayed, you will find that I am speaking. But I am not there. Bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā. This is bhinnā, originally coming from Kṛṣṇa, but it is an energy where you cannot find Kṛṣṇa directly. But it is Kṛṣṇa’s energy.” 

Noting that the material world “means forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa,” Prabhupāda wound up his lecture by designating the duty of the devotee. “The devotee’s business is how to enlighten him to come to the point of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, real smṛti. So this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement—an endeavour to bring the rascals and fools and atheists to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the most, I mean to say, important welfare activities in the human society. So Bharata Mahārāja had the power. He had the power to control how to bring the citizens to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore he was selected to become the king, not a rascal by vote and come to become president and you become happy. That is impossible.” 

If Bharata Mahārāja had the power then, it is certainly Śrīla Prabhupāda who has it now. His influence has spread powerfully all over the world, and he has brought tens of thousands from scores of different nations and cultures under the one flag of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Many of us were atheists, fools, and rascals before meeting him and simply by his example—his philosophical acumen and his personal influence—we have taken up Kṛṣṇa consciousness. By his symptoms anyone can understand he is the topmost perfect devotee. 

* * *  

Every morning after breakfast Śrīla Prabhupāda goes up the back stairs and onto his roof. On the back section, overlooking his back garden, I lay out a mattress, sheet, and pillow, and he takes his morning nap lying in the sunshine. It is quiet and pleasant, the sun warming but not too strong, the air clear andthe breeze gentle. Prabhupāda likes to get out in the fresh air when he can, and the roof provides a haven for him free from the constant stream of visitors and management. After about an hour he comes down again, refreshed and ready to meet the day’s demands. 

* * * 

Haihaya prabhu, the former temple president here, was supposed to go to Spain in early September to open a new center. Finally, after various delays, he left today for his new preaching assignment. 

* * *  

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu came in with Bhagatjī this morning and discussed with Prabhupāda some plans they have for getting the Vṛndāvana council to rename the road outside our temple. Instead of Chattikara Road, they said they wanted it to be known as ‘Bhaktivedanta Road.’ Prabhupāda corrected them and said it should be ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami Road.’ Without the ‘Swami’ it does not indicate himself. They also want the council to approve the building of two huge archways, one over each end of the road, with the proposed name of ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami Gate.’ Prabhupāda appreciates their idea and encouraged them in their efforts. This will be a good, if belated, recognition of the invaluable and unique work Prabhupāda has done in spreading the name and fame of Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma all around the world.  

* * * 

Mahāṁsa Swami has written inviting Prabhupāda to come to Hyderabad to sign the trust deed for the farm; after a series of long delays it is now legally finalized. Mahāṁsa assured Prabhupāda that his apartment in the city will be completed before his arrival. “I am immediately starting to construct your cottage at the farm,” he reported. “I hope to complete it in two weeks to enable the arrival of Your Divine Grace at Hyderabad.” 

Prabhupāda is pleased about the completion of the trust and made a final decision not to go to Māyāpur but to go south instead. He is keen for the development of our farm projects in general, and because this is the first big donation of land to ISKCON in India, he wants to make sure the community development has a sure footing and his specific ideas are implemented properly. He replied to Mahāṁsa that he will go there whenever he receives Mahārāja’s call. 

To that end Prabhupāda has been speaking with Tejīyas prabhu, the Delhi temple president. He got more details from Tejīyas about his involvement in the American Peace Corps. It seems that Tejīyas worked for them for several years in South India, specializing in farm management. He was in charge of overseeing crop rotation programs in about ten villages. He speaks fluent Hindi and Telugu and has a keen desire to do a similar service in ISKCON. He also has a strong, long-standing desire to get out of Delhi, but until now it has been difficult to find a replacement for him. Now that the Hyderabad farm trust is legally finalized, however, there is the momentum required to make the change. Tejīyas told Prabhupāda that Bhagavat-āśraya prabhu has expressed interest in heading up the preaching in Delhi if Tejīyas were to leave, and so after some discussion with Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu and Akṣayānanda Swami, Prabhupāda has accepted their recommendation that Bhagavat-āśraya take over as Delhi temple president, effective immediately. Bhagavat-āśraya is excited about the new challenge and will be introduced to his new service over the next few days while Tejīyas extricates himself. 

Mahāṁsa also sent some pictures of the land Dr. Ghosh wants to donate in Kodai Kanal, but he said that the temperature there drops to between eleven and twenty degrees Celsius in the winter and that although hot water and heaters would be provided, he wondered whether Śrīla Prabhupāda still wanted to go. 

Prabhupāda told him that he will decide this when he goes to Hyderabad. 

When Prabhupāda received the letter and invitation from Hṛṣīkeśānanda dāsa on November 3rd to do something in Nepal, he had asked Akṣayānanda Mahārāja to go there. Due to temple management duties, however, Akṣayānanda was unable, and instead, Hansadūta Swami went with his bus party. Now Hansadūta Swami has written to say that he is getting a favorable response, although he has not been able to contact Hṛṣīkeśānanda. Because Hansadūta is on the move, Prabhupāda noted his letter but didn’t send a reply. 

Prabhupāda got another letter from his Godbrother Dr. Śyāmasundara dāsa from the Śrī Puruṣottama Maṭha in Jagannatha Puri. Dr. Śyāmasundara writes occasionally and invariably sends a small morsel of Jagannātha prasadam along with appreciations of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s work. This letter was no exception, and Prabhupāda was happy to receive it. He replied with an update of the developments in his preaching and expressed his sentiments towards Puri as well.  

“You have given me the credit of being the best disciple of Prabhupada. That is very kind of you, but I am just trying to serve him. Whatever success there is is due to his mercy. In my last meeting with him in Radha Kunda he advised me to print some books if I get money. I took it very seriously and by His grace we have now published my translations of Bhagavadgita, SrimadBhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta, Bhaktirasamrtasindhu, Upadesamrta, etc. to the extent of 84 books. You’ll be surprised to know that these books and my magazine Back To Godhead are selling daily 56 lakhs of rupees in the foreign countries. Out of such proceeds I am bringing foreign exchange of not less than 10 lakhs per month for construction work in Bombay, Mayapur, Vrndavana, etc. So, this is all due to the blessings of Srila Prabhupada. I have no credit in this connection. These American boys are helping me in this endeavor, therefore, until they are admitted to the Jagannatha Puri temple I’m not inclined to go there. My disciples are trying for this purpose. The government officials are in favor. Maybe it will be soon.” 

Dr. Śyāmasundara also inquired whether he could get a complimentary subscription to Back To Godhead. Prabhupāda doesn’t usually give things out for free, but for his friend and Godbrother he was willing. As he had discussed recently with Akṣayānanda Swami, though, he thought there might be problems with the postal service, so he suggested an alternative. 

“So far the magazine is concerned, in India it is very difficult to send attractive magazines by post. The peons take it away. I have seen this myself and others have also seen. Therefore, we are publishing one local magazine from Hyderabad. A copy is sent herewith. If you like I can advise the managers in Hyderabad to send you a regular complimentary copy. 

“By the middle or end of November I may be going to Hyderabad. There we have got 600 acres of land to develop a farm project. We have got one very nice temple in Hyderabad City. As we are doing in Mayapur and many other places, I want to develop selfsufficient centers with cloth and food production by the devotees locally and save time as much as possible to devote themselves to chant Hare Krishna. 

“I thank you very much for your kindly remembering me. Sometimes I wish to take Jagannatha prasada, because nowadays I have no appetite here. I went to Jagannatha Puri in 1958 during some special function. I was taking Lord Jagannatha prasada very sumptuously. I am praying to Lord Jagannatha to take me there again at His will and honor His remnants of food.” 

Whatever the problems are in San Diego with the physical amenities, the preaching seems to be going well. Guṇagrāhī prabhu, the temple president, sent a letter requesting first initiation for four men and one woman and brāhmaṇa for two. Prabhupāda was happy to oblige and replied according to his usual procedure, having his secretary pick the names, advising him that Rāmeśvara Swami should chant on their beads, and reminding him that all initiates should chant sixteen rounds and follow the four regulative principles. 

* * *  

Mahāvira prabhu continues to improve things around the temple. One of the first things that struck him on his arrival was the lack of fanfare for Śrīla Prabhupāda when he goes out in the afternoon to give his darśana under the tamal tree in the temple courtyard. So he has begun to decorate the sitting area using the traditional art of rangoli, whereby multi-colorful patterns are made on the floor using dyed rice flour. Prabhupāda appreciates his efforts and smiles with approval when he sees the nice designs. 

November 16th, 1976

Today’s ŚrīmadBhāgavatam verse described the acceptance of complete renunciation by Lord Ṛṣabhadeva. “After accepting the feature of avadhūta, a great saintly person without material cares, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva passed through human society like a blind, deaf and dumb man, an idle stone, a ghost or a madman. Although people called Him such names, He remained silent and did not speak to anyone.” 

Even with this focus, however, for most of his class Śrīla Prabhupāda continued his concentration on governance in human society. Before retirement, Prabhupāda pointed out, Ṛṣabhadeva ensured the prosperity of the citizens by appointing his highly qualified son, Bharata Mahārāja, in His place. “That we have explained yesterday, that the king should be paraṁ bhāgavata, not a debauch. That was the system in Vedic age, the ideal king, ideal person. If one person is educated sufficiently, being the executive head of the state he can take care of the whole population, because his order is supreme. That was the duty of the king, to see that things are going on nicely in order. The order is that everyone should be educated to the final goal of understanding Kṛṣṇa. That is education.” 

Decrying modern Western educational systems that teach people that “God is dead” and condemning the trends here in India of imposters advertising themselves as God, Prabhupāda told us that there are only two classes of men—the devas, who accept Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the āsuras, who don’t. Even those who worship demigods, he said, are all āsuras, and he cited the examples of Rāvaṇa and Hiraṇyakaśipu, who were ardent worshipers of Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā respectively. 

No matter how advanced and educated people may be, if they do not accept God, Lord Viṣṇu, as the goal in life, they can never be successful. Those who do are called mahātmās, and only such elevated souls are fit to lead human society. Humourously pointing out that mahātmā “does not mean that to dress like me or having a big beard,” Prabhupāda said that Lord Ṛṣabhadeva was pointing the way even for times when there is no monarchy. “Now it is the time for democracy. So Lord Ṛṣabhadeva is teaching us that how you shall select the president or the king, Bharata Mahārāja, the ideal king, paramabhāgavatam.” 

The problem nowadays, he said, is that everyone wants a classless society, but that simply means the lowest class, śūdra, and the only criteria for respectability is how much wealth a person has. “How a śūdra can be equal to the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya? But if you earn money, then you are more than brāhmaṇa, you are more than a sannyāsī. This is Kaliyuga. So therefore people are after money only. So we are being educated in that way, foolish education. And we shall select.” 

Citing ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 2.3.19, he delivered a pithy analysis of modern government and in the process reinforced his point from yesterday that it is not simply a question of having a good leader; the quality of the citizens is also at issue. “This election, we are selecting another person. He is also like me. I am a paśu [animal]. How can I select a person who is not paśu? Therefore if you want good government, then—this is democratic age—you must be good. You must know who is good. Then you can elect: ‘Here is good man.’ Otherwise, śvaviḍvarāhoṣṭrakharaiḥ saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ [SB 2.3.19]. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has said that these socalled leaders, they are big paśu. I am paśu, and he’s a big paśu. What can I select? I cannot find out Bharata Mahārāja, paramabhāgavatam, Hmm? Bhagavajjana parāyaṇam. Nobody likes bhagavajjana. ‘These people are always speaking of God. It is brainwash.’ This is the modern . . . ‘It is brainwash.’ In Europe and America they are now combining to oppose this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, that we are brainwashing him, controlling the mind by hypnotism. That is the charge against us. We are placed in the court also in many cases. So this is ‘What is this nonsense, bhagavajjanaparāyaṇam, Bhagavān, Kṛṣṇa? This is simply a sophistry,’ they say. Even a big scholar said. When Kṛṣṇa says, sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66], a big scholar, he has remarked, ‘This is sophistry.’ ” 

Therefore, Prabhupāda said, peace is not possible without a leader like Bharata Mahārāja. “So we have to find out such leader. Then everything will be adjusted.” 

Affirming that the aim of life is to worship Viṣṇu, Prabhupāda repeated again that human society begins with varṇāśramadharma. Otherwise it is animal society. 

“Kṛṣṇa says, cāturvarṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam [Bg. 4.13]. My Guru Mahārāja also wanted to establish daivavarṇāśrama. Yes. Not this āsuric varṇāśrama. Āsuric varṇāśrama . . . Just like Rāvaṇa. He was also son of a brāhmaṇa, but he was rejected, that ‘You are not brāhmaṇa; you are rākṣasa because you do not care for Bhagavān Rāmacandra.’ So this is the verdict of the śāstra. So therefore, varnāśrama should be established on the principles of devata, to make people devata. Devata means viṣṇu bhaktaḥ bhaved daiva āsuras tadviparyayaḥ [Padma Purāṇa]. Unless one is a Vaiṣṇava, he cannot be a devata. He cannot be a civilized man.” 

Prabhupāda ended his discourse by giving a brief definition of the stage of life accepted by Lord Ṛṣabhadeva. “Bharata Mahārāja, elected or selected, nominated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ṛṣabhadeva . . . And He retired, avadhūtaveṣa. Avadhūtaveṣa means He is no more within the social community. Just like the word nirgranthā . . .  Kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim itthambhūtaguṇo hariḥ [SB 1.7.10]. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has explained this word nirgranthā means one who has no granthi, no tight knot with this material world. And the another meaning, one who has no connection with granthā, nir-granthā. So there are two classes of men. One is foolish rascal, no education. He is called also nirgranthā, and another person who has no connection with this material world, he is also nirgranthā. So here the sign of Ṛṣabhadeva; He became just like a madman, a deaf and dumb, a rascal, a fool, a ghost. But He is not madman. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Apparently it may look like that, but He is Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has no connection . . . you call Him deaf and dumb, fool, rascal, whatever you call, you can call. Tṛṇād api sunīcena. He has no connection with this body. When one, no more he has got any connection with this material body, he is avadhūtaveṣa.” 

* * * 

Jagadīśa prabhu spoke with Śrīla Prabhupāda this morning concerning a complaint he has received from a sixteen-year-old girl about Bhagatjī. The girl claims that while she was over at Bhagatjī’s house yesterday, he approached her in an overly familiar way. Jagadīśa questioned her closely, and it seems that in the course of joking with her, Bhagatjī touched her on the arm. The girl thought it improper and became disturbed. Thus her complaint. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda frowned with concern and carefully considered the pros and cons. On the one hand, Bhagatjī is a portly, jovial man, in his late fifties and well respected in Vṛndāvana. He is retired from work and household life, does regular pūjā, chants japa, and is dedicating much of his time to help Śrīla Prabhupāda develop ISKCON in Vṛndāvana. He donated the land on which the gurukula is being built, along with one lakh of rupees. His close association and daily input into our temple managerial affairs has improved our standing in the local Vṛndāvana community and helped smooth some of the ruffled relationships with local leaders. His house, just around the corner, has also become a bit of a refuge for devotees who want a short break from the rigors of temple life. He is happy for the company and allows free access when someone needs a temporary respite. He even allowed one of the French ladies, Kiśorī dāsī, wife of Saurabha prabhu and erstwhile cook for Śrīla Prabhupāda, to stay with him when she was under stress. He is friendly and informal with all who come to him, hasn’t a mean bone in his body, and has tremendous respect and veneration for Śrīla Prabhupāda, whom he considers his śikṣāguru (he is already initiated in another Vaiṣṇava sampradāya). No previous complaints have been lodged against him, and this one has come as a surprise. All in all, he doesn’t seem a likely candidate for improper dealings.  

Then again, Prabhupāda said that it would not be unnatural for a man to become attracted in the presence of a young woman.  

As far as the girl goes, she is young and inexperienced, especially here in India, and seems to not have any regular service in the temple. She has been going round to Bhagatjī’s fairly frequently, and it could easily be that she has misinterpreted Bhagatjī’s friendliness and familiarity. It is a delicate situation.  

After some discussion Prabhupāda finally decided that Jagadīśa prabhu should speak privately with Bhagatjī. Prabhupāda said that he can tell him that “one complaint has been received, but we do not believe it and Prabhupāda has not been informed.” In this way he can discuss with Bhagatjī about allowing women to come to his house and instill some caution in him. This will save him from embarrassment and the feeling that he cannot again come before Śrīla Prabhupāda.  

Jagadīśa also informed Prabhupāda that the girl’s visa is almost expired and that she will have to leave the country soon anyway, so Prabhupāda told him that she should be sent to our London center forthwith and should not come back. A young single girl in the dhāma is not to his liking, because, as he said recently, “Single woman means with sex desire.” He wasn’t suggesting that the girl has done anything wrong, but that it is human nature for a young woman to attract a man. Therefore, he said, the Vedic system is that every girl should be married by the age of sixteen.  

Having thus decided how to deal with Bhagatjī, Śrīla Prabhupāda relaxed on his āsana and digressed a bit. He smiled broadly as he told us that his mother and father-in-law were married when they were seven and eleven years old respectively and that his own wife was eleven when they married. His mother married at nine, and when her daughter, Prabhupāda’s sister, was still not married at twelve, she threatened his father, “If this girl is not married then I shall commit suicide.” Of course she would never have done that, he said, but she made the threat because it was considered such a serious social obligation. Prabhupāda said he wasn’t even born when his older sister was married, and he remembers very clearly lying on her lap at the age of six months while she was knitting. His own daughter was married at sixteen, and by that point he had been feeling some anxiety that she was already getting past marriageable age. 

It was wonderful to hear Prabhupāda share stories from his young life. We know little of his past except whatever he happens to reveal in these informal moments. He related that once in Calcutta when he was very young, there was a big epidemic; thousands were dying every day. So a prominent devotee there organized a huge harināma saṅkīrtana party, and all the citizens of Calcutta—including Muslims and Christians—joined in. In this way the epidemic was checked. Many different saṅkīrtana parties went out to all parts of the city, and many thousands of people decorated their homes and invited them in. Prabhupāda’s father also lit up their home with many lights and received the parties, and Prabhupāda said that he remembered joining in although he was so small he could only see their knees. But still he wanted to engage in the kīrtana

Actually, Prabhupāda has been suggesting to Bhagatjī that he give up his family attachments, take sannyāsa, and go to Hyderabad with us. He was formerly a farm manager and has helped us a lot here also. Prabhupāda thinks he would be an ideal man to head up the farm project there.  

He is not at all keen to do this, however. He is very attached to being in Vṛndāvana and has already lamented, only half in jest, before Śrīla Prabhupāda, “If you make me take sannyāsa that means I will have to leave Vṛndāvana.”  

He is reluctant to refuse Śrīla Prabhupāda’s request directly, but he has done everything possible to let Prabhupāda know that his heart is not in it. I had occasion to go to his house recently, and I was surprised when he suddenly began to plead with me to petition Prabhupāda on his behalf not to make him take sannyāsa and leave Vṛndāvana. I told him, “What is the harm? If we follow Prabhupāda’s instructions that will only advance us in spiritual life,” to which he replied rather emotionally, “I don’t want to advance; I simply want to remain here in Vṛndāvana.”  

I was quite disappointed in Bhagatjī. The incident made me doubt whether he is as advanced a devotee as he has seemed. With the trip to Hyderabad to officially start the self-sufficiency program on the farm now confirmed, this is going to be a real test to see if he is as keen to please Śrīla Prabhupāda as he says he is. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda took the mail after the discussion. There was another acrimonious missive from his eldest son, Mathura Mohan De, the barely concealed bitterness seeping from his reply to Prabhupāda’s offer to him at the beginning of this month to take up some service with our Bombay project. Written from Calcutta with the words “M. M. De, Liaison, Agent and Representative” as its header, the type-written sheet read, “With the proffering of humble obeisances the letter dated 1st instant intimating a service opportunity in Bombay is hereby acknowledged. Having regard to the fact that a great deal of unprecedented misgivings crept in mind which are totally unwarranted and patently prejudicial and detrimental to my interest, any money possibly could hardly recompense the enormous ignominy that was caused to take place in our life as such, let alone this paltry sum of Rs.1000/- per mensem in exchange of ‘service’ and that too is not keeping with our tradition inasmuch as our father himself did despise ‘service’. 

“Be that as it may, naturally with great reluctance and of course regret, acceptance of the kind offer is declined hereof. With kindest regards . . . ” 

He added a postscript suggesting that Prabhupāda contact his former family members who are staying in a flat he provided for them in Calcutta where, M.M. intimated, there is some legal trouble brewing. 

Prabhupāda has long since given up trying to assuage M.M’s firmly-held resentment at Prabhupāda having left his family to their own ends in order to take sannyāsa andpursue his higher calling, but he is always willing to engage them in devotional service, to their eternal good. Noting his former son’s letter heading, he replied, not without some irony, “Thanks for your determination. Why not act as liaison, agent, and representative of Krsna following in the footsteps of your father? Your father didn’t despise the service of Krsna; because service of Krsna is eternal engagement of the living entity. Practically, your father’s books sell all over the world to the extent of Rs. 5 to 6 lacs per day. If he would have taken the royalty to the minimum of 15% his daily income would have been Rs. 75,000/ per day. But he does not take a single paise and is engaged as representative of Krsna day and night. Why not follow this tradition of your noble heritage?” 

He added his own handwritten postscript later in the day when he signed the typed version. “P.S. At Bhubaneswar (Orissa) I want to construct a Jagannatha temple exactly like that in Puri. If you like you can do the full charge to do this job. I shall spend as much money as it is required to do it nicely. ACBS” 

November 17th, 1976

Just at sunrise, Prabhupāda went out by car beyond the boundaries of Vṛndāvana village and a few kilometers down Chattikara Road, got down, and entered a small forest. His pace was unhurried, and he enjoyed the natural ambience of trees and fresh morning air. On the few occasions he has been out since our arrival back from Chandigarh, he hasn’t spoken much, but this morning he was happy to chat a little with Akṣayānanda Mahārāja and Mahākṣa prabhu, who is the temple’s biggest collector and enlister of life members. 

Now that Mahāvīra prabhu has been engaged in the daily temple management, Akṣayānanda Swami is free to concentrate on preaching. Prabhupāda reminded him, however, of another role he will soon have to fulfill. 

“Bhagatjī may go to Hyderabad. I am sending him,” Prabhupāda told him. 

Akṣayānanda already knew of Prabhupāda’s intent and he acknowledged, “That will be a great loss for me.” 

“Therefore I said that you must be able to compensate yourself,” Prabhupāda said. “You should know how, especially dealing with the municipality men.” 

As he strolled carefully along the dirt track winding about the sparse woods, Prabhupāda asked Mahākṣa about some problems he had heard they had encountered on their last preaching engagement in Bareilly.   

The party had approached a temple there, which Mahākṣa said he thought was somehow connection to the RādhāRāmaṇa Mandira here in Vṛndāvana. “Anyway, the first night we did a very nice program, kīrtana, and everyone was joining in dancing with us. We were dancing and they were all joining. And the second night they cancelled our program. We were trying to sell books in the front of the pandala, and they were giving us trouble for that.” 

“Oh, they are envious,” Prabhupāda said. 

“They are envious. Very envious.” 

“Why you joined them?” Prabhupāda asked him. 

Mahākṣa said that he didn’t know they would be like that. “I thought it would be a good opportunity. They promised me they would give us a good program and good accommodation. When we got there, they did not like that we were very popular.” He went on to say, however, that one of our life members, a very respectable man in Bareilly, came and forced them to put the program back again. “So we did again the same evening. The people there love our program. . . . They have pictures of Caitanya Mahāprabhu on the stage and they’re supposed to be following Him, but they sing all these sahajiyā sort of songs, and they sit down and it’s all gṛhasthas. There’s no, There’s no real . . . ” 

“They want business,” Prabhupāda cut in, knowing well the mood in this, his home turf. 

Mahākṣa mentioned that they had also done a program at the home of a disciple of Prabhupāda’s Godbrother Tīrtha Mahārāja and that they had met with a good reception in Meerut, where they made fifteen life members in only two weeks. 

Prabhupāda immediately thought of book distribution and said that they should have Hindi books. 

Mahākṣa confirmed the need; it reminded him as well that he had also met in Meerut Mr. K.M. Gupta, the nephew of Kṣīrodakaśāyī dāsa of London. He said that Gupta had told him that he was initiated by Śrīla Prabhupāda and that he had translated three chapters of Bhagavadgītā into Hindi. 

Prabhupāda shook his head on both counts. He said that Gupta was neither initiated nor the author of any such translations. 

For their programs, Mahākṣa said, they had a party of seven boys. Prabhupāda asked if any were Indian. “There was one Indian boy, but he was very sick. We took him with us. He was very sick, so I sent him back here to Vṛndāvana. I took him because he had given one class in Hindi in the temple and Mahārāja said that you had liked that. He was too sick. Physically and mentally sick.” 

As he meandered along, Prabhupāda looked into the clear sky, just beginning to brighten with the rising sun. He noted that there were no clouds and mentioned that the street now was very disturbing. Last year when he was in Vṛndāvana he walked regularly down the road and there was little traffic, but now he likes the quiet solitude of the forest. 

Mahākṣa said that wherever they go they meet with resistance from envious persons but that people in general like us, especially the kīrtanas. He told Śrīla Prabhupāda of another āśrama in which he had stayed. “In the main bhavana they have got Lord Śiva and Pārvatī in the center, big deities. And then they have got Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa at the side and Rāma and Sītā on the other side. They also told me to go. After some days they said we had to go. They did not like us. And we did not do anything wrong.” 

Akṣayānanda asked him how many days they had stayed before being asked to leave. 

“After about one week,” Mahākṣa said. 

“Usually three days,” Akṣayānanda said, speaking from his own experiences. 

“They were feeding you?” Prabhupāda asked. 

When Mahākṣa said no, Prabhupāda was a bit surprised. “Oh. Why? They did not like?” 

“It’s difficult to say,” Mahākṣa told him. “I think it is envy. The swami who was there . . . ” 

“He’s a Māyāvādī,” Prabhupāda said.  

“Yes, he’s a Māyāvādī,” Mahākṣa confirmed. “He did not like it when the other people took an interest in us.” 

Prabhupāda laughed when Akṣayānanda added, “And they see that people are giving us money too.” Akṣayānanda told Prabhupāda that wherever they go, with a few exceptions, after the third day they just suddenly become unwelcome even though they behave all right.  

There were exceptions. Mahākṣa mentioned the Gita Bhavan in Indore. “They were nice to us there.” 

Prabhupāda agreed. “They are nice. Once I had been there.” 

Mahākṣa smiled. “Yes, they told me you had been there. That is why they are nice to us. Wherever you have been there has been some change of heart. In Indore there is some definite effect from that.” 

* * * 

Perhaps the discussion on the walk had prepped him, but in any case, the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam verse, 5.5.30, presented a perfect opportunity for Śrīla Prabhupāda to explain how to approach those who are not inclined to the saṅkīrtana movement. Pradyumna prabhu read off the long stream of Sanskrit and then the translation: 

“Ṛṣabhadeva began to tour through cities, villages, mines, countryside, valleys, gardens, military camps, cow pens, the homes of cowherd men, transient hotels, hills, forests and hermitages. Wherever He traveled, all bad elements surrounded Him, just as flies surround the body of an elephant coming from a forest. He was always being threatened, beaten, urinated upon and spat upon. Sometimes people threw stones, stool and dust at Him, and sometimes people passed foul air before Him. Thus people called Him many bad names and gave Him a great deal of trouble, but He did not care about this, for He understood that the body is simply meant for such an end. He was situated on the spiritual platform, and, being in His spiritual glory, He did not care for all these material insults. In other words, He completely understood that matter and spirit are separate, and He had no bodily conception. Thus, without being angry at anyone, He walked through the whole world alone.” 

Before he got into explicating the text, Prabhupāda made an amusing observation about the Sanskrit. Most of the verses at the moment are not written in metrical form but simply as prose, making them difficult to chant. So after Pradyumna, Akṣayānanda Swami, and Yaśodanandana Swami read it, we go straight into the word-for-word and translation. Prabhupāda looked at his book and read out a couple of the words. “So tatra tatra puragrāmākara kheṭavāṭakharvaṭa and so on. This is Sanskrit language. By combining words with the process of sandhi and samasa, one word can be as long as three miles. So for ordinary person it is very difficult to combine together. So it is for the learned scholars. But we must understand the purport.” 

And over the next twenty minutes he delivered it, penetrating the text, revealing new insights and realizations. The yoga practice of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, Prabhupāda told us, cannot be imitated. His body is completely spiritual and His position cannot be understood by common people. For the ordinary man, we are given by śāstra what he called “definition by negation.” That is, we are told what we are not before being told what we are. Atheists deny the existence of the soul because they cannot see it, but despite all their attempts to explain life, they cannot. Therefore, he said, “We have to understand it by the śruti process, Vedic knowledge. That is real understanding. And understanding from the right person, Kṛṣṇa or His representative. And it has to be understood simply by hearing. There is no other process. You cannot see; it is so small particle. So in these material eyes we cannot see even the spiritual spark within the body. How you can see the Supreme Spirit? These blunt senses cannot see. But we can perceive. This much concession is there, and one can become completely free from bodily conception of life.” 

Real yogic practice is much different from what is commonly presented. There are perfections that are attained as one advances, and Prabhupāda gave us an example from the near past. “There was one sannyāsī, Trailinga Swami in Benares. He was sitting on the road naked. The police objected. So several times he was taken and put into the police custody, but he came out. Again he was sitting. This is yogasiddhi. Then he was allowed—‘Hopeless.’ They cannot be locked up. That is yogasiddhi, not merely showing some gymnastic process.” 

Prabhupāda pointed out that even five thousand years ago, a great personality like Arjuna could not contemplate such feats. “He said, ‘Impossible,’ but we are daring to make it possible—that is not very good. Better, as Kṛṣṇa says, to encourage Arjuna, ‘Don’t be discouraged because you cannot practice this yoga system. Here is the best process.’ What is that? Yoginām api sarveṣāṁ madgatenāntar ātmanā [Bg. 6.47]:  ‘If you simply think of Me, then you are the best yogi.’ ” 

He told us that if we simply come to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness then everything will be perfect. “Even if you cannot execute yoga, jñāna,karma perfectly, still you are perfect. Still you are perfect. But the central point is that we must be absorbed always in thinking of Kṛṣṇa within the core of our heart. Satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍhavratāḥ [Bg. 9.14]. Simply you should remain Kṛṣṇa conscious twentyfour hours, even in sleeping. That is the perfect stage.” 

He scanned the temple room covered with the mostly young men, women, and boys who have come to Vṛndāvana hoping to reach that perfection and stressed that perfection does not come automatically. “But we have to practice. It is not simply words. But it can be practiced; it is not impossible. The practice Kṛṣṇa is recommending, manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]:  ‘Always think of Me.’ Our, this temple worship . . .  Madyājī māṁ namaskuru. And ‘Always think of Me.’ This class, this kīrtana, this prasāda distribution and offering obeisances, worshiping, so many—śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pādasevanam [SB 7.5.23]—take any one of them or all of them. Be perfect in that particular process. Try to become, at least.” 

Neither, he told us, is it a lone endeavour. “Kṛṣṇa will help you. Teṣāṁ satatayuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prītipūrvakam [Bg. 10.10]. If you try your best, Kṛṣṇa will give you strength. Kṛṣṇa is always ready to help you, provided you want to take his help. He is ready. He has come to help you. Otherwise what is the use of Kṛṣṇa’s coming here and canvassing, sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekam [Bg. 18.66]? That is for our interest. You surrender to Kṛṣṇa or not surrender; it doesn’t matter to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa does not depend on your service. He is completely perfect. He can create millions of servants like you in a moment. So why does He require your service? Why He should canvass for your service? His service is not suffering for want of you. But it is your interest to surrender to Him. It is your interest. This Kṛṣṇa wants to see, that you surrender to Him and become perfect and go back to home, back to Godhead. That is Kṛṣṇa’s mission.” 

Similarly, he said, we have the same mission, Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission: to canvass. Citing Prabodhananda Sarasvatī, Rūpa Gosvāmī, and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, he urged us to take Lord Caitanya’s instruction on how to present Kṛṣṇa consciousness to others. “So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should be pushed on very humbly. 

Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā/ amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. Ādi 17.31]. Kīrtanīya. This preaching means kīrtana, not that simply with mṛdaṅga we can have musical kīrtana. No. Preaching is also kīrtana.” 

Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he said, simply described Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and became perfect. And Parīkṣit Mahārāja simply listened and became perfect. “As Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī [is] teaching us, he sādhavaḥ sakalam eva vihāya dūrād caitanyacandracaraṇe kurutānurāgam: ‘You are sādhu, best person, noble, but this is my request.’ This is humbleness. If you say, ‘Oh, you are a karmī, you are a mūḍha . . . ’ ” Prabhupāda grinned back as everyone smiled, and continued, “Actually he’s a mūḍha, but don’t . . . In the beginning, if you say, then there will be no opportunity to speak. He is a mūḍha, [of] that there is no [doubt] . . . Working like hogs and dogs day and night for sense gratification, certainly he is mūḍha, karmī . . . But if we say directly that ‘You are all mūḍhas, māyayāpahṛtajñānā and duṣkṛtina,’ they will be angry. Because satyaṁ bruyad na bruyat satyam apriyam. You have to speak the truth very cautiously. Otherwise they will be angry. Murkhayopadeṣo hi prokapāya na śāntaye: ‘If you give good instruction to a rascal, he’ll be angry.’ Therefore Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī is teaching us how we should present our case. Dante nidhāya tṛṇakam [Caitanya-candrāmṛta]: ‘Sir, I have come to you, taking this grass in my teeth.’ This is a symbolic representation of becoming very humble in India. They take a grass. Dante nidhāya padayor nipatya: ‘And I am falling down on your feet.’ Kākuśataṁ kṛtvā: ‘And I am flattering you. You are very grand. You are very nice. You are very learned. You are so on, so on.’ If you flatter, people become puffedup. So, dante nidhāya tṛṇakaṁ padayor nipatya kākuśatam kṛtvā cāham: ‘I have one submission.’ ‘What is that?’ No. . . . He sādhavaḥ: ‘You are a great learned sādhu. My one request is that whatever nonsense you have learned, please forget. This is my submission.’ ‘I have learned so many things, and I have to forget? Then what I have to do?’ He sādhavaḥ sakalam eva vihāya dūrāt caitanyacandracaraṇe kurutānurāgam: ‘You just submit yourself to Caitanyacandra. Then everything will be perfect.’ 

“So our preaching is like that. Very simple thing, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu is approved by the ācāryas, by big, big scholars. So you have no fear of falling down. So take Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s first mercy, and then preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness . . . try to follow the instruction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Kṛṣṇa. Your life will be perfect.” 

* * * 

The monkeys are still causing lots of problems. They have taken over several guesthouse verandas and seem to have colonized the main dome above the temple. It is hollow and they live inside it. They make a mess, passing stool and urine everywhere and stealing whatever they can. They also have an attraction to smashing tree branches and generally causing mischief. We tried hanging a dummy monkey upside down, as Śrīla Prabhupāda advised, but it did not scare them away. Getting them off our property is another task now allotted to Mahāvīra prabhu, and to that end he has been given a pellet gun. Of course there is no question of killing any; the intention is to scare them off with a well-aimed shot to the rump. It gives them a sharp sting, and once hit they generally don’t come back. 

* * * 

It seems Prabhupāda has had some inspiration about the Bhubaneswar project. After his note to M.M. De yesterday he sent an unsolicited letter today to Gour Govinda Mahārāja. “What is the climate like there in Bhubaneswar now? I want to come there. I want to begin work immediately on constructing a temple exactly like Jagannatha’s temple in Puri. You can immediately begin to get estimates from contractors. It will be a very important temple. 

“N.B. What is the progress with the land registration?” 

Mr. S. N. Sharma, who wrote about ten days ago with an offer to make some land available in Delhi, sent a quick reply to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s response of November 9th. Stating that Prabhupāda’s letter has given him some “insight to know your great personality” and that he felt it was the inspiration of Lord Kṛṣṇa that he had thought to write to him, Mr. Sharma said, “I am happy that you are interested in the project for the weaker section of the society and with the blessings of Lord I am sure you will be able to set up something very high and mighty in the world.” 

Mr. Sharma asked if Prabhupāda could inform him by return post how long he intends to stay in Vṛndāvana. “I shall take an opportunity to call on you and discuss the whole matter.” Then he revealed something he thought he had said previously but had not. “I have already mentioned that I am a blind person with lot of handicaps and limitations so I have to plan up before I decide to move out. On hearing from you I shall write further to you.” 

Mr. Sharma lives in Dehra Dun, which is not too far away. Prabhupāda wrote straight back with a warm invitation to come see him. “I am here at least for another fortnight, so if you can come immediately it will be very kind of you. We have good accommodation and good prasadam for you. You can just bring your clothing and personal needs. It will be a great pleasure for me to talk to you on the various topics you are interested in. It will be best if you can come immediately upon receipt of this letter. 

Hoping this finds you in good health. 

