Room Conversation

July 10, 1976, New York
Prabhupada: So one thing is that when they are so much careful, that means the book is reacting. Otherwise why they are so careful that they may not come? What do you think?
Tamala Krsna: Yes, sometimes they specifically say, "The others may come, but that one man, we don't want him here." (laughs) He gets out twice as many books as anybody else.
Prabhupada: So many books, also not many books, why they are so much afraid of distributing these books?
Devotee (1): It means that the book is potent.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Devotee (1): It means that the books are potent. We are affecting the material energy.
Prabhupada: Everywhere in government, India especially, they do not want this movement.
Tamala Krsna: But the general tendency is...
Prabhupada: But people are appreciating, "Krsna consciousness catches." They're now appreciating.
Devotee (1): Was that a recent article?
Tamala Krsna: Yes, the general people are taking it up more and more. I mean there is a growing number of interested persons.
Prabhupada: That he has written.
Tamala Krsna: Not only are there numbers of us increasing, but there are many people who come once a week, once every month, who get magazines regularly. That number is increasing beyond what we can imagine, because it's due to the book distribution, Prabhupada. We're coming due to two things, first the books, and second the association of devotees. But there's a general mass of people that are coming who are just getting the book, and they are beginning to follow simply on account of reading your books.
Devotee (1): This is a big article. Wow.
Tamala Krsna: There's another magazine article, like that.
Hari-sauri: Radhavallabha's got it.
Tamala Krsna: Where is he?
Hari-sauri: I don't know.
Tamala Krsna: I asked, there's another very special magazine came out, and I asked Radhavallabha to bring it and present it to you. It's from New York, but I wanted him to read some of the things. He read the whole thing, it's a whole magazine devoted to meditation groups, and they have featured our society as the best. It's clear, our society was featured more than any others. They mentioned Maharishi and so many others, but they gave...
Prabhupada: We are also mentioned.
Tamala Krsna: They gave us the most space in the magazine.
Hari-sauri: They did it in sections. There was a bit about kirtana, there was a section about shaving the head, there's a whole section about Krsna prasadam, how to offer it and cook it and everything. It was very nice.
Tamala Krsna: He's getting it ready. He wants to read you certain things in the magazine. He likes to prepare things to discuss with you, Radhavallabha, controversial topics.
Prabhupada: What is that controversial? (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: It's so nice, he reads things so on the walks, he can throw out scientific arguments and other things. He likes to do that. It's really funny, there's one article, one advertisement in the back of this magazine, meditation magazine. It says "Special offer: send in twenty-five dollars and you will learn how to do transcendental meditation in one evening. And if you are not satisfied, you get your money back, but you get to keep your own private mantra." This book is a real..., it really shows you what the whole scene on spiritual groups is, how phony they are. Except ours. Ours appears very legitimate from the magazine. But these others are complete hypocrisy.
Hari-sauri: He especially canes Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, he hates him.
Hari-sauri: They did an experiment, and they tried out..., if one chants... He claims that you have to have a special mantra that comes from him, and that will give you the bliss from transcendental meditation. But they did experiments where they just made up any mantra, just a few words, and concentrated on that, and the effect was exactly the samesleep. Sleep, they enter into a...
Tamala Krsna: Semiconscious.
Hari-sauri: Yes, a very low conscious level. The metabolism is very much slowed down. The breathing and heart rate and everything goes right down, and they stay like that, completely relaxed, for twenty minutes, and then for a few minutes they come out. That is the...
Tamala Krsna: We can also do that; we'll hit them with our shoes. (laughter) For twenty minutes they can go unconsciousness. Free, we don't charge.
Hari-sauri: This opening comment in this magazine is very good, it says, "What is surprising about the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is not its conquest of the West, the USA in particular. The cultural impact of this institution, borne on the shoulders of Westerners in the main, has already reached amazing proportions in India."
Prabhupada: That is my policy.
Devotee (1): That's nice.
Tamala Krsna: Whew. That's why they are afraid of you in India, Prabhupada. The government is very much afraid.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes, government is alarmed.
Tamala Krsna: Well how will they try to stop us?
Prabhupada: Through restrictive government(?). (door opens) Who is...? Let him come.
Devotee (1): Here he comes.
Tamala Krsna: Svarupa Damodara Prabhu? Prabhupada wanted to see that boy-Arjuna Mallick?
Svarupa Damodara: I went to find him.
Tamala Krsna: I sent someone to look for him, they haven't come back. You haven't seen him? It would be nice, because Prabhupada wanted to see him.
Prabhupada: You know him? Arjuna Mallick?
Hari-sauri: I only saw him just this morning.
Prabhupada: Just find him.
Hari-sauri: But I have no idea where he's staying.
Tamala Krsna: 703 is the room number.
Prabhupada: All right.
Hari-sauri: This first paragraph recognizes how in the last two years especially our esteem has improved. It says "One has to see for oneself..."
Prabhupada: Ah, that Sadajivitlal you know.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes, very well.
Prabhupada: He says about me that "Bhaktivedanta Swami has smeared the black carbon of all other swamis." (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: Black carbon. You know Sadajivitlal from Bombay.
Devotee: Oh, yes.
Tamala Krsna: He used to get very angry. He said, "I like your Prabhupada very much, but why does he have to criticize all of our gurus?"
Prabhupada: Now he is realizing.
Tamala Krsna: Because at Cross Maidan you were speaking very boldly that all these others are cheating.
Prabhupada: Yes, they are cheating. Is there any meaning that you pay so many dollars and take the mantra? Mantra is such a thing for business?
Tamala Krsna: In this meditation magazine one of the things they sell, the special techniques is you take a ping-pong ball, ping-pong, you know, that table tennis? And you cut it in half and you place the two halves on your eyes, and then that is called samadhi. (laughter)
Prabhupada: Who has said?
