Śrīla Prabhupāda returned to Mexico in February of 1975. During the three years that had passed since his first visit, more centers had opened in the Caribbean and South America. In Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, American disciples had worked with local devotees to establish centers. Also in Caracas and Buenos Aires many people had contacted Prabhupāda’s disciples and began chanting and reading his books. In 1974, Śrīla Prabhupāda appointed Hṛdayānanda Goswami the Governing Body Commissioner for all of Latin America, and from that point the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in Latin America began rapidly expanding. Prabhupāda wrote to his newly appointed G.B.C. secretary,
Just as Hansadutta and Bhagavān have gone to foreign countries and arranged for a solid program of translation, printing and distribution of my books by sankirtan party, so you will also find the devotees in South America willing to help you in this noble project which is for the benediction of the suffering humanity. My own guru maharaj stressed the printing and distribution of literature even over gorgeous temple construction, and I also was printing even before I had big temples in the U.S. So you may follow the footsteps of the previous acaryas, while always strictly following the regulative principles for spiritual strength.
With Śrīla Prabhupāda’s blessings and with intense, youthful energy, Hṛdayānanda Goswami traveled constantly from one South American country to another, preaching the message of Śrīla Prabhupāda and organizing the distribution of his books in Spanish and Portuguese. Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased to hear of his disciple’s progress.
I have received the copy of the Spanish Back to Godhead and it is done very nicely. The printing is very beautiful and I thank you very much for doing such a nice job. I am very glad to hear you have printed 100,000 copies of this magazine. Now give them to everyone. Also I am very happy to hear the other books will be coming out very soon. If you can finish Bhagavad-gītā As It Is in Spanish and show me at the Mayapur festival that will be very sublime. Please print as many books as possible, this is my real pleasure. By printing these books of our Kṛṣa conscious philosophy in so many different languages we can actually inject our movement into the masses of persons all over the world, especially there in the western countries and we can literally turn whole nations into Krsna Conscious nations. Thank you for representing me there in South America by stressing the importance of attendance to the morning and evening programs and following all of the spiritual practices. This is wanted. Without these things there is no devotional life.
In all of his letters to Śrīla Prabhupāda, Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja humbly requested Prabhupāda to visit the centers most ready to receive him, Mexico City and Caracas. Prabhupāda replied that he wanted to visit and would do so on his next Western tour.
Leaving Bombay in January 1975, Śrīla Prabhupāda made his way west by his usual route—Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Hawaii. Hṛdayānanda Goswami flew to Hawaii just to make sure Śrīla Prabhupāda would come to Mexico. Two or three times between 1972 and 1975, the devotees in Mexico had thought Śrīla Prabhupāda was definitely coming. Once they had been within two hours of his expected arrival—with the temple fully decorated with flowers—when his secretary had phoned and said Prabhupāda would come later. On that occasion, the devotees had become overwhelmed and had thrown flowers and handfuls of cake at one another while crying and laughing.
When Śrīla Prabhupāda finally came in February 1975, Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja arranged for a first-class reception at the airport. He convinced the airport and police officials that Śrīla Prabhupāda should be met with a special car just as he came down the ramp from the airplane, that he and his party should bypass immigration and customs formalities, and that police on motorcycles should escort his car all the way to the temple!
Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled with pleasure to see all this take place. He was prepared to undergo difficulties, but he also often complained about immigration officers who were so ignorant of spiritual etiquette as to question a sādhu at the border. He sometimes compared the immigrations men to watchdogs. “Ruff! Ruff! Where is your visa?” Formerly a sādhu would be allowed to enter even the king’s palace, Śrīla Prabhupāda said. But Śrīla Prabhupāda was often delayed, searched, quarantined, and even refused entry into a country. Therefore, the proper reception by the government and police of Mexico was a pleasant surprise. With sirens wailing, two police motorcycles led the way onto the highway as Śrīla Prabhupāda, profusely garlanded, sat in the rear of the black limousine, chanting on his beads and discussing Kṛṣṇa conscious plans with his leading disciples.
For this visit the devotees at the temple were fully prepared. Some of them remembered how Śrīla Prabhupāda had arrived in 1972 to find the temple almost empty, most of the devotees being en route to the airport to greet him. This time they had been rehearsing his arrival for weeks.
Tonio Fernandez: We practiced the conchshell, the karatālas, everything. Someone would even go on the top of the roof and say that he saw the car of Prabhupāda. In this way we rehearsed. I was in charge of the sound control, and I had to run from there to the gate. It had been decided beforehand where everyone would sit when Prabhupāda gave a class. But when Prabhupāda actually came, someone blew the conchshell out of time, and all the devotees started to run.
Kṣiti-mohana: It was a scene with players, and the play was that Prabhupāda was coming. We had practiced, but now it was the real thing. The first car that came was Prabhupāda’s servants’. The devotees were having ecstasies because they thought it was Prabhupāda. As soon as they saw a devotee that didn’t look Mexican, they started to feel that Prabhupāda was here. Prabhupāda’s servants said to the devotees in charge of the program, “Take it easy, now Prabhupāda is going to arrive at any moment.” Then two of Prabhupāda’s servants went up to look at Prabhupāda’s room to see if it was ready or if anything was missing. After that, the kīrtana calmed down a little so we could hear the conchshell. But we had to wait half an hour because Prabhupāda’s car was coming slowly. The boy on the roof finally saw Prabhupāda’s car, but he forgot to blow the conchshell and began to yell, “Prabhupāda is coming! Prabhupāda is coming! Have kīrtana! Jaya Prabhupāda, Jaya Prabhupāda!” It was a very exciting moment. Prabhupāda’s car then appeared and slowly moved onto the property, It stopped a little before the front door. Then Prabhupāda got out, and everyone threw petals from the roof. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja opened the car door, and Prabhupāda, in a very particular way, came out and stood up and looked all around. Everyone was giving his obeisances to Prabhupāda, but at the same time no one knew exactly what was happening.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja was more excited than anyone else. He was telling the devotees, “Kīrtana, kīrtana!”