Your ever wellwisher, 

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami” 

* * * 

Śrī Seth Bisan Chand, a retired politician who lives on the parikramāmarg the next block over from the temple, invited Śrīla Prabhupāda and some of the devotees for lunch today. So just at massage time Prabhupāda told me that a car should be arranged. Knowing that it would take some time and not wanting to delay his massage, I went to the front office and told Jagadīṣa to please arrange for a car and then went to do Prabhupāda’s massage.  

After Prabhupāda took his bath he sat at his desk, applied his tilaka, chanted his noon gayatri, and waited for us to come and tell him when the car was ready. To my great disappointment, however, Jagadīṣa had not understood the urgency or succeeded in getting a car. I had to run around frantically trying to arrange something. All the while, Prabhupāda sat in his room becoming more and more agitated with the delay.  

Raman Reti is not exactly the center of town. There is no question of hiring a car; it’s hard enough just to get a rickshaw most days. Just when I was at a complete loss, suddenly, by Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement, the temple saṅkīrtana car returned from a preaching trip to Agra. Greatly relieved, I was just about to inform Prabhupāda that he could go when, as the car stood there in the lane at the side entrance to the temple, the back nearside tire went as flat as a chapati. Fortunately they had a spare; unfortunately the jack slot in the bodywork of the car crumpled like a tin can as soon as we tried to raise it, and the car slipped back to the ground. When we managed to lift it by hand up onto some bricks, we found, much to our dismay and anxiety, that the wheel nuts were locked solid and couldn’t be moved. The whole thing took on an element of farce as we struggled desperately to remedy the situation. It was now almost twenty minutes past the time of our scheduled arrival at Seth’s house. 

In the midst of our struggles, Prabhupāda marched out of his quarters to see what was going on. He was very annoyed. Standing at the top of the steps in the gateway gripping his cane, his face flushed, he exploded with anger at our incompetence.“You are all a set of rascals!” he yelled. And me especially he berated most heavily. “I told you two hours ago to arrange for a car, rascal!” It was useless to try to ‘pass the buck.’ I had asked Jagadīśa to take care of it while I did the massage, but it was me whom Śrīla Prabhupāda had specifically entrusted with the task. I buttoned my lip, having been with him long enough to know that offering an excuse by blaming someone else would have made him even angrier. He hates the bureaucratic mentality whereby a person is told to do something but then passes it on to someone else and forgets about it and then when it is not done disclaims any responsibility and blames the other person. Prabhupāda always holds the original recipient of the instruction responsible, even if they had to engage someone else in the task at hand. He knows that unless the individual concerned takes full accountability nothing gets done. He was perfectly right, and all I could do was simply hang my head with remorse. Then, there being no alternative, without further ado Prabhupāda climbed in the back seat and ordered the driver take him to Seth’s house, flat tire and all. We wobbled and bumped down the back alley at a snail’s pace, arriving at Seth’s house within five minutes. Prabhupāda’s fire dissipated as quickly as it had risen, and nothing more was said.  

Seth’s house sits on about an acre of land, a typical one-storied, flat-roofed, rendered-brick Vṛndāvana abode: simple, neat, and comfortable, though nothing fancy. Despite having lived in Vṛndāvana for a long time, Mr. Seth actually worships Lord Siva, but Prabhupāda is very kind and respectful to him, as he is to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda was all smiles as Mr. Seth happily greeted our party, and after receiving several garlands Śrīla Prabhupāda was led into a side room where Seth had laid out a dozen sitting places and leaf plates. About nine devotees accompanied Śrīla Prabhupāda—Bhagatjī, Pradyumna, Arundhati and Aniruddha, Akṣayānanda Swami, Jagadīśa, Mahāvīra, Dhanañjaya, and myself.  

It’s always a pleasure to honor prasādam with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Mahāvīra prabhu was especially excited because it was his first time. He told me that it was like something he had imagined, like a scene one reads about in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, the guru sitting at the head and his disciples sitting in front in lines going down on either side of him. Mr. Seth served a small portion of each preparation to Śrīla Prabhupāda first and then to everyone else. Mahāvīra made a point to follow exactly what Śrīla Prabhupāda was doing. When Prabhupāda took his chapati, tore off a small portion, used it to scoop up a small portion of rice and subji, and pop it into his mouth, Mahāvīra did the exact same thing. He followed as closely as he could, but by the time he was already full, Prabhupāda was still eating. I was happy to see Śrīla Prabhupāda display a good appetite; he ate quite a bit more than ususal. It was a convivial gathering with many pleasantries exchanged. After sitting for a few minutes after lunch, Prabhupāda and his small entourage returned back to Krishna-Balaram Mandir. This time he chose to walk. 

* * * 

As he prepared to receive his massage in the back bedroom this evening, Prabhupāda sat on his bed and with a fond smile recalled how, as a small child, he used to sleep with his father at home and with his grandmother whenever he stayed at his grandparents’ house. 

November 18th, 1976

Today is Ekādaśī.  

Class began as usual with “Paṇḍitjī,” Pradyumna prabhu, reading out the word-for-word meanings and then chanting the long passage of Sanskrit prose. Akṣayānanda Mahārāja is alsoquite a competent reciter and got through the text with little mistake. But Yaśodānandana Mahārāja is a whiz. He seems to have mastered the art of chanting Sanskrit. Without hesitation or mistake, he effortlessly rapped off the verse at about twice the speed as the others. Prabhupāda appreciates his expertise and has encouraged him to train the gurukula boys, an engagement he enjoys. 

The verse gives a beautiful description of the bodily features of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva: “Lord Ṛṣabhadeva’s hands, feet and chest were very long. His shoulders, face and limbs were all very delicate and symmetrically proportioned. His mouth was beautifully decorated with His natural smile, and He appeared all the more lovely with His reddish eyes spread wide like the petals of a newly grown lotus flower covered with dew in the early morning. The irises of His eyes were so pleasing that they removed all the troubles of everyone who saw Him. His forehead, ears, neck, nose and all His other features were very beautiful. His gentle smile always made His face beautiful, so much so that He even attracted the hearts of married women. It was as though they had been pierced by the arrows of Cupid. About His head was an abundance of curly, matted brown hair. His hair was dishevelled because His body was dirty and not taken care of. He appeared as if He were haunted by a ghost.” 

At the Chandigarh pandal Prabhupāda had chosen to talk at length on the principle of saccidānandavigrahaḥ. This morning he had further opportunity to describe the transcendental nature of the Lord’s form. Telling us that at the present moment we cannot understand the difference between that which is material, prākṛta, and that which is spiritual, aprākṛta, he said that we have therefore to rely on the śāstra and accept it as our guide. “Just like practically Kṛṣṇa, when He was in the battlefield of Kurukṣetra, He was greatgrandfather. His grandchildren also had sons. It is said that the whole family of Kṛṣṇa consisted of about one crore of living entities, Yaduvaṁśa, very big family. So grandchildren, their children, their children, like that . . .  But still, Kṛṣṇa was looking just like a boy of sixteen to twenty years. That is aprākṛta.”  

Quoting Brahmasaṁhitā verse 33, he pointed out a seeming contradiction. The verse says that the Lord is purāṇapuruṣaṁ: “This is the description. He is the oldest person.” As śāstric evidence of this he cited the description of Brahmā, the first living being in the universe, being born from the lotus flower sprouting from Viṣṇu’s navel. And yet, despite His being the oldest person, the verse then describes Him as an eternal youth. “Still, He is navayauvanaṁ ca. Navayauvanam means it begins from the sixteenth year. He looked like that, a boy of sixteen-to-twenty years old. This is description of His transcendental body, saccid ānanda vigrahaḥ. This is the difference between material body and spiritual body.” 

The Māyāvādīs read in śāstra that God is nirākāra, which they take to mean as ‘having no form.’ But, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, what it really means is that His body, ākāra, or form, is not like ours. “That is to be understood. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ saccidānanda vigrahaḥ [Bs. 5.1]. Vigraha means body. He has got body, but not a body like ours. That is misunderstanding. Advaitam acyutam anādim anantarūpam [Bs. 5.33]. And He expands His body into millions of other bodies. Just like when Kṛṣṇa was present upon this earth, He married sixteen thousand wives, and He expanded Himself also into sixteen thousand forms. And each and every form is differently engaged. Nārada was astonished when he heard that Kṛṣṇa has married sixteen thousand wives, and with each and every wife He is differently engaged. That he saw.” 

Another example Prabhupāda gave was of Kṛṣṇa expanding Himself into so many different forms to replace those of His cowherd boyfriends and calves that Lord Brahmā stole away. “So we cannot understand what is a spiritual body at the present moment. We have to hear from the right source, Vedic knowledge. That is Vedic knowledge. Everything described about God, Kṛṣṇa, at the present moment is inconceivable. We cannot imagine.” He told us a story from his own experience how ordinary men cannot understand God’s form. “Long, long ago I was talking with one Āryasamajī friend. So he did not believe that a lotus stem can grow on the navel of Viṣṇu and there is Brahmā born. Everyone says like that, ‘mythology.’ It is not mythology; it is fact. So I asked him that, ‘Here we see one coconut tree, and about sixty feet above, there is coconut and there is water, there is pulp, and it is being carried from the ground. Where is the pipe? Where is the pump? How the water is there within the coconut? Can you explain?’ So he could not explain. And I said that ‘Even in material things which is front of you, you cannot explain. How you will explain the spiritual position? How the lotus grown from the navel of . . . ?’ Therefore it should be accepted as inconceivable.” 

Whereas our bodies are different from our selves and we have to change them, that is not the position of Kṛṣṇa, he said. “These mūḍhas, these rascals, they think that Kṛṣṇa has got a different body. No. Kṛṣṇa hasn’t got different body.” As for us, we are repeatedly changing from one species to another. Elaborating on this, Prabhupāda said that therefore Lord Ṛṣabhadeva has instructed us to act for our eternal benefit and not simply for sense gratification. “The same thing, repeated by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura: hari hari! viphale janama goṅāinu, manuṣyajanama pāiyā, rādhākṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā, jāniyā śuniyā biṣa khāinu [Iṣṭa-deve Vijñapti 1]. ‘My Lord, I have wasted my human form of life for nothing, for no purpose.’ Why? ‘Now, I got it to understand Kṛṣṇa, but I did not do that.’ This kind of activity has been described as drinking poison knowingly. So we should not do that. We must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious. Then our life is successful.” 

He finished by stressing again the proper means for understanding Kṛṣṇa. “So by trying to understand the śāstra, especially ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, amalaṁ purāṇam, we get ideas of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti [Bg. 18.55]: we can understand Kṛṣṇa through this process of devotional service. Otherwise it is not possible. So Vyāsadeva has given us this book, anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād bhaktiyogam adhokṣaje/ lokasyājānato vidvāṁś cakre sātvatasaṁhitām [SB 1.7.6]. So you read this satvatasaṁhitā very carefully, then anartha, this unnecessary changing of body, will be stopped.” 

* * * 

Prabhupāda knows that if the guesthouse cannot supply good food, it will not attract any clientele. Once more a new cook is needed, and once more Prabhupāda has chosen to conduct the job interview himself. Akṣayānanda Mahārāja brought in an applicant, a Maḍwari, from whose community the best cooks are said to come. Prabhupāda discussed with him what he wanted, and the man was sent off to the kitchen. Later, after trying some samples of his fare, Prabhupāda said he used too much ghee and spices, so he was rejected. 

* * * 

Gurudās Swami wrote again, from the Schloss Rettershof in Germany. His letter, which surprisingly seems to have taken only three days to get here, was mostly upbeat and enthusiastic. He has just completed a successful three-week tour of Northern Ireland, where, he said, he was “preaching in the midst of the bomb-troubled areas, watching buildings blow to nothing before my eyes, receiving the thanks of the people in general, and going to colleges, high schools, army groups, town halls etc. etc.” 

Now he says he is preparing to go to Poland, as requested by Śrīla Prabhupāda. He has recruited the help of a Polish devotee, Śrī Garbha dāsa, who after settling his wife and child in Māyāpur will join him in the Eastern European preaching program. He also said that he has a small party of devotees who are preaching and collecting; although the funds they raise were originally intended to go to Vṛndāvana, he will now use them to support his Polish preaching. 

Gurudās was apologetic for having caused Śrīla Prabhupāda some consternation with regards to his plans and presented some reasons why he felt still tied to India. “In a recent letter to Harikesa Swami You asked ‘Why is Gurudas so adamant to go to India?’ I did not mean to appear adamant, but I was planning to go there for the following reasons: 1) I feel I have left an unpaid debt in Vrindavan and India as You have written in a letter ‘you have tricked me, to leave Vrindavan’ etc., then you acknowledged that it was Yamuna’s fault, which I agree with, but then You said ‘I have trained you for Vrindavan, I didn’t want you to leave.’ So I still remember Your words and feelings in this regard. 2) Secondly I love Vrindavan and India very much, as well as her people and culture, so I was missing her as I feel India is my home. 3) Thirdly we planned together half a year in India, half the year outside. If you don’t feel I have this debt I accept it totally, I am at your mercy. Of course I understand that you would rather I be preaching in Poland so I have absolutely changed my plans, not to come to India and am preparing for Poland.” 

In his previous letter to Gurudās, Prabhupāda had cited the presence here of Yamunā, his former wife, as a reason why he should not come. Gurudās Mahārāja digressed rather negatively about her in his letter. He admitted harboring sometimes bitter and sometimes attached feelings towards her, and although these were mostly finished now, he asked, “What arrangement can be made to come to Vrindavan in the future, as I don’t want to meet her for obvious mixed reasons, but I do want to see Vrindavan progress and be with the devotees there. What do you suggest?” 

Prabhupāda was glad to hear Gurudās’s plans for preaching. Avoiding any mention of his disciples’ former marital relationship, he wrote back positively, expressing his satisfaction and giving much encouragement to support Gurudās’s determination to preach in the communist bloc. 

“I am very happy to hear that you are going to Poland. Bharadraja also speaks Polish. He may come there sometimes if it can be arranged. Sri Garbha’s wife doesn’t have to go to Mayapur; she may go to the farm in France. It is very nice there. Or she may go to any of our farms. The preaching in Poland is the first consideration. Vrindaban is being managed somehow by others. Aksayananda has one man who is collecting very well (Rs. 15,00020,000 per month). Vrindaban is becoming selfdependent. If you can preach vigorously in Poland it will be a great asset. You may come to Vrindaban if you like, but preaching in Poland is my greater interest. So, now Vrindaban is somehow being managed. Now the most important work is that side in the Communist countries. If you can do something there, it is more than if you come here. Our business is to glorify Krsna as the Lord of Vrndavana and to popularize Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Hare Krsna Movement. I was a resident in Vrndavana, but at the age of 70 I tried to preach Krsna consciousness a little bit and now this Institution has come out. So, I think it is more profitable to preach about the Master of Vrndavana, Krsna, outside of Vrndavana. A devotee of Krsna can create Vrndavana everywhere by preaching the glories of Krsna. 

“There are many sahajiyas who imitate Rupa Goswami not to go out of Vrndavana, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained always outside Vrndavana for preaching purposes, although He is is the master of Vrndavana personally. I have no objection to your coming to Vrndavana, but as you have accepted the sannyasa order, it is more important to preach about Vrndavana rather than to come to Vrndavana. I am getting older and older and it is getting difficult for me, therefore I am requesting all my younger disciples to preach all over the world. Otherwise, you are always welcome in Vrndavana. I have no objection. 

“I am a little hopeful that if we preach in the communist countries, they will like it. According to our Vaisnava philosophy even a snake or lizard is in the house shall not go without eating, what to speak of other living entities. The communists have an idea for feeding human society, but our idea is expanding. We want to see even a snake not fasting.” 

Prabhupāda also added an unrelated suggestion that if anybody wants to go to Bangkok “it will be very good,” and he supplied the address and the name of Rajni dāsī as the contact. 

Gurudās also mentioned in his letter that he had succeeded in getting a donation of eleven thousand dollars to go towards the completion of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s house in Māyāpur. Prabhupāda already knew of this. “Alex, who was just here, told me he has given you the money for my house as well as some for purchasing a bus.” He finished his reply by requesting that the funds be transferred to an American Express account in Calcutta. 

Satsvarūpa Mahārāja has sent his monthly report for October. His main topic was the fight against the brainwashing charges. On the good side, a significant amount of support has emerged from our friends in the academic community, and at the yearly conference of the American Academy of Religions (AAR), our devotees were allowed to attend and present our case. This resulted in a petition of support for our movement signed by over two hundred professors. On the bad side, Yanoff and his supporters continue to create much trouble for us in the Chicago airport, and book distribution has been badly affected. Other good news included the ongoing success of the library party in getting Prabhupāda’s books added to the syllabi of some colleges. Satsvarūpa Mahārāja sent some outstanding funds and also put in a request to be Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal secretary for next February. 

Prabhupāda answered his points briefly. “Your report on the library party is very encouraging, especially regarding the use of Bhagavadgita as a text for College courses. 

“So far the professors helping us, take affidavits from them. If necessary we may ask them to go to court, but as far as possible avoid this if it is unnecessary. 

“Regarding your coming to be the secretary in February. You arrange amongst yourselves. All of you are welcome. 

“Thank you for sending the $500 from Detroit. Yes, it was due. Regarding the difficulty at Chicago airport, my advice is to depend on Krsna.” 

Satsvarūpa Mahārāja also included in his package a copy of a fourteen-page scholarly paper entitled “The Manifestations of A. C. Bhaktivedanta as Swami, Guru and Avatar” [See Appendix A], authored by Professor J. Frank Kenny from the department of Philosophy and Religions, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Professor Kenny delivered the paper to the AAR this year.  

Prof. Kenny lays out his premise in the first paragraph. “This paper is concerned with the precise mode of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s ‘avatarhood,’ or to phrase it differently, how the swami manifests God. In my estimation, the history of ISKCON in America reveals a three-stage development corresponding to three roles played by the swami.”  

He then elaborates with a brief analysis of the three stages. “The beginning period (1966–1967) is characterized by Swami Bhaktivedanta in the role of ‘swami,’ that is, ‘one who is in control of his senses’ and his conversion of ‘freaks’ from drugs to Krishna Consciousness. A second period, the organizational (1968–1970), is best understood in terms of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s role as ‘guru’ (spiritual teacher) and his training of novice-devotees in Krishna Consciousness. Finally, the missionary period, beginning in 1970, witnesses the spiritual master in the role of ‘avatar’ (God with us) commissioning the full-fledged devotees, now ‘swamis’ themselves, to preach Krishna Consciousness throughout the world. This growth of the spiritual master from ‘swami’ (individual role) to ‘guru’ (social role) to ‘avatar’ (cosmic role) represents successive stages of revelatory perfection. In the final stage (avatar), the spiritual master is seen as the perfect revealer, the ‘transparent via medium’ of God (Krishna) on earth. This view of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s life and mission as the progressive manifestation of Krishna is not unique in the Gaudiya-Vaishnava tradition. Rather, evidence suggests that this model has been paradigmatic for the spiritual masters of the sect since Caitanya, the fifteenth century founder of the movement in Bengal.” 

The rest of the paper fleshes out his idea using extensive references from early Back To Godhead issues, The Krishna Consciousness Handbook, and to a lesser extent, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books.  

After attending his afternoon darśana in the temple courtyard, Śrīla Prabhupāda called Jagadīśa prabhu into his room and had him read out the whole paper. Prof. Kenny’s observations are quite perceptive. For the first “beginning” period from 1966-1967 he describes Prabhupāda’s role as a composite of “missionary-parent-therapist-friend-swami” dealing with young Americans disillusioned with the “system” and “searching for the ultimate experience via drugs.” Kenny sums up the key feature of this relationship succinctly: “The early devotee’s impression of the swami as ‘acārya,’ that is, ‘one who teaches by example’ and their subsequent conversion from drugs to Krishna Consciousness is the most significant fact of this period.” He uses quotes from writings by Hayagrīva prabhu to effectively illustrate the spiritual dynamics involved. “Swami Bhaktivedanta was the perfect therapist. He never rebuked his charges and seemed to have an infinite store of patience. He also functioned as a surrogate parent, friend and confidant. Hayagrīva dās recalls that in the beginning: ‘he was a sage, grandfather, spiritual master and favorite uncle all rolled into one.’ It was largely due to Swami Bhaktivedanta’s example and sense of mission, we are told, that the early devotees were gradually weaned from drugs. Hayagrīva dās claims that for a good part of that first year: ‘There some of us who were still walking around in a marijuana stupor, but he had a way of snapping us out of this quickly without ever chastising us. Somehow or other he whipped us into shape without our ever knowing it . . . It wasn’t that he simply took away our sex and drugs. This would not have been possible. Rather, he engaged us in something sublime . . .  he exhorted us to go out and spread the message of Krishna Consciousness.’ ”  

The next period Kenny defines, the “organizational” from 1968-1970, he feels was signified by the founding of New Vrindaban, which he calls, “a turning point in the movement’s history.” This period, he observes, saw the movement undergo a transformation from “a ‘walk-in,’ storefront commune to a ‘live-in’ Vaishnava temple monastery with its monastic discipline, Vaishnava ritual, Krishna mythology and certain Bengal cultural mores of food, dress, etc. The freak convert of the earlier period became the novice-devotee.” 

A corresponding change, Kenny says, occurred in the relationship of the devotees with Śrīla Prabhupāda. “No longer was Swami Bhaktivedanta addressed familiarly as ‘swamiji.’ He now assumed the honorific ‘Śrīla Prabhupāda’ reflecting his new formal role as ‘guru.’ ” 

New Vrindaban, he notes, was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s first attempt to develop an alternative society, one based on simplicity and God consciousness, divorced from modern industrial society. He evidences this by quoting Back To Godhead: “There will be a new growth of superior population. They will not be like cats and dogs, but will actually be demigods. ‘Demigod’ means devotee of Krishna, that’s all. And ‘asura’ (demon) means non-devotee . . . This demonic civilization is actually killing the human race . . . So one of the major advantages of the New Vrindaban is that it is out of contact with the asuric civilization.” 

He goes on to say, however, that this was not a total withdrawal from the rest of society. “More importantly, New Vrindaban would stand as a model to the outside world of the true nature of human civilization: ‘In New Vrindaban we should live in such an ideal way that people will learn what life and what human civilization actually are.’ ” 

As this new society grew and was aimed at transformation of the world at large, Kenny writes, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s role in leading it also underwent a transformation. “The role of Swami Bhaktivedanta in the new society is clearly stated in the Krishna Consciousness Handbook of 1970. Swami Bhaktivedanta is spiritual master and ‘guru’: ‘As spiritual master, Bhaktivedanta Swami is the last recourse and the ultimate standard of Kṛṣṇa consciousness . . . He resides in no one place, but travels from center to center and regularly lectures. The spiritual master is responsible for his devotees . . . his order is to be taken as one’s life and soul . . . therefore honor the spiritual master with honor due to God because the ‘guru’ is the transparent via media (sic) or representative of God.’ ” 

Thus, in this two-year period, Kenny sees the precedents that were set for the third stage of ISKCON’s development, and the final manifestation of Śrīla Prabhupāda. “New Vrindaban, the ‘guru’ role of Swami Bhaktivedanta, the disciple role of the ISKCON devotee—all suggested a novitiate in which the movement sought to train its membership and formalize its discipline in preparation for the world mission.” 

This missionary period, from 1971 to the present, Kenny notes, has been marked by ISKCON moving away from “the isolationist position symbolized by New Vrindaban to one of engagement and confrontation with the traditional values of American society.” The worldview that characterized the creation of New Vrindaban—a separation of the elect from the demonic civilization—he feels was replaced through an ideological shift within ISKCON, which “suggests the possibility of ‘peace and prosperity of the whole world society’ should all men become Krishna conscious.” This change of view, Kenny says, is evidenced by apparent tensions between New Vrindaban and ISKCON’s city temples. “In the more recent literature of ISKCON New Vrindaban is no longer referred to as the transcendental, Vedic model of an entire civilization but rather more modestly as ‘the Hare Krishna movement’s model agricultural community’ established to show that one can live with simply a cow and some land.” 

The creation of large business ventures such as Spiritual Sky Incense company, the attempt at starting up a political party, and the increasing tendency of devotees to dress in Western clothing and to use given names as well as assumed ones are all indications to Prof. Kenny that through its city temples ISKCON is becoming more cosmopolitan. And, he says, these changes have all been effected through the changing role of Śrīla Prabhupāda, which, he observes, “has expanded to cosmic proportions. No longer is Swami Bhaktivedanta simply another ‘guru’ with a mission restricted to the ‘English-speaking world.’ He is now revealed as ‘avatar,’ that is, as the sole, perfect manifestation of God (Krishna) for our world.” This final role, or aspect of Śrīla Prabhupāda, Prof. Kenny argues, was in evidence right from the beginning in 1966 but not revealed until ISKCON went through the first two growth periods. 

When Jagadīṣa and I first read the title of Kenny’s paper, declaring Śrīla Prabhupāda as an avatāra, we greeted it with some skepticism, thinking that perhaps in his attempt to analyze Śrīla Prabhupāda’s position the professor had fallen into some Māyāvādī trap and was saying that ultimately our devotees would see that Śrīla Prabhupāda and God are one and the same. But as we heard the elaboration of his premise, it became clear that he has not. Rather, he has, for a non-devotee, grasped quite well the role of guru as being “as good as God,” the representative of Kṛṣṇa: “In explaining precisely how the swami can be ‘as good as God’ and yet ‘not God,’ ISKCON literature employs the technical term ‘transparent via medium.’ The concept of ‘transparent via medium’ does not mean that the swami is ‘avatar’ understood as a personal incarnation or manifestation of Krishna Himself, such as Caitanya was. But, as the swami explains, other forms of manifestation are possible: ‘Sometimes He (Krishna) descends personally, and sometimes He sends his bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant or Himself in some disguised form.’ 

“According to Krishna Consciousness belief, Swami Bhaktivedanta is ‘avatar’ understood as Krishna’s one and only, bona fide representative of our world, ‘the transparent via medium between the infinite God and the finite soul’ with a world mission ‘to arouse Kṛṣṇa Consciousness everywhere.’ ” 

Kenny employs a highly original and insightful breakdown of the term “transparent via medium,” corresponding it to the different stages he has observed in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s character and activities. “In my view, the term ‘transparent via medium’ reflects the swami’s progressional manifestation in three stages: (1) ‘medium’ indicates the initial ‘swami’ stage of Bhaktivedanta as ‘sannyāsin’ and as one in control of his senses; (2) ‘via’ refers to the ‘guru’ stage of the swami as teacher; and (3) ‘transparent’ reflects the present, ‘avatar’ status of the swami as a manifestation of God.” 

By ‘unpacking’ these precepts, Prof. Kenny does a good job of explaining the principle of disciplic succession, the idea that there is ultimately only one guru, Kṛṣṇa, that surrender to Kṛṣṇa is the goal, and that this is achieved by surrender to His disciplic successor. “But it is imprecise and possibly misleading,” he goes on, “to speak of ‘surrender to Swami Bhaktivedanta,’ for, in the last analysis, one does not surrender to the swami but rather one surrenders to Krishna through the swami. This, I believe, is the import of the term ‘transparent.’ In ISKCON belief, Swami Bhaktivedanta is no longer ‘Swami Bhaktivedanta,’ an individual entity, but rather, ‘Prabhupāda,’ that is, ‘he who has taken the position of the Lord.’ He is a transparency, an instrument, a pure medium. He himself no longer lives but Krishna lives through him. Hence, for the ISKCON devotee, to see Swami Bhaktivedanta is to see Krishna; to hear Swami Bhaktivedanta is to hear Krishna; to please Swami Bhaktivedanta is to please Krishna and to worship Swami Bhaktivedanta is to worship God. In short ‘the disciple should accept the spiritual master as God because he is the external manifestation of Kṛṣṇa.’ 

“Thus the concept of ‘transparent via medium’ defines precisely the mode of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s avatar-hood. While not the fullness of divinity, he is the only medium of God’s presence and the only source of God’s salvific grace for our world. Swami Bhaktivedanta may not be God but he is the only way to God and as such, ‘as good as God.’ ” The paper ends with a short summary of the main points and contains several pages of footnotes. It  is an impressive determination of both ISKCON and Śrīla Prabhupāda.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda listened with keen interest. He smiled occasionally and gave his verdict. “Very good; he has observed intelligently,” he told us. “It is nicely done.” 

 It seems apparent that Śrīla Prabhupāda himself has not thought to analyze his efforts to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness in quite the same terms, and of course some points could be debated, but he appreciated the professor’s observations and thought his paper perceptive and reasonably accurate. Prabhupāda has previously told us that his movement really started to take off from 1968 onwards. And it’s a fact that his role has transformed dramatically over the years from the humble, unknown swami who arrived friendless and penniless on the shores of a foreign land in 1965, into the powerful cynosure of a booming worldwide spiritual phenomenon. As he told us on a morning walk in Nellore at the beginning of this year, “If I say that I am ISKCON, what is the wrong there? Because I have created this; therefore I say ISKCON means I. I am ISKCON.” In that respect Prof. Kenny is spot on: ISKCON is a reflection of Śrīla Prabhupāda; it is whatever he has made it; and further, we, the members of ISKCON, have no access to Kṛṣṇa without him.  

Prabhupāda is gratified that his efforts are attracting the favorable scrutiny of the scholarly community, because if they understand his purpose they can influence thousands and perhaps millions of others to take Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously.  

* * * 

Every afternoon when he wakes up from his post-lunch nap, Śrīla Prabhupāda is given a glass of fresh fruit juice and a garland, and sandalwood paste is applied to his forehead. He likes to sit for while in his darśana room, sipping his drink and chatting with his disciples or any visitors, before he goes out to the temple. Jagadīśa came in this afternoon with a couple of devotees and handed Śrīla Prabhupāda some documents in support of our court fight. Prabhupāda was pleased that we are getting some immediate response, and more pleased at the implications of the controversy. Relaxed and smiling, he listed a few contemporary movements and organizations, as well as some older ones, noting that they are not targets. Taking the opposition to us as recognition of our success, he grinned. “That means they are feeling more weight [from us].” 

Jagadīśa mentioned a Christian-based group led by a Korean businessman, and I informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that this man had declared that Jesus had not finished his work and so he was now going to complete it.  

“So that is capturing the sentiment,” Prabhupāda said. “There is no philosophy. And who cares for Jesus? First of all they must care for Jesus. So, he has got any books?” 

We said maybe a few pamphlets. “No one’s got any literature like yours,” I told him. “At the most, they can produce a few pamphlets. They can’t even produce one volume the size of the Bhāgavatam, what to speak of eighty.” 

Prabhupāda has always regarded the writing of his books as his main work; the aphorism “books are the basis” is the motivational motto on which the huge saṅkīrtana force has been developed. Prabhupāda’s books are at the center of the growth of the movement, and the key to both attracting and sustaining new devotees. They separate him from all other gurus and spiritual leaders. And it is in the arena of book distribution that much of the disturbance has come. “On the whole there is now attempt to stop this movement,” he mused. “We have made so many court cases. Now, only loss we are feeling now—in some airports they have stopped our book selling. So formerly also, they were stopped and again revived.” 

Jagadīśa said that we were now legally banned, at least temporarily, from selling books in three major airports—Los Angeles, Dallas, and Atlanta. “It’s a constant struggle.”  

Prabhupāda was philosophical. “Struggle must be there. You cannot stop it.” And then he laughed. “Kṛṣṇa, since His birth struggled.” 

At the mention of police harassment and beatings in Montreal and Chicago, Prabhupāda was reflective. “They crucified Jesus, what to speak of devotees. Prahlāda Mahārāja was persecuted; Haridāsa Ṭhākura.” He paused momentarily and suddenly broke into a broad and  somewhat mischievous grin. “I think I shall not go to Europe, America, for some time!” Everyone laughed, but even though it was tongue-in-cheek I still thought there was cause for genuine concern. “Not unless this gets cleared up.” 

Prabhupāda acknowledged the potential danger. “Because it is being discussed about me. They say, ‘Old man is behind this movement.’ ” 

“Even in Australia,” I told him, “now they’re having the same thing—kidnapping and everything. It’s everywhere.” 

Prabhupāda grinned again with satisfaction. “That means they are feeling the weight. It is spreading.” 

November 19th, 1976

ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 5.5.32 states that the activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva were not approved by the general public and so He adopted other means. “When Lord Ṛṣabhadeva saw that the general populace was very antagonistic to His execution of mystic yoga, He accepted the behaviour of a python in order to counteract their opposition. Thus He stayed in one place and lay down. While lying down, He ate and drank, and He passed stool and urine and rolled in it. Indeed, He smeared His whole body with His own stool and urine so that opposing elements might not come and disturb Him.” 

Prabhupāda opened his class by explaining ājagara vṛtti, the mode of the python, and he gave two other examples in our line, Mādhavendra Purī and Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, who observed the same practice. “They were doing that. In Vṛndāvana Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, he was blind. He was sitting in one place, and Kṛṣṇa used to come and supply him milk.”  

After stating how people in general do not know the real purpose of human life and have no interest in spiritual development, Prabhupāda took the opportunity to say a few words about our current problems in America. He is full of confidence about his course of action, and he made it clear that there was no reason why we should not be.   

“Therefore our movement is being checked in the Western countries that this is a brainwash movement. Brainwash movement, that we are injecting some ideas by psychology, mental control, and our people they are taking to it, and it is spreading like epidemic. How to check it? Therefore they are now taking action how to stop this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement in Europe and America. They are trying. Of course, we are not afraid of this attempt. They will never be successful, rest assured, because we are pushing Kṛṣṇa consciousness.  

“Kṛṣṇa was attempted to be killed from the very beginning of His life. That is the nature of this material world, ‘How to kill God,’ ‘God is dead.’ This is their attempt. So from the life of Kṛṣṇa we can understand that so many attempts were made by the demons and the rākṣasas to kill Kṛṣṇa, but actually Kṛṣṇa killed them all. So if you are sincere, if you follow the principles and push on this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, nobody can kill you. You’ll go forward, rest assured. We are not going to be killed. That they are perceiving, that this movement is spreading like epidemic, and the young men of Europe and America, they’re taking seriously.” 

Referring to the book Hare Krishna and the Counter Culture, which Prabhupāda has us carry wherever he goes, he said, “Professor Stillson Judah already has given his conclusion that ‘This movement is not going to stop. It will go on.’ That’s a fact. Kṛṣṇa cannot be killed, neither His movement cannot be killed. Rather, those who are attempting to kill, they will be killed. But we must be very sincere, serious, follow the regulative principle and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra as you have been taught. Follow this principle boldly, and there is no fear.” 

Following the example in the verse, Prabhupāda told us that even if there is no real cause for fear, if things become too troublesome we can always take an alternative approach to our spiritual practice. “So Ṛṣabhadeva is Kṛṣṇa. So He became disturbed while walking on the street. He is not disturbed, but it is instruction that ‘If you are disturbed, you feel disturbed in this way, so you adopt this way. You sit down.’ Similarly, if they are disturbing too much, so we can sit down in one place and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. There is no difficulty. And Kṛṣṇa will send you all necessities. Teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yogakṣemaṁ vahāmy aham [Bg. 9.22]. He promises. Kṛṣṇa cannot say anything lie. He is perfect. So if there are actually impediments to push on this movement—people disturb too much—never mind. You sit down in one place and still go on preaching. Yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. People will come still in India. Why India? In your country also, if saintly person goes, they come. That is the practice in everywhere. So you can sit down and still preach. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission. Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa. Ei deśa means where you are sitting, where you are living, any place. And sit down. Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa. And try to deliver these innocent persons who are suffering. Everyone is suffering. That should be the motto.” 

He added a cautionary rider to this advice. “Do not sit idly, eat and sleep. No.” And he expressed his appreciation for the pain and suffering his disciples sometimes endure in order to preach. “I know, our men in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are bold enough. They have sometimes been beaten in the airport. But still they are so straightforward, suffering from the police, from the public. And Ṛṣabhadeva was sometimes bitten on his body, urine, pass urine on his body, so much. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Ṛṣabhadeva. So He is teaching us that for the ultimate benefit of life you prepare yourself to suffer all kinds of tribulations.”  

As he mentioned yesterday, Prabhupāda again cited Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura as the perfect emblem of tolerance and mercy. “He was beaten in twentyone bazaars with cane because he was Muhammadan, and in those days the Muhammadan kingdom was going on, Pathan ruling. So the Kazi, he saw that one Muhammadan, he has become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So he called him so, that ‘With great fortune you became a Muhammadan, and now you are taking to Hinduism? You are so unfortunate?’ So he could understand that ‘Here is a rascal. What I shall talk with him and argue with him?’ He simply said, ‘Sir, what is the fault there? Just like so many Hindus, they sometimes become Muhammadan, and suppose if I have become a Hindu, what is the wrong there?’ So the Kazi took it very seriously: ‘Oh, you are answering? All right. Order him that you beat this man in twentyone . . . , caning.’ So Haridāsa Ṭhākura was beaten in public market. The idea was that beating, he would die. But he did not die. Then the men who were given in charge to beat him, they became afraid, that ‘If this man is not dead, then the Kazi will take us very seriously that we have not beaten him seriously.’ So they began to flatter him, ‘Sir, unless you die, we’ll be dead. Our life is in great danger.’ So Haridāsa Ṭhākura made a show of death, and he was brought before the Kazi that ‘Here, the body is dead.’ 