Tamala Krsna: I'll show you the picture when he brings the magazine. They show a person very seriously meditating on two halves of a ping-pong ball. You have to pay for it. (laughter)
Devotee (1): Would you like to go up on the roof today, Prabhupada?
Tamala Krsna: No, Prabhupada said the sun is too much. Tosana Krsna, he's been doing all of our, he's practically done the whole arrangement for the Ratha-yatra. Jayananda is building, and he has done all of the permits, advertising, publicity, the poster, working at least fifteen hours a day for the last month very hard, to make it a very successful festival. I was thinking, Srila Prabhupada, that Hamsaduta was telling me that he is planning to make...
Prabhupada: I think this article was dictated by Hamsaduta.
Prabhupada: Our interviewer came.
Tamala Krsna: He was telling me that he was planning to make thousands of men, convert thousands of Indians. I was wondering, if thousands of Indians join us, how will the government feel?
Prabhupada: They cannot check.
Tamala Krsna: Really, they won't stop us.
Prabhupada: If they want to stop it, it will increase.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, right. Especially in Bengal, as soon as the Bengalis know that something is against the government, then they get very vehement.
Devotee: It's encouraging when they try to resist.
Tamala Krsna: They call us sahebs. It says "What urges the sahebs and memasahebs." That's how they refer to us.
Prabhupada: Our Mayapura temple is known as saheb mandira. In Vrndavana, English, imreji.
Tamala Krsna: Gopala told me that the guesthouse is doing better. He said that only that eleven rooms right now are occupied by nonpaying guests, and out of the overall forty-four rooms, only four rooms are occupied by devotees. The devotees have been shifted elsewhere. And Gunarnava has been managing.
Prabhupada: That Tosana Krsna boy was in Vrndavana?
Prabhupada: Stoka, he has left.
Hari-sauri: He's back in Los Angeles now.
Prabhupada: He does not stick anywhere.
Tamala Krsna: No. Whew! This picture of Ratha-yatra in London is very impressive.
Prabhupada: With smaller rathas.
Hari-sauri: Yes, palanquins.
Tamala Krsna: But the crowd is bigger than ever.
Devotee: Yes, huge crowd.
Adi-kesava: That's when we ah... Tosana, isn't that the picture that you showed them to show what our carts look like? He told the police, to get our permit, that our carts were like those little small rathas, so that we could get the permit. He said that we were having a parade with hand-pulled floats. When they thought of hand-pulled floats, they thought of little wagons.
Hari-sauri: They're going to get a shock.
Tamala Krsna: He's breaking the news to them slowly.
Hari-sauri: We did that in Melbourne. But then gradually we let them see. Then they took us out for a trial run and everything. [break]
Prabhupada: Note down in the account book. [break]
Tamala Krsna: ...presents us as a bona fide Vaisnava, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Vaisnava cult. Says that the ISKCON center, the Mayapura..., "ISKCON plans to build in Mayapura a world center for Krsna consciousness. It will comprise an enormous..."
Prabhupada: This news has been very much advertised.
Tamala Krsna: When will we begin?
Prabhupada: As soon as we get the land.
Tamala Krsna: The land is coming along?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: The land is coming along?
Prabhupada: Yes, government...
Tamala Krsna: They are going ahead with it.
Prabhupada: Two officials are in great favor. One Mr. Choudhuri and Mr. Ganguli.
Tamala Krsna: It says that the temple will be so big that India has never seen such a huge temple.
Prabhupada: Choudhuri's wife has challenged that "If you are Hindu, then you will do it."
Tamala Krsna: To her husband. Oh. (laughter) It tells about, it quotes you as saying that how you began this movement. Two boys joined you, Chuck and Bruce-Brahmananda and Acyutananda, Charles Barnett and Bruce Scharf.
Prabhupada: Charles is called Chuck?
Prabhupada: What is that?
Rsi-kumara: It's called rajkacuri. (laughter)
Bali-mardana: Stuffed with dal, potato, tamarind sauce and sour cream.
Devotee (1): Rsi's making up for lost time.
Prabhupada: Where you learned this?
Rsi-kumara: In Kailash Saksarya's.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Rsi-kumara: From Kailash Saksarya's cook. At least I learned something there.
Prabhupada: From that cook, Kailash's cook?
Rsi-kumara: Yes.
Prabhupada: He was very expert. In India, a girl, if she could cook nicely, then she is perfect. There is a ceremony, it is called bahubhat(?). After marriage the girl comes to her father-in-law's house and there is a ceremony called bahubhat. In that bahubhat, the girl is to cook and distribute this food to all the relatives of her husband. If they say it is excellent, then she is accepted in this family.
Bali-mardana: What if they say it is not excellent?
Prabhupada: Nobody says. (laughter) But the ceremony is made. The social system in India is that "If I do not accept your food, then I do not take you within my inner circle. You remain outside."
Tamala Krsna: It's a great offense if you offer someone prasadam and they refuse.
Prabhupada: Yes. That means I am not accepting you as intimate. And if he accepts, then you cannot deny his friendship. About one hundreds years ago in Bengal in the aristocratic circle, the guests invited and very sumptuously food distributed, and then the gentlemen, guests, they come and see only, they will simply say "Oh, it is very nicely done." They'll not eat, and go away. Then the foodstuff will be distributed among the servants. This was aristocracy. They'll not eat, they will simply see and appreciate, "Oh, you have so many varieties, very nice." Then they'll go. And the household servants and others, they eat it.
Tamala Krsna: Why didn't they eat it?
Prabhupada: That was the custom.
Bali-mardana: That is a dry philosophy. (laughs)
Prabhupada: You have seen this article?
Prabhupada: Other news, after Mars? No?
Svarupa Damodara: I haven't seen the newspapers yet. Might have some more, been taking pictures, photographs.
