Haridāsa Ṭhākura constructed a cottage in a solitary forest. There he planted a tulasī plant, and in front of the tulasī he would chant the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily. He chanted throughout the entire day and night.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport :
Haridāsa Ṭhākura, being the ācārya of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, is called Nāmācārya Haridāsa Ṭhākura. From his personal example we can understand that chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and becoming highly elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very simple. Without difficulty one can sit down anywhere, especially on the bank of the Ganges, Yamunā or any other sacred river, devise a sitting place or cottage, plant a tulasī tree, and before the tulasī chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra undisturbed.
Haridāsa Ṭhākura used to chant the holy name on his beads 300,000 times daily. Throughout the entire day and night, he would chant the sixteen names of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. One should not, however, imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura, for no one else can chant the holy name 300,000 times a day. Such chanting is for the mukta-puruṣa, or liberated soul. We can follow his example, however, by chanting sixteen rounds of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra on beads every day and offering respect to the tulasī plant. This is not at all difficult for anyone, and the process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra with a vow before the tulasī plant has such great spiritual potency that simply by doing this one can become spiritually strong. Therefore we request the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to follow Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s example rigidly. Chanting sixteen rounds does not take much time, nor is offering respects to the tulasī plant difficult. The process has immense spiritual potency. One should not miss this opportunity.
There have been some small realisations in my brief spiritual journey but nothing compares to what mercy and reciprocation which any fallen soul could have imagined to receive from Tulasi Maharani. Serving her seems to like a direct service in the spiritual world. It has been an amazing journey for me.
Few months back I saw Vrinda Devi’s picture in the room of HG Srimati Mataji. After the class I gathered some courage and uttered how I share a special bond with the same deity of Vrinda Devi. I then hesitatingly asked Mataji what can I do to please her. Srimati Mataji’s impromptu and immediate reply- sing Vrinda ashtakam daily. Happy with her instruction, I came back home and searched for the same over internet. I had never heard it before and found that it was written by, no surprise here, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Then I searched again to find in what tune to sing it, in what looked difficult words to me. From that day onward I am singing it daily to her. I liked the very first tune I heard, below is the video of the same.
Amazingly within a few weeks of singing Vrinda Ashtakam a merciful devotee brought her framed picture for our Altar when they visited Vrinda Devi temple in Nandagaon (Vrindavana). And it was the perfect size for my altar, I was simply over the moon!
Here is the Sri Vrinda Devi Ashtakam which I request all sincere devotees to kindly sing daily for the pleasure of Tulasi Maharani. We can then pray her sincerely to please inspire us in our heart on how to serve her properly and then wait for the magical reciprocation!
Sri Vrinda Devi Ashtakam
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
You are bathed by streams of splendor that rebuke gold, lightning, and the campaka flower. Your splendid garments are friend to the bandhuka flower. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
Your face is splendid with a pearl decorating the tip of Your nose and a wonderful gentle smile on Your bimba-fruit lips. You are decorated with wonderful jewel ornaments. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
Vrsabhanu’s daughter Radha made you guardian of Krishna’s opulent and auspicious abode of Vrndavana, the crest jewel of all Vaikuntha planets. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
By Your order the groves where Madhava enjoys pastimes are splendidly decorated with blossoming flowers, bumble-bees, deer, honey, and other things. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
tvat-saubhagam kena nirucyatam tad
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
Because you became Their messenger the eager and youthful divine couple enjoyed the perfection of transcendental pastimes in the forest. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
rasabhilaso vasatis ca vrnda-
labhya ca pumsam krpaya tavaiva
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
By your mercy people attain residence in Vrndavana, the desire to serve your masters’ lotus feet, and the desire to assist in the rasa dance. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
tvam kirtyase satvata-tantra-vidbhir
lilabhidhana kila krishna-saktih
tavaiva murtis tulasi nr-loke
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
They who are learned in the Satvata-tantra glorify you. You are Krishna’s pastime-potency. The Tulasi plant is your form in the world of men. O Vrnda, I bow to your lotus feet.
bhaktya vihina aparadha-laksaih
ksiptas ca kamadi-taranga-madhye
krpamayi tvam saranam prapanna
vrnde namas te caranaravindam
O merciful one, I have no devotion and have committed millions of offenses. I am drowning in the turbulent ocean of lust. Thus I take shelter of you. O Vrinda, I bow to your lotus feet.
vrndastakam yah srnuyat pathed va
sa prapya vrndavana-nitya-vasam
tat-prema-sevam labhate krtarthah
A person who is like a bumblebee at the lotus feet of Vrindavana’s king and queen, and who reads or hears this Vrindastaka, will eternally reside in Vrindavana and attain loving service to the divine couple.
( Tulasi Maharani at our humble home)
Srila Prabhupada: I am so very glad to learn that Srimati Tulasi Devi has favored you so much. If you can actually grow this Tulasi plant, and I am sure you will do it, then you must know it for certain that your devotion for Krsna is testified. I was very much anxious to introduce this worship of Tulasi plant amongst our Society members, but it has not become successful til now, therefore, when I hear that you have got this opportunity, my pleasure does not have any bounds. (Letter to Govinda — Los Angeles 7 April, 1970)
Here is another wonderful conversation where Srila Prabhupada shares so many wonderful gems.
Jayadvaita: Just like sometimes we’ll hear our men. They’ll be chanting… Like yesterday I heard someone was chanting “Nitai-Gaura, Nitai-Gaura, Nitai-Nitai-Gaura.” Like that, I’ll hear different mantras. Someone is chanting ‘Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe.” like that, at kirtana.
Prabhupada: Well, that is not done by the acaryas. But there is no harm chanting “Radhe.” But sometimes it is degraded to make something new, invention. Therefore better to stick to “Hare Krsna” and to “Sri-Krsna Caitanya Prabhupada-Nityananda.” Otherwise… Just like the sahajiyas, they have invented: “Nitai-Gaura Radhe Syama, Hare Krsna Hare Rama.” These things will come gradually. But they are not approved. They are called chara kirtana (?), means “concocted kirtana.” But there is no harm chanting “Radhe, Nitai-Gaura.” So better stick to this Panca-tattva, and maha-mantra. Just like “Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama, Hare Krsna Hare Rama.” There is “Nitai-Gaura, Radhe Syama,” but it is not approved. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow the mahajana. In Caitanya-caritamrta you’ll find “Sri-Krsna-Caitanya Prabhu-Nityananda, Sri-Advaita Gadadhara…,” never “Nitai Gaura, Radhe Syama.” So why should we do that?
Jayapataka: The concocter of the “Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama,” previously he was a follower of Bhaktisiddhanta, but then he was rejected, and then he started his own camp.
Prabhupada: No, yes, he was meeting Bhaktivinoda Thakura. So… What is called? Carana dasa Babaji.
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, sometimes during arati, many bona fide bhajanas are sung, but not much Hare Krsna. Is that not a good tendency, that maybe just two or three minutes of Hare Krsna mantra and many other bhajanas?
Prabhupada: No. We should stick to Hare Krsna. Sri-Krsna-Caitanya Prabhu-Nityananda, jiva jago jiva jago…, these are authorized. But Hare Krsna is the maha-mantra. What is sung by mahajana, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Narottama dasa Thakura, that can be sung. [break]
Jayapataka: …you say is back to Godhead. But when one is situated in pure, transcendental love of Krsna, then that’s, then wherever he may be, that’s back to Godhead. Isn’t it?
Jayapataka: So then we should desire not to go back to Vaikuntha but to go back to…, to be situated in our pure service to Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. Pure devotee does not aspire anything, simply to be engaged in loving service of the Lord, wherever it may be. It doesn’t matter. [break]
Jayadvaita: …they know everything and they’re perfect in everything. But sometimes, from our material viewpoint, we see some discrepancies. Just like we think that…
Prabhupada: Because material viewpoint. The viewpoint is wrong; therefore you find discrepancies.
Jayadvaita: So we should think that we have the defect.
Prabhupada: Yes. Acarya is explained, bhakti-samsanah: “One who’s preaching the cult of devotional service, he’s acarya.” Then why should you find any discrepancy?
Jayadvaita: Because we see… For instance, sometimes the acarya may seem to forget something or not to know something, so from our point of view, if someone has forgotten, that is…
Prabhupada: No, no, no. Then…
Jayadvaita: …an imperfection.
Prabhupada: That is not the… Then you do not understand. Acarya is not God, omniscient. He is servant of God. His business is to preach bhakti cult. That is acarya.
Jayadvaita: And that is the perfection.
Prabhupada: That is the perfection. Hare Krsna.
Jayadvaita: So we have a misunderstanding about what perfection is?
Prabhupada: Yes. Perfection is here, how he is preaching bhakti cult. That’s all.
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, there’s also a question of reciprocation. You have so many disciples, thousands, and one devotee was asking me yesterday, “How does… I want to please Srila Prabhupada. How does he know my progress and my service because I’m…, when I’m so far away from him and if I don’t write him?”
Prabhupada: So his representatives are there, the president, the GBC. They will see.
Madhavananda: The representatives.
Jayadvaita: The representative may be there, but what is my personal relationship?
Prabhupada: Hm? To obey your spiritual master. Whatever he has said, you follow strictly. Follow the regulative principles. Chant sixteen rounds. That’s all.
