Room Conversation — October 31, 1976, Vṛndāvana

Prabhupāda: …I want to do something in India.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So, if you can arrange. Now I am purchasing car. I have given money to Gargamuni.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So one car here in Delhi side, one in Calcutta side, one in [indistinct] for my going. And he is a good driver, he will drive. Eh? I do not know, but he said. [laughter]

Hari-śauri: [indistinct] I don’t know about in India. Different thing altogether.

Prabhupāda: Haṁsadūta is also a good driver.

Haṁsadūta: I am good for nothing.

Prabhupāda: [laughs] Driver we’ll get, there is no… So I want to preach little in the village. So for that purpose, in the big bus like that, we shall go with our tents, and we camp in a place where there is water, and begin our preaching. And Hindi books we are getting. In this way let me try in India, in the village, not in the city.

Devotee: Oh, yes.

Haṁsadūta: For us there is no problem, Prabhupāda, but it may be difficult for Your Divine Grace.

Prabhupāda: No, what is difficult? [laughter] But I want to do something for India in the village. So that I… That, we are getting lands, making one center, we can go here and there, not continually. Suppose here is a center, we go sometimes this side, sometimes this side, sometimes come back again.

Haṁsadūta: Um-hmm.

Hari-śauri: Find one good camping spot.

Prabhupāda: Yes. You go early in the morning and do something. If it is favorable… Just like in Bengal they are doing. Get good reception. You have heard it?

Haṁsadūta: Yes, I heard.

Prabhupāda: Very good reception.

Haṁsadūta: Villagers give the best reception.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Haṁsadūta: Because they’re…

Prabhupāda: Still.

Haṁsadūta: They’re still faithful to culture.

Hari-śauri: Unless we get the farm, this farming scheme set up within the next…

Prabhupāda: We are getting so many.

Hari-śauri: We’re getting the farms, but we haven’t got the management, so…

Prabhupāda: Management, that is in your hands. You have to… Who will give you management? You have to manage local—local men. Bon Mahārāja was failure that he could not get the local men. But I did not try to bring men from India and preach in England or America.

Akṣayānanda: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: How it is possible? The British Empire was established on management. They did not bring men from England. Few managers, that’s all. That is called management. One man can control hundreds and thousands of men, and that is management.

[long pause]

Prabhupāda: Locally attracted. These Britishers came here, they introduced this zamindarī system.

Haṁsadūta: The what?

Prabhupāda: Zamindarī system.

Haṁsadūta: Zamindar.

Prabhupāda: Landlord.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So any third-class man, if he’s given some land, naturally he will be very much pleased. They created that aristocracy. So he selected some men that “You give me four annas per bīghā, and whatever you can collect, that is your.” That is the old system in India, zamindarī system. So collector, collector, the local collector, he appointed somebody. They used to give one lease, that “You give government four annas per bīghā, and whatever you can collect, that is your business.” So that created an aristocratic society, and they all supported Britishers, because they’re obliged.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Similarly in business also, they appointed brokers, that “I am bringing cloth from Manchester, and if you can sell you’ll get so much commission.” So without any investment…

Haṁsadūta: They were in business.

Prabhupāda: A broker club business. So the businessmen, the zamindars, and gradually they started their factories, railways; in this way they started. And they are big politicians, so it is their management. And they failed when things were mismanaged. First of all they created friendship, and later on when they were in power, they created enmity. Then it is failed.

Devotee: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: First of all friendship, and that established them. And then they began to create enmity, Hindus against Muslim, Muslim… They wanted to stay. When they forgot this idea that if they wanted to stay for the benefit of the people, nobody could drive them away. But their policy was for the benefit of the English people. Therefore they failed. Lord Curzon, he says a statement that “If you want to stay in India, rule India for the benefit of Indian people. You can keep control over India. They are fond of kings, so one member of the royal family can become king here, and they’ll earn respect and honor, these Indian people. But rule for their benefit. Then British Empire will stay.” Very good advice, but his advice was not taken. You have seen Lord Curzon’s statue near the.., in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall?

Haṁsadūta: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: He was a very good governor-general. Many gentlemen came, they ruled very conscientiously, and the last one, that rascal Chelmsford [chuckles], he created havoc.