Tamala Krsna: Prabhupada explained that the picture they took of Mars, they now say that there's..., they pointed out that there's a similar canyon, the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. So they were reporting like this, and Prabhupada said this is an indication that actually it is a picture of, they have unintentionally they have let out the information that actually the photo is simply a photograph of the Grand Canyon.
Hari-sauri: He gave an example. There's a man in his room at night, and he hears a noise. So he says "Oh, what's that sound?" And then back comes the reply, "I am not stealing." So no one asked the man to say what he was doing, but he unintentionally let it out what he was actually doing there. He just asked what the noise was, but he said "I am not stealing." So in the same way no one asked them to say anything about Arizona, but they let it out.
Prabhupada: They have disclosed unintentionally. That is going on. It is beyond their dream to go either to the moon planet or Mars planet. It is not possible. Not nowadays I sayI said it ten years ago.
Svarupa Damodara: We're going to have a difficult time, with the scientists, about the moon.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Svarupa Damodara: We're going to have a difficult time about this moon and the sun relationship.
Tamala Krsna: Sunday, Monday.
Svarupa Damodara: This is a lifelong project. (laughter)
Prabhupada: Nobody could answer, a simple question. (Hari-sauri explains "Sunday, Monday" question to Svarupa Damodara in background(?)) According to Vedic astronomical calculations, sun is first.
Svarupa Damodara: But does it have to do anything with distance, Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: Hmm?
Svarupa Damodara: Does it have to do anything with the distance? As the sun is recorded first?
Prabhupada: No, according to them if sun is first, then it will be ninety-three million miles. And if the moon is still away, one million six hundred thousand miles, it becomes ninety-five million miles. How they are going ninety-five millions of miles in four days?
Svarupa Damodara: No, on that ground it is reasonable to know that they couldn't go there, but...
Prabhupada: Therefore I say they couldn't go there. Their asset is Arizona, that's all. All this propaganda is gone, and at last they wanted to satisfy by delivering some sand and rock, that's all. Actually the business was not done.
Hari-sauri: They say even if there's life on another planet, at most it could be bacteria.
Prabhupada: Nonsense. If bacteria is there, why not others?
Hari-sauri: Well the thing is that if they say that there's other life, then they'd have to show it. But they don't know what's there because they've never been. So they have to show either there's no life and here's some rocks, which they got from this planet, or at most there's only bacteria, which they can also produce here and say it's there. But they can't show any advanced life because they don't know.
Prabhupada: They have never gone. Simply bluff. That is my point.
Rsi-kumara: Whenever they don't know something, they say it doesn't exist.
Prabhupada: I have got evidence, our Vedic literature.
Svarupa Damodara: We have other informations other than Srimad-Bhagavatam?
Prabhupada: Huh?
Svarupa Damodara: We have other evidences?
Prabhupada: We have evidence from astronomy, Jyoti-sastra. Jyoti-sastra.
Radhavallabha: Srila Prabhupada, Manasvi is here.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Radhavallabha: Manasvi. Tell him to come in?
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. Sit down. Wherefrom you are coming?
Manasvi: New Jersey, Hoboken.
Prabhupada: Where is your child?
Manasvi: She's downstairs.
Prabhupada: With whom he is with?
Manasvi: With her brother.
Prabhupada: So? What is that?
Tamala Krsna: This is the magazine I was telling you about. Transcendental Meditation Today.
Prabhupada: That is the name of the magazine?
Tamala Krsna: Yes. The feature article is...
Prabhupada: This is our?
Tamala Krsna: Big article all about our society.
Prabhupada: Oh, my picture also.
Tamala Krsna: "Prabhupada, acarya-founder." Tells all about you and your books.
Hari-sauri: It especially mentions your books.
Tamala Krsna: This is a whole page devoted about your books.
Hari-sauri: This is the downstairs.
Tamala Krsna: "Hare Krsna Meditation. Who is Krsna?" "The Krsna Cut." It tells about the haircut, sikha.
Prabhupada: "Krsna cut" (laughs).
Tamala Krsna: Then in the back there's more articles about Krsna consciousness, there's the..., here, "Food for the gods, prasadam."
Hari-sauri: Describes what standard we have for making the prasadam, how you can't taste it, you have to be very clean.
Tamala Krsna: Here's that..., remember I was telling you about that meditation on the ping-pong balls?
Prabhupada: Oh. (laughter)
Devotee: "Gansfield effect." They give it a name and make it sound very important, and then sell it for a thousand dollars.
Prabhupada: Who's name?
Devotee (1): Gansfield. They say the Gansfield effect.
Prabhupada: Who is Gansfield, somebody know?
Tamala Krsna: There's an article about Maharishi. You want to read it? There's some points in here, it says "Profit without honor." This man hates Maharishi, says he's completely bogus.
Prabhupada: His picture is hateful.
Tamala Krsna: It says "Profit without any honor." He quotes you in here. It says "Swami Prabhupada, spiritual leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and Bill Faill, Durban, South Africa, of the Natal Mercury Reporter, had the following dialogue: (reads from magazine) Bill Faill: 'Do you think that Transcendental Meditation is helping people?' Prabhupada: 'They do not know what real meditation is. Their meditation is simply a farce, another cheating process by the so-called swamis and yogis. So everyone is talking about meditation, but no one knows what meditation really is. These bluffers use the word meditation, but they do not know the proper subject for meditation. They are simply talking bogus propaganda.' Bill Faill: 'But isn't meditation helpful in getting people to think straight?' Prabhupada: 'No, real meditation means to achieve a state in which the mind is saturated by God consciousness.' "
Prabhupada: Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah [SB 12.13.1]. This is the Vedic version. When one man's mind is fully absorbed in the Supersoul, Visnu, that is called meditation. And Bhagavad-gita confirms,
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
[Bg. 6.47]
These are the Vedic version. These rascals, some light, some this, some that.