Nanda-prāṇa: When Prabhupāda came to the temple, he was besieged with a rain of petals. There were two lines of devotees and karmīs mixed, and Prabhupāda passed through. Everything was well organized. People were throwing petals. The lines started from the beginning of the entrance all the way to the temple house. Everyone was throwing petals, and Prabhupāda went all the way into the main hall where they had his vyāsāsana. But instead of going to sit down, he went into the small temple room to see the Deities. After Prabhupāda saw the Deities, he looked at the temple room. “Oh, much improved.” Then Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja invited him to go to the vyāsāsana, where Prabhupāda sat and they washed his feet and did a guru-pūjā. It was a better standard than the first time.
Roberto Ruiz: I had never seen Śrīla Prabhupāda before that. I was seeing him in pictures and in the magazine, but I had never seen personally. So I was very nervous. As soon as he will see me, I thought, he will know I am a cheater. He will look through my demoniac nature. Then finally Śrīla Prabhupāda arrived at the temple. The devotees received him with a shower of flower petals. The reception was nice, because as soon as he arrived at the airport, someone had called the temple and told us, “Prabhupāda is here. He has put his lotus feet in Mexico.”
Kṣiti-mohana: The big windows in the main hall were painted with plastic yellow paint, and the sun was shining through on Prabhupāda’s face like amber. One man was on the left side, and another strong man was on the right. They were the kṣatriyas of Prabhupāda. They were looking after him if someone wanted to cross in front of them. Prabhupāda started to sing “Vande ’ham,” and the devotees and guests tried to follow, but most of them just let it go.
After guru-pūjā, Prabhupāda spoke in English to the assembled devotees. As usual, after every few sentences his words were translated by one of the devotees.
“My dear devotees, ladies and gentlemen,” Prabhupāda began. “I am very glad to see you again, I think after four years? I was trying to come here again, I like this place, but due to various engagements and due to my old age also, I could not come earlier. But this time, by arrangement of our Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja, I have been forced to come here.” At these words the devotees burst into appreciative laughter. “So I must thank you for your nice reception. I was received by police escort very nicely, and I remember once I traveled with the governor of U.P. in 1962 from Lucknow to Kanpur. So exactly we were driving in the same fashion, escorted by the police motorcycle.
“So anyway, I am so pleased to see you, that you are interested in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very, very important for the human society. It is not exactly a religious movement as it is understood in the Western countries. Religion is described in the English dictionary as a kind of faith.”
And once again the pure, transcendental message was coming from Prabhupāda’s lotuslike mouth in the company of the devotees of Mexico. Their great, saintly spiritual master, the spiritual master of the whole world, was now again with them in ISKCON Mexico, and the devotees listened and watched him with rapt attention.
“It is very simple and easy,” Prabhupāda said, describing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. “If you do not know, if you are not educated, if you have no asset, you can simply chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. And if you are educated, a logician, a philosopher, you can read our books, which are already fifty in number. There will be about seventy-five books of four hundred pages to convince the philosopher, scientist, and educationist what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are published in English as well as other European languages. Take advantage of this.
“Along with the Deity worship in this temple, hold classes at least five hours. As in the schools and colleges, there are regular classes, forty-five minute class, then five or ten minutes recess, again forty-five minute class, in this way.
“So we have got enough subject matter to study, and if we study all these books, to finish them it will take at least twenty-five years. So you are all young men, I request you to engage your time in reading books, in chanting, in Deity worship, in going to preach, selling books. Don’t be lazy. Always remain engaged. Then that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”
Prabhupāda spoke briefly, then he asked for questions. A guest asked, “If everyone is spirit soul, then isn’t sex life also spiritual?”
Prabhupāda: “There is no sex life in the spirit soul. Sex life is in the material body. We are not this body. But because we are in this body, therefore we are thinking pleasure of the body is pleasure of the soul.”
The second question: “Who are we, why are we here, and where are we going?”
Prabhupāda: “You are all living entities. You wanted to come here. Just like I wanted to come in your city. I have come here. Similarly, you wanted to come to this material world and enjoy. So because you wanted to enjoy this material world you have come here. Kṛṣṇa has allowed you to come here, and you are trying to enjoy this material world. This is called struggle for existence. But you will never be happy with this material world. It is simply a struggle for existence. Therefore, you should go back to home, back to Godhead, then you’ll be happy. That’s all.”
At the end of the questions-and-answers session, a Mexican lady stood up spontaneously and said in English, “In the name of all the guests and all the Mexico City temple, we welcome you.”
One of Prabhupāda’s sannyāsī disciples, Hanumān, had fallen down from the sannyāsa standard and had married. Such a thing had never before happened in ISKCON. But now, on Prabhupāda’s first day in Mexico, Hanumān, dressed as a householder, came to see his spiritual master.
After the crowd of guests had left Prabhupāda’s room, only Hanumān and a few senior men remained. “Śrīla Prabhupāda,” Hanumān began, “Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu had one disciple in the renounced order, Choṭa Haridāsa, whom He rejected from His association because he became too much lusty after a woman . I was also one of your sannyāsa disciples, and I too became lusty after a woman. I was wondering if you have also rejected me from your association.”
A heavy silence followed as everyone looked at Prabhupāda, who sat with his head down. After a long pause, Prabhupāda looked up at Hanumān and said quietly, “Lord Caitanya is God. He can spread this movement all over the world in one second without the help of anyone if He likes. I am not God. I am simply a servant of God. I require so much assistance to help me spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. If someone renders even some small service to help me, I am eternally indebted to him. You have rendered so much assistance to me, how could I reject you?”
The devotees were moved, amazed at the depth of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s compassion. Then Hanumān began to tell Śrīla Prabhupāda about his family, about his son named Bhaktivedānta.
“That is not very good.” Śrīla Prabhupāda shook his head. “Sometimes you may have to chastise your child, and you should not be chastising your guru.”
Hanumān became a little disturbed. “But Śrīla Prabhupāda,” he said, “we have already grown accustomed to calling him that. What will we call him now?”