“So sometimes this kind of tribulation is there. Jesus Christ, what was his fault? He was preaching about God, or Kṛṣṇa. That was his fault, and he was crucified. So this is the world. This is the world. As soon as you become . . .  This is māyā’s arrangement. Māyā, as soon as she sees that ‘This man is going out of my hand,’ she’ll put so many tribulations, and we have to tolerate them. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā/ amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. Ādi 17.31]. But you cannot stop kīrtana. That is not possible.” 

He advised us to follow the great devotees, the mahājanas, and in an interesting aside he explained the Indian system of identifying different classes of men by particular titles and then gave the real meaning of mahājana. “Mahājana is also addressed in India to the baniers, means the mercantile class, mahājana. The brāhmaṇa is addressed as paṇḍita, and the kṣatriya is addressed as ṭhākura, and the vaiśyas are addressed as mahājana, and the śūdras are addressed as chaudhuri. This is Indian etiquette. So we are not talking of this banier mahājana. Mahājanas are described in the śāstra, twelve mahājana. So they are twelve mahājanas, and we have to follow these mahājanas. The Ṛṣabhadeva is also mahājana, and the greatest mahājana is Kṛṣṇa. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]. Jana,jana means life, and mahājana, the supreme person. So mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [SB 6.3.20]. We have to follow the footprints of great saintly persons, devotees, mahājana.”  

Always practical and realistic, Prabhupāda stressed that in referencing Lord Ṛṣabhadeva he did not mean that we should do exactly as He had done. “In the Kaliyuga it is not possible to imitate ājagaravṛtti. It is not possible because we are already so weak. Mandāḥ sumandamatayo mandabhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ [SB 1.1.10]. This is our position. We are very unfortunate. Every one of us, we are very bad, mandāḥ, bad habits. So it is not possible to imitate Ṛṣabhadeva or Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Don’t imitate but try to follow. Anusaraṇa. Anukaraṇa is not good. Anukaraṇa means false imitation. That is called anukaraṇa. And anusaraṇa means to follow. Try to follow as far as possible. 

“So we have got good opportunity to follow Caitanya Mahāprabhu. That is intelligence. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtanaprayair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. There is no need of unnecessarily accepting tribulation, which is impossible in this age, when we are so much disturbed. We are already dead, just like animals. Therefore it is a special concession: kaler doṣanidhe rājann hy asti eko mahān guṇaḥ/ kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya muktasaṅgaḥ param . . . [SB 12.3.51]. Simply try to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very sincerely, without any offense. It is not possible to imitate or even follow Ṛṣabhadeva’s process of selfrealization. In the Kaliyuga it is not possible. But as it is recommended in the śāstra, as Ṛṣabhadeva in his another incarnation, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He is teaching, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā. Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam [Cc. Ādi 17.21]. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and you will get perfection.” 

It was a great class, full of vigor and brace. Everyone was thoroughly enlivened and gratified. Prabhupāda’s absolute conviction permeates his every action and word, and his presence and association act as a surety of success for all of us in the execution of our spiritual lives. 

* * * 

Some further disturbing news has been reported to Śrīla Prabhupāda about the state of the temple here. There has been a spate of thefts from both the temple and the guesthouse. When the temple opened a year and half ago, the devotees wanted a high standard of worship and decided to get solid silver utensils to use in the worship of the Deities. Incredibly, almost every silver puja item has disappeared. There were three large, beautiful silver ghee lamps that held multiple ‘stick-wicks’ (wicks about four inches long consisting of a thin layer of cotton wrapped about a thin stick and dipped in ghee) used in the arātis and many silver bowls used for the Deity offerings; now they are all gone. Even the watch on Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Deity has been taken! And in the guesthouse, no visitor’s valuables are safe. Small holes have been gouged in the doors, presumably as spy holes so that when the guests are out, thieves can enter and steal their money and any electronic goods or valuable possessions. When Arjuna and Tamopaha prabhus were here two months ago they had several thousand dollars stolen from their room. It is a very big problem. Śrīla Prabhupāda is disgusted that the managers have allowed such a situation to develop. He told them not to buy any more silver, to use only brass paraphernalia, and to improve the security in the guesthouse. 

* * * 

Mahāvīra came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda about the temple prasādam. He explained with some consternation that several devotees are complaining because the daily fare is kichuḍi and chapatis for breakfast, and rice, dal and chapatis for lunch, with an occasional subji. Their main complaint seems to be about the lack of variety and the absence of fruit. Being new to India and also being satisfied himself with the simple menu, Mahāvīra wasn’t sure what the standard should be, so he requested that Prabhupāda advise him.  

Prabhupāda wasn’t too concerned. He told him, “Humans are grain eaters. If they want to eat fruit, then let them just eat fruit only. Otherwise, just leave it the way it is.” 

November 20th, 1976

Yesterday’s ŚrīmadBhāgavatam verse described how Lord Ṛṣabhadeva adopted a mode in which He was lying in His own stool and urine, just to avoid the association of ordinary persons. But today’s verse, 5.5.33, made it clear that even this act of the Lord was glorious: “Because Lord Ṛṣabhadeva remained in that condition, the public did not disturb Him, but no bad aroma emanated from His stool and urine. Quite the contrary, His stool and urine were so aromatic that they filled eighty miles of the countryside with a pleasant fragrance.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda got off to a humorous start. “So here is incarnation of God, Ṛṣabhadeva. Now there are so many rascal incarnations. Is it possible to pass stool and make it surabhi? Is it possible? So you can ask these rascal incarnations that ‘Pass your stool here!” With everyone laughing and he himself chuckling, he continued, “Let us see first of all. Then we shall accept you! Practical. ‘We are fools and rascals. We want practical test.’ ”  

Smiling broadly, he told us that we have to accept the statements of śāstra, that if the incarnation of God passes stool, it is fragrant. “He can do it. That is God.” 

According to śāstra, even the stool of the cow is so pure that it makes whatever it comes in contact with pure also. “In Indian villages,” he told us, “still they use cow dung for smearing over the floor, and it becomes very nice, fresh, and purified. That is injunction of the śāstra, that cow dung is pure. So if by the will of Kṛṣṇa, by the arrangement of Kṛṣṇa, even an animal’s stool can become so purified, what to speak of Kṛṣṇa’s stool?” 

Each morning as we greet the Deity form of the Lord, we sing verse 5.32 from Brahmasaṁhitā. Prabhupāda cited it to remind us of the potency of those forms, and the vast difference between the Lord’s body and ours. “Just like generally we find a person is born from the yoni [womb]. Therefore we call sarvayoni. But Garbhodakaśayī Viṣṇu, He did not take any help from his wife to give birth to a son, Lord Brahmā. He generated from His navel. This is called aṅgāni yasya sakalendriyavṛttimanti. We have to see that. Where is that instance ordinarily that a child is born from the navel? But He can do that. A child is born from female. That is from the yoni. But here a living creature is born from the navel, and that is also [from] puruṣa. That is saccidānandavigrahaḥ. You cannot compare Kṛṣṇa’s body with our body. If you do that, then you must be a mūḍha, rascal. Don’t do that. Kṛṣṇa is always transcendental.”  

Still, he said, understanding Kṛṣṇa’s form is not difficult. Simply by engaging just one of our senses we can realize Him easily. “When you engage your tongue . . . It is also wonderful. To understand Kṛṣṇa, you require your tongue. Generally we understand by seeing or by hearing. Hearing is there, but here it is recommended tongue, especially. Why tongue is used? Because if you simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa by your tongue and taste Kṛṣṇa prasādam, you will understand Kṛṣṇa. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ [Brs. 1.2.234]. If you make it a promise that ‘I shall not talk anything except Kṛṣṇa’s message,’ and if you promise that ‘I shall not take anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa,’ these two things, this prasādam and chanting, will make you perfect to understand Kṛṣṇa.” 

He also warned us to be careful in the execution of our service. Narrating the story of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, who understood the Lord by perfectly fixing his mind on Him, he told us about Durvāsā Muni, who on a slight pretext, found fault in him. Even though he was so powerful, he could not be helped even by Nārāyāna Himself, because he had offended a great devotee. “Vaiṣṇava aparādha is very, very offensive. You should be very careful. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has warned. Vaiṣṇava aparādha, offense at the feet of Vaiṣṇava, is exactly like mad elephant. If a mad elephant enters your garden, then he spoils everything. Vaiṣṇava aparādha means hātī mātā. Mātā means mad, and hātī means elephant. So we should be very, very careful not to commit any offense at the feet of Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava does not take any offense. He does not care who is offender, but Kṛṣṇa takes care. Kṛṣṇa will never tolerate if a person is Vaiṣṇava aparādha. Mind that. Just like a big man. You can offend him, he doesn’t mind. But if [you do] something harmful to his child, so he becomes very angry.” 

“Durvāsā Muni, by his yogic power, he not only crossed over this material space and the material universe, but he went to the other space, paravyoma, where he saw Lord Viṣṇu, and he came back within a year. So that is yoga. One can reach even the sun planet by the beams. This is yoga practice. By touching the beams he can go to the sun planet. There are so many wonderful things. So Durvāsā Muni was a great yogi. He knew all these things. Still, he was defeated before a Vaiṣṇava. He had to come and immediately fall down: ‘Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, kindly excuse me; I have done offense.’ Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was so humble that ‘You are in trouble, brāhmaṇa, so whatever I have got, asset, whatever I have done, austerity, penance . . . you take immediately and be excused.’ This is Vaiṣṇava: ‘You take all my assets.’ So there was very friendly. Then both of them took prasādam, and then Durvāsā Muni could understand what is the power of devotee. So be very much careful to remain a spotless devotee. Then all success is there. There is no doubt about it. ” 

Thus, Prabhupāda said, if we want to understand Kṛṣṇa we can do so only by the process of devotional service. “That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Then your life is successful. And to understand Kṛṣṇa, no other method will help you. Kṛṣṇa said, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti [Bg. 18.55]. Never said that ‘I can be understood by yogic process or by karma, by jñāna.’ ”  

Having spelled out the failure of doing yoga without devotion, Prabhupāda concluded by giving a strong warning of the consequences of karmic activities done not for the pleasure of the Lord. “So anyone who does not take the result of his karma, then he is sannyāsī. Suppose you are a businessman. You have earned two lakhs of rupees, but give it to Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise what you will do with these two lakhs of rupees? If you don’t take it, will you throw it away? ‘No, why shall I throw it? It should be utilized for Kṛṣṇa.’ People are very much enthusiastic to earn money in this material world. We can see practically, especially in the Western world. But if they engage their profit for pushing on Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, then their money will no more be engaged in releasing atomic bomb. Otherwise it will be used for releasing atomic bomb. I shall break your head and you shall break my head. Both of them we shall finish.” 

* * * 

Prabhupāda’s program the last few weeks has been to spend the morning and the afternoon upstairs, going up after breakfast and coming down again to take his massage, bath, and lunch, and then returning upstairs. In addition to his two post-meal naps, he is spending a good deal of his time simply sitting in the sunshine. The winter sun is healthy and gives him strength, and being on the roof also gives him a little solitude. Now he has asked that a bathroom be constructed as an extension to his rooftop room so that he doesn’t have to keep climbing the stairs, which is becoming difficult for him.  

There is little that can be done on my part except to be attentive and offer my service when and where I can. I always follow close behind on the stairs out of fear that he may not have the strength to make it. His health seems to be on a continual decline, and he is commenting more and more on his bodily weakness. 

* * * 

One of the perks of traveling with Śrīla Prabhupāda is having the opportunity to read the latest Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as soon as it comes out. Prabhupāda gets two copies from the BBT and always allows us to read them. For the last few days I have been immersed in the new Eighth Canto, Part Two, the tenth chapter of which describes the battle between the demigods and the demons. But this morning as I read 8.10.38 I realized that there was a major problem with the purport. The verse reads: “Because of the impact on the ground of the legs of the demons and demigods and the wheels of the chariots, particles of dust flew violently into the sky and made a dust cloud that covered all directions of outer space, as far as the sun. But when the particles of dust were followed by drops of blood being sprinkled all over space, the dust cloud could no longer float in the sky.” 

In his commentary Prabhupāda makes the point that since the description says that the blood sprinkled up to the sun and not the moon, it reaffirms other statements in the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam that the sun is nearer to the earth than the moon is. Then, using a combination of calculations given by modern scientists and the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam for the distances of the sun and moon from the earth, Prabhupāda goes on to show how it would not be possible for a space capsule traveling at eighteen thousand miles per hour to have gone to the moon in only four days. 

This created a doubt in my mind. I thought about it for a while and decided that the only way to resolve it was to put it before Śrīla Prabhupāda. When I went into his room he was sitting at his desk working. As I came in he looked up and asked, “Yes?” 

Tentatively, I said, “Śrīla Prabhupāda, I think I have found a mistake in one of your books.” 

“Oh, what is that?” he asked with mild interest. 

“Well, I was just reading the chapter about the battle between the demigods and the demons, where it says that the blood sprinkled up to the sun. In the purport you explain how this shows that the moon is further away from the earth than the sun is. But in Text 5 it states that the battle took place on the shore of the ocean of milk and not on the earth.” 

Prabhupāda reflected for a half-second, and then his face softened in acknowledgment. “Oh,” he conceded. With a self-effacing smile and humble acquiescence, he said, “I was thinking, ‘Here is a good opportunity to expose the scientists.’ All right, you inform the BBT and have them remove it.” And that was it; he went on with his work while I returned to my reading. 

Going in, I had been apprehensive. According to our philosophy the spiritual master is free of the four defects, one of which is the tendency to make mistakes. This was clearly a mistake, and I had to deal with that in my own mind. Not only that, but I had had to bring it to Prabhupāda’s personal attention. I hadn’t been sure how he would react; nor had I been sure about my qualifications in doing so. But I left feeling gratified and relieved. His reaction had been exemplary. He had showed not the slightest trace of defensiveness or false ego. He had been immediately open to whatever I had to say and instantly willing to accept that he had made a mistake and that he had to adjust for it.  

As for the mistake, I fully accept the statements of śāstra about the distances of the planets as well as Prabhupāda’s own commonsense observations that the moon is unattainable by mechanical means from this planet—that there is life everywhere and that the moon is not simply a dead ball of rocks and dust. They have not gone and Prabhupāda’s purport is correct in that assertion. The fact that the context of this particular purport is incorrect does not diminish the substance of it; nor does it in any way diminish my faith and absolute conviction that Śrīla Prabhupāda is a pure devotee, fully self realized and free of defect. His purity shone through in his reaction and reinforced for me once again how open and clear his heart is. He has no personal interest at stake in what he is doing. He is simply making an honest attempt to deliver the message of the śāstras and the predecessor acāryas, and to establish the unequivocal fact of the existence of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And in that he has been wonderfully effective. Neither his work nor character stands or falls on an isolated and corrected mistatement in one purport. 

* * * 

There was only one letter today, from Jitadūṣaṇa dāsa in Los Angeles. For the last eight months he has worked in the Spanish and Portuguese BBT division and has been studying Sanskrit. He told Śrīla Prabhupāda, however, that although he loves the service, he feels unable to continue with it, because his health is suffering badly due to the heavily polluted air of Los Angeles. This has put him in a quandary. He feels a strong desire to study but can see no other temple in ISKCON that would facilitate this. Thus he has petitioned Śrīla Prabhupāda: “I have had for a long time the intense desire to return to school. I have often times felt the inability to deal with this complex, intellectual society and present Krishna consciousness to it due to a lack of education. I know, by my own experience and by the example of others, that my ability to preach and write and present Krishna consciousness to others would be greatly increased if I could go back to school and finish and education. I know that all the leaders in this movement, as well as all the great acaryas like you, Bhaktivinoda, Bhaktisiddhanta etc. have used a material education as a tool, much like we use money, thereby proving its worth in utilization in Krishna’s service. I intend to major in Sanskrit, which will definitely be able to benefit the movement later.  

“I have seen that you have told other devotees to complete their education, and thus it became their service. I too am asking your sanction, blessing and advice, O Gurudeva, for I know that without your sanction, no one is protected from the clutches of Maya. And I cannot proceed in any direction so hazardous without first consulting my spiritual master. Prabhupada, I have a great deal of enthusiasm to make this my service. Krishna has so far arranged everything perfectly as far as financing, admission, timing, etc. I wish to accept advice only from you, Srila Prabhupada, respectful though I am towards the GBC. Please have mercy on me Gurudeva, for without your mercy, who can hope to survive?” 

This is not the first time that Prabhupāda has been petitioned in this way. Rasānanda prabhu wrote a couple of months ago asking if he could study Āyurveda because he had no current service and had been a medical student before becoming a devotee. But Prabhupāda had said that he should simply utilize what he already knew in devotional service and not spend his valuable time trying to learn something new. “Suppose you are learning some art to serve Kṛṣṇa,” he had written. “In the meantime if death takes place  . . . Then if you could not learn the art, at the same time you miss Kṛṣṇa’s service. So that is not our principle. We want to serve Kṛṣṇa, svakarmaṇā tam abhyarcya.” 

He now replied to Jitadūṣaṇa in the same mood. “Devotional service does not depend on material assessment. It is said in SrimadBhagavatam, ‘ahaituki apratihata’. Devotional service must be without any material ambition and there is no material impediment which can check advancement in devotional service.”  

Jitadūṣaṇa had cited Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, but Prabhupāda astutely focused on the example he had missed. “Srila Gaura Kisora das Babaji was unable to sign his name, and yet he became the spiritual master of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, the most erudite learned scholar of His time. We should begin our devotional service in whichever position we are. It isn’t that we have to learn something extra for advancing in devotional service. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaja/ ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati/ vasudeve bhagavati bhaktiyogah prayojitah/ janyayaty asu vairagyam jnanam ca yad ahaitukam [SB 1.2.6 & 7]. If one is materially well equipped it is welcome but devotional service does not depend on material qualifications.” 

* * * 

Problems with the local municipality continue. The sewage from our guesthouse has never been adequately drained off, with the result that over the last year and half there has often been a large pool of it in the back alley, about which residents in the area are naturally complaining. We have tried various ways of draining it, but to no avail. Now the municipality is insisting that in order to take care of the problem ISKCON should pay for a new sewage line to be brought into the Raman Reti area from the main line in Vṛndāvana.  

Prabhupāda said that it was simply a pretext. The whole area needs a proper sewage line, and they are using our difficulties to try and offset their own costs by extracting the money from us to pay for a service they should be providing. Prabhupāda is determined not to bow to their pressure and wants us to investigate other ways of removing the effluence. Therefore he has written to Gargamuni Swami that when he comes in about a week with the new car, he should bring with him a sanitation engineer, preferably the one who advised us for sanitation with the guesthouse in Māyāpur. 

* * * 

Akṣayānanda Mahārāja and myself had one of those pleasant, informal exchanges with Śrīla Prabhupāda this evening that make him so endearing, and associating with him such a wonderful experience. He was in a relaxed, good-humored mood, chatting about the controversies his preaching has stirred by the stark contrast it creates with material life. It isn’t surprising that people are objecting, he said. Material life means there are so many obligations and involvements, but, he said succinctly, spiritual life means “Sarvadharmān: Everything give up. That is India’s Vedic civilization. They are not concerned with the material advancement. Simple life. That’s all. And our present leaders, they are thinking that ‘brainwashed.’ They are not deeply thinking, ‘Why our great sages and ācāryas recommended this life, not the skyscraper life? Why? They were not less intelligent.’ They are not thinking in that way. They are thinking that ‘Because we neglected the skyscraper thoughts, we are so backward.’ ”  

He has mentioned on occasion how the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, adopted policies that were aimed at finishing traditional culture and pursuing Western-inspired materialism through industrialisation, and he shook his head at the current state of affairs. “This rascal Nehru was thinking like that—‘So finish this.’ ” He observed that the accusation of brainwashing is similar to the Russian communist propaganda that religious life is simply an opiate. “These things are accepted like that: ‘It has no value, simply some prejudice and superstition,’ and they are thinking like that and they are spoiling their material side of life.’ This is their idea—‘What is this? No meateating?’ ”  

Just at that moment Pālikā, his cook, knocked on the door and came in to see whether he wanted an evening snack. Prabhupāda told her to make just a little daliya. She was a bit disappointed. Like all good cooks, she likes to be put to use, and she likes to see Śrīla Prabhupāda with a good appetite. “Nothing else?” 

Prabhupāda grinned. “No. If I take anything else it becomes overburdened.” He started laughing. “Better take little less, just to satisfy that I am not starving!” As we laughed, he chuckled with good humor. “Better to starve. That is better. But we are habituated, so better give some consolance, ‘No, no, you are not starving.’ Otherwise starving is better. Nidrāhāravihārakādivijitau [Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka 6]”  

Akṣayānanda had just returned from the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple. Prabhupāda had sent him there to inform Gaur Chand Gosai, the head priest and manager, that he intends to visit tomorrow. “So they were glad that I am coming?” 

“Oh, yes,” Akṣayānanda replied. “He was happy. And she was also happy.” 


“Gosai Mā.” 

“Oh, yes,” Prabhupāda said, remembering Gaur Chand’s wife. “She was very kind upon me.” 

I too am looking forward to the visit. I have never been to Rādhā-Dāmodara temple with Śrīla Prabhupāda. It’s always enlivening and informative to visit places of his former pastimes with him. I asked when the last time was that he was there. He thought a moment and said, “1972.”  

I thought of another of his old residences, the place he lived in before moving to the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple. “What about that Keśīghāṭa?” 

“Oh,” Prabhupāda smiled, suddenly remembering it, and he brightly suggested, “We can go some day.” He recalled his early days there. “When I first came in Vṛndāvana I stayed in the Keśīghāṭa. That is very palatial building. My room was as big as this. Yes, as big. Plus one side room, plus one entrance room. I was paying fifteen rupees. And I could see whole Vṛndāvana, Yamunā, from the top of my house. It is very nice, very palatial.” 

I had heard about it, and the prospect of visiting it with Prabhupāda sounded exciting, but I didn’t know where it was, so Prabhupāda explained that it is just on the corner of the road to Keśī-ghāta as it bends around the Mahārāja of Bharatpura’s huge palace.  

After that digression Prabhupāda returned to our topic of discussion. He said that it was regrettable how people are being misled; even big scholars have no understanding how we have to change our bodies. He recalled that when he was a young man he had read something about the brother of the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. “So in a meeting he was saying, ‘We are so fool. Thinking of next life, next life, we are spoiling this life.’ He said like that. Long, long ago when we were children, young men, I remember distinctly, he is saying in the meeting that ‘Simply thinking of next life, we are spoiling this life.’ He said. That was his explanation. So at that time we were young boys. ‘Yes, why we should think so much of next life?’ Of course, I was not very much convinced, but naturally . . . I think his name Aurobindo Tagore, like that.” He chuckled. “He is good artist. Artist means latest fashion, like this, like that, like that. He was considered to be latest artist. And his view is that.” 

As he does frequently, Prabhupāda recalled the comment of the Russian Professor Kotovsky, that “Swamijī, after the finish of this body everything is finished.” “This is the cent per cent idea. The socalled scientists, they are thinking by chemical evolution the body has come in existence. These things are discussed in Bhagavadgītā. By accident, if it is a combination of chemicals, that means the bodily existence was not before. It has come in by accident, combination. ‘So why, Arjuna, you are lamenting for the body which was not in existence? And it will not exist after. Then why you are so much anxious for the middle portion?’ Good reasoning. The body was not in existence, and as soon as you finish, there is no more existence. So via media, between the manifestation and non-manifestation, in the middle there is some manifestation, [but] ‘why you are so much absorbed in that part?’ ” 

Grinning broadly, he told us that this lack of interest in the body is the reason why we are criticized. “Therefore the Europeans, Americans, they bring in the charges, ‘brainwash.’ ‘A brainwash movement. It has no actual value. Simply an artificial way of pushing the idea in the brain. These children are spoiled; they have given up meateating and illicit sex. Their life is spoiled,’ and so on, so on. So their theory is not without background. There is a background philosophy. And for Western countries, this is a completely new idea. Therefore they are charging, ‘brainwash.’ ” 

And this is true not only in Western countries, he said. It is the same here in India. “Where the spiritual civilization has a strong background, they are also not believing. Nobody believes Kṛṣṇa is God. Even big, big leaders, what to speak of ordinary men. Especially the socalled educated men. ‘Bring money anyhow and enjoy life.’ Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. And for money they are doing everything. Black money, white money, yellow money, this money.” He started laughing. “Bring money and enjoy! Bas. This is life. Why this nonsense Kṛṣṇa consciousness?” He was grinning broadly as he thought of what he is preaching. “No this, no this, no this. Ninetynine per cent ‘no’ and one per cent ‘yes’! What is the value of this movement? Is it not? Our life is ninetynine per cent ‘no.’ ” He broke out laughing. “No air even!” As his whole frame shook with laughter and Akṣayānanda and I responded with delight at his frank, self-confessed appraisal, he went on. “So what to speak of other thing. It is very difficult. Therefore in the beginning I was hopeless, that ‘Who will hear this movement? Simply ‘no.’ And especially in this country, in Europe. So dull brain.” 

This is one of the nicest things about being with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Even when he is at leisure, his mind is one continuous flow of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. His thoughts are never off it. He doesn’t see the world any other way than through the eyes of śāstra, and he loves to talk of it. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ: He is the perfect spiritual master. 

November 21st, 1976

A year ago, when I first joined Prabhupāda’s party, I heard him describe Joseph Stalin, the former communist dictator of Russia, as the world’s biggest criminal. In class today he referred to him again, but, most unusually, as an example in the quest for liberation.  

The verse stated that Lord Ṛṣabhadeva adopted the mode of an animal. “In this way Lord Ṛṣabhadeva followed the behavior of cows, deer, and crows. Sometimes He moved or walked, and sometimes He sat down in one place. Sometimes He lay down, behaving exactly like cows, deer, and crows. In that way, He ate, drank, passed stool and urine, and cheated the people in this way.” 

By adopting the mode of an avadhūta, Prabhupāda told us, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva became completely detached from his body and behaved like an ordinary animal. He did this to exemplify that on the bodily platform there is no difference between higher and lower species of life. Without the spiritual conception of life, if we remain simply in the bodily conception, we are equal with the animals. “So our real life is spiritual life, not this bodily conception of life. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says that anyone who is above the bodily conception of life, he is liberated person. Dehasmṛti nāhi yāra saṁsārabandhana kāhāṅ tāra [Cc. Madhya 13.142]. Dehasmṛti: ‘I am this body,’ ‘I am Indian,’ ‘I am American,’ ‘I am brāhmaṇa,’ ‘I am kṣatriya.’ These are bodily conception of life. One who forgets this bodily conception of life, he is liberated.” 

Prabhupāda asked rhetorically how it is possible to forget the bodily conception of life, and answered by telling us about an incident in Stalin’s life. “It can be forgotten. Sometimes we have seen practically. We have, of course, heard, we have not seen, that Mr. Stalin, the great communist leader, he was to undergo a surgical operation of the intestine. So the physician, he wanted to give him anaesthetic, chloroform. He refused: ‘There is no need of. Let the operation go on. I shall see what is there within the belly.’ ” Seeing the devotees wince at the thought, Prabhupāda chuckled. “Strongminded; here, even in material conception, he underwent the surgical operation without any chloroform.  

“So that is possible. If one is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then he has no more bodily conception of life. That is not to be imitated. It is on the highest stage [that] it is possible to forget completely, and he is liberated. He is no more conditioned by the material nature.” 

 Śrīla Prabhupāda gave his assessment as to how this state is attained. “So how it can be possible? I have given already one crude example. Why Mr. Stalin could tolerate without any trouble? Because he was a leader. He was always absorbed in the thought of how he could advance the communist cause. This is the real reason. Similarly, if we take our cause very seriously—what is our cause? That is explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is explained by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī: īhā yasya harer dāsye karmaṇā manasā vacā/ nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu jīvanmuktaḥ sa ucyate [Brs. 1.2.187]. If you become fully absorbed in the thought of serving Kṛṣṇa . . . Īhā means complete absorption in the thought, ‘How I shall serve Kṛṣṇa?’ What is serving Kṛṣṇa? That is explained by Kṛṣṇa . . . We can see from His practical behavior, ācāraṇa. Not only His ācāraṇa, behavior, but later on, His incarnation, Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s ācāraṇa, or behavior. What is that? To spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa also came for the same purpose, to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ madbhakteṣv abhidhāsyati [Bg. 18.68]. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu also came for the same purpose, to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So if we follow their footsteps and be fully engaged in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then immediately we become liberated.” 

The difference between material and spiritual activities, Prabhupāda told us, is simply how we engage our senses. Because we are living entities the senses must always work; there is no question of stopping them. “The real thing is to accept the positive life. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is bhakti. Because I stop material activities, that does not mean my senses are also finished. No. Senses are there. That is purified senses. When I do not act for any material purpose, that means my sense activities are purified, and that is bhakti.” 

In order to do this, Prabhupāda said, we have to accept the guidance of a guru. He gave the example of Sanātana Gosvāmī. “He was a minister of Nawab Hussain Shah, so he had many responsible activities, but he resigned from the post. And when he approached Caitanya Mahāprabhu he asked, ‘Now, by Your grace, I am relieved from all material activities. Now kindly tell me what shall I do.’ So doing, it is not stopped.” 

If we simply stop our material activities without taking up anything spiritual, we cannot be successful. “Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tathā patanty adhaḥ [SB 10.2.32]. If you give up this world as material—you have nothing to do—then you’ll fall down again. Patanty adhaḥ. This is the śāstra injunction. So therefore our Gosvāmīs, under the śāstra [say,] ‘Engage yourself in Kṛṣṇa activities; otherwise you will fall down.’ Īhā yasya harer dāsye karmaṇā manasā vacā.” 

Prabhupāda pointed out that in his material life Sanātana Gosvāmī was dealing with all big personalities but gave all that up as unimportant. Then he took up the business of working for the welfare of the fallen. “To give them some benefit, that is Vaiṣṇava life. Stop material activities, and for the benefit of the mass of people, dīna. They are very dīna, very poor. Mahadvicalanaṁ gṛhiṇāṁ dīnacetasām [SB 10.8.4]. Dīnacetasām. They’re very, very crippled. Gṛhiṇām. Those who are gṛhi, they are very dīna, very poorhearted, because they do not know anything except to maintain the family.” 

And if, he added, a person can simply maintain his wife and children, he is considered to be like Dakṣa Mahārāja, an expert. Regarding material affairs, he said, “These gṛhamedhis’ happiness is sexual intercourse, that’s all. So he produces dozens of children by sexual intercourse, and when the children are grownup, educated, then for him also another arrangement for sex, very pompously married. What is the purpose? The same sex. Therefore, gṛhamedhisukham is sex. ‘I have enjoyed sex. I have got so many nice children, educated, now working. Now give him facility for sex. Then again, grandchildren.’ ” 

Dakṣa had many children, but he didn’t appreciate it when Nārada Muni made them all sannyāsīs, and similarly, Prabhupāda smiled, this is the general attitude of the materialists. “If he becomes a sannyāsī, brahmacārī, does not take part in these stereotyped activities, then he is useless, escaping from the world. ‘Escaping.’ They do not take the responsibility. But that is not the fact. If one can maintain himself as brahmacārī, he is escaping all the tribulations of this material world; escaping certainly, but he is escaping all the tribulations, so much botheration.” Therefore, Prabhupāda went on, the business of the mahātmās is to wander here and there to enlighten the poorhearted. “Apaśyatām ātmatattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛhamedhinām [SB 2.1.2]. Gṛhamedhi, they have no interest in the spiritual advancement of life. They think that ‘This is meant for the useless person who could not improve in this materialistic way of life. They have taken this dress as a token for maintaining their body and soul together. Useless person.’ They think like that. Those who are gṛhamedhis, they have got many, many things to learn. Just like you see the newspaper, so many subject matter. You’ll find different stock exchange reports, and this municipal report, and the advertisement, wine advertisement, and meat advertisement. ‘Beefeater’s’ advertisement and cigarette advertisement and cinema advertisement, restaurant advertisement even. Gṛheṣu. Nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ— thousands and thousands subject matter you’ll find.” He grinned and recalled the newspapers in America. “Here we don’t have such newspaper as in the Western country. Such a big bunch, at least ten kilos’ weight. Is it not? Big, big bunch, throwing. Who will read? But they have the subject matter.” 

Just as the chokidhar rang the eight o’clock bell, Prabhupāda brought his lecture to an end. “So we have to cease these activities, and we shall consider such activities are no better than the activities of the crows and the cows and the other animals. They are engaged the whole day, activities. But these activities have no value. The human forms of life are not meant for these activities. Their purpose is to make these activities and the activities of the crows and cows and lower animals only Kṛṣṇa conscious activities, how to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is bona fide. That is our life, real life.” 

* * * 

In mid-morning, Prabhupāda, Jagadīṣa, Akṣayānanda, Bhagatjī, and I went to visit the historic Rādhā-Dāmodara temple, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s spiritual base before he left for the West. We went by car and were greeted at the temple entrance by Gaur Chand Gosai. An old blind man, it was he who first invited Prabhupāda in the late 1950s to move into the rooms where he lived for four years before coming to the West. 

Prabhupāda was pleased to be back. Gaur Chand’s wife invited Prabhupāda to sit on the porch on the side of the courtyard opposite to his rooms, laid out leaf plates, and then served a simple but appetizing meal. Śrīla Prabhupāda ate heartily, supplementing a large mound of rice with dal, subjis, and chapatis. He ate more than he has for a long time and even had seconds. It was satisfying to see, although I was concerned about the after-effects it might produce because of his poor digestion. But Prabhupāda didn’t show any signs of discomfort and was in a expansive mood, obviously happy to be hosted by his old friends in the holy precincts of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s maṭha. After the meal Prabhupāda went over to his rooms. We sat for a few minutes in his residential room with him, bathing in his association. He also poked open the doors to his old kitchen and peered inside, but he didn’t enter. 

Walking around, Prabhupāda was disappointed to note the deteriorating state of the buildings. If the property was offered, he told us, we could take it over and restore it. He also went around to where Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s bhajanakuṭīra and samādhi are and offered his obeisances at the doors, with us following suit. Prabhupāda surveyed the whole area, which has been bricked over recently, and shook his head in disapproval. He didn’t like the change and said that when it was grass and earth it was much better.  

Before we left, Gaur Chand invited Prabhupāda to preside over a function at the temple on December 23rd. Prabhupāda thanked him but expressed his regret and declined, telling the Gosai that he would probably be in Bombay and that it would be too difficult for him to attend. It is also very cold at that time of year, and because of his poor health he is not keen to remain in Vṛndāvana in the winter season. 

As we were leaving from the old arched main gate, we heard a tiny, frail voice calling out several times from within a very small room in the side pier. Prabhupāda stopped on the path and peered in from a distance. He had me go forward and look in. It was dark inside, but after a few seconds my eyes adjusted to the dim interior. I first saw a dog curled up in the middle of the floor and then at the far wall, a wooden cot with what appeared to be a bundle of cloth on it. The cloth moved and there was another weak call; I realized that there was a wizened old woman lying there. I reported this to Prabhupāda, and he told Jagadīśa to go in and give her a five-rupee note. As we left the temple through the gateway, he told us that this old woman had formerly washed his cooker and done his shopping for him when he was resident in the early 1960s. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased with the upkeep of his rooms and was well satisfied with the visit, but he is concerned about their future maintenance and is considering how to preserve ISKCON’s tenancy over them. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda’s Godbrother Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor paid another visit this morning. He and Prabhupāda have been discussing the legal cases, and on Prabhupāda’s request he is arranging a meeting of all the local Goswamis, bābājīs, and leading men of Vṛndāvana with Śrīla Prabhupāda to sign a petition verifying the authenticity of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Dr. Kapoor invited Prabhupāda to his home tomorrow for lunch, and initially Prabhupāda agreed. But after he left, Prabhupāda asked Jagadīṣa and Gopāla to go in his place; he feels too weak. 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda had a visit from an old friend from New York this afternoon: Alan Kallman, the producer of his original Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Happening record album. Alan has come to India with his new wife. Besides coming here to Vṛndāvana to see Śrīla Prabhupāda, he is also doing some business. He gave Prabhupāda several thousand dollars in donations and brought from the BBT some samples of the new 1977 calenders. He also had with him several news clippings from Los Angeles about the kidnapping of another of our devotees, Kula-priya dāsī, by deprogrammers.  

Prabhupāda received them warmly and with great pleasure. He insisted on their taking prasādam and had us set up two chonkis right there in his room. He filled them up with as much as they could eat, all the while chatting and laughing with them and encouraging them to associate with the devotees as much as possible. After about an hour they left in great humor, deeply appreciative of the hospitality and full of respect for Śrīla Prabhupāda. It’s obvious that Alan holds him in high regard personally, although his initial dealings were simply on a business basis. 

* * * 

Following his afternoon nap, Prabhupāda received a small delegation of our Indian devotees, headed by Sarva Bhāvana dāsa. They came with complaints about the poor standard of management, and specifically they claimed that because they were Indian they were being treated as inferior by the Western devotees. They especially picked out Akṣayānanda Swami’s dealings with them and were dissatisfied that Indian devotees were not being given management positions despite the fact that, being Indian, they naturally knew how to manage things in India in a better way.  

