Srila Prabhupada Visits New Vrindaban – June 27th, 1976

Srila Prabhupada in New Vrindaban.

Srila Prabhupada in New Vrindaban.

Srila Prabhupada Visits New Vrindaban – June 27th, 1976.

Excerpt from Hari Sauri’s Trancendental Diary.

Srila Prabhupada felt a little better this morning and went on his walk. The devotees drove him to a more open stretch of countryside, rather than return to the dark vale we first visited.

He walked at an easy gait, accompanied by a small handful of devotees. He spoke only intermittently, strolling along with a quiet serenity. Srila Prabhupada has a wonderfully aristocratic bearing — erect stature, upwardly tilted head, cane firmly wielded, his hand clasping the silver handle with the forefinger extended, sharp eyes, penetrating and clear — yet at the same time he is completely approachable and never aloof from his surroundings and his followers. He has weight. He is a presence one cannot ignore. Even when he is silent you know he has a lot to say. And when he does speak he reveals a wealth of information. As he told us in Bombay, a devotee is expert, which means that “he knows everything about something, and something about everything.” Srila Prabhupada is certainly the most expert.

As he sauntered along the road he noticed some patches of herbs growing along the side. “There is a class of men, they are called bediyas. They know all these herb, which herb is medicine for certain disease, and they sell in the market. Every one of these is meant for some medicine. They know it.”

I asked if that kind of information was in the Vedas.

Prabhupada said, “Ayur-veda. There is a book. Dravya-guna. All kinds of herbs, metals, even different kinds of flesh of different animals, they are mentioned. Hundreds of different kinds of animals’ flesh, how it can be utilized for certain disease, the descriptions are there.”

This was a little surprising to me. “They use flesh for curing diseases?”

“Yes.” Prabhupada said matter-of-factly, adding, “Animal killing is only allowed when it is absolutely necessary, for medicine. Suppose by killing one animal, hundreds of lives are saved, so that is allowed. One preparation is chagalagdha-ghrta. A live goat is put into the ghee with other ingredients, and that is a good medicine for tuberculosis.”

Pusta Krsna was also a bit incredulous. “They actually cook the live goat in the ghee? Maybe we should withhold this science from the Western world for a while,” he said half-jokingly.

Prabhupada grinned. “No, you are expert already.”

I asked if it was done in the same mood as Vedic animal sacrifices where mantras were chanted to give new life to the animal.

Prabhupada shook his head. He said animals were sacrificed and reborn to test the potency of the mantra. But in this case the animal was used for medicine.

Syamakunda dasa mentioned a book he had recently read wherein the author said that old cows with no milk and rotten teeth should be slaughtered as a matter of economy, rather than waste their flesh.

Prabhupada had a suggestion of his own for the author. “When he’ll die, who will take his meat? That is also economical. Why don’t you give it to the animal-eaters instead of wasting it? Why they bury in the ground? Why? Let it be thrown to be eaten by the jackals or anybody else.”

Srila Prabhupada argued that when a man is dead they should make the same economic calculation because, after all, when they are dead, there is no difference in value between an animal’s body and a man’s body.

We suggested it would be too horrifying for them to contemplate that they may start eating each other, their own grandmother or even their family dog.

“But if it was wrapped up in a package and they didn’t know it was the dog or their mother, they could probably eat it,” Syamakunda said.

“Yes,” Prabhupada agreed. “They can eat by packing.”

It reminded me of an incident from my childhood. When I related it, Srila Prabhupada stopped for a moment to listen. “They eat their pets sometimes. I used to have a pet rabbit, and one day I came home from school and my father had killed it and eaten it for dinner.” The devotees shook their heads and laughed. “He said I wasn’t looking after it properly, so he…”

Prabhupada pulled a face and walked on. He didn’t want to hear. “Chant Hare Krsna!”

* * *

Srila Prabhupada visits the calves at the Bahulaban Barn, June 27th, 1976.

Srila Prabhupada visits the calves at the Bahulaban Barn, June 27th, 1976.

