Conversation about
Old Days in Calcutta

July 1, 1977, Vrndavana
Prabhupada: Then we began to... I used to call his wife didi, as my sister, eldest sister. That man was old. At that time he was at least seventy years old. And his wife died, so he had no children, so he married again. Old husband, young wife, but the relationship was so nice, great devotee and the wife devoted.
Tamala Krsna: Even though the husband was very old and the wife young.
Prabhupada: Formerly even eighty years old, they used to marry.
Tamala Krsna: Even?
Prabhupada: Eighty years old.
Tamala Krsna: Eight-years-old girl.
Prabhupada: Eighty.
Tamala Krsna: Eighty.
Prabhupada: There were many cases.
Tamala Krsna: What... I mean, what is the reason behind that? Isn't that very old to get married?
Prabhupada: If he had no family member, he would marry again. (pause) But it was subject of criticism.
Tamala Krsna: Must have been.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. But the custom was that.
Tamala Krsna: Seems like someone should simply cultivate spiritual life at that age instead of...
Prabhupada: In Bhagavata there are many instances, very old man married. Anyway, this gentleman was such a nice devotee. Oh.
Tamala Krsna: What was particularly nice about his devotional quality?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: Which devotional qualities particularly did he...?
Prabhupada: Because later on he retiredhe was a pleaderso whole day and night, simply devotee. Sometimes he would offer obeisances to the Deity. Actually he was old man. He'll fall asleep by... And he would remain in that two, three hours.
Tamala Krsna: Two or three hours? Wow. Wow. Completely devoted.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. And daily he would go to the Ganges.
Tamala Krsna: What was his name, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: His name was Nanda Dulal Phaini(?). So yesterday I was thinking of him, and I said it in my... I am being purified by thinking of him. All of a sudden.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah.
Prabhupada: Similarly, the whole atmosphere... Because we were children, we were going here and there, the neighboring hoods (neighborhoods), all houses... Everyone devotee.
Tamala Krsna: Must have been a wonderful atmosphere.
Prabhupada: Wonderful. We do not find such atmosphere now. Even maidservant, servant. Their character was not very goodstill devotee(?). And this was the opportunity.
Tamala Krsna: Each of us is society.
Prabhupada: Radha-Govinda Mandir. And the center was that Mulliks Radha-Krsna. This Mulliks, some of them were capitalist. Capitalist means rich men, they kept prostitute. But are still devotee. In the morning they would, after taking bath and everything, changing clothes, they must go to see Radha-Govinda.
Tamala Krsna: And they liked to see Radha-Govinda.
Prabhupada: They were devotee. Without seeing Radha-Govinda, they would not take their...
Tamala Krsna: Was the Deity very nicely worshiped?
Prabhupada: Oh, at that time.
Tamala Krsna: Like in our temples. Really?
Prabhupada: Dress, jewelry, and foodstuff, oh... Would offer kacuris, very big, first-class, and luci, all very crispy.
Tamala Krsna: Ah, crispy.
Prabhupada: Yes. And ghee and rabri and similarly other... In the plate, you see?
Prabhupada: And it was the custom of the Mulliks, daily prasadam, they should not eat all of them. Keep something as a balancesome neighborhood men, they will sell. This was...
Tamala Krsna: Distribution of prasadam.
Prabhupada: Distribution.
Tamala Krsna: Practically you learned all these things in those early days...
Prabhupada: Hm. Hm.
Tamala Krsna: ...at Radha-Govinda Temple.
Prabhupada: Yes, that was the training in the childhood. This Ratha-yatra, Radha-Govinda seva, prasada distribution. Only the new thing I am doing-writing of books by the order of Guru Maharaja. Otherwise, whatever I have introduced, I was trained up in childhood. I simply imitated. I am simply surprised. Now nowadays, even a low class... Formerly all our maidservant and neighborhood maidservant, they had two business, one prostitute and one maidservant. Otherwise they could not maintain. Simply by becoming maidservant, no sufficient income. We were paying them for not whole time three rupees.
Prabhupada: Per month. So one house, three rupees, another house, three rupees, another house... In this way their income was ten to twelve rupees. Well that was not sufficient.
Tamala Krsna: Not much.
Prabhupada: So they had to allow the prostitution. But they were happy. But in that income in those men, they had a guru. The guru would come.
Tamala Krsna: They had a guru.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Even the maidservants.
Prabhupada: In Bengal there was professional guru. They travel from one house to another. Our paternal guru was coming like that.
Tamala Krsna: You had a professional guru also?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: You had a paternal guru?
Prabhupada: Yes. I was initiated by that professional guru at the age of twelve years. Later on I rejected him.
Tamala Krsna: I wonder if he had any thought that his disciple, Your Divine Grace, would be one day such a devotee all over the world. You always said that's the perfection of a guru, if he has good disciple. So your professional guru had a best disciple.
Prabhupada: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami later on, when I was young man, manager in Dr. Bose's laboratory... That my friend, Narend Mullik, he took me. There is direction. For real guru one can give up this professional guru.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Prabhupada: So all of a sudden I remember this Nanda Dulal Gosai. I was thinking of him. What a great devotee he was. He was observing some of the festivals, I think, Janmastami or Nandotsava, something, inviting friends, offering good prasadam. And he was living in a quarter full of Muhammadans.