Prabhupāda heard all their complaints with patience and sympathy and dealt with them gently. After allowing them their say, however, he made it clear to them that those to whom he has entrusted the temple management are doing so by qualification; it has nothing to do with being either Indian or American. It is not axiomatic that because someone is Indian he knows how to manage better than a non-Indian. Rather, by experience, Prabhupāda’s opinion of Indian management is quite low. He told them frankly, “First of all you show that you can manage, and then you can come back. When the British were running Calcutta it was so nice a place to live in. The Sahib quarter where our temple is now situated was so clean and neat, but under Indian management, or rather mismanagement, the whole country is going to hell. Everything is so nasty and unclean and disorganized.”  

Apart from their complaints about the management, Prabhupāda also tackled their mood. He told them clearly that their feeling of being ill treated on account of being Indian has nothing to do with genuine devotional feelings. “This is not the feeling of bhakti,” he said. In other words, he told them that their feelings of dissatisfaction are all based on the bodily concept of life and not on a foundation of spiritual realization. So he dealt with them respectfully but firmly and did not accede to their sentiments.   

Actually, Prabhupāda has often stated his keen desire to see qualified Indian boys come forward to join this movement and take up the responsibility entrusted to them by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but with a few exceptions this has not as yet happened. He has often lamented that in India people are too attached to their families. 

November 22nd, 1976

In class this morning Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted that devotees are all brainwashed. But his view of what that means is a lot different from the pejorative connotations of the karmīs.  

Pradyumna read out the verse, the last one of the fifth chapter: “O King Parīkṣit, just to show all the yogis the mystic process, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, the partial expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa, performed wonderful activities. Actually He was the master of liberation and was fully absorbed in transcendental bliss, which increased a thousandfold. Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, the son of Vasudeva, is the original source of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva. There is no difference in Their constitution, and consequently Lord Ṛṣabhadeva awakened the loving symptoms of crying, laughing and shivering. He was always absorbed in transcendental love. Due to this, all mystic powers automatically approached Him, such as the ability to travel in outer space at the speed of mind, to appear and disappear, to enter the bodies of others, and to see things far, far away. Although He could do all this, He did not exercise these powers.” 

Prabhupāda started out by giving us a sense of the inconceivable, unlimited opulence of the Lord. “Mahatpada means whatever wonderful things are there, that is resting at His lotus feet. Samāśritā ye padapallavaplavaṁ mahatpadaṁ puṇyayaśo murāreḥ [SB 10.14.58]. All this manifestation of cosmic creation, that is from the mahattattva. That mahattattva is resting within the dust of the lotus feet of mahatpadaṁ puṇyayaśo murāreḥ. You can see the sky is within your experience, but how many stars and planets are there, till now nobody has been able to count. It is unlimited. This is only one universe. There are millions and millions of universes. And Kṛṣṇa says, ekāṁśena sthito jagat [Bg. 10.42]. This is only one part manifestation of the creation. Threefourths part is this paravyoma. So this is Kṛṣṇa’s opulence. We do not know what is actually opulence. What is Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, it is impossible to calculate.” 

Anantadeva has unlimited hoods or mouths; He chants the glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa without stoppage and never comes to the end of it. This, said Prabhupāda, is what is meant by the yogic power of the Lord, and by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, that yogic power can manifest in His devotee. “Kṛṣṇa can perform unlimited mystic powers through His devotee. This is Kṛṣṇa’s activity. A devotee never takes the credit of any wonderful thing. But it is a fact. What wonderful thing we can play? Kṛṣṇa can do that.”  

Condemning the Māyāvādī idea that an ordinary living being can become God, Prabhupāda gave the true definition of oneness with God. “Oneness means to agree to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is oneness. There is no disobedience, ‘Whatever You say, I accept’—that is oneness.”  

Marking that human society is characterized by disagreement due to the differences of people’s bodies and minds, he exposed the root cause. “Because I am envious of you, you are envious of me, so how there can be agreement? So wherefrom this enviousness has begun? Because we are envious of Kṛṣṇa. Because we are envious of Kṛṣṇa—‘Why Kṛṣṇa become God? I am also God.’ This is the beginning of enviousness, this rascaldom that ‘Why Kṛṣṇa shall become alone God?’ He said, māṁ ekaṁ śaraṇam. ‘Why Kṛṣṇa alone?’ They say, the rascal philosophers say, ‘This is sophistry. It is demanding too much: Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. Why? Why shall I accept You as the Supreme?’ This enviousness begins. This is the beginning of envy. So we become envious of each other. I am envious of you; you are envious of me. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not meant for the envious persons. It is meant for very liberal, paṇḍitāḥ samadarśinaḥ” [Bg. 5.18]. 

Becoming a samadarśinaḥ—one who sees everything equally, a perfectly learned person—is very difficult, Prabhupāda conceded. He noted that all over the world people fight, even over their religions. This means their religious practice is infected with envy. He gave a couple of practical examples of the results of such envy, one from the letter he received recently from Gurudās Swami and the other from his own experience. “In Ireland the fighting is going on between the Protestants and the Catholics. Is it not? Going on continuously. Now it has become so dangerous that you cannot walk on the street. At any moment there will be bombs. Last time when I was in London I had the experience. All of a sudden our car was diverted. The police came: ‘There is bomb. You cannot go there.’ So this is going on. In London, in Germany, and other places . . . At any moment there can be bomb. And what is the bombing? The fight between the Catholics and Protestants. Just like we have got experience, Pakistan and India, in 1947. Calcutta itself became divided into two, Pakistan and Hindustan. Nobody was going. There is one big road, Chitpoor Road. So up to Hanson Road, it is Hindustan, and after that, it is Pakistan. The Pakistanis did not dare to come to this side. So this is matsaratā, enviousness, that is the nature of this material world. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness, kṛṣṇabhaktirasabhāvitāmatiḥ [Padyāvalī 14] it is very, very rare.” 

Although pure devotional service is rare, Prabhupāda told us, it can be obtained by those who are very eager for it. But that eagerness also has to be properly channeled, with the right intent. “The price is simply you must be very, very eager to have it. That’s all. ‘Oh, that I can do. It is not very difficult. I am so much eager after money, after woman, and so I shall transfer.’ So Rūpa Gosvāmī says, ‘No, no. It is not so easy.’ ” 

Prabhupāda cited the Bhagavadgītā statement that piety is required to approach Kṛṣṇa. “Because pious is the good position. Yeṣām antagataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya karmaṇām [Bg. 7.28]. So to become pious is good because there is hope of understanding Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, if you remain impious, if you remain sinful, then you’ll remain always rascal. You’ll never understand Kṛṣṇa. You’ll never understand. Therefore we must try to become pious. And that pious means no sinful activities. Therefore we proscribe four sinful things, the pillars of sinful life: no illicit sex, no meateating, no intoxication, no gambling.” 

The way to Kṛṣṇa is also stated by Rūpa Gosvāmī. “You come through bhakta or come through bhakti. So bhakti means unless you become an apprentice of a bhakta, how you can attain bhakti? That is not possible. Therefore Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī [instructs], ādau gurvāśrayam: ‘If you want bhakti, then you must accept bhakta as a guru. If you want mercy of Kṛṣṇa, then you have to satisfy the devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit [SB 11.17.27]. ‘Never become envious of guru.’ ”  

Śrīla Prabhupāda, our perfect guru, brought his talk to a close with a strong counter-attack against those who are criticizing his movement and teachings. Citing the Bhāgavatam definition of a guru as one who knows the conclusion of the Vedas and the Vedas as śābde pare, transcendental sound, he said, “There are two kinds of sounds. Just like we are speaking. This is also sound, but this is para sound, uttama sound, paraprakṛti. Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is not ordinary sound. It is paraprakṛti.Golokera premadhana harināmasaṅkīrtana [Iṣṭa-deve Vijñapti 2]. Harināma saṅkīrtana is not this material sound. If you think it is material sound, you are rascal. . . . The American people have become wonderful, astonished, how simply by chanting they are becoming brainwashed. That is the actual fact!” He grinned as he surveyed his audience. “The rascals, they do not know how these people are giving up illicit sex, meateating—their life and soul, all these things. How they are giving up unless they have become mad, hearing? The harināmasaṅkīrtana can do that. Yes. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was chastised by His guru, harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam [Cc. Ādi 17.21], so He said that ‘You are rascal. You cannot read Vedānta. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.’ So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He said, ‘Yes, and chanting, I have become mad.’ 

“So this is actually the fact. But these rascals cannot calculate that how simply by chanting they are forever becoming out of home, no more return. ‘My dear son, come back. Take all these things.’ ‘No, sir. I am [devotee.]’ This was actually proved. Our Gargamuni, his father is very rich man. He wanted to take back the son from the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. He was unable. Hardly! So many fathers . . . A few, they left this movement, but they could not stay outside. Again come. That is brainwash.” 

With that he brought his class to a close. I moved forward to remove his spectacles, his ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, and the tape recorder microphone. As I did so, Yaśodānandana Mahārāja and the gurukula boys moved forward to the vyāsāsana. Lining up in front of Śrīla Prabhupāda with their palms together in traditional praṇāmās, they broke out in a loud chorus, chanting in rhythmic unison three mantras: 

kṛṣṇaikacetā madamohavināśakārin 

maddṛṣṭigocara prabho prabhupādasvāmin 


sañcintayāmi caraṇau tava bhaktihetoḥ 

(O Lord, O Prabhupāda. May you always be the object of my vision. Only the name of Kṛṣṇa can destroy my pride and illusion. Although my mind and intelligence are contaminated by wicked inclinations, I meditate upon your lotus feet in causeless devotion). 

vṛndāvane ramaṇareṭiprasiddhabhūmau 

tatrāpi kṛṣṇabalarāmasupādamūle 

jñānam paraṁ paramakṛṣṇasudharmīty uktam 

dantas tu deva prabhupāda namo namas te 

(In the most holy land of Vṛndāvana, in Rāman Reṭi, at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Balarāma, you are preaching the topmost knowledge of the Supreme Personality, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Who is the fountainhead of religion. O master of the senses, O my lord Śrīla Prabhupāda, let me offer my humble obeisances to you.) 

madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vapur asya vibhor 

 madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuram 

madhugandhi mṛdusmitam etad aho 

 madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuram 

(O my Lord, the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter than His body. But His soft smile, which has the fragrance of honey, is sweeter still.) 

The first two were written by Anantarām Śāstrī, the Indian devotee scholar, earlier this year.  The third is originally from Kṛṣṇakarṇāmṛta (92), by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura and is quoted in Caitanyacaritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 21.136.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda sat and smiled broadly as the boys burst out at the end with enthusiastic cries of “Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda! Prabhupāda ki jaya!” He is very pleased that Yaśodānandana Swami has taken seriously his instructions to train the boys in the chanting of mantras, and this first product of his efforts is now a wonderful addition to the daily temple program. Many of the other devotees have learned the verses, and everyone loves hearing the vibrations resound transcendentally throughout the atmosphere in glorification of Kṛṣṇa’s pure devotee. Śrīla Prabhupāda is highly gratified to see the young boys dancing and singing in the kīrtanas with great abandon and enjoyment.  

* * * 

During the morning, Śrīla Prabhupāda summoned me with his buzzer. When I went into his room he was looking distinctly annoyed. “What is this noise?” he asked me. Cocking my ear, I picked up the distinct tones of a flute. Someone was playing one, or rather attempting to, in one of the guesthouse rooms. There was no particular tune, only a rambling dissonance following no meter or harmony. “It’s someone in the guesthouse practicing on the flute,” I observed. Śrīla Prabhupāda wasn’t impressed with their efforts. “Stop this speculation!” he said. “Find out who it is and tell them to stop.”  

I was able to locate the source of the sound, a visiting devotee, and request them to stop. The devotee wasn’t too happy but complied because he didn’t want to disturb Śrīla Prabhupāda. 

* * * 

The first Bengali issue of Back to Godhead arrived, and Prabhupāda was pleased to see it. He has been meeting almost every afternoon with a Bengali man who is staying in our guesthouse, and encouraging him to translate his books.  

Prem Yogi continues to come each morning and read to Śrīla Prabhupāda his latest Hindi translation efforts; whatever he translates he speaks for the public every afternoon under the tamal tree during the darśanas in the temple courtyard. Prabhupāda is very pleased that such an educated man is coming to stay with us and is giving him a great deal of his time and encouragement. 

* * * 

Jagadīṣa and Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhus had lunch with Dr. Kapoor and advanced their plans for getting local support for our court cases. They are working out a suitable statement affirming the authenticity of ISKCON and are confident of obtaining the signatures of all the local people in support. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda called me in and, citing Mrs. Pearlmutter’s letter, asked me to write to my parents requesting from them a similar letter of endorsement. He recalled their favorable response from our meeting at Bhaktivedanta Manor in July and said that the more support we get, the better, especially from parents of devotees. Accordingly, I have written an eight-page letter to them explaining the background behind the false accusations and attacks on us and asking for their support. The exercise has also given me some typing practice. I included typed copies of the letters written by Mrs. Perlmutter and Mrs. Murphy as samples for them to see. 

Since the topic was my parents, I also asked Śrīla Prabhupāda a question regarding my mother. It has been on my mind since his meeting with George Harrison at the Manor in July. George had informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that when his mother died in 1970 he had been at her bedside chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Prabhupāda had told him, “If she has heard Hare Kṛṣṇa, she’ll get the benefit. Either she chants, or somebody chanting, if she hears, śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam, both the same thing. Little chance, svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt [a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear][Bg. 2.40]. So let us practice in such a way that at the time of death we may remember. That is success.”  

It so happens that my father’s name is Harry Harrison. So since the early 1940s my mother has continuously chanted the name of Harry, of course without realizing the benefit, but similar to the way Ajāmila in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam was chanting the name of his son whom he named Nārāyaṇa. So my question to Śrīla Prabhupāda was whether, if at the time of death my mother called out for my father “Harry!” she would go back to Godhead. And Śrīla Prabhupāda said yes. 

* * *  

The Uher cassette recorder has come back from Calcutta, and it seems to be working properly again. Time will tell. Alex Kulik has gone back to the West, and I sent with him the latest batch of recordings for Kṛṣṇa Kanti prabhu, who runs Śrīla Prabhupāda’s tape ministry. The cassettes come in boxes of twelve. As I record them, I number each one and write the date and the subject on the casing. When I have used a full box I write a letter to Kṛṣṇa Kanti listing all the cassettes and their contents and send it off with the tapes. The postal service is risky, though, so when the opportunity arises I try to find someone who is going back to the West to take them. With Alex I sent two boxes of tapes and three reels containing all the recordings done up to November 17th. 

I am also requesting Kṛṣṇa Kanti to send over a good extension microphone that I can hang around Śrīla Prabhupāda’s neck when he is lecturing. I have one that fits the reel-to-reel machine but not the cassette recorder. I am having problems with the cassette recordings because I have to strap the hand microphone to the temple microphone stand to record Prabhupāda’s classes, but Indian sound systems are extremely unreliable and cause a lot of interference with the recordings. Some of the recent bad recordings from here and Chandigarh could have been avoided if I had been independent of the local sound systems.  

November 23rd, 1976

This morning Prabhupāda began the sixth chapter of Canto Five, “The Activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva.” In one way it is a bit of an event; he travels so frequently, and because each temple is usually reading from a different part of the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, he rarely speaks on more than a few verses contiguously. To complete one full chapter and move into the next is unusual.  

Pradyumna read out the Sanskrit and then the translation: “King Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī: My dear Lord, for those who are completely pure in heart, knowledge is attained by the practice of bhaktiyoga, and attachment for fruitive activity is completely burned to ashes. For such people, the powers of mystic yoga automatically arise. They do not cause distress. Why, then, did Ṛṣabhadeva neglect them?” 

Prabhupāda started by identifying two classes of men: the ātmārāma and the apaśyatām atmātattvam [SB 2.1.2]—those who are self-satisfied and those who know neither the soul nor the business of the soul. To know simply that one is not the body is knowledge beyond that of the ordinary karmīs, who, Prabhupāda said, have been described by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura as mūḍhas, or asses. They simply work like animals for nothing more than sense satisfaction. But the transcendentalist is different. “One who knows atmātattva and the business of atmātattva, they are called ātmārāma, enjoying. Unless we become ātmārāma, there is no possibility of happiness.” 

While staying here in the dhāma Prabhupāda has frequently referenced the founders of modern day Vṛndāvana, and again he turned to the six Gosvāmīs as the exemplars of our spiritual lives. “They were very opulent ministers, but they were not happy. They resigned from the post. Tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣamaṇḍalapatiśreṇīṁ sadā tucchavat [Śrī Sadgosvāmyaṣṭaka 4]. Because there was no happiness. And what they adopted? They adopted the life of a mendicant. Bhūtvā dīnagaṇeśakau karuṇayā kaupīnakanthāśritau. For doing good to the others, they accepted kaupīnakanthāśritau [loin clothes and torn quilts].” 

In citing the six Gosvāmīs as the ideal, he also cautioned us not to imitate them and made us laugh with his penetrating humor. “That is not so easy to become a Rūpa Gosvāmī, ātmārāma. They were busy, very busy in transcendental activities. Simply to give up the family life or big post and come to Vṛndāvana and live cheaply by begging some chapati and become Rūpa Gosvāmī, that is not ideal. You should follow Rūpa Gosvāmī, their footprints. Tyaktvā tūrṇamaśeṣamaṇḍala. First of all, Rūpa Gosvāmī, their giving up family life was meaningful. But if somebody, out of poverty, he comes to Vṛndāvana to solve the ‘chapati problem,’ that is not Rūpa Gosvāmī.” The devotees laughed at Prabhupāda’s description of the beggars who pose as sādhus, and he chuckled as he proceeded to relate to us how, in contrast, the Gosvāmīs thought only of how to benefit others. This mood can also be found in Prahlāda Mahārāja and Dhruva Mahārāja. “They have no business for personal satisfaction. They are completely satisfied, ātmārāma. But they have got another dissatisfaction, that seeing men like us engaged in sense gratification and working whole day and night like dogs and pigs, so they are very much anxious, ‘How to stop this foolish person from this unnecessary trouble?’ Ṛṣabhādeva has instructed us in the beginning, ‘Don’t spoil your life working so hard like hogs and dogs. No, this is not good.’ Na sādhu manye. ‘This is not good.’ ” 

Again he observed the unfortunate state of modern society: how citizens are exhorted by billboards and advertisements to “ ‘Work hard. Work hard.’ And the people have come to the stage of pulling thela [handcarts] and rickshaw, and still, they have to work hard! This is the position. Because they do not know how to become ātmārāma. That is the difficulty. 

“So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to teach people how to become ātmārāma.” 

By engagement in bhakti-yoga one automatically gains atmātattva jñāna, and that means surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. As Vāsudeva, Prabhupāda said, He is everywhere, inviting us ‘madāśrayaḥ,’ to take shelter of Him.  But, he continued, “It is not possible to take shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa directly. That is not possible. You have to take shelter of a person who has already taken shelter of the lotus feet . . . That is madāśrayaḥ.” 

When one becomes ātmārāma, Prabhupāda told us, then one’s karmaphala is finished; there is no more material reaction as there is with the materialist. “The devotee may be observed that he’s also engaged in ordinary work. He’s also printing books and selling them and maintaining maṭhas and temples. ‘So he is also doing business.’ [But] that is not business; that is bhakti. Sometimes bhakti appears to be like ordinary karma, but it is not karma. It is karma in this way, that the same pea, it looks like a pea, but if you sow it, it will not produce anymore.”  

Quoting Brahmasaṁhitā, Prabhupāda declared that everyone, from the lowest to the highest, is bound up by the laws of karma. “But a bhakta is not bound up. How he can be bound up? Because as soon as he surrenders to Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa gives him assurance, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarvapāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi; immediately finish . . . So we can become immediately liberated. Liberated means he who has no karmabandhana, no resultant action. That is liberation.”  

By appearance, Prabhupāda told us, it may seem that the non-devotee and the devotee are getting the same result. “People may say, ‘A karmī is dying, and bhakta is dying. What is benefit?’ No. He’s not dying, but he is dying or giving up this body for living forever. And the non-devotee, he is dying to accept another body. That is the difference.” 

The key to liberation is to give up the dictation of the mind and the senses. “The senses are not yours, because this body is given by Kṛṣṇa through the agency of māyā. You wanted this thing. Īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. He knows what you are wanting because He is constantly seeing you. He is sitting within your heart. He knows what I am desiring, and He is asking māyā, ‘Give him this body.’ So in this way, if we remain entrapped in the laws of material nature, then it is not good. Na sādhu manye yata atmāno yam asann api kleśada āsa dehaḥ [SB 5.5.4]. This practice we should give up. Manodharma. Mental concoction. We should immediately accept Kṛṣṇa’s instruction and be situated in atmādharma. That is ātmārāma.” 

* * * 

Today, thanks largely to the efforts of Dr. Kapoor working in tandem with Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu and Bhagatjī, Prabhupāda hosted a meeting of many of the mahāntas of Vṛndāvana, including several of his Godbrothers, to garner support for the court cases. About thirty-five men came, and for an hour they heard Śrīla Prabhupāda describe the attacks on the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and discussed with him the strategies to counter them. It was a good meeting, and Śrīla Prabhupāda was gratified to see so many favorable allies in ISKCON’s cause. His efforts are meeting with success, and from today’s meeting a local bonus seems likely. The establishment of ISKCON and presence of foreign devotees here in the dhāma have not always  gone smoothly or easily. Indeed, there has often been opposition. But with a common cause—the affirmation of the authenticity of Kṛṣṇa consciousness—some differences are being put aside, and those who may have been passive in their support of ISKCON are now becoming more openly active. One of the results of the meeting is an agreement to try and arrange a public program in Mathura on Sunday to get many thousands of supporting signatures.  

* * * 

Meanwhile, the preaching in America is still going on. As temple presidents of ISKCON New York and the Rādhā Dāmodara TSKP respectively, Ādi Keśava and Dhṛṣṭadyumna Swamis wrote jointly to forward the names of three men for second initiation. Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to accept their recommendations. 

There was also today a report for the month of September from Balavanta prabhu in the southern USA zone. Next to the date he added a note saying, “Report sent late due to work in New York emergency.” He opened with a nice prayer. “Your shelter is as cooling as the autumn moon as it easily provides one shelter from all the dangers of the material world. The only problem is that just as for persons whose bodies are not made of fire, it is impossible to enter into the sun planet, similarly it is difficult for persons as impure as ourselves to remain in your pure association. Still, since even Sivananda Sena’s dog achieved Vaikuntha by His mercy, we are confident that somehow or other, by your compassionate nature we will also get success.” 

Balavanta listed each of the seven temples he oversees and gave a short account of their activities. There is a new epidemic in Atlanta, but unfortunately not the kind he had previously reported. All the devotees there got infected with hepatitis. According to the doctor who treated them, the hepatitis seems to have been carried from India and then spread through the temple prasādam. Immediate steps were taken to check the infection, and devotees were put on a rest regimen and a diet of papaya, starchy foods, and sugar. Balavanta is confident that the hepatitis has not spread beyond the local devotees, there was no bad publicity, and on the upside the doctor bought a BhagavadgītāAs It Is. But saṅkīrtana activities were curtailed. “Ultimately,” he confessed, “I can understand that if everyone were more clean, this would not have happened. I should have trained the devotees more seriously in these matters. I think now everyone understands more of the importance of personal hygiene. All the devotees are now well and the bright spot is that they maintained their spiritual strength very nicely understanding that these difficulties come, but that in any circumstances we must chant Hare Krsna and keep engaged in devotional service.” 

In Gainesville, Prabhupāda was especially glad to hear, book distribution is booming. Devotees are stationed in the Orlando airport, a busy hub for all the tourists traveling to and from Disney World. There are also welcome stations on the main highways, where a single devotee can distribute $150–$200 worth of books per day. Gainesville, Balavanta said, is quickly becoming the top medium temple in book distribution. 

In Miami, where an upcoming council hearing will decide on their zoning, the devotees have been beautifying the temple grounds and gathering support from neighbors, who, Balavanta says, are all favorable. He is confident that the zoning will be approved. 

New Orleans temple has increased book distribution by engaging more brāhmaṇas in Deity worship, thus freeing up the temple president to develop the preaching. They are also adding a reception room and library. 

Due to the closure of a farm in Bridesville, Canada, Balavanta reported, many new devotees have come to live on the Mississippi farm and that this has improved their cow protection program. They are now supplying all the milk for both Mississippi and New Orleans. He included a one-page drawing of a proposed new temple that is very similar in design to Krishna Balaram Mandir except with two floors and only a single dome over the Deities. 

At the Tennessee farm the devotees are getting 250 lbs. of milk a day and last year harvested 6,000 lbs. of wheat, which they intend to increase this year. Winter pastures have been developed so that the cows will have year-round grazing, and there also the devotees are building a new temple, which, he said, will soon be complete. Their main source of income is the distribution of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. 

The only problem spot Balavanta mentioned was in Houston. “We are still pushing hard to open the airport but the city officials are great demons and are trying every tactic to delay things. So, they are powerful and we are doing whatever we can. Still, I am feeling very anxious about this situation as I know that so many more of your books will be distributed as soon as it actually opens. And when that day comes book distribution should be appreciably increased.” 

He also included a letter to Jagadīśa prabhu recommending two new devotees for first initiation and eight for second. 

Prabhupāda enjoyed hearing the report, especially about the book distribution, his life and soul. “I am very glad to hear how the book distribution is increasing more and more. This is our greatest weapon. The more the books are distributed, the more the ignorance of the Age of Kali will be smashed. The world is feeling the weight of this Hare Krishna Movement, especially in your country. We have to increase this book distribution work more and more to firmly establish this Movement, which is the only hope for the suffering living entities.”  

He ended with an approval of the plans for the Mississippi temple and acceptance of the candidates for initiation, telling Balavanta to chant on the new devotees’ beads and have the brāhmaṇas listen to the tape of him (Prabhupāda) chanting the Gāyatrī mantra through their right ears. 

November 24th, 1976

To convey his points in this morning’s great class, Prabhupāda used vivid examples, both from our ācāryas and from his own experience. The topic was controlling the mind and senses. “Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied: My dear King, you have spoken correctly. However, after capturing animals, a cunning hunter does not put faith in them for they might run away. Similarly, those who are advanced in spiritual life do not put faith in the mind. Indeed, they always remain vigilant and watch the mind’s action.” 

Haridāsa Ṭhākura was a muktapuruṣa, perfected soul, but still, Prabhupāda said, he was chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra 300,000 times every day as a vow. Similarly, Raghunātha dāsa Goswami was the son of a very rich man, but he practiced rigid vairāgya whileliving in Rādhākuṇḍa. “Even Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He’s God Himself,” Prabhupāda said, “but still, to teach us, He was observing the regulative principles of a sannyāsī very, very strictly. These things, to teach us.” 

Prabhupāda drew on the activities of the two Haridāsas, one favorable and other unfavorable, to impress upon us how vigilant we must be in our practices. First he cited Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura. “He’s called BrahmaHaridāsa. Sometimes he is called YavanaHaridāsa. Yavana means Muslim or those who are not in the Vedic principles, yavana, mleccha. Just like we have seen some temples, our foreign devotees are not allowed because they have got the rules that mlecchas and yavanas, because they are very unclean, they should not be allowed. But that should not be applicable to the devotees of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, because they have learned how to remain clean, how to follow the [regulations]. At least, they are expected. They promised at the time of initiation, ‘Yes, I shall not do this. I shall not do this.’ So if he’s actually following the rules and regulations, he is no more unclean—simply by chanting. Apavitraḥ pavitro vā sarvāvasthāṁ gato ‘pi vā/ yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ sa bāhyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ [Garuḍa Purāṇa].He becomes [purified]. If we follow our promise. That is gentlemanly. If you have promised something, you must follow it. That is gentlemanly.  

“So because we may fail . . . There is chance; we are prone to fail. But sometimes we forget. Not sometimes—practically always we forget. That is material. So we must follow the rules and regulation very [carefully.] Therefore it is said that viśrambham anavasthānasya śaṭhakirāta iva saṅgacchante. We should not believe our mind, that we have become perfect. By mental dictation we should not be guided. That is a very bad practice, to think ‘I have now become liberated; I don’t require to follow the regulative principles.’ So we must be very careful.” 

Prabhupāda illustrated how vigilant we have to be with the story of the other Haridāsa. “ ‘Because I have become sannyāsī—I have given up my family—therefore I give up also all other regulative principles.’ No. That you cannot. The sannyāsī means they have got also rules and regulation. Caitanya Mahāprabhu very rigidly followed. He did not lie down even on a quilt, only one naked cloth. And no woman should come to offer Him obeisances very near. They must do it from a distant place. He was so strict. One of His personal associates, Haridāsa, Junior Haridāsa, he simply glanced over at a young woman with lusty desire. He immediately rejected him: ‘Ask Haridāsa not to come anymore.’ So He never excused him, very strictly . . . On his behalf, very close devotees like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Rāmānanda Rāya, big, big devotees, Svarūpa Dāmodara and others, requested Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu that ‘He has committed mistake, but he is Your personal servant. Kindly excuse him.’ Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, ‘All right, then you can call him. You live with him. I shall go from here. You live with him; let Me go away.’ He was so strict. Then he committed suicide—‘Now it is hopeless. I cannot come to Caitanya Mahāprabhu.’ He committed suicide. And when this information was given to Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He did not regret. ‘Oh, this man has committed suicide? Yes, it is right.’ He said, ‘Yes, it is right.’ So He was so strict.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda has seen how difficult it is for the souls of this age to practice renunciation. In this year alone he has heard how six of his most senior disciples have fallen from the principles of the renounced order, even while others continue to press him for sannyāsa. “Instead of becoming a false sannyāsī, do not accept sannyāsa. This is the injunction of the śāstra. But for preaching work we have to get the help of some sannyāsī, but we should remember that we are in Kaliyuga. We should not be sentimentally very much anxious—‘Please give me sannyāsa, give me sannyāsa’—and then fall down and go to hell. That is not good. If one is able to strictly follow the sannyāsa rules and regulation, he should take. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa has said that sannyāsa, real sannyāsa, means one who does not take any remuneration for his service to Kṛṣṇa. That is sannyāsa. Anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ sa sannyāsī [Bg. 6.1]. ‘It is my duty. I am eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. To serve Kṛṣṇa is my duty.’ Kāryam: ‘I must do it.’ Actually, that mentality is sannyāsa. It doesn’t matter whether we have changed the dress or not, but if we decide it, that ‘I am eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa; my only duty is to serve Kṛṣṇa,’ that is sannyāsa. So better we should try to stay in this determination than to accept the sannyāsa order by changing the dress and then again we fall down. That is not very good. There are instances like that, but it is not at all good. We should not trust the mind. And even we take, we should be very, very vigilant on the mind.” 

Stressing that a life dedicated to Kṛṣṇa is that of a sādhu, Prabhupāda indicated that mistakes can happen due to past bad habits, but that these can be overlooked if the person sticks to his service. “If he’s actually sādhu, his bad habits will be rectified very soon, very soon, not that he’s continuing his bad habits and also a sādhu. That cannot be. That is not sādhu. Maybe due to his past habits, he might have committed some mistake. That can be excused. But if he in the name of sādhu and become a liberated person, he continues to do all nonsense, he’s a cheater. He’s not sādhu. Api cet sudurācāro. Cet, yadi, if, by chance, it is possible. But if he sticks to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvacchāntiṁ nigacchati [Bg. 9.31]. In the beginning there may be some mistake, but we must see that ‘Whether my mistakes are now correct?’ That should be vigilance. Never trust the mind. That is the instruction here. Mind should not be trusted. My Guru Mahārāja used to say that ‘After getting up from your sleep, you take your shoes and beat your mind hundred times. This is your first business. And while going to bed, you take a broomstick and beat your mind hundred times. Then you can control your mind.’ Otherwise it is very difficult.” 

Prabhupāda is always quick to pick up on practical examples to enhance his philosophical points. Just as he began to quote the first verse of Nectar of Instruction, listing off the things that have to be controlled, a child burst out crying. Prabhupāda paused for the mother to quiet her child, and then he laughed. “This is krandanavegam. They cannot control. Therefore they are child. The child can be excused, but if a person who is in the spiritual life, he cannot control, then hopeless. Then he’s hopeless. This should be controlled: Vacovegam, krodhavegam, udaravegam, upastha vegam [Upadeśāmṛta 1]. But the most important thing is udaravegam and jihvāvegam. Jihvāvegam, it is very controlled. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said that ‘All the senses are there, but out of them, this jihvā is very dangerous.’ Tā’ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudurmati tā’ke jetā kaṭhina saṁsāre [Gītāvalī]. It is very, very difficult to control the tongue.” 

To illustrate his point he cited yet another practical experience from his own travels. “We should not eat meat. So I have seen when on the plane . . . Of course we never go to the hotel or restaurant, but on the plane we see so many European, American friends traveling. They are eating the meat, not very large quantity, very little quantity some of them are eating voraciously—but generally I see . . . But if they give up that little one piece of meat, say, one ounce or two ounce, immediately we can save ourself from so much sinful activities, so many slaughterhouses running on all over the world. If we simply control the tongue. But they cannot. Jihvāvegam. The tongue is dictating, ‘No, meat is very nice. Take it.’ A little. It is not much. He’s not living on meat. There are loaves, there are vegetables. Actually he’s living on that . . . Meat, little quantity. But they take loaf, butter, rice, other things. Without vegetables, without food grains, you cannot live. It is simply for the tongue. Tā’ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudurmati.  He cannot live simply on meat unless he’s an animal exactly. He has to take vegetable, food grains, butter. These are milk products. Otherwise he has no chance to live. But for the tongue’s sake he’s taking little piece of meat, and for that reason, we have to maintain thousands and thousands of slaughterhouses.” 

By this act, Prabhupāda told us, people become implicated in sinful reactions. That means there is no God consciousness. He repeated what had been his main theme in Chandigarh. “Two things are there: one is God, and one is the repetition of birth and death. There is no third way. Either you take God . . . This is a chance; this human form of life is a chance. Either you go back to home, back to Godhead, or go to hell. I think Christians also, they say. Two things are there. And in our śāstra, Kṛṣṇa says, Bhagavadgītā,mām aprāpya nivartante mṛtyusaṁsāra vartmani [Bg. 9.3]. Two things are there. Either go this way or that way. Either go to hell or go to heaven. This is the general, yes. So, if you are serious about going back to home, back to Godhead, we must be educated how to control the senses. Therefore while eating, we are reminded that if you do not take it as prasādam, then eating is sense enjoyment: 

śarīra avidyājāl joḍendriya tāhe kāl 

jīve phele viṣayasāgore 

tā’ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudurmati 

tā’ke jetā kaṭhina saṁsāre 

kṛṣṇa baro doyāmoy koribāre jihvā jay 

swaprasādanna dilo bhāi 

sei prasādānna pāo rādhākṛṣṇaguṇa gāo 

preme ḍāko caitanyanitāi 

[O Lord, this material body is a place of ignorance, and the senses are a network of paths leading to death. Somehow we have fallen into this ocean of material sense enjoyment, and of all the senses the tongue is the most voracious and uncontrollable. It is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world. But You, dear Kṛṣṇa, are very kind to us and have given us such nice prasādam just to control the tongue. Now we take this prasādam to our full satisfaction and glorify You—Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa—and in love call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Nityānanda.] 

“We should be very cautious, always remembering CaitanyaNitāi and practicing the regulative principles, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Then it will be all right.” 

* * *  

The Uher cassette player has broken down again. I got the class this morning, but now it has started acting up again. So I am again forced to use the reel-to-reel, which is a great inconvenience. Quite apart from it being large and heavy and therefore difficult to lug around, keeping track of what is on a tape is also a problem. With cassettes you can simply write the dates on the outer casing along with “Conversation” or “SB Class” to indicate the subject, but with the reels you have many recordings on one tape and have to write the information for each one on the container box rather than on the reel itself, so it’s easy to get confused. And if a reel gets misplaced from its box, it’s a big problem. 

* * *  

Cittahārī dāsa, the temple president in Auckland, arrived today. He is passing through after a trip to America and Europe and will head back to New Zealand in a few days. After Śrīla Prabhupāda replied to him last month telling him that it was up to him how he spent the money he received, he paid off the temple debts and decided to spend the balance on a trip to other temples to broaden his experience. Apart from this, however, he has come with a specific request to Prabhupāda. He met with him this morning to discuss some problems in the South Seas zone. Gurukṛpa Swami has already let it be known to Śrīla Prabhupāda that he doesn’t want to be the GBC in Australia, and Cittahārī now reports that in the absence of a GBC things have become a little splayed there. He said that some of the senior men have begun to argue with one another and that things are deteriorating. They are holding Ratha-yātrā in Melbourne but with only one Ratha (they used to have three), and the usual city route has been denied. Some legal cases have arisen, and they do not feel that anyone there is capable of handling them. Yaśodānandana Swami, who was to have gone there, has now been instructed by Prabhupāda to remain permanently in Vṛndāvana teaching in the gurukula.  

Śrīla Prabhupāda heard Cittahārī out and pondered a solution. He suggested that perhaps Gargamuni Swami, who is due here soon with the new car, might be asked to go there to take charge. 