Devotee (1): Prabhupada, when Srila Vyasadeva was lamenting after compiling so many Vedic literatures before compiling Srimad Bhagavatam, he said to his spiritual master, Narada Muni, that “You please enter within me and find out my deficiency. You are as good as the all-pervading Supersoul.”
Prabhupada: That is always the position of spiritual master, to find out the deficiency in the character of his disciple.
Devotee (1): He said that “You are as good as the all-pervading Supersoul.”
Prabhupada: Yes. He… He pointed out the deficiency, that “You have not described so elaborately about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You have touched only the social, religious, political point of views.” That was his deficiency. So a disciple is always in deficiency before his spiritual master. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, guru more murkha dekhi karila sasana [Cc. Adi 7.71]. “My spiritual master saw Me a fool number one. Therefore he has chastised Me.” So disciple should be always ready to be chastised. He should not think that he has become perfect. That is perfection. So long he thinks that he is not perfect-he’s to be chastised — then he’s perfect. And as soon as he thinks that he has become perfect, he’s nonsense immediately, nonsense number one. [Break] …always to be chastised by the spiritual master for perfection. And if he thinks that now he has become perfect, then he’s a foolish. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru more murkha dekhi. “My spiritual master saw Me a fool number one.” Was He fool number one? He’s God Himself. But that is the position. He should remain always a fool number one, ready to be chastised. Then he’s perfect. In the moral instruction, Canakya Pandita gives this instruction, that lalane bahavo dosas tadane bahavo gunah: “If you chastise your son or disciple, he’ll improve, and if you say, ‘Oh, you are all right,’ then he’ll degrade.” Tasmat putram ca sisyam ca tadayet na tu lalayet: “Therefore you always chastise your son and disciple. Never flat…” What is called?
Satsvarupa: Prabhupada, in one purport in the Bhagavad-gita, you write that a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything.
Prabhupada: Yes, if he follows the spiritual master.
Satsvarupa: But how could he know…? What does that mean, “everything”?
Prabhupada: Everything means whatever his guru knows, he should know, that much. Not like God, everything. Within his limit, that’s all. If he tries to understand whatever his guru has said, that much is “everything.” Otherwise, “everything” does not mean that we know everything, like God, like Krsna. That is not possible. If he regularly chants and follow the regulative principles, follows the orders of guru, then he knows everything. That’s all. Not very much… Knows everything, then what is the use of reading books when he knows everything? [break] …everything — except Krsna. Aham… Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto [Bg. 15.15]. He knows past, present, future, everything. You cannot expect anyone to know like Krsna, everything.
Jayadvaita: Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that one who knows Him knows everything.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because if he knows that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he knows everything. That’s all. Not that he should know as Krsna. If he… Yasmin vijnate sarvam eva vijnatam… If he accepts Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, then he knows everything. That is finish.
Jayadvaita: That knowledge itself is…
Jayadvaita: That knowledge itself is complete.
Satsvarupa: There may be material things he doesn’t know, but they’re useless.
Satsvarupa: If there’s some material information that such a person doesn’t know, that’s not really knowledge anyway.
Prabhupada: I did not follow.
Satsvarupa: If he doesn’t know how many people live in…
Jayadvaita: Just like Gaura-kisora could not write. So it appeared that he did not, there was something that he did not know, although he knew Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. He knows everything. Otherwise how Bhaktisiddhanta accepted him as guru? He knows Krsna. That’s all.
Nalini-kanta: Whatever the spiritual master says, that is also perfect?
Prabhupada: Yes. Because he says nothing concocted. Whatever he says, he says from sastra, and guru.
Devotee (2): Srila Prabhupada, is there any instance when you were chastised by your spiritual master?
Devotee (2): Is there any instance when you were chastised by your spiritual master?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Devotee (2): Can you tell us?
Prabhupada: I remember the moment was very valuable. Yes.
Devotee (2): Can you tell us the story?
Prabhupada: Yes. I think I have said that.
Satsvarupa: When you were speaking to one man…
Prabhupada: Yes. He became very angry and chastised me.
Jagajivana: Srila Prabhupada, was this during a lecture by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta?
Jagajivana: Was this during a lecture?
Prabhupada: Yes. I was not… One of my old brother, he, he wanted to speak something. So I leaned my… I immediately became… (laughter) So he chastised him more than me.
Devotee (2): When Lord Caitanya chastised someone more than Advaita Acarya, Advaita felt that He had been neglected ’cause he had not received a greater chastisement.
Prabhupada: He wanted to be chastised, so Caitanya fulfilled His desire. (end)
Today is the last in the three series of glorification of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental qualities and the events leading to his departure to USA.
Lineage: Srila Prabhupada was an authorised spiritual teacher in an unbroken succession that can be traced back to God Himself – and his appearance was predicted. Sages in this line have learned and taught the pure wisdom of God’s original instructions for millennia, and include Vyasa, the author of the sacred scriptures, and Chaitanya, the propagator of the holy names of the Lord.
Simplicity: Humble, meek, truthful and pure – in his character, in his lifestyle and in the message he taught. Srila Prabhupada lived to serve mankind and inspired others to follow ‘simple living, high thinking’, a return to an uncomplicated lifestyle. Despite the success of his movement, Srila Prabhupada always remained modest and detached and gave credit to others.
Devotion: Srila Prabhupada epitomised and taught bhakti yoga: pure, absolute and unconditional love of the Supreme Lord. Giving up household life and adopting the renounced order, he became a travelling monk whose affection and compassion now extended to the whole of society. He circled the globe twelve times, spreading the message of pure devotion everywhere.
Following Mrs. Morarji’s instruction, her secretary, Mr. Choksi, made final arrangements for Bhaktivedanta Swami. Since he had no warm clothes, Mr. Choksi took him to buy a wool jacket and other woolen clothes. Mr. Choksi spent about 250 rupees on new clothes, including some new dhotīs. At Bhaktivedanta Swami’s request, Mr. Choksi printed five hundred copies of a small pamphlet containing the eight verses written by Lord Caitanya and an advertisement for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the context of an advertisement for the Scindia Steamship Company.
Mr. Choksi:I asked him, “Why couldn’t you go earlier? Why do you want to go now to the States, at this age?” He replied that, “I will be able to do something good, I am sure.” His idea was that someone should be there who would be able to go near people who were lost in life and teach them and tell them what the correct thing is. I asked him so many times, “Why do you want to go to the States? Why don’t you start something in Bombay or Delhi or Vṛndāvana?” I was teasing him also: “You are interested in seeing the States. Therefore, you want to go. All Swamijis want to go to the States, and you want to enjoy there.” He said, “What I have got to see? I have finished my life.”
But sometimes he was hot-tempered. He used to get angry at me for the delays. “What is this nonsense?” he would say. Then I would understand: he is getting angry now. Sometimes he would say, “Oh, Mrs. Morarji has still not signed this paper? She says come back tomorrow, we will talk tomorrow! What is this? Why this daily going back?” He would get angry. Then I would say, “You can sit here.” But he would say, “How long do I have to sit?” He would become impatient.
Finally Mrs. Morarji scheduled a place for him on one of her ships, the Jaladuta, which was sailing from Calcutta on August 13. She had made certain that he would travel on a ship whose captain understood the needs of a vegetarian and a brāhmaṇa. Mrs. Morarji told the Jaladuta’s captain, Arun Pandia, to carry extra vegetables and fruits for the Swami. Mr. Choksi spent the last two days with Bhaktivedanta Swami in Bombay, picking up the pamphlets at the press, purchasing clothes, and driving him to the station to catch the train for Calcutta.
( Srila Prabhupada’s passport)
He arrived in Calcutta about two weeks before the Jaladuta’s departure. Although he had lived much of his life in the city, he now had nowhere to stay. It was as he had written in his “Vṛndāvana-bhajana”: “I have my wife, sons, daughters, grandsons, everything, / But I have no money, so they are a fruitless glory.” Although in this city he had been so carefully nurtured as a child, those early days were also gone forever: “Where have my loving father and mother gone to now? / And where are all my elders, who were my own folk? / Who will give me news of them, tell me who? / All that is left of this family life is a list of names.”
Out of the hundreds of people in Calcutta whom Bhaktivedanta Swami knew, he chose to call on Mr. Sisir Bhattacarya, the flamboyant kīrtana singer he had met a year before at the governor’s house in Lucknow. Mr. Bhattacarya was not a relative, not a disciple, nor even a close friend; but he was willing to help. Bhaktivedanta Swami called at his place and informed him that he would be leaving on a cargo ship in a few days; he needed a place to stay, and he would like to give some lectures. Mr. Bhattacarya immediately began to arrange a few private meetings at friends’ homes, where he would sing and Bhaktivedanta Swami would then speak.
Mr. Bhattacarya thought the sādhu’s leaving for America should make an important news story. He accompanied Bhaktivedanta Swami to all the newspapers in Calcutta-the Hindustan Standard, the Amrita Bazar Patrika, the Jugantas, the Statesman, and others. Bhaktivedanta Swami had only one photograph, a passport photo, and they made a few copies for the newspapers. Mr. Bhattacarya would try to explain what the Swami was going to do, and the news writers would listen. But none of them wrote anything. Finally they visited the Dainik Basumati, a local Bengali daily, which agreed to print a small article with Bhaktivedanta Swami’s picture.