Radhavallabha: There are some quotes here from people describing Maharishi's meditation. It says "A Denver housewife said, 'I turned off when I found that TM' " that's what they call Transcendental Meditation, " 'I turned off when I found that TM is trying to sell me meditation the same way Proctor and Gamble sells me soap.' "
Prabhupada: Gamble?
Radhavallabha: Big soap company.
Hari-sauri: Proctor and Gamble manufactures all kinds of soaps and detergents, so she's saying that the way they sell Transcendental Meditation is the same as the way they sell soap.
Tamala Krsna: Very commercialized.
Radhavallabha: They have here proof that his mantra is no different than any ordinary sound. It says "In a Stanford Research Institute experiment, a group of TM trainees was compared to a control group who had been taught a fake mantra that they believed would be effective. In both groups some subjects were able to bring unpleasant psychosomatic symptoms under control. Three of these dropped out of the TM training group. Their symptoms returned. Two dropped out of the control group; their symptoms came back too. Evidence like that suggests that whatever works in the TM system, it does not depend upon the mystical mantra."
Prabhupada: Let their men come and talk with our men in a public meeting. Then people will understand what is the difference.
Svarupa Damodara: They have a catalog, Transcendental Meditation University, it's very well done, nice colors and anything, first class. They spend a lot of money and a lot of thoughts how to bring, how to attract the students.
Tamala Krsna: He says their University's just closed down.
Svarupa Damodara: Oh, the one at Iowa?
Hari-sauri: No, the one in Majorca, in Spain.
Svarupa Damodara: This is the headquarters, Iowa, the main University. We saw the catalog. It contains everything, all sciences.
Hari-sauri: This article explains that when he first appeared in public, he presented himself as a Hindu representative of Sankaracarya's cult, but then later on he concocted this Transcendental Meditation, and then he presented it as a science so that he could get government grants to teach it in schools and things like this.
Radhavallabha: They have another guru here, Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh.
Prabhupada: He has also come?
Radhavallabha: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: His group is big here. He's very popular in America.
Radhavallabha: Eighteen thousand disciples. He says, "It does not matter to whom one surrenders. The relevance is in the act of surrendering. But because the human mind sees things in terms of relationships, surrender to a guru is often useful. The guru is a step toward the impersonal divine, a step toward surrender to the existence."
Hari-sauri: He makes a comment about sannyasa as well, I think.
Radhavallabha: He initiates sannyasa, they call themselves neo-sannyasa. "At initiation a sannyasi receives a new name, an ochre robe and a mala, a string of beads holding a locket that frames a photograph of Bhagwan."
Tamala Krsna: Bhagwan Rajneesh, not Bhagavan.
Radhavallabha: The one who says it's no necessity to have a spiritual master. He says "The picture is not mine. Had it been mine I would have hesitated to put it there. The picture only appears as mine."
Tamala Krsna: That's word jugglery (laughter). The picture is of himself, he says "It is not me. If it was me I would not have put it there, it only appears to be me."
Devotee (1): They want something very cheap and easy to attain.
Radhavallabha: Here's his method. First they engage in breathing. It says, "The really successful meditator sounds like an exhausted sea lion." He says "If you feel like dancing, dance, laugh, scream, sing, express your love, your hate, your anger, your jealousy. Do not condemn what happens; do not condone it. Just go mad. Express whatever is within you totally, intensity." And here's his mantra, "Who who who." That's his mantra.
Tamala Krsna: They were doing this in Bhopal. In Bhopal, we were there when we had our Jeeps. So in the same place we were staying they let this group Rajneesh do it. So they were going with that mantra, "Who who." So we were standing out from the balcony shouting, "Krsna, that's who." Every morning they would do that meditation, and we would answer "Krsna." (laughter)
Hari-sauri: They call his method "chaotic meditation."
Prabhupada: They say?
Hari-sauri: That's the heading, it says "Chaotic Meditation."
Radhavallabha: That's the name of it. After they go "Who who who who who who..."
Prabhupada: What about..., what they have written about us?
Radhavallabha: About us?
Tamala Krsna: A big article.
Radhavallabha: Everything is favorable. They didn't say one bad thing about us.
Tamala Krsna: It says "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. The group above are performing a kirtana, the chanting of the names of Krsna, the Vedic Deity they believe to be the supreme personification of Godhead. They are shown before the doorway of one Astor Plaza in Manhattan's Times Square area. Their chant, increasingly familiar on street corners in all large cities across the country, runs, 'Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.' These Krsna devotees belong to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON, less formally known as the Hare Krsna Movement and still less formally to the man in the street as the Harry Krsnas." (laughter) Actually, Prabhupada, one...
Prabhupada: Harry Krsna.
Tamala Krsna: They think that we're worshiping a person, some material man by the name of Harry Krsna. They think that your name is Harry Krsna. (laughter)
Adi-kesava: In Boston they once wrote an article in the newspaper, the Boston Globe, they said "I walked into the temple room and there he was, a big picture of Harry Krsna sitting on a big throne." (laughter) On the vyasasana.
Hari-sauri: Harry is an English...
Prabhupada: Harry, Harrison, like that.
Devotee (1): They are saying Krsna's name.