* * * 

Ādikeśava Swami has sent a detailed report of the New York court case, including in his package copies of favorable testimonies from psychologists, civil rights leaders, and scholars. He said that both Vasu Gopāla dāsa and Mūrtivanya dāsī have been released from their imprisonment. The judge who released Mūrtivanya met with her personally and said that he found her to be serious and intelligent. Still, the demons are continuing to press us and the general publicity is not very good. A poll of the general public found that fifty-five percent thought we were actually brainwashed. The case cost us eight thousand dollars in October alone and will run until March 1977 at least.  

In Chicago, he said, Yanoff and his friends have so far prevented the sale of about two thousand books, at a cost to us of ten thousand dollars in lost income. In the New York courts the judge is deliberately delaying his verdict on our application to legalize the sale of our books in the airports there, thus preventing our saṅkīrtana activity, and in Los Angeles the courts have also delayed their verdicts for another two months. But despite this, Ādikeśava said, book distribution is going on with increasing vigor.  

Rather than being dismayed by these conflicts, Prabhupāda is confident, and the more he hears about our attempts to push on the movement the more enthusiastic he becomes. He offered Mahārāja full assurance of support and confidence of victory. 

“I have studied all the letters and clippings in our support. It is very good. This is very important. By Krsna’s grace, due to this apparent setback, now this Movement will become more prominent. Sometimes these tactics are also employed in military encounters. Temporarily retreating, then coming forward with stronger force than before. You may consult with Tamala Krsna and Ramesvara and whatever expenditure is required for emergency legal costs may be loaned from the BBT. We must spend for this purpose.” 

An update has also arrived, dated November 3rd, from Rāmeśvara Swami. Mahārāja first informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that in Los Angeles a further court case has been initiated, this time by us. Prabhupāda has heard about the kidnapping attempt on Kula-priya dāsī, and Rāmeśvara supplied some details. “Recently in Los Angeles one of our best devotees was kidnaped by professionals hired by her family. There is a ‘counter-cult’ movement which doesn’t recognize the Krsna consciousness movement as a bonafide religion. They make propaganda that we are a false religion that holds its members by mind control or brainwashing, and that we are dangerous because we exploit our devotees, give them too little sleep and food, etc. Unfortunately they distort the truth so viciously that parents become very fearful of us and thus hire these professional ‘deprogrammers’ to kidnap our members and forcefully try to convince them to give up our movement. Anyway, this mata, Kulapriya dasi, finally escaped after 5 days held captive, and we made the press, media, etc. cover the whole event from beginning to end, thus getting very favorable publicity. For one week we monopolized all television and press local news, and we are continuing to keep in the press by going on the offensive and taking the family members and professional kidnapers to court for their crime. 

“In trying to convince the media that we are not a strange cult, but a bonafide religion, we have enlisted the help of the Indian community, scholars, psychologists, and even our parents to speak out for us. I am enclosing a list of quotes from parents of the Los Angeles devotees. These parents express their gratitude to Your Divine Grace for helping their sons and daughters. I am recommending to all GBC and temple presidents that they have each devotee get a testimonial from their parents so we can prove that parents like our movement.” 

Rāmeśvara also had a suggestion for increasing the scholarly support. “Several professors and professionals (eg. Dr. Judah, Dr. Alan Gerson, etc.) have written books which help prove that Krsna consciousness is a bonafide traditional religion. Sometimes they have trouble keeping their books in print. These books are so invaluable for our own propaganda work that we would like to propose that the BBT print a paperback edition of these books which we would always have available for presenting to scholars, politicians, psychologists, media, etc. to help establish our movement. We could print in small quantities and would not use it in our regular book distribution program as they are not written by Your Divine Grace. 

“One of our big problems is that the so-called ‘counter-cult’ movement has gotten some support from well-known psychiatrists, etc. that our movement, our religious disciplines, chanting, etc. are all methods of brain control, brainwashing, etc. These scholarly books written by Dr. Judah, etc. help smash this lying propaganda before its too late. Already these enemies want the US government to try to stop our activities, and they want the courts to give permission to any parent who doesn’t like our movement to remove their son or daughter by force!” 

Expressing his confidence that these demons would utterly fail, Rāmeśvara Mahārāja then detailed book-distribution plans for the next two months, the biggest of the year. “Our goal is to distribute at least 400,000 hardbound books in November and December, or almost 6,700 books sold per day (average)! We have just announced our 4th Annual BBT Christmas sale, and if everything goes according to our projection we will be ordering one million hardbound Bhagavad-gitas to be reprinted in early 1977!” 

Having delivered his news, he ended with a request that Jagadīśa prabhu send a newsletter about Śrīla Prabhupāda’s latest preaching exploits, about which they are always anxious to hear. 

Śrīla Prabhupāda is highly gratified with his senior men’s attempts to fight for the establishment of his movement and gain endorsements from leading citizens. “It is good that you are engaging so many people to speak on behalf of Krishna. I did not receive, however, the list of quotes from parents of the Los Angeles devotees that you say was enclosed.” 

He was interested in the idea of the BBT printing the scholars’ books, but with a stipulation. “We can print the books written by Dr. Judah, Dr. Gerson, etc., only if they will agree not to charge royalties. If they want royalties, then we shall not print.” 

Rāmeśvara’s spirit and enthusiasm satisfied Prabhupāda fully, and he reciprocated with equal sentiment. “Yes, these attempts to stop our Movement will completely fail. It is Krishna’s plan for us to become more prominent. In Bengal the press tried to defame our Bhavananda Maharaja, but now he has become a great hero. He signed 20,000 autographs on one holiday. Go on increasing the book distribution more and more. That is the key to our success.” 

And Prabhupāda was happy to receive the photos of Their Lordships of Los Angeles. “Thank you very much for the pictures of Rukmini Dvarakadhisa. They are very nice.” 

Prabhupāda also received today several advance copies of the December issue of Back to Godhead Volume 11, No. 12, which he enjoyed reading after lunch. As always, he inspected it thoroughly and with great interest read from start to finish the interview between himself and Mike Robinson, the young reporter from the London Broadcasting Company, conducted on July 27th at Bhaktivedanta Manor. He was exceptionally pleased with it and called Jagadīśa prabhu into his room and dictated a postscript to his reply to Rāmeśvara. “Today I have received the December issue of Back To Godhead. The interview with the London reporter is very important. This should be presented in the courts. It is 95% of the evidence we require to prove that Krishna Consciousness is genuine. This is not a sentimental faith or religion, it is a great science. Everyone is changing bodies. Regardless of his socalled faith, the Christians as well as the Hindus are changing bodies. This is science. There is a Bengali story. A deaf man used to call his wife. She would reply, ‘I’m coming!’’ But, he couldn’t hear her. He would think, ‘The woman’s deaf.’ Actually he was deaf but he accused her of being deaf. Similarly these people are brainwashed and they are accusing us of being brainwashed. We have the real science. This should be preached and proven in the courts. Use this article as evidence and with a good lawyer prove that Krishna Consciousness is the real science and that all others are brainwashed.” 

Girirāja prabhu has written with an invitation for Śrīla Prabhupāda to attend a three-day festival at Hare Krishna Land in December. He said that they have been holding Hare Krishna festivals every second month and that thousands attend. He could arrange one either before or after Śrīla Prabhupāda goes to Wardha for the Gita Pratisthan meeting. The mayor of Bombay is eager to be the chief guest if Prabhupāda attends.  

Prabhupāda immediately agreed and advised Girirāja to set the dates for whenever it is convenient for the mayor.  

On other matters, Girirāja mentioned that a brochure to be used in fundraising for the proposed gurukula is now at the printer and that some important men who have promised their help are also eager to meet Śrīla Prabhupāda when he goes there.  

When Prabhupāda purchased Hare Krishna Land six two-story blocks of occupied apartments were already established. So Prabhupāda first built an extra floor on each building. And as each tenant’s lease runs out, he has them vacate and our men take possession. Girirāja’s letter informed him of more developments in this respect. “The Committee of Housing Societies of the Juhu Scheme have reconfirmed giving us a rear access and their lawyers are drafting an official agreement in that connection. The actual work should begin very shortly. In addition, we sent legal notices to three tenants, one of whom has been obliged to vacate already and another has promised to leave in a month or two.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda was happy to hear about both the new access and the assumption of the flats. “That’s very nice that we are now getting rear access to our land. That means that more visitors will come. 

“About our tenants; most of them are employed. So, there is good chance of their vacating when they are transferred. You should be very vigilant to see that they do not transfer occupancy to someone else and cause unnecessary harassment. Similarly, when someone purchases an apartment he is liable to vacate. So whenever possible we should take possession of the apartment so we may utilize them for our purposes.” 

There was also a welcome letter from Rādhāballabha prabhu in Los Angeles informing Prabhupāda of progress on the philosophy book. Prabhupāda was happy but picked up on a mistake in the title. “I am on due receipt of your letter dated November 15, 1976 regarding the Dialectical Spiritualism book. However, you have called it Spiritual Dialecticism. It should be Dialectical Spiritualism.” 

* * *  

Prabhupāda hosted a brief management meeting today after his afternoon nap. The management is always a headache here in Vṛndāvana, but the delegation of Indian devotees complaining to him the other day has disturbed his mind even further. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu was in Bombay at the time, but when he returned, Prabhupāda wasted no time in calling him, Akṣayānanda Swami, Mahāvīra, Sarva Bhāvana, and several other department heads to his room in an effort to solve the disturbance. 

As he waited for his men to gather, Prabhupāda chatted briefly with Mahāvīra prabhu. He was talking about the similarities of the words “Christo” and “Kṛṣṇa.” Mahāvīra informed him that “Christo” is also the Spanish and Portuguese word for Christ. 

“Christ,” Prabhupāda acknowledged. “Just see. So write article on this. Wherefrom this ‘Christo’ came. The Greek word. And the Greek got from India, ‘Kṛṣṇa.’ This is the history. ‘Christian’ means ‘Krishnian,’ godly. And ‘Christo,’ so far I know, the Greek meaning is ‘decorated,’ ‘love.’ That indicates to Kṛṣṇa. If there is some scholar, he can find out that ‘Christian’ means ‘Krishnian’ originally.” 

Prabhupāda had the new BTG spread before him on his desk. He is highly pleased with the Mike Robinson interview and as we waited for the meeting to begin read out a portion that particularly delighted him. Robinson had asked how the process of transmigration worked, and Prabhupāda read out his own reply: “The process is very subtle. The spirit soul is invisible to our material eye. It is atomic in size. After the destruction of the gross body, which is made up of the senses, blood, bone, fat, and so forth, the subtle body of mind, intelligence, and ego goes on working. So at the time of death this subtle body carries the small spirit soul to another gross body. The process is just like air carrying a fragrance. Nobody can see where this rose fragrance is coming from, but we know that it is being carried by the air. You cannot see how, but it is being done. Similarly, the process of transmigration of the soul is very subtle. According to the conditions of the mind at the time of death the minute spirit soul enters in the womb of particular mother through the semina of the father. And when the soul develops a particular type of body given by the mother it may be a human being, it may be cat, a dog, or anything.” 

Prabhupāda sat back and smiled. “So it is brainwash?” he grinned.  

Devotees began to file in, among them Mr. Saxena, the retired school inspector who had turned up late in the evening on the 14th. He has moved into the aśrama, and Śrīla Prabhupāda wants to engage him in the school. He suggested to Mr. Saxena that he could teach the boys Sanskrit, along with Prem Yogi. Although Mr. Saxena has no formal knowledge in Sanskrit, Prabhupāda assured him that it would not be difficult. “Anyone who knows Hindi, he knows half Sanskrit. Any Indian language, he knows half Sanskrit already. Half has to be completed. Because Indian language is directly from Sanskrit.”  

Prabhupāda then turned his attention to the meeting and instructed Akṣayānanda Mahārāja to make a list of each person and his particular duty. 

While he waited for this to be completed he returned the BTG for a moment, telling us that this issue “will help 99% about this controversy, brainwashing.” 

Then, with the small group before him, Prabhupāda delved into the issues . . . or at least tried to. He asked Sarva Bhāvana, “So what is the difficulty? The other day you complained some difficulty. So what is the difficulty?” 

On this occasion, however, Sarva Bhāvana proved reticent. In front of Akṣayānanda and Gopāla Kṛṣṇa he was reluctant to complain in the same way he had previously. “Nothing. Nothing excepting my jaundice.” 

Prabhupāda probed him again. “So what is the difficulty in discharging your duty? Now you cannot say? What is that? All of you said there is difficulty.” 

Several times he asked, but could not draw a direct response from either Sarva Bhāvana or any of the others. It seemed there was no real substance to their complaints.  

But Prabhupāda continued to press. He didn’t want the matter unresolved. “So what is that difficulty? What is your difficulty? That I must know.” 

Tentatively, Sarva Bhāvana touched on the source of their grievance. “If some of the boys were to get along with the authorities . . . ” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda nodded. “So that I want . . . You can discuss with authorities here. Our first authority is Akṣayānanda. So what is the difficulty you get along with? What is the difficulty? You must discuss. Otherwise how it can be resolved?” 

“Personally consulting me, I have had no difficulty so far,” Sarva Bhāvana told him, “but there have been other . . . ” 

Prabhupāda was a bit frustrated, but his patience held. Turning to the other devotees, he addressed himself to the devotee in charge of the guesthouse reception. “Who had difficulty? You came, so many. What is your difficulty? So what is your difficulty with the authority?” 

This devotee also had little to say, simply that some problems were there with some of the hired staff, but on a little further discussion he agreed that the managers were already working on resolving it. 

Prabhupāda frowned. They had all come previously, requesting that Indians be given more say in the management and suggesting that there had been some discrimination against them. But in group discussion with the managers, they could not bring out anything tangible to substantiate their feelings. “So what is the difficulty, I do not find out. You told him and that is already done. And you also said there is no difficulty, so why the other day you all came and there was difficulty?” 

Sarva Bhāvana finally told him that although he personally didn’t have any difficulty, he had been approached by others who had worked more closely with Akṣayānanda Mahārāja and thus had been speaking on their behalf. 

“So all Indians are here,” Prabhupāda noted. “Now say what is the difficulty.” 

“Well, some things like changing of our duties, changing of our services,” Sarva Bhāvana told him. 

That struck a chord with Prabhupāda. “So why you change? Constantly . . . ” 

“Well, [the managers] are wanting change, Prabhupāda. And [the devotees] were not satisfied with that change, and they wanted to remain in that particular service.” 

Prabhupāda glanced over to Akṣayānanda. The tendency of Westerners in general, and of his managers in particular, to change things unnecessarily has been one of his recurrent complaints, and it has been an issue several times here in Vṛndāvana. Without waiting for Mahārāja to respond to Sarva Bhāvana, Prabhupāda, with measured patience, instructed him yet again in one of his basic managerial principles. “Change is no rectification. If somebody is not working he should be trained up. Changing is another . . . If he is a fool, another fool will come. What will be the good? You see? Change, of course, is sometimes required, but if you constantly change, the man is not trained up. That practice is not good. If somebody is not doing satisfactorily, then he should be trained up that ‘You should like this.’ And if you immediately change to another, that is not actually solution, because all our workers, they are not accustomed to certain types of duty. They are devotee, after all. So still, we have to do something, so one man requires little training. But whatever capacity he has got, he is posted, so immediate change, that is not very good management. Let him be reformed, and whatever inability he has got, he should be instructed and he should be . . .  And this, all of a sudden change, simply go on changing, nobody . . . ‘Rolling stone never gathers moss.’ A ‘rolling stone’ policy is not good. Keep the stone in a place and it will gather moss. If you simply roll, it will never gather moss. The man who has committed mistake, he should be reformed. He should be instructed. Sometimes I show your cleaners by myself, ‘Do like this.’ . . . Change them, immediate change, that is not good management; and to make him competent in that way, that is management. So this policy should be followed, not that because he has done something not correctly he should be changed immediately. That will not help. Now discuss this point.” 

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa was a bit embarrassed that Prabhupāda was drawn into the whole affair. “Actually we can solve it ourselves. I don’t know why they came to you in the first place, because our whole business is to relieve you of all problems.” 

Prabhupāda agreed, “Yes.”  

Nor did Gopāla agree with the sentiments expressed by some of his fellow Indian devotees. “We should not think that if we are Indians we can have a special access to you.” 

Prabhupāda nodded in approval. What he wants is that his men learn how to manage between themselves nicely, without conflict and on their own initiative. “So do, do. So go and settle up.” 

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa turned to the other devotees. “We can settle it ourselves instead of bringing it to Prabhupāda.” And both Akṣayānanda and Mahāvīra expressed their support that there was not so much that it couldn’t be solved on their own.  

Nobody wanted to disturb Śrīla Prabhupāda, and he appreciated that. But still, before allowing them to leave, he felt the need to stress the proper mood by which these misunderstandings could be avoided. There was little substance to the complaints, but the feelings manifest had potential. He knows that party spirit is easily aroused when there is a lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and his comment to the Indian boys previously—that their sentiments of feeling racially discriminated against were not feelings of bhakti—was telling. So he concluded this second meeting by accentuating the positive, giving them all a reminder of the Kṛṣṇa conscious way of overcoming differences. “No, it is Kṛṣṇa’s service. Everyone is offering voluntary service. Not that anybody’s paid and if he cannot, dismiss or . . . Train him. If he does not know, train him. But things must be done very nicely by cooperation. That is wanted.  

“Everyone should remember that we are serving Kṛṣṇa, and everyone should remember, ‘The other person is serving Kṛṣṇa. And because he is serving Kṛṣṇa, he is not my servant; he is my master.’ That should be always in view. Therefore we address, prabhu: ‘You are my master.’ We never address, ‘You are my servant.’ We are trained up to say . . . ‘prabhu,’ ‘such and such prabhu.’ ‘Prabhu’ means master. Nobody should think himself that he is master. He should always think that everyone is his master because he’s serving the master. This is our philosophy. So in this way. Now you have got good arrangement and they’re all intelligent persons, young persons.” 

Akṣayānanda agreed with a smile. “All good people are here.” 

“So kindly settle up and do nice things,” Prabhupāda told him. “That I want to see, that’s all.” Indicating his GBC, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu, he said, “He is also present. At that time he was not present. So go and [work it out.]” 

As they all offered their obeisances, Prabhupāda put in a final plea. “You should always remember that you are helping me. Without your help I cannot do anything, so you do not be disturbed. Try to help me. That is my request. Thank you very much.” 


November 25th, 1976

In this morning’s class, on ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 5.6.3, Śrīla Prabhupāda highlighted what he sees as a growing problem in ISKCON. Viewing behavior as a subsequence of our state of mind, he spoke with concern about a slackening of the standards he has set for us to maintain our spiritual strength, pointing particularly to one area of dissatisfaction. 

Pradyumna read out the verse: “All the learned scholars have given their opinion. The mind is by nature very restless, and one should not make friends with it. If we place full confidence in the mind, it may cheat us at any moment. Even Lord Śiva became agitated upon seeing the Mohinī form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Saubhari Muni also fell down from the mature stage of yogic perfection.” 

Prabhupāda explained the requirement for controlling the mind. “This is Vedic system. If you want to bring somebody under your control, then you must always chastise him; otherwise it is impossible. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, [on] moral instruction, he also says, lālane bahavo doṣās tāḍane bahavo guṇāḥ: ‘If you pat your subordinate, then it will increase the faulty habits.’ Bahavo doṣaḥ. And tāḍane bahavo guṇāḥ: ‘And if you chastise, then they will improve.’ Tasmāt śiṣyaṁ ca chatraṁ ca tāḍayen na tu lālayet. Therefore it is advised, ‘Either your son or disciple, you should always chastise them. Never give them lenience.’ So, little leniency, immediately so many faults will grow.”  

Without any stridency in his tone, he raised his topic of concern. “Now for our practical life we are known all over the world as shavenheaded. Is it not? Now we are becoming hairheaded. We are forgetting shaving because there is a little leniency. Immediately faulty things are creeping in. So we should be known as shavenheaded, not longhairheaded. This is discrepancy. At least once in a month you must be clearly shavenheaded. In the bright fortnight on the day of pūrṇimā, four days after ekādaśī, once in a month in the bright fortnight, you must be shaved.” 

Having declared as a principle that no leniency should be shown to a subordinate, Prabhupāda nevertheless tempered his statement, qualifying its application with a further quote. “It is not desirable that in grownup ages also you should be chastised. That is not desirable. That is also difficult, because when the disciple or the son is grown up, if he is chastised, then he breaks. So before being chastised, we should be conscious that ‘This is our rules and regulation. We must observe.’ Therefore it is advised by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, prāpte tu ṣoḍaśe varṣe putraṁ mitravad ācaret: ‘After sixteenth year of the disciple or the son, he should be treated as friend.’ Because if you chastise when he’s grownup, then he’ll break up. That is also another risk.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda is ever sensitive to the fact that his followers have come to him voluntarily and from a cultural background that does not lend itself well to the concept of submissive service. He is always deeply appreciative of the sacrifices his disciples make on his and Kṛṣṇa’s behalf, and I have on occasion even heard him apologise for having to order and criticize us, telling us that he does so only out of duty as our guru in order to help us advance. In the same humble mood of a well-wishing spiritual mentor, he continued, “Our request is that—instead of chastising—with folded hands I request you, don’t become hippies again by growing hair. Keep your head cleansed at least once in a month. That is my request. Neither I can chastise you. I am also old man; you are young men.” 

He explained that control of the mind is essential because the mind is the cause of our material existence. “Why we are in this material world? On account of this change of mind. Our position is jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108109]. We are eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, but sometimes the servant thinks, ‘Why shall I remain a servant? Let me become master.’ That is natural. A master is always in comfortable situation. Sometimes the servant becomes envious: ‘Oh, why this man should always remain in comfortable position and we shall serve? Why not we become also in comfortable position? Let me eat as he eats,’ or ‘Let me sleep now.’ These are socalled comforts. So they want to imitate. When the living being imitates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he falls down. Kṛṣṇa bhuliyā jīva bhoga vāñchā kare, pasate māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare [Prema-vivarta]. As soon as he forgets his position—he wants to imitate—that is the beginning of māyā, falldown. You should be very careful.” 

Therefore, he said, good training is required. Brahmacārī life is advised so that one learns how to do everything for the benefit of the guru and not one’s own desires. Learning how to control the senses and the mind is the beginning of brahminical life. “Brāhmaṇa means one who knows the Supreme, Supreme Brahman, Parambrahman. So if you understand Kṛṣṇa, then immediately you are liberated.” 

By following the rules and regulations of brahminical life strictly, the brahmabhūtaḥ stage is practically attained; otherwise it is simply a formality. “And how do I know that he has become brahmabhūtaḥ? Prasannātmā—no more moroseness, always jolly in any condition of life. Not that ‘For want of this, one is suffering.’ There is no want. That mentality, that attitude, should be increased. And when it is fully increased, then he’s fully satisfied, ātmārāma.” 

At present, Prabhupāda said, we are not ātmārāma. We are simply struggling, and this is due to our contact with the three modes of nature. He described how we can find symptoms of the action of the modes everywhere and gave an example from his own experience. “Practically we can see a richer class, a middle class, and a poorer class. That is always existing. I thought before going to your country, USA, I thought that ‘The Americans, they are all rich.’ That’s a fact. I don’t say that you are poor. You are rich in comparison to India. But still, when I saw that on the Bowery Street so many drunkards are lying down on the footpath, then I thought, ‘Here is also third class.’ So either by drinking they are lying on footpath, or by becoming hippies they are lying in the park, and the police are kicking on their face. That means that three classes are always there—either you go to America or hell or heaven, anywhere—because there are three guṇas: sattvaguṇa, rajoguṇa, tamoguṇa. Prakṛtijān guṇān [Bg. 13.22]. You cannot escape it. There is no question of becoming poor. In the Western countries the government arrangement is so nice. And still, voluntarily they will become poor. That is hippies. Because nature is working. Most of these hippies, they are coming from very respectable family, rich family. I have seen. In Beverly Hills when I was walking in the morning I saw nice boy, there is car, he is coming from a very nice house, but he’s a hippie. I have seen it.” 

He gave a little laugh and went on. “Why he has become hippie? Prakṛtijān guṇān. He might have taken his birth in a very rich family, respectable family. Because the mode of nature is working, voluntarily he has become hippie. This is going on all over the world. Therefore we have to come to the platform of sattvaguṇa, brāhmaṇa platform.” 

By one kind of endeavor we can gradually come to the brāhmaṇa platform, he said. “But if we take bhaktiyogam, immediately you come on the brāhmaṇa platform.”  

He quoted SB 6.1.15, how the execution of devotional service destroys all sins, just as the rising sun dissipates the fog. “Otherwise it is very difficult to drive away the fog. I have seen it also. In the midocean immediately there is fog, and the ship immediately stops because there is danger of collision with other ship. At least the ship in which I was going to your country, Jaladuta, so the captain, Mr. Pandia, he immediately used to stop in the midocean and giving horn, ‘Gaw, gaw,’ like that. So that was danger, very dangerous. When the sea is rough there is no fog. And as soon as the sea is not rough there is fog. So whether you will go this way or that way, there is misery. Therefore this world is called duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15]. You subdue something and another problem is there.”  

In a place made for misery, he told us, only the rascals try to make adjustments for peace by material arrangements. “They are mūḍha. It is not possible. Kṛṣṇa has made it suffering. How you can become happy here? But these rascals will not understand. Within the suffering they will try to become happy. That is not possible. The toilet room he wants to make a Deity room. How it is possible? That is not possible.” 

Therefore we should be careful not to make a friendship with our restless mind. Rather, it should be beaten with shoes and a broomstick and kept under control. Or we can take the alternative, kevalayā bhaktyā, allowing Kṛṣṇa to do it. Prabhupāda brought to our attention to the wonderful facility he has provided for achieving this. “If you can engage your mind at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, then it is possible. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇapadāravindayoḥ [SB 9.4.18]. Then Kṛṣṇa will control. Kṛṣṇa means light. Darkness—you are suffering in the darkness. So somehow or other, if you bring a light, there is no darkness. Kṛṣṇasūryasama māyā haya andhakāra/ yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra [Cc. Madhya 22.31]. Keep always within your mind Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. You can see Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, Deity, Baladeva, Balarāma, how He is nicely standing. You can see the nice lotus feet. Don’t try to see the face all of a sudden. Try, practice to see the lotus feet constantly. This is a chance. This temple means to practice how to think of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, Balarāma’s lotus feet, always. Manmanā bhava madbhaktaḥ. Immediately you become bhakta. And as soon as you become a bhakta, kecit kevalayā bhaktyā vāsudeva parāyaṇāḥ, dhunvanti aghaṁ kṛtsnam [SB 6.1.15]: all kinds of disturbances will be subsided, dhunvanti. Nīhāram iva bhāskaraḥ. This is the śāstra injunction.” 

Having directed our minds through the process of bhakti to the transcendental beauty of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Prabhupāda painted a stark contrast to other systems of so-called yoga now popular. In Kali-yūga, he said, it is impossible to control the mind by meditation. “Yogis’ meditation means to see Viṣṇu mūrti. That is wanted. But they are impersonalists: ‘Viṣṇu is māyā. Why shall I think of Viṣṇu? Let me see some light.’ What is that nonsense light? That is also māyā. So what is the wrong there? Instead of seeing the light if you see the Viṣṇu form? ‘No, the light is good. Oṁ is good.’ But when there is question of personal meditation, they protest. 

“Therefore, tadvijñānarthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12]. In order to learn everything very clearly, he must have the shelter of a bona fide guru. Ādau gurvāśrayam. If we want release from all this disturbance of the material world, then the first and foremost thing is ādau gurvāśrayam.” 

In conclusion, he called our attention back to the example in the verse, a salutary warning that no matter who we may be, we can always be victimized if we don’t follow the advice of our superiors. “Never trust your mind. Always distrust. In any moment it, the mind, can drag you. The example is given here: yadviśrambhāc cirāc cīrṇaṁ caskanda tapa aiśvaram. Even Lord Śiva—he is called Mahādeva; not only deva, but Mahādeva—he became captivated by seeing the young woman’s incarnation, Mohinīmūrti, became so much captivated. The description is there in the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam. But as soon as the Mohinīmūrti demonstrated the features of the breast, immediately Lord Śiva became so mad that he forcibly went there and embraced, and there was discharge. Lord Śiva. And what to speak of us? What we are?” He laughed at the thought of such a comparison. “Lord Śiva is all right, but by their example they are teaching us that ‘A personality like me becomes victimized by this māyā’s influence. What you are?’ Why you should trust and make friendship with your mind, that ‘I am now complete,’ artificially? Don’t do that. Therefore it is warned, na kuryāt karhicit. Never trust your mind; always try to control. And the easiest method recommended in the śāstra and confirmed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma iva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā” [Cc. Ādi 17.21]. 

The devotees all chanted the śloka along with Prabhupāda, and with that he brought another wonderful class to an end. When Prabhupāda speaks, everything becomes clear. 

* * * 

As is usual when Prabhupāda returned to his rooms after class, he was followed in by his senior managers. Relaxing for a few minutes before breakfast, he repeated what had he said in class, that all the men should shave their heads at least once a month. It is clearly a topic of concern for him. Akṣayānanda Mahārāja agreed and said that actually the devotees shave every two weeks because any growth after that starts looking a little dirty. That is generally true here in India, but one of the rationales for growing hair, at least in the West, is the trend among the book distributors to dress in Western clothes to facilitate their sales. Although Prabhupāda isn’t against any tactic that will increase book distribution, he doesn’t want the devotees to compromise their spiritual standards. I suggested that they could get good wigs. 

“No, no, there is no need,” Prabhupāda said. “That is also mental concoction. Nowadays, if you go with coatpant, shaven headed, nobody will criticize you. It has become a practice. Russians, they used . . . That Krushchev I have seen. Bald head.” 

He told us that it is only a matter of practice only, that by doing it, people will eventually accept it as normal. 

Akṣayānanda Mahārāja agreed. “No, it’s nice. We shouldn’t be afraid to do that. Then it will become more and more accepted.” 

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa prabhu found Prabhupāda’s broaching of the matter to be timely. He feels that there is a trend. “Once we start diverting, like on these records, I was thinking, after you told me not to do it. We started. Now there’s so many. Everyone’s into records. Everyone wants to diversify into so many other areas. There’s no end to it.” 

The mention of music record sales prompted Jagadīśa prabhu to ask Śrīla Prabhupāda about an item in the latest BBT newsletter. “Śrīla Prabhupāda, when you were in Los Angeles you heard that new record by Kṛṣṇakānti.” 

Prabhupāda looked inquiringly, and I told him that Jagadīśa was referring to the new Western-style Change Of Heart album he just received. 

Jagadīśa went on. “Apparently in a new BBT newsletter which just came yesterday afternoon there’s a statement by Rāmeśvara that you were asked whether this record should be played in the temples and you said, ‘Why not in the temples?’ Hariśauri thought that you said ‘not in the temples.’ ” 

In his eagerness to promote the album, Rāmeśvara has featured this comment of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quite prominently in his newsletter. In fact, claiming Prabhupāda’s endorsement is his main selling point to the temples. It disturbed me when I saw it, because I thought Śrīla Prabhupāda had said just the opposite, and so Jagadīśa took the opportunity to clarify what Prabhupāda really wants.  

Prabhupāda didn’t immediately object to the idea, but neither did he support it. He was thoughtful and not clearly decided. “No, no. ‘Not in the temple’ . . . I want . . .  If the wordings are all right, so there is no . . . If there is no mistake in the setup of the wording, the change of musical tune, that is not harmful.” 

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa started to say that he had heard the tape in Bombay after Alex gave him one, but Prabhupāda cut in, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, this vibration, you can make in different tune. We are already doing that.” 

But it wasn’t the tune so much that concerned us. “We’re talking about these songs that they are writing,” I said. 

“Philosophy songs,” Jagadīśa added. 

“Therefore we have to see the words,” Prabhupāda said. 

Jagadīśa got to the point. “If the words are all right, then they can be played in the temple?” 

None of us were very much in favor, and we expressed our doubts. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa told Prabhupāda, “No one can hear the words. It’s the pop music that people hear.” 

And Akṣayānanda Mahārāja added, “Actually, the words are just like modern pop songs. You can’t tell really what it means. I suggested to those people. I said, ‘Why don’t you put music to Prabhupāda’s books? Take the words straight from your . . . ” 

I wasn’t fully in agreement with Mahārāja, but neither was I in support of Rāmeśvara Swami’s attempt to introduce the new music into the temples. “No, Prabhupāda’s approved this method for attracting karmīs. But the thing is once you become a devotee, we don’t need . . . ” 

Prabhupāda agreed: “Yes.” 

Akṣayānanda, who was a well-known musician in New Zealand prior to becoming a devotee, said that he didn’t think it was for the devotees and told Prabhupāda, “That kind of music also reminds us of past bad activities, sinful activities.” 

“The question is,” I asked, “whether should it be played in the temple or not?” 

Prabhupāda was inclined against it. “Temple may not be played. What is use of playing in the temple?” 

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa also didn’t think it useful. “I know from practical experience, Śrīla Prabhupāda. I just played this record. It’s all current pop music with English philosophy wording. And all the brahmacārīs were so agitated. They came to my room to listen and they were, you know, really making fun of it like it was a pop . . . ” 

“Therefore I said it is better not to make these records,” Prabhupāda said, his concern beginning to show. 

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa said that he felt we should have only Prabhupāda’s recordings, or those he called “paramparā records.” 

Personally, I am not against the genre. It has its uses, and I understand the mood of the devotees in producing these kinds of tapes. My concern, which I expressed, is the use of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s name to endorse the playing of them in the temples. “This style that they are doing now, they explain that they wanted that because then that way, they’ll be able get them played on the radio. Otherwise they won’t play bhajanas or anything on the radio. But there’s a distinction between that kind of music and pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness music. Even though the words indicate Kṛṣṇa consciousness, most of the songs are written in such a way that it’s indirect. It’s not directly Kṛṣṇa.” 

Prabhupāda nodded in agreement. “Yes, indirect.” 

“They give this thing: ‘The caterpillar changed his mind,’ like that. It provokes some speculation,” I said. 

“No; indirect for gross outsiders, not for us,” Prabhupāda said, coming to a decision. “Therefore they should not be played in the temple. Gross outsider only.” 

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda had another meeting with the local Vṛndāvana dignitaries, and they talked at length about how to support our movement. Gopāla Kṛṣṇa has been busy in Bombay garnering letters of support from the leaders of Bombay society. He has a letter from the ex-mayor and is working on the draft of a letter that he hopes many Members of Parliament will sign, including the prime minister, Indira Gandhi. Three MPs have already given good letters, and he is confident of across-the-board support for ISKCON as a genuine representative of Indian culture and religion. 

There have been some disappointments, however. Ill feelings towards ISKCON, and Śrīla Prabhupāda personally, are evidently still being maintained by certain leading members of the Vallabhācārya sect following the publication of an article called “What is Guru?” in Back To Godhead Volume 10, No. 8, in which Prabhupāda mentions the friendly chastisement of Vallabha Bhaṭṭa by Lord Caitanya. When the magazine was circulated some of the sect’s leaders saw it and took great offense. Since then they have campaigned among those followers of Vallabhācārya who are our life members that they send in their membership cards and renounce their connection. Śrīla Prabhupāda has already replied to a letter of complaint from Sumati Morarji in August, citing evidence from Caitanyacaritāmṛta to support his statements about the relationship between Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrī Vallabhācārya. Now Gopāla Kṛṣṇa reported that after we sent letters to their leading pūjārīs requesting support, some sent back nasty replies rather than helping us. They are heavily criticizing Prabhupāda personally, and they continue to propagandize against us rather than uniting to fight a common enemy.  

Gopāla handed Śrīla Prabhupāda a letter from Girirāja prabhu concerning this on-going agitation. Girirāja wrote: “In response to the attacks on us in the USA, Shri Sadajivatlal has forwarded some letters by me to various religious leaders of India for their support. One such letter was sent to Shri Govindalalji Maharaj of Nathdwara, the present head of the Vallabhiya Pushtimargiya Sampradaya. A copy of his reply is enclosed. Since Govindalalji has raised certain technical points beyond my experience I am forwarding the same to you. Shyam Goswami in Bombay sent us a very nasty reply which I shall be responding to myself.” 

Gopāla told us that the letter Girirāja enclosed was mild compared to others they have received; the one by Shyam Goswami was so personally blasphemous to Śrīla Prabhupāda that they dared not read it to him. 

Prabhupāda listened carefully to the letter, which was actually from B. B. Lal Bhatnagar, secretary to His Holiness Goswami Tilkayat Shri Govindalalji Maharaj. Referring to the article in BTG the letter said, “Maharajshri has been pained to note the highly disparaging remarks . . .  Maharajashri had noted such disparaging remarks in the book ‘Chaitanya Charitamrat’ which obviously had been made by the author thereof with a view to boost up the personality of Shri Chaitanya without even looking at Shrimad Vallabhacharyaji’s Commentary called ‘Subodhini’ on the ‘Bhagwat’ which itself has considered all previous commentaries including the one by Shridhar Swami, and has shown specifically the nature of the error committed by the previous Commentators including Shridhar Swami. As you know, Shridhar Swami, thought profoundly learned, only bore the name of Swami and was never regarded as a Master or Lord by the successive Commentators, and not the least by Shrimad Vallabhacharyaji Maharaj. 