Right after his short class Prabhupada visited the cow barn. Four new calves have been born since his arrival, and as he stood next to their stall chatting with Kirtanananda Swami, he let one lick his hand. The New Vrindaban cow protection program is impressive. The devotees derive about one thousand pounds of milk per day which they turn into various products like ghee, cheese and buttermilk. Srila Prabhupada enjoyed the visit.

* * *

The weather has been sunny and warm so Srila Prabhupada takes his mid-day massage sitting out on the lawn. Today he noted a constant coming and going of cars and small trucks on the road and inquired if they were our men. When I informed him that they were, he laughed and quoted a Bengali saying: “‘I live in the forest and eat grass, but for going to pass stool I ride a white horse!’ This is your Western renunciation and simple living. They are living in the hills and forests, but still they drive big trucks and cars around! Anyway, that is all right, as long as we do not grow dependent on them.”

* * *

In the afternoon Pusta Krsna and myself went to swim in a large, man-made pond named Radha-kunda. We went with Kuladri, Narada Muni dasa and a few other prabhus. We had water sports and raft fights. After some time the gurukula boys arrived, most of whom are under five years old. They are pure and innocent and seemed content and happy. We had an hour long battle, “demons versus devotees.” I was told that Prabhupada has approved wrestling for youths because it helps strengthen their metabolism and keeps the semen intact for going to the brain.

* * *

Prabhupada held another long darsana in the garden, at about five thirty. Although the drone of our neighbors’ motorcycles could be heard in the distance, they did not venture up as far as our house, so we sat on the grass in peace to hear His Divine Grace.

Prabhupada initiated the discussion by asking the devotees a question. “If you go somewhere, you must know first of all why you have gone there. That is the first question. If you go to a store, the first business is that you have gone to purchase some particular thing from the store. That is understood. Similarly, why one should go to a spiritual master? What is the purpose? Answer any one of you.”

That set the tone for much of the next two hours. Prabhupada encouraged the devotees to examine the fundamental principle of spiritual life — one’s relationship with the spiritual master.

Dhrstadyumna Maharaja immediately provided the answer he was looking for. “When one is confused and frustrated by this material existence, he wants to find an answer to his problem. So there are different authorities in the world offering solutions, but one has to find the actual authority.”

Srila Prabhupada expanded his statement. “One has to go to guru when one is inquisitive. Child also wants to know. He asks his parents, ‘What is this, father? What is this, mother?’ That inquisitiveness is there in everyone. So when one wants to know about the Supreme, then he requires a guru, or spiritual master. It is not a fashion that ‘Everyone keeps a guru; let me also have a guru.’ Not like that. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. ‘In order to understand the transcendental science, one has to go to guru.’ Just like one generally, naturally, goes to temple, church… Four classes of men. One is needy: ‘O God, give us our daily bread.’ Actually, that is the fact. God gives us bread. So traditionally we are trained up. Similarly, one who wants to know what is God.

“Just like in our Society, in Krsna consciousness, they see that these boys, young boys, they have given up everything, they are after Krsna. What is this Krsna? That is intelligent. Why they are after this Krsna? Then he has to go to a person, guru. In this way, there are many circumstances. But the real purpose is to know the Supreme.”

“So if one is looking for a guru,” Dhrstadyumna Swami asked, “but there are many people they are proclaiming themselves guru, and they are speaking ‘Supreme,’ ‘God,’ how may one tell the actual guru?”

Prabhupada firmly condemned both those who declare themselves to be God, as well as those who believe them. A person should know what he is looking for in order to avoid being cheated. He gave a simple practical test by which any layman could expose a rogue. “If one accepts some cheap God, that means he has no understanding about God. He’s a rascal. If I say I’m God and somebody accepts me as God, then he’s a foolish man. They do not know what is meaning of God. If one wants God, he must know at least what is meant by God. Every scripture, just like in Bible it is said, ‘God has created this universe.’ So if you come to me and accept me as God, why don’t you test whether I have created another universe like this? Why you accept a cheap God who hasn’t done anything? Simply he’s bluff, and he says that ‘I am God.’