Tamala Krsna: Should I read more? "There are several hundred thousand members of the movement, several hundred thousand members of the movement throughout the world. Ten thousand in New York City alone." Actually, there are at least ten thousand followers. "Of these, about a hundred and fifty are full-time students and live at 340 West Fifty-fifth Street, an eleven-story former Josephine Baird Home of the Roman Catholic Carmelite Nuns." This was a nunnery. "The Hare Krsna center on West Fifty-fifth Street draws about five hundred lay devotees and curiosity-seekers from the metropolitan area every Sunday. Open house begins at five p.m. A great drawing card is the serving of prasadam, food specially prepared for and offered to Lord Krsna before being distributed to the public. The eating of prasadam, (see the article, "Food of the Gods" on a later page), is believed by members of the movement to convey important spiritual benefitsfor example, the cleansing of karma due to past sins. Movement members are not unaware of the more immediate and mundane effect. 'Prasadam is our secret weapon,' said Alankara dasa, spokesman for the center. 'It gets them in here, and then they can get the message.' Les Tursley, Tamala Krsna Goswami, India-based senior member of the movement, has said of prasadam in his country..."
Radhavallabha: They think you're an Indian.
Tamala Krsna: They think I'm an Indian. " 'If anyone comes around to our prasadam distribution program, that means he is hungry. If he is hungry, that means he cannot listen to our philosophy. If his hunger is not satisfied, he'll never become Krsna conscious. That is the point. If we just went around with a program of speaking and kirtana, they would come once or twice but they wouldn't see its practical value. But if you give them prasadam daily with kirtana and speaking, eventually you can convince them. Look, this is our most practical way of life. Why don't you come and live with us completely and work with us? ' " That's a quote from an article in Back to Godhead. "Though food is far more plentiful in the United States than in India, prasadam appeal seems to work its magic here just as well. The entire movement began only ten years ago in a storefront temple in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Today it owns the largest publishing house of Hindu classics, many in demand for leading university courses. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Los Angeles, the world's largest, last year's gross of one million dollars; incense-producing Spiritual Sky Scented Products Company; and Krsna Fashions Incorporated, a wholesale clothing manufacturer. An important portion of the movement's income comes from the contribution of lay devotees, who are successful businessmen. More comes from street-corner solicitation of alms by devotees during kirtana. How significant the last is, was shown recently by the closing down of elevator service in the New York center. 'A lot of us are going on pilgrimage to India,' said Alankara dasa. 'There won't be many around to beg. These elevators cost us $2,200 a month to run. So we're cutting down except for essential services.' " We don't do that anymore. That was the previous mismanagement. Someone had the idea that if you turn off the elevator, that's very good, but I told him if you're not going to run the elevator, why did you move here? They had people walking up eleven stories, and it was crazy, just to save... Anyway, "These include moving foodstuffs and milk into the building. Much of the food comes from the 350-acre ISKCON-owned dairy farm in Academia, Pennsylvania, one of the six similar facilities in this country and Canada." They show pictures of devotees in the temple, devotees taking prasadam and two lady devotees. "The yoga," it says under the caption, "monks take breakfast by hand in rows on the dining area floor." Here it says "Saried women devotees dwell in cloister atmosphere of the center." Then "The yoga of devotion: Tilaka of clay paste marks the devotee as a member of ISKCON sect. Central shrine in the temple is the focal point of twice a day services." A picture of Radha-Govinda. " 'Our life is our meditation' said a sikha-ed, saffron-clad monk in the Hare Krsna center. 'Everything we do is offered to Sri Krsna, but in addition to that there is the personal chanting, most...' [break] ...slung from the devotee's neck. He often counts the beads without taking his hand from the pouch. In the early hours the Hare Krsna center buzzes with a droning sound, difficult to identify by the stranger who does not know that it comes from the monks, who are beginning their required sixteen rounds." They have given everything very detailed. "The personal chanting sometimes occurs in unusual situations-while escorting a visitor to the center, while waiting to complete a phone call, or even during pauses in a conversation." (laughter) Devotees are always chanting. " 'The mahamantra is the only mantra needed' the devotee says. Besides the sixteen rounds, devotees are expected to observe four rules. They must abstain from meat-eating, intoxication, gambling and illicit sex. Illicit sex is defined as any sexual act other than that intended for procreation. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden. Married, full-time devotees may have sexual relationship once a month at a time propitious for procreation. All the devotee's activities are regarded as bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion. He regards everything he does as service to God. The name he is given at initiation is followed by the word dasa, 'a servant.' Full-time ISKCON devotees adopt Vedic dress, one objective being to keep others aware of Krsna. Women wear saris, the men dhotis; both may wear shawls. The men shave their heads except for single lock of hair at the back. (See the article, "The Krsna Cut.") The lock, called a sikha, identifies the followers of Krsna." Actually no one can imitate us because no one wants to give up their hair, so no one will try to make believe they are devotees. "Shaving the head announces renunciation of material pleasures. The tilaka is a mark made with clay-two narrow vertical stripes on the forehead meeting in a triangular swatch on the bridge of the nose. It identifies the body as a temple to be used only in the service of God. Full-time students follow a rigorously monastic life. They arise at four a.m. in the morning, begin four hours of prayer and chanting. At nine o'clock they have breakfast, seated cross-legged on mats on the floor. The men eat apart from the women. During the day devotees work at various preaching programs or at regular jobs. At seven p.m. devotional services are held in the center's temple. In Manhattan this features an ornate shrine including representations of Krsna and His consort, Radha. Both are costumed sumptuously with elaborate care; both wear festoons of flowers. Visitors are cautioned, 'When you go in the temple room remember that these statues you see are not representations of the Deities, they are the Deities. Krsna is in everything, Krsna is everywhere.' Temple kirtana." There's a picture. "Eleven-story New York sect's center is former Carmelite Baird home." Picture of the temple. "Services in the temple are attended by about five hundred every Sunday. Many of these are from New York's Hindu population. Frequently husbands bring their pregnant wives, dedicating their unborn child to Krsna. The kirtana begins with the chanting of the mahamantra, slowly at first and melodiously. Later the chant will speed up as the spirit of the devotion spreads. Often the most rapid and intense chanting is done by a hard-core knot of dhoti-ed men before the curtains of the shrine." The devotees get in one group and start... (laughter) Hard-core devotees. "The rhythm approaches that of an express train, and the atmosphere is apt to remind a lay visitor of an old-fashioned football rally. Some of the onlookers try to keep up with the central group, clapping their hands, swaying their bodies, throwing arms upwards and, among the younger, adapting modern dance steps to the rhythm. When the shrine curtains are drawn back, devotees kneel and press their foreheads..."