( Srila Prabhupada’s Jaladuta ticket)
A week before his departure, on August 6, Bhaktivedanta Swami traveled to nearby Māyāpur to visit the samādhi of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. Then he returned to Calcutta, where Mr. Bhattacarya continued to assist him with his final business and speaking engagements.
Mr. Bhattacarya: We just took a hired taxi to this place and that place. And he would go for preaching. I never talked to him during the preaching, but once when I was coming back from the preaching, I said, “You said this thing about this. But I tell you it is not this. It is this.” I crossed him in something or argued. And he was furious. Whenever we argued and I said, “No, I think this is this,” then he was shouting. He was very furious. He said, “You are always saying, “I think, I think, I think.’ What is the importance of what you think? Everything is what you think. But it doesn’t matter. It matters what śāstra says. You must follow.” I said, “I must do what I think, what I feel-that is important.” He said, “No, you should forget this. You should forget your desire. You should change your habit. Better you depend on śāstras. You follow what śāstra wants you to do, and do it. I am not telling you what I think, but I am repeating what the śāstra says.”
As the day of his departure approached, Bhaktivedanta Swami took stock of his meager possessions. He had only a suitcase, an umbrella, and a supply of dry cereal. He did not know what he would find to eat in America; perhaps there would be only meat. If so, he was prepared to live on boiled potatoes and the cereal. His main baggage, several trunks of his books, was being handled separately by Scindia Cargo. Two hundred three-volume sets-the very thought of the books gave him confidence.
When the day came for him to leave, he needed that confidence. He was making a momentous break with his previous life, and he was dangerously old and not in strong health. And he was going to an unknown and probably unwelcoming country. To be poor and unknown in India was one thing. Even in these Kali-yuga days, when India’s leaders were rejecting Vedic culture and imitating the West, it was still India; it was still the remains of Vedic civilization. He had been able to see millionaires, governors, the prime minister, simply by showing up at their doors and waiting. A sannyāsī was respected; the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was respected. But in America it would be different. He would be no one, a foreigner. And there was no tradition of sādhus, no temples, no free āśramas. But when he thought of the books he was bringing-transcendental knowledge in English-he became confident. When he met someone in America he would give him a flyer: “”Śrīmad Bhagwatam,’ India’s Message of Peace and Goodwill.”
It was August 13, just a few days before Janmāṣṭamī, the appearance day anniversary of Lord Kṛṣṇa-the next day would be his own sixty-ninth birthday. During these last years, he had been in Vṛndāvana for Janmāṣṭamī. Many Vṛndāvana residents would never leave there; they were old and at peace in Vṛndāvana. Bhaktivedanta Swami was also concerned that he might die away from Vṛndāvana. That was why all the Vaiṣṇava sādhus and widows had taken vows not to leave, even for Mathurā-because to die in Vṛndāvana was the perfection of life. And the Hindu tradition was that a sannyāsī should not cross the ocean and go to the land of the mlecchas. But beyond all that was the desire of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, and his desire was nondifferent from that of Lord Kṛṣṇa. And Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu had predicted that the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa would be known in every town and village of the world.
Bhaktivedanta Swami took a taxi down to the Calcutta port. A few friends and admirers, along with his son Vrindavan, accompanied him. He writes in his diary: “Today at 9 a.m. embarked on M.V. Jaladuta. Came with me Bhagwati, the Dwarwan of Scindia Sansir, Mr. Sen Gupta, Mr. Ali and Vrindaban.” He was carrying a Bengali copy of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, which he intended to read during the crossing. Somehow he would be able to cook on board. Or if not, he could starve- whatever Kṛṣṇa desired. He checked his essentials: passenger ticket, passport, visa, P-form, sponsor’s address. Finally it was happening.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: With what great difficulty I got out of the country! Some way or other, by Kṛṣṇa’s grace, I got out so I could spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. Otherwise, to remain in India-it was not possible. I wanted to start a movement in India, but I was not at all encouraged.
( Jaladuta, the cargo ship which Prabhupada boarded for his trip to USA)
The black cargo ship, small and weathered, was moored at dockside, a gangway leading from the dock to the ship’s deck. Indian merchant sailors curiously eyed the elderly saffron-dressed sādhu as he spoke last words to his companions and then left them and walked determinedly toward the boat.
For thousands of years, kṛṣṇa-bhakti had been known only in India, not outside, except in twisted, faithless reports by foreigners. And the only swamis to have reached America had been non-devotees, Māyāvādī impersonalists. But now Kṛṣṇa was sending Bhaktivedanta Swami as His emissary.
( A murti of Srila Prabhupada at his birthplace in Tollygunge)
This the the second in the series of three part glorification of Srila Prabhupada’s qualities and the events leading to his departure to USA.
Teacher: Srila Prabhupada was not just a teacher, but also a teacher of teachers for the modern age. He translated more than 70 Vedic books into English and was honoured by many leading scholars. He taught and led by example, embodying the knowledge that he conveyed. He is recognised as ‘Prabhupada’ – one at whose feet the other masters sit.
Compassion: Srila Prabhupada had selfless concern for the welfare of all living beings. He wanted to relieve our suffering, but explained that compassion for the material body alone does not provide a lasting solution. He saw suffering as a symptom of a deeper problem: our misidentification with the temporary material body. He enlightened us about our real identity: the soul.
Hare Krishna: Srila Prabhupada introduced to the West the greatest sound for this age – a spiritual sound vibration called the Maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare The chanting of these holy names is a means to liberate the soul from the material world.
Exasperated with Mr. Choksi’s ineffectiveness, Bhaktivedanta Swami demanded a personal interview. It was granted, and a gray-haired, determined Bhaktivedanta Swami presented his emphatic request: “Please give me one ticket.”
Sumati Morarji was concerned. “Swamiji, you are so old-you are taking this responsibility. Do you think it is all right?”
“No,” he reassured her, lifting his hand as if to reassure a doubting daughter, “it is all right.”
“But do you know what my secretaries think? They say, ‘Swamiji is going to die there.'”
Bhaktivedanta made a face as if to dismiss a foolish rumor. Again he insisted that she give him a ticket. “All right,” she said. “Get your P-form, and I will make an arrangement to send you by our ship.” Bhaktivedanta Swami smiled brilliantly and happily left her offices, past her amazed and skeptical clerks.
A “P-form”-another necessity for an Indian national who wants to leave the country-is a certificate given by the State Bank of India, certifying that the person has no excessive debts in India and is cleared by the banks. That would take a while to obtain. And he also did not yet have a U.S. visa. He needed to pursue these government permissions in Bombay, but he had no place to stay. So Mrs. Morarji agreed to let him reside at the Scindia Colony, a compound of apartments for employees of the Scindia Company.
He stayed in a small, unfurnished apartment with only his trunk and typewriter. The resident Scindia employees all knew that Mrs. Morarji was sending him to the West, and some of them became interested in his cause. They were impressed, for although he was so old, he was going abroad to preach. He was a special sādhu, a scholar. They heard from him how he was taking hundreds of copies of his books with him, but no money. He became a celebrity at the Scindia Colony. Various families brought him rice, sabjī, and fruit. They brought so much that he could not eat it all, and he mentioned this to Mr. Choksi. Just accept it and distribute it, Mr. Choksi advised. Bhaktivedanta Swami then began giving remnants of his food to the children. Some of the older residents gathered to hear him as he read and spoke from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Mr. Vasavada, the chief cashier of Scindia, was particularly impressed and came regularly to learn from the sādhu. Mr. Vasavada obtained copies of Bhaktivedanta Swami’s books and read them in his home.
Bhaktivedanta Swami’s apartment shared a roofed-in veranda with Mr. Nagarajan, a Scindia office worker, and his wife.
Mrs. Nagarajan: Every time when I passed that way, he used to be writing or chanting. I would ask him, “Swamiji, what are you writing?” He used to sit near the window and one after another was translating the Sanskrit. He gave me two books and said, “Child, if you read this book, you will understand.” We would have discourses in the house, and four or five Gujarati ladies used to come. At one of these discourses he told one lady that those who wear their hair parted on the side-that is not a good idea. Every Indian lady should have her hair parted in the center. They were very fond of listening and very keen to hear his discourse.
Every day he would go out trying to get his visa and P-form as quickly as possible, selling his books, and seeking contacts and supporters for his future Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam publishing. Mr. Nagarajan tried to help. Using the telephone directory, he made a list of wealthy business and professional men who were Vaiṣṇavas and might be inclined to assist. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s neighbors at Scindia Colony observed him coming home dead tired in the evening. He would sit quietly, perhaps feeling morose, some neighbors thought, but after a while he would sit up, rejuvenated, and start writing.
Mrs. Nagarajan: When he came home we used to give him courage, and we used to tell him, “Swamiji, one day you will achieve your target.” He would say, “Time is still not right. Time is still not right. They are all ajñānīs. They don’t understand. But still I must carry on.”
Sometimes I would go by, and his cādar would be on the chair, but he would be sitting on the windowsill. I would ask him, “Swamiji, did you have any good contacts?” He would say, “Not much today. I didn’t get much, and it is depressing. Tomorrow Kṛṣṇa will give me more details.” And he would sit there quietly.
After ten minutes, he would sit in his chair and start writing. I would wonder how Swamiji was so tired in one minute and in another minuteñ Even if he was tired, he was not defeated. He would never speak discouragement. And we would always encourage him and say, “If today you don’t get it, tomorrow you will definitely meet some people, and they will encourage you.” And my friends used to come in the morning and in the evening for discourse, and they would give namaskāra and fruits.
