Room Conversation with Sannyāsīs , Vṛndāvana , 1974-03-15
Śyāmasundara: ...seeing how the money is spent, everything is going nice. It is organized, and everything...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Management. Management means everything is in order; otherwise what is the use of assembling together?
Śyāmasundara: If there's no manager, then a sannyāsī should step forward.
Pañcadraviḍa: Sometimes, though, it's hard to maintain this routine. You yourself told the devotees not to go out and purchase excessive amounts of sweets, but that didn't check them. They're still in the sweet shops continually. This morning I woke a...
Pañcadraviḍa: I went to wake a devotee up. I woke him up at a quarter to four. I said, "Prabhu, you want to get up now? It's four o'clock, time to wake." So he didn't wake, but I..., I went ahead and bathed, because I wanted to do that, and then I come back and it was almost time for āratik. So I said, "If you are not going to bathe, at least get out of bed and come to āratik. But he wouldn't even do that much. So what can you do under these conditions? When you tell somebody, you can't physically twist their arm.
Śyāmasundara: But the whole idea is that if you create a spiritual atmosphere that's so enlivening that everyone will want to participate in it, that's the solution. You can't individually treat each person. You have to get the whole thing generated by..., by pouring water on the root.
Prabhupāda: That if you sit down for chanting, they should automatically sit down. If one is next, then you can say, "Why you did not come?" But if there is no chanting, no sitting, simply "Wake up, wake up, wake up," "All right, I'm waking up [indistinct]." But one may wake up or not, you begin your work immediately.
Pañcadraviḍa: We go to the āratik.
Pañcadraviḍa: We go to the..., up into the temple for the āratik, so he stays in bed and sleeps and we go to the āratik.
Prabhupāda: No, that if he stays in the bed, then ask to leave. Yes. Not that fighting.
Hayagrīva: Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Hayagrīva: I just want to say one thing, that this..., then I'll leave, because this is a meeting of the management here. But I saw the boy after he was beaten, and as far as I'm concerned, that was very...
Prabhupāda: [aside:] That I have [indistinct] later.
Hayagrīva: That was very cruel. It looked very cruel to me. It looked like he was beaten with boards. It looked criminal. So, I don't think, uh... If it happened to me I would sue, if that happened to me. The boy's eye could be put out. That's not good, under any circumstance.
Prabhupāda: That we are discussing. That was not a very [indistinct].
Śyāmasundara: The whole thing is that we're sort of at a crisis in India, in terms of our presence here. Our prestige has hit an all-time low simply because of our conduct, that's all. Not because of our teaching, or because we are white, or anything like that. It's just because of our conduct. It's been so bad. Abominable. We don't in any way compare with the Indian sannyāsīs in our conduct. So how can we expect to honor Śrīla Prabhupāda if we conduct ourselves like this. So it's part of our responsibilities as the leaders not to avoid it, not to avoid the other devotees, but to train them now, begin training them.
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is Vaiṣṇava training. Now we should have our routine work. Just like here, punctually, as soon as I see seven, I ask, "When he is coming, [indistinct]?" As soon as it is five, immediately I ask. So there may be more persons, but the routine work must be followed. If somebody is sleeping, the kīrtana is going on, or morning prayer is going on, so he maybe said that "If we sleep like that, then you cannot do it."
Devotee: I said that to that boy previously. I told him not to do...
Prabhupāda: That's all right, but why did you... off something, pour water on his body?
Devotee: Simply to wake him.
Prabhupāda: You should not do anything which may provoke some [indistinct].
Prabhupāda: So, best thing was to say that he is not in good shape; say to me that he is incorrigible. And I could have asked him [indistinct] He would have finished. He may give one day, once, twice; if he does not follow, then you shall ask him just to please leave this place. That's all. That should be offered. We should also... The police said that, when I told him that our regulation is that everyone should get up at four, so he immediately, "I don't see anyone who is rising at four, [indistinct]. Nobody." What can I answer?