Prabhupada: Who has introduced this peculiar dancing?
Hari-sauri: It just evolved. (laughs)
Rupanuga: We were speaking about that the other day. It's changed from the original dancing that you showed us to something else. Too much like the modern dancing.
Prabhupada: Hmm. I think this is not good.
Tamala Krsna: Shall I read on? "The service has become..." What way should we dance, Srila Prabhupada? With our hands outstretched? Sometimes the devotees like to jump around. Is that all right?
Prabhupada: In ecstasy one can do anything, that is another... But artificially to do something is not good.
Tamala Krsna: But if one feels like jumping, it is all right?
Prabhupada: Anything artificial is not required.
Rupanuga: So running back and forth is not...
Prabhupada: No, no, that should not be an artificial.
Hari-sauri: We don't dance for show, we dance for the pleasure of the Deities.
Tamala Krsna: No, we're not professional dancers. "The service has become so frenetic that the almost folksy, matter of fact preaching of the Swami makes a stark contrast. 'Some people are against us because they say we teach children to smile. Well isn't that too bad. We make children smilewe are bad. We try to teach them that life should be a joyful thing, we're evil. Well that's too bad, isn't it? ' "
Devotees: Who's that? That's crazy.
Tamala Krsna: This is theory.(?) (laughter)
Prabhupada: So he has not returned with the key?
Prabhupada: Hmm. Still more?
Tamala Krsna: Yes. "After the sermon, more chanting. Now it really becomes frantic, and even compelling. Many curious first-time visitors begin to take up the mahamantra chant. The hard-core group at the shrine seems to be completely carried away. The terrazo floor literally vibrates. Gradually the crowd begins to thin. Other things are happening in the center. On the third floor there is a traditional Vedic play in costume, acted with enthusiasm." (sound of kirtana)
Hari-sauri: It's going downstairs somewhere, Srila Prabhupada.
Adi-kesava: They're getting everybody together to go out on sankirtana party.
Tamala Krsna: It says here, "On the second floor there is a store which attracts many visitors who want to buy Indian costumes, jewelry and the movement's books. Prasadam is served in the basement restaurant. Visitors eat at tables in the same area where monks had breakfast on the floor. The prasadam features Hindu dishes served in the compartments of plasticized paper mess trays." Then it goes on. Now there's another article about you. Why are they holding a kirtana now?
Adi-kesava: They're getting a kirtana party together to go out on hari-nama down at Times Square (indistinct).
Prabhupada: Hmm. What does he say?
Tamala Krsna: "Prabhupada, acarya-founder, born Abhay Caran De in India in 1895, the founder, future founder-acarya, spiritual leader of ISKCON, came under the spiritual direction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, ascetic scholar and preacher who had devoted his life to the spread of Krsna consciousness. Three years later, shortly before he died, Bhaktisiddhanta ordered Abhay to spread the Krsna faith in the English language. One of the ways that Abhay, now known as Prabhupada-'one at whose feet masters sit'-did that was to begin to translate the classic Vedic literature, but it was not until thirty years after he was charged by his spiritual mentor that he was able to make a trip to the United States. He arrived in Boston in September, 1965, a spry but grim-faced passenger of seventy years on the steamer Jaladuta. He had forty rupees in his pocket and a metal suitcase full of his books and translations. Finding his way to New York City, he set up a storefront temple at 26 Second Avenue in the East Village section. Gradually he drew a small coterie of students around him, mostly through his preaching in Tompkinson Park. As his movement grew, he found backers among his converts. Hare Krsna centers were established in Boston, Buffalo and San Francisco, and an appreciation of Prabhupada's Vedic translations by American university authorities, Columbia, Princeton, Yale professors among others, permitted the establishment of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Los Angeles. The Trust launched a promotion of Prabhupada's translations and original works under the logo of the Living Library of Transcendental Knowledge. Remarkably, in the face of a worldwide economic recession, the Trust's book and magazine sales reached nine million in 1975, up 34.5 percent over 1974. Some of this was due to the determined promotion of groups such as the hundred-man Radha-Damodara group which criss-crosses the country in six Greyhound-type buses and ten vans giving lectures and kirtanas at college university campuses. Now eighty-one years old, Prabhupada still works at his writings and the spiritual direction of the Hare Krsna movement. His translation of Bhagavad-gita, the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the most widely used in the Western world, is in great demand by professors of Indology and Vedic literature."
Prabhupada: He has given advertisement for our books.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes, very favorable.
Radhavallabha: The amazing thing is that he's an impersonalist.
Prabhupada: Impersonalist?
Radhavallabha: The man who wrote all of these articles, he's an impersonalist.
Tamala Krsna: Here's a picture of him.
Prabhupada: Oh, he's American?
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes.
Tripurari: He thinks there are different types of meditation that all work, and ours is one type, bona fide, that works. There are also other types.