Prabhupāda thought and then explained that actually it was all right because his name was Bhaktivedānta dāsa. “Just like we name all our disciples Kṛṣṇa dāsa,” Prabhupāda said. “Not Kṛṣṇa, but servant of Kṛṣṇa. Just like you are not Hanumān, but servant of.”
On the first evening of his visit, Prabhupāda lectured from the Bhagavad-gītā. After the lecture, he asked for questions. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja, seated on a cushion at Prabhupāda’s feet, translated the inquiries from Spanish into English for Prabhupāda and then translated Prabhupāda’s reply into Spanish for the audience.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “He asks, ‘What if we’ve already committed so many offenses to chanting? At this point, how can we purify?’”
Prabhupāda: “If we don’t commit offense. Why do you voluntarily commit offense? You should not commit offense, then it will be all right—purified.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “We don’t know how we can increase our desire for chanting.”
Prabhupāda: “By performing saṅkīrtana. Just like if a man drinks, and if he drinks and drinks, then he becomes a drunkard.” The example amused the audience, and they broke into laughter. “Drink more and more and you become a drunkard,” Prabhupāda continued. “Similarly, chant more and more and you become—perfect chanter.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “What is the greatest offense?”
Prabhupāda: “Yes, that is the first offense, guror avajñā śruti-śāstra-nindanam, śruti-śāstra-nindanam, guror avajñā. If you accept a guru and then again disobey him, then what is your position? You are not a gentleman. You promised before guru, before Kṛṣṇa, before fire, that ‘I shall obey your order. I shall execute this.’ If again you do not do this, then you are not even a gentleman, what to speak of a devotee. This is common sense.”
A man asked in Spanish, “Excuse me, sir. Before, in your previous life as a karmī, what were you doing?” Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja didn’t translate the question to Śrīla Prabhupāda but immediately asserted strongly, “‘The pure devotee has never been a karmī. He is never a karmī. A pure devotee is always a transcendental person, right from his birth. He just came from the spiritual world to save us, to teach us this transcendental knowledge given out thousands and thousands of years ago by Lord Kṛṣṇa.” Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja continued glorifying Śrīla Prabhupāda. “What does he say?” Prabhupāda asked Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja. But he didn’t want to say anything to Śrīla Prabhupāda. He said, “Nothing, Śrīla Prabhupāda, nothing.” He would speak strongly to the man asking this question, and when Śrīla Prabhupāda would question him, Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja would be like a little child, “Oh, Śrīla Prabhupāda, it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it. He’s just talking some nonsense.” Then finally Śrīla Prabhupāda just laughed and took the next question.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “He asks, ‘How can we control the tongue?’”
Prabhupāda: “You can take prasādam.” Prabhupāda smiled, and his answer was so pleasurable for everyone that they began to laugh. Prabhupāda continued, “Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said like that, out of all the senses the tongue sense is very powerful. So it is very difficult to control it. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa has given us one weapon. What is that? Kṛṣṇa is very kind; therefore He has given us His remnants of foodstuff. So if we make this promise, that I shall not take anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa, then your tongue will be controlled. The tongue’s business is two-fold: one is the tongue will speak and vibrate sound, and another business is to taste nice foodstuffs. So if you engage the tongue in the matter of Kṛṣṇa’s service by vibrating Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and if you don’t allow your tongue to touch anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa, then you become immediately Kṛṣṇa-realized. When the tongue is controlled, all other senses are automatically controlled. This is the process. Now again engage your tongue chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa.”
On his cue, the devotees began a kīrtana. Śrīla Prabhupāda had given them everything, kīrtana, prasādam, Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa’s service, and now, at least for a precious week, Prabhupāda was giving them himself. Every morning and night he was chanting with them and being with them, strengthening their faith in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Prabhupāda liked his quarters in the temple. The devotees had divided one big room with a curtain—one side for preaching and one side for resting—and had painted it pastel blue, after the color scheme Śrīla Prabhupāda had requested for his room in Los Angeles. And in their own way, the devotees had tried to make it artistic and Vedic. They had decorated a beautiful āsana for him to sit on while meeting with guests. Beside his sitting place was a display of his books, and above the bookcase a silver vase of flowers.
Prabhupāda continued to work persistently at his Bhāgavatam translation and purports. During his last visit to Mexico, in 1972, he had been working on the Fourth Canto. Now he was on the Fifth. That he could concentrate on translating while traveling almost constantly was a remarkable achievement. Perhaps only a writer can appreciate how extremely difficult it is to expect to make serious literary composition while at the same time moving continually from room to room, country to country, climate to climate—one week after the next. But Prabhupāda had been doing it for years. And he was able to do it because he was completely surrendered to the task and because Kṛṣṇa was directly collaborating with him. Devotees had come to expect that Śrīla Prabhupāda would live a very busy life all day, dealing with internal management, with devotees, guests, letters, lectures, travels—and then at night, instead of collapsing for eight hours of hard-earned rest, that he would lie down for a couple of hours and then rise, unaided, when almost everyone else was asleep, and execute the most demanding task of his entire day, translating and commenting on the Sanskrit verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That his Bhāgavatams were so masterfully rendered could only mean that his work was, as a prominent American professor had described it, “God-sent.” Many professors, librarians, and scholars were appreciating Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books.
Prabhupāda wrote the devotees in America who were circulating his books in universities and getting reviews,
Thank you very much for sending the book reviews. Send more if you can. These are very, very encouraging. I am keeping a collection of these reviews and I show them to big, big scholars and professors when they come to see me. They are very impressed.
But how, at the age of seventy-eight, could he write such transcendental literature, which was praised and worshiped by all devotees and appreciated by religious and Sanskrit professors, and at the same time travel and tend to several thousand initiated disciples? One can only begin to understand and appreciate his endeavor.
Nanda-prāṇa: Prabhupāda was very busy with the translation. Some of us devotees took care of Prabhupāda and would stay outside his room till night. We could hear the dictating machine. At 10:00 Prabhupāda would stop the dictating machine and turn the lights off. Then about 2:00 he would rise without an alarm clock and turn the light on. He would keep going with his translations.