Devotee: How can he say that, Śrīla Prabhupāda? How can he see if anyone is rising at four or not?
Prabhupāda: Now here is the [indistinct]. He says that nobody rises early in the morning. Just like yourself.
Śyāmasundara: But he is rising.
Devotee: I am, I am rising.
Prabhupāda: He is rising, but others!
Pañcadraviḍa: Some others are rising. Not..., not all, but some of them are rising.
Śyāmasundara: The whole point is that the sannyāsīs must see that that standard is kept to the highest. That's their job. That's why you've taken...
Prabhupāda: But that should be observed, and peacefully it should be settled. If it is not peacefully settled, the man who will continually disobey, he should be respectfully asked, "Please go." You cannot... That...
Pañcadraviḍa: Who has the authority to say to somebody, "Please go," though?
Pañcadraviḍa: Who has the authority to tell a person, "Please go"? We don't know who. I don't know who has that authority.
Prabhupāda: The president will say. So long I am here, I shall say. [indistinct]
Śyāmasundara: This, this daṇḍa gives authority to the...
Prabhupāda: That gives authority.
Acyutānanda: Not in ISKCON.
Prabhupāda: That gives authority.
Acyutānanda: Not in ISKCON.
Śyāmasundara: Yes it does. In US...
Acyutānanda: No, no it doesn't. They do not respect sannyāsīs. [devotees all talk at once]
Śyāmasundara: Because you may not deserve it, then.
Acyutānanda: Now I'm getting so... The thing is, they may say like that, but behind my back people are talking, saying this...
Prabhupāda: Now if they do not also obey the orders of the sannyāsī, then naturally... But that thing should be brought to the notice of higher, or some official, president. Then steps should be taken, that "If you cannot follow the rules and regulations, then you must leave." It is plain thing. There is no question of fighting. First thing is that a sannyāsī, leader, they should behave themselves according to the rules and regulations, and then ask others to follow. The others who do not follow, once, twice excused; three times, "Please leave." Like that.
Śyāmasundara: If, if he follows strictly the principles, then he'll be automatically respected.
Acyutānanda: Now I wanted to ask somebody to leave, but how does he leave? We have to buy him his ticket or something. There was a boy, one...
Prabhupāda: Leave means he can go to other center.
Acyutānanda: I wanted to ask him to leave, but where would he go? Who will pay for his way out?
Prabhupāda: Then one thing is, that this ultimate, we are canvassing, we are preaching to bring men. To get them out is not our business. That is not our business that, but if he is incorrigible, he is not..., then he must leave. That is... If you are making so much preaching, why, to bring men, not to ask them to go. If for some paltry reason you ask, that is not...
Devotee: This was not a paltry reason.
Prabhupāda: When he is incorrigible. First of all you have to try to correct him and... That is preaching. Our preaching means that people are useless; we have to train them in such a way they may take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is our management. But if he is completely incorrigible, then he will be asked to leave. Otherwise it is not our business that as soon as we see something is being wrong... He must be trained, by our example, by our teaching, by our work. Śānta yaṁ cinvanti kutiḥ[?]. By word, by example, he should be corrected. If I cannot correct him by my words and example, that is also my [indistinct]. Because they are..., they are..., you cannot expect that everyone has come here, sādhu. It is not that. We collect from ordinary men, but we have to make him sādhu. That is preaching. That is preaching. That you have to do tactfully. Not that because one is incorrigible... After trying all our ways, if he is still incorrigible, then you can ask. Not that for paltry reason he cannot be..., "Get out." That "get out," if you make, then everything has to be "get out." That is not the policy. Policy is first of all to correct him. That is preaching. As far as possible by example, by teaching, by everything.
Pañcadraviḍa: Engage him.
