Srila Prabhupada Visits New Vrindaban – July 1st, 1976.

Srila Prabhupada in New Vrindaban.

Srila Prabhupada in New Vrindaban.

Srila Prabhupada Visits New Vrindaban – July 1st, 1976.

Excerpt from Hari Sauri’s Trancendental Diary.

Prabhupada didn’t take a walk today and his Srimad-Bhagavatam discourse lasted only fifteen minutes. He is still weak and congested with mucus. But whether he speaks for a long time or a short one, he is potent and effective. He can make his point in a few words or extensively. His meaning is always clear.

The verses stated that no person bereft of knowledge of God has ever been able to free himself of material bondage. Prahlada therefore advised his young school friends to avoid the association of such persons and live only with the devotees of Narayana because their only goal of life is liberation from material existence.

Prabhupada told us that although the goal is to go back home, back to Godhead, if we have even a slight material desire then we may have to take birth on some higher planet. He said these were described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and he disparaged the scientists once again for their mechanical attempts to reach such places. “Very, very opulent, we cannot imagine even how they are opulent. The roads are made of pearls, diamonds, coral. And at the same time, no sinful man is admitted there. Everyone highly elevated, pious, there is no crookedness. There is no enviousness. You’ll find this description in the Eighth Canto, of Svargaloka.We cannot imagine even. But that is also within this material world. We can go there if we want to go. Just like they are trying, the modern so-called scientist, to go to the moon planet, Mars. According to sastra, these planets are bedecked with such descriptive facilities. They are also within the heavenly planets. But these rascals are going, and they find nobody there, and they take some dust and come back. This is their success. They do not know that they cannot enter even there. They are not meant for ordinary persons.”

Despite this opulence Prabhupada told us, the devotees are not at all interested to go there. They have a much higher destination. “They are interested to go to Vrndavana and become a grass there. This is devotee. Just like Uddhava, as soon as he entered Vrndavana, he immediately fell down on the road thinking that ‘On this street Krsna has walked, His friends have walked, there are footprints.’ So this is the ambition of a devotee. They are not interested for diamond roads or pearl roads, no.”

Therefore he said, a devotee avoids the association of those attracted to sense enjoyment, especially those who are attached to sex. He gave a one word summary of material existence and said that by correct association one becomes free of it. “We have several times explained. Pavarga, means material suffering. Pa means parisrama, always working hard, day and night. And pha, phena, foam coming out of my mouth. Pa, pha, ba, still baffled. Bha is fearfulness. Pa, pha, ba, bha and ma, mrtyu, at last, death. This is called pavarga. And apavarga means just to counteract this pavarga. So in one life if we try to associate with the devotees and engage in Narayana’s service sincerely. … Maybe a little difficult. There is no difficulty. Where is the difficulty? We can see practically. To chant Hare Krsna maha-mantra and take prasadam, is there any difficulty? There is no difficulty. It is so pleasing.”

His conclusion was that we should finish our business inmediately in this life. “Krsna consciousness means fully become detached with this material enjoyment, simply become engaged in Krsna’s service. Your life will be successful. Thank you very much.”

* * *

I brought some mango ice cream, made by the devotees, and Srila Prabhupada decided to have some. He doesn’t eat much of anything, and didn’t take a lot, but he liked it and he, Pusta Krsna, Pradyumna and myself chatted as he ate.

The conversation started out with more critique on the Mars probe. We supplied some details, culled from the newspapers and as always, Srila Prabhupada was entirely skeptical about what he termed as a childish attempt and a complete waste of money. He had said as much ten years ago, he told us, when they so-called went to the moon. Now, he said, there is no more talk of the moon yet so much money was spent. As far as he was concerned, they never went. He was only surprised that people so readily accept the scientists’ speculations. He laughed and said we were fools and rascals for believing them.

We had to agree that what they are doing is entirely pointless. I said there was no proper reason for any of it because they aren’t improving their actual living standards by their effort. I compared it to the jnani, who thinks advancement is just to simply acquire any amount of knowledge but without any practical use.

