Room Conversation

July 19, 1976, New York
Tamala Krsna: We haven't gotten all of the newspapers yet, but we did get some of them. This is the very popular Daily News. What is the circulation of the Daily News? Few millions, isn't it?
Bali-mardana: Millions.
Tamala Krsna: It's in the millions. It's the largest in New York. So they gave us the center section.
Bali-mardana: That's the big, the most popular section. This side.
Prabhupada: "Fifth Avenue, Where East Meets West." Very good idea. Very good idea. Very nice.
Bali-mardana: The other pictures, I think some are from the Olympics.
Tamala Krsna: Very prominent. The center section is, next to the front page, the center section is very..., the most popular page in the paper, because it has interesting pictures.
Prabhupada: You can send one, this cutting, to Mr. Bhajaj, "Fifth Avenue, Where East Meets West." Very good.
Hari-sauri: Send one to Mayapura as well?
Prabhupada: Huh? You can send to many place, but this title is very nice. This is the point, this is the point. East, as I say always, the lame man meets the blind man. Together they do wonderful. And different they cannot do anything. He is blind, he is lame. But they join together, Indian culture and American money, they will save the whole world. Here is the... Money required. (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: You want to hear what they wrote? Should I read to you what they said?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
Tamala Krsna: Very nicely written. "With everybody pulling together and everybody puffing together, a huge float is tugged down Fifth Avenue yesterday during the first Ratha-yatra Parade of International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The parade moved south from Central Park to Washington Square Park, where a free feast, music, art, dance and theater festival was held. According to a spokesperson, Ratha-yatra is a time when people come to dance, sing and feast amidst a sublime atmosphere of bright flags, festoons, banners, garlands, flowers and incense, simply to feel the poetry and blissful nature of life.' "
Prabhupada: Very good, this is blissful nature.
Tamala Krsna: Yes, you can see the devotees pulling the float.
Bali-mardana: Read the caption in the middle.
Prabhupada: And they have created a civilization, wine, woman, gambling and meat.
Tamala Krsna: Here's what it said. "The multicolored floats contrast with Fifth Avenue's concrete canyon as parade passes Thirty-fourth Street yesterday." Here it says, "An idyllic mood in saffron robes."
Prabhupada: Everything is approved.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes, highly approved. Then there's another, New York Times.
Prabhupada: Oh, that is not very(?) important.
Tamala Krsna: Beautiful photograph.
Bali-mardana: "East Meets West in Hare Krsna..."
Tamala Krsna: "Feat."
Bali-mardana: "...Feat."
Hari-sauri: Fete.
Pusta Krsna: Fete.
Prabhupada: You must purchase some copies. We shall send to India.
Tamala Krsna: Look at that picture, it's very clear. Should I read you this article?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: This one is not, it's not bad, but it's not so accurate. "In size it was dwarfed by 'Operation Sale.' In popular concern it was outweighed by the Democratic National Convention. But for hundreds of Hare Krsna followers, including many Indian immigrants to New York, yesterday's Ratha-yatra festival was by far the most important event in an eventful month. Pulling three brightly-colored chariots down Fifth Avenue from Central Park to Washington Square, the religious group's adherents were celebrating one of the oldest holy days of the Indian calendar, the feast of Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe, according to Krsna doctrine. Most of the participants in the parade were young Westerners, followers from as far away as Caracas and Montreal. But the crowd included hundreds of Indians who brought the basic Krsna faith with them from Bombay and Calcutta."
Prabhupada: That's nice.
Tamala Krsna: Yes, that nice. "Like many other immigrant groups who preserved their forms of worship once they came to America, the Indians who watched or participated in the parade were pleased to see that they could keep the faith even in New York City." (laughter)
Prabhupada: These rascals, let them come, they become bada saheb.
Bali-mardana: Become what?
Prabhupada: Bada saheb.
Hari-sauri: Bada saheb, big Westerner.
Tamala Krsna: "While Hare Krsna propounds doctrines of world renunciation common to other varieties of the Hindu faith, the sect, officially known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was founded in 1966 by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whose fame as a guru came only after he arrived in the United States in the same year. For most of the Indians watching the parade, however, Hare Krsna was close enough to their brand of Hinduism to make them feel at home."
Gurudasa: That's good. It means that we're not a light cult. It means we have a great tradition.
Tamala Krsna: Yes, it's actually good.
Gurudasa: They're recognizing that.
Tamala Krsna: " 'It's surprising that you find this right in New York City. It's our way of life,' said Nagan Patel, a civil engineer from Jersey City, who immigrated from Bombay. 'We love New York City and America. It's the most beautiful place in the world. No other country will give such freedom for our own ceremony.' "
Prabhupada: That's a fact, that I say always.
Tamala Krsna: "But the Krsna people were not entirely free of harassment. Along the parade route three men, including one who said he was an Evangelical Christian minister, jeered at the parade and called on parade watchers to become Christians. 'Idol worship. This is absolutely ridiculous. Read the Bible,' cried one man who would identify himself only as a normal Christian. There was a brief scuffle when an Indian immigrant tried to tear a large placard out of the hands of another heckler. The placard read 'Turn or Burn.' The police broke things up but made no arrests. 'They are insulting us,' said the Krsna follower who declined to identify himself. 'I'm a devotee of Krsna and Christ. These people who are doing this in the name of Christ are criminals.' " Very strong statement. "Except for the hecklers, however, the parade was generally very well received by passersby, who enjoyed the three multi-hued floats, the sun, and the chanting and dancing of the young Krsna marchers. 'I think it's great,' said Tyrone Adams of Philadelphia, who was paying a visit to his home town of Inglewood, New Jersey. 'I'm not religious, but they're all happy and dancing, and that is what life is all about.' " Even a nonreligious person said that. "In Washington Square a crowd of about three thousand, many of whom were there as part of the normal Sunday afternoon activities, heard Swami Prabhupada deliver a lecture. Later the crowd was served a free vegetarian feast. Along the side, Krsna followers sold Indian sweets, Krsna scriptures, and what one speaker described as 'transcendental paraphernalia.' "
Prabhupada: Very good.
Tamala Krsna: Yes, it's a good article. For the Times especially it's good, because they are very conservative.
Prabhupada: The Times first published about my activities from Tompkinson Square. They first published.
Tamala Krsna: Now over the television last night there was gigantic coverage. CBS, which is the most important station, gave two and a half minutes' coverage.
Tamala Krsna: They have very big program, and the reporters-Dhrstadyumna was watchinghe said that the reporters through the whole news, they were very grim, and then they, because they read what they say, and suddenly their faces lit up, and they said "And Hare Krsna had a parade today!" And they described the whole parade. And they loved it, they said it was very well received. CBS reported, ABC reported, NBC reported, Channel Five gave big coverage, all the television networks gave a big coverage. It was very well publicized, with a lot of coverage and photos. They were showing movies of the parade, of you lecturing, of the crowds that were gathered taking prasadam.
Prabhupada: Somebody should send this clipping, not our men, to...
Tamala Krsna: To your Godbrothers.
Prabhupada: To Indira Gandhi.
Tamala Krsna: Some Indian people.
Prabhupada: She is little anxious to cooperate with Americans, because the most criticism for his (her) present act... Everyone will criticize, the Americans have criticized like anything, and they are thinking that the American people are... Actually, her nation is under danger. (end)

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