Hari-śauri: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: I saw in London… Near London there is a village, Chelmsford, and he is Lord Chelmsford. We thought Chelmsford, the big state. [laughter] We were under the impression Thames River is four times bigger than Ganges, and [laughter] it is a canal. When I saw it, it is nothing but a canal. But they advertise this river, very big river. And underneath the water, men are going, and upper and wonderful. Big Ben, that Big Ben advertisement.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Parliament. All photograph [laughter] actually. Downing Street, 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister’s office and so on. And actually it’s all [chuckles] no importance. Parliament, big, big advertisement. People are still going; they are paying fees to see.

Hari-śauri: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: Now that is their income.

Hari-śauri: Yeah, tourism is their biggest source of income, now.

Prabhupāda: It is always cloudy. People are going to see the Westminster Abbey and Parliament.

Haṁsadūta: The whole tourist industry runs on propaganda.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: When you get there, there is nothing to see.

Prabhupāda: In Parliament they have got old records bound up, almirah. You have seen? What it will do now? Speech of such and such person, speech of [indistinct].

[long pause]

Prabhupāda: What they… Why this water is?

Hari-śauri: Well, they are watering the garden.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: Were you thinking of any particular time when you wanted to do this village program?

Prabhupāda: Hmm. I have nowhere experience.

Hari-śauri: Haṁsadūta Mahārāja has traveled around…

Haṁsadūta: You can do it from here, even. You can start track from Vṛndāvana. [car door slams]

Prabhupāda: I think some car has come?

Akṣayānanda: Maybe that’s Bhīma. I’ll check.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: Maybe you could do it from Bengal, from Māyāpur.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: Do the villages there.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Hari-śauri: Because…

Haṁsadūta: Here the weather is already getting cold.

Hari-śauri: Yeah.

Haṁsadūta: And in Hyderabad the peoples don’t speak Hindi. They speak Telugu..

Hari-śauri: Bengal seems like the best place, because right now at least the weather is really nice. And Gargamuni’s men have a lot of experience there, Śatadhanya and Jayapatāka. They know all the villages. Could do some good programs.

Prabhupāda: This blood pressure is troubling. [break] They are chanting, “Say Kṛṣṇa.” [laughter] They’re taking, “Mind control.”

Haṁsadūta: Yeah, mind control.

Prabhupāda: Ordinarily they cannot charge anything, mind control, brainwash—subtle thing. Just like I…, “I am sick.” “How you are feeling?” “I am feeling some pain in the belly.” Who is going to see? [laughter] [makes groaning noise of pain] Who can say? It is like that.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: If you say that “I am feeling some pain in this brain” or in there, who is going to see?

Haṁsadūta: Yeah, who can prove it?

Prabhupāda: Yes. You have to believe me, that’s all.

Haṁsadūta: I noticed in several of the articles, though, they mentioned that this District Attorney is now going to expand his investigation to see where the money goes. This is what they’re really interested in. And when they see… What will happen is, when they see that some of the devotees collecting three, four hundred dollars on the street, then they will print this in the newspaper, and in this way…

Prabhupāda: But they collect money by selling book.

Haṁsadūta: I know, but people don’t understand this. They simply see that “Oh, these are astronomical sums of money being collected. So what is being done with this money by people who are just chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? What do they do with it?” Then, “Oh, they have bought this big building in New York. They are doing…, spending money like this, like that.” Ultimately this is what it always come to—money. They want to see what is happening with the money.

Prabhupāda: And similarly here also, “Where they are getting money?”

Haṁsadūta: Yeah, because wherever there is money transaction, the government wants to take some. They feel, “Well, we should have some of this money for ourselves, also.”

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: So this may be a problem in this case. The thing about brainwashing is not at all important. The important thing is if they look into our financial…

Prabhupāda: That is our BBT Trust…

Haṁsadūta: …activities.

Prabhupāda: That by the sales of…, sales proceeds, we fifty percent for printing book and fifty percent for expanding, temples.

Haṁsadūta: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: That is religion. That is clearly written there.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: So how they can check it? We are selling books.

Haṁsadūta: I don’t think that in…, in the end they will not be able to do anything, but for some time they can give us some trouble, harass us.