“Shri A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has done great injustice to the Pushtimargiya Vallabhiya Sampradaya by recklessly insulting the founder, instead of delving deeper into the matter to study ‘Subodhini’ itself and making amends for the errors committed in the past by the author of ‘Chaitanya Charitamrat’. ‘Subodhini’ completely belies the incident reported in Chaitanya Charitamrat and unduly publicised by Shri A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. In view of the conduct of the founder of your society, members of this Sampradaya and the Head Tilkayat Maharaj Shri, disassociate themselves from your movement till your Society and the founder thereof make suitable amends and rectify the error of insulting the founder SHRIMAD VALLABHACHARYAJI MAHARAJ of the Pushtimargiya Vallabhiya Sampradaya. I do hope the needful will be done immediately.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda dictated his response, telling Girirāja to reply to Govindalalji Maharaj as follows: “What we have discussed is printed in Caitanya Caritamrta. How can we rectify? We can’t rectify what is written in Caitanya Caritamrta. We have no bad feeling or disrespect for Vallabhacarya. We consider ourselves the most obedient servants of Vallabhacarya. The exchange between Lord Caitanya and Vallabhacarya was on friendly terms. This was raised in connection with supporting the position of the acaryas.  

“The real point is that Sridhara Swami is still being criticized by you in the following words, ‘. . . and has shown specifically the nature of the error committed by the previous Commentators including Sridhara Swami . . . Sridhara Swami . . . was never regarded as a Master . . .’ So, this criticism of Sridhara Swami was as much intolerable for Caitanya Mahaprabhu as His criticism upon Vallabhacarya is intolerable for you. Such kind of friendly criticism you’ll always find among learned scholars, but that does not mean any ill feeling with one another. So, as you can criticize Sridhara Swami in the above words, what is the wrong if in the same spirit the supporters of Sridhara Swami criticize you?  

“There is an English proverb spoken by Lord Jesus Christ, ‘Judge not others lest ye be judged.’ So, the conclusion is, as we learn from Caitanya Caritamrta, that in the beginning Sri Vallabhacarya criticized Sridhara Swami and then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu criticized Vallabhacarya. So what can we do now after 500 years? Recently some criticism has appeared in the Illustrated Weekly also. So, such things will go on in this world, but that does not mean we have got any disrespect for any Vaisnava acarya.” 

Prabhupāda regards the agitation as unfortunate and has already informed the BTG editors to be more careful in what they publish, even though everything printed was sastrically correct. He regrets that the members of the Vallabhācārya sect are still disturbed, but he is not going to compromise on points of śāstra. 

* * * 

We were surprised to see that Gurudāsa Swami is here, having arrived unexpectedly from Europe yesterday via Bombay. Despite their recent exchange of letters and Śrīla Prabhupāda’s repeated requests that he stay to preach in Poland, and his agreement that he would, Mahārāja somehow decided that there wasn’t sufficient engagement there for him right now and decided to come to Vṛndāvana instead. Now that Gurudāsa is here, Śrīla Prabhupāda is not pursuing the matter of his preaching in Europe, at least for the time being; instead, they are discussing what he can do here in India. 

* * * 

I went up to the front gate tonight to check out the fare at a new snack bar that Mahāvīra prabhu has set up. Situated just inside and to the right of the front entrance as you enter our property, it sells French fries, lassi,kachuries, and other small snacks. With three picnic tables, it has quickly become a social spot for the devotees, especially after the evening ārati. Now that the weather is getting colder, some like to gather and chat over a fried snack or hot drink. When I walked up, the first thing I saw was a small sign on the counter advertising hot drinking chocolate. 

“Hey, Mahā, that’s not bona fide!” I called to Mahāvīra. 

“What’s not bona fide?” Mahāvīra responded, looking concerned. 

“The hot drinking chocolate. You can’t serve chocolate.” 

“No, drinking chocolate is different. It’s okay. Prabhupāda said it’s okay.” 

“Did you ask him?” I asked suspiciously. 

“Well, no, but drinking chocolate isn’t the same as regular chocolate.” 

“Of course it is. It’s chocolate. How can it be any different?” 

“Well, how do you know that chocolate isn’t bona fide?” 

“I heard when I first joined. You can’t offer chocolate. It’s like coffee; it has caffeine.” 

“No, I don’t think it does. I heard it’s okay.” 

We debated in this way for a few minutes. He wasn’t willing to concede, and I could see that the several others who were gathered there also thought hot drinking chocolate was a good idea. Then I said, “Well, let’s go and ask Śrīla Prabhupāda.” He agreed that this would settle the matter clearly, so we went into Prabhupāda’s darśana room where he was sitting quietly, chanting almost inaudibly on his beads. 

“What is that?” Prabhupāda asked pleasantly as we offered our obeisances and sat before him. 

“Well, the devotees are selling hot drinking chocolate at the new snack bar, Śrīla Prabhupāda,” I said, “and I don’t think it’s bona fide. Mahāvīra prabhu thinks it is, so we thought we should ask you.” 

“Hmm. So, what is it made from?” Prabhupāda asked thoughtfully. 

Mahāvīra raced back to the shop and brought the can. He read out the ingredients. “It’s mainly from cocoa, Śrīla Prabhupāda.” 

“Oh, cocoa. That, there is cocoa bean, it comes from this?” 

“Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda.” 

“No, then it is not all right. If it is from cocoa bean you cannot take. That means caffeine.” 

So that was it. The issue was settled, and hot drinking chocolate is no longer on the menu. 

November 26th, 1976

The ŚrīmadBhāgavatam verse this morning gave a comparison between an uncontrolled mind and an uncontrolled woman. “An unchaste woman is very easily carried away by paramours, and it sometimes happens that her husband is violently killed by her paramours. If the yogi gives his mind a chance and does not restrain it, his mind will give facility to enemies like lust, anger and greed, and they will doubtlessly kill the yogi.” 

Śrīla Prabhupāda is still suffering from high blood pressure, but despite the discomfort, he is determined to speak every morning, even if only briefly. This morning he had Pradyumna prabhu read out the whole purport. Then he gave us further insights into what, as he knows only too well, is a controversial subject matter, the position of women in society. “So ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, everything threadbare discussed, very practical, and Absolute Truth. There are social, political, religious [matters]. Everything is discussed very scientifically. So here the example is given of the woman, puṁścalī. There are three kinds of woman: kāminī, svairendrī, and puṁścalī, according to śāstra. So they become [spoiled]. Just like children. They are innocent, and if they are given freedom they will be spoiled. Everyone knows it. If you don’t give proper training to the child and allow him to do independently whatever he likes, that means that child is spoiled.” 

To this effect he cited Cāṇakya Paṇḍita and the Hindi poet Tulasī dāsa and said that their opinion is the same as the Vedic opinion, that women should not be independent. Prabhupāda knows how contentious this is; he had plenty of experience of it last year in America. Still, he dealt with it frankly, as a matter of scriptural principle. Glancing over to his female disciples, he smiled gently and told us, “So this statement will not be very palatable to the Western girls. They want independence. In Chicago, when I was there, they talked about independence of the woman. They asked me question. So I replied, ‘No, woman cannot be given independence.’ So there was a great agitation against me. In many papers I was very much criticized. But actually it is the fact, because they are innocent, not so intelligent and . . . These are all practical. We may avoid discussing, but Bhāgavata is very open for discussing all subject matter. That is fact. We should not hide anything artificially. We must discuss the fact. Not only here; Manusaṁhitā recommends, ‘A woman should not be given independence.’ For their interest they must be protected by father, husband, and sons, because if they are polluted, they become very dangerous.”  

He again referred to a Cāṇakya Paṇḍita śloka, which lists four kinds of living entities one should avoid. “If you live with a duṣṭā bhāryā [unchaste wife] and a duplicitous friend and an answergiving servant and a snake, then you are sure to die sometime. You’ll be cheated.” 

Prabhupāda made it clear that this was not an across-the-board condemnation of women but an example for comparison on the theme of this chapter. “So these things are there. The purpose is that our mind is like that, puṁścalī, unchaste wife. Not that everyone is unchaste. We have got many examples, the character of woman. It is not that. It is not generalization. But there is chance. If they are not controlled, not properly educated, there is chance of becoming puṁścalī, and there have been many instances that woman, for being attracted by paramour, has killed even one’s own son. There are cases.” 

He cited the great mahājana Bhīṣmadeva who advised that this control means being shy. “If you break that shyness, then there will be disaster. That is the control valve naturally given. And woman’s shyness is one [type of] beauty. And command also. We have practical experience in our life. You have seen that my friend came, Dinanath Mishra. They were our neighbors. So one day we were sitting on the corridor of the house. One sweeper woman, she wanted to come within, but very shyful, and with a covering of the head, although with broomstick and bucket, she was waiting because we were sitting both sides. So she was feeling little shy not to enter the house. So we decided to move so that she may come. This example is given. She is a sweeper, not very respectable, maidservant or sweeper, but on account of her shyness we had to welcome, ‘Yes, we are moving. You come in.’ Just see. This is psychology. Therefore Bhīṣmadeva, at his dying stage, he advised that woman’s shyness is the valve to control. If their shyness is broken, then it will create disaster.” 

Of course, Prabhupāda is well versed in modern society’s standards and dealings. He has traveled extensively for the last ten years and has thousands of disciples from every culture and status of human society, so he knows on a very practical level how people live and what is their outlook of life. But he also has a very deep understanding of the psyche of the soul, both in its conditioned and in its liberated status. He is not, therefore, adrift in the transitional currents of human behavioral trends. He knows the goal of human life, and he is fixed on it. “So things are changing nowadays everywhere—not only in India; in other countries also. But this is the psychology. So all these examples are given. Why? Just to control the mind. We are not talking of the sociology or politics. The example is given that we should not give freedom to the mind. That is the real purpose. If you give freedom to the mind, then the mind will create so many ideas.” 

He gave another example of the mind’s whimsical nature. “I have practically seen in our society. As soon as one is in charge, immediately he invents something new: ‘This should be broken, and this should be done.’ Then another man comes. He breaks the same thing again. There are practical experiences I have got. Unless there is control over the mind, it will dictate something new: ‘Do it like this.’ There was a Bengali poet. He also sang a song, ei nūtana kichu koro: ‘Do something new.’ This is mind’s business. He is not satisfied with the old things. The whole material world is like that. Ei nūtana kichu koro: ‘Do something new,’ and be implicated. We are not satisfied with old things. ‘Old order changes, yields to’—there is an English proverb like that—‘yielding to the new.’ 

“But the Vedic civilization is that ‘Do not try to invent some order. That will create disturbance. Be satisfied. Whatever you have got by nature’s way, be satisfied. Don’t spoil your time. Save your time for Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” 

Tracing out the progress of the soul through the different species of life, Prabhupāda told us that this evolution culminates in a birth in India. “There are 400,000 forms of human life also—not all the same: the uncivilized and civilized, the black and white, and so many different grades of men. They have different intelligence. In this way, one who has taken birth in India, he is the most fortunate. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, bhāratabhumite manuṣya janma haila yāra/ janma sārthaka kari’ kara paraupakāra [Cc. Ādi 9.41]. So unfortunately we are forgetting our culture; otherwise we have got a great mission, Indians, for the others, paraupakāra. They require the information of this Vedic knowledge, and they are now getting. They are appreciating. Therefore there is movement against it, but it is actual civilization. The Vedic culture is actual civilization, varṇāśramadharma. That is the beginning of civilization. Without Vedic culture and varṇāśramadharma it is animal civilization.” 

Even then, varṇāśramadharma is only the beginning of human life. “Out of the Vedic culture, many are addicted to the fruitive activities, ritualistic ceremony, how to go to the heavenly planet, how to become members of rich family. They are working very hard, karmī. So out of many millions of karmīs, one jñānī. Jñānī means who understands, ‘What is the use of this karma, fruitive activities?’ So out of many jñānīs, one is mukta, liberated. And out of many millions of mukta, koṭiṣv api mahāmune [SB 6.14.5], one is a bhakta. This is the gradual development. 

“So we should be very careful,” he concluded. “We have got this opportunity of understanding Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We should not waste a single moment without Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Avyarthakālatvam [Cc. Madhya 23.1819]. That is advised by Rūpa Gosvāmī. Every moment we shall count, ‘Whether I have wasted it or utilized it?’ This is life.” 

* * * 

Prabhupāda is keen for the Western devotees to learn Hindi and has engaged Mr. Saxena in the task of teaching them. Regular classes are now being held, and all the devotees are expected to attend. He has several times asked Mahāvīra prabhu if he is learning, and this morning he had a bit of fun with Jagadīśa over it. Śrīla Prabhupāda and his Godbrother Dr. Kapoor are having almost daily meetings to organize the support for the court cases. They were standing in the middle of the darśana room, and Prabhupāda called Jagadīśa in to ask him for some documents. Jagadīśa, acknowledging something Prabhupāda had said, replied, “Achaa,” the Hindi word for consent. Prabhupāda stepped back, his eyes wide and his mouth open. “Oh!” he cried in mock astonishment, “He is speaking Hindi!” Dr. Kapoor burst out laughing, and the two of them shook with mirth while Jagadīśa turned bright red in delighted embarrassment. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda initiated a small group of devotees this morning. Among them was Mahāvīra’s wife, Jaya Gaurī, who was awarded brāhmaṇa status although she had received first initiation only in August. Afterwards, Mahāvīra told me that one day he was walking with Śrīla Prabhupāda along the corridor between Prabhupāda’s house and the temple when Prabhupāda suddenly told him, “Your wife, she is a good wife.” He was very happy to have his wife personally certified by Śrīla Prabhupāda.

* * * 

As a result of his class yesterday about shaving our heads and our conversation afterwards concerning the Western-style music tapes, I asked Śrīla Prabhupāda if he wanted his comments on both topics to be distributed to all the centers. I was keen to correct the statements in Rāmeśvara Swami’s newsletter. Prabhupāda was happy and said yes. So I spent a good part of the day transcribing the tapes of both his morning class and the room conversation (at the same time gaining useful practice in typing).  

I then wrote a letter to Rāmeśvara: “Dear Ramesvara Maharaja, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. The following is an extract from a morning class on S.B. 5/6/3, delivered on 25/11/76. Srila Prabhupada has requested that it be sent to all temples and G.B.C.” I included the relevant quotes from the class and conversation and concluded: “Kindly send a copy to each of our centers as soon as is conveniently possible. His Divine Grace specially requests that the system of shaving on the fourth day (the head) after Ekadasi, on Purnima, be introduced immediately in all centers. Hoping this meets you in good health and Krsna Consciousness. Your eternally worthless servant, Hari Sauri Das, personal servant.” 

I showed the letter to Śrīla Prabhupāda, and he added his signature: “Approved: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.” 

Gurudāsa Swami brought with him a letter from Harikeśa Mahārāja along with the balance of money Harikeśa owes for the loan he took from Śrīla Prabhupāda when he left for Europe in September. Harikeśa is now tackling the German court cases. His presence in Germany has helped rally the devotees from the depressive slump caused by last year’s attempts by the government to close them down. Saṅkīrtana is booming, and they are regaining their enthusiasm. The court cases will require a lot of effort and organization to counteract, and Harikeśa expressed his determination to do it.  

Prabhupāda was very satisfied to hear his disciple’s willingness to fight and push on the preaching. He wrote back a simple line of encouragement. “Yes, I approve of your helping to rectify the situation in Germany.” 

In Haridaspur, near to Māyāpur, things are moving along now that the land ownership is settled in ISKCON’s favor. Prabhupāda sent a letter to Jayapatākā Swami advising him to advance ten thousand rupees to Prabhusvarupa, the sevaite there who will add a further five thousand. With this they are to open a bank account in ISKCON’s name with the two of them plus Bhavānanda Mahārāja as signers. He also requested him to send a site plan, which he will give to Saurabh prabhu so that he can design a nice temple for them. 

* * * 

Another Australian devotee, Ugraśravā dāsa, arrived from Melbourne today. He runs Spiritual Sky Incense Company and frequently comes to India to buy clothing, which he sells all around Australia. He and Cittahārī met with Śrīla Prabhupāda to discuss what appears to be a deteriorating situation in the South Seas zone, and again they expressed the desire that another GBC be appointed. Śrīla Prabhupāda agrees that it should be done, but so far he has not decided who is the right person.  

* * * 

As part of my new duties in keeping Prabhupāda’s banking accounts, I entered into a small white pocket diary that he carries in his red attachê case the details of a couple of fixed deposits and their due dates. One of them, worth two lakhs of rupees and lodged with the Punjab National Bank, comes due today. Another one for a little more is due on January 1st, 1977.  

The diary is a complimentary from the Central Bank of India. Previously, Prabhupāda had me enter two notes in it while we were in Māyāpur. The first, on February 11th reads: “Received from Bhojadeva das (Los Angeles) through Jayatirtha das, donation of $5,000 U.S. for construction of Bhaktivedanta House Mayapur.” The other on March 14 reads: “Received from Bhakta Joe via Jayatirtha Das $4,800 U.S. for construction of Bhaktivedanta House Mayapur.” 

Apart from a couple of addresses that Prabhupāda has entered in the back, the diary has hardly been used. But today I was excited to find an entry made by His Divine Grace on June 27th, when we were in New Vrindaban. From its contents it seems he was contemplating a Kṛṣṇa conscious reorganization of India under a monarchist government, headed up by Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjaya, but he has never mentioned it. There are some really interesting, and what some may consider, radical items he wants to introduce. A couple of the entries are a little difficult to discern, but his intentions are very clear: 

1) Grant immigration for 500 foreigners 

2) All M.P.s initiated Brahmans 

3) Sanjaya king; Ind. [Indira] Mother Queen 

4) Animal slaughter houses complete prohibit 

5) Chanting regularly everywhere 

6) Meat eaters at home. No public meat eating 

7) Prostitution punishable 

8) No religious groups except B.G. as it is 

9) All [project] officers must [go to] kirtan at least 

   [once?] thrice in a day 

10) Support KC. all [over] world 

Śrīla Prabhupāda is the boldest person I have ever known. He has plans that are so far reaching that they are almost inconceivable; coming from an ordinary person they would seem impossible dreams. But he has already achieved the impossible and by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, anything can happen. 

November 27th, 1976

Continuing with His warnings about the dangers of an uncontrolled mind, in verse five Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva details the different stages of contamination of the materially attached mind. “The mind is the root cause of lust, anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. Combined, these constitute bondage to fruitive activity. What learned man would put faith in the mind?”  

Prabhupāda listed off each state of impurity and then gave an excellent class on how these apparently material traits can be spiritualized by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, making sure that we know how to distinguish between the two. “Kāmo manyur mado lobhaḥ śokamohabhayādayaḥ/ karma bandhaś ca yanmūlaḥ svīkuryāt ko nu tad budhaḥ. So budha means one who is aware of everything. Such budha, intelligent person, will not accept these base qualities. Kāma, manyur means greediness, lusty; madaḥ—pride; lobhaḥ—greediness; śoka—lamentation; moha—illusion; Bhaya means when we are too much materially absorbed then there is bhaya

Kāma;kṛṣṇakāmakarmārpaṇe. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has advised that kāma and the desire will be transformed how to serve Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇārthe akhilaceṣṭa, the same thing. Kāma means fruitive activities for sense gratification, but this kāma can be utilized in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Just like we have constructed this temple with the enthusiasm there must be a very nice temple for KṛṣṇaBalarāma. The same desire, as somebody is willing that ‘I must have a very big skyscraper building,’ so the same desire. People may ask, ‘What is the difference between these two desires? Somebody is desiring to possess a very big house and another body is desiring to possess a very nice temple, expensive temple. So what is the difference?’ Difference is one is kāma and the other is prema. That is difference.”  

People sometimes say that we should become desireless to free ourselves of these unwanted attributes, but, Prabhupāda said, it is not possible to supress our desires. “You have got eyes, and if you want to suppress your eyesight, ‘I shall not see anything,’ is that possible? That is not possible. Yes, I have got my eyes, but I want to see KṛṣṇaBalarāma. That is wanted. That is wanted. Not that ‘No, I shall not see.’ Even meditation, socalled meditation, that is also seeing. Real meditation, seeing within. Dhyānāvasthitatadgatena manasaḥ paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ [SB 12.13.1].Paśyanti, this word is used. Paśyanti means sees, but within, not without. Meditation means seeing within. Not that without seeing. Concentrating the mind to see the form of Lord Viṣṇu, that is real meditation.”  

Therefore, he said, it is a question of purifying our desires by using them in Kṛṣṇa’s service. “Then it is bhakti. Then it is prema. We sometimes mistake the activities of gopīs—it appears just like lusty affairs, but actually that is not. Gopīs used to dress themselves very nicely, attractively, so that Kṛṣṇa may be very pleased. That was gopīs’ desire. Just like in the material world the woman dresses very nicely so that a man may be attracted upon her, and then both of them will fulfill their sex desire or sense gratification. That is material world. But in the spiritual world it appears that gopīs are dressed very nicely not for the purpose of her own satisfaction. They want to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, that ‘If I dress nicely, Kṛṣṇa will be pleased.’ So that is prema. In the material [world] nobody wants to please anyone. He wants to please himself. That is kāma. We should understand what is kāma and what is prema.” 

Prabhupāda told us that when everything is focused on pleasing Kṛṣṇa, then even these deleterious qualities can be spiritualized. He provided some examples to show how this can be done. From our current experience he explained how to direct our anger. “This manyu means krodha, anger—it can be also utilized. Bhaktidveśijane, those who are envious of devotees . . . Just like they are making propaganda in Europe and America that ‘Why this Kṛṣṇa conscious persons should be allowed?’ So bhaktidveśi. So one should utilize his krodha, anger, upon these persons. That is wanted.” 

As far as moha, illusion, goes, he used the Lord Himself as an example. Prabhupāda’s second praṇāma mantra glorifies him for destroying the teachings of the śūnyavādī, the voidists. But, he told us, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sometimes adopted this mood of the voidist. “Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaching, yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa cakṣuṣā prāvṛsāyitaṁ śūnyāyitaṁ jagatsarvam. This is illusion. Śūnyāyitam. Jagat is not śūnyaṁ. Just like we have got practical experience. If somebody’s beloved has died, he sees everything zero. Nothing is appealing to him. Similarly, if we have developed our love for Kṛṣṇa and if we do not see Kṛṣṇa, that is śūnyāyitaṁ jagatsarvaṁ govindaviraheṇa me. But a devotee and ordinary person, if ordinary person wants to see something and if he cannot see, he becomes angry because that is kāma. But a devotee, he says that ‘Kṛṣṇa, although the whole world is vacant because I cannot see You, still I cannot change my mind to love You.’ One side śūnyāyitaṁ jagatsarvam, the other side āśliṣya vā pādaratāṁ pinaṣṭu māṁ marmahatāṁ karotu vā adarśanam—‘You break my heart by not allowing me to see You; still You are my beloved, worshipable Lord.’ That is the difference. There is no manyu, no disappointment. Disappointment is there, but so much disappointed that broken heart. Still he wants to love Kṛṣṇa. That is pure love. Not that ‘I have been disappointed, my heart is broken; therefore I give up Kṛṣṇa.’ ”  

Telling us that the material counterparts cause karma-bandha, bondage by the laws of material nature, and that by doing everything for Kṛṣṇa we become liberated, Prabhupāda referred to his recent meetings with his Indian disciples, repeating once again that their feelings of dissatisfaction against their ‘Western’ Godbrothers is not spiritual. “We have to purify our desires. Sarvopādhi vinirmuktaṁ tatparatvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. When we give up this conception of life that ‘I am Indian,’ ‘I am Christian,’ ‘I am Hindu,’ ‘I am this and that,’ these are upādhis. So while serving Kṛṣṇa, don’t come back to the upādhi platform, that ‘We are Indians and they are Europeans, so they are taking more advantage and we are not given advantage,’ or visa versa. This means coming back to the upādhi. That is not the stage of devotion. We have to become free from the upādhi. ‘I am neither Indian nor American. I am eternally Kṛṣṇa’s servant.’ That’s all. ‘Whatever Kṛṣṇa orders, in whichever position he keeps me, I am his eternal servant.’ ”  

Prabhupāda also had strong words about those who impatiently try to understand or experience the highest feelings of devotion even while they are not free from their lowest impulses. We are in Vṛndāvana, and he has many times warned us not to be sentimentally swept up in what appears to be feelings of Kṛṣṇa-prema, but to execute our devotional service carefully and cautiously. “Now, when we are in the pure stage, the same kāma, the same manyu, the same mado lobhaḥ śoka, lamentation . . . Just like the gopīs, they were lamenting, ‘Kṛṣṇa is going to Mathurā,’ and He has gone there; the lamentation is there. This lamentation and our lamentation is not the same. Therefore in the beginning, the neophyte devotees, they should not try to understand the dealings of the gopīs with Kṛṣṇa. Unless one is free from the material concept, sarvopādhi vinirmuktaṁ tatparatvena nirmalam. That means we have to execute devotional service in the regulative principle. ‘I cannot follow the regulative principle, and I am trying to understand RādhāKṛṣṇa prema,’—this is rascaldom. This is rascaldom. Only rascals will do that. He does not see his position, that ‘What is my position? I am still full of lusty desires. My mind is still disturbed by seeing a nice woman or nice man, and I am discussing RādhāKṛṣṇa?’ This is nonsense. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said, rūparaghunātha pade haibe ākuti kabe hāma bujhabo se yugalapīriti [Prārthanā–Song 1—Lālasāmayī]. Unless you are expert in devotional service, by practical application of the instruction of Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu . . . Then if we are qualified, then someday we may be able to understand what is yugalapīriti, love between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī. Not so sudden. That is sahajiyā. Not so sudden. We should not try to do that. First of all I must see how much I have become sarvopādhi vinirmuktam, how much I am free from the designational position. Then we shall be able. 

“Rādhākṛṣṇapraṇayavikrṭi ahlādinī śakti asmād [Cc. Ādi 1.5]. The RādhāKṛṣṇapraṇaya, loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, this is not ordinary thing. When you worship RādhāKṛṣṇa, we are not fit for that . . . We shall think ourself as servant of Kṛṣṇa, eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, under the guidance, ādau gurvāśrayam. So if we want to do something, we must inquire from guru. We must follow. We should not manufacture things, that ‘This way I shall be able to satisfy Kṛṣṇa.’ No. ‘If I discuss about RādhāKṛṣṇa līlā in my neophyte stage, Kṛṣṇa will be pleased.’ No. You must first of all purify yourself by the regulative principles. And when you are completely free from the material conception, then you understand what is RādhāKṛṣṇa līlā.” 

* * * 

There was an unexpected arrival today: Bali Mardan prabhu, who turned up after traveling from New York via Japan and Calcutta. After settling into a room in the guesthouse, he came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda was happy to see him, and they chatted for some time. Bali, who came back into full time service during Prabhupāda’s summer tour in America, reported that he currently has no program and would like some service. Tamal Krishna Mahārāja had given him the charge of the guesthouse in our New York center, but it is not well established yet, and Bali felt that there was not sufficient engagement for him. Thus he decided to come here to see Śrīla Prabhupāda. 

His arrival seems opportune. Bali Mardan was the first devotee to go to Australia. In 1969 he went alone to Sydney and began the preaching there single-handedly. With this in mind, Prabhupāda called in Cittahārī, Ugraśravā, and me to discuss the situation there. Bali Mardan was interested, but he also asked about Bombay. Prabhupāda had previously offered him and his wife the service of managing the new twin-tower guesthouse there when it is completed, and he now indicated that this is still an option. After some discussion, Prabhupāda left it to Bali to decide which service he prefers.  

* * * 

Despite the present difficulties, the preaching in Australia seems to be going on. Balarāma dāsa, the temple president of Melbourne, has sent a letter recommending two men and a woman for first initiation and one man for second. Because there is no current GBC, Prabhupāda chanted on their beads himself and these were sent out by mail. 

* * * 

Today is exactly a year since I joined Prabhupāda’s party, and today, I made my greatest blunder. In the morning, as usual, Prabhupāda went upstairs right after his breakfast to take his nap in the sunshine. I escorted him through his rooftop room onto the back portion of the roof and left him lying comfortably on a mattress. On previous visits to Vṛndāvana I have always remained on the roof with him, ready to serve whenever he awoke. This summer, however, the devotees fitted a new bell system for Prabhupāda to summon his servants even when he is on the roof. By pressing a button attached to his desk inside the upper room, Prabhupāda can sound a bell both upstairs and downstairs. So, thinking there was little point to staying upstairs while Prabhupāda was sleeping, I decided to go back down. If Prabhupāda needed me he could simply ring the bell; I would hear it and respond immediately.  

Off I went, back through the room, down the stairs, and eventually out onto the front entrance veranda where I ended up chitchatting with Ugraśravā and Cittahārī. After some time, I started to think that Prabhupāda seemed to be resting a little longer than usual. I was waiting for his call, but the bell hadn’t rung. Looking at my watch, I was starting to think that maybe I should go up and see what was happening, but I was so engrossed in my prajalpa that I ignored my inner prompt and kept on talking. Just as I was starting to feel some unease, Mahārathī dāsa, a visiting devotee from Germany who is staying in the guesthouse, suddenly ran from around the corner of the guesthouse stairs, angst written all over his face. “Hari-śauri! Hari-śauri! Prabhupāda is trapped on the roof!” 

I went into instant shock, and I knew immediately what had happened. I raced through the house and up the back stairs full of anxiety and trepidation. As I entered the room from the front door, I saw Śrīla Prabhupāda standing, glowering through the fly screen on the back door, waiting for me to open it. It was sickenly clear what I had done. Part of my early training with Śrīla Prabhupāda was to always shut doors and turn off lights and fans when leaving a room. Thus, when I left him to sleep on the back section of the roof, I had returned through the room, shut the screen door behind me and in a stupor of automation slid the bolt, locking it from the inside. Prabhupāda hadn’t rung the bell on his desk, because he couldn’t.  

There was no time to offer obeisances. I quickly slide the bolt back to free him from his imprisonment. As I did so, Prabhupāda, glaring at me through the screen, shook his head and said simply, “You rascal! I’ve been waiting here for almost and hour!” I opened the door, and he strode past without another word.  

I was mortified. Prabhupāda’s anger was beyond words. There was no need for him to say anything, because the offense was so obvious and foolish. He had woken up, and when he couldn’t get into the room he had to wait on the roof for nearly an hour before Mahārathī happened to look over from his guesthouse room. Signaling his attention, Prabhupāda shouted to him. “Find Hari-śauri. He has kept me prisoner here!” 

Downstairs, Prabhupāda sat behind his desk. He was calm but serious. He was quite disgusted and told me, “Your brain is dull from too much voracious eating and sleeping.” I felt terrible. There was nothing to say in excuse; I simply apologized. Prabhupāda nodded, said no more about it and, because it was already 11:30, repaired to the back garden for his massage. So far as he was concerned, it was over. He changed into his gamcha and sat on the straw mat in the sunshine. Relaxed and at peace, with his eyes closed, basking in the gentle winter sunshine, he allowed me to rub and knead his head and body with sandalwood and mustard oils. Even as I did this I felt burdened, as if a heavy cloud were hanging over me, and somehow less connected.  

At the end of Prabhupāda’s lunch I was still feeling the weight of my offense, despite my apology and his letting the matter rest. I resolved in my mind what to do. I followed him back up onto the roof, where he sat for a while in his rocking chair, relaxing after his meal, hand in bead bag, chanting the holy names. I offered myself before him and stretched out flat on the ground in full-length obeisance. Rising, I again apologized, this time as sincerely, penitently, and honestly as I could, and promised that such a thing would never happen again. Prabhupāda smiled; and with that smile the oppressive shroud upon my heart instantly lifted. He had accepted my genuine regret, and I felt immediately relieved of my offense. My mind became clear again, and the invisible barrier formed by my misdeed dissipated. “All right,” he said kindly, “but you should be careful in the future to be attentive. Otherwise it will cause inconvenience to me.” 

Prabhupāda manifests his anger in different stages according to the degree of offense. For lighter things quickly adjusted he may speak sternly or sarcastically, or sometimes even raise his voice. It may be in some sense a routine part of spiritual guidance; as he said the other morning, it is the duty of the guru to chastize the disciple.  

When he has to break through a thicker covering of false ego and ignorance, he may manifest a stage further, sitting bolt upright, stiff and straight, face flushed, top lip quivering on the left side. Stern and uncompromising, he may shout at the top of his voice and will not accept any argument or discussion until his intent gets through. This is a daunting experience to go through, and thoroughly cleansing; it requires full surrender by the recipient to accommodate. But the process is visible and open, and it is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s own effort that makes it clear what he wants and what you have to do. I saw this with his chastisement of Tamal Krishna Goswāmī in March, when Prabhupāda ordered him to go to China.  

Finally, there is the unspeakable offense, one so bad—an exhibition of such foolishness or waywardness—that out of deep disgust Prabhupāda doesn’t say a word. There is no shouting to crash through the dullness of your consciousness and shake you from your stupor, no pushing, no insistence, no display of dissatisfaction to crack your ego into line. You are simply left to stew in the consequences of your own idiocy. This I saw when Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Swāmī crashed Prabhupāda’s Mercedes on the way to Delhi in April. It requires some deep soul searching and humility, and the abdication of any sense of defense or self-justification on the part of the offender to right the wrong and regain the mercy of the guru.  

I have already experienced the benefit of the first two stages, and now I have had the third. I hope never to commit such an offense again. 

My lesson in humilty complete, Prabhupāda and I sat for a few minutes, he in his chair, me at his feet. At that time in the day, after 2:00 p.m., the temple is closed. But the sounds of voices conversing in Hindi floated up to us from the side entrance to the temple compound below. The gates were being unlocked, and Prabhupāda sent me to see what was going on. Peering over the edge of the roof, I saw two men, one of whom I recognized as a hired sweeper from the guesthouse, and another who had a bicycle with a box on the back filled with food scraps. He was just about to exit through the gate. When I informed Prabhupāda, he immediately went to the edge of the roof and shouted down to them, ordering the fellow with the bike back inside. He was quite upset and sent me for Gopāla Kṛṣṇa and the guesthouse manager. When they came up, he demanded to know who the men were and what they were doing. After some inquiry, Gopāla had to explain that the men were brothers. The fellow who worked for us had gotten all the vegetable off-cuts from the kitchen and loaded them up for his brother’s cows. But no one had given permission for this, and Prabhupāda was most upset. He demanded to know why the vegetable scraps were not going to our own cows, and he had them returned to the kitchen. It was theft. He had the worker sacked and angrily chastised both Gopāla and the manager. “Why is it always me who has to see these things going on before they are corrected?” he asked. “The management here is very bad.” He would not accept any excuses from them and ordered them to be more vigilant in the future.  

I was impressed. Prabhupāda is always so alert to every little thing. He is not prepared to see a single thing of Kṛṣṇa’s misused, no matter how seemingly insignificant. 

November 28th, 1976

After circumambulating the temple, greeting the Deities, and receiving guru-pūjā, Prabhupāda chanted Jaya Rādhā Mādhava and then delivered his morning’s discourse on ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 5.6.6. Pradyumna led the chanting of the Sanskrit and then read out the translation: “Lord Ṛṣabhadeva was the head of all kings and emperors within this universe, but assuming the dress and language of an avadhūta, He acted as if dull and materially bound. Consequently, no one could observe His divine opulence. He adopted this behavior just to teach yogis how to give up the body. Nonetheless, He maintained His original position as a plenary expansion of Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa. Remaining always in that state, He gave up His pastimes as Lord Ṛṣabhadeva within the material world. If, following in the footsteps of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, one can give up his subtle body, there is no chance that one will accept a material body again.” 

At the outset Prabhupāda focused on a seeming contradiction in the character of the Lord. “So this is also opulence of Kṛṣṇa. Jaḍavad avadhūtaveṣa. Although He is the proprietor, sarvalokamaheśvaram [Bg. 5.29], still, this is another opulence, how to become renounced. This is another opulence. It is as good as the other opulences. Not that Kṛṣṇa is simply enjoying sixteen thousand palaces, sixteen thousand queens, and millions of descendants, yaduvaṁśa. This is another side, vairāgya. Jñānavairāgya. Jñāna. We can understand a little piece of His contribution of jñāna,Bhagavadgītā. That is a little piece of His stock of knowledge. Five thousand years He spoke, and still it is being continued, not only in India, but also all over the world. This is jñāna. Jñānavairāgya, everything complete. That is God. Nothing less. Not that ‘I am rich man, but I cannot lie down on the street.’ Not that kind of vairāgya. He is complete, completely different from a rich person. Akhilalokapāla. He is the controller of the whole universe; still, you see His vairāgya. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness means vairāgyavidyā.” 

He told us that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a paradigm of this combination of renunciation and learning. As a young man he was known as Nimāi Paṇḍita, and He defeated the greatest scholar of the time, Keśava Kāśmīrī. Pointing out that brāhmaṇas are all called paṇḍita and that to be a brāhmaṇa a person cannot be a mūrkha but must be a scholar or must at least know the ultimate goal of knowledge, he also said that “In Kaliyuga we do not expect everyone to be very great scholar. Just like our GauraKiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. He was illiterate. He could not sign his name even. But he became the spiritual master of the best scholar of his time, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. So it is not the education, ABCD. No. What is the purport of education? The purport of education is spoken by Kṛṣṇa Himself: vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyam [Bg. 15.15]. If one understands Kṛṣṇa and takes to the shelter of His lotus feet, he is also the biggest scholar.” 