Devotee: I could see every night Śrīla Prabhupāda very regularly just turned off his light. I couldn’t see inside his room, but from a little space underneath the door I could see he was working until late at night. Every devotee would take rest, but he was working until 10:00. At exactly 10:00 he would turn off his light. Then automatically, very regularly, he would turn on the light at 1:30 in the morning. I was very surprised how he could just rest for three and a half hours and work all day long. I think during the daytime he would take another nap, but from 1:30 A.M. until the morning I would see the lights on. Then in the morning after maṅgala-āratī he would go on his morning walk.
In Chapultepec Park Śrīla Prabhupāda liked to walk on the narrow Road of the Philosophers. The early mornings were cold, and he wore his long saffron coat with hood. The simple canvas shoes he wore would become wet from the dew on the grass. His rapid pace made his younger disciples hustle to keep up. Often Prabhupāda’s words would go untranslated, and the Mexican boys could catch only a phrase or two. But they were happy to be with their spiritual master. He was interested in the many varieties of trees and sometimes asked about them. Once, stopping before a large dead tree, he examined it carefully.
“What is the difference between this dead tree and the others?” he asked. One disciple replied, “This tree is dead because its time is over.”
“No,” Prabhupāda said and tapped his cane on the ground.
Another devotee ventured, “‘This tree has a certain karma different from the others.”
“No,” Prabhupāda again tapped his cane on the ground. “The difference is that there is not a soul in this tree.”
While walking among the trees in Chapultepec Park, Prabhupāda spotted a certain eucalyptus twig above his head. He stopped. From as early as 1967 in San Francisco, he had used the twigs of eucalyptus trees as toothbrushes, a Western substitute for the antiseptic neem twigs of India.
Kṣiti-mohana: Prabhupāda pointed to the tree and told Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja, “I want that stick.” It was a very small one. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja heard Prabhupāda. He said, “Prabhupāda wants that. Come on, bring it down, bring it down.” He wanted to give it to Prabhupāda. So we made a pyramid of men, with three men on the bottom then two men on top of them, and one skinny devotee climbed on top. When the devotee stood and reached up, he was still about fifty centimeters short. But when he made an effort to reach it, the whole pyramid fell to the ground. Prabhupāda was watching them, smiling and laughing. Again they made the pyramid bigger, and the devotee tried to reach it again, but again they fell down. Then more devotees tried. They became wet because of the grass, and Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja was very excited, saying, “Come on, Prabhupāda wants that. Prabhupāda wants that. Keep moving.” Prabhupāda was smiling at the fun, sometimes watching the twig and sometimes watching the devotees. A third time they tried the pyramid, and it fell down. But the fourth time it worked, and the devotee stood up and broke the twig from the tree, He gave it to Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja, who gave it to Prabhupāda, Prabhupāda held it in his hand, inspected it for a minute, and then threw it away.
Often during his morning walk Śrīla Prabhupāda would only chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, the universal language in which all the Spanish and English-speaking devotees could participate without difficulty. For many of the Mexican disciples this was their first personal contact with Śrīla Prabhupāda, and they were awed. Occasionally, on a walk Śrīla Prabhupāda would suddenly sit on a bench, and as many as fifteen disciples would quickly gather at his feet, looking up to him.
Muni-priyā: Prabhupāda sat down in the park. The people around Prabhupāda also sat and came to see Prabhupāda. People were sitting and looking to Prabhupāda, and he was also looking at all the devotees. And all the devotees were waiting to hear from Prabhupāda. Nobody makes a sound. Prabhupāda looked at all the devotees and then said, “Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa!” Then all the devotees came to love him. Because all the people were waiting for Śrīla Prabhupāda to talk about philosophy. These boys don’t expect Śrīla Prabhupāda to suddenly say, “Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa!” And they came to love him, because Prabhupāda said this in the middle of a silence.
When Prabhupāda saw the joggers he remarked, “If they say they don’t care about the ultimate meaning of life, why are they running? They are running,” he said, “because they are all afraid of death.” They passed a martial arts class—two rows of men in black leotards, gesturing aggressively in unison. “Who are they fighting?” he asked. He said that when he explains philosophically that everyone is afraid of death, people reply, “No, I’m not afraid.” “But if they are not afraid of death, then why are they doing all this?” And he gestured toward the mock fighting and laughed.
One morning he stopped at a large garbage container and asked about the sign on it. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja replied, “It says, ‘Put the garbage in this place.’”
“Then the whole material world will be there,” Śrīla Prabhupāda replied. “But it is too big to put into this container.”
Another morning, riding back to the temple in the car, Prabhupāda asked the driver, Nanda-prāṇa, to go faster. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja translated Prabhupāda’s order to the driver, who sped up slightly. Śrīla Prabhupāda then astonished them by asking, “Que pasa, Nanda-prāṇa?” And when the ride was over, he added, “Muchas gracias.”
There was no scarcity of flowers in Mexico City, and every morning during guru-pūjā over a hundred devotees and guests would come one by one before Śrīla Prabhupāda to offer a palmful of flower petals at his lotus feet. By the end of the guru-pūjā a small hill of flower petals spilled over Śrīla Prabhupāda’s legs, until finally he would gather up handfuls and throw them out to the ecstatic devotees, who continued their chanting and dancing with even greater rigor.
On Prabhupāda’s second morning in Mexico City, he spoke from Bhagavad-gītā 2.12 on how the soul is eternally individual. “When you actually understand,” Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “that you are not American or Indian or Mexican, but that you are spirit soul, then your spiritual life begins.” He said the symptom of identifying oneself with the soul is that one becomes jubilant, jolly. And to attain this, one has to undergo a process of purification. “Without purification, you cannot understand God. But Lord Caitanya’s prescription, which we are simply propagating, is chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. So I am very glad to see that you Mexican young boys, girls, ladies, and gentlemen are coming here and joining and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. I request you to continue this procedure. Please come here, join this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and take prasādam and go home. And surely you will be purified and qualified for going back to home, back to Godhead.”
Questions and answers followed, with Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja translating.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “He wants to know if within marriage it is possible to achieve perfection.”
Prabhupāda: “Yes. Human being is meant for marriage, not the cats and dogs. If you can remain without marriage, without sex life, that is very good, but if you can’t then marry and be gentleman and remain peaceful.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “He wants to know if one can achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness outside the temple.”
