Room Conversation — June 26, 1975, Los Angeles

Prabhupāda: So you have given up the Vaiṣṇava-sadācāra for business selling. So you can be dangerous for that. 

Devotee (1): But we have also maintained the Vaiṣṇava-sadācāra. They didn’t tell us… 

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. You do that. But they do not see whether you are maintaining. 

Devotee (1): But at the same time, when we were maintaining that, we had the same problems, is that, when we presented sociological applications of the philosophy, for instance, to arrange marriages in a reasonable way, that the women not be sent out on saṅkīrtana to prostitute themselves to sell books, but be trained up to be wives, or that the brahmacārīs in the temple, someone would sit and talk with them and see how many of them want to be married and try and arrange some type of training for them, knowing that most of them are going to become married, rather than just have no training and one day find oneself married, out on the street with no occupation or training. 

Prabhupāda: First of all, you are not trained up. You are sometimes becoming astrologer, sometimes this, sometimes that. 

Devotee (1): It’s true, because of my birth in this… 

Prabhupāda: So how they can follow you? 

Devotee (2): We’re not asking them to follow us. We’re asking you, Prabhupāda, that these are some problems. 

Prabhupāda: My request is that first of all you adopt yourself the Vaiṣṇava ācāra. Then you try to teach others. Otherwise you have no right. 

Devotee (2): But we have done that for five years, and no one here listened to us at all. 

Prabhupāda: So why you are anxious to listen… You… Let them not listen. You do your own duty. 

Devotee (2): We had no duty. They gave us nothing to do. They would not recognize our qualities, as we understand, even of, say Kṛṣṇa consciousness. 

Prabhupāda: So what can I do? 

Devotee (2): Well, you can make statements on certain of these things so that when they hear them, their ignorance will be dispelled. 

Prabhupāda: Then we have to hear both of you. We have to hear both you… There will be regular court, and we shall see. 

Devotee (1): Not court, simply… 

Prabhupāda: No, no. 

Devotee (2): That would be fine. 

Devotee (1): Okay. 

Prabhupāda: Before me. You are saying something; they may say something else. So brothers together, we sit down together, and bring this… 

Devotee (2): All right. But we have some, also, questions that don’t require that. These are philosophical questions. For instance, in Kṛṣṇa book there is a statement that King Ugrasena had four billion personal servants. Now you have asked that we go and spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the scientific community. 

Prabhupāda: So everyone is servant. What is the question of four billion? Kṛṣṇa’s servant… 

Devotee (2): No, Ugrasena, King Ugrasena, that when he was on the planet, he had four billion personal servants. 

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. He is always the master. He… The Kṛṣṇa is the only master. 

Devotee (2): Not Kṛṣṇa. No. King Ugrasena, Prabhupāda. Not Kṛṣṇa. King Ugrasena. The statement is that King Ugrasena had four billion personal servants. Now, we have gone and tried to spread to the scientific community. And if we say to them, “There was a king whose name was Ugrasena. He had four billion personal servants,” they laugh and say, “What did they do for toilets? What did they do for food? Where did they live?” 

Prabhupāda: So you want to preach this particular portion and no other portion? 

Devotee (1): No. We want to… We want to know if the story has an allegorical meaning rather than a literal translation, or that King Ugrasena was a man who lived five thousand years ago and had four billion bodyguards, or whether the stories within the Bhāgavatam, apart from some of them being actual, are allegorical stories. Such as the story of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma chopping off the eighty-eight… 

Prabhupāda: All right. You can give up that portion. You can take other portion. 

Devotee (2): We don’t mean to give it up. 

Devotee (1): We don’t mean to give it up. 

Devotee (2): We’re saying that how can we say to them… 

Prabhupāda: Anyone, anyone… Why you are going to preach that portion to a professor? 

Devotee (1): No. When they read your books, they pose that question to us. 

Devotee (2): They read it. They say to us. 

Devotee (1): And unless we can answer that question… 

Prabhupāda: They ask to only you, but they never ask to us. 

Revatīnandana: They have. Sometimes they ask me. 

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. Let them ask. But you can tell away that, but you don’t repeat this thing. You can give up that portion. You read other portion. 

Devotee (1): But then because so many things they have to accept on faith without knowing, it then weakens their faith as to what they should accept and why should they accept Kṛṣṇa, who they can’t see any more than King Ugrasena’s four billion bodyguards? 

Prabhupāda: Don’t accept. Don’t accept. 

Devotee (2): But we want them to accept. The point is, if we say to a scientific man, “There was four billion,” and if our statement is wrong… 

Prabhupāda: But our position is that if some portion we cannot understand, it is our incapability. 