Citing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s chastisement by His guru that He should not try to study the Vedānta but should just chant the holy names, Prabhupāda said that by simply chanting we get the same result. “What we get by studying Vedānta and Vedic literature, if we understand that kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28], and we sacrifice everything for achieving the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, then our Vedānta study is complete. That is the instruction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam/ kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā [Cc. Ādi 17.21]. 

“And pratically we see in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. All you are young Westerners. You never study Vedānta, but you can surprise many socalled Vedāntists how to understand Kṛṣṇa. How it has become possible? Simply by your firm faith in your spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. That’s all. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau [Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23]. This is the Vedic process. If we have got firm faith in guru and firm faith in Kṛṣṇa—gurukṛṣṇakṛpayā pāya bhaktilatābīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]—then you get the seedling of bhaktilatā. Some way or other, we have to come to this bhaktilatā, increasing or nourishing the bhakti creeper. That will be effective.” 

In the Lord’s various incarnations His purpose is the same. “Kṛṣṇa as Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa as Ṛṣabhadeva, Kṛṣṇa as Kṛṣṇa Himself, They are teaching us how to become pure devotees, because sva kalevaraṁ jihāsur ātmanaḥ—before leaving this body, you must be selfrealized. That is the aim of life.”  

Declaring that to become a pure devotee means “to make this material way of life completely zero,” Prabhupāda told us that even a pinch of attraction for material life will stop our promotion to the spiritual world. Therefore Lord Ṛṣabhadeva is exemplifying the principle of renunciation. “He doesn’t take care even of the body. Although He is Vaikuṇṭhapuruṣa . . . How comfortably He lives in Vaikuṇṭha loka—Lakṣmīsahasraśatasambhramasevyamānaṁ [Bs. 5.29]. We are expecting, ‘One woman or wife will look after my comforts,’ but there Kṛṣṇa is taken care of by hundreds and thousands of women. And who are they? Lakṣmī. They’re all goddesses of fortune, not ordinary women. Lakṣmī has two features: māyā and the goddess of fortune; the same Lakṣmī according to position. Just like a government has got two departments: criminal department and civil department. So the government is the same, but there are two departments. This māyā is criminal department, and Vaikuṇṭha is civil department. Vaikuṇṭha means there is no anxiety, and māyā means always anxiety.”  

Telling us that only the foolish think that there is happiness in the material world and that without vairāgya there is no question of happiness, Prabhupāda appealed to us to follow the programs he has set forth so that we can come to this highest stage. “We cannot attain vairāgya immediately; therefore the vidhimārgabhakti, to rise early in the morning, to attend maṅgala ārati, to offer Deity flowers, fruits, and in this way we shall be engaged twentyfour hours. Then vairāgyavidyā will gradually develop. So our request is that you have taken to this vairāgyavidyā. We do not say that you starve, don’t eat anything, don’t sleep at all. No. It should be regulated. Don’t be attached to eating, sleeping. That is not good. But you must eat, you must sleep as little as possible, and try to conquer over it. My mind dictating, ‘Sleep seventeen hours.’ No. That is tapasya. Why shall you sleep more than four hours or five hours, or utmost six hours? That’s all; not more than that. That is vairāgyavidyā. We have to learn it. That is devotional service.”  

Lord Rāmacandra was another example of the Lord teaching the principle of renunciation. “He appeared in a kṣatriya family, kingdom, opulence. He also accepted vairāgyavidyā. Father requested, ‘My dear son, Your mother likes that You should go to the forest.’ Immediately accept, ‘Yes.’ This śloka is applicable to Lord Rāmacandra. Tyaktvā sudustyajasurepsitarājyalakṣmīm [SB 11.5.34]. He was going to be coronated next day king, but immediately, by the order of His father, He left everything. Is there any instance throughout the history of the whole world that a prince was going to be king tomorrow and on the order of father he left everything? This is vairāgyavidyā.” 

Prabhupāda told us a short story about how the true intention of Lord Caitanya was revealed even at His early age. “This śloka can be applicable to Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s life. He also became a sannyāsī, āryavacasā. One brāhmaṇa cursed him. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, to receive some blessings from the brāhmaṇas, when He was boy He was voluntarily trying to give some service to the brāhmaṇas who were engaged in bathing in the Ganges. He’ll clear the place because the brāhmaṇa, after taking bath in the Ganges, would sit down, would chant mantra. So He’ll cleanse and He’ll wash the cloth; voluntarily He was doing that, service. So one brāhmaṇa blessed Him, ‘My dear boy, You’ll be very happy in your family life. You’ll have good wife, very opulent position.’ And Caitanya Mahāprabhu was blocking the ears. The brāhmaṇa said, ‘What is this?’ ‘No, this is not blessing, sir.’ ‘Oh, it is not blessing? Then You’ll never be happy in Your family life.’ ‘Yes, this is the . . . This is all right!’ ” 

Laughing along with the devotees at the cleverness of the Lord, Prabhupāda concluded, “So therefore He took sannyāsa.Aryavacasā yad agād araṇyam. Similarly, Lord Rāmacandra, āryavacasā yad agād araṇyam. These are the characteristic of the Personality of Godhead. Try to follow Them, not imitate, but follow them.” 

* * * 

There were a couple of letters today, which Śrīla Prabhupāda heard while taking his massage in the garden. One was from Śrīdhara Swami, who is currently in America. Writing from New York, Mahārāja opened with a heartfelt prayer: “Like a dried up tree without fruit or flowers I was suffering in ignorance in this material world. Without qualification or even a trace of pious activities I had no hope for deliverance, but by some unknown good luck I got an opportunity to associate with some of your disciples and from that moment my life was changed. Then by the grace of Chidananda prabhu I was able to have your darshana and take initiation and now there are only two things which I value in life; association of devotees and your guidance.” 

He begged for Prabhupāda’s instructions on what service to do. He had left India in June and spent one month in Taiwan with Trivikrama Swami selling the new Chinese Gītā. Then the two of them went to America to see if they could enlist the services of some good book distributors. In New York Tamal Krishna Mahārāja made a deal with them: if Śrīdhara Swami would remain in New York to develop their life membership program, Tamal Krishna Mahārāja would give Trivikrama Swami their top book distributor, Buddhimanta prabhu, along with several others. They agreed, and for the last four months Śrīdhara has been heading up two life membership parties. They are collecting about five thousand dollars per month, existing members are well looked after, visiting members from India receive good treatment, and they are keeping proper records and accounts as well as answering all correspondence. Now he has handed the program over to Śivānanda dāsa, who was previously preaching in Hong Kong and now finds himself free. “My plan was to travel in the States until Kumbha Mela and then return to India. Of the two places I far prefer India but I thought that as I am here I should give my experience to the ½ dozen temples or so who are anxious to start a life membership program. Then I could return to India and maybe return to America every six months or so to make sure the membership programs are going on here nicely. I hope this meets with the approval of Your Divine Grace. I am always willing to do whatever you desire of me.” 

Prabhupāda was happy to hear of Śrīdhara Swami’s efforts and plans. “I am very satisfied by the report of your activities. I fully approve your plan to come to India for Kumba Mela and to work mainly in India after that, visiting America every six months to see that everything is going on properly with the life membership program.” 

From Ahmedabad, Jaśomatīnandana prabhu sent an update on his preaching efforts. He also opened with enthusiastic glorification of his guru: “You are Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, descended to this material world as His special envoy. You are an ambassador from the spiritual world. That is why all the demigods such as Brahma, Siva, Indra and Ganesh are all singing your glories, all over the universe. Your mission is blessed by all such great personalities. Only the ignorant fools of the ‘martyaloka’ are not enthusiastic about your immense benediction. Your greatest mercy is ever expanding and delivering the most fallen souls as myself. I cannot imagine my destination had I not met Your Divine Grace. I offer You my whole life, but it is not sufficient. I become simply a laughing stock to even try to repay Your Grace. I prostrate at Your feet and pray that I will never forget my eternal debt to Your Divine Grace.” 

Although there are only three devotees in Ahmedabad and the only foreign devotee is Jaśomatīnandana’s wife, they go out every morning for three hours to chant and sell their Gujarati magazine and take yearly subscriptions. In ten days they collected over three thousand rupees, and he expressed his enthusiasm to produce all of Prabhupāda’s books in Gujarati. “My main concern is to publish Your books in Gujarati. They we will be recognized as a genuine movement, as in U.S.A. everyone is accepting Your Divine Grace as the only genuine preacher of Indian philosophy and culture.” 

His other concern is the proposed donation of 103 acres of agricultural land by Mr. Pranlal Bhogilal Patel. Due to the Land Ceiling Act restrictions, Jaśomatīnandana informed Prabhupāda, the land cannot actually be donated to ISKCON. Institutions and individuals can own only thirty-six acres maximum. However, an exception is made for gośālā trusts. So the only way the land can come to us is by creating such a trust. Even then, we cannot use the land for agricultural purposes. If we grow crops, any profit realized must be for the upkeep of the cows, and on this size of land the government requires a herd of at least 250. He enclosed all the necessary documents, drawn up by Mr. Patel’s lawyers, for the formation of the trust and asked Śrīla Prabhupāda to give a name for it and state who should be the trustees. He suggested that Śrīla Prabhupāda could be the chairman and that Mr. Bhogilal Patel could also be included. He also mentioned a life member who although an actor by profession, owns a farm that has received prizes for the best agricultural yield. This man, whom he did not name, is eager to help us develop the land. Jaśomatīnandana urged Prabhupāda to take action immediately. “We must act quickly on this. If you like someone can book a trunk call here. Our phone number is 77905. I hope this letter will find you in the best of health and I pray to Lord Nrsimhadeva to give you another crore of years to make the whole universe surrender to Lord Krsna!” 

Prabhupāda sent a lengthy reply. He was happy with Jaśomatīnandana’s book efforts. “I am very encouraged by your book distribution report as also your enthusiasm to publish my books in Gujarati. One thing, what is the reason no local men are joining? This is wanted. Then the center there will become strong.” 

As far as the land is concerned, Prabhupāda was not put out that the usage be restricted to that of a gośālā. “You say we must have a gosala trust, that is our real purpose. krsigoraksyavanijyam vaisya karma svabhavajam, [Bg. 18.44]. Where there is agriculture there must be cows. That is our mission: Cow protection and agriculture and if there is excess, trade. This is a noprofit scheme. For the agriculture we want to produce our own food and we want to keep cows for our own milk. The whole idea is that we are Iskcon, a community to be independent from outside help. This farm project is especially for the devotees to grow their own food. Cotton also, to make their own clothes. And keeping cows for milk and fatty products. 

“Our mission is to protect our devotees from unnecessary heavy work to save time for advancing in Krsna consciousness. This is our mission. So there is no question of profit, but if easily there are surplus products, then we can think of trading. Otherwise we have no such intention. We want a temple, a gosala and agriculture. A community project as in Europe and America. We are making similar attempts in India in several places. Immediately I’m going to Hyderabad to organize the farm project there. We have 600 acres. We have the permission from the government. There is no question of ceiling. 

“You may call the gosala: ISKCON Gosala and Farm Project Trust. The trustees shall be; myself as chairman, Pranlal Bhogilal, yourself, Gopala Krsna, Mahamsa, Hamsaduta, Kartikeya Mahadevia, Aksayananda, and the life member you have mentioned in your letter (You haven’t mentioned his name, but you say that he is an actor and has a farm of his own).” 

* * * 

After Jagadīśa finished with the correspondence, Bali Mardan came into the garden along with Cittahārī prabhu. He was still uncertain about which engagement would be better for him. He was willing to do whatever Śrīla Prabhupāda wants, but Prabhupāda had left it to him to decide. After a minute he asked, “What is more important, Prabhupāda? Preaching in the West or preaching in India?” 

Prabhupāda replied immediately and unequivocally. “Preaching in the West.” So that was it. Things were now clear, and Bali told Prabhupāda, “All right, I will go to Australia.” Prabhupāda was pleased and told him he should leave immediately. “Yes, you were the first to go there. So try to do something good and help to further develop things.”  

As they talked, Cittahārī prabhu moved here and there, snapping photos of Śrīla Prabhupāda as he received his massage. The meeting was short and everyone seems satisfied with this solution. Bali Mardan’s timely appearance seems to be Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement. 

November 29th, 1976

Prabhupāda devoted this morning’s class to exposing the faulty understandings of the Māyāvādīs. The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is out of their jurisdiction because it directly glorifies Lord Kṛṣṇa as the transcendental person, as stated in today’s verse: “Actually Lord Ṛṣabhadeva had no material body, but due to yogamāyā, He considered His body material, and therefore, because He played like an ordinary human being, He gave up the mentality of identifying with it. Following this principle, He began to wander all over the world. While traveling, He came to the province of Karṇāṭa in South India and passed through Koṇka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka. He had no plan to travel this way, but He arrived near Kuṭakācala and entered a forest there. He placed stones within His mouth and began to wander through the forest, naked and with His hair disheveled like a madman.” 

Prabhupāda told us that we begin our spiritual education by understanding that we are not the body, but in the case of Kṛṣṇa and His expansions, there is no such difference. Declaring those who think that Kṛṣṇa’s body is material to be rascals, Prabhupāda said that Caitanya Mahāprabhu also stated that such persons commit the greatest offense. “The Māyāvādīs, they say so. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, māyāvādī haya kṛṣṇe aparādhī [Cc. Madhya 17.129] They think that ‘God is impersonal, but when He becomes a person He accepts the material body.’ That is wrong. Here it is said that muktaliṅgasya bhagavata ṛṣabhasya: it is no difference. Otherwise how Kṛṣṇa can lift, as a sevenyearold boy, Govardhana Hill? Is it possible by this material body? No. That is not possible. This is common sense.” 

The mūḍhās cannot understand God, and even when He comes and shows His opulences, still the rascals say it is simply mythology. “What God will do? He comes before you. He displays His mighty opulences. He expanded Himself into sixteen thousand forms. ‘Mythology.’ What Kṛṣṇa can do? Advaitam acyutam anādim anantarūpam ādyaṁ purāṇapuruṣaṁ navayauvanaṁ ca [Bs. 5.33]. Śāstra says He has got anantarūpam, but still one. There is no difference. They cannot understand the Absolute Truth, and they like to comment upon it foolishly. Therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī says that ‘don’t hear anything from the Māyāvādī, avaiṣṇava, at least Gītā, Bhāgavatam. Or any śāstra, don’t hear,’ because they do not know what is actually the position.” 

As long as a person remains an aparādhī, an offender, Prabhupāda said, there is no possibility of understanding Kṛṣṇa. He warned us not to associate with such persons. “If one is not Vaiṣṇava, don’t be liberal, that ‘Oh, what is the wrong? He is talking Bhāgavatam.’ But he does not know who can speak Bhāgavatam. Here in Vṛndāvana there is a big Māyāvādī sannyāsī. He speaks on Bhāgavatam and speaks all nonsense, but there is a big crowd going to hear him. Yes. So Māyāvādīs are attractive. They are very educated. They can put things in jugglery of words. That capacity they have got. So people become amazed, almost everyone. So therefore they are not very much pleased with this movement, that ‘Kṛṣṇa is God.’ We are preaching, and all full of Māyāvādīs, they are thinking, ‘What this nonsense is doing? Kṛṣṇa . . . ’ They think Kṛṣṇa is māyā.”  

The Māyāvādīs are supposed to be followers of Śaṅkarācārya, but Prabhupāda said that even Śaṅkarācārya said that Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. “Nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. ‘Don’t bring Nārāyaṇa in this material world.’ Bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha mate: ‘You rascal, you ‘have studied so much grammar. Now give up all this. Nahi nahi rakṣati dukṛnkaraṇe: ‘Your grammatical knowledge, dupratyaya, kṛnpratyaya, liṅpratyaya, dinpratyaya, oh, this will not do.’ Bhaja govindaṁ mūḍhamate, prāpte sannihite karaṇa, hita kālamarane: ‘This jugglery of words will not save you. This is my final instruction.’ ” 

Prabhupāda said that Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya had a special mission in preaching Māyāvāda philosophy but that he avoided writing any commentary on ŚrīmadBhāgavatam. “He has written comments on Bhagavadgītā, but he has completely avoided to write any comment on Bhāgavata because he knew that ‘I am doing the wrong thing. How can I touch ŚrīmadBhāgavatam?Śrīmadbhāgavatam amalaṁ purāṇaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānāṁ priyam [SB 12.13.18] He has purposefully avoided. And the other ācāryas like Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, and up to Caitanya Mahāprabhu, everyone has accepted, Śrīmad bhāgavatam amalaṁ purāṇam. Amalam means there is no material contamination, pure description. Therefore Vyāsadeva, from the very beginning he says that dharmaḥ projjhitakaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇām [SB 1.1.2]: ‘This book is not meant for the person who is envious.’ You begin enviousness from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. The envious person will say, ‘Oh, this is too much. Why shall I surrender to Kṛṣṇa? I am also Kṛṣṇa. I am also God. This is too much.’ This is rascaldom.” 

Prabhupāda stated that in reality we are all eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa but that due to the influence of the material energy we are all asleep to this fact. “Therefore Veda says that ‘Don’t sleep. Get up, rascal. Get up. This is the opportunity. Caitanya Mahāprabhu also: jīv jago jīv jago gauracandra bole [Aruṇodayakīrtana II]. The Gauracandra’s mission is to awaken the conditioned soul. Kota nidrā yāo māyāpiśācīra kole: How long we shall sleep? We are thinking that ‘I am sleeping at the lap of my beloved mother.’ Don’t do this. Get up. The Vedic vācana:utthiṣṭhata jagrāta prāpta varān nibodhata [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.3.14]We should be very careful that we have got this human form of body, and we should not sleep.” 

To get out of the clutches of māyā we can simply surrender to Kṛṣṇa, Prabhupāda said, but we cannot do that directly. It is not possible to understand Kṛṣṇa while still in a contaminated state. “But you can take shelter of a person who has taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa. If one is surcharged with electricity, if you touch him, then you will be also electrified. Kṛṣṇa says repeatedly that ‘I am this, I am this,’ and Arjuna understands Him, ‘Yes, You are this.’ Sarvam etān ṛtaṁ manye yad vadasi keśava [Bg. 10.14]. Then he understands. He is directly understanding. And you take the version of Arjuna. Arjuna says, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12]. Why you, rascal, interpret in a different way, rascal? What right you have got? ‘My Kṛṣṇa is like that. My Kṛṣṇa . . . ’ What right you have got? Kṛṣṇa says like this; one who listens to Kṛṣṇa about Kṛṣṇa, he says like that. You rascal, why do you interpret in a different way? This is going on. 

“So be careful of these rascals. Māyāvādībhāṣya śunile haya sarva nāśa [Cc. Madhya 6.169]. Then you’ll never be able to understand Kṛṣṇa. We should take the instruction of the śāstra that Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s soul, there are, ekam evādvitiyaḥ, He is one, without any second. Bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśi . . . niṣevataḥ syāt īśad apetasya [SB 11.2.37]. So the more we forget Kṛṣṇa, then we are in the material stage. Material stage means bhayam, always fearful. ‘Why shall I accept Kṛṣṇa as human being, as a person? How He can be a person? How a person can produce such a vast sky?’ He says, bhūmir āpo analo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva [Bg. 7.4]: ‘Yes, I have produced the sky.’ But these rascals will not believe how a person can do it. They’ll comment in their own way. So avoid this.” 

* * * 

The ever-active Mahāvīra unwittingly provided a bit of light relief this morning for Śrīla Prabhupāda and Dr. Kapoor. They were talking together when Mahāvīra came into the darśana room on some errand. As he entered he swung the door and it banged. Then advancing forward, he offered his obeisances, banging his head on the ground. Somehow there was just a tad too much energy in everything, the want of a little finesse. As he looked up, face slightly red, Prabhupāda and Dr. Kapoor were both laughing. With a broad smile Prabhupāda told him, “You are just like Hanumān, always jumping, here to there, here to there!” He chuckled and added, “Anyway, enthusiasm is the first qualification. So you go lift mountains for Kṛṣṇa too.”  

* * * 

One of our American devotees, Jayaśacīnandana prabhu, has released a really beautiful bhajana tape called Gandharvaloka. Of all our song tapes apart from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s, this is probably the best yet. His singing is flawless, his pronunciation of Bengali and Sanskrit is like a native speaker’s, and the music is heavenly. I played it on my tape recorder during Prabhupāda’s lunch one day. Prabhupāda was in his prasādam room eating as the sounds wafted in from my servant’s room. He called me in and asked what the music was. When I informed him he tipped his head from side to side in approval. “Oh, very nice.” When Bhagatjī came in from the kitchen with his last chapati for Prabhupāda, it caught his attention too. He was surprised when Prabhupāda told him with pleasure that it was one of his American disciples. “Acchaa! He sounds just like a Bengali!” 

But the next day, when I played it again, thinking Prabhupāda would like it, he called me in and told me to turn it off. 

November 30th, 1976

Prabhupāda gave his final class here in Vṛndāvana. After lecturing for five weeks on the teachings of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, it seemed appropriate it was about the Lord’s disappearance from the planet: “While He was wandering about, a wild forest fire began. This fire was caused by the friction of bamboos, which were being blown by the wind. In that fire, the entire forest near Kuṭakācala and the body of Lord Ṛṣabhādeva were burned to ashes [SB. 5.6.8].” 

It was an exceptionally good talk. Comparing the destructive fire to our precarious position in the material world, Prabhupāda gave his whole attention to the role of “Kṛṣṇa’s favorite person” in saving us from it. “So dāvānala. We have got some description of dāvānala in our daily prayer, saṁsāra dāvānalalīḍhaloka [Śrī Śrī Gurvaṣṭaka 1]. The dāvānala is explained here. Nobody goes to set anala, fire, in the forest. I saw dāvānala first in my experience at Nainital Station. Very high hill, and there was blazing fire upon the hill. Nobody went there to set fire, but there was fire. So how that fire takes place, that is explained here: samīravegavidhūtaveṇuvikarṣaṇam. In the big jungles there are bamboo trees, and they are very densely situated. When there is wind, very forceful, the friction causes fire. So similarly, this material world is compared with this dāvānala. Saṁsāra dāvānalalīḍhaloka.” He gave an amusing comparison to the forest fire. “In your country there is another kind of fire that is not dāvānala. In the city there is electric-anala.” As everyone laughed Prabhupāda chuckled and, giving me a glance, recalled his visits to the modern jungle. “And especially in New York, you know, twentyfour hours the fire brigade is working, ‘dung dung dung dung dung dung dung.’ Nobody wanted, but there is fire, just to prove that you people, you have avoided jungle life but you cannot avoid dāvānala. This is the proof. You can make very large arrangement for living comfortably, but you cannot escape dāvānala. That is not possible. 

“Just like in the forest, you cannot send your fire brigade. That is not possible. Neither you can go there to help the animals for extinguishing the fire by bucketful of waters. That is also not possible. Helpless. Similarly, this saṁsāra dāvānala, you cannot extinguish it. So how it will be extinguished? Saṁsāra dāvānalalīḍhalokatrāṇāya kāruṇyaghanāghanatvam. You have to beg for the mercy of Kṛṣṇa; then this blazing fire can be extinguished. Not by your arrangement. Trāṇāya kāruṇyaghanāghanatvam. That cloud is mercy cloud, not this ordinary cloud. Because dāvānala, the example, personal experience that on the hill of Nainital, some thousand feet high, how this fire will be extinguished . . . ? When there is cloud on the sky and there is rainfall. Otherwise it is not possible. So just like ordinary cloud is made possible by evaporating water from the sea, similarly, Kṛṣṇa has the sea of mercy, kāruṇayamaya, kāruṇasāgara. Kṛṣṇa’s other name is Kāruṇasāgara. So as the air evaporates or the heat evaporates from the sea, and the cloud is formed in the sky, similarly, one who has connection or the power to evaporate the mercy sea of Kṛṣṇa, he can extinguish the saṁsāra dāvānala. And that is guru. Guru is the cloud, or he is the agent of drying water from the ocean of mercy of Kṛṣṇa and turns it into a mercy cloud and pours water on the saṁsāra dāvānala, and then it is extinguished.  

“Therefore guru must be authorized person. You cannot become guru unless you are agent to draw out the mercy water from the ocean of mercy of Kṛṣṇa. That is guru. And therefore a guru is not an ordinary person. He is the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dite pāra [Śaraṇāgati]: ‘Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākura, Kṛṣṇa is your property. If you like, you can give.’ Vedeṣu durlabhaṁ adurlabhaṁ ātmabhaktau [Bs. 5.33]. You cannot get Kṛṣṇa by studying Vedas. That is not possible. There is Kṛṣṇa in the Vedas, but you cannot pick up. It is not possible. But if you go to the Kṛṣṇa’s favorite person . . . Kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya. Kṛṣṇa’s very dear servant, confidential servant, is guru. Nobody can become guru unless he is in confidence of Kṛṣṇa. Na ca tasmād manuṣyeṣu kaścid me priyakṛttamaḥ [Bg. 18.69]. These things are there. Not that by magic one can become guru. No. Everything is there in the śāstra. We have to see whether a person is actually a bona fide agent of Kṛṣṇa. Then we accept him as guru. Otherwise, useless waste of time.”   

Again quoting from the Gurvaṣṭaka, Prabhupāda stressed that the guru is sākṣād hari, not different from the Lord. In the time of the British Rāja, he said, the viceroy was treated as if he were the king.Although he was a servant, but still, the honor was given to him just like the king. His dress was like king. He was given honor like king. Wherever he would go, he was received like the king. But he is not king. He does not say that ‘I am king,’ but his honor is like the king.” 

As he referenced the Śrī Śrī Gurvaṣṭaka prayers which we sing every morning for maṅgalaārati Śrīla Prabhupāda also reinforced the point by drawing upon the Śrī Guru vandanā, which we sing every morning for guru-pūjā. “You read this verse daily, vede gāya jāhāra carito. This is strictly according to the version of the Vedas . . . Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is singing, vede gāya yāhāra carita, and Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, he is also singing, sākṣāddharitvena samastaśāstraiḥ. So there is no difference.” 

Stressing the consistency of the message through the line of gurus, Prabhupāda cited a letter he received recently from a man claiming to have had some revelations. “Not that one ācārya will say, ‘I have seen’—socalled ācārya, not real ācārya—‘I have seen in dream.’ The other day the letter came? He has seen, realized in dream, nitāigaura rādheśyāma. This is not the process. Process is the śāstra, authority. Not that jugglery: ‘I have seen in dream. I have to become guru.’ No. Whether you are actually in terms of the śāstra? Whether actually you are dear to Kṛṣṇa, you are most confidential servant? That we have to test. 

“And what is the confidential servant of Kṛṣṇa? Everything is explained. Kṛṣṇa says, ya imaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ madbhakteṣv abhidhāsyati [Bg. 18.68]. What is that paramaṁ guhyam? Kṛṣṇa said that ‘You are My very dear friend. Therefore I am talking to you the most confidential part of knowledge.’ Is it not? What is that confidential part? Sarvadharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]: ‘Give up everything. Simply surrender unto Me.’ This is confidential knowledge. Jñāna, karma, yoga, this will not help. It will take some time. You can waste your time in that way—you are at liberty—but real dharma is that ‘You fully surrender unto Me. Don’t talk nonsense.’ Arjuna was talking so many nonsense things. So Kṛṣṇa ultimately said, ‘My dear Arjuna, you are My confidential friend. Therefore I am asking you. You do this. Don’t waste your time. It will not help.’ ” 

Prabhupāda put great stress on the credentials of a genuine preacher of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, credentials he himself possesses to the highest degree. 

“So this confidential knowledge, one who preaches without any compromise, he is the confidential servant of Kṛṣṇa. There is no compromise. This is real religion. Kṛṣṇa says, na ca tasmād manuṣyeṣu kaścid me priyakṛttamaḥ [There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear—Bg. 18.69]. So this is the person who has received the authority to draw mercy water from the ocean of mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Sākṣāddharitvena samastaśāstraiḥ. And what Kṛṣṇa said five thousand years ago, the same thing Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, same thing. There was no change, as there was no change between the statement of Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura and Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. Sādhu śāstra. As śāstra, there is no change. Not that ‘Modernize. The śāstra should be changed.’ No. That is nonsense. That is not śāstra. Śāstra cannot be changed. ‘Circumstantially, it will be changed, seasonal changes.’ No. That is not śāstra. Śāstra means it is perpetual. What Kṛṣṇa said five thousand years ago or Kṛṣṇa said some forty millions of years ago to the sun god . . . Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1]. He says, ‘I am talking to you that purātanaṁ yogam.’ Not that ‘Because it has passed millions of years and now it is a different time, so I will have to change.’ No. He said, ‘I am talking to you that very old system.’ Is it not? Just see. The śāstra cannot be changed. God’s word cannot be changed. Then what will be the difference between God and ourself? He is always perfect. He is always perfect. What He said forty millions of years ago, what He said five thousand years ago, that is also correct up to date. That is śāstra. Not that ‘So many years have passed and it has become old. Now let us reform it and put it into new way.’ No. You can put the same thing in a new way, but you cannot change the principle. Sādhu śāstra guruvākya, tinete kariyā aikya. Śāstra is never changed. And the sādhu means who follows the śāstras. He is sādhu. He also does not change. Sādhu, śāstra. And guru? Guru means who follows the śāstra and sādhu. So there are three, the same. A guru will not change, that ‘It was spoken five thousand years ago. That is not applicable now. Now I am giving you something new, jugglery.’ He is useless. Sādhu śāstra guruvākya tinete kariyā aikya. Yaḥ śāstravidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma kārataḥ, na siddhim avāpnoti [He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination][Bg. 16.23]. These things are there. So the saṁsāra dāvānalalīḍhaloka, these eight stanzas of Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura are very important. We sing daily. That’s very good.” 

Prabhupāda developed the analogy of the fire even further. In a blazing fire, many creatures are destroyed, but the snakes especially suffer because they live on the ground and have no legs or wings with which to flee. “Other animals, they can . . . Nobody can escape, but they can try because they can go fast. But the snake . . . Similarly, when there is catastrophe in the world, the persons like snakes, cruel, envious, they suffer first, like a snake.” 

And just as snakes themselves suffer, Prabhupāda told us, they also like to cause suffering for others. “Cāṇakya Paṇḍita has said, sarpaḥ krūraḥ khalaḥ krūraḥ. There are two envious living entities, very dangerous. What are they? One is snake. And another? The man whose habit is like snake. Without any fault he will bite. Without any fault. So just like we are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So what is our fault? That we are trying to make men—no illicit sex, no gambling, no meateating, no intoxication, and they take it otherwise. They take, ‘It is very dangerous.’ Without any fault they are finding fault. This is snake. Sarpaḥ krūraḥ khalaḥ krūraḥ. No fault, but still faultfinding and giving us trouble. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita said, ‘This man snake is more dangerous than the animal snake.’Why? Now, mantrauśādhi vaṣaḥ sarpaḥ khalaḥ kena nivāryate: ‘You can subdue the snake by chanting a snake mantra or some drug, but this mansnake cannot be subdued.’ It is very, very dangerous.” 

It is due to these snake-like persons in the world that the work of the devotee is so hazardous, but in meeting that hazard, therein lies the glory. “So this is our position, and therefore a preacher devotee is so favorite to Kṛṣṇa. They have to meet actually dangerous persons, krūraḥ persons. Just see—Jesus Christ, what fault he had? He was preaching about God, and he was crucified. That is in your country, a very good example. Simply his fault was he was talking of God, that’s all, and he was crucified. So we have to meet. Our Nityānanda Prabhu, He also met that JagāiMādhāi. Of course, He delivered them. Nityānanda Prabhu is so kind that in spite of being stroken and blood came out from His head, still, He continued to say, ‘My dear friends, never mind you have injured Me. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.’ So the preaching is so difficult thing. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said, na ca tasmād manuṣyeṣu kaścid me priya kṛttamaḥ. It is not sitting idly, comfortably, and discussing Vedānta. No. It is not like that. Preaching practically. Practically meeting dangerous position because sympathetic—saṁsāra dāvānala, the whole world is in blazing fire. Paraduḥkhaduḥkhī. Vaiṣṇava is paraduḥkhaduḥkhī [distressed to see others in a distressed condition]. And that is his qualification. For him there is no difficulty. He’s quite all right. He’s under the protection of Kṛṣṇa. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati [Bg. 9.31]. So he has no danger personally. What danger there is? There is Kṛṣṇa. He is confident, and Kṛṣṇa protects him in all danger. But he is unhappy. He meets JagāiMādhāi class and faces all kinds of danger. Therefore he is the powerful, authorized agent of Kṛṣṇa. Thank you very much.” 

On that soul-stirring note, Śrīla Prabhupāda brought to an end his lecture series here in Vṛndāvana. He is indeed the modern day, powerful, authorized agent of Kṛṣṇa, who never compromises His message even in the midst of the upheavals of our technologically based civilization. The spiritual wisdom he delivers is the same no matter what the current cultural and social trends may be, and he is totally, transcendentally fixed on the absolute. As professor Kenny so nicely stated in his paper in describing Prabhupāda as the transparent via media, “Krishna lives through him. Hence, for the ISKCON devotee, to see Swami Bhaktivedanta is to see Krishna; to hear Swami Bhaktivedanta is to hear Krishna; to please Swami Bhaktivedanta is to please Krishna and to worship Swami Bhaktivedanta is to worship God. In short ‘the disciple should accept the spiritual master as God because he is the external manifestation of Kṛṣṇa.’ ” We are incalculably fortunate to have met him and accepted him as our guru and guide out of this all-consuming blaze of material life. 

The boys all lined up in front of Prabhupāda’s vyāsāsana for the last time, eager to glorify him by their chanting. As they loudly recited the prayers, Prabhupāda rewarded their enthusiasm with broad smiles and appreciation, throwing flowers over their heads and showering their hearts with Divine Grace. 

* * * 

Gargamuni Swami finally arrived today with one of the new Ambassadors. It is maroon colored, according to Prabhupāda’s choice, and Gargamuni has accoutered it with striking bright chrome fittings. Particularly impressive is a large chrome emblem of a tilaka sign that stretches up the full length of the engine bonnet. On the doors are engraved brass plaques announcing Śrīla Prabhupāda as the Founder-Ācārya of ISKCON, and the interior is done out, again in a deep maroon, with the most comfortable seating available. Altogether is it probably as close to luxury as you can get with an Indian-made car. Prabhupāda liked it and just after his afternoon nap took a ride down Chattikara road for about fifteen minutes just to try it out and give his final approval. 

After Gargamuni Mahārāja gave an upbeat report on the preaching in Māyāpur he produced the plans for our camp at the upcoming Kumbha-melā in Allahabad in January. We have secured a one-acre plot close to the governor’s camp, which will provide living facilities for several score devotees and life members, a large pandala, and a food distribution site. This is expected to be the biggest mela in many years and is said to be the most auspicious for 144 years. Every year there is a mela, every six years the Ardha-mela, and every twelve years the Kumbha-mela. This one is the twelfth of a cycle of twelve. Tens of millions of people are expected, and the government is making very elaborate preparations. Prabhupāda is keen to take advantage of the preaching opportunity; he informed Gargamuni that he will personally attend from the 10th of January until the end of the month. The devotees will stay for the duration of the mela, about one month. 

Gargamuni raised a problem, that even at this late date we still lack organizers. Prabhupāda immediately suggested to Gurudāsa Mahārāja that he get involved. He has no fixed service at present, and this is going to be a major preaching opportunity. Gurudāsa was enthusiastic and will now spend the next six weeks coordinating the efforts of our different temples and preparing for the arrival at the mela site of Śrīla Prabhupāda and the devotees.  

Prabhupāda also discussed with Gurudāsa and Gargamuni a plan he has for his rooms at Rādhā-Dāmodara temple. Although he has maintained paying the rent, even after going to the West in 1965, the sevaites are repeatedly agitating to get more money for the rooms. When Prabhupāda first brought his foreign disciples to India, they were staying there, but not since the opening of Krishna-Balaram Mandir. Prabhupāda is concerned that the sevaites may attempt to take them back and rent them out to someone else, and thus they will be lost. Since in India “possession is nine-tenths of the law” and it is very difficult for landlords to evict existing tenants, Prabhupāda told his two sannyāsis that he wants some of our devotees, preferably sannyāsis, to permanently occupy the rooms. He suggested that one or both of them should live there for some time. Rādhā-Dāmodara mahā prasādam should be offered daily to his picture in the rooms, and in addition they can also prepare offerings to Rādhā-Dāmodara and offer this prasādam to his picture. Both Gurudāsa and Gargamuni were enthusiastic, and Gurudāsa volunteered to begin this coming month. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda’s party is now confirmed to fly to Hyderabad on December 2nd. From there he will go to Wardha, Maharashtra, until December 20th, then to Bombay, and then on to Allahabad on January 10th. Bhagatjī will not be going with us. After several discussions between them, Śrīla Prabhupāda has eased the pressure on him. Bhagatjī is too attached to staying in Vṛndāvana, and because he does very valuable service here at Krishna-Balaram Mandir, Prabhupāda is not going to disturb him unnecessarily. He will therefore not go to the Hyderabad farm; nor will he be taking sannyāsa

* * * 

Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote to Gurukṛpa Swami to inform him of Bali Mardan’s appointment. “This letter is to inform you that I am sending Bali Mardan to Australia to act as GBC for Australia and New Zealand until the Mayapur festival next year. Now you may concentrate on Hawaii and Japan.” This is the third GBC there this year.  