Prabhupāda: “Oh, yes. You have to follow the rules and regulations, that’s all.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “What about when one breaks the principles? Can Kṛṣṇa forgive him?”
Prabhupāda: “Yes, Kṛṣṇa can forgive you once, twice, but not regularly.” Prabhupāda smiled, and the devotees laughed with him.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “Sometimes people come and join our movement and follow the four principles, but there appears to be a fault in their character. So he says that by following the process gradually the defects will be diminished. But is there any way to more rapidly—”
Prabhupāda: “If a man comes and follows the regulative principles even for some time and again he falls down, so long as he has followed, that asset is permanent. Anything spiritual asset is never lost. So little, little, little when it is complete cent percent then you become liberated. Spiritual asset is never lost. Even if a person comes to the temple, follows the regulative principles for some time, and again falls down, he is not a loser—he is a gainer. Others who do not take this lesson, who keep outside and perform their so-called material duties very perfectly, they are losers.
“So at least for some time let every one of you come here and follow the restriction. If you become perfect, it is all right. But even if you go away, whatever you have done, that is your permanent asset. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt. Even that little asset can help you become freed from the greatest danger. So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated even if such a person falls down, he is given a chance in next life to take birth in a very rich aristocratic family or in a very pious brāhmaṇa family. A little spiritual asset in this human form of life will at least guarantee your next life in a very nice family. But without spiritual life there is no guarantee whether you are going to become human being or cat or dog.”
Since Śrīla Prabhupāda’s last visit, the devotees had received his permission and had installed Deities of Radha-Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Prabhupāda criticized, however, that Their dress was not up to standard. He said that the opulent Deity worship followed in Los Angeles ISKCON was the standard they should adopt. When he saw a painted backdrop behind the Deities depicting the land of Vṛndāvana, he said that this Vṛndāvana mood of spontaneous love for Kṛṣṇa was too elevated for ordinary devotees. Again he stressed the worship of Kṛṣṇa in awe and opulence as He appeared in Dvārakā; the devotees should study the worship of Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa in Los Angeles.
One day Śrīla Prabhupāda asked to sample the contents of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s plate directly from the altar. He tasted the prasādam and approved. But on another occasion he went to the kitchen and found that the pūjārīs had put new flowers in the same place as old, rejected flowers. “These are the flowers to offer to Kṛṣṇa?” he asked with disapproval. He requested Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja to find a qualified devotee to become the head pūjārī and oversee the Deity worship. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja brought Kṣiti-mohana before Prabhupāda in his room, and Prabhupāda began to talk about how the most important service was to increase the Deity worship. “No,” Kṣiti-mohana replied, “saṇkīrtana is most important.”
“You should never say, ‘No!’ to Prabhupāda,” Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja corrected.
“Yes, Prabhupāda,” Ksiti-mohana replied. Prabhupāda then asked him to become the head pūjārī. Kṣiti-mohana, speaking in Spanish, told Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja that he was afraid he would commit too many offenses to the Deity. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja assured him that he could learn as he went. Because Prabhupāda wanted him to do it, he would gradually become expert.
Śrīla Prabhupāda did not take outside engagements during this visit to Mexico; rather, he asked that interested persons be brought to see him in his room. Each evening, therefore, he would meet with several guests. The first evening several professors and Indian gentlemen as well as Hanumān and Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja all came to Prabhupāda’s room. Hanumān asked Śrīla Prabhupāda why his disciples were so fortunate as to have a genuine spiritual master, whereas many others have bogus teachers.
“Every disciple will think his guru is good and that others are bogus,” Śrīla Prabhupāda replied. “But there is a standard for who is spiritual master. Spiritual master means one who is the best servant of God. But one who does not accept the existence of God, he’s a mūḍha, a rascal. A rascal cannot become a spiritual master.”
Professor: “‘Do you have any opinion about some of the other Indian spiritual masters?” The professor named several well-known gurus. At the mention of a certain popular young guru, Srīla Prabhupāda interrupted, “He says that he is God himself. Then he is a bogus. How can he be God? God is so cheap? Only the foolish persons will accept him. Those who have no knowledge.”
At the mention of a famous meditator, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “I think he doesn’t speak anything about God. He speaks something on material prosperity.” At the mention of another guru, Prabhupāda replied, “He also says, ‘I am Bhagavān.’ Therefore he is bogus. How can you say you yourself are Bhagavān, God? So even if people accept him as God because he shows some jugglery or creates a little gold, then if by creating some gold he is God, then there is a bigger God that has created the gold mine. Why should I go to this tiny God? I must go to the big God who has created all the gold mines.”
Professor: “I have great difficulty with the meaning of the term perfect knowledge. Could you—”
Prabhupāda: “Perfect knowledge means what you say is correct. There is no mistake.”
Professor: “Under any and all circumstances?”
Prabhupāda: “Yes, that is perfect knowledge. Not like the scientists. They change. They say, ‘Yes, it was this, and now it is changed.’ This is not perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge is that which you say, that is correct forever. Just like a man dies. If someone says, ‘Man dies,’ it is perfect knowledge. It is correct forever.”
Professor: “Suppose he is reincarnated?”
Prabhupāda: “Dies means the body dies. The soul does not die. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre.”
The Indian guest asked Śrīla Prabhupāda about varṇa-saṅkara, the rapid increase in unplanned-for, unwanted progeny. Prabhupāda replied that since there was no following of the varṇāśrama system, the world population was going to hell. “The varṇa-saṅkara has come to such an extent,” he said, “that they are killing the child, and that is legal. They have come down to such an extreme position.”
The Indian man replied, “But surely there is a practical point of view also. If there is nothing to eat, what will happen?”
Prabhupāda: “Who says nothing to eat? That is also their manufacture.”
Indian guest: “I meant the figures which are published.”
