Room Conversation

June 15, 1976, Detroit
Pusta Krsna: (reading) "...who has made it his life's work to debunk the so-called material powers of god-men the world over, and said that he is afraid for his life. Amongst those he has challenged is Satya Sai Baba, a mystic who has thousands of followers in South Africa. The man who is said to expose fraudulent practices amongst miracle workers is Dr. Abraham T. Kavoor, who recently held a spell-binding magic show at the Bangalore Town Hall to debunk the miracles of god-men. He claimed that several of the tricks demonstrated had, in fact, been learned from persons who had duped the public that they could perform miracles and other extraordinary acts. And this, he believed, would lead to an attempt on his life. 'I am not afraid of gods. They don't exist. But I am afraid of god-men, because they are alive. They have thugs as agents. If a good man like Gandhi could be assassinated, what keeps a Kavoor from suffering the same fate?' Addressing a press conference, Dr. Kavoor implied that an attempt might be made on his life if he tried to expose the fraudulent practice by god-men because this would involve a physical search of the persons involved. Hence his insistence that his investigation would have to be preceded by their permission. [The permission of these so-called mystics, registered letters.] To date, he said, he had written six registered letters to Satya Sai Baba issuing his famous challenge, but had no reply from him as yet. Asked how he produced ash and other objects out of nowhere, Dr. Kavoor indicated that one of the methods was by concealing the objects to be materialized inside of his coat. The rest was pure sleight of hand. Photographs of him [Sai Baba] exposing his coat have been published both in the national and international press, he said. Reporting that hatha-yogi L.S. Lal had confessed to him that his much-vaunted show of walking on water had been pure trick designed to make some money, Dr. Kavoor said, 'How long can the government of India tolerate such hoaxers who claim to have supernatural powers and exploit the ordinary men?' "
Prabhupada: You keep this. We shall have to show to the Indian government authorities.
Pusta Krsna: " 'Just as it has dealt with black marketers and smugglers, it is high time the government took immediate action to round up all those who claim supernatural powers.' While he was happy that Bangalore University has already established a committee to investigate miracles and superstitions, he cautioned them to be very careful, as even the scientists were not infallible."
Prabhupada: How many scientists?
Pusta Krsna: They are also fallible, they can also make mistakes. "Experts Misled: For instance, investigators in universities in the West were known to be misled by tricksters who claimed para-psychological powers." Like ESP.
Prabhupada: They invent some big, big words (laughter). Aparkalasvena-vargolas-double-wakundali-gondolais (gibberish). (laughter)
Pusta Krsna: "One of them was Uri Geller, an ordinary street magician who succeeded in hoodwinking two scientists of the Stanford Research Institute. He claimed that he was able to perform miracles with psychic powers obtained from a computerized brain thirteen million light years away in space." Very far away in space there's a computerized brain that he's using.
Hari-sauri: This guy, Uri Geller, he had a stage show. He would get one iron bar and stare at it, and the iron bar would bend, like this. And he could bend, he could put a spoon in the open palm of his hand, and it would bend. Things like this he was doing, and he became very famous overnight.
Prabhupada: By bending iron.
Pusta Krsna: He's been to South Africa also, this Uri Geller. He was bending keys, bending keys. He's from Israel. "Like Indian-god men who had talented propaganda agents, Geller too had one. Dr. Kavoor in fact claimed that G.K. Swami Nathan, one of the magicians who performed some startling acts at the show, had disguised himself as a swami, replete with saffron robes, and had spent a few months in the asrama of a highly popular god-man near Bangalore, from whom he had picked up his repertoire of tricks. Exposing fraud was his mission in life, said Dr. Kavoor, and he would continue to write letters to god-men and miracle makers in the hope that they would accept his challenge someday." In the same newspaper there's a nice article about Jagannatha. "Jagannatha Festival (indistinct)."
Prabhupada: You may read that.