Mr. Nagarajan: His temperament was very adjustable and homely. Our friends would offer a few rupees. He would say, “All right. It will help.” He used to walk from our colony to Andheri station. It is two kilometers, and he used to go there without taking a bus, because he had no money.
Bhaktivedanta Swami had a page printed entitled “My Mission,” and he would show it to influential men in his attempts to get further financing for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The printed statement proposed that God consciousness was the only remedy for the evils of modern materialistic society. Despite scientific advancement and material comforts, there was no peace in the world; therefore, Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the glory of India, must be spread all over the world.
Mrs. Morarji asked Bhaktivedanta Swami if he would read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to her in the evening. He agreed. She began sending her car for him at six o’clock each evening, and they would sit in her garden, where he would recite and comment on the Bhāgavatam.
Mrs. Morarji: He used to come in the evening and sing the verses in rhythmic tunes, as is usually done with the Bhāgavatam. And certain points-when you sit and discuss, you raise so many points-he was commenting on certain points, but it was all from the Bhāgavatam. So he used to sit and explain to me and then go. He could give time, and I could hear him. That was for about ten or fifteen days.
His backing by Scindia and his sponsorship in the U.S. were a strong presentation, and with the help of the people at Scindia he obtained his visa on July 28, 1965. But the P-form proceedings went slowly and even threatened to be a last, insurmountable obstacle.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Formerly there was no restriction for going outside. But for a sannyāsī like me, I had so much difficulty obtaining the government permission to go out. I had applied for the P-form sanction, but no sanction was coming. Then I went to the State Bank of India. The officer was Mr. Martarchari. He told me, “Swamiji, you are sponsored by a private man. So we cannot accept. If you were invited by some institution, then we could consider. But you are invited by a private man for one month. And after one month, if you are in difficulty, there will be so many obstacles.” But I had already prepared everything to go. So I said, “What have you done?” He said, “I have decided not to sanction your P-form.” I said, “No, no, don’t do this. You better send me to your superior. It should not be like that.”
So he took my request, and he sent the file to the chief official of foreign exchange-something like that. So he was the supreme man in the State Bank of India. I went to see him. I asked his secretary, “Do you have such-and-such a file. You kindly put it to Mr. Rao. I want to see him.” So the secretary agreed, and he put the file, and he put my name down to see him. I was waiting. So Mr. Rao came personally. He said, “Swamiji, I passed your case. Don’t worry.”
It was today, exactly 50 years ago, that Srila Prabhupada left for USA.
Srila Prabhupada, founder acharya of ISKCON, navigated 36 days through the tumultuous ocean on a cargo steamship, Jaladuta on 13th August 1965, to the western world with a mission to propagate Krishna Consciousness in the western world.
For next three days I will post parts from the 11th and 12th chapter of Prabhupada Lilamrita which describe the days leading to his departure for USA. I will also write three aspects of his transcendental and multifaceted personality copied from his website.
Revolutionary: Srila Prabhupada created a worldwide spiritual and cultural revolution that encouraged many people to seriously take to the process of god consciousness. He started this revolution in New York, because he felt that America was where he would find intelligent young people that would be receptive to the timeless, authoritative spiritual instruction of the Vedic scriptures.
Self-Realised: Acting on the platform of his spiritual identity, Srila Prabhupada completely dedicated his life to serve God. He was able to produce phenomenal accomplishments and transform the consciousness of people only because he was on the highest state of self-realisation and therefore divinely empowered. Such self-realised souls in the world are very rare.
Fearless: Srila Prabhupada was named Abhay Charan at birth, which means ‘one who is fearless having taken shelter at the feet of God’. The significance of this name was revealed in his bold mission with unflinching trust in God, despite great personal hardship. He explained that fear is due to a lack of understanding of the illusory nature of the material world.
I planned that I must go to America. Generally they go to London, but I did not want to go to London. I was simply thinking how to go to New York. I was scheming, “Whether I shall go this way, through Tokyo, Japan, or that way? Which way is cheaper?” That was my proposal. And I was targeting to New York always. Sometimes I was dreaming that I have come to New York. -Śrīla Prabhupāda
With the manuscript for Volume Three complete and with the money to print it, Bhaktivedanta Swami once again entered the printing world, purchasing paper, correcting proofs, and keeping the printer on schedule so that the book would be finished by January 1965. Thus, by his persistence, he who had almost no money of his own managed to publish his third large hardbound volume within a little more than two years.
At this rate, with his respect in the scholarly world increasing, he might soon become a recognized figure amongst his countrymen. But he had his vision set on the West. And with the third volume now printed, he felt he was at last prepared. He was sixty-nine and would have to go soon. It had been more than forty years since Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī had first asked a young householder in Calcutta to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the West. At first it had seemed impossible to Abhay Charan, who had so recently entered family responsibilities. That obstacle, however, had long ago been removed, and for more than ten years he had been free to travel. But he had been penniless (and still was). And he had wanted first to publish some volumes of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to take with him; it had seemed necessary if he were to do something solid. Now, by Kṛṣṇa’s grace, three volumes were on hand.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: I planned that I must go to America. Generally they go to London, but I did not want to go to London. I was simply thinking how to go to New York. I was scheming, “Whether I shall go this way, through Tokyo, Japan, or that way? Which way is cheaper?” That was my proposal. And I was targeting to New York always. Sometimes I was dreaming that I have come to New York.
Then Bhaktivedanta Swami met Mr. Agarwal, a Mathurā businessman, and mentioned to him in passing, as he did to almost everyone he met, that he wanted to go to the West. Although Mr. Agarwal had known Bhaktivedanta Swami for only a few minutes, he volunteered to try to get him a sponsor in America. It was something Mr. Agarwal had done a number of times; when he met a sādhu who mentioned something about going abroad to teach Hindu culture, he would ask his son Gopal, an engineer in Pennsylvania, to send back a sponsorship form. When Mr. Agarwal volunteered to help in this way, Bhaktivedanta Swami urged him please to do so.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: I did not say anything seriously to Mr. Agarwal, but perhaps he took it very seriously. I asked him, “Well, why don’t you ask your son Gopal to sponsor so that I can go there? I want to preach there.”
But Bhaktivedanta Swami knew he could not simply dream of going to the West; he needed money. In March 1965 he made another visit to Bombay, attempting to sell his books. Again he stayed at the free dharmaśālā, Premkutir. But finding customers was difficult. He met Paramananda Bhagwani, a librarian at Jai Hind College, who purchased books for the college library and then escorted Bhaktivedanta Swami to a few likely outlets.
Mr. Bhagwani: I took him to the Popular Book Depot at Grant Road to help him in selling books, but they told us they couldn’t stock the books because they don’t have much sales on religion. Then we went to another shop nearby, and the owner also regretted his inability to sell the books. Then he went to Sadhuvela, near Mahalakshmi temple, and we met the head of the temple there. He, of course, welcomed us. They have a library of their own, and they stock religious books, so we approached them to please keep a set there in their library. They are a wealthy āśrama, and yet he also expressed his inability.
Bhaktivedanta Swami returned to Delhi, pursuing the usual avenues of bookselling and looking for whatever opportunity might arise. And to his surprise, he was contacted by the Ministry of External Affairs and informed that his No Objection certificate for going to the U.S. was ready. Since he had not instigated any proceedings for leaving the country, Bhaktivedanta Swami had to inquire from the ministry about what had happened. They showed him the Statutory Declaration Form signed by Mr. Gopal Agarwal of Butler, Pennsylvania; Mr. Agarwal solemnly declared that he would bear the expenses of Bhaktivedanta Swami during his stay in the U.S.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Whatever the correspondence was there between the father and son, I did not know. I simply asked him, “Why don’t you ask your son Gopal to sponsor?” And now, after three or four months, the No Objection certificate was sent from the Indian Consulate in New York to me. He had already sponsored my arrival there for one month, and all of a sudden I got the paper.
At his father’s request, Gopal Agarwal had done as he had done for several other sādhus, none of whom had ever gone to America. It was just a formality, something to satisfy his father. Gopal had requested a form from the Indian Consulate in New York, obtained a statement from his employer certifying his monthly salary, gotten a letter from his bank showing his balance as of April 1965, and had the form notarized. It had been stamped and approved in New York and sent to Delhi. Now Bhaktivedanta Swami had a sponsor. But he still needed a passport, visa, P-form, and travel fare.
The passport was not very difficult to obtain. Krishna Pandit helped, and by June 10 he had his passport. Carefully, he penned in his address at the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa temple in Chippiwada and wrote his father’s name, Gour Mohan De. He asked Krishna Pandit also to pay for his going abroad, but Krishna Pandit refused, thinking it against Hindu principles for a sādhu to go abroad-and also very expensive.
With his passport and sponsorship papers, Bhaktivedanta Swami went to Bombay, not to sell books or raise funds for printing; he wanted a ticket for America. Again he tried approaching Sumati Morarji. He showed his sponsorship papers to her secretary, Mr. Choksi, who was impressed and who went to Mrs. Morarji on his behalf. “The Swami from Vṛndāvana is back,” he told her. “He has published his book on your donation. He has a sponsor, and he wants to go to America. He wants you to send him on a Scindia ship.” Mrs. Morarji said no, the Swamiji was too old to go to the United States and expect to accomplish anything. As Mr. Choksi conveyed to him Mrs. Morarji’s words, Bhaktivedanta Swami listened disapprovingly. She wanted him to stay in India and complete the <it+>Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Why go to the States? Finish the job here.