Tamala Krsna: The article goes onI don't know if you want to hear it all. You want to hear it? Okay. Here's this thing called "Who is Krsna?" "Krsna, viewed by ISKCON as the Supreme Personification of Godhead, is said to have many pastimes in which He assumes different appearances. One such is that of Gopalaji, the cowherd boysee picture, cowherd boyHe can appear in other forms such as four-armed Narayana. Most often Krsna is portrayed as having light blue skin and, by Western standards, a soft and effeminate physique. He is said to be full in the six opulences: beauty, strength, fame, wealth, knowledge and renunciation. He is said to be all-attractive. Krsna incarnates on one planet after another in infinite universes. The last time He appeared on earth as Krsna was five thousand years ago. He will not return in that form for another four hundred thousand years, but five hundred years ago He appeared in His incarnation of Lord Caitanya, who taught people of the mahamantra and started the Krsna consciousness in its present state. According to the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna hungers for the devotion of His followers." Very nicely put. "This devotion in its pure sense takes the form of bhakti-yoga, the dedication of one's every action to Krsna. Thus to use one's sense for one's own pleasure is to deny Krsna devotion and accumulate negative karma. Krsna has a consort, Radha, but She is considered only as an extension of His own pleasure principle, since He is all things. It is through Her intercession that devotees seek favors from Krsna. According to ISKCON, Krsna is the same God worshiped as Jehovah, Allah and so on." That is the explanation of who Krsna is.
Radhavallabha: He could write for Back to Godhead.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Radhavallabha: He could write for Back to Godhead.
Prabhupada: Yes, it is good.
Tamala Krsna: Very good. Then there is a part called "Hare Krsna Meditation." "The Hare Krsnas practice bhakti, the yoga of devotion. They have their mahamantra, continual recitation of which will have a meditative effect. By integrating recitation of the mantra with a life of rigidly formulated devotional activities, it would seem that devotees actually live their meditation. Such a life of living meditation is not without parallel in secular fields. It is believed that the spiritual form of alchemy served this purpose; that is, an alchemist repeated the same experimental routine over and over until it became automatized, though still requiring some slight personal involvement." He's getting a little far out here. "It was expected that the result..." Anyway, "...practitioners of Western magical disciplines sought for similar results. Meditation takes effect in terms of the ambiance in which it is practiced. In the Hare Krsna movement there are certain to be transcendental experiences. They would be in accord with Vedic teachings, but their exact nature has not proven easy of discovery, since devotees insist that their sole aim in life is to be of service to Krsna." We're not interested in experiencing all these special things.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is very nice.
Tamala Krsna: Very nice point. Then there's a part about the Krsna cut. Says here, "Badge. The badge of the monks is the single lock that hangs from a rear of shaven head. As a precisely trimmed sikha is a matter of pride, monks often cooperate in shaving one another. Hair is buzzed off by clipper (left side), leaving a bristly surface (center)"shows the bristly surface.
Prabhupada: He has taken photograph of it?
Tamala Krsna: (laughter) Yes. "...which is lathered up and shaved with a safety razor (right side). Even more striking than their saffron dhotis and shawls is the ISKCON men's practice of shaving their heads with the exception of one long lock in the rear, known as the sikha. The first reaction of the layman is "Why do they do it?" The next is "How do they do it?" The Hare Krsnas themselves advance three different answers to the first question. Some say that in countries that have hot climates, the religious have always shaved their heads to insure cleanliness. A clean body reflects a pure spirit."
Prabhupada: One letter should be written to him that "You have taken so much trouble to describe Hare Krsna movement, so thank you for your patience. Now we shall request you to read our books and review it. That will be real presentation of the Hare Krsna Movement. Now you have studied superficially, and if you seriously study our books, you'll get more knowledge and you'll be able to give description of the movement more definitely."
Tamala Krsna: You want to hear what else he has to say?
Prabhupada: Umhm.
Tamala Krsna: "Others insist that the style of shaving the head identifies devotees of various spiritual orders. The long sikhas marks a man as a follower of Krsna. Still another group says that the head-shaving simply stands for renunciation of the material world, its values and its pleasures. One or more of those reasons may be the true one. Possibly all of them have a multi-determined, have multi-determined the Krsna cut. The how of the cut is simplicity itself. Commonly two men cut each others hair. Our pictures show how. Phase one of the cutting, known as the buzz-off, is done with ordinary..." (laughter)
Prabhupada: Buzz off? (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: Yes. "...is done with ordinary hair clippers. The post buzz-off effect..." (laughter)
Rupanuga: This guy's made a science out of it. (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: "...shown in the second picture. Next, the prickly sconce."
Prabhupada: What is that meaning?
Tamala Krsna: Prickly sconce. Prickly means short-haired, and sconce means...?
Hari-sauri: Look it up in the dictionary. (laughter)
Radhavallabha: People like to think they are scientific like this.
Tamala Krsna: It says "the prickly sconce is lathered up with an old-fashioned mug and brush and shaved with a safety razor. It is considered of paramount importance that the base of the sikha be shaved round evenly. The shavee sometimes shows some nervousness about this." He gets nervous that they'll cut his sikha off. This man has caught every detail.
Prabhupada: Good writer.
Tamala Krsna: Yes, he's a good one.
Hari-sauri: It says "Sconce: crown of head." It's an old term for the crown of the head.
Tamala Krsna: There's a special article about prasadam, Prabhupada, called "Food for the Gods." "Of all the ways of getting to heaven, or nirvana, or whatever your ideal place may be, the Hare Krsna way is one of the most pleasant. Believers of this faith are convinced that you can eat your way into higher spiritual realms. Of course, this doesn't mean that food itself is sacred and the more you eat the holier you are. To begin with, there is a strict prohibition against the killing of animals, so meat, fish and eggs are not included in the diet at all of the Krsna devotees. Furthermore, there are many special rules for preparing the food which may be offered to Krsna to be blessed by Him and therefore to bring blessings to anyone who partakes of it." Should I read this whole article?
Prabhupada: Um, hmm.
Tamala Krsna: "The recipes given below, taken from the Hare Krsna Cookbook'another good advertisement, and they give you at least three or four recipes in here. They give recipes for, the recipes are for...