Prabhupāda: By engaging. That is our school. It is a school. If a student does not learn nicely, you cannot say, "Get out." As far as possible. But when it is absolutely impossible to correct him, then you have to ask. And if there is money, equal you have to manage some money. What can be done? But I don't think that if we try our best to correct him, this ultimate punishment will be required. [indistinct], after all, human being, and our business is to teach and become ideal ourself. Āpani ācari prabhu jīvere śikhāya [Lord Caitanya]. We have to teach by our personal behavior. If you rise early in the morning, if you take your bath, if you sit down regularly and keep [indistinct], how he can deny? How one can deny? It is not possible. But if I smoke, I ask others not to smoke, that will never be possible. Āpani ācari prabhu jīvere, first of all you have to be. If one is not cleansing, you shall tell me just like I , I [indistinct] this way. We have to do like that. Not that I "Comand, you do this. Oh, you cannot do? Get out." Not that. We show him. After all, our life is sacrificed for teaching, and that teaching means one should behave himself nicely. He cannot say that "You do not [indistinct]." Just like one day in London there was some talks with Nanda-kumāra, you. He was accusing you; you were accusing him. I heard from [indistinct]. So you should do in such a way that he cannot accuse you. If you ask him to rise early in the morning, take your bath, and if you do not take... Of course in some special case. I was taking early bath. Now I do not take, because due to my health. That is preferred... Otherwise, regularly I was taking. Not even hot water. Regularly. This hot water bath I have begun in your country; otherwise I have never taken. Even in severest cold. Here also I am trying to avoid. I am keeping tub of water, sunshine. Whatever little warm it becomes, that's all. So, of course, for special health reason one cannot rise, he is sick and cannot attend; otherwise, everyone should rise early in the morning, take bath and be ready for performing our service by six o'clock or five o'clock. And the kīrtana party, you should know everyone go. It may be small distance, but all our men should go. That will be real benefit. See in the early in the morning. So many parties come.
Śyāmasundara: From three-thirty.
Prabhupāda: Three-thirty. So you behave yourself, and others will follow. What is that? Cleanliness and following the routine work. That is our method. You must be very clean, neat and clean, rise early in the morning. We have got our duties.
Śyāmasundara: Just like yesterday, Dvija-hari came over and he said he couldn't get anyone to clean the temple. No one would clean over at Keśi-ghāṭa. So I said, "Well there are so many sannyāsīs there. Ask them to organize a cleansing party." He said, "Oh, no one will clean. They don't want to do it." So...
Prabhupāda: Why not some..., some people clean like this, you have to get cleaning [indistinct].
Śyāmasundara: If they won't, then you show them how. You..., you do it also.
Acyutānanda: ...because so many people have come and gone. We had a cleaning group, and it left for other parties.
Śyāmasundara: No, but I am just saying, there are many men there who could have cleaned, but they refused to do it because they are following your examples.
Acyutānanda: I'm cleaning my room; I'm cleaning outside also. I don't..., seen it.
Śyāmasundara: I'm not criticizing, I'm just...
Prabhupāda: Anyway, whatever is done is done, you should be followed like that, that āpani ācari prabhu jīvere śikhāya. This should be the principle. One should teach others by behaving himself correctly. Then it will be... Everyone should remain cleansed, everyone should rise early in the morning, begin to work, comes to..., everyone routine work. So then you can ask them, "Why you are not trying? Why you are not..." Then he will accept. [indistinct] But this principle should be followed, āpani ācari prabhu jīvere śikhāya. Is it not?
Acyutānanda: Yes. Well, for myself in particular, I don't think that many people take my words very heavily. There is so much bad talking about me. First they say the songs are māyā, then the tunes are māyā. They have... Behind my back I hear all kinds of things they are saying. So nobody takes my words seriously. Even though I may quote from any scripture right, they don't respect me.
Prabhupāda: What is that māyā? Songs are māyā?
Acyutānanda: As soon as I left Calcutta, then all the bhajanas, they are all, "Oh, that's Gauḍīya Maṭha poison." Then, "Okay, the songs are all right, but the tunes are poison." Now how can I overcome that?