But Bhaktivedanta Swami was fixed on going. He told Mr. Choksi that he should convince Mrs. Morarji. He coached Mr. Choksi on what he should say: “I find this gentleman very inspired to go to the States and preach something to the people there…” But when he told Mrs. Morarji, she again said no. The Swami was not healthy. It would be too cold there. He might not be able to come back, and she doubted whether he would be able to accomplish much there. People in America were not so cooperative, and they would probably not listen to him.
Exasperated with Mr. Choksi’s ineffectiveness, Bhaktivedanta Swami demanded a personal interview. It was granted, and a gray-haired, determined Bhaktivedanta Swami presented his emphatic request: “Please give me one ticket.”
Yesterday, 8th August, was the day when ISKCON was incorporated ISKCON. I copying an article from Back To Godhead Magazine. Kindly read the same and get a sense of what Srila Prabhupada was about to do and from what humble begining, as a general of Mahaprabhu. We should all come together to nurture this Kalpataru, the ‘wish–fulfilling tree’ , called ISKCON and broadcast the teachings of Mahaprabhu in every single town and village of the world.
A brief history of the incorporation of ISKCON (#15-05, 1980)
by Satsvarupa Dasa Gosvami
July, 1966 : Amid the cacophony of a storefront at 26 Second Avenue in New York, Srila Prabhupada had begun teaching the science of Krsna consciousness to a motley congregation drawn from the local community. Then, in his characteristically farseeing way, he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
“We shall call our society ‘ISKCON.’ ” Prabhupada laughed playfully when he first coined the acronym.
He had initiated the legal work of incorporation that spring, while still living on the Bowery. But even before its legal beginning, Prabhupada had been talking about his “International Society for Krishna Consciousness,” and so it had appeared in letters to India and in The Village Voice.
A friend had suggested a title that would sound more familiar to Westerners, “International Society for God Consciousness,” but Prabhupada had insisted: “Krishna Consciousness.”
“God” was a vague term, whereas “Krishna” was exact and scientific; “God consciousness” was spiritually weaker, less personal. And if Westerners didn’t know that Krsna was God, then the International Society for Krishna Consciousness would tell them, by spreading His glories “in every town and village.”
“Krsna consciousness” was Prabhupada’s own rendering of a phrase from Srila Rupa Goswami’s Padyavali, written in the sixteenth century. Krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita. “to be absorbed in the mellow taste of executing devotional service to Krsna.”
But to register ISKCON legally as a nonprofit, tax-exempt religion required money and a lawyer.
Carl Yeargens had already had some experience in forming a religious organization, and when he had met Prabhupada on the Bowery he had agreed to help. He had contacted his lawyer, a young Jewish man named Stephen Goldsmith.
Stephen Goldsmith had a wife and two children and an office on Park Avenue, yet he maintained an interest in spirituality. When Carl told him about Prabhupada’s plans, he was immediately fascinated by the idea of setting up a religious corporation for an Indian swami.
He visited Prabhupada at 26 Second Avenue, and they discussed incorporation, tax exemption, Prabhupada’s immigration status—and Krsna consciousness. Mr. Goldsmith visited Prabhupada several times. Once he brought his children, who liked the “soup” Prabhupada cooked.
He began attending the evening lectures, where he was often the only non-hippie member of the congregation. One evening, having completed all the legal groundwork and being ready to complete the procedures for incorporation, Mr. Goldsmith came to Prabhupada’s lecture and kirtana to get signatures from the trustees for the new society.
July 11. Prabhupada is lecturing.
Mr. Goldsmith, wearing slacks and a shirt and tie, sits on the floor near the door, listening earnestly to the lecture, despite the distracting noises from the neighborhood.
Prabhupada has been explaining how scholars mislead innocent people with nondevotional interpretations of the Bhagavad-gita. Now, in recognition of the attorney’s respectable presence, and as if to catch up Mr. Goldsmith’s attention better, Prabhupada introduces him into the subject of the talk:
“I will give you a practical example of how things are misinterpreted. Just like our president, Mr. Goldsmith, he knows that expert lawyers, by interpretation, can do so many things.
When I was in Calcutta, there was a rent tax passed by the government, and some expert lawyer changed the whole thing by his interpretation. The government had to reenact a whole law, because their purpose was foiled by the interpretation of this lawyer.
So we are not out for foiling the purpose of Krsna, for which the Bhagavad-gita was spoken. But unauthorized persons are trying to foil the purpose of Krsna. Therefore, that is unauthorized.
All right, Mr. Goldsmith, you can ask anything.”
Mr. Goldsmith stands, and to the surprise of the people gathered, he makes a short announcement asking for signers on an incorporation document for the Swami’s new religious movement.
Prabhupada: They are present here. You can take the addresses now.
Mr. Goldsmith: I can take them now, yes.
Prabhupada: Yes, you can. Bill, you can give your address. And Raphael, you can give yours. And Don…. Raymond. … Mr. Greene.
As the meeting breaks up, those called to sign as trustees come forward, standing around in the little storefront, waiting to leaf passively through the pages the lawyer has produced from his thin attache, and to sign as he directs.
Yet not a soul among them is committed to Krsna consciousness.
The lawyer meets his quota of signers, but they’re merely a handful of sympathizers who feel enough reverence toward the Swami to want to help him.
The first trustees, who will hold office for a year, “until the first annual meeting of the corporation,” are Michael Grant (who puts down his name and address without reading the document), Mike’s girlfriend Jan, and James Greene. No one seriously intends to undertake any formal duties as trustee of the religious society, but they are happy to help the Swami by signing his fledgling society into legal existence.
According to law, a second group of trustees will assume office for the second year. They are Paul Gardiner, Roy, and Don. The trustees for the third year of office are Carl Yeargens, Bill Epstein, and Raphael.
No one knows exactly what the half-dozen legal-sized typed pages mean, except that “Swamiji is forming a society.” Why?
For tax exemption, in case someone gives a big donation, and for other benefits an official religious society might receive.
But these purposes hardly seem urgent or even relevant to the present situation in the little storefront. Who’s going to make donations? Except maybe for Mr. Goldsmith, who has any money?
But Prabhupada is planning for the future, and he’s planning for much more than just tax exemptions. He is trying to serve his spiritual predecessors and fulfill the scriptural prediction of a spiritual movement that is to flourish for ten thousand years in the midst of the Age of Kali.
Within the vast Kali Age (a period that is to last 432,000 years), the 1960s are an insignificant moment.
The Vedas describe that the time of the universe revolves through a cycle of four “seasons,” or yugas, and Kali-yuga is the worst of times, in which all spiritual qualities of men diminish, until humanity is finally reduced to a bestial civilization devoid of human decency.
Yet for ten thousand years after the advent of Lord Caitanya there is the possibility of a Golden Age of spiritual life, an eddy that runs against the current of Kali-yuga.
With a vision that soars off to the end of the millennium and far beyond, and yet with his two feet planted solidly on Second Avenue, Srila Prabhupada has begun an International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
He has many practical responsibilities: he has to pay the rent, and he has to incorporate his society and pave the way for a thriving worldwide congregation of devotees.
Somehow, he doesn’t see his extremely reduced present situation as a deterrent from the greater scope of his divine mission. He knows that everything depends on Krsna, so whether he succeeds or fails is all up to the Supreme. He has only to try.
The purposes stated within ISKCON’s articles of incorporation reveal Prabhupada’s thinking. They are seven points; similar to those given in the Prospectus for the League of Devotees he had formed in Jhansi, India, in 1953. That attempt had been unsuccessful, yet his purposes remained unchanged.
Seven Purposes of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness:
To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krsna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krsna).
To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the Personality of Krsna.
To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.
With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
Reardless of how ISKCON’s charter members regarded the Society’s purposes, Srila Prabhupada saw them as imminent realities.
As Mr. Ruben, the subway conductor who had met Prabhupada on a Manhattan park bench in 1965, remembers, “He seemed to know that he would have temples filled up with devotees. ‘There are temples and books,’ he said. ‘They are existing, they are there, but the time is separating us from them.’ ”
The first purpose mentioned in the charter was propagation. “Preaching” was the word Prabhupada most often used. For him, preaching had a much broader significance than mere sermonizing. Preaching meant glorious, selfless adventures on behalf of the Supreme Lord.
Lord Caitanya had preached by walking all over southern India and inducing thousands of people to chant and dance with Him in ecstasy. Lord Krsna had preached the Bhagavad-gita while standing with Arjuna in his chariot on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. Lord Buddha had preached, Lord Jesus had preached, and all other pure devotees preached.
ISKCON’s preaching would achieve what the League of Nations and the United Nations had failed to achieve—”real unity and peace in the world.” ISKCON workers would bring peace to a world deeply afflicted by materialism and strife.
They would “systematically propagate spiritual knowledge,” knowledge of the nonsectarian science of God. It was not that a new religion was being born in July of 1966; rather, the eternal preaching of Godhead, known as sankirtana, was being transported from East to West.
And this new consciousness in the West would come about through the teachings of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The Society’s members would come together, and by hearing the philosophy of Krsna consciousness and chanting the Hare Krsna mantra in mutual association they would realize that each was a spirit soul, eternally related to Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They would then preach these realizations to “humanity at large,” especially through sankirtana, the chanting of the holy name of God.