Prabhupada: :Anyway, he has given more pages for our movement.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes, he's given us three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve pages. And the whole magazine, including many advertisements..., actually the nonadvertised part is about fifty-five pages, of which we have twelve. At least one fifth of the book is for Hare Krsna. The other groups only have three pages, four pages. And he blasts them mostly. Some of them are really nonsense. Here's one called the Deichman experiment. You stare at a vase...
Prabhupada: Another meditation.
Tamala Krsna: Yes, this is another one. Deichman experiment. Then they have one about Zen Buddhism, it shows Zen meditation. Here's a Zen master sitting in front of a basketball. I don't know why.
Adi-kesava: They have a meditation that they call Zen basketball.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Adi-kesava: We went to one seminar once when they were teaching Zen basketball.
Tamala Krsna: Here's another one, "Hypnotism or Meditation." A hypnotist discusses a question that many face. Because they accuse that we're hypnotizing, so they're trying to distinguish in this article what is hypnotism, what is meditation. Then here's another one, "The Art of Awareness." This woman is supposed to be a great transcendental artist. You can see some of her famous pictures. Here's a picture called "Congregations of Souls." And here's another picture called "Temple Stones." Then this is the Gansfield effect. (laughter) Ping-pong balls. Says here "The apparently pop-eyed lady is not a visitor from another dimension nor the victim of a sudden surprise. She is the subject of an experiment into the nature of meditation and some of the effects of the processes. The ping-pong ball halves present a completely continuous visual field. There's no object in it that can hold her attention. After staring at the insides of the ping-pong balls for a while, she will begin to feel peaceful and..."
Prabhupada: Actually she does?
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes, that's the meditation. They put the ping-pong ball, and then it describes, "She will feel peaceful and serene. At the same time she may not be able to tell whether her eyes are open or closed. She will see neither white nor black nor any shade in between. She will have the experience of not seeing. At that point, which the subject in this kind..."
Prabhupada: With the eyes closed, then not seeing is there already. (laughter) What is the use of meditating?
Hari-sauri: You aren't going to see very much with two ping-pong balls over your eyes, are you? (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: "The white hemispheres covering her eyes are halves of ping-pong balls. The wires lead off to an electroencephalograph." E.E.G. It keeps a record of changes in her brainwave output. "At that point when she is not seeing, which subjects in this kind of experiment call 'blanking out,' the electroencephalograph will record a brainwave output well into the alpha range." They also tell you how to make the Gansfield, how to cut the... It shows a ping pong ball and a knife. (laughter) This guy is weird.
Hari-sauri: This thing about alpha range, this is becoming a big thing. They think that if a person gets into this alpha range of brain stimulation, then his meditation is successful.
Tamala Krsna: They're trying to figure it all out scientifically.
Adi-kesava: They're trying to use all kinds of machines and wires to measure consciousness. They have one group that has tin cans attached to wires, and they hold them in their hand, and then they measure it on the machine as they meditate. And when they meditate right, the needle on the machine goes right in the middle, and they think they have achieved perfection.
Tamala Krsna: Here is an article called "Travels Beyond the Body: what is it that travels, and what is it that's seen?" They're talking about traveling beyond your body. Here's an advertisement, "Because I have taken the mystery out of transcendental meditation, I will teach you to master transcendental meditation in a single evening." "About the author." Then it says, "Free private mantra based on your own name, selected by the great Norbell, translated by his special Sanskrit system, so that no one else in America has the same mantra twice. No other system of transcendental meditation..."
Prabhupada: What is this? Maharishi?
Svarupa Damodara: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi?
Hari-sauri: No, this is competition.
Tamala Krsna: No, this isn't...
Hari-sauri: This is the competition.
Tamala Krsna: This man says "Norbell, for over thirty years his unrelenting thirst for spiritual fulfillment has taken him to the most remote corners of the globe to finally become one of the few Westerners in our time who has ever gained acceptance as an equal among the holy masters of both India and Tibet. He has also mastered the scientific secrets of Western knowledge in America's most highly regarded universities. In America alone over the past decade, tens of thousands have come to Carnegie Hall in New York and dozens of other centers of public hearing all to hear him." He says, "Meditation can make this claim alone, and it's yours to keep. Your own mantra free, even if you return the report itself. Mail this coupon at no risk today. 'Gentlemen, please rush me a copy of Norbell's five minute de-mystified transcendental meditation.' " (laughter) De-mystified, taking the mystery out. "Confidential report. 'I enclose nine dollars and ninety-eight cents in full payment. I understand that I may examine this confidential report for thirty days at your risk or money back. Also send me my own private mantra, specially selected for me by Master Norbell and mine absolutely free, even if I return the report with every cent of my money back.' " It says herethese are the benefits of the mantraone of the benefits is, it says here, one of the benefits, "and as an extra benefit of such heightened personal magnetism, a simple shift in the focus of your daily meditations can give you great new sexual and romantic powers, new joys in love."
Devotee (1): They're all cheaters.
Tamala Krsna: Here's another group called Arika.(?) This Arika(?) costs three thousand dollars, this process. They charge three thousand dollars for a ninety-day course.
Adi-kesava: Part of their whole meditation is they have cocktail parties. They drink liquor and they have these therapy, and they charge him money to go to a cocktail party, they call it yoga.
Tamala Krsna: Anyway, it's got a good article about us. You want to keep it to show guests who come the article?
Prabhupada: (indistinct)
Hari-sauri: Anyone who reads that magazine will immediately become attracted to Krsna consciousness, there's no comparison.
Tamala Krsna: It's got the best article I've ever seen though, about us, in great detail. It really reports the details.
Prabhupada: Hmm. This is also good article. [break] Hm! Pusta Krsna, where is the key? Key? Distribute this prasadam.
Tamala Krsna: You can see how he's cooking very..., he's the most expert I've ever seen, and he knows these special preparations. He can cook many varieties of kacuri. (end)

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