Prabhupāda is following his established procedure now. Although he could of course simply make Bali Mardan the GBC and no one would object, he has made him only acting GBC and only until the next GBC annual meeting at the Māyāpur festival. If there are no objections, his appointment will then be ratified by the GBC body. 

* * * 

Prabhupāda held his final darśana in the temple this afternoon. As with every day since he has been here, Śrīla Prabhupāda relaxed in his rocking chair underneath the spreading arms of the tamal tree, enjoying the ambience of devotional culture under the all-auspicious gaze of Their Lordships Śrī Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma, Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi, and Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Śyāmasundara. Prem Yogi read aloud his Hindi translations of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, the boys performed kīrtana, and a good-sized crowd of onlookers sat on the steps of the sunken courtyard, simultaneously curious about and awed by this powerful servant of the Lord of Vṛndāvana, who has brought the whole world’s attention to this tiny village. The ‘foreign’ bhaktas at the iṁgrejī mandira— the ‘English temple’—are fast becoming the star attraction in Vṛndāvana, and Śrīla Prabhupāda the center of attraction. 

December 1st, 1976

Śrīla Prabhupāda set off for New Delhi at first light this morning, as is his usual preference. As he departed from his quarters, he walked up to the picture of his Guru Mahārājahanging on the wall in his darśana room and lightly touched his forehead to its base. Then to the lively strains of kīrtana and happy cries of the devotees and gurukula boys, he ensconced himself comfortably in his new car, which was waiting for him in the side alley with Jagadīśa, Gopāla Kṛṣṇa, and Gargamuni Mahārāja, who was driving. The rest of the party came in a second car. Śrīla Prabhupāda had initially decided that Pradyumna and family were not needed in Hyderabad and that they should remain in Vṛndāvana. He has repeatedly encouraged Pradyumna to remain here to teach in the gurukula. Pālikā, however, is not now coming, due to the persistence of her skin problems, so Prabhupāda decided that they should accompany him after all. Arundhatī will cook for him instead of Pālikā, and since she is also transcribing his nightly translations and commentaries on ŚrīmadBhāgavatam every day, she will be fully engaged. Pradyumna prabhu is editing the Sanskrit before the material is sent off to the BBT in Los Angeles. The BBT prefers that he travel with Śrīla Prabhupāda so that any questions can be dealt with directly and immediately before the manuscript comes to them, so it seems pragmatic to keep him and his wife on the party. 

Just before we set off, Śrīla Prabhupāda turned to Jagadīśa prabhu, who was sitting by his side in the back seat and said, “Now we are going to embark on a new phase of the movement.” He paused for a moment, leaving Jagadīśa hanging. Then he added soberly, “Varṇāśramadharma.” He is clearly hoping that something significant will be achieved in Hyderabad towards setting up a self-sufficient rural community based on the tenets of Bhagavadgītā.  

Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Pārtha-sārathi Mandira 

21A Feroz Gandhi Road 

Lajpat Nagar III 

After two and a half hours, Prabhupāda arrived to an enthusiastic welcome from devotees and well-wishers. After first taking darśana of Śrī Śrī Rādhā Pārthasārathi, he received guru-pūjā and then retired to his rooms for the rest of the day. 

* * * 

Hansadūta Swami and his bus party have just arrived back from Nepal. They will be driving south immediately and will meet up again with Śrīla Prabhupāda in Hyderabad. Bali Mardan prabhu has set off for Australia.  

Ṛṣabhadeva dāsa, the manager of Spiritual Sky Incense Company in Los Angeles, is also here on a business trip. He came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda as His Divine Grace was up on the roof taking his noon massage. Ṛṣabhadeva had several things to show him. A letter from Rāmesvara Swami along with some enclosures gave further information about the Los Angeles court case. Ṛṣabhadeva said that Kula-priya dāsī is suing her parents and the deprogrammers for $2,500,000, while the deprogrammers have taken to the streets handing out anti-Hare Kṛṣṇa pamphlets. After hearing all this, Prabhupāda said, “Yes, we shall fight them in the courts. They are stronger than us, but we shall just depend on Kṛṣṇa.” 

Ṛṣabhadeva also had with him the cover of the Change of Heart LP. Prabhupāda had already heard the music when Alex Kulik had arrived with a sample tape, but this was his first viewing of the artwork. It is an imaginative caricature of a caterpillar-type character rearing up on a twig, looking through a pair of old-fashioned spectacles at some smaller fairy-like persons flying all around him. The back of the cover shows a similar character but now with wings bursting out of his caterpillar skin. It was an obvious allusion to how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the allegorical subject of the album’s title and first song. It is meant to convey the idea of the conditioned soul becoming liberated. Ṛṣabhadeva explained that the illustration was done by a hired artist, who got the idea after listening to the song. Prabhupāda disliked it intensely. “Who will understand this?” he said sharply. “How will they get anything from this? This is impersonalism. This is not a change of heart; it is a change of body. Why they cannot use one of the pictures from our books? We have so many wonderful pictures.” It seems, however, that all the album covers are already printed. The artwork had not been sent to Śrīla Prabhupāda for approval but was presented to him only as a fait accompli and now cannot be changed except at great financial loss. Prabhupāda was not happy, but what is done is done. 

Ṛṣabhadeva also brought a prototype fibreglass mṛdaṅga shell. Several years ago Śrīla Prabhupāda advised the devotees in America to make drums from fibreglass or plastic, because the clay ones they were importing from India were always breaking. Now one of our artists, Īśāna dāsa, has succeeded in making a working replica. It looked good: strong and sturdy and not too heavy. Prabhupāda liked it, but unfortunately he could not hear it because the playing heads, which are detachable, had broken in transit on the way over.   

* * * 

Bhagavat-āśraya prabhu, who was made the new temple president just a couple of weeks ago so that Tejīyas can go to the Hyderabad farm, seems to be doing a good job. Devotees are enlivened, and the place is clean and organized. I spoke enthusiastically about his management this afternoon to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda looked up from behind his desk and asked simply, “Are the Deities effulgent?” 

I replied, “Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda, They are.”  

“Then everything is being managed all right,” he said, with a satisfied smile. 


The Manifestation of A. C. Bhaktivedanta

As Swami, Guru And Avatar

Prof. J. Frank Kenny 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock 

Presented to A. A. R, 1976 

This paper is concerned with the precise mode of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s “avatārhood,” or, to phrase it differently, how the swami manifests God. In my estimation, the history of ISKCON in America reveals a three-stage development corresponding to three roles played by the swami. 

The beginning period (1966–1967) is characterized by Swami Bhaktivedanta in the role of “swami,” that is, “one who is in control of his senses” and his conversion of “freaks” from drugs to Krishna Consciousness. A second period, the organizational (1968–1970), is best understood in terms of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s role as “guru” (spiritual teacher) and his training of novice-devotees in Krishna Consciousness. Finally, the missionary period, beginning in 1970, witnesses the spiritual master in the role of “avatār” (God with us) commissioning the full-fledged devotees, now “swamis” themselves, to preach Krishna Consciousness throughout the world. This growth of the spiritual master from “swami” (individual role) to “guru” (social role) to “avatār” (cosmic role) represents successive stages of revelatory perfection. In the final stage (avatār), the spiritual master is seen as the perfect revealer, the “transparent via medium,” of God (Krishna) on earth. This view of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s life and mission as the progressive manifestation of Krishna is not unique in the Gauḍīya–Vaishnava tradition. Rather, evidence suggests that this model has been paradigmatic for the spiritual masters of the sect since Caitanya, the fifteenth century founder of the movement in Bengal. 

Swami Bhaktivedanta (ne Abhay Charan De) was born of a middle class Vaishnava family in Calcutta on September 1, 1896.1 As an undergraduate at the University of Calcutta, De became an ardent nationalist and follower of Gandhi. Upon graduation, he married and took a position with a chemical company in Calcutta. In 1933, De became an initiated disciple of Swami Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, whose father, Swami Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur, was the founder of a modern sect of Bengal Vaishnava–Krishna worshippers inspired by the fifteenth century Bengali saint, Caitanya. 

Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, shortly before his death in 1936, is said to have commissioned De to propagate the teachings of Krishna Consciousness in English and De took a vow to that effect. He began to fulfill his vow in 1944 with the publication of an English language newspaper, called Back to Godhead which he wrote, edited and published himself. When he began to hold devotional meetings at home his wife objected. Further, his wife refused to allow their children to be instructed in Vaishnavism. De’s domestic difficulties were compounded by unavoidable business reverses “and so, in 1959, Śrīla Prabhupāda (an honorific of Swami Bhaktivedanta) took ‘sannyāsa’ and left home, assuming the name ‘Swami Bhaktivedanta.’ ”2 For more than five years, Swami Bhaktivedanta lived and worked alone at the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple in Vṛndāvana. Then, in 1965, he arrived in America as the guest of an Indian friend in Butler, Pennsylvania. By September of the same year, he was in New York chanting the Krishna mantra in Thomkins Square Park. 

The semi–official biographies of Swami Bhaktivedanta emphasize that the swami’s vow to spread Krishna Consciousness in the English-speaking countries of the West is the pivotal event of his life. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, it is claimed, was referring to Swami Bhaktivedanta when, in 1896, he predicted that “a personality will soon appear to preach the teachings of Lord Caitanya and move unrestrictedly over the whole world with his message.”3 Although Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī founded sixty–four Gauḍīya Maṭhas (Caitanya-Vaishnava centers) throughout the world, the one who best fulfills Bhaktivinoda’s prophecy, we are told, is Swami Bhaktivedanta. With the death of Bhaktisiddhānta: 

“The stage had now been set for that great personage who would actually fulfill the prophecy of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura by expanding the vigorous initial efforts of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and boldly preaching the teachings of Lord Caitanya all over the world.”4     

The Krishna Consciousness movement itself is seen as the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Caitanya “that the chanting of the holy names of God, Hare Krishna, would be carried to every town and village of the world.”5           


The first two years of the Krishna Consciousness movement in America saw Swami Bhaktivedanta functioning in the composite role of missionary–parent–therapist–friend–swami to a score of young Americans disillusioned with “the system” and searching for ultimate experience via drugs. The early devotees’ impression of the swami as “ācārya” that is “one who teaches by example” and their subsequent conversion from drugs to Krishna Consciousness is the most significant fact of this period. The elements of the conversion process were invariably the same: (1) an intimate and personal encounter with the swami; (2) the recognition of Bhaktivedanta as “swami-ācārya,” that is, as one whose life reflected purpose, peace, self-discipline and truth; and (3) gradual attachment to the swami and his mission with coincidental detachment from drugs and previous life styles. 

The first issue of the American version of Back To Godhead, the movement’s magazine, dated October 23, November 6, 1966, reveals the early community as a close-knit family haunted by the spectre of drugs yet struggling to realize a new identity and discover new purpose. Swami Bhaktivedanta is referred to as “A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami” or more affectionately as “swamiji.” Krishna Consciousness is presented as a cure for drug addiction as well as the only true “high.” The swami recommends thinking of Krishna whenever the mind tempts one to take LSD.6 And Hayagrīva dās (ne Howard Wheeler), a devotee and co-editor, explains salvation in terms analogous to the drug experience: 

“That final flip has been called liberation by the Hindus, nirvana by the Buddhists, and salvation by the Christians. Though concepts differ as to what the flip is to, the end result seems pretty much the same. There’s no return. Or, to use the language of the American LSD ‘hippies’: ‘no more bring-downs.’ ”7  

And the simplest way to “flip out without coming down,” continues Hayagrīva dās, “is the recitation of the Krishna mantra.”8  

The background and conversion experience of Hayagrīva dās himself illustrates the passage from an aimless life of drugs to a disciplined religious life in Krishna Consciousness. Swami Bhaktivedanta, in his role as “swami-ācārya,” is the medium and catalyst. Hayagrīva dās describes his life prior to meeting the swami as follows: 

“For the past two or three years, like so many downtown New Yorkers in their twenties, we had been reading books on Eastern philosophy and religion, burning lots of candles and incense and taking ganja, peyote and LSD as aids to meditation. Actually it was more intoxication than meditation; meditation was a euphemism that somehow connected our highs with our readings.”9  

By August of that first year (1966), Hayagrīva dās and some ten other men, including his friend and roommate Kirtanānanda dās (ne Keith Ham), were attending early morning classes at a storefront which the swami had rented on Second Avenue. “None of us had ever gotten up before ten or eleven in the morning,” confesses Hayagrīva dās, “but the magnetism of Śrīla Prabhupāda drew us out of our dark Mott street dens at 6:30.” Hayagrīva dās further relates how, at that early hour, he would walk briskly to the storefront “chanting Hare Krishna and feeling better than ever.”10  His conversion from drugs, he recalls, took place after a typical evening meeting: 

“After the last kirtana (chant), I went up to Śrīla Prabhupāda and began to question him. ‘Have you heard of LSD?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he said. 

“ ‘It’s a psychedelic drug that comes like a pill, and if you take it you can get religious ecstasies. Do you think that that can help my spiritual life?’ 

“ ‘You don’t need to take anything for your spiritual life,’ he told me. ‘Your spiritual life is already here.’ I agreed with him immediately.’ ”11  

Swami Bhaktivedanta was the perfect therapist. He never rebuked his charges and seemed to have an infinite store of patience. He also functioned as surrogate parent, friend and confidant. Hayagrīva dās recalls that in the beginning: “he (Swami Bhaktivedanta) was a sage, grandfather, spiritual master and favorite uncle all rolled into one.”12  

It was largely due to Swami Bhaktivedanta’s example, and sense of mission, we are told, that the early devotees were gradually weaned from drugs. Hayagrīva dās claims that for a good part of that first year: 

“There were some of us who were still walking around in a marijuana stupor, but he (Śrīla Prabhupāda) had a way of snapping us out of this quickly without ever chastising us. Somehow or other he whipped us into shape without our ever knowing it … It wasn’t that he simply took away our sex and drugs. This would not have been possible. Rather, he engaged us in something sublime … he exhorted us to go out and spread the message of Krishna Consciousness.”13  


In August, 1968, the Krishna Consciousness movement purchased one hundred and thirty–three acres of farm and woodland near Wheeling, West Virginia and founded New Vṛndāvana.14 In my view, the creation of New Vṛndāvana is a turning point in the movement’s history because it symbolizes the development from an informal, storefront commune to a disciplined, formal, Vaishnava–Gauḍīya Maṭha monastic community. 

The beginning period (1966-1968) witnessed individual conversions of freaks in a loosely structured community. Swami Bhaktivedanta was a patient, often indulgent father to sincere but confused converts who readily identified Krishna with Christ and spoke of Vasudeva and Walt Whitman in the same breath.15 By contrast, the period from 1968 to 1970 saw the transformation from a ‘walk-in,’ storefront commune to a ‘live-in,’ Vaishnava temple–monastery with its monastic discipline, Vaishnava ritual, Krishna mythology and certain Bengal cultural mores of food, dress, etc. The freak convert of the earlier period became the novice–devotee. No longer was Swami Bhaktivedanta addressed familiarly as “swamiji.” He now assumed the honorific “Śrīla Prabhupāda” reflecting his new, formal role as “guru.” Other indications of this process of Indianization included the exclusive use of assumed names as well as Sanskritization. 

In my view, this development from storefront to “maṭha” was foreshadowed as early as 1966 in an incident described by Hayagrīva dās. He and several others decided to decorate the storefront on Second Avenue with paintings, rugs and silks he had brought back from India. The decorations included an elevated dais for Swami Bhaktivedanta. Hayagrīva dās describes the sequel as follows: 

“That night, when Śrīla Prabhupāda walked in to begin kīrtan, he looked at the newly decorated temple and showed surprise. ‘Ah, you are advancing,’ he said. ‘This is very nice. This is Krishna Consciousness.’ ” 

“He then sat up on the dais … Some of the hyper-critical took exception to the dais, to the fact that Śrīla Prabhupāda was elevated and some others, being reminded of the Catholic or some other organized church, resented the temple decorations … These fears were dispelled, however, at ‘kīrtana’ when Śrīla Prabhupāda taught us how to dance.”16  

This incident marked Swami Bhaktivedanta’s elevation from “swami-ācārya” (father and friend) to “guru” and spiritual master. The swami was being elevated above others and some objected. However, the objections ceased once the swami began to function in the formal role of guru, spiritual master and teacher by instructing in the ritual dance.17  

This transformation of the movement at this time is best seen in the swami’s vision of New Vṛndāvana as a model, self-sufficient, “transcendental” community where devotees could live completely divorced from any contact with corruptive, materialistic American society as a whole. Swami Bhaktivedanta described New Vṛndāvana as “the first community in the West dedicated to Krishna consciousness living” and envisioned the emergence of a new people: 

“There will be a new growth of superior population. They will not be like cats and dogs, but will actually be demigods. ‘Demigod’ means devotee of Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. And ‘asura’ (demon) means non-devotee … This demonic civilization is actually killing the human race … So one of the major advantages of the New Vrindaban is that it is out of contact with the asuric civilization.”18  

Separation from the “asuric” civilization even extended to a prohibition against taking outside jobs as well as employing modern, industrial machinery. “The Vrindaban conception,” explained the swami, “is that of a transcendental village, without any of the botheration of the modern industrial atmosphere.”19  

New Vṛndāvana would be “transcendental” in that it would be a recreation of the Vedic village where Krishna sported with the “gopis” (milkmaid companions of Krishna) five thousand years ago. It would be “a replica of Vrindaban.” People in the bona fide divisions of society, namely “brahmacārīs” (celibate students), “gṛhasthas” (householders), “vānaprasthas” (the retired) and “sannyāsīs” (renounced holy men), “will live independently, completely depending on agricultural produce and milk from the cows.”20  One of the objectives of New Vṛndāvana would be the protection of the cow “primarily as a symbol of man’s yearning for God.”21  In the new Vedic community work roles would be assigned according to traditional Vedic injunctions. “The women’s business,” we are told, “will be to take care of the children, to cook, to clean and to churn butter, and, for those who have the knowledge, to help in typing.”22  

More importantly, New Vṛndāvana would stand as a model to the outside world of the true nature of human civilization: 

“In New Vrindaban we should live in such an ideal way that people will learn what life and what human civilization actually are.”23  

The role of Swami Bhaktivedanta in the new society is clearly stated in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Handbook of 1970. Swami Bhaktivedanta is spiritual master and “guru”: 

“As spiritual master, Bhaktivedanta Swami is the last recourse and the ultimate standard of Kṛṣṇa consciousness … He himself resides in no one place, but travels from center to center and regularly lectures. The spiritual master is responsible for his devotees … his order is to be taken as one’s life and soul … therefore honor the spiritual master with the honor due to God because the ‘guru’ is the transparent via media (sic) or representative of God.”24  

Here and throughout the literature of this period, Swami Bhaktivedanta is viewed within the context of the guru–disciple relationship. 

New Vṛndāvana, the “guru” role of Swami Bhaktivedanta, the disciple role of the ISKCON devotee—all suggested a novitiate in which the movement sought to train its membership and formalize its discipline in preparation for the world mission. Not surprisingly the 1970 Handbook, in its introduction, emphasizes the training of the membership as its primary goal: 

“The goal of the society’s members is to attain love of God by following the principles of bhakti-yoga … and to spread love of God to all people.” 

THE MISSIONARY PERIOD (1971 to present) 

Since 1971, the ISKCON movement has gradually moved away from the isolationist position symbolized by New Vṛndāvana to one of engagement and confrontation with the traditional values of American society. Far from replacing the “asuric civilization,” there is a growing tendency to work “within the system.” The world view which characterized the New Vṛndāvana state—namely, the separation of the elect from the larger, demonic culture which, in this age of “Quarrel,” is doomed to destruction—is now seen in tension with a more optimistic view of society’s chances. The new view suggests the possibility of “peace and prosperity of the whole world society should all men become Krishna Conscious.”25 This ideological change is evidenced by certain tensions between the New Vṛndāvana community on the one hand and the city temples on the other.26 In the more recent literature of ISKCON New Vṛndāvana is no longer referred to as the transcendental, Vedic model of an entire civilization but rather more modestly as “the Hare Krishna movement’s model agricultural community established to show that one can live with simply a cow and some land.”27  

The focus has now shifted to the city temples which of late have become increasingly involved with the social, political and economic concerns of the society at large. Significantly, the present period has witnessed the development within ISKCON of specific social programs and business ventures28  as well as a political party.29  Additional indications of such involvement have been the tendency within ISKCON to employ given as well as assumed names, the demythologization of sacred language in favor of current, socio-political rhetoric and most recently the doffing of tradition Indian garb in favor of modern Western dress. 

In my view, the changing role of Swami Bhaktivedanta reflects these changes in the movement. As ISKCON has become more cosmopolitan, the role of Swami Bhaktivedanta has expanded to cosmic proportions. No longer is Swami Bhaktivedanta simply another “guru” with a mission restricted to the “English–speaking world.” He is now revealed as “avatār,” that is, as the sole, perfect manifestation of God (Krishna) for our world. 

The full manifestation of the swami as “avatār” was presaged as early as 1966 by an incident that took place at a morning lecture. When someone asked Swami Bhaktivedanta about the significance of initiation, the swami answered: “Initiation means you accept a spiritual master and agree to worship him as God.” Hayagrīva dās recalls the devotees’ reaction: 

“There was a stunned, thoughtful silence. Śrīla Prabhupāda sat very still … awaiting further questions. When there were none, he got up and walked out. After he was gone, I turned to Wally. Everyone suddenly started talking at once. Wally shook his head. ‘My mind’s just been blown,’ he said.”30  

Later Hayagriva dās and Wally pursued the matter with the swami:  

“ ‘Does that mean you’re supposed to recognize the spiritual master as God?’ I asked. 

“ ‘That means he is due all the respect of God, being God’s representative,’ he said calmly and simply. 

“ ‘Then he’s not God.’ 

“ ‘No,’ he said, ‘God is God. The spiritual master is His representative. As such, he is as good as God because he can deliver God to the sincere disciple.’ ”31  

The hesitancy among the 1966 devotees to confess the swami as God stands in sharp contrast to recent unequivocal assertions such as the following: 

“We are preaching slavery, divine slavery. Every country of the world has a scheme for enjoyment—communism, socialism, democracy or whatever—but they are all trying to have enjoyment independent of the Supreme Lord. We are preaching that slavery is much more blissful than a false sense of independence. What the ‘guru’ says, we do. But he is perfect. To be a slave of perfection—that is ecstatic life.”32  

In explaining precisely how the swami can be “as good as God” and yet “not god,” ISKCON literature employs the technical term “transparent via medium.” The concept of “transparent via medium” does not mean that the swami is “avatār” understood as a personal incarnation or manifestation of Krishna himself, such as Caitanya was. But, as the swami explains, other forms of manifestation are possible: 

“Sometimes he (Krishna) descends personally, and sometimes He sends his bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant, or Himself in some disguised form.”33  

According to Krishna Consciousness belief, Swami Bhaktivedanta is “avatār” understood as Krishna’s one and only, bona fide representative for our world, “the transparent via medium between the infinite God and the finite soul” with a world mission to arouse Kṛṣṇa Consciousness everywhere.”34  

In my view, the term “transparent via medium” reflects the swami’s progressional manifestation in three stages: (1) “medium” indicates the initial “swami” stage of Bhaktivedanta as “sannyasin” and as one in control of his senses; (2) “via” refers to the “guru” stage of the swami as teacher; and (3) “transparent” reflects the present, “avatār” status of the swami as a manifestation of God. 

Firstly, the swami mediates God because he has achieved such perfect control of his senses that he is pure “spirit soul” no longer a separate self but rather “part and parcel of the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa”35  

Secondly, the swami’s role as “guru” which is expressed by the term “via” in the formula, indicates a deeper level of manifestation. Swami Bhaktivedanta is not one divine medium among many. He is not simply another guru. He is the guru for our time and as such, the only genuine teacher of God’s revelation for our world.36  Swami Bhaktivedanta is the modern teacher of the salvific message revealed by the original guru, Krishna, and faithfully passed down by disciplic succession (guru-paramparā). In effect, there is but one guru, Krishna, and a disciplic line of faithful transmitters, the present transmitter being Swami Bhaktivedanta.37 While Krishna speaks directly through the scriptures (e.g. the Bhagavad-gītā) such teaching can be correctly interpreted only by Swami Bhaktivedanta as the modern disciplic successor.38  Nor is it possible to speak directly to Krishna. “The process,” explains the swami, “is that we first surrender to Kṛṣṇa’s representative; then we surrender to Kṛṣṇa.”39 In effect, there is no salvation for the present generation outside of surrender to Swami Bhaktivedanta as teacher and revealer of Krishna’s salvific word. “Surrender” involves an initiation rite in which the disciple vows to obey the orders of the swami.40  “There is no difference,” explains the swami, “between Kṛṣṇa’s instruction and our instruction.”41  

But it is imprecise and possibly misleading to speak of “surrender to Swami Bhaktivedanta,” for, in the last analysis, one does not surrender to the swami but rather one surrenders to Krishna through the swami. This, I believe, is the import of the term “transparent.” In ISKCON belief, Swami Bhaktivedanta is no longer “Swami Bhaktivedanta,” an individual entity, but rather, “Prabhupāda,” that is, “he who ḥas taken the position of the Lord.”42 He is a transparency, an instrument, a pure medium. He himself no longer lives but Krishna lives through him. Hence, for the ISKCON devotee, to see Swami Bhaktivedanta is to see Krishna; to hear Swami Bhaktivedanta is to hear Krishna; to please Swami Bhaktivedanta is to please Krishna and to worship Swami Bhaktivedanta is to worship God.43 In short, “the disciple should accept the spiritual master as God because he is the external manifestation of Kṛṣṇa.”44   

Thus, the concept of “transparent via medium” defines precisely the mode of Swami Bhaktivedanta’s avatār-hood. While NOT the fullness of divinity, he is the only medium of God’s presence and the only source of God’s salvific grace for our world. Swami Bhaktivedanta may not be God but he is the only way to God and as such, “as good as God.” 

In sum, this paper has attempted to show the following: (1) that the history of ISKCON in America suggests three stages of development corresponding to three roles played by its founder, Swami Bhaktivedanta, namely, those of “swami,” “guru,” and “avatār”; (2) that these three roles represent a growth process of divine manifestation the mode of which is defined by the term “transparent via medium”; and (3) the term “transparent via medium” means that, although Swami Bhaktivedanta is not God Himself, he is “as good as God” since God chooses to reveal Himself to our world solely through the person and teaching of Swami Bhaktivedanta. 


 1  To date there is no official biography of Swami Bhaktivedanta. The present material has been taken from the semi-official biography in Teachings of Lord Caitanya by Swami Bhaktivedanta, New York: ISKCON Press, 1968, p. xiii, as well as numerous issues of Back To Godhead, the movement’s magazine. 

 2  Back To Godhead, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 11. The name “Bhaktivedanta” means “Perfection of Devotion.” The swami’s disciples refer to him as “Śrīla Prabhupāda,” “Śrīla” meaning “Lord” and “Prabhupāda” meaning “one at whose feet many masters sit” an honorific conferred on the swami by his early disciples (cf. Back To Godhead, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 13) 

 3  Ibid.,  No. 68, p, 9. 

 4  Ibid.,  Vol. 10, No. l, pp. 9–10. 

 5  Ibid.,  No. 29, p. 1. 

 6  Ibid.,  No. 1, p. 8. 

 7  Ibid.,  No. 1, p. 19. 

 8  Ibid., No. 1, p. 26. Elsewhere it is explained that “by chanting and by engagement in the service of Krishna, anyone who takes part will experience the state of ‘Samadhi,’ ecstatic absorption in God consciousness, 24 hours a day!” (Ibid., No. 29, p. 1) 

 9  “Ibid., No. 46, p. 14. A similar background is recorded by another early devotee, Satsvarūpa dās: “I graduated from Brooklyn College in 1961, spent two years on an aircraft carrier in the Navy, and subsequently returned to the New York City’s Lower East Side and its LSD, marijuana and ‘free’ sex.” (Ibid., No. 45, p. 16) 

 10  Ibid., No. 46, p. 25. Satsvarūpa dās recalls that “morning classes at the storefront began at 6 A.M.” and that he used to go to work chanting on his beads (ibid., No. 45, p. 18) 

 11  Ibid., No. 46, p. 15.  

 12  Ibid., No. 51, p. 11. 

 13  Ibid., No. 47, p. 35. One example of the swami’s exhortation is contained in the first issue of Back To Godhead (p. 13): “A man in Krishna Consciousness does not walk around in a fog but does his work well, and with the touch of an expert.” 

 14  Named after Vṛndāvana (also transliterated as “Vrindaban”), a city some ninety miles southeast of New Delhi and, according to Krishna Consciousness, “the place in India where Kṛṣṇa performed his transcendental pastimes when he appeared in the world 5,000 years ago” (ibid., No. 48, p. 14) 

 15  The “bhakti-yoga” (devotional) method of “spiritual foods, dancing, singing, chanting the praises of the Supreme Lord, study of the Bhagavad–gītā and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam,” we are told, “boasts such illustrious adherents as Brahmā, Shiva, Luxmi, Kumara, Nārada, Vyāsadeva … and Swami Bhaktivedanta in the East, and in the West, many of the Christian saints, St. Augustine, Meister Eckhart, Socrates, Plotinus, St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, William Blake and Whitman.” (Ibid., No. 1, p. 3) 

 16  Ibid., No. 47, p. 32. Equally spontaneous, it appears, was the introduction of deity worship (cf., Back To Godhead, Vol. 10, No. 7, p. 7) 

 17  Swami Bhaktivedanta distinguishes this sacred dance from profane dance as follows: “This dancing is not the dancing of dogs; it is a dance of feeling. Those who are dancing are actually understanding God and feeling their relationship with God. Therefore, their dancing is not ordinary, it is a dance of love of God” (ibid., Vol. 10, No. 7, p. 5) 

 18  Ibid., No. 29, p. 14. Another term, “non-Aryan civilization” is often used interchangeably with “asuric civilization” and is defined as “a civilization based on the ideas of bodily sense gratification” (ibid., No. 29, p. 26) 

 19  The Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Handbook, Boston, Mass: ISKCON Press, 1970, p. 37. This is not a condemnation of technology per se but rather technology devoid of religion, i.e., Krishna Consciousness. According to the swami, “when there is poverty, when there is scarcity, one should know that it is not due to overpopulation; it is due to godlessness. In India they are thinking that technology will save them. But technology will not save them … they have killed their own culture of God consciousness.” (Back To Godhead, No. 37, p. 7). Yet there is a definite preference for simple, primitive techniques and equipment over modern machinery (cf. Cintāmani, A Journal of New Vṛndāvana, No. 3, Oct–Nov 1973)  

 20  Ibid., p. 37. “If there are sufficient grains and sufficient production of milk,” explains the swami, “then the whole economic problem is solved. You do not require any machines, cinemas, hotels, slaughterhouses, brothels, nightclubs—all these modern amenities” (ibid., p. 38) 

 21  Ibid., p. 35. Elsewhere Kirtanānanda dās explains: “The cow takes what we can’t eat—grass, and gives us the most valuable food, milk. Practically, this milk is necessary for Spiritual Culture. Milk creates finer brain tissue which allows us to think upon self realization” (Cintāmani, A Journal of New Vṛndāvana, No. 3)  

 22  Back To Godhead. No. 29, p. 14 

 23  Ibid., No. 29, p. 14  

 24  The Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Handbook, Boston, Mass: ISKCON Press, 1970, p. 10 

 25  Back To Godhead, No. 57, p. 5 

 26  In the form of an interview, Vahna das questions Kirtanānanda dās, the president of New Vṛndāvana and raises the following points: (1) the New Vṛndāvana community has been criticized by other devotees for not performing street Sankirtan (chanting and dancing); (2) the New Vṛndāvana community “has come under some criticism for attracting devotees away from other temples.” Kirtanānanda dās replies as follows: (1) Swami Bhaktivedanta has two missions. One is door-to-door, street preaching. But Swami Bhaktivedanta is also “sending us here to Vrindavana to reconstruct the transcendental places of pilgrimage.” Activities such as “sawing wood” and “milking cows” are just as conducive to spiritual advancement as “street” work. “There is nothing inherent in distributing magazines,” contends Kirtanānanda dās, “that is spiritually uplifting”; (2) Kirtanānanda dās does not approve of trying to attract devotees from other temples but should a devotee, for whatever reason, leave another temple and come to New Vṛndāvana, he will not be turned away. (Cintāmani, A Journal of New Vṛndāvana, No. 3.) 

 27  Back To Godhead, No. 60, p. 14 

 28  For specific social programs, cf. the article by Visnujana Swami “portraying major problems in all levels of society and illustrating their solutions through Kṛṣṇa Consciousness” (Back To Godhead, No. 46, p. 9). The major business venture of the movement is an incense factory which manufactures “Spiritual Sky Scented Products.” 

 29  In 1974 six members of ISKCON met in Nashville, Tennessee and formed a new political party called the “In God We Trust Party.” The first issue of the party’s organ, “The New World Harmonist” (Feb. 16, 1974) stated that the party’s main objective was to provide “purified leadership” for America. Though short-lived the party did manage to enter a devotee–candidate, William Harrison Ogle, in the 1973 Atlanta, Georgia mayoral campaign. Mr. Ogle lost. 

 30  Back To Godhead, No. 51, p. 11 

 31  Ibid., No. 51, p. 11 

 32  Thus His Holiness Acyutānanda Swami in Back To Godhead, No. 68 p.19. Devotional poetry addressed to Swami Bhaktivedanta is not uncommon. For example, a poem by Uttara Dāsī reads: 

“I therefore offer this humble prayer  

That Srila Prabhupada make my faith strong;  

He is the sun; illuminating all:  

Go back to Godhead, back where you belong.”  

(Ibid., No. 29, p. 22) 

 33  Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, by Swami Bhaktivedanta, New York: Collier Books, 1972, p. 225. 

 34  Back To Godhead, No. 37, p. 12. The term “transparent via medium” means “God’s representative” (The Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Handbook, p. 10). “The spiritual master acts as a via medium between ourselves, who are contaminated by our association with matter, and Kṛṣṇa, God” (Back To Godhead, No. 37, p. 12) 

 35  Ibid., No. 37, p. 14 

 36  Swami Bhaktivedanta explains the unique nature of his guru–hood as follows: “The ‘Vedas’ enjoin us to seek out a guru; actually, they say to seek out the guru, not just a guru. The guru is one because he comes in disciplic succession. What Vyāsadeva and Kṛṣṇa taught 5,000 years ago is also being taught now. There is no difference between the two instructions” (ibid., Vol. 10, No. 8, pp. 4–5). That Swami Bhaktivedanta is the present successor, an implication of ISKCON belief, has been stated explicitly. For example, Doctor Kapoor’s claims that Swami Bhaktivedanta is “the most prominent spiritual master today” and that “he (Swami Bhaktivedanta) has inherited the mantle of Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī” are quoted with approval (cf. ibid., No. 48, p. 14). 

 37  The line of disciplic succession includes the following major figures: Krishna, Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Arjuna, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Caitanya, Swami Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur, Swami Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and Swami Bhaktivedanta (cf. Back To Godhead, Vol. 10, No. 8, p. 5) 

 38  Ibid., No. 63, p. 6. Further, according to the swami, “the spiritual master is confirmed by the scripture and the scripture is exemplified in the life of the saintly person (spiritual master)” ibid. , No. 48, p. 14 

 39  Ibid., Vol. 10, No. 8, p. 6 

 40  Ibid., No. 63, p. 6 

 41  Elsewhere the swami explains that “it is not he (the spiritual master) who is speaking. He is just an instrument. The real speaker is the: Supreme Personality of Godhead who is both within and without.” (The Perfection of Yoga by Swami Bhaktivedanta, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1972, P. 6) 

 42  Back To Godhead, Vol. 10, No. 8, p. 6. More precisely, in the swami’s view, “God is the worshipable God, and guru is the worshiper God (sevā-bhagavān)” ibid., Vol. 10, No. 8, p. 6. Note that the honorific “Prabhupāda,” which earlier meant simply “one at whose feet masters sit” (cf. note 2) now reflects the fullness of the swami’s avatārhood. 

 43  Ibid., No. 63, p. 5. Regarding worship, the swami maintains that “the disciple’s duty is to offer respect to the guru just as he offers respect to God” (ibid., Vol. 10, No. 8, p. 6) 

 44  The Nectar of Devotion by Swami Bhaktivedanta, Boston: ISKCON Press, 1970, p. 59. The swami frequently equates the guru with God. For example, he categorically states: “the guru should be accepted as God. That is the injunction of all ‘śāstra’ ” (Back To Godhead, No. 63, p. 5) and quotes with approval Śrīmad_Bhāgavatam 1.7.22 wherein Krishna says: 

“My dear Uddhava, the spiritual master must be accepted not only as My representative but as My very Self.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Boston: ISKCON Press, 1970, p. 59)