Tamala Krsna: Full of Marwaris.
Prabhupada: Muhammadans.
Tamala Krsna: Muhammadans.
Prabhupada: Low-class Muhammadans.
Tamala Krsna: He didn't mind that?
Prabhupada: No, at that time they were so friendly.
Tamala Krsna: Really? They were respectful.
Prabhupada: Muhammadans were also religious.
Tamala Krsna: Right.
Prabhupada: One Muhammadan gentleman, Dinuniya, he was formerly Hindu, but when there was some famine... [break] He also made so many charitable institutions. He had a majheev(?), one etimakhana. Etimakhana means orphan house.
Tamala Krsna: Means?
Prabhupada: Orphan house. He was cutting throat of the chicken on the street.
Tamala Krsna: That's not a very nice business.
Prabhupada: We were accustomed. His servant, they would do. But we have seen it.
Tamala Krsna: What were you thinking when you saw that?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: What did you think when you saw that?
Prabhupada: All of a sudden they were cutting. Nowadays this Hindus are cutting.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah.
Prabhupada: Chicken-eating has become very common thing. This Tarun Kanti and Tishar Kanti, they eat daily.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. All over his land he has chickens on it.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Tarun Babu.
Prabhupada: Without chicken, this prasada, Kanti Ghosh cannot eat. And one Cinmayananda Swami... They are maintaining that sadhu. So he was giving prasadam with Tarun Kanti, er, yeah...
Tamala Krsna: Tishar Kanti.
Prabhupada: Tishar Kanti. So he was taking. This Tarun Kanti said to..., "So you want to kill my father? He is not eating." He stopped giving him prasadam.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, 'cause there was no chicken in it.
Prabhupada: He could not eat little.
Tamala Krsna: There was no chicken in it.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: Without chicken in it he could not eat? Even...?
Prabhupada: I think he is drinking also.
Tamala Krsna: Must be. When they eat chicken then they have to drink to digest.
Prabhupada: Yes. Nowadays among the gentlemen, the chicken and cake(?).
Prabhupada: Wine cake(?). If you don't receive your friend with chicken and wine cake, then that reception is not good.
Tamala Krsna: That means they're very much degraded nowadays.
Prabhupada: The Sikhs, they invariably eat. The Marathis, low class, invariably eat.
Tamala Krsna: What about the South Indians?
Prabhupada: South Indians, low class, they eat.
Tamala Krsna: Christians.
Prabhupada: Chicken is very cheap food. You haven't got to maintain.
Tamala Krsna: No, they find anything to eat on the ground.
Prabhupada: Yes. And they produce egg.
Tamala Krsna: Eggs.
Prabhupada: Eggs. And the chicken-eater cut throat.
Tamala Krsna: And then he has to become a chicken.
Prabhupada: Fish. Fish as well. Fish also like that. You haven't got to maintain. They'll grow.
Tamala Krsna: But then, if you cut the chicken's throat, then one day you have to have your throat cut.
Prabhupada: That is not in the lawbook.
Tamala Krsna: It's not a very good...
Prabhupada: Karma-bandhana. Yajnarthe karmanah anyatra loko 'yam karma-bandhanah [Bg. 3.9]. And Western countries regularly cultivate chicken producing.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yeah, there's a...
Prabhupada: Big, big chicken within very short time.
Tamala Krsna: Big business. And unfortunately with beef also.
Prabhupada: That is their staple food, chicken and beef and wine.
Tamala Krsna: I don't think in Vrndavana there's so much of this meat-eating.
Prabhupada: No. Here they eat meat very secretive, some.
Tamala Krsna: Very secretive?
Prabhupada: Yes. Openly they'll never.
Tamala Krsna: No, it's hard to even find a butcher shop here.
Prabhupada: No, no, no. In Mathura there is slaughterhouse.
Tamala Krsna: Wow! Government allowed. The government.
Prabhupada: I do not know whether it is stopped or not, but formerly. In Bangladesh, fish you can get very cheap. It is... It is water. You can... Rivers.
Tamala Krsna: So many rivers.
Prabhupada: And especially for (indistinct), the branch of Ganges, it is full of fish, hilsa fish, very famous. You know hilsa fish?
Tamala Krsna: No, I've heard you talk about it previously.
Prabhupada: It is full of oil.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. Very palatable for the fish-eaters. Bengalis, they are too much fond of fish-eating. They don't even... Sometimes people say, "Fish-eating is nonvegetarian."
Prabhupada: Non... Yes, "Fish is a vegetable, water vegetable."
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, that's what they say, "water vegetable." I noticed that these banana trees, they don't seem to have any bananas on them. Growing in your garden?
Prabhupada: Hm, why?
Tamala Krsna: My guess is that in order for bananas to grow... Like I have not seen normally banana trees growing in this side, you know what I mean, Vrndavana. I suspect it has something to do with the soil. You can't just take a tree and plant it wherever you want. Soil has to be such that it can give the proper nutrition for bananas to grow. It looks good, but it's not banana. [break]

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