ISKCON would also erect “a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the Personality of Krsna.” Was this something beyond the storefront? Yes, certainly. He never thought small: “He seemed to know that he would have temples filled up with devotees.”
He wanted ISKCON to demonstrate “a simple, more natural way of life.” Such a life (Prabhupada thought of the villages of India, where people lived just as Krsna had lived) was most conducive to developing Krsna consciousness.
And all six of these purposes would be achieved by the seventh: ISKCON would publish and distribute literature. This was the special instruction given to Srila Prabhupada by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who had specifically told him one day in 1935 at Radha-kunda in Vrndavana, “If you ever get any money, publish books.”
Certainly none of the signers saw any immediate shape to Prabhupada’s dream, yet these seven purposes were not simply theistic rhetoric invented to convince a few New York State government officials. He literally meant to enact every item in the charter.
Of course, he was now working in extremely limited circumstances. The sole headquarters for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was “the principal place of worship, located at 26 Second Avenue in the city, county, and state of New York.” Yet Prabhupada insisted that he was not living at 26 Second Avenue, New York City.
His vision was different.
His Guru Maharaja had gone out from the traditional holy places of spiritual meditation to preach in cities like Calcutta, Bombay, and New Delhi. And yet Prabhupada would say that his spiritual master had not really been living in any of those cities, but was always in Vaikuntha, the spiritual world, because of his absorption in devotional service.
Similarly, the place of worship, 26 Second Avenue, was not a New York storefront, a former curiosity shop. It was a small place, but it had now been spiritualized. The storefront and the apartment were now a transcendental haven.
“Society at large” could come here; the whole world could take shelter here, regardless of race or religion.
Plain, small, and impoverished as it was, Prabhupada regarded the storefront as “a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the Personality of Krsna:” It was a world headquarters, a publishing house. a sacred place of pilgrimage, and a center from which an army of devotees could issue forth and chant the holy names of God in all the streets in the world.
The entire universe could receive Krsna consciousness from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which was beginning here.
Since yesterday morning I am down with a bad cough & fever, I took this opportunity to catch up reading Srila Prabhupada’s conversations with his disciples. They so nectarean and guide a neophyte like myself on how to preach. We see how so many times Srila Prabhupada’s young disciples will take the opposite side with the arguments put in by Karmis and Prabhupada will smash their arguments and teach them how to preach with full conviction in the science of Krishna consciousness.
I am copying a room conversation Prabhupada had in October 4, 1975, Mauritius. Please keep a pencil and paper handy as you will read so many gems for collection.
Prabhupada: But the size of the body has changed.
Brahmananda: The size has changed. It has grown, increased.
Pusta Krsna: It looks different, completely… It looks different. There is no similarity. Prabhupada: Yes. There is no similarity. Why the child… There was no mustaches. Why you have mustaches? How you can say “The same body”? You shall have to give your own argument. Child had no mustaches; you have got now mustaches. How you can say the same body? The child had no sex desire; now you have got sex desire.
Brahmananda: They would say all these things are dormant within the child’s body, and now they are coming out. Prabhupada: That we also say, but that body not… That “dormant” means dormant in the soul, not in the body. That is the knowledge. Dormant it is, but dormant in the soul, not in the body.
Pusta Krsna: They have to admit that it’s a different body because if the body is simply made of food and they are eating so much and evacuating so much, then it has to be a different body. Prabhupada: No, it is different body, undoubtedly. If they foolishly argue, that is different thing. Therefore rascal. Their argument has no value. How you can be the same body? So many changes. The body is changed. Prabhupada: So this argument, how he can refute, that he has died twenty-two years?
Pusta Krsna: Well, he can also say that he has lived twenty-two years, because he has no perception of any life before that time. He can’t remember living before.
Brahmananda: “Before, I was not alive. Now I am alive, so I have lived for twenty-two years. Before, I was dead; I was not alive. Now I am alive, so I’ve been alive for twenty-two years.” Prabhupada: So before, you were not alive. Then how your life came?
Pusta Krsna: The combination of… Prabhupada: Do it. Again foolishness. These rascals… (laughs) Then, if you can create life, then where is the question of dead body? You create again. Give life again. If you are so competent that you can give life, combination, then this dead body is there. You bring chemicals and inject.
Pusta Krsna: The same chemicals are there, too. The same chemicals, living body, dead body — five minutes before, five after — is the same chemicals. But they can’t explain why there is such a drastic difference. Prabhupada: What is that same chemical?
Pusta Krsna: In the living body, two minutes before death and two minutes after… Prabhupada: So what is that? Name that, what is that chemical. Then bring it.
Pusta Krsna: Let him try and make life. Not possible. Prabhupada: If you know the chemical, then you bring it. Chemical is available. Why this is dead? What they will answer? What this chemical is wanting, that it is dead?
Brahmananda: Well, we may not know… Prabhupada: Then, you rascal, why you are talking? You do not know. (laughter)
Brahmananda: But, then, neither do you know. Prabhupada: Huh? No…
Brahmananda: You can say soul, but you don’t… Prabhupada: No. But you cannot answer my question; therefore you are more rascal than me. You cannot answer. Your… You are…
Harikesa: You have the position. He’s in a position. He cannot answer. Prabhupada: Yes. You say that chemical is missing. I say what is that chemical?
Pusta Krsna: No, but the chemical is not missing. Prabhupada: Then?
Pusta Krsna: The same chemical is there. Two minutes before death and two minutes after death, the body chemistry has not changed so much. Prabhupada: No. What is that missing that it is dead?
Pusta Krsna: They can’t answer. Prabhupada: Therefore they are fool. You cannot answer.
Pusta Krsna: Because it’s not a question of chemical. Actually they don’t know what life is. Prabhupada: Therefore they are foolish. Therefore he has to take knowledge from Krsna: dehino ‘smin yatha… “Within this body there is soul.”
Brahmananda: You say there’s a soul, but we’ve never seen a soul. It may be your imagination. Prabhupada: You may not see. You have not seen your forefather. That does not mean… This is all bad argument. Why do you believe? Your eyes are so imperfect; still, you say, “I did not see. I want to see.” What is the value of your eyes? You see the sun globe — a small disc. But is it so? Then how do you know that it is so big?
Pusta Krsna: By hearing. Prabhupada: By hearing. That is important, not by seeing. Therefore sruti, Veda, is important, not your eyes.
Harikesa: When people die, though, there is usually some cause. Like they have a heart attack or they get hit by a car or some disease. So that death is caused by the disease… Prabhupada: That is not the cause. That is the effect. You foolish, do not know. You are taking it, cause.
Harikesa: Well, when you get hit by a car, that’s a cause. Prabhupada: Just like one man becomes insolvent, loses everything. So he said that “I had no money. Therefore I become insolvent.” But that is not the fact. He could not manage; therefore there was scarcity of money and he became failure. So that is effect. On account of his bad management, he came to a position that he could not pay to his creditor, and his business is failure. So that insolvency is not the cause. It is the effect.
Pusta Krsna: Bhisma was able to remain in his body even on a bed of arrows. Prabhupada: So when you are going to die, these are the… On account of imminent death, these are the effects.
Harikesa: But that means that the body breaks down. Prabhupada: Hm?
Harikesa: The body breaks down. Prabhupada: At a certain period it will break.
Harikesa: So that is the cause, the body breaking down. Prabhupada: Yes. So you say heart failure is the cause. No. The body is breaking; therefore heart failure.
Harikesa: So death means the body breaks. Prabhupada: No, no. First of all your answer… You say the heart failure is the cause. The man is dying. I say that because the man is dying, the heart is failure. So heart failure is not the cause. It is the effect.
Harikesa: That’s very difficult…
Pusta Krsna: Because his karma in that body is running out, he has to leave.
Brahmananda: But if I can get some machine that will make the heart keep on beating, then the man won’t die. Prabhupada: No. That you are failure. You have got so many machines. You go on, keeping the heart going on. That is not possible.
Harikesa: Finally they just pull out the plug. The doctor kicks the plug one day. Prabhupada: (laughs) Yes.
Cyavana: They are afraid of death. No one wants to die.
Pusta Krsna: They are afraid someone will take them off the machine, too.
Cyavana: We want to live as long as we can. Prabhupada: Then you have to accept that your killing child, abortion, that is sinful.
Cyavana: It’s easier for the mind to accept what is apparent to the senses. For example, to accept that I am this body is easier for my mind than to accept a philosophy which you say that we are not this body. That is very difficult for my mind to accept, whereas I can accept very immediately that I am this body. Prabhupada: Because it is difficult, therefore you are a fool. That proves that you are a fool.
Cyavana: Why should I strive for something so difficult, such a philosophical understanding, when I can live very happily with this body? Prabhupada: But because you do not want to die. You want happiness.
Cyavana: So I can enjoy this body. Prabhupada: You cannot. That is the difficulty. You want, but you cannot. You want. That I know. But you cannot do it.
Harikesa: You never see happy people. Prabhupada: That is their ignorance. They are accepting unhappiness as happiness.
Brahmananda: Well, in this world there has to be some unhappiness and there has to be some happiness. Prabhupada: But we are trying to give you happiness only, no unhappiness.
Cyavana: But that’s not possible.
Brahmananda: That’s artificial. Prabhupada: That you say, but we know.