Prabhupāda: So we have got already experience what it is to be done. Suggest.

Haṁsadūta: Well, we have to make a presentation of our movement properly, just like Tamāla suggested in the letter. Prominent persons, they have to speak on our behalf. And of course, the books must be in order.

Prabhupāda: Another thing, that all the Indians in Europe and America, they should sign that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is genuine religious.

Hari-śauri: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Similarly here also, all the Kṛṣṇa conscious persons, especially here in Vṛndāvana, all the Gosvāmīs, they should be approached that this is the genuine Indian culture.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Hari-śauri: Perhaps we could even get statements from some of the favorable Indian ministers in the government. Just like this Home Minister and Tarun Kanti Ghosh in Calcutta.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Hari-śauri: That would be very weighty.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So do like that, that “This is genuine. Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is genuine cultural and religious movement.” This should be taken from all prominent persons and sent there. And the copies of the standing order for all the universities.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Hari-śauri: The order forms.

Prabhupāda: Original orders, that should be copied and sent. This arrangement, ask them all over India. And besides that, we have recently got a testimony of one university authorities, just like one Goswami from Calcutta University, and many others they have got. These copies should be sent immediately to. We can approach even the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court. He came here. The minister here, the Governor of Punjab, he came to see me, the Governor…

Hari-śauri: Andhra Pradesh government also.

Prabhupāda: Eh? Andhra Pradesh, chief minister.

Hari-śauri: Minister of Endowments.

Prabhupāda: Minister Endowments. Collect all these and send it, that “This is a genuine movement because it is great cultural movement. Therefore Swami Bhaktivedanta wanted to give it to Europe, who are in the darkness.” So anyway, now they are feeling the action of the medicine.

Haṁsadūta: [laughs] Yeah.

Prabhupāda: [chuckles] So many big, big signboards, “Kṛṣṇa is coming.” “Here is Kṛṣṇa.” [sounds of pages being turned] “Here is Kṛṣṇa.”

Hari-śauri: Yeah, every heading has a “Kṛṣṇa” written.

Prabhupāda: “Here is Kṛṣṇa.” That I… That is our trap.

Haṁsadūta: Yes, the subject matter…

Prabhupāda: That will…, that will help us in selling Kṛṣṇa books.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: “What is this nonsense Kṛṣṇa? Let us see.” [chuckles] It is not in our disfavor, it is in favor. But still we have to defend. So as I suggested, you collect.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: And from Vṛndāvana you can have signature from anyone.

Haṁsadūta: Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. All the Gosvāmīs.

Hari-śauri: That Atul Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Atul Kṛṣṇa, yes. Anyone will sign for Kṛṣṇa: “Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is genuine India cultural religious movement.” They have got doubt: “Whether it is bona fide religion?” Yes, it is.

Hari-śauri: Well, you see the process of chanting, it is not common practice, and they think it is a kind of inducement.

Prabhupāda: It is kind of brainwash process.

Haṁsadūta: It is. [laughs]

Hari-śauri: Cleansing.

Prabhupāda: Brainwash? No, it is heart wash. [laughter] We can send this, “It is not brainwash, but it is heart wash.” Of course, brain and heart practically same.

Hari-śauri: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: Mm.


Prabhupāda: Our temple, where many people come. Our Māyāpur temple, Hyderabad temple… It is not only in Europe or America; in India in our temples, so many.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: It is genuine religious cult. You have to send all these people. Now note down and do all these things and send it. I can suggest. [noise in background]

Haṁsadūta: It is disturbing.

Prabhupāda: There is some commotion all over the world… [break] …that “The child…, our child is lost altogether.”

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But there who go [indistinct], they’re not lost.

Haṁsadūta: No, no.

Prabhupāda: They come back again. But here [chuckles], Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, one who comes, he’ll be lost. [laughs]

Haṁsadūta: Brainwashed.

Prabhupāda: There is no hope of their coming. And Gargamuni’s father tried so much to get him back. Then he became hopeless.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: He was pet child of his father and mother, and practically they closed their factory and everything. They become…, they divorced and [indistinct].

Haṁsadūta: Collapse.

