Room Conversation about Harijanas

April 10, 1977, Bombay
Prabhupada: Which photograph is it?
Bhakti-caru: That Amritsar. The "One Hundred Million Harijanas Pick a New Messiah."
Prabhupada: Read that whole thing.
Bhakti-caru: "As the nation observes this week the death anniversary of Dr. Amritsar, it behooves our news research to face a challenge 'for the plight of this downtrodden community.' " [break] "The story of the vast quantity of harijana in this ancient and illustrious land is a miserable story of shame and sorrow. Harassment and humiliation, operation and separation, poverty and pity. The harijana problems is not merely a social or religious or economic or political one. It is a complex problem involving many factors. It is, however, the most baffling national problem, posing a great challenge to the leaders, rulers and people of India."
Prabhupada: On the wholeyou read this articlewhy not say that "We can lead you to the highest perfection of cultural, social, religion." It will be...
Tamala Krsna: You want us to write a letter to the editor?
Prabhupada: Not editor. The person who is the leader. Means the harijana movement. They are feeling frustration. Now we can give them the light.
Bhakti-caru: Actually it was written by one professor, K.H.A. Parthan.
Prabhupada: So write to him. On the basis of
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te 'pi yanti param gatim
[Bg. 9.32]
"According to Bhagavad-gita, we can lead you and make your life successful."
Tamala Krsna: One problem I see... Of course, I haven't read the article in any detail, but generally they very much opposeof course, unrightly sothey very much oppose the delineation of "sudra." They are sudras, these harijanas. But...
Prabhupada: But it doesn't matter. We shall elevate them to go back to home, back to Godhead. Whatever he may be. Striyo vaisyas tatha sudrah [Bg. 9.32]. Kim punar brahmanah punya bhakta rajarsayah [Bg. 9.33]. Simply by denying that "I am not sudra," that will not help. But they must be elevated to the standard of brahmana. That we will talk later on. But we have to convince that "This world movement is going on to make the human society to the highest perfection of life. If you join, we can help you." To the perfection of life. On the basis of Bhagavad-gita. There is no difficulty. That we can do. If you really want, there is a...
Bhakti-caru: They have got unions also, harijanas. How to approach the unions?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Bhakti-caru: They have their unions. How can we approach the union and talk to the leaders?
Prabhupada: Well, address him, that Dr. ... We are actually doing all over the world. Why not here?
Bhakti-caru: But the thing is Dr. Amritsar is dead now. He was the leader of the harijanas.
Prabhupada: Whoever may be, but they could not do anything. Neither they can do. They do not know how to elevate them. We know that. We can help. And we are actually doing it. The idea is they are feeling frustration for want of leader. We are prepared to guide them. To the highest perfection of life. (pause) The defect was Gandhi started this harijana movement, keeping them where they are, and at the same time, changing by rubber-stamp, "harijana." That must be failure.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. Unless you change the inner make-up of a man, he won't improve. They are thinking that by spending money, by giving a better home, by these things they'll improve. But we have practically seen in Madras on the beach, these harijanas were given some of the better houses, and they immediately did one of two things. Either they rented the house to someone else and kept living on the street, which is by their nature, or else they turned the house into the street.
Prabhupada: Hell.
Tamala Krsna: Like hell. So unless you actually reform a person, just by artificially giving him money or stamping approval, it won't change anything. You have to change him. And they have no plan for that.
Prabhupada: They do not know that.
Tamala Krsna: They spend three thousand, one hundred crores on the harijanas. Can you imagine if they had given you that money Srila Prabhupada, what you could have done with it.
Bhakti-caru: Over ninety percent of the money has gone to the damn politicians.
Prabhupada: Now harijana, he has..., Gandhi has degraded the name of harijana to such a position that if somebody comes and if he says, "I am harijana," immediately we shall hate him.
Tamala Krsna: We hate him.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because we know there is camar bhangi, he has changed the name, "harijana."
Tamala Krsna: That is another thing that we should point out in our letter. That what is the actual meaning of harijana? "One who serves Hari, or Krsna."
Prabhupada: One who has been elevated to the position of associate of Hari. That has to be done. Then it will be first class. That we can do. Nobody can do.
Tamala Krsna: What is the translation for the word jana?
Prabhupada: Jana means person. Hari means the Lord. A government man. Hari's man. Like Narada.
Tamala Krsna: Narada Muni is a harijana.