Prabhupāda: “Especially we who are Indian know it is advertised that we are poverty-stricken. All over the world that is advertised. Wherever I go they say, ‘Oh, you’re coming from India?’ Because our government is simply begging. But who is dying of poverty? Dying is going on in other countries also—they are committing suicide. And maybe some persons are dying out of starvation. You cannot stop death. Suppose you have got enough food. That means everything is solved? In America there is enough food. Why are they becoming hippies? There is no shortage of food. Nothing. Everything is abundant. But why are they becoming hippies? They are lying down on the street, in the park. I’ve seen in London, the St. James’s Park. They are sleeping and the police are screaming, ‘Hey! Get out! Get out!’ So why? The British nation is not poor nation. The American nation is not poor nation.”
Indian guest: “Poverty is also comparative.”
Prabhupāda: “No, I saw in Amsterdam—simply full of hippies lying down on the street with no food or shelter. It is going on.
Indian guest: “The hippies are not lying in the park because they lack food.”‘
Prabhupāda: “They must be wanting something. They are in need of something.”
Indian guest: “But not necessarily food.”
Prabhupāda: “One body is in need of food, another body is in need of something else. They are needy. Everyone is needy. That you have to accept. I have seen in Los Angeles. I was walking in the Beverly Hills quarter, and one hippie boy is coming from a very nice house. Beverly Hills, that quarter is resided by all rich class. And he has got very nice car, but he is hippie. Why? His father is very rich man. He has got nice car. He might be very educated. They why he is hippie? What is the answer?”
Indian guest: “‘He’s frustrated.”
Prabhupāda: “That means he is in need. That is the question. You may be in need of food, I may be in need of some woman, he may be in need of some money. In this way everyone is needy. Therefore, ultimately everyone should search after God. Then every need will be fulfilled.”
One night some priests visited. They expressed appreciation for Prabhupāda’s work in Mexico but questioned if his mission could also be done through their own church. Prabhupāda answered that he never said the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was the only way. If anyone strictly follows his own true religion, he can achieve success. But Prabhupāda added, “It is very difficult to find a real Christian these days.” Although Jesus Christ upheld the scripture and quoted, “Thou shalt not kill,” the Christians, he said, were very expert in killing. “They take pride in bullfighting,” Prabhupāda added. “This is their position. So it is very difficult to find out a real Christian.” The priests became uneasy and soon excused themselves.
Another evening a former Miss Mexico came to see Prabhupāda. Accompanied by two sophisticated, wealthy-looking men, ex-Miss Mexico was very glamorous, fluttering her eyelashes as she talked. Although not quite in her element, she tried to be diplomatic and was effusively appreciative of everything. “I really like your center here,” she told Prabhupāda through a translator. “And I think I would like to come back and learn more about it.” Prabhupāda was unaffected. “Why do you want to come here?” he asked. “You don’t understand this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Have you read my books?”
“Have you read my books?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Well, do you know our philosophy?”
“If you want to come here, then you listen and understand this philosophy. It is most important. Then you can say you want to come back.” Prabhupāda then turned his attention to other people in the room, and ex-Miss Mexico and her friends sat in silence, listening.
Devotee: I was the doorkeeper outside Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room, and I was very concerned about my job. I was taking it as my life and soul, guarding the door of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja told me, “If you get the opportunity, just go into the room and see how Prabhupāda is talking to the guests. It is very important for you. So I thought, “Well, I have permission for that.” So when a man in the government working in the educational program came and got an interview with Śrīla Prabhupāda, I got the opportunity to go inside the room. I thought, “Well, maybe Śrīla Prabhupāda will not be angry with me if I go inside the room. Let me try.”
I went into the room, and I was listening to the talk. At that time my English wasn’t nice, but I could get some of the matter they were talking about. Śrīla Prabhupāda was explaining the importance of the Vedic point of view in the educational program. He was explaining that the main point in the Vedic system was to teach that we are servant of God. I thought maybe Śrīla Prabhupāda would be very diplomatic. He will not go directly to the point. But he was preaching very, very directly. He was making all the points to this man. He was telling him how we teach our children from the very childhood in the Vedic standard of waking the children early in the morning, taking bath, attending maṅgala-ārati.
But the most surprise for me occurred when the man finally had to leave. He was saying, “Oh, Your Divine Grace, I am very glad I could have the opportunity to speak with you.” Śrīla Prabhupāda was talking in a very friendly way with him. The man was receptive. It was not an atmosphere of challenging. Śrīla Prabhupāda was very nice with him. Prabhupāda then told the man, “We have a lot of books. You are working with books in the government. You are giving books to the schools. So I will be very glad if you can take some of these and read, and then you will see in a more broad way all the topics we were discussing today.” The man said, “Oh, yes. I would like to.”
At that time I was doing book distribution as my full-time engagement, I thought, “Oh, I don’t know if Prabhupāda wants to ask him for some money. I think Prabhupāda is not going to ask him for money because he is a guest.” I thought that Prabhupāda was probably going to say, “Yes, keep the books and good-bye. Hare Kṛṣṇa.” I expected that he would let the other sannyāsīs take care of selling any books.
But I was very surprised that when the man agreed to take the books, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Please give him some books.” The devotees then gave some of our Spanish translation books. We only had a few books, but we immediately gave them. Then the man said, “Is there anything I have to pay for these books?” I thought Śrīla Prabhupāda would say, “No, just keep it with you,” and “Hare Kṛṣṇa.” But Prabhupāda said very gravely, “If you want to give something for the books, we will accept.” Then the man took out some money, and Prabhupāda made a sign indicating that he should please give it to one of the devotees.
It was a surprise to me just to see how Śrīla Prabhupāda didn’t miss an opportunity. He was the teacher of all of us, an expert at making transcendental saṅkīrtana. I learned from that incident that I will never feel embarrassed in front of anyone just to ask for a donation for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. I felt at that time that Śrīla Prabhupāda himself had a lot of respect for his books, not because they were his books, but because the books—as he told us, and as we could see by his practical example—the books were his whole life.
Since Hṛdayānanda Goswami was Prabhupāda’s direct representative for Latin America, Prabhupāda called to see him frequently while in Mexico. He wanted his G.B.C. men to understand fully the importance of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and to know practically how to conduct it and propagate it. He wanted them eventually to do all the managing of the institution’s affairs, freeing him to translate the Bhāgavatam. He had written about this responsibility in a letter to Hṛdayānanda Goswami in 1972, shortly after awarding him sannyasa.