Cyavana: We cannot see. Prabhupada: You cannot see, but you will see if you be trained up. That is Krsna consciousness movement.
Cyavana: But it is easier for us to remain here and enjoy a little bit and accept a little suffering, accept this body. Prabhupada: Therefore Krsna said that “Bhagavad-Gita should be discussed amongst My devotees, not amongst the rascals.” It will be waste of time. Ya imam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. Find out this verse.
ya idam paramam guhyam
mad bhaktesv abhidhasyati
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah
“For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” Prabhupada: Not to the fools and rascals. So first of all, to give them chance, let them come to the temple, take prasadam, hear sankirtana, offer obeisances by imitating others. In this way, when they become little devotee, then instruct. Otherwise it will be useless. You’ll waste your time by arguing.
Pusta Krsna: You have given the example that the field has to be plowed before the seed is sown, cultivated. Prabhupada: Yes.
Cyavana: The mind has to want that higher taste. Prabhupada: Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. So this process… Bring the… Invite them. Chant Hare Krsna, dance, give them prasadam. Everyone will take part in this way, not immediately instructing that “You are not this body; you are soul.” He will not be able to.
Cyavana: It’s too difficult. Prabhupada: Therefore this process is recommended. Caitanya Mahaprabhu argued with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Prakasananda Sarasvati, not with ordinary public. Ordinary public — “Go on chanting Hare Krsna and dancing.” Never argued, neither He discussed Bhagavatam. For ordinary public-four hours’ kirtana, chanting and dancing, bas. And then give them sufficient prasadam: “Take prasada.” This process… Because unless he has got little sraddha, he will simply put some false argument and waste your time. Not in the beginning. Mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. First of all create him a devotee a little. Chant Hare Krsna-harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam [Cc. Adi 17.21] — only. Because this is Kali-yuga, people are so fallen, so downtrodden, so rascal, cats and dogs. It is very difficult. But this process — chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra, giving them chance to hear it and take prasadam — that will cure. And that is easily accepted by anyone. It doesn’t matter what he is. Anyone will accept. To chant and dance and take prasadam — no one will disagree. So this is the process. When they come to the temple… Just like these boys. You are offering obeisances; they are also offering. But that will go to their credit, to become bhakta. This process should be adopted. Not in the beginning, but in the beginning give them prasadam, chant Hare Krsna. And try to sell some book. You pay something. That means he is giving some service, the hard-earned money. That will also go to his credit. And then, when he’ll concerned that “I have paid for it. Let me see what this nonsense has written. All right. Read.” And that will also convince him. This is the way. He’ll keep this body, book, and show some friend, so the infection will go on.
Cyavana: We can see in some of our boys in Kenya. Practically they have no education and very little intelligence, but still, they are doing everything. They’re falling down. They are offering all the prayers. They are taking prasadam. They are chanting. They are doing everything, even they don’t have the intelligence to understand why. Prabhupada: You said that no chemical is missing.
Pusta Krsna: No chemical difference. Prabhupada: But why it is dead?
Pusta Krsna: The body is dead? Well, they haven’t been able to determine that yet. Prabhupada: Then they are rascals. There is no argument because you do not know.
Cyavana: They say “fate.” They say “There is fate.” Prabhupada: Faith we have got, but you have no faith.
Cyavana: Not faith. Fate. Prabhupada: What is that fate?
Cyavana: Predetermined, predestined. Prabhupada: Who made it, the predestination?
Pusta Krsna: Higher controller. Prabhupada: Then you have to accept some higher authority, God.
Cyavana: But he is not a person. He is not a person. Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. That is another thing. That is another question. But you have to accept some superior authority. As soon as you accept fate, destiny, then you have to accept superior authority.
Cyavana: They also say “nature.” They say “by nature.” Prabhupada: Whatever it… Whatever it may be. You have to accept some superior authority. That means you are not independent. You are under the control of the superior authority.
Harikesa: Time. Time is… Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. You call by any name. That is another thing.
Pusta Krsna: These bodies are a reaction, effect, isn’t it? These bodies are an effect. Prabhupada: Yes.
Pusta Krsna: So then death also must be some effect. Prabhupada: So who has made this law, cause and effect? Some way or other, you have to accept that you are not independent.
Harikesa: Their arguments are so foolish, it’s hard to think of them. Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore mudha, they have been described. Na mam duskrtino mudhah [Bg. 7.15]. They are being kicked, punished; still, he says, “Oh, I don’t care for anybody.” I kick on your face. “Yes, I don’t care for you.” Like that. This is their argument.
Pusta Krsna: Ahankara-vimudhatma.
Cyavana: But because everything in this world appears to be disordered, it is difficult to accept… Prabhupada: The world is not in disorder.
Cyavana: But it appears to be.
Brahmananda: Man makes order. Prabhupada: Man makes order?
Pusta Krsna: Is… Your idea is that he conceives of the order. But actually there is no order, but he… Prabhupada: When there is cyclone, man can stop?
Cyavana: For example this beach is all disorder. There is so much rubbish there. There is no order to this world. So how can there be any higher authority… Prabhupada: So what you can do?
Cyavana: I cannot accept that there is a higher authority when everything is simply disorganized. These trees are broken, the…
Prabhupada: It is organized. It is organized. For thousands of years the sea is there, the beach is there. So sea cannot come here. This is order.
Cyavana: But the line of the beach is all crooked and… Prabhupada: That is your imperfect vision. It is perfect.
Harikesa: People think, “Straight and corners, that is very nice. If everything has corners…” Prabhupada: That is your concoction.
Cyavana: Like a building, straight. Prabhupada: Just like if you think that “Why keep to the left? Why not right?” You think like that, but that is ordered by the superior. You can think in your own way.
Cyavana: Because it appears that way to my senses, therefore I think that… Prabhupada: Therefore it is authority. You can think like anything, but it will not be done according to your desire. It will be done by the authority’s desire. That is authority. You cannot dictate the authority that “You do like this.” That is not authority. You think any way; that is your business. But authority will do in their own way.
Harikesa: Actually, nobody cares about philosophy. Nobody follows philosophy. Prabhupada: No. He cares for death. That is the ultimate philosophy, that they have to die. Say, “I don’t care for this order. I’ll not die.” Then your disobedience is all right. But you have to die. You have to become old man. How you can disobey?
Cyavana: So if death is imminent, then I should simply try to enjoy myself as long as I can. Prabhupada: Enjoy. What is that enjoyment if you are going to die?
Harikesa: It’s so incredible how crazy everything is.
Brahmananda: Well, at least before I die, I can get as much pleasure as I can. Prabhupada: Nobody can, if he is actually afraid of death. Suppose if you are given a beautiful woman — “Enjoy, and as soon as you come out I will shoot you.” (laughter) Will you enjoy?
Pusta Krsna: That’s a great example. That example would change the world. Prabhupada: That is the difference between a man of knowledge and a fool. Man of knowledge, that is that he knows he has to die. “But I don’t wish to die. So what is the solution?” That is man of knowledge.
Harikesa: Sometimes they say “Well, why worry about death? It’s gotta happen anyway, so why should we worry?”
Prabhupada: But you… You… Because you are rascal number one, you don’t worry, but that is the psychology. This is the example.
Harikesa: But I want to enjoy right now. Prabhupada: Suppose that you enjoy this woman for few minutes. Then you will be shot down. Then will you be able to enjoy?
Brahmananda: Actually they do that. When some man is to be executed in the prison they give him one woman the night before as a special consolation.
Pusta Krsna: They finish him off completely. They ruin him. (laughing)
Cyavana: But death is very far away from me. I am only thirty years old. I don’t have to worry about death. Prabhupada: What is the guarantee that you will live thirty-one years? What is the guarantee that you will live thirty-one years? There is no guarantee.
Cyavana: But everyone else around me appears to be having fun and enjoying.
Pusta Krsna: They can use this argument though, Prabhupada. I’ve heard it before, that “So God has placed us in this world. Okay, there is God, and He has placed us in this world, and He has created the world also, and He has made these things very, very enjoyable, sex life, and this and that. So why not enjoy if God has created it?” Prabhupada: That is foolishness. That is foolishness. It is not enjoyable. That is… If a criminal says, “The prisonhouse is very enjoyable,” it is like that.
Cyavana: But all the travel brochures and the advertisements, they say it’s nice here. All the advertising and travel brochures, they say it is nice. Prabhupada: Let him say, but prison house, is it nice? That is foolishness.
Cyavana: But everyone else says it’s nice. Prabhupada: Everyone? I don’t say.
Cyavana: You are the only one who says it is not nice. Prabhupada: I am the only intelligent person. (laughter) That’s a fact. Mudho nabhijanati.
Pusta Krsna: Krsna says, antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam: [Bg. 7.23] “Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary.” So does this mean that these less intelligent people who are simply interested in temporary benefit… Even they don’t worship demigods per se, it could be anyone. Prabhupada: Yes. Demigods… Yes. Just like one who is trying to get some good service. So they are worshiping this boss, that boss. That is also demigod, because without flattering some boss he cannot get some good job; without flattering the voters he cannot get the ministership. That is demigod worship. They have to flatter somebody. Why this Ram Gulab has gone to…? He has to flatter there. This is going on. The big bosses in the United Nation, they are demigods, supposed to be. He thinks, “If I flatter them, then I will be able to keep my position.” But he does not think that this position will be lost after some years. Tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam. He has forgotten his eternal life, Krsna, and he is flattering these demigods. That’s all. What he will gain? He will die. That’s all. At the time of death what these United Nation leaders will do?
