Room Conversation

Type:
Room Conversation
Date:
August 10
Year:
1976
Place:
Tehran

Nava-yauvana: Many people, when they see the devotees, they are confused, and they think that the devotees are engaged in some kind of ritualistic activity, that the chanting and practices of devotees are ritualistic, and they compare it to their own rituals and they don’t see any distinction. So they see it as sectarian. 

Prabhupāda: What they want? 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Some of them are not sincere, so they simply want to find fault. But those who are sincere can be encouraged to… 

Nava-yauvana: They are all wanting material things. Like in Bhagavad-gītā, there is the verse, traiguṇya-viṣayā vedāḥ [Bg. 2.45]. Kṛṣṇa is asking Arjuna to rise above the scriptures, the flowery words of the Vedas. 

Prabhupāda: Well, they are not concerned with the Bhagavad-gītā. You cannot quote from Bhagavad-gītā to instruct these rascals. You have to talk with them with common sense. Their charge is… What is their charge? That you are engaged in ritualistic ceremonies? 

Nava-yauvana: Yes. 

Prabhupāda: So what they want us to do? If you don’t want me to do this, then you must say what you want me to do. Is it not right? Suppose I am chanting. If you don’t want me to chant, then what do you want me to do, the next question will be. 

Jñānagamya: They want us to engage in sense gratification like they are engaged. That is what they want. 

Prabhupāda: Want…, we want that, if you want me to do like you, then I want you to do like me. If you want me to accept your proposal, why you’ll not accept my proposal? 

Jñānagamya: Because if I think that sense gratification is better, then I want… 

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. You think sense gratification is better, I think sense gratification is bad. 

Jñānagamya: How can we tell the difference? How can we know which is better? 

Prabhupāda: No, there is difference. Why you want me to do like you? Then I shall want you to do like me. 

Jñānagamya: I say it because I want you to enjoy sense gratification. 

Prabhupāda: No, I am not going to accept you. Because you are not accepting my principles, so why shall I accept your principles? 

Jñānagamya: But your principle is austere, it’s not nice. 

Prabhupāda: So that you say. 

Jñānagamya: That’s what they say. 

Prabhupāda: They say, but we say you are bad, that you are enjoying simply sense gratification. 

Jñānagamya: They say what is wrong? 

Prabhupāda: No, what is wrong to us? It is your judgment that we are wrong. So my judgment you are wrong. Who will decide who is right? Eh? Ātreya Ṛṣi? 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. 

Prabhupāda: If you judge me I am wrong, I am judging you are wrong. So if you don’t want me to do like this, I also don’t want you. Then where is the decision? 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Actually, these people mentally understand that sense gratification is wrong, but they are so polluted that they are on the… 

Prabhupāda: No, for argument’s sake. 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: …mental platform. 

Prabhupāda: If you want me to do like you, I also want you to do like me. You cannot find fault with me by saying that I am not acting like you, sense gratification. If you are acting in your way, I am acting in my way. 

Jñānagamya: It’s relative on that platform. 

Prabhupāda: But if you want philosophy, the aim of life, the destination of life, then we can talk, what is the destination of life, what is required. If you criticize me, then I can criticize you also. 

Jñānagamya: Then we must take it to the absolute platform in order to actually have a sincere argument, to make a sincere decision. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. There is no end of such things. Therefore unless one accepts a person guru, there is no need of talking. Tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Unless one accepts somebody as guru, the instruction will not be fruitful. Just like Arjuna is accepting Kṛṣṇa as guru. So long he was talking as friend, it was not effective. Arjuna therefore decided… Find out that verse, kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ. 

Harikeśa: 

kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ
pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
[Bg. 2.7]

“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” 

Prabhupāda: This is the position. Unless one feels like that and asks somebody, a superior, accepts him as guru, there is no use talking. It will not be useful. 

Jñānagamya: That’s what you say in the purport. 