Prabhupāda: Collapse. I sent Gargamuni, “Go and…”

Haṁsadūta: I remember, he went home for some time.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: To try to get into that business.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: He was detected, though, because he wouldn’t eat meat. [chuckles]

Prabhupāda: No. He tried his best, his father. Then his father: “This child is lost.”

Haṁsadūta: This term “brainwash,” it comes from the Korean war and the Vietnamese war. They would, if they would capture a prisoner, especially if he was an officer, high ranking officer, they had some methods of what they say brainwash to turn his mind so that he would accept the enemy viewpoint. And as this happened to a person it was considered to be very, very…

Hari-śauri: Great victory for the enemy.

Haṁsadūta: Great victory for the enemy. Just like because a high ranking officer in the army was captured by the enemy, then they would brainwash him. They had this, some process…

Prabhupāda: In Pakistani they kill all brain, in Bangladesh. Anyone who worked in high profession like businessman, they caught and shut down. It was worse to kill.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Because everywhere the big men, they guide the nation.

Haṁsadūta: Yes. People are very much afraid of this idea of being brainwashed.

Hari-śauri: They think that their minds can be changed without them knowing about it, so it scares them.

Prabhupāda: For me it is better to remain in Vṛndāvana or die. [laughter] Hmm. Because they may be very envious, “Here is the man who is behind all this.” [laughter]

Haṁsadūta: Yes. In Germany, this one man, he wrote that this movement is very dangerous, because these boys and girls who have come to this movement, they completely…, they make themselves completely subservient to the dictation of one man.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Haṁsadūta: Whatever the man will say, they will do.

Prabhupāda: Charmistic? What is called? Charmistic guru? He has said. Dr. …

Hari-śauri: Charismatic.

Prabhupāda: Charismatic. [laughs] Yes, what is that charismatic?

Haṁsadūta: Charisma means a person who has a very strong attraction; he attracts.

Prabhupāda: He has said. Actually our whole movement is going on on this. Everyone is carrying the charismatic, [laughs] all.

Hari-śauri: Yeah, they know there’s something different about our movement, I mean from any other. Everybody who sees the devotees for the first time, they immediately know these people are completely different from anyone else.

Prabhupāda: Yasya deve parā bhaktir, yathā deve tathā gurau [ŚU 6.23], this is the Vedic principle of our movement. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau.

Haṁsadūta: Firm faith.

Prabhupāda: To respect and love the spiritual master as God. Therefore it is brainwash.

Haṁsadūta: This is the strength of our movement: faith in guru and śāstra.

Prabhupāda: And everyone is writing. Let them write that, so they see that “Why this one man is so respectfully accepted? It is brainwash.”

Hari-śauri: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: They may sometimes give me trouble.

Haṁsadūta: Yes, generally it happens like that. If someone becomes very prominent, then they want to remove him. This is the tendency in the world.

Hari-śauri: Yeah, because the demons, they think anyone who will allow themselves to become the servant of someone else, then they think he has got very weak character. Then they accuse the person who is in charge of manipulating that person.

Prabhupāda: Just like there are so many men now, they are against this Sai Baba.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Sai Baba is actually doing that brainwash. But they think of me also like that.

Haṁsadūta: Yes, because people cannot discriminate. They have no power to discriminate. They group us with all these other bogus people.

Prabhupāda: But that happened when Caitanya Mahāprabhu was being praised by the Nawab. They were asking about Caitanya Mahāprabhu, “What is the position of this man that so many people are following Him?” So Sanātana Goswami, who was very bright, took it as a warning and asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu that “You leave this place as soon as possible.”

Haṁsadūta: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: So Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not afraid, but He, as usual, He left that place. But Sanātana Goswami, at that time minister…

Haṁsadūta: He could understand.

Prabhupāda: He took advice, the Nawab was so serious about Him. A Muhammadan may do something. So he said, “It is not good to stay here. You should go away.” They decided that “We shall go now with Him, but in the meantime let Him go.” Because there were parts of India, Muhammadan influence, especially Bengal was Muhammadan kingdom. So this was warning. Then he told the Nawab that “He is a beggar. Why do you think of Him as serious man? He is beggar. Some people follow Him, not many.” So he said, “Don’t try to mislead me. I know. He’s not beggar, He’s God. Otherwise how so many people are following Him?” The Nawab, he said that.