Prabhupada: Yes. All devotees.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. He is well known. [break] (reading:) "The only remedy lies in the ending of their subservience to the higher castes and securing for them economic independence. But according to the Bhagavatam, a sudra can never be given economic independence. If they want economic independence, they should elevate themselves to the higher castes."
Prabhupada: It will not become higher caste. They do not know. Economic independence, who is checking now? There is no such check all over the world. Just like in Bombay. Everyone can do business. So why they cannot do?
Tamala Krsna: Because they are not intelligent enough.
Prabhupada: That means they have no intelligence.
Tamala Krsna: That means they are sudra. And if someone is a sudra, how can you let him have his own money?
Prabhupada: Whatever it may be, everything requires intelligence. If you haven't got that standard of intelligence, how you can do it? Nowadays, suppose if you do some business, is there a hindrance that "You are low class, you cannot do this business." Neither the government nor the society. You can do it. Why you cannot do it? Just like in Bengal, the Marwaris are rich and Bengalis are... Their land, their country, and their naturals. And the Marwaris have big (indistinct). It is your incapability. Why don't you admit that?
Tamala Krsna: Look at this question, Srila Prabhupada. It says "Who are these harijanas? What is their origin? What sins did they commit?"
Prabhupada: Then you answer that.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, we can answer these questions. Yes, they did commit sins. Therefore they are in this position.
Prabhupada: Don't say... Harijana means the person associated with God.
Tamala Krsna: But these men are... I mean their position... Everyone is getting what he deserves. So if they are in a downtrodden...
Prabhupada: Yes. That is prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani [Bg. 3.27]. Sad-asad-janma-yonisu. Karanam guna-sango 'sya [Bg. 13.22]. This is the science.
Tamala Krsna: Yes. If they are in a downtrodden condition, it's due to their past activities.
Prabhupada: Yes. Now you can rectify it.
Tamala Krsna: Right, it can be reversed.
Prabhupada: It is not that you shall remain... Then, mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah [Bg. 9.32]. If you accept Krsna consciousness, even you are born in low-grade caste or family, you can be elevated. That is to be done. What is done is done. Now we can elevate from this position. That is our capacity.
Tamala Krsna: (reading) "There are no authentic answers to these questions."
Prabhupada: There is. Karanam guna-sango 'sya. Read Bhagavad-gita. Karanam guna-sango 'sya. Here is authentic answer. Why he's giving that...? That means you are not in proper leadership. If you... Just explain that if you infect cholera disease, germ, you must suffer. That is nature's law. Similarly, karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu. Now you can change the karana, the cause. Mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah [Bg. 9.32]. And you can neutralize it. Mam ca avyabhicarena bhakti-yogena yah. Quote this. Everything is there in Bhagavad-gita.
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate
[Bg. 14.26]
Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati [Bg. 18.54]. Everything is there.
Tamala Krsna: This would be a good... [break]
Indian: (Hindi conversation with Srila Prabhupada)
Tamala Krsna: Did he cook these here today?
Indian: No, he didn't.
Tamala Krsna: If he cooks here, it will be hot. All of these things were cooked there and brought here, so they become a little cold.
Prabhupada: No, it was already prepared... You bring little salt. [break]
Prabhupada: They do not know why I am in downtrodden condition. The answer is there. Karanam guna-sango 'sya [Bg. 13.22].
Tamala Krsna: Says, "They desire freedom from the age-old shackles of superstition..."
Prabhupada: Where is the shackle? Age-old shackles. Where is the shackle?
Tamala Krsna: There is nothing keeping them down but their own inability.
Prabhupada: You are keeping yourself in shackle. If you want to be educated, there was... Dr. Ambedekhar, he belonged to the harijana. How he became a law member? Where is the shackle?
Bhakti-caru: Even (indistinct) is there.
Prabhupada: Where is the shackle?
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, how did he become?
Prabhupada: (Hindi conversation)
Tamala Krsna: (reading) "According to the constitutional directive, harijanas should account for twenty percent of the posts in the government service." But first of all they should be qualified. We can use the example that if your father is a high-court justice, does it make you a high-court justice?
Prabhupada: No.
Tamala Krsna: First you have to be qualified.
Prabhupada: This is no plea, that there is checking: because he is born in a low-grade family, there is no educational facilities. "You cannot do it," say that, "for want of culture."
Tamala Krsna: So then they quote Dr. Ambedekhar saying, "We will attain self-elevation only if we learn self-help, regain self-respect, and gain self-knowledge." But what is the self, they don't know.