“Everything requires intelligence. If you are not intelligent, then in every transaction you may be cheated. Everyone has heard God is great. So great means there should be nobody equal to Him and nobody greater than Him. So test that man whether he has no competitor, another God. Nowadays there are so many Gods. So God is great, why is there another competitor? This is intelligence.”

Pusta Krsna also stated that it was a common occurrence in the Western countries for people to say that anyone can be guru. “In fact, one Westerner who went to India and came back — he’s very popular in the United States today — he says that everyone is guru and everyone is God.”

“And people accept that?” Prabhupada asked him.


Prabhupada motioned to the small group before him.”Now you discuss this point.”

Several quotes and philosophical pronouncements came forth but Srila Prabhupada wanted something other than mere repetition of scripture. “No, this is a common sense. If everyone is God, then what is the necessity of finding out a guru? Guru means who explains about God. If everyone is God, then what is the use of explanation? There is no need of guru.”

His purpose for the evening was clear. He wanted to hear the personal realizations of his disciples. His questions, prompts and instigations of debate were both to train us and reveal what we have actually understood. He is writing so many books which he requests us repeatedly to read. He does not want blind, sentimental followers. He wants competent preachers who can go out and save the world. Defeating the Mayavadis is high on the list of priorities. Thus a question from one of the men found Srila Prabhupada as much irritated with the man as he was with the faulty philosophy he inquired about.

The man asked, “Srila Prabhupada, there is one common philosophy, also held by a lot of religious groups, that God can be understood directly from within, and that no guru or spiritual master is necessary. If I desire to approach God, and if He’s all-powerful, He can instruct me from within. They feel like this. Therefore they dispute our claim that we understand God in a different way, that you need a genuine spiritual master. And yet when we approach them, one man will say he has God within his heart and he understands God in this way, and another man is receiving instruction from God from within the heart, and yet he’s saying another thing.”

Prabhupada stated clearly the position of such a proponent, but he was as concerned about the questioner. “He’s a rascal, and who accepts him, he’s a rascal. How do you think that God is speaking to him? How do you accept it?”

The devotee said he didn’t accept it but Prabhupada wasn’t satisfied with that assurance. He had detected a problem in the mere fact that the man had brought it up.

“But you are advocating. Why do you accept this?” he wanted to know. “He would say, but you must know that he’s talking foolish. How God can talk with him? What is the condition? Therefore you have to read books.

“God talks with whom? That is said. Tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam. Those who have already become devotee of God and engaged in His service, He talks with him. Not a third-class fool. He doesn’t talk with him. It is clearly stated, one who is twenty-four-hours engaged in the service of the Lord, with love and faith, God talks with him. How do you understand that God is talking with him? A rascal fool, who has no business with God?

“So first of all see whether he’s twenty-four-hours engaged in God’s service with love and faith. Then you can understand, ‘Yes, God is talking with him.’ But [when] he has no preliminary qualification, if he says, ‘I can talk with God,’ he’s a nonsense. You accept him, ‘Yes, he may be talking with God.’ How he can talk? That means you are also nonsense. You do not know with whom God talks. Why do you accept such proposition? If some storekeeper says ‘I have passed M.A., L.L.D.,’ and I have to accept that? You must know with whom God talks. That means you are nonsense. You are accepting nonsensically. And the person who is constantly engaged in God’s service, unless he’s trained up by a spiritual master, how can he be engaged? So without spiritual master, one cannot be engaged in devotional service, and without devotional service, nobody’s eligible to talk with God. So that nonsense talking, that without spiritual master, God talking, and he has become perfect, this is all nonsense. One who believes, he is also nonsense. He does not know God.

“To raise such question means nonsense. You do not know with whom God talks, therefore you have brought this question. Otherwise, you would have kicked immediately, ‘It is impossible.’ What do you think?”

The boy again tried to reassure Srila Prabhupada. “I understand what you are saying.”

“Then why do you raise this question?”

“It’s a matter of argument also,” the boy replied.