Haṁsadūta: Huh.

Prabhupāda: “He’s not ordinary man. Don’t say that He’s beggar,” he said. [laughs] Nobody follows a beggar like that, that is it. After all, he was king, he had some brain. [laughs] So he wanted to brainwash, “Don’t think of Him very seriously. A beggar. Some people, sentimental.” “No, don’t say like that. A beggar is never followed by so many men.”

Haṁsadūta: The same thing happened to Jesus. Because so many people would follow him, the government became very…

Prabhupāda: Yes. That, what do you call it? Crucified him?

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: He was becoming very popular. So…

Haṁsadūta: And at least according to Bible, it appeared that the Jewish priests, they went to the governor or the chief man at that time, and they demanded that he has to do something about this man.

Prabhupāda: They have proposed it. That Houston politician, “It is spreading like epidemic.” Hmm? [aside:] Come. “It is spreading like epidemic. Something must be done.” Otherwise one day they’ll capture our government.“ That’s a fact. If so many young men join this movement, they will vote. Because your country is democratic. [conchshell blows] Do this what I suggested.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah. You see them…

Prabhupāda: [indistinct] [break] “What is this pressure?” “Sir is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. [laughter] And very bad.” Some day somebody says, “No, it is good.” [laughter] But Kṛṣṇa pressure.

Haṁsadūta: That pressure is being felt.

Prabhupāda: [Bengali] Otherwise, who cares for whom? There are so many things. Here also, they are feeling the pressure, the so-called svāmīs, yogīs, gosvāmīs, religious groups, Māyāvādīs…

Hari-śauri: Communists.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Hari-śauri: Communists, too.

Prabhupāda: Communists. That is our success. Everyone is now feeling the pressure. [Bengali] and they are talking [Bengali]. In such a short time, so much money, so much expansion, so many devotees, what is this? That is Kṛṣṇa.

Haṁsadūta: Like Vāmanadeva expanded His foot, and He covered the…

Prabhupāda: [laughs] Yes.

Haṁsadūta: First people thought, “Oh these are crazy fellows,” and now suddenly they are everywhere.

Prabhupāda: [Bengali] Almost all of them, doctor, who have spoken. You have read that?

Haṁsadūta: Yes, I have read. All respectable.

Prabhupāda: Indian and American, all learned scholars, they have spoken. Where is that statement given? And Dr. Shaligram, he has spoken very nice. Where is that? Dr. Shaligram, Indian Professor, anthropology or something like that. So now better to see the movement from behind, who is that man behind it. [laughter]

Haṁsadūta: Now they’re looking for you.

Prabhupāda: That British government said, “Gandhi in jail is more dangerous than he is free.” [laughter]

Hari-śauri: These are the statements.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Dr. Shaligram?

Hari-śauri: Yeah, Dr. Shaligram Shukla.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: Education: he graduated from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in Classical Languages 1962. Graduated from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in Tibetan Linguists and he has a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Prabhupāda: Cambridge?

Hari-śauri: He has several…, he has several books out. “He was born in India in a traditional brāhmaṇa family. He learned Sanskrit at the age of 10, and his knowledge of the Hindu scriptures written in Sanskrit is very profound. He has committed to memory the entire Bhagavad-Gītā scripture and one fourth of the Ṛg Veda. He himself is a worshiper of Kṛṣṇa. His teachings is a way of life, and he is extremely competent to judge whether the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is authentic and bona fide.”

Devotee (2): He came to see you in Washington.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: So this was his statement. “There are eighteen chapters in Bhagavad-gītā, eighteen thousand verses in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and several hundred verses in the Upaniṣads. These are the literary works which form the foundation of Indian culture and religion. They are all in Sanskrit. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, founder of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, has transcribed these texts, has translated them and has explained their essence in English…, from Sanskrit into English. One is an ancient classical language and the other a foreign language, a difficult task indeed. I have state… ” [break]

Prabhupāda: Brahman means unlimited happiness. Ananta brahma-saukyam ananta suddhyed sattvam yasmād suddhyed satya. You purify your existence and you are hankering after happiness, you’ll get the unlimited, greatest happiness, yasmād brahma-saukyam anantam. Hmm.