Srila Prabhupada agreed and immediately supplied a Sanskrit verse. “They are described: Klisyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye. Simply works hard simply to know things. No benefit. These rascals are like that.” He wasn’t just talking about the scientists either. “Yes, it is mentioned in the Caitanya-caritamrta. Any process you accept, rejecting devotional service, the result will be that there is no profit.” He said it was like beating the empty husks of rice. “You simply labor for nothing, as much as to beat the husk, you’ll never get the rice, it will simply be tiresome, that’s all. Just like so-called religion. There is no faith in God. There is no need of God, and ‘religion.’ This is nonsense. Religion means without God? This is going on. God, you can accept anyone — Ramakrishna Mission. He was a fool, illiterate rascal, Ramakrishna — he became ‘God.’ They have no standard, and they are propagating Ramakrishna Mission. As we are preaching Krsna is God, they are preaching Ramakrishna. And who’s accepting them? For the last hundred years, they are preaching. So who has become a devotee of Ramakrishna?”

Prabhupada said that when there is no idea of real religion, anything, even atheism, can be passed off as religion. He tipped his head toward the dictionary and told me to look up the meaning of religion.

I read out the definitions. “It says, ‘Religion. One. Monastic condition, being a monk or a nun, enter into a monastic order. Two. Practice of sacred rites. Three. One of the prevalent systems of faith and worship, i.e. Christian, Mohammedan, etc. Four. Human recognition of superhuman controlling power and especially of a personal God entitled to obedience; effect of such recognition on conduct and mental attitude.'”

Prabhupada nodded at this. “This is religion — personal conception of God.”

Then I read the final entry. “Action that one is bound to do.”

Prabhupada liked that also. “Yes. Everything is there. Anyone of them you take. ‘One is bound to do.’ Dharmena hina pasubhih samanah. If he does not do, then he’s animal. It must be done. There is no question of optional. If you are human being, you must be religious, you must recognize the supreme controller. Otherwise, you are animal. … Without reference to God, what is the meaning of sacred rites? Accepting the supreme controller. That is the real meaning. At least, Christian religion accepts God. Mohammedan religion accepts God, or Hindu religion accepts God. So without God how it can be religion? If there is no understanding of God, the conclusion comes that there is no religion. fictitious. We ‘trust in God,’ but do not know what is God. This is going on.

“So we have to fight against all this nonsense. Nonsense scientists, nonsense religionists. What do you think? It is not easygoing, sleeping business. We have to fight with so many demons.”

In this, his criticism stretched to his own Godbrothers. According to his spiritual master, Prabhupada said, if one does not go out and preach, he will simply beg, eat and sleep. “As all our Godbrothers are doing. They have got a little temple, and a few devotees go and beg rice and cook it and eat and sleep, that’s all.”

Pusta Krsna said it was like being dead.

“No fighting spirit,” Prabhupada said. He was neither facetious nor cynical, just quietly matter-of-fact. “Thakura dekhiya. Just make a Deity, and show. Our Tirtha Maharaja is doing that. His whole idea was, that ‘I have now captured the birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu by high court favor. Now I have got everything. People will come and they will pay something and that will be my income for my family.’ A means of livelihood. He has no devotion. He wanted as a means of income, like the Vrndavana Gosvamis, Navadvipa Gosvamis do. Little devotion, automatically, there is. They are, after all, worshiping the Deity. But their purpose is different.”

He used New Vrindaban as a fitting comparison. “Just like we have established Radha-Vrndavanacandra, not that people will come and pay something. Who will come here? In this foreign country or in this secluded place? So our aim is to make the devotees, real devotees. Not for earning money. When we establish a center in a place like this, where is the idea of getting money?” He laughed. “Who will come here? One, it is a foreign country, nobody knows what is Krsna. And one has to come with so great difficulty, on the mountain. And who is coming to pay for it? After spending so much money, they will come here to pay?

“Our process is that wherever we stay we worship Krsna. As far as possible. That we are doing. Not for earning money but for spending money. Now Tirtha Maharaja is seeing that without getting Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birthsite, Swami Maharaja [Prabhupada], he is attracting lakhs of people. Without the favor of high court, he is attracting. That is his envy. This year, you were not present [in Mayapur]?”

I thought he was referring to the outrageous tract Tirtha Maharaja had put out to proclaim his own success in attracting people from all over the world to Lord Caitanya’s birthsite.

Prabhupada though, wasn’t thinking of trivialities. He was thinking of the substance. “No, no,” Prabhupada said. “Apart from that leaflet — let him do whatever nonsense — but actually, on the birthday of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there was the greatest crowd in our temple.”

He also recalled our visit in April to Madhava Maharaja’s temple in Vrndavana. It was deserted. There were no visitors nor even any residents and when one man did come he had to unlock the Deity doors to allow us to have darsana. “And that is on the prominent roadside,” Prabhupada pointed out. “And our temple is off. Still, so many people are coming. Neither there were inhabitants nor their outsider, visitors. Gate was closed, we had to open and enter. And he constructed temple at least for the last twenty years.”

