Srila Prabhupada Visits New Vrindaban – June 30th, 1976.

Srila Prabhupada at the Bahulaban Temple, 1976.

Srila Prabhupada at the Bahulaban Temple, 1976.

Srila Prabhupada Visits New Vrindaban – June 30th, 1976.

Excerpt from Hari Sauri’s Trancendental Diary.

Srila Prabhupada was not well again today and had an ashen pallor when he came out of his room. He took only a very short walk, and for class simply had Pradyumna read the verse and purport and then speak on it.

The verse was a good descriptive of the typical materialist. “O my friends, sons of demons! In this material world, even those who are apparently advanced in education have the propensity to consider, ‘This is mine, and that is for others.’ Thus they are always engaged in providing the necessities of life to their families in a limited conception of family life, just like uneducated cats and dogs. They are unable to take to spiritual knowledge; instead, they are bewildered and overcome by ignorance.”

After hearing Pradyumna give his explanation Srila Prabhupada added just a few comments. He said he had personal experience of how foolish people become when they claim ownership of their surroundings. “We have seen practically in India. During the partition days, when the Britishers left India, they gave a parting kick by dividing Pakistan and India. So I have seen in my own eyes there was fighting between the Hindus and Muslims for at least one week in Calcutta and heaps of dead bodies there were. So the fighting was between Hindu and Muslim, but when they died the body is piled up and it was taken for burning or to throw away. So the land remained there and these people fighting between themselves, that ‘this is mine, this is mine,’ they finished their life. The land remained where it was. So this is called illusion. Aham mameti, ‘it is mine, it is yours.'”

He spoke for only five minutes and returned to the house. When Srila Prabhupada is unable to discourse on Krsna conscious philosophy, it is a serious matter indeed.

* * *

There have been confusing reports about the ownership of the temple in Fiji. Upendra has written expressing his concern and he enclosed a draft copy of a trust document and constitution. Money is being collected in ISKCON’s name, but it is unclear whether the deed of the land is actually in ISKCON’s name or privately held by Mr. Deoji Punja, Vasudeva dasa. Dealings between the GBC and Vasudeva prabhu are said to be strained, and there is talk of a separate board of trustees being set up.

Prabhupada does not like what he calls “phish, phish, phish,” wispered rumors and idle talk, with nothing clearly stated. He therefore wrote directly to Vasudeva stating how things are managed in his ISKCON society and requesting him to clarify what his intentions are.

“My dear Vasudeva das,

“Please accept my blessings. In connection with our ISKCON project in Fiji, I beg to inform you that we are managing our Krsna consciousness movement by the Governing Body Commission, GBC. We have got about 20 GBCs looking after the whole world affair, and above the GBC I am there. Below the GBC there are the temple president, secretary, treasurer in every centre. So the temple president is responsible to the GBC and the GBC is responsible to me. In this way we are managing. But why you are proposing a separate trustee for Fiji? We have up to now no separate trustee. If this is for security purposes, that we can discuss.

“If you have got some new idea please explain to me how you want to manage. But I think Fiji temple cannot be managed in a separate way. But still I will entertain some idea. If you have difference you can write me explaining.”

He told Vasudeva that the deed to the property should be in favor of himself, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and could not be dedicated to any office bearer. Suggesting that Vasudeva could be president and Upendra secretary, he firmly stated there was no need for trustees.

“In any circumstance,” he said, “there cannot be a private property in the name of ISKCON. If you want to keep it a private property then the ISKCON name should not be utilised.

“I am very much anxious to get your clear reply to this thing. So many things are unclear, so let it be cleared up.” He requested that a copy of the deed be sent to him in New York.

To Upendra Prabhupada wrote, “Unless the temple is fully under our control, we are not interested. Then we shall call it back. I will decide on receipt of the reply to this letter to Vasudeva dasa (Mr. Punja). So far the Fiji constitution is concerned, where it says: ‘supplying needs to the sick, poor, and orphans, etc.’ That is not our program. We distribute prasadam to everyone, not particularly to the needy. We make no discrimination, rich or poor.”

* * *

After resting most of the morning Srila Prabhupada took his massage, and seemed to recover somewhat. Thus in the afternoon he gave an interview to Mike Darby, a young reporter and good friend of ISKCON, from the Wheeling Intelligencer. Mike had written to Srila Prabhupada in mid-February when he was still at high school for this interview. A thick set young man wearing a sleeveless vest and long sideburns, he was very respectful, genuine and had obviously been reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. Their short discussion touched on Christianity and material scientists, both of whom Prabhupada said were cheating — the so-called Christians by changing the instructions of Christ and the Bible, and the scientists for making false claims about chemicals producing life. Soft-spoken Mike fully agreed with him.

Mike asked Srila Prabhupada if he would tell him something about his spiritual master. Prabhupada didn’t reveal much, except to say in a very straightforward way, “This is spiritual master, one who is representative of God. And one who speaks what God has said, then he’s spiritual master.”
Mike was hoping for something more specific. “But I have never heard anything of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, and I wondered if you would tell me a little bit about him, if you would.”

Prabhupada was reserved. “What shall I say? He was my spiritual master, and whatever he taught, we are speaking, that’s all. We don’t talk any nonsense.”

When Mike said that he had waited a long time to have this opportunity to meet, Srila Prabhupada was very touched and humbly thanked him. At the end of the interview Mike respectfully asked to have his photogragh taken with His Divine Grace and Prabhupada happily obliged. He had Mike come and sit next to his asana while Visakha clicked away with her camera. Prabhupada liked him and encouraged him to continue visiting New Vrindaban.

Prabhupada decided not to go out and allowed Mike to stay on while Pusta Krsna continued with the Bhavan’s Journal interview. They covered two more of the questions. One asked why many “savants” focus on jnana when the scriptures declare bhakti as the simplest and most direct way to attain spiritual realization. The other was on whether a guru was necessary for spiritual life and how can one recognize his guru. Prabhupada spoke extensively on both points before bringing the meeting to a close at eight o’clock.

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