Hari-śauri: So Dr. Allen Gerson says, “I am here today as a citizen who dislikes injustice, as a person whose own people, because of their religious beliefs, are being persecuted repeatedly, and as a scientist who knows how ignorance can turn the normal rationality of people into blind hatred.” He’s Jewish. “As a citizen I can see a great injustice perpetrated here. Several people, all of legal age, have chosen a lifestyle which, because it differs in form from our lifestyle, has been viewed by their families as unacceptable. These families, with honest but misguided intentions, have had their children removed from the Hare Kṛṣṇa temple and have attempted to reprogram them to the behavior and attitudes of society at large. The reprogramming obviously did not work, and their children returned to the movement, thus angering and frustrating their parents. Not being able to understand the wishes of their children, or their behavior, or their motivation for returning, and needing to blame someone, they effected through devious means to have two members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa…”

Prabhupāda: He has used very nice strong words.

Hari-śauri: Hmm. “They effected through devious means to have two members of the New York Hare Kṛṣṇa centers to be arrested. Therein lies the inception of the injustice. To compound it, a judge and a grand jury agreed with their charges of unlawful imprisonment and brainwashing—a charge which is unheard of to my knowledge in civil legal proceedings—and ordered the devotees to be jailed. As a citizen I am appalled by the over-reaction, the lack of understanding and the hate that finds wrongdoing not only by the people that make the charges, but by the court as well.”

Haṁsadūta: He says the same thing.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Haṁsadūta: That this charge is unheard of in the legal history, brainwashing and… What was it? Brainwashing what?

Hari-śauri: Brainwashing.

Haṁsadūta: That there was never such a charge in the history of law, someone who’s been brainwashed.

Hari-śauri: [continues reading] “As a person whose own people have been persecuted for their own beliefs, I can sympathize with any…”

Prabhupāda: You can charge anyone, brainwashing.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Hari-śauri: That means anybody who does anything is being brainwashed. [indistinct] brainwashing. [continues reading] “The fault of this religion differs from our…”

Prabhupāda: Mind control.

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: These are charges? [laughter] “I’m controlling your mind,” charges. No, you are controlling my mind. These are the charges. [chuckles] He’s controlling his mind. [laughter]

Hari-śauri: [continues reading] “The fault of this religion differs from our Western thought. Throughout history the group tried to find God through beliefs other than those which were held by the majority, and if those beliefs were very different from the majority’s, such beliefs were almost always…”

Prabhupāda: [indistinct]…their arguments so strong.

Devotee: Unbeatable debaters.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Haṁsadūta: Yeah, and their theories were that because… Because they are…, they have accepted Your Divine Grace as the absolute authority, that they will do anything that you say, and therefore these people are very dangerous. They don’t care for anything. They’re not interested in the normal standards and goals…

Prabhupāda: Charmistic, charmistic… What is that?

Haṁsadūta: Charismatic.

Hari-śauri: Charismatic.

Haṁsadūta: Charismatic. There is…, they usually use this word to describe a person who attracts people, but no one can understand why.

Prabhupāda: Therefore they cannot explain: brainwash, mind control, charismatic, like that they use.

Hari-śauri: Yeah, he says that here, because of their own ignorance then they find fault. He goes on: “From this misunderstanding came fear, then hatred, and from hatred grew injustices and often atrocities. An injustice is now being perpetrated through ignorance. Are atrocities far off? This may sound like an overstatement, but for those who say, ‘It can’t happen here,’ it already has, such as to the American Indians and to our people, Japanese descendant. The time to stop such action is at the beginning, now. The way to stop it is to replace ignorance with knowledge, and hatred with understanding. Sometimes people stand off at a distance and look at another person’s belief and laugh at them or fear them. But as they get closer, they may come to understand how similar the observer’s beliefs may be to their own beliefs. As a scientist, a psychologist, I have tried to learn about and understand the Hare Kṛṣṇa people. For nearly a year I have spent hours each week talking with, reading about, and testing members of the movement. I have been to their temples in this country and in Europe. I have eaten in their homes and I have been to their children’s schools. What I have found is a group of people trying to find God and live as close to the way that He would like them to live. There is no place in their lives for immorality, for cruelty to other people or animals, for artificial stimulants or harmful chemicals such as alcohol, drugs or tobacco. At first glance their approach to God may seem alien to us, with their different dress, the incense and the many statues and their unique ceremonies, but a closer look reveals similarities to our religious practices that are just the same. In Catholicism we find the holy water, chanting on the rosary, statues of saints and incense. And in Judaism we find the blowing of the shofar.