Devotee (2): That is all right. But since we are… 

Prabhupāda: That’s all. Unless we have got this faith, we cannot use these Purāṇas. In the Purāṇas there are many such statements. 

Devotee (2): Yes, but we just want to understand. 

Prabhupāda: Therefore many people, they do not accept Purāṇas. So what can be done? 

Devotee (2): Well, we’re just trying to understand it, because we’ve never dealt with Purāṇas before. We have been your disciples. But when we present this to the scientific community, because you have said that if one word is wrong, the whole philosophy is wrong, so they will say to us… 

Prabhupāda: So let them take it and throw out, don’t read it. That’s all. 

Devotee (2): But then they discredit the Bhagavad-gītā. We don’t like that when they discredit the Bhagavad-gītā. 

Prabhupāda: Why? They don’t believe. What is the use? 

Devotee (2): Well, because we also want to know how did they have four billion personal servants, just so that we’ll be able to convince them and also… 

Prabhupāda: If a king has four billion servants, so it is not very astonishing. Why do you think that a king shall have only four servants? 

Devotee (2): Well, there’s only two billion people on the planet right now. 

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. 

Devotee (2): So where did they all go? 

Prabhupāda: I say you don’t believe, you don’t take it. Why you are insisting on that point? If you don’t believe, you don’t take it. If you don’t believe the whole book or the whole Society, then who forbids you? 

Devotee (2): We were hoping that there are some things which can be improved, because they have not been set up by you. 

Prabhupāda: No. You cannot improve. Whatever we are, we are. 

Devotee (2): Why can we not improve it? 

Prabhupāda: No. There is no possibility. 

Devotee (2): Then what is the use of action? 

Prabhupāda: Action, whatever action we can do by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. 

Devotee (2): But we also have to make varṇāśrama society or farms or businesses to have… 

Prabhupāda: That, when we shall do, we shall see to it. 

Devotee (2): But we are doing it. We are. 

Devotee (1): We are doing it now, and that’s the question… 

Prabhupāda: So do it in your own way. 

Devotee (2): We don’t want to. We want to do everything Kṛṣṇa’s way. 

Prabhupāda: Stop it. Stop it. I say stop it. You have come to me for my advice. I say you stop it. 

Devotee (2): Then, we say, what should we do? 

Prabhupāda: You should do your business, that’s all. Earn money and enjoy. 

Devotee (2): No, I mean what should we do Kṛṣṇa consciously? 

Prabhupāda: You give up Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I say. That is my advice. 

Devotee (2): Why should we do that? 

Prabhupāda: Then that I cannot say. 

Devotee (1): Isn’t there a middle of the road? 

Prabhupāda: If you are finding so many faults, you give it up. 

Devotee (1): No. We’re not finding fault. 

Prabhupāda: Then there is no other advance, no alternative. Either you accept or reject it. 

Devotee (1): We accept, but we would like some instruction on… 

Prabhupāda: No. I have no such knowledge to convince you. 

Devotee (1): No, we accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy… 

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. Accept, or if you reject, reject. 

Devotee (1): We accept. 

Devotee (2): We want to apply it. 

Devotee (1): We want to apply it to the world as it is now. 

Prabhupāda: No, no. You cannot. You are not authorized. 

Devotee (1): Well, who is authorized? 

Prabhupāda: The authorized… You are not authorized. Who is authorized, that is not your business. 

Devotee (2): Then what does it mean to become disciple? 

Prabhupāda: Disciple, if you don’t like, give it up. 

Devotee (2): We do like it. 

Prabhupāda: You have already given up. 

Devotee (2): If we didn’t like it, we would not come here. 

Prabhupāda: No, no. You have already given up. My disciples do not keep so many hair. 

Devotee (2): Many of your disciples do. 

Prabhupāda: No. I don’t accept that. You just keep one circle, little. But those who are keeping big hairs, they are rejected from my disciples. 

Devotee (2): All right. That is clearing some things up. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. 

Devotee (2): This is what we want to know. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. 

Devotee (2): Because then that is an unequivocal statement. 

Prabhupāda: No. This is, that you can…, that anyone who is keeping hairs and not following the rules and regulations, they are rejected from second initiation. 

Devotee (2): What if they are keeping hair but they are following the rules and regulations? 

Prabhupāda: Then let them follow. That’s a good life. But from external features he must be a Vaiṣṇava. 

Devotee (2): To get second initiation. 

Devotee (1): Does that mean shaved head? 

Prabhupāda: Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when His students used to come without tilaka, so He refused to see his face. He refused to see his face. He said it is a crematory ground. 

Devotee (2): Why is that? 