Pusta Krsna: "One of India's biggest and most ancient religious festivals, Ratha-yatra, the festival of the chariots, which has been enacted in several Western cities in recent years, is to be staged in South Africa in July. The festival in honor of Lord Krsna is planned to be held in Durban next month by the local branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, widely known as the Hare Krsna movement. Based on the thousands-of-years-old annual parade of the three main deities of the Jagannatha temple on huge chariots through the streets of Puri, Orissa, the festival has been staged by devotees of Lord Krsna in major world cities such as London, Paris, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal and Melbourne, following the spreading of Krsna consciousness amongst thousands of Westerners in the decade since the founding of the movement in 1966 by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Almost a million devotees participate in the chariot festival held every summer at Puri, where they offer oblations to Lord Krsna; lend a hand, tugging the ropes, to pull the huge chariots; line the grand route; or simply attend to see the color and pageantry from high vantage points. Jagannatha-The three colossal chariots from which the term Jagannatha is derived carry the three Jagannatha Deities of Lord Balarama, the Lord who gives spiritual strength and pleasure; Lady Subhadra, one who is the auspicious one; and Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the universe,"with a capital L"on the three-kilometer journey symbolizing Lord Krsna's visit to the town of His childhood pastimes. This year ISKCON will sponsor Ratha-yatra festivals in ten cities worldwide. Durban, however, is not amongst them, as the Hare Krsna movement is fairly new and has not yet established itself on a firm basis and increased its following in Durban. Branch members are enthusiastic and are hoping to organize a procession of their own through the streets of Durban to coincide with the festivals which will be held in several major cities."
Prabhupada: They are arranging like that or not? Our branch there?
Pusta Krsna: They want to. I told them that better to wait until they have some more local support, because they would have to have Deity worship, and I don't think they're ready for Jagannatha deities there. There's only eleven devotees in Durban. So when they have some more local support, they can start holding.
Prabhupada: No, this Jagannatha festival will be participated by all the Indians. There is no doubt about it. So our few men, and with the cooperation of the local Indians, it can be successful.
Pusta Krsna: No doubt, but what about the daily worship? Should we have Jagannatha deities if it's not possible for worshiping them? Should we have them just for the festival?
Prabhupada: What is the difficulty of worshiping? You are already worshiping Gaura-Nitai. Then what is the difficulty? The same.
Pusta Krsna: Well, I'm just afraid that visa problems with the brahmanas.
Prabhupada: No, no, if you are worshiping Nitai-Gaura, along with Jagannatha, where is the difficulty?
Pusta Krsna: We only have two brahmanas in South Africa.
Prabhupada: No, one brahmana, half brahmana will do. Only one hand will do.
Pusta Krsna: Okay. "According to Rddha dasa brahmacari, head of the local mission, the festival of the chariots glorifies Lord Jagannatha. The Lord of the universe and the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra by people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds in cities in the world over has turned into a truly international event. Durban, with its large Hindu population, is aware of the divine status of Lord Krsna, and we pray that by organizing our own chariot festival, we will be able to extend our message to a wider audience."
Prabhupada: Do it immediately; they are eager. Begin this year. Yes, they'll get life, the Hindus. Immediately advise them. Just like I began in San Francisco on the truck. You know that? So you can begin in that way.
Pusta Krsna: That was the first ratha cart?
Prabhupada: Yes. I suggested Syamasundara that on a truck you make a ratha-like dome, and put this. It was successful.
Pusta Krsna: It was in New York?
Prabhupada: It was San Francisco. The first beginning was in San Francisco.
Hari-sauri: There was pictures of you riding on that ratha cart, that was a truck?
Prabhupada: No, rather, that was second or third. In the beginning, it was in a truck. So if the people are eager, you immediately organize.
Pusta Krsna: Okay.
Hari-sauri: Srila Prabhupada? Did you want to go out into the garden tonight or not?
Prabhupada: I have no objection.
Hari-sauri: 'Cause there's no sunshine now.
Prabhupada: This paper is conducted by the Indians?
Pusta Krsna: Yes. This is produced once a week. All of the Indians in Durban read it. Durban has half a million Indians.
Prabhupada: But two things are very important: condemning this Sai Baba and welcoming our Ratha-yatra.
Pusta Krsna: We have two copies.
Prabhupada: Our names are also there. Indirectly.
Pusta Krsna: Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is mentioned, Hare Krsna movement.
Prabhupada: Factually, these rascals are creating magic jugglery. Even during the time of Krsna such rascals were there. Paundraka. So Krsna was present, He immediately cut off his head. (laughs) They should be immediately cut off their head, rascals. Yes. That is the only punishment for them. What another news you told me?
Pusta Krsna: Yes, also they started, they've called the department the Department of Hindu Studies.... There's an all-Indian University in Durban, and when Srila Prabhupada visited South Africa, the president of the university was a European gentleman, he very much appreciated our philosophy and the need for a Department of Hindu Studies. So Srila Prabhupada recommended Svarupa Damodara, and we submitted his application. And they've limited the choices for the Ph.D. in charge of the Department of Hindu Studies to three, and one of them is Svarupa Damodara. So there's a possibility...