Cyavana: But we can improve the standard for future generations, for our children. Prabhupada: First of all you improve your own condition; then think of future generation. You are going to hell and thinking of future generation. You are going to die, and you are thinking of future generation. Who is your future generation? That is another foolishness. This is asuric civilization. Asuric civilization.
Cyavana: Hope against hope. Prabhupada: Hope, that is also foolishness. Apart from future generation, you have got sons. So you are taking very great care. Does it mean that his life is guaranteed? So what you can do? You cannot do anything for your present generation, what to speak of future generation. You cannot do. Suppose your son is sick. As father, you have given first-class medicine, first-class physician. Does it guarantee that he will live? Then what can you do? Is it in your control that your son will live because you have given good physician, good medicine? Is it guarantee that your son will live? Then what can you do? You cannot do anything for your present generation, and you are thinking of future generation, which you do not know, who is your future generation. At the present moment you know this is your generation, you cannot do anything, and you are thinking of future generation. How foolish you are.
Cyavana: Well, we may have to accept the laws of nature, but at least we can… Prabhupada: And therefore, what is the meaning of taking care of future generation or this generation?
Cyavana: At least we can make it comfortable in this world. Prabhupada: No. That is not possible. You have already given good medicine, good physician. And why he is dying? You cannot do anything. That is your position. You may try to do, but that is futile. Ultimate is different.
Cyavana: So by giving him medicine, maybe I can give him a better chance… Prabhupada: “Maybe” can be, but it is not guaranteed. You cannot do anything.
Cyavana: But at least I should try. Prabhupada: Try. Foolishly you try whatever you like. That is another thing. But it is not under your control. You can try. That is your… Of course, you must try as a dutiful father, but you should know that you cannot take any guarantee or do anything, good or bad. That you have already said, “the destiny.” That is prominent. That is prominent, not you.
Cyavana: The tendency of the humans… Prabhupada: You can do the best to train your child to become Krsna conscious. That is in your power. That you can do. That is the best service, not anything else. That is not possible. If you become yourself Krsna conscious, and if you try to make your son Krsna conscious, that you can do. And that is the duty, real duty. Other things, you cannot do anything. That is destiny. And if you make him Krsna conscious, then destiny can also be changed. This is the concession of Krsna consciousness. Destiny also can be changed. Karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam [Bs. 5.54]. One who comes to Krsna consciousness, his karma is also changed.
Cyavana: Is that karma dovetailed? Prabhupada: Yes.
Cyavana: It’s still there. Prabhupada: Still can be changed by bhakti. Just like one man is condemned to death. Nobody can change it, but the king can change it. Only by the mercy of king he can be saved, not otherwise. Even the judge who has punished him, he cannot do it. Whatever is ordered, there is order. He cannot change it. Similarly, if you become devotee, then your destiny can be changed. A devotee never is anxious to change his destiny. That is devotee’s…
Pusta Krsna: Like Maharaja Pariksit.
Cyavana: But if his destiny takes him away from Krsna, then he is not… Prabhupada: That is Krsna’s desire. If Krsna desires, He can do anything. So a devotee does not interfere with Krsna’s desire.
Pusta Krsna: We know that Krsna desires everyone to become Krsna conscious. Prabhupada: Oh, that is… Krsna says. That is His desire. Sarva-dharman pa…, mam ekam saranam vraja. That is Krsna’s desire.
Pusta Krsna: So Krsna is not causing everyone to forget Him. Prabhupada: No. Krsna’s desire is open to everyone. We don’t accept it. That is our obstinacy. Krsna says “There is soul.” We do not say. “No, there is no soul.” This is our position. Krsna says, “Within this body there is soul,” and we don’t accept. We’ll argue. This is our position. He is giving direct instruction, “Yes, there is soul,” but we don’t accept. Disobedient.
Cyavana: But if Krsna knows that we will suffer in this material world, why does He let us go away from Him? Why doesn’t He keep us there? Prabhupada: Eh?
Cyavana: If Krsna knows that we will suffer here in this material world if we come here, why does He let us go? Prabhupada: Why the thief goes to the prison house? He knows that “If I go to the prison house, I will be put into distress.”
Cyavana: But the government is not strong enough to force him not to go, not to steal. Prabhupada: Why government is not strong enough?
Cyavana: The government doesn’t have the power to control everyone. But Krsna can… Prabhupada: No. Even if he’s strong enough, you disobey. The government has made so many things that you cannot steal, the iron chest, but still, you are clever enough that you do.
Pusta Krsna: The independence is there. Sometimes people ask, Prabhupada, that if the spiritual world is anandamayo ‘bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12), full of bliss, then how is it that, somehow or another, we’ve left that blissful situation and come into this hellish… Prabhupada: This argument we have talked many times. Everyone knows that out of prisonhouse freedom is there. Why he goes to the prison house? Everyone knows it. Why does he go to the prison house?
Pusta Krsna: Not by choice. He is placed there.
Cyavana: Krsna is the supreme controller. If He wanted to check us from going there, He could check us from going into the prison, from offending. Prabhupada: No. Krsna has given you independence. So you are…. By mentality, you have to suffer. Suppose if a child wants to do something, play, if you check it, check it, then he will go mad. Just like mother Yasoda was showing stick to Krsna, and when Krsna became so much afraid, he (she) became immediately anxious: “Oh, Krsna has too much anxiety. He may fall sick.” So immediately throw away. So this is father-mother’s affection.
Cyavana: So actually it is Krsna’s mercy that He allows us to come here, free ourselves from… Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. He has given you little freedom. He doesn’t want to take your freedom.
Harikesa: You gave two examples in Los Angeles about the master, big master, like president of DuPont walking his dog. The president of DuPont is walking his dog in Central Park. The dog makes him go this way and this way and this way. And you said we are just passing stool and urine in the material world, and Krsna is just letting us run here and there. Prabhupada: Yes. Anumanta. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, anumanta, upadrasta.
Cyavana: In the Caitanya-caritamrta in one of your purports you gave the example of Paramatma being compared to when there is a circus in a village the government sends one inspector to watch over the activities. Then, when the circus goes, he is no longer there. Could you explain it? (pause)
Pusta Krsna: Prabhupada, if Krsna is the reservoir of pleasure, then what does He need us for? If Krsna is all blissful, then what… We’re so, it seems, incapable of pleasing Krsna. He is so magnanimous. What does He need us for? Prabhupada: He does not ask for Himself. For you. If you come to Krsna and enjoy with Him, that is your good. He is self-sufficient. He doesn’t require.
Pusta Krsna: Sometimes, Prabhupada, when they see your Bhagavad-gita, they say, “Oh, it is too big for me to read.” They don’t know that the purport…. They’ve never read. Prabhupada: Therefore I say that bring them, let them chant and dance and take prasadam. That, everyone will hear, agree.
Harikesa: One who does that, he is preaching? One who arranges for chanting and dancing and taking prasadam, that is as good as preaching? Prabhupada: Yes. Sravanam, kirtanam, arcanam — anything.
Harikesa: These festival programs are very important. Prabhupada: (pause) You have to spend or waste gallons of blood before you can convert a person to Krsna consciousness. It is so difficult task.
Cyavana: You have to spend? Prabhupada: Gallons of blood, waste.
Cyavana: In what way? Prabhupada: By talking with him, with the rascal and foolish. You tax your brain and spoil your energy, blood.
Harikesa: Spend so much food.
Cyavana: So we should do that. Prabhupada: Unless you are not a preacher. You should be prepared. Yes. They cuts, sacrifices life, what to speak of wasting blood. Wasting life. This is preacher. Then he is recognized by Krsna: “He has done so much for Me.”
Pusta Krsna: Krsna will give more and more energy. Prabhupada: He is going to die for Krsna, and therefore he is recognized. Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah [Bg. 18.69]. You become immediately very dear to Krsna. Your business is how to become very intimate to Krsna. That will be served by preaching.
Cyavana: Would you like to hear this verse?
na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi [BG. 18.69]
“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” Prabhupada: Who? Ya idam para…
Pusta Krsna: “For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to me.” Prabhupada: Yes.
Pusta Krsna: Sometimes… I’ve had one person. He complained, “Why is there no purport for this verse, ‘There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear’?” Prabhupada: No purport?
Pusta Krsna: Yes. They have mentioned that there is no purport for this verse. Prabhupada: It is already explained. Anyone who is preaching…
Harikesa: That verse is self-effulgent.
Pusta Krsna: Yes.
Harikesa: You are the purport.
Pusta Krsna: Simply people are trying to find out ways that they don’t have to surrender to perfect knowledge. They can go on enjoying in the material world. Prabhupada: Wanted… (indistinct) A little… (indistinct)
Harikesa: I think you should preach every breakfast. Your appetite is very good. Prabhupada: Hm?
Harikesa: Every breakfast you should preach. Then your appetite will be very good. Prabhupada: No, appetite or no appetite, I preach. (laughter) I do not preach for increasing appetite.
Reading the above we can very well imagine the kind of energy with which Prabhupada boldly preached. We also see how diligently Prabhupada taught his disciples in the art of preaching. I found so many wonderful gems in a single room conversation. His spirit to preach is contagious even while reading his conversations! Such is the eternal presence of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada among his disciples and followers.