Prabhupada: That we can teach.
Tamala Krsna: He said, "The surest way for our salvation lies in higher education."
Prabhupada: So who forbids? Is there any restriction that... [break]
Tamala Krsna: It says here, "Here are some measures to be implemented. The caste system should be abolished." They are always trying to abolish the caste system.
Prabhupada: The caste system... Where is the hindrance in the caste system? If you want to become a brahmana, you can become a brahmana. Why it should be abolished?
Tamala Krsna: Incorrect understanding of it should be abolished.
Prabhupada: "This is the definition of becoming a brahmana." Give this.
Prabhupada: So you have to learn it. How you can become a brahmana?
Tamala Krsna: Just like if a man has a disease, just by saying he doesn't have the disease, you can't change the fact that he is diseased. If someone is actually in a certain position, you can't... The way to change it is by actually changing him, not by simply saying, "Now you're okay."
Prabhupada: These are the symptoms of becoming a brahmana. You develop these symptoms. Who checks you? Practically we are doing all over the world. There is no such thing.
Tamala Krsna: All the measures...
Prabhupada: Caste system should not be abolished, but it must be properly established. That is wanted. If you have got any defect in the eye, not that the eye should be plucked out. But it should be treated and brought into the normal condition. That is wanted. That we admit. You want to become brahmana without brahminical qualification. Not only you, everyone wants.
Bhakti-caru: You told Professor Kotovsky that this caste system is existing everywhere, in every society in the world.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. In the body there is caste system. The head is the brahmana, the hand is the ksatriya, the belly is the vaisya and the leg is the sudra. Everything head, that will not help. There must be leg also. But it must be conducted under the guidance of the head. Then it is all right. If the head is not there and leg is utilized for jumping, that is monkey's business. The leg must work according to the dictation of the head. The hand must work according to the dictation of the head. "The caste system should be abolished." What is the caste system? There is no caste system. Everyone is sudra. Who is a brahmana now, qualified, except one or two in our camp?
Tamala Krsna: The article ends by saying, "Let harijanas be their own pathfinders and let them lead themselves from darkness to light, from pain to pleasure."
Prabhupada: That you do not know. Otherwise you would have done it.
Tamala Krsna: "And from a living hell to tranquillity and joy of life."
Prabhupada: You do not know how to do it. Otherwise you had done it. You do not know the way. We can teach you. So cooperate with us; we shall fulfill your ambition. That's all right.
Tamala Krsna: I'll have to work on this. It will take a little time to write nicely.
Prabhupada: Hm. No, no.
Tamala Krsna: There is no rush, I think, because...
Prabhupada: We are willing to help them. And we are the only right persons who can help them.
Tamala Krsna: That's for sure.
Prabhupada: Nobody knows. If he is serious, let him come and talk with us.
Tamala Krsna: Then we can end the letter to him like that. [break]
Prabhupada: ...capture the ideas?
Tamala Krsna: Oh, Yeah, very much.
Prabhupada: Now explain it nicely.
Tamala Krsna: All right.
Prabhupada: We can actually help them. Not by imagination, but practical application. And are doing all over the world. [break] In '68 I was alone. And I had to struggle very, very hard, alone. Therefore I got heart attack in 1967. Then that heart attack and regress continued for two years. Whatever is done, it is done from 1969. Before that, I was simply alone struggling to start this mission. (pause) Before that, I came to Bombay.
Indian: In '69?
Prabhupada: No, no.
Indian: '70?
Prabhupada: '64. I stayed at Morarji's Andheri...
Indian: Andheri House.
Prabhupada: ...Colony for his employees.
Indian: Scindia Steamship.
Prabhupada: Yes, colony. I stayed there. Sometimes I stayed with one gentleman in Churchgate. He is a banker, Sindhi gentleman. In '65, Sumati Morarji gave me that ticket.
Indian: You went away then, I think.
Prabhupada: Hm. (pause) This is our old system. When one cannot eat, even in invitation, the whole thing, he can take away the balance for his family. Canda-walla(?). Especially the brahmanas. They will sit down and take everything, and...
Indian: Give to their family.
Prabhupada: People will give more, because he will take to the family.
Indian: Thank you very much.
Prabhupada: Jaya. Thank you. Hare Krsna. Jaya. [break]
Tamala Krsna: Yes, it's very impressive. He has a very charming personality.
Prabhupada: And he can talk very nicely.
Tamala Krsna: On any subject.