Prabhupada: Svarupa Damodara must be the best candidate. Others, what they'll know about it? All other Ph.D.s, they are simply rubber stamped. Actually they have no knowledge. Svarupa Damodara has solid knowledge. He has learned from us. Therefore he's writing all these books. He has rejected his so-called scientific knowledge. He has completely understood that so-called scientific knowledge is bogus, it has no solid background. Now he's writing books on this. Now this morning, last night also, I got hint from Bhagavatam, I told you in the morning? The sun planet is first. And nobody can reply this, that "Why Sunday first?" Nobody has replied this point. Sunday, Monday.... First of all Sunday, then Monday. Why not Monday, Sunday? That is according to the planetary arrangement. The Saturn is the last planet. That is admitted in the Bhagavatam. So sun is first, then moon, then Mars, then Jupiter, like that, last, Saturn. That is everywhere. So why the modern scientists changing it? The Monday first or moon first, sun second. Hmm? What is your reply. You sometimes support them.
Satsvarupa: Just for argument because (laughter) I'm always getting arguments, so I want to know how to give the right answer.
Prabhupada: That's all right. What is your argument in this connection?
Satsvarupa: Well, just because Sunday comes before Monday, that's an interpretation to say therefore the sun is nearer than the moon. Sunday may be the first day of the week and then Monday, but that doesn't mean the sun is closer than the moon, just because Sunday is the first day of the week.
Prabhupada: No, why this arrangement? There must be some arrangement in planetary system. Just like first, second, third, fourth, fifth, like that. Therefore, Sunday's first. Not whimsically. Suppose there is a system, first, second, third, fourth. So according to that, the dates are there. Not whimsically you first of all bring Saturn or first of all bring Jupiter. Not like that. You cannot do that. Why shall you do that? Therefore we are sitting, now, she's first, he's second, you are, like that. Not that although she is sitting there, he can be blocked here. No, everybody.... It is of course a very simple question, but it has got some intelligence. We must get some intelligent answer. Ordinary answer will not do. And so far, you know I have questioned so many persons, and they have not replied. Svarupa Damodara has not replied.
Pusta Krsna: He backed down from the challenge.
Prabhupada: Now you all together make this Vedic planetarium very nice, so that people will come and see. From the description of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, you prepare this Vedic planetarium. How do you like this idea, Vedic planetarium?
Ambarisa: It seems like a very nice idea.
Prabhupada: You also like? So finance this project. (laughter) Vedic planetarium.
Ambarisa: Where will this be?
Prabhupada: Mayapura. My idea is to attract people of the whole world to Mayapura. So we are just trying to acquire three hundred fifty acres of land from the government. It is going on under consideration. Some men are against and some are in favor. But those who are against, they have counted ninety?
Hari-sauri: Ninety against, two thousand for.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Pusta Krsna: In Mayapura itself.
Hari-sauri: The local farmers.
Prabhupada: So all of you now make a complete idea how to make Vedic planetary, planetarium. Another question. Why in every map the northern side is accepted up? (laughter) Can anyone answer this? North, south. South is considered down. East, west. Why not other ways? I can make east on that side. Why it is north only up side? Can anyone answer?
Ambarisa: It might have something to do with the magnetic poles. The magnetic force is always pulling to the north.
Prabhupada: That is the polestar. Yes. That is the up side of the universe. And that we have described in the Bhagavatam. That is the pivot, and the whole planetary system is moving twenty-four hours.
Pusta Krsna: That's factual also. Because they see that all of these stars and constellations are going around the North Star.
Prabhupada: But the modern astronomy, they do not say like that.
Jayadvaita: No. They don't say it is moving around. They don't say that it's moving around the polestar. They have some other explanation.
Prabhupada: That means they're imperfect.
Madhavananda: They say that it's fixed. They say the polestar is fixed, but it doesn't revolve around. They say everything moves, but the polestar is...
Prabhupada: Polestar is fixed, that is fact. And all.... It is like pivot. Everyone round, round. Urdhva-mulam adhah-sakham [Bg. 15.1]. This tree is spread downwards. The root is upward.
Pusta Krsna: The scientists also say all of the stars are moving around. But they don't see the earth as moving around.