Prabhupada was irked. “Argument? Why do you bring such nonsense argument, waste time? Don’t waste time. You are ignorant, you are accepting. Don’t remain ignorant. It is common sense. Is it so easy that one can talk with God? If some common man says, ‘Just now I went to Mr. Ford, the President, and talked with him. I’m coming back from him.’ So any gentleman will believe that? So these are our insufficiency that we believe such things. We are not properly trained up. Simply waste time. That’s not good. He may talk nonsense. Why I shall accept nonsense? Shall I have to believe? He’s a common man. How he can talk with President Ford? If I believe, then I am also nonsense.”

The devotee’s next question really brought out Srila Prabhupada’s annoyance. “Does this mean that we should not speak with those who ask such questions?”

“But you must know how to answer it!” Prabhupada riled. “Otherwise, chant Hare Krsna. Why there are so many books? You do not read it, you do not know how to answer it even. That means you do not read. If you knew that God does not speak with rascals or anyone ordinary, then you would have immediately replied, ‘God does not speak to you. It is not possible. It requires qualification.’ Why should you believe it and waste your time?”

Srila Prabhupada was in a lively disposition. Rather than have sections of his books read out, as in previous nights, he preached directly the philosophy, and dealt with his audience directly also. The mood was one of dynamic exchange and everyone was invigorated.

At one point, Prabhupada told everyone the story of Narada Muni, the cobbler and the brahmana.

Hearing this made one of the men puzzled. Thinking about a statement Krsna makes in the Bhagavad-gita he asked Prabhupada to clarify it. “In that story, the cobbler actually was more advanced than the brahmana, and yet in Bhagavad-gita Krsna explains that ‘Even the stri-sudra-dvijabandhu,’ they can all approach the supreme destination. Then in the next verse He says, ‘How much greater, then, are the brahmanas, the righteous, the devotees, the saintly kings.’ I was wondering how are they greater? I do not understand how they are greater than the lower person who surrenders.”

Prabhupada gave him a simple but wonderful comparison. “Suppose you have got your spiritual master and if somebody says that any one of you can come in this car. So spiritual master goes, you also go. Does it mean that spiritual master is not greater than you? Do you think like that?”

It was immediately clear to the boy. “No.”

“Then? It is the same thing. Suppose Kirtanananda Maharaja has brought this car, so he says, ‘All of you can come.’ So I go, you go, does it mean that you and your spiritual master are equal?

“Everyone can go to Godhead, there is no doubt, but still there is difference between brahmanas, ksatriyas, sudras. So far going into the car, the equal right is there, but it does not mean that your spiritual master or the next group, they are not greater than you. Don’t think like that. The same car, Kirtanananda Maharaja is driving, I am also there, you are also there. Does it mean that we are all equal? There must be gradation. The right is given to everyone. It does not mean that immediately they become all one.

“It is Krsna’s mercy that He accepted everyone, ‘Come on.’ But the distinction is there. We are inviting everyone to partake krsna-prasadam. That does not mean that immediately all of them have become of the equal rank. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He was so kind, but still there was distinction. When He was taking prasadam, personal associates, they were sitting with Him. Is it not?

“This is called honor. Varieties must be there. Otherwise we become Mayavadis — everything is equal, all one. This is Mayavada philosophy — no varieties. There must be variety. That is Vaisnava philosophy. And as soon as you make it variety-less, all equal, that is Mayavada.”

He offered another beautiful example from the colorful garland he was wearing. “Just see even in this flower.” He pointed out the blossom and then the leaf. “This is flower and this is also flower. Does it mean they are of the same rank? This is understanding. Together they look very beautiful, but if you take separate value, then it is valuable than this flower. That distinction must be there. If somebody says, ‘I am accepting even the leaf in this garland,’ then what to speak of rose? It is like that. Krsna says that. That does not mean leaf and rose have the same value. One is making a beautiful garland, ‘I am accepting everything.’ Mixed together it looks very nice, but individually the leaf has value, the rose has value, the flower has value. Not that because they are put together they have equal value. This is Vaisnava philosophy.”