Pusta Krsna suggested it was because they have no vision for expanding their preaching.

Srila Prabhupada put it down to something more mundane. “They make this moneymaking machine. They do not know the money will automatically come if you are sincere. You haven’t got to make it a machine. Money Krsna will send. But they have no faith in Krsna. They have faith in their own ability. ‘Yes, we shall earn money in this way, by showing the Deity.’ They don’t recognize Krsna’s everything. They think, ‘By high court judgment, if we capture this place, then money will come.'”

He also had the same observation to make about the Ramakrishna Mission. He disapproves not only their concocted Mayavadi philosophy “all paths lead to the same goal [yata mat, tata path]” but also the false propaganda they put out in India that Vivekananda conquered the West with his preaching. “They are working here for the last hundred years. What they have done? So many American boys and gentlemen are coming to our temple, we cannot give them place. We have to find out some other … and who is going to the Ramakrishna temple? If actually Vivekananda preached something, out of inquisitiveness they would have gone there — ‘We have heard so much about Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. Let us see what is there.’ Nobody goes. They do not know even the name. And we are already advertised all over the world, Hare Krsna movement. At least, everyone knows. Who knows Ramakrishna, Vivekananda?

“Just stick to this principle, then you will be successful. Bhaktim sreyah-srtim. That is the real welfare. Sreyah-srtim means ‘expands auspicity.'” He turned to the beautiful painting of baby Krsna and Nanda Maharaja. “And they want to become one with God. And here is not one, but God is so lower that He carries the shoe of His devotee.” He smiled. “Have they got any conception like this?”

* * *

As per his regular routine, when Srila Prabhupada awakens from his afternoon nap, we are offering him a fresh flower garland, some fruit juice and sandalwood paste for his forehead. The garlands are made from local wildflowers, which His Divine Grace likes a lot. Pusta Krsna Swami and I had a short chat with him today after he went into his study room. He mused a little on the questions he answered yesterday about the jnanis and the bhaktas. He was frank about all the gurus and swamis who have become so prominent in the West recently. “They do not know what is bhakti, what is Vedanta. They do not know. Simply aspiring, all after women and money, that’s all. I know all of them, all first-class rogues, after money and women.”

Because they are popular, he said, it was difficult to speak the truth about them because the public are also foolish rascals.

Pusta Krsna said he thought all of the others are trying to make some compromise.

Srila Prabhupada chuckled. “I don’t make any compromise. All my speaking is also no compromise. Here is guru, here is Krsna, here is God, here is Vedanta. Real version they neglect, and they stick to the rascal’s version, Sankara’s version, Sariraka-bhasya. All over India, they are reading Sariraka-bhasya.”

I asked him that since Ramanujacarya is well known in India, why don’t people read his commentary on Vedanta.

“They hate Ramanujacarya because he’s Vaisnava,” Prabhupada said.

“Because he doesn’t allow them to speculate,” I said.

Prabhupada nodded. “He is very strict. He is a stubborn enemy of Sankaracarya. All the Vaisnava acaryas. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, declare it: ‘If you hear the interpretation of Mayavadis, then you are doomed.’ You have no hope for spiritual advancement. This is the statement. finished, your spiritual life is finished.” He told Pusta Krsna, “You can write this also, that Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instruction is strictly to avoid the so-called Vedantists.”

Prabhupada remained in his room and finished the questions and answers from Bhavan’s Journal. The first one of the session, question ten, caught my attention. It asked, “Will mantras lose their sanctity or holiness if they are not in the Sanskrit language?”

Srila Prabhupada explained that they are transcendental sounds and cannot be changed. “The sound must be vibrated. You cannot translate it. The sound as it is … Just like Hare Krsna maha-mantra, the sound must be produced. You cannot translate. Then it will be artha-vada [speculative interpretation]. That is prohibited. You cannot interpret or do other way … The sound vibration must be there. Then it will continue in sanctity.”

Pusta Krsna asked for clarification. “Is that to say the mantras can be written in Devanagari script or in Roman letters, but the sound must be the same?”

“Yes,” Prabhupada said. “The sound is important.”

It was another lengthy session. Altogether there are five hours of recordings. Now Pusta Krsna has to transcribe and edit them before sending them back to India.

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