Prabhupada: Why not? What is this nonsense? If all the stars can move, what is the earth? That is their nonsense. Only earth is populated, everywhere is vacant. (laughter) In the Bhagavata it is said every planet is full of living entities. Jana-purna. Perhaps I have explained, in my recent.... jana-kirna. Jana-kirna means full of living entities.
Pusta Krsna: Last chapter of the Seventh Canto.
Prabhupada: Yes. And these rascals say there is no life in other.... Moon planet is accepted as the heavenly planet, and these rascals say "It is sand. And we have brought the sand." It is one of the heavenly planets.
Jayadvaita: Some scientists have started a project. They are beaming radio messages into space because they think perhaps there is someone intelligent there, and they will beam back something.
Prabhupada: Their knowledge is "perhaps." It is nonsense. They have no definite knowledge. "Perhaps." Perhaps is not knowledge.
Pusta Krsna: We had one CIA agent. Previously, he was a CIA agent. I was told this story, I don't know. Anyway, might as well relate it. So they were doing an experiment in the Bahama Islands off Florida. They were all very high intellects. They were developing a certain radio beam to measure the beams which are given off from other planets, thinking that maybe these intelligent beings, they are sending some message out. So they developed this way of sensoring the beams which were coming from the North Star. Anyway, he saidand he was serious, I was told this; he's in India now, one of our devotees therehe said that when they focused on the North Star and they got the beam back, when they translated it, it came out to be the maha-mantra.
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna.
Pusta Krsna: Yes. And so they went to the Department of Intelligence, (laughter) and they went to the United States Army, because this was an army project, and when the Army got hold of it they said, "Oh, you people are all nonsense. Disband this project."
Prabhupada: That is.... Narottama dasa Thakura has sung: golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana. Hari-nama-sankirtana is not the mundane sound. It is coming from there. Golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana. It is not material. Had it been material, then how it is so effective? That's a fact. The sound is, beam is coming from there. So this professor liked our conversation?
Lekhasravanti: Very much.
Prabhupada: Dhiras tatra na. Any man who is dhira, he'll accept this philosophy. Adhira and dhira. Of course we are distributing this knowledge to both the adhira and dhira. Krsnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau premamrtambho-nidhi dhiradhira-jana-priyau. Both the dhira and adhira. Everyone will like it. Dhiradhira-jana-priyau priya-karau. Not that only those who are dhira will like it, but adhira, they'll also like it. Dhiradhira-jana-priyau priya-karau nirmatsarau pujitau/ sri-caitanya-krpa-bharau bhuvi bhuvo bharavahantarakau vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau.
Hari-sauri: There's someone else coming at seven o'clock, Madhavananda was saying. You know who it is?
Lekhasravanti: Seven-thirty. His name is Monsignor Clement Kern. I don't know what "Monsignor" means. He's the head of a parish.
Hari-sauri: Oh, that's a church title, Monsignor.
Lekhasravanti: He's very old, he's elderly, but he's very well known in the entire area. He has a large following of people.
Hari-sauri: What church is he with?
Lekhasravanti: It's the Holy Trinity Church.
Pusta Krsna: Catholic?
Lekhasravanti: Maybe it is. I'm not so educated in all these things.
Hari-sauri: I think it's Catholic.
Prabhupada: So we shall have to go there? No.
Hari-sauri: It's very windy tonight, there is no sun.
Prabhupada: What is this?
Hari-sauri: You can look. Whatever you decide.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hari-sauri: You want to go out?
Prabhupada: Hm.
Hari-sauri: All right. So in a few minutes just to set up...
Pusta Krsna: [break] Yes, I'll inform them: "If cart is not possible to be made or (indistinct), then they can do it on the back of a flat truck with a canopy with a nice cloth."
Prabhupada: Kirtana party and truck, all Indians will come.
Pusta Krsna: One thing though is, July is, like in Melbourne, it's wintertime there. So is it okay if they have the festival in summer months?
Prabhupada: Not necessarily.
Pusta Krsna: As they do in Melbourne, in the summertime?
Hari-sauri: They have it in January down there, because they get a better attendance and everything. It's a lot nicer.
Prabhupada: It is now winter there?
Pusta Krsna: Yes, wintertime now. Middle of the winter now. Very cold.
Prabhupada: So better summer is all right. Then they can make ratha regular.
Pusta Krsna: Yes. (end)

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