Prabhupada: And always smiling. Even if you irritate him, he will smile.
Tamala Krsna: That's a fact.
Prabhupada: Sometimes I have said so many strong words. That is my habit. But he is still very humble and meek. I never expected that he would all, reply me.
Tamala Krsna: Sometimes in Delhi I would go with him to some minister or something, and he would tell some story. I thought, "Why is he doing this story? He has no sense."
Prabhupada: He is known to the ambassador, American ambassador.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. He took me there once. He knew him pretty well. But every time he would tell these stories.
Prabhupada: Keath, Mr. Keath?
Tamala Krsna: Keating, Kenneth Keating.
Prabhupada: So he was very friendly with him. And he used to talk in his personal room. He made friends with him, his girl-friend. And she offered herself. "Please come in, in our park."
Tamala Krsna: Oh, Mr. Keating's girlfriend, the ambassador's girlfriend.
Prabhupada: Though (indistinct) old, but still, he's to be sent to help us.
Tamala Krsna: Yes. Yeah, you can only send Guru dasa on these kind of special missions. He likes it very much also.
Prabhupada: No, whole Vrndavana likes him. Nobody speaks against him.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, he always discusses a lot of krsna-katha. He likes to talk about Krsna. He is going to Poland.
Prabhupada: Yeah. He speaks in the university very nicely.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah.
Prabhupada: His wife is also nice, but when they are combined together, they become little spoiled. He becomes little lusty. That is his wife's complaint. I got them married in San Francisco. (pause) So you can give another letter to the manager, Bank, "You take eighty thousand from current account and twenty thousand is coming from Calcutta. Both together, you make one M.M.D., M.M.D.A."
Tamala Krsna: For seven years.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Actually, I've already typed that letter for eighty thousand, so I can add an N.B., that an additional twenty thousand is coming from Calcutta, and as soon as it comes...
Prabhupada: Yes, you advise to Bombay, advise him.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. Should I enclose a copy of the letter to Calcutta also?
Prabhupada: Hm. Not that... Letter written to Calcutta, that copy should be enclosed to the...
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, that's what I meant. Actually, that's good because he'll be eager to follow through to see that the money comes, because he is going to get the benefit of fixing it in his bank. (pause)
Prabhupada: If possible we can start a center in Srinagar. If there is opportunity. Many foreigners come?
Tamala Krsna: Many foreigners come.
Prabhupada: If we start a center there, it will be very nice. That will be also one of the items of tourist program.
Tamala Krsna: We can get Dr. Karan Singh's help very easily in Srinagar.
Prabhupada: And Raja Sheik Abdullah has taken our Bhagavad-gita, so we can invite him to talk.
Prabhupada: Sheik Abdullah, the prime minister there, Kashmir.
Tamala Krsna: Is he a chief minister or prime minister?
Prabhupada: Chief minister.
Tamala Krsna: Kashmir is part of India, a province. (pause) Then if you get your health back in May, that will be very nice. Regarding that tirtha yatra, this going in the monsoon, it doesn't seem like a good time. June and July, those are not good months for touring India.
Prabhupada: No, if we get good response, we can spend little more.
Tamala Krsna: Maybe we should go with some kirtana party. If we see there is a response, then we should...
Prabhupada: If we, you get one kirtana party if you like.
Tamala Krsna: It seems like it.
Prabhupada: Not immediately.
Tamala Krsna: First we'll see.
Prabhupada: But you can take if you like as many books as possible. As many books, our books.
Tamala Krsna: Our books for showing, carrying with us. One full set. I think the best way for that would be that maybe we'll have Ksira Gopinatha Prabhu go by train with full whole set of books, because taking on the plane is very difficult. It will be overweight. But he can go by train. It is not very long. It is about one days, one and a half days complete journey. And then he can take easily a lot of baggage.
Prabhupada: He will take from Delhi?
Tamala Krsna: The train? No, actually he can take from Bombay.
Prabhupada: From Bombay to Kashmir direct.
Tamala Krsna: Either direct or through Delhi. The Punjab Mail. I think there is a Punjab Mail.
Prabhupada: Punjab Mail goes up to border of Kashmir.
Tamala Krsna: So something like that. I mean we could fix that up.
Prabhupada: No, as many books you can carry without any difficulty, you can take.
Tamala Krsna: On the plane. Okay. Maybe Guru dasa should wait there for awhile. If Guru dasa and I go together as a preaching team, we can conquer anywhere.
Prabhupada: Very good.