There was another claim to God consciousness that we put before him for comment. He had mentioned the United Nations and someone said there was now a Mayavadi guru who conducts meditation sessions there. Srila Prabhupada’s expository response came in typical fashion, with cutting humor and sastric reference. “That is another cheating. Meditation … Whatever nonsense they are doing, you don’t know, nobody knows. That’s all. ‘If you become dumb, you have no enemy.’ Tavac ca sobhate murkho yavat kincin na bhasate. ‘A rascal is beautiful so long he does not speak.’ So better meditation; don’t speak. Nobody will detect you. This is going on. If you speak, then you’ll be detected what you are. And if you sleep by posing meditation, then nobody will ask, ‘What you are doing nonsense?’ This is meditation. Meditation is another cheating. That Prahlada Maharaja has detected. Huh? Find out this verse, Seventh Canto.”

As Pusta Krsna Maharaja looked it up I recalled a news article about the man. “This Shri Chinmoy is supposed to be this resident guru at the United Nations. He did a practical demonstration of what he said a person who is in touch with God can be capable of doing if he allows himself to become an instrument of God. For eight months he painted continually, and he produced twenty seven thousand paintings. He said that this was proof that he was God realized.”

Srila Prabhupada waited to respond until the verse he wanted was read out. Pusta Krsna read the translation. “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are ten prescribed methods on the path to liberation — to remain silent, not to speak to anyone, to observe vows, to amass all kinds of Vedic knowledge, to undergo austerities, to study the Vedas and other Vedic literatures, to execute the duties of varnasrama-dharma, to explain the sastras, to stay in a solitary place, to chant mantras silently, and to be absorbed in trance. These different methods for liberation are generally only a professional practice and means of livelihood … ”

Prabhupada interrupted and repeated the last phrase. “Means of livelihood.”

Then Pusta Krsna continued, ” … means of livelihood for those who have not conquered their senses. Because such persons are falsely proud, these procedures may not be successful.”

After hearing the short purport, Prabhupada gave further explication. “Take, for example, mauna. Mauna means don’t talk rubbish. It is better not to talk than to talk foolish. So mauna is meant for them who cannot talk about Krsna. Better stop talking. Because he does not know Krsna, he’ll talk all nonsense. So sometimes the spiritual master says that ‘You remain silent for twelve years.'” Midst our laughter he went on, “Instead of talking nonsense, you remain silent for twelve years. That is mauna. Because as soon as you’ll talk, you’ll be captured where you are. Better not to talk. But one who is devotee, why he’ll not … ? He’ll talk about Krsna. Why he should be silent? If he remains silent, then people will not get the benefit. Let him speak always of Krsna.

“Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that whomever you meet, you simply talk about Krsna, what He has taught in the Bhagavad-gita. You become guru. So why guru will stop? Guru will speak. But what kind of speaking? What Krsna has spoken. Not nonsense. Not like that: ‘I have painted so many pictures, therefore I have become God realized.’ Where Bhagavan says, ‘By painting pictures one may … ‘ Krsna does not say. He [Shri Chinmoy] has invented this. So therefore our test is, whether he’s a bona fide guru, whether he’s talking what Krsna has said. Then he’s guru. Otherwise a rascal. That’s all, finished. Why should we bother? If you know this art, how to detect the rascal and guru, the test is already there. Where is the difficulty?”

Finally at the end of a very informative and entertaining meeting Srila Prabhupada called a halt and retired to his rooms.

* * *

On his way into his bedroom to take rest tonight he glanced over to a painting of baby Krsna carrying Nanda Maharaja’s shoes on His head which was hanging on the wall. He stopped and stared intently for a few moments, his face softening with love and appreciation. Then as he lay in the darkness he spoke fondly of how wonderful Krsna is, that He can enact such pastimes and still be the Supreme Godhead.

Because of our dullness Prabhupada generally has to preach about the difference between the body and spirit, but now and then he reveals, just for a few moments, the intimacy of his realization of Lord Krsna’s pastimes

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