Prabhupāda: And they say the cow’s urine, they are forcing to eat. [laughter] [Bengali] …that they are forcing the devotees to drink cow’s urine. [laughter] These are the charges: brainwash, mind control, forcing cow’s urine to drink. [laughter] How clever they are to find out some fictitious faults.

Haṁsadūta: You see, you see they have…, they put these two boys in a mental institution. Yes. When they can’t… This is what happens in these countries. When they can’t find any legal point, they can put the person into a mental institution to be examined. The premise is that if we find that a person is drinking cow’s urine, we may think he must be crazy, because we have never heard of such a thing. So in this way they can…

Devotee (2): Commit them.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah, they commit them…

Devotee (2): Forcibly they just put them into a mental institution where they’re observed.

Hari-śauri: Where they… That observation, so-called observation, means that they give them all kinds of drugs which make them very dopey, and then they influence them to try to become normal again, what they think is normal. Sometimes they give them electric shocks, which leaves them…

Prabhupāda: In the lunatic asylum.

Hari-śauri: Yeah, which leaves them in a very shocked condition, and then they, what they call reprogram them. That means they brainwash them back into another way, to another style of life, like that.

Guest: [Bengali]

Prabhupāda: [Bengali]

Hari-śauri: So it goes on, [continues reading] “In Judaism we find the blowing of the shofar, or ram’s horn, and in the Orthodox synagogue there is separation of men and women. Differences of dress are expressed amongst Orthodox Jews and amongst various Christian orders. Our own Pilgrim ancestors differed in dress from the Popish gentry of their time. I have studied and tested the Hare Kṛṣṇa people and have not found them to be weird or insane, only different from the mainstream. Like any other evangelical or proselytizing religion, their converts could only become converts if they choose to believe. For example, no one can drag a person to a Baptist Church and brainwash him into taking God into his heart. He has to want to accept willingly. No one is ever held against their will by the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. I have never seen it, nor have my colleagues ever seen it. In examining the various members of this religion, I have not found one who appears to be brainwashed or dopey-like. In fact their mental health and normality astounds me. If you cannot accept Kṛṣṇa, God, they will sympathize with you and hope that you will eventually find Him and will wish you well as you go on your way. There have been devotees who have left the movement and have said negative things about it, but the sour grapes syndrome is not unusual for dropouts anyway. I wonder how many West Point dropouts vilify the Army, or how many seminary dropouts leave and disdain their religion? After a rational person spends time with the Hare Kṛṣṇa people and learns to understand them, he could never believe them to be guilty of the charges which have been made here in New York recently.”

Prabhupāda: That’s all right, positive.

Hari-śauri: And then this is Dr. Stillson Judah.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Hari-śauri: He’s a graduate from University of Washington, majoring in Oriental Studies, graduate from University of California with a Ph.D in Sanskrit and Indian Languages, and he received an honorary degree from Chapman College, Southern California. And he has various posts as professor of history of religion, etc….

Prabhupāda: He has written about us big book.

Hari-śauri: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Big book. Bring that, bring that book. After five years’ scrutinizingly studying, statistics, graphics. And he has put my picture in it.

Haṁsadūta: Looks like your book.

Devotee: [indistinct]

Prabhupāda: [Bengali]

Hari-śauri: Dr. Stillson Judah says, “The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, and more formally the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, ISKCON, is a Western representation of an important Hindu sect, Vaiṣṇavism…”

Prabhupāda: He says, “Important Hindu sect.” How they can say whether it is a genuine? Important. Not only genuine but important, Vaiṣṇavism.