Prabhupāda: This is the position. If the injunction is tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12], if anyone is interested to know about the transcendental subject matter, he must approach a guru. And unless one approaches a guru, he cannot understand. And if by force I become guru, he may not be interested. This is the position. But still, for a preacher, he has to do something against all odds. That is preaching. You cannot expect favorable position. Your question was that we go and they say like this, but you cannot expect that wherever you are going you’ll find favorable situation to talk. That you must understand. But you’ll have to preach; you have to create favorable situation. That is your duty.[?] You cannot expect, if they are not prepared to take good instruction. Where is that fan? 

Hari-śauri: He’s bringing it. 

Prabhupāda: You cannot expect favorable situation. It is not possible. When I came in America, I never expected any favorable situation. I wrote that poetry in disappointment, that “Who will accept this?” That is the position. By Kṛṣṇa’s grace, gradually it will become a favorable situation, but don’t expect any favorable situation. You have to handle unfavorable situation and make favorable situation to preach. That is preaching. Any business. [to devotee fanning:] Just on the head. Just see, there is flies. So Nityānanda Prabhu, He went to preach to Jagāi-Mādhāi. There was no favorable situation. They were drunkards. They caused injury on the body of Nityānanda Prabhu. So this is preaching with only unfavorable situation. You cannot expect favorable situation. And still you have to preach. That is preaching. They will speak like madman, so many things. They are mad, after all. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. They have no sense. All materialistic persons are madmen. Still, by the order of superior, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we have to do this preaching work. Actually, the American boys are fighting against so many unfavorable situations. They are sometimes beaten in the airport, you know that? Still they are preaching. That is preaching. That is preaching. “The unfavorable situation, so let me give it up,” that is not preaching. Yes, we must know that there is unfavorable situation, still I have to do. That depends on your brain, how to tackle. You cannot expect favorable situation. 

Jñānagamya: Is it good to publicize these situations, Prabhupāda, that we are encountering so much difficulty? Is it good to publicize that, in a film, say? 

Prabhupāda: Film? 

Jñānagamya: In a film can we talk about these things that we… 

Prabhupāda: No, no, you don’t talk of film. You are very much in favor of film. You’d better stop that idea. 

Jñānagamya: It is very potent, though, for preaching. No? 

Prabhupāda: Some of them may be preaching. In documentary. What favorable film will do? We can show our activities; that film may be for our advertisement. Otherwise, in which way by showing film you’ll make [indistinct]? There are so many films. They see, they see. 

Jñānagamya: Devotees are interested. 

Prabhupāda: Devotees are devotees. If you want to preach to the public, what impression they’ll have? Some of our documentary film, just like we are feeding the poor, or we are working, making such things, that may be favorable. Say for we’re doing something in America, the Indians may appreciate, or we are doing something in India. That’s all right. There is little effect, of course, but not very much. 

Jñānagamya: But if we make a film to go in the movie houses all over the world, the big movie houses, not just for little schools or little groups, not just for the temple. 

Prabhupāda: What kind of film? 

Jñānagamya: A film that would show activities of devotees. And have some story… 

Prabhupāda: But you said they do not like it. 

Jñānagamya: No, I never said they do not like it. 

Prabhupāda: You said that sense gratification. How they’ll appreciate? 

Jñānagamya: They will appreciate. It is something new, it is very different, it is very beautiful and attractive. 

Prabhupāda: Of course, I cannot understand. But you [indistinct]. What is the favorable condition of film? 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Jñānagamya Prabhu is interested in making a very big film. 

Prabhupāda: What is the subject matter? 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: The subject matter is devotees in Kṛṣṇa consciousness: how they learn, how they study, how they go on saṅkīrtana. 

Prabhupāda: They are seeing already. 

Jñānagamya: They are seeing in real life, but so many people, they do not know of devotees, and films would go to every little town and village. And there would be chanting in the film, and there would be interest in what the devotees are doing. 