Tamala Krsna: I mean we will bring everyone that you want to see.
Prabhupada: If you send a report, tell him that "You stay; we are coming."
Tamala Krsna: We should send a telegram. But his letter is coming. So I think we should wait for his letter and then reply it. Yeah, because in the afternoons there is no problem for me to go out for a few hours preaching with him, you know, if need be.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Meeting him and then...
Prabhupada: If many important people come. If possible they must come.
Tamala Krsna: Do they speak Kashmiri language, the people, or is it Hindi?
Prabhupada: Hindi they speak. And English everywhere. (pause)
Tamala Krsna: When we first came to India, everywhere you were going, you would leave some men behind to open a temple. You went to Amritsar with our party, and on the way, that one man met you at the train, and you told Guru dasa, "Take three men, get off the train and open a center." Wherever you were going, some men you would leave behind. You left Syamasundara and myself here, and then you went to Amritsar. So Syamasundara, he felt very much left behind.
Prabhupada: He's a good boy. Several times I sent him message, that "Whatever is done, you come back and live here." He wants to give back something.
Tamala Krsna: He wants to give back some money?
Prabhupada: Yes, because he has spoiled so much money.
Tamala Krsna: I don't even know if that's his motive anymore.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: I wonder if that's his motive anymore. It's been so long now. The thing is, he was never very able to follow the principles, you know, very strictly. That seems to always be a tell-tale thing. If one cannot follow the principles, then it's only a question of time until he'll...
Prabhupada: Fall down.
Tamala Krsna: ...fall down. That's one of the reasons that I wanted to have Bali-mardana spend a couple of hours in the evening, so that by turn each of your servants could go to the mangala-arati. 'Cause now none of them are going because we are all staying up at night, so by having an extra man, we can take turns going to the arati. Ksira-cora-gopinatha, I arranged for him to go to arati every morning because he is a brand new man. So for him it is difficult.
Prabhupada: No, he should go.
Tamala Krsna: The thing..., there is always some smell of onion or garlic here. This place, very often there is smell from cooking of garlic or onions. It is coming from those houses.
Prabhupada: Tenant.
Prabhupada: They eat.
Tamala Krsna: They eat meat.
Prabhupada: It is not meat. They are eating garlic. Those Christian tenant, they are eating. And onion everyone eats.
Tamala Krsna: Except for us. Americans are very fond of onions. Yeah. They can eat a whole onion sometimes in one meal. They eat raw. Especially in the salad they will put onions.
Prabhupada: For a meat-eater, onion is very sweet.
Tamala Krsna: For fish eater.
Prabhupada: And fish eater.
Tamala Krsna: Fish, meats.
Prabhupada: Actually, meat has no taste. The onion creates taste.
Tamala Krsna: Dead flesh.
Prabhupada: Onion is used. Onions. In India both Hindus and Muslims eat. More than potato, it is said.
Tamala Krsna: Hm. Potato is king of vegetables.
Prabhupada: We have seen many canvassers. (calling like street vendor:) "Bataka."(?)
Prabhupada: Kada bataka.(?) Everyone has to eat. The Maharastrians, they eat, even the brahmanas. In 1927, I came to Bombay and stayed in the Empire Hindu Hotel. I think it is still there. Very nice hotel. So it is under Maharastrians. Very neat and clean everything. Gave me onions. "What is this? Onions?" I was surprised. "I don't eat."
Tamala Krsna: He must have been surprised that you wouldn't eat it.
Prabhupada: Well, they know... Mostly Hindus they do not eat. But they are accustomed now. Just like Bengal, fish eating is no offense.
Tamala Krsna: Even the brahmanas.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Brahmana, gosais, so-called gurus.
Tamala Krsna: When has this all begun, this fish-eating in Bengal? This was always going on?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Fish, ninety-nine percent people take fish in Bengal. Only few, they do not. When there is some, what is called, ceremony, fish must be there. [break] And fish is available. Now Bengal is divided. Otherwise, immense fish in Bengal.
Tamala Krsna: From the east side of Bengal. And rice was coming from there too.
Prabhupada: So their staple food is rice and fish.
Tamala Krsna: East Bengal is very wealthy from that point of view. Rice.
Prabhupada: Pakistan was rich only on account of East Bengal. The pan. Practically it supplies pan to all over India. And betel nut.
Tamala Krsna: That's a place that we have not...
Prabhupada: And milk also produced in very large quantity. East Bengal is rich in vegetables, milk, fish. (end)

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