Now you must all, sannyasis, GBC members, and other leaders become very serious to actually give the human kind the greatest welfare, namely this Krishna Consciousness movement. Your task ahead is very huge, but it will be quite simple and easy if you simply do as I am doing. You must become conversant in every feature wherever it is needed throughout the society. Our first business is to preach to the devotees and to maintain the highest standard of Vaishnava education. Management must be there as well, just as I am preaching daily from Srimad-Bhagwatam, Bhagavad-gītā, but I am also going to the bank, making investments, seeing the trial balance, making letters, seeing how things are going on, like that. So you must become expert in all these matters, just as I am giving you example .
One evening, after lecturing in the temple room, Prabhupāda was talking in his room with Hṛdayānanda Goswami. Sitting on Prabhupāda’s desk was a world globe, and Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja was showing Prabhupāda the extent of his Latin American preaching field. Śrīla Prabhupāda sat, gently spinning the globe, finally stopping it with his finger on Mexico. “What do you know about this country?” he asked. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja began telling him as much as he knew about the culture, government, and history of Mexico. Then Prabhupāda gave the globe another spin, stopping it with his finger on Argentina, and Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja told what he knew about the people and life of Argentina.
“Now we will give you some information about India,” said Prabhupāda, smiling. And he named India’s exports and the provinces from which they came. He spoke of the relationship between ancient India and South America, of Lord Ramacandra, who millions of years ago had gone to Brazil. From Śrī Laṅkā to Brazil had been a tunnel, and all the gold of Rāvaṇa’s kingdom had come through that tunnel from Brazil. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja was thrilled that Śrīla Prabhupāda was including him in such an intimate, friendly talk, and they continued exchanging information while pointing to the places on the globe.
One day Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja came into Prabhupāda’s room looking unhappy. “What is the difficulty?” Prabhupāda asked him. Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja took pride in never complaining to Prabhupāda or bringing him bad news and disturbing him. But having almost reached his breaking point, he confessed, “Prabhupāda it’s impossible here. They are always stealing!”
Prabhupāda consoled him. “Yes, in one of our Indian centers also they have stolen a rug. What can I do?” Prabhupāda said, as if sharing his disciple’s helplessness. But then he said, “Actually, my father had a friend who owned a factory. He would pay the factory workers a small wage. Once someone complained, ‘Why do you underpay your workers?’ Then he said, “No, I pay them so much and they steal so much. It comes out to the proper amount.” Prabhupāda began to laugh. “My father told me that if you have a servant and he does not steal from you, then he is not bona fide. He’s not a bona fide servant.” Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja laughed along with Prabhupāda, and his unhappiness vanished.
Once Prabhupāda sent a message for Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja to come immediately. When Hṛdayānanda ran into Prabhupāda’s room and offered obeisances, he found Prabhupāda sitting in a leisurely position, reading the Kṛṣṇa book. Prabhupāda looked up with great happiness and asked, “Have you read these books?” Prabhupāda was enjoying his own book, not because he had written the book but because the book was Kṛṣṇa. “Have you read these books?” Prabhupāda repeated.
“Yes, Prabhupāda, a little.”
“Aren’t they wonderful?” asked Prabhupāda. “Especially Caitanya-caritāmṛta. They are so wonderful.” Having said this, Prabhupāda returned his attention to the Kṛṣṇa book, reading silently to himself. After sitting for a few minutes, Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja gratefully left the room, desiring to follow Prabhupāda’s example.
One evening, when several professors came to visit Śrīla Prabhupāda, one of them asked, “Why does anything exist?” Śrīla Prabhupāda replied that the purpose of existence is ānanda, pleasure. At first the professor resisted; he was seeking an answer referring to a “higher plane.” But Śrīla Prabhupāda insisted that ānanda exists on the higher plane. “When we have got this body changing,” he said, “there is no ānanda because we are sometimes diseased, and then we have to become an old man. But we are eternal, so we are seeking after something which is eternal, ānanda. that is the purpose of life.”
In his Bhagavad-gītā lectures, Śrīla Prabhupāda was methodically proceeding through the Second Chapter, now discussing the distinction between the eternal soul and the temporary body. Sometimes he lectured both morning and evening. When beginning his explanation of the fourteenth verse, he said, “So from last night’s discussion it is to be concluded that we are not going to die.” But in preparation for the next life, Prabhupāda explained, we have to tolerate material pains and pleasures. “Sometimes the rules and regulations are there. They may be painful, but we cannot give them up. We have to learn how to tolerate.” Prabhupāda quoted a Bengali proverb that said, “Anything you practice with your body you can learn to tolerate.” So if by practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness you can go back to home, back to Godhead, why should you neglect? That will solve all your problems. After the lecture someone asked, “What are the characteristics of a person who has realized that he is not this body?”
“He’s engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness,” Śrīla Prabhupāda replied. “He doesn’t know anything but Kṛṣṇa. That is normal condition.”
One evening, after an unusual number of impertinent questions, Hṛdayānanda Mahdrdja stopped translating and instructed the crowd not to ask nonsensical questions. Immediately one of the ladies raised her hand. “I’ve heard from the devotees,” she began, “that at the time of leaving my body it will be a very important test for my life for getting my next body. I’ve also heard from the devotees that it is important for us to think of Lord Kṛṣṇa at that time of passing away of our body. What I want to ask Your Divine Grace is: Is it as good as thinking of Kṛṣṇa at the time of my death to think of you?” Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja presented her question to Prabhupāda. Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled. “Yes, that is very good. You will get the same result.”
In the morning for his breakfast Prabhupāda ate lightly of fruit and cashews. He especially liked a local fruit known as guavana, and he drank guavana juice every day. At noon he also ate lightly, avoiding the samosās and pakorās and eating mostly dāl, rice, capātīs, and the sabjī. The Mexican devotees would wait eagerly outside Prabhupāda’s door to take the remnants from his plate. They were particularly eager for a bite of anything Prabhupāda had tasted.