Prabhupāda: There is no “why.” If you accept it, accept. If you don’t accept, leave us. Leave us. There is no “why.” 

Devotee (2): Then that is… 

Prabhupāda: You are not following strictly. You cannot ask why. 

Devotee (2): We could not ask why when we were following strictly either, Prabhupāda. So I’m sorry that it has to be this way. 

Prabhupāda: No, our thing is that we have got some principles. If anyone cannot follow, then we don’t accept him. 

Devotee (1): Then what do you do with the rest of the world, except for the few people who… 

Prabhupāda: So what I can do I am doing. Therefore you have no right to ask me. What is possible by me, I am doing. And those who are able to follow, they are following. That’s all. 

Devotee (2): But they cannot engage anyone else. How can you reach the intelligent class? 

Prabhupāda: So that is their business. That is not your business. 

Devotee (2): We are trying to be disciples, so we considered it our business because we are sincerely trying. 

Prabhupāda: So why you are bothering me? You do your business. 

Devotee (2): Because from you only… 

Prabhupāda: I do not accept you, because you are keeping hairs. 

Devotee (2): I did not know that. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. 

Devotee (2): You never told me that in Hawaii. 

Prabhupāda: Now I say, I’ll repeat that anyone who is keeping long hairs, he is no more my disciple. 

Devotee (2): All right. 

Prabhupāda: This is the first condition. 

Devotee (1): Does that apply also for householder dharma, or is that simply for brahmacārī dharma? Because even you… I have pictures of you on the Bhāgavatam when you did not have shaved head, with a mustache, when you were doing your business as a householder. So does that apply to householders, or only to brahmacārīs, that a householder must also keep a shaved head, or is that…? 

Prabhupāda: At that time I was not initiated. You were seeing my picture, mustaches, at that time I was not initiated. Since I became initiated, I have shaven. 

Devotee (1): Well, in India, where one can do business… 

Prabhupāda: I can… Why you are bringing this question? You ask, “Why you had mustaches?” I say when I had mustaches, at that time I was not initiated. That answer is given. That’s all. 

Devotee (2): Can I ask one more question, Prabhupāda? What I would like to understand is why it is wrong to ask why? If I can just understand this, why it is wrong for us to ask you in a submissive way. We were humbly asking you these “why’s,” not because we are trying to be intimidating or we were trying to rebel, but because we have sincerely tried to understand as your disciples. We have spent our whole life trying to do… 

Prabhupāda: So you better ask my so many other disciples. 

Devotee (1): They don’t have any answers. 

Prabhupāda: Then there is no answer. I cannot attend so many things. 

Devotee (2): We are not so many. 

Devotee (1): But these are the same questions which we have talked over with Revatīnandana Swami and Jayatīrtha. A great many… 

Prabhupāda: If my disciples, advanced students, cannot answer, then I am sorry. I cannot answer. I cannot answer. 

Devotee (2): That we did not know. That we did not know. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. Now you know it. I have appointed so many GBCs because to help me. It is not possible to see everyone, individual. This is not… 

Devotee (1): But these are the same questions which they themselves are posing to you. 

Revatīnandana: I have never met any other people who asked questions on the level that they are asking questions. I cannot answer many of their questions. I have studied all your books. 

Prabhupāda: I cannot. If you cannot, I cannot also. Because you have been taught by me, if you cannot, then it is… 

Devotee (2): We have also been taught. 

Revatīnandana: I have read your books, and I have heard you lecture. And so many things they are asking, I am…, have no capacity to answer them. But you must have the capacity because you know Kṛṣṇa. Therefore they want to ask you personally. 

Devotee (1): So that is the… 

Prabhupāda: So far I am not so able to answer. I admit my fault. 

Devotee (1): Oh, so then that is… 

Prabhupāda: I cannot answer. 

Devotee (1): I understand. Okay? But they are saying, the general conception of you is that because you know Kṛṣṇa… 

Prabhupāda: You can… You… 

Devotee (1): [interrupting] Excuse me. Because you know Kṛṣṇa, therefore you know everything about the material world and can answer all questions. 

Prabhupāda: So whatever I know I have explained in my books. Beyond that, I have got no knowledge. 

Devotee (2): If that is the case, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that does not diminish our respect for you in the least, because we have always held… 

Prabhupāda: So what can I do? I say that whatever I have got experience, I am explaining in my books. I have explained. It is not possible for me to answer every individual person. It is not possible. 

Devotee (2): We respect that. We understand. It is just that because they are saying these things… 

Prabhupāda: I have got my advanced students. They can answer. If they are unable to answer, if you do not find answer from my books, then it is hopeless. 