Prabhupāda: But their opinion is not in favor, as you said. 

Jñānagamya: [laughs] But the film can change the opinion. Many times… 

Prabhupāda: That is… How they can change? 

Jñānagamya: Great books have done this. Uncle Tom’s Cabin started a whole war against slavery in the United States. Books and films are very potent. They can make public opinion. 

Prabhupāda: Books are different thing. We are publishing. 

Jñānagamya: In America the Negro situation was very bad, and they made many films showing heroic Negroes, and now the situation is much better. The people are not so much agitated by seeing Negroes. They think, “Oh, now a Negro has some good qualities.” Because of these films they have come to appreciate. So like that, if a devotee is a hero they will also appreciate. 

Prabhupāda: You judge[?]. I don’t appreciate. I don’t think the Negro question is solved. 

Jñānagamya: No, it’s not, but it is making steps to that end. 

Prabhupāda: The whites, they do not like the Negroes still. Wherever there are Negroes, in that quarter the whites do not go in. Is it not? They do not go. Although they have been given equal right, but at heart the whites, they do not like it. Is there any improvement? I don’t think. So officially, “Yes, yes, you are good, I am good.” 

Nava-yauvana: Because people are still on the bodily conception of life, so they are threatened. 

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the real disease. So long one is situated in the bodily concept of life, he is animal. First of all, you have to educate them. That is the difficulty. 

Jñānagamya: But we are not Negroes. We are actually devotees, and we are very attractive, and we have all good qualities. And people do not have to be afraid to come into our section of town; we will not kill them. That is why they are afraid of the Negroes. So we actually have good things to offer. 

Prabhupāda: That is by your behavior, not by showing the film. 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: One of the points, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that you’re making, if I understand correctly, is that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is like gold, like diamond. If someone is sincere, they will come. When they are selling cigarettes or Negroes or cars, they make films. But with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we have the books, which are paramparā. And we have ourselves as example. If we can be paramparā and we can be good example… 

Prabhupāda: That is my opinion, that instead of spending so much money for films, if you spend some money for propagation of book distribution… Any advertisement is good, it never goes in vain, but the film advertisement is very expensive. Very, very expensive. 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Jaya. It is very true. Very expensive and very much endeavor. 

Prabhupāda: Advertisement never goes in vain, that’s a fact. But if it is too much expensive, it touches our financial position. 

Hari-śauri: And then there’s no certainty that it will be a success anyway. 

Jñānagamya: There is a method. There is a method… 

Prabhupāda: Suppose there is little success, but in comparison to the money expended, that success is little. Just like I, in the beginning, I advertised my books in the Times of New York Times. They charged me sixty-three dollars, a small space. So there was inquiry, not order. Three inquiries, not even order. I have got this experience. For me, at that time, sixty-three dollars were too much. So I did not get any response. That is my practical experience. I got three inquiries, not even order. But the Times, New York Times, they have got millions of customers and millions of readers, but I got three inquiries only. 

Ātreya Ṛṣi: To find those few potential devotees that are in… Let us assume, in New York, big city, there were a few potential devotees, and materially speaking, it may be very difficult to find them. But when the devotee is sincere, Kṛṣṇa will give opportunity that those people will be found, even if they are one in that big city. Kṛṣṇa will arrange that they will find a pure devotee if they are sincere. So no material advertising will accomplish the task. 

Prabhupāda: Yes, Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that it is only for the fortunate persons. But we must present. Only the fortunate will come forward. We cannot expect that everyone will come. That is not possible. 

Jñānagamya: But you said to make everyone fortunate. 

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is by your preaching. That we have to do. We are doing that. That I have given the example, Nityānanda Prabhu. He faced rebellion, and by His power converted the Jagāi-Mādhāi, by chanting. They injured, Jagāi-Mādhāi injured, and Nityānanda Prabhu said, “Never mind you have injured Me, please chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.” That is not advertisement, that is personal behavior.