Kṣiti-mohana: One morning Śrutakīrti gave me the plate remnants of Prabhupāda. It contained milk, oranges already sucked, and skins of chickpeas. There was also ginger. At that time there was a Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class going on, but when the devotees saw me with the plate some of them left the class and ran toward me. They started to take pieces of orange and ginger. One devotee got pushed and fell down. That disturbed the class, and the devotee giving the class was very upset. Some of the devotees kept sitting, but some of them, when they saw the remnants, left the place and ran upstairs and started to fight also. Then Śrīla Prabhupāda opened his door because of the noise, and he saw everything. He smiled and went to his room again.
Most of the Mexican devotees got little direct association with Śrīla Prabhupāda because they could not understand English and because they had other services to render. They were never demanding, since they knew Śrīla Prabhupāda was busy translating and working to save all the fallen souls around the world. Moreover, Prabhupāda was a very great personality, and his disciples did not think themselves worthy to push forward and demand his special attention. Nevertheless, sometimes the devotees who took turns keeping guard outside Prabhupāda’s room would have a special encounter with him.
Nanda-prāṇa: One of the devotees was a bodyguard when he was a karmī, taking care of important people in the government, so he was already involved in these things. Mostly in the nighttime there were some of us who were just taking watch three or four hours outside of his room, taking care of him. We were thinking that maybe some dangerous man or some crazy man is coming, and they would want to make something with Śrīla Prabhupāda. We wanted to put Śrīla Prabhupāda very secure. Every night I was doing the schedule from 9:00 at night until 2:00. At that time I was supposed to go and wake up the next guard.
Ṛtu: I was taking care of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s sleep security. I used to chant rounds during the night. So it was midnight and I was chanting, and this devotee, Jagannātha Miśra, told me that I should not chant so loud because it would bother Śrīla Prabhupāda. I said no, Prabhupāda doesn’t mind if we chant loud. I kept on chanting loudly, and then I saw Śrīla Prabhupāda open the curtains in his room. He was standing there very humbly, not angry, but smiling. He made a motion to me, meaning please do not chant so loudly. Then he folded his palms and was smiling.
Kṣiti-mohana: I was like a helper. If the servants needed something, we were right there to get it. We would rest, taking care of the door, day and night. Once they had a problem with Prabhupāda’s tape recorder. At that time Prabhupāda had to stop translating. So Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja called me and told me that he heard that I knew how to fix tape recorders and electricity. I went into Prabhupāda’s room, and Prabhupāda was reading the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. He was moving his toes. There was a tulasī there on his desk. By using his hands Prabhupāda was showing me that the tape recorder didn’t work. He wanted to be busy with his service. When I looked at it, the only thing wrong was that the plug wasn’t very well plugged in. I fixed it and put the tape on, and Prabhupāda’s voice started to come out. Then he said, “Everything is all right. Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa.” Then he asked me some questions through Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja’s translating. He asked, “Are there cows here in Mexico? Do you kill them and eat them?” Also he asked what is the coin in Mexico. When he asked about the cows, I answered that. And when he asked about the coin, I said it is a peso. When Prabhupāda heard about the cows, he shook his head. Then he was explaining that everywhere they have cows and they kill them off and eat them, and that’s why civilization is as it is now, in crisis. Now society is paying reactions, and they are going to pay more reactions because of that. Then he told me, now you can leave. I had to leave because my service was to take care of the door, and Prabhupāda had other services.
Muni-priyā: I was a guard at the door. After 2:00 in the morning Prabhupāda came out in a gamchā. I said, “Jaya Prabhupāda, Hari Bol!” I wanted to get down and offer him my obeisances. Prabhupāda said, “No, no, just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.”
Tonio Fernandez: I was in charge of the microphone. One time I was adjusting it right in front of Prabhupāda, and he saw me and smiled. I felt very happy, I had no time to dance with the other devotees because I was in charge of the sound system. One day I put aside the sound and started dancing. Prabhupāda saw me, and I felt that he was thinking, “You must go back to your sound,” and so I went back, because that was my service.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: We were very anxious to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda nicely because he so very rarely ever came to Latin America. Therefore whatever he wanted, whenever he said, “Why don’t you bring this?”—we would have three or four devotees standing by like firemen, and they would practically slide down the banister and jump into two or three different cars and tear out of the driveway on two wheels with tires screeching. They would have a race to see who could bring it back first. Usually within ten or fifteen minutes they would have it, whatever Prabhupāda wanted. One time I brought Prabhupāda his breakfast plate, and he said, “Aren’t there any cashew nuts?” I immediately ran out to the banister and shouted, “Cashew nuts!” Immediately they started jumping down the stairs, and cars were screeching out of the driveway. While Prabhupāda was still eating his breakfast, we brought in the nuts. Then he said, “No, never mind, I don’t need them.”
The last Bhagavad-gītā class Prabhupāda gave in Mexico was on the seventeenth verse of the Second Chapter. “If you simply become interested in this small span of life,” Prabhupāda said, “say fifty or sixty or a hundred years at most, but you neglect your eternal existence, is that intelligence? We are teaching that science, and the Bhagavad-gītā is there. Take advantage of it.”
As always there were questions.
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “He would like to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, but he wants to know if you believe in God.” The absurdity of this question made the devotees laugh.
Prabhupāda: “Hm? What is that?”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “He wants to know if you believe in God.”
Prabhupāda: “I don’t believe in God? You believe in God. Why I’ll not believe? If you can believe, I can believe also. It is not believing though—it is fact. We are explaining the fact, how the existence of God is there. There is no question of believe or not believe—the fact is fact.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “When we offer something to you, for example to your picture, he wants to know if spiritually, simply by the act of offering, do we become purified, or is the spiritual master actually aware of the offering?”
Prabhupāda: “Yes, yes. The spiritual master is the representative of God. Whatever you offer to the spiritual master, it goes to God.”
Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja: “His point is, is the spiritual master actually conscious of our activities?”
Prabhupāda: “The spiritual master may not be conscious, but God is conscious, and through God he is also conscious.”
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