Devotee (1): Ah! But your advanced students are saying if they give an answer that, because they have been appointed by you, therefore their answer is perfectly correct, because…., absolutely correct on all things in the relative world, because they have been appointed by you, and because you know… 

Prabhupāda: You may… That’s all right. If you don’t believe them, you can finish business. 

Devotee (2): But are they correct? That’s what we want to know. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. They are correct. 

Devotee (2): That everything they say is the absolute truth? 

Prabhupāda: So what can I say? But I have no time to meet everyone. 

Devotee (2): Is that correct, Śrīla Prabhupāda? I want to know very clearly that every word that anyone whom you have appointed says is completely correct on all things? 

Prabhupāda: Yes. If they are authorized, it is correct. 

Devotee (2): If they are authorized by you to be temple president… 

Prabhupāda: There is no reply. 

Devotee (2): Then when Sudāmā said to me that he wanted to have homosexual affair with me, I should have said, “Okay. Whatever you say.” Is that correct? 

Prabhupāda: So how to answer these questions? 

Devotee (2): That is what he said to me. And he was a sannyāsa. He is sannyāsa, and he said to me, “I want to have sex with you.” Does that mean that Kṛṣṇa was saying I should have sex with him? 

Jayatīrtha: So you have to see whether it is according to our principles. 

Devotee (2): I’m asking you on a very practical… No. That is not what he said. He didn’t say that. He said absolutely, and this is… 

Upendra: Then you should listen to everything he said. 

Devotee (2): I am. Because if I can judge, then, if I can say, “Oh, at this point he is wrong,” then that is what we are talking about, Śrīla Prabhupāda. That is the issue. If they are absolutely right all the time, and they can make no error, they wield absolute power over our lives. 

Prabhupāda: Where is Sudāmā? Where is Sudāmā? 

Satsvarūpa: He is across the street. 

Prabhupāda: Has he said like that? 

Devotee (2): Yes. I have witnesses. 

Upendra: But he’s admitted his error. 

Devotee (2): That’s beside the point. 

Revatīnandana: That’s all right. But that’s not the point here. 

Upendra: The point is that Prabhupāda…, that if you come before Prabhupāda for your own spiritual advancement, then it doesn’t matter what other people are thinking… 

Devotee (2): That’s not the… 

Devotee (1): That’s not the crux of the matter at all. 

Upendra: Myself, I was in the same position… 

Revatīnandana: The point here is not to criticize Sudāmā. 

Devotee (1): No. We did not come for that at all. 

Revatīnandana: That wasn’t the reason. The point is that anyone, Sudāmā or anybody else, he may be a sannyāsī, but if he’s doing all kinds of nonsense, how can we say that he has absolute authority? Because he was in charge of the place, etc., and he is also in an authoritative position, yet he breaks the principles. 

Devotee (2): His personal servant, when he came… His name is Dan. Sudāmā instigated a homosexual affair with him. This boy came to surrender to Kṛṣṇa and surrendered to Sudāmā. But Sudāmā told him to do that. 

Upendra: But Prabhupāda… 

Devotee (2): Wait. I am not speaking with you. He said he did that, and he did it in the name of his authority as a sannyāsa. So if you say, Prabhupāda, that everything that they say is absolutely true, then they will have absolute power and can do anything that they want, and anything that they say and any opinion they expressed is taken to be the same as yours, then it becomes implied that you agree with and condone such things, because they do them with absolute license. And we don’t believe that to be true. So we think it is some kind of mistake. 

Prabhupāda: They say like that? 

Devotee (1): Everyone says like that. 

Devotee (2): They do, Prabhupāda. 

Satsvarūpa: No, they don’t. Śrīla Prabhupāda has said these things don’t apply to you. Don’t worry about them, because you are not following the principles. 

Devotee (1): But they do say, and we are following, and you don’t know what we’re doing, Satsvarūpa, because you haven’t known me for two years. So you really don’t know what I’m doing. You’re not around. 

Satsvarūpa: But our Society is going nicely. It’s not… 

Devotee (2): In some respects it’s going fine. But these are problems which can be dealt with amongst us, and they are affecting all of us. And for some people these are problems, though they may not be for you. I think, as far as I know, your conduct has always been very honorable. But for some people who it’s not, and where these misconceptions apply, it’s a real problem, and we’re trying to deal with it because it affects our lives. 

Upendra: The strength to deal with those problems comes from following sādhanācāra. 

Devotee (2): We are also attempting to follow sādhanācāra. And if we are imperfect… 

Prabhupāda: Anyway, if he has said so, that is wrong. 

Devotee (1): But is that then applying to everyone? Does someone who is in the adminis… [break] [end] 

Task Runner