Hari-śauri: Hmm. [continues reading] ”…whose worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, in one of His many forms is one of the most important religions of India. The American devotees of ISKCON worship Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Being, the highest Personality of Godhead, whose worship, according to the archaeological and epigraphic evidence, is pre-Christian in origin, as found in India’s early sacred texts, the Ṛg Veda, Atharva Veda, etc. The detailed history of Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation is found in the religious text of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, and the philosophical basis of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is found in India’s most sacred book, the Bhagavad-gītā. These sacred texts and others have been translated and commented upon by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda and are being studied today in many major universities across the United States. The particular form of Vaisnavism of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement dates from Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one of India’s saints born in 1486 A.D. in Nadia, India. His immediate followers organized this philosophy in a number of Sanskrit texts, and His religious practices, such as chanting and dancing, are most authentically represented in America by the Hare Kṛṣṇa devotees according to this tradition. Lord Caitanya, worshiped as the last incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, initiated a disciplic succession. In the mid nineteenth century, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura appeared in this spiritual lineage. Soon afterwards, his son Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, became the spiritual master of India’s Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, and his most prominent student was Śrīla Prabhupāda. It was at Bhaktisiddhānta’s command that Śrīla Prabhupāda later came to America to bring the teachings and practices of Caitanya to the West. My study of these American devotees, which I have pursued since 1968, was published in my book, Hare Krishna and the Counterculture, published by John Wiley and Sons in 1974, New York. The sociological data, revealed through a detailed questionnaire and many hours of taped interviews, indicates that many of the devotees had been influenced by the hippie culture of the 1960s. However, after they joined the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, their lives became completely changed from a life of drugs, illicit sex and violence to one of dedication to a spiritual discipline and morality and to helping others in their search for happiness. In this period of rapid social and cultural change…“

Prabhupāda: This is the fact, in many cases. So many drunkards, so many violence… That… [Name withheld]?

Haṁsadūta: [Name withheld].

Prabhupāda: Big drunkard.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: [Name withheld]. Hmm.

Hari-śauri: [continues reading] “In this period of rapid social and cultural change, this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is giving many of our youths new meaning to their lives, without which many would have remained alienated, disenchanted, irresponsible citizens.”

This is a letter that was written by one devotee, Śravaṇānanda dāsa, by his mother. Śravaṇānanda is here in India. Shall I read this?

Prabhupāda: Can read it, yes.

Hari-śauri: My son Daniel, Śravaṇānanda dāsa, entered the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement almost five years ago. The only request that he made of me and my husband was that we read about the Hare Kṛṣṇa philosophy and try to understand his new way of life. My husband and I have read everything we could find about the movement and the philosophy. We have visited the Hare Kṛṣṇa centers in Philadelphia and New York frequently, always speaking to the devotees and having our questions answered. Evidently these youths feel a revulsion towards the sense gratification of forbidden…, permissive values of our society. When I see how happy the devotees are…”

Prabhupāda: Haṁsadūta, Haṁsadūta?

Hari-śauri: Haṁsadūta?

Prabhupāda: The Ceylon is educated, and if they are receiving, why not open a branch?

Hari-śauri: [continues reading] “He recently returned home after almost three years in India. My husband and I could see the awareness and maturity in him gained from his experiences in working with the Indian people. He learned firsthand about a different culture, and it certainly has enriched his life. In our minds we can compare our son’s life to the life of a Catholic monk or a religious Jew of the Hasidic sect. Do I think that my son is brainwashed? I can best answer this by answering the question, is our whole society not being brainwashed daily by the advertisement media—liquor, smoking, pornographic movies and literature? And which is worse? And what about the children who are being educated by the violence and killing on T.V.? I prefer that my son is devoting his life to the love of God and the service of humanity, a rare endeavor in this age. Since I know that my son has voluntarily chosen the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to exercise these rights, and that he can leave it whenever he wishes, I cannot see how the term ‘brainwashing’ can be applicable to this movement. I sincerely believe from my contacts with many devotees that they are happy and have found fulfillment by loving and serving Lord Kṛṣṇa, God. This may not be my wish for my life, but my son has chosen it for his, and I wholeheartedly respect it.”

Guest: [indistinct]

Prabhupāda: Yes.


Prabhupāda: [Bengali conversation] [end]

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