Excerpt from and interview with Newsday Newspaper in New York on July 14, 1976.
Prabhupada: Give him chair. They... Give...
Ramesvara: These gentlemen are a reporter and a photographer from a very large newspaper in Long Island called Newsday. This is Mr. Kevin Layhart...
Prabhupada: So they require chair?
Ramesvara: He's asking if you'd like a chair.
Interviewer: No, this is all right.
Ramesvara: This is Mr. Bill Semm. He's a photographer from their newspaper.
Prabhupada: Thank you. Sit down. You have seen our books?
Interviewer: Yes, I have. You translated all of those. (pause) (break) ...I wonder if you could tell me how you came to founding the movement here in the United States.
Prabhupada: I was ordered by my spiritual master to do this work, so on his order I came in 1965. That is the beginning of this. I came alone with no help, no money. Somehow or other (laughs) I started.
Interviewer: :How did you attract people? You landed in New York...
Prabhupada: My attraction is this chanting. That's all.
Interviewer: Did you stand on street corners and chant?
Prabhupada: Yes, I had no magic. Just like others. They say some..., show some magic. I never showed any magic.
Interviewer: No, I understand that.
Prabhupada: By Tompkins Park I was chanting, and these boys gradually came. First picture was published by the New York Times. Then we started branches in San Francisco, in Montreal, Boston. And then Los Angeles. In this way...
Interviewer: So you just chanted in Tompkins Park, and people came?
Prabhupada: Yes, I was underneath a tree. I think that picture was published by that Voice, very big article, published.
Interviewer: What did you have to offer then. If you were chanting in the park and I said "What are you doing? Why are you chanting? What's your thing here?"
Ramesvara: He said, "If someone had come up to you while you were chanting and said, 'Why are you doing this? What are you offering?' How would you have replied."
Prabhupada: They came... Naturally they came and joined me and began to dance, that's all. That is the beginning.
Ramesvara: But what if they asked you, "What is this all about?"
Prabhupada: No, this is for spiritual realization. If you chant, then, gradually, you realize yourself that you are a spiritual being; you are not this body. Then his spiritual life begins. Actually human life is meant for spiritual realization, and if one does not spiritually realize his identity, then he remains an animal. That is the difference between animal and man. Man is supposed to be spiritually realized.
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/diaries/beginning/6/excerpt_from_and_interview_with_newsday_newspaper_in_new_york_on_july_14_1976.
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