Pañcadraviḍa: I heard something in reference to that. You wrote one of the devotees in Calcutta. You wrote... He came to Bombay, Bhavānanda, and he said..., and he had signed a letter something like, "I pray that I may be engaged in the service of my Guru Mahārāja." And you wrote back, "We are personalists to the letter, so that when we say 'Guru Mahārāja' we always say name, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, or Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. We don't just leave it in..., as vague 'Guru Mahārāja.' " So we were singing, jaya prabhupāda, jaya gurudeva, and he was saying, "Well, that is impersonalist."
Acyutānanda: Also he says "Nitāi-gaura haribol, that is also..., that's māyā." So, what is that?
Pañcadraviḍa: And so he was saying that all these bhajanas, they are..., they are not bona fide, because they are, have...
Prabhupāda: He said = "Gaura haribol is not bona fide?" Who said, bona fide?
Pañcadraviḍa: Oh, not that. He was saying jaya gurudeva, jaya prabhupāda, that is not good.
Pañcadraviḍa: I said, was saying, that is not good, jaya gurudeva, because it does not say who, it just says gurudeva. It could be any gurudeva. So he was criticizing that.
Prabhupāda: Who was criticizing?
Pañcadraviḍa: Bhavānanda. Because of the letter you wrote to him saying that we are personalist to the letter.
Acyutānanda: So it means I am a Māyāvādī, that's what it means.
Śyāmasundara: It's a matter of overall conduct, not just individual, specific things.
Acyutānanda: That overall I'm a Māyāvādī.
Devotee: I find an overall bad atmosphere in India. Resentment against many of the devotees. Party politics and different things like that are going on. It's not limited; it's going on all over India.
Acyutānanda: That's so...
Devotee: Very heavy.
Śyāmasundara: Just like with..., just like with Tamāla Kṛṣṇa. He has the respect of everyone now, because he is doing such a good job of managing, and he's just, he's doing, he's performing nicely his devotional work, and he's getting some results. That's respect. Then you'll get respect. Bali-mardana Mahārāja, he's built up ISKCON Press till it's just like [snaps fingers] that, and everyone touches his feet when they see him. You don't find anyone disrespecting him, because he's performing his duties. You automatically get respect if you perform something nicely. Not just say, "Oh, the atmosphere's bad..."
Prabhupāda: Well, we have got many faults. He can find out. But generally, if I direct nicely, others will follow. That is the principle. I may have some fault, you may have some, that you are not liberated paramahumsa. We are all trying. So generally we should behave very nicely according to the rules and regulations, chanting sixteen rounds, rising early in the morning. Particularly maybe there is some discrepancy here and there. So generally with our..., general rules are [indistinct] common. First of all rising early in the morning, he cleans and be ready for our performances. So these things are followed, chants sixteen rounds, then everything is there.
Pañcadraviḍa: In your lectures you emphasized two aspects must be there = jñāna and renunciation. So some knowledge is there, but that part of the difficulty is that with most of the devotees in every temple in India, is that they have not renounced these dirty things completely. They still are attached to sense gratification even on gross levels. So whether a sannyāsī or anybody interferes with their sense gratification, they tend to not oblige, because they are attached to doing things the way they want. And they think because they are in a foreign country here, a long way from America, where the standards are very rigid, that they can do any manner of nonsense and nobody will check them. And if you try to correct them, then they will only do it behind your back. We have seen this, with the sweet shops, with rising early. Anything that interferes with them doing as..., exactly as they please, they don't want to oblige. And this is in Calcutta, this is in Bombay, and it's happening here in Vṛndāvana. It's not something that's isolated here to the palace, but the devotees all over, they are just behaving on a level of sense gratification, and that's why there is so much rajas guṇa in the temples. So much rajas guṇa.
Prabhupāda: This is a fact. So how to correct it? If you do not correct yourself, how you can correct?
Pañcadraviḍa: Well we..., many of us have tried to correct ourself, and as a result we have been accused of being separatist, simply because we don't want to go along with the nonsense that everybody else is doing, but we want to maintain some standard for ourself, of reading and chanting. Because we don't want to sit down and talk nonsense or do nonsense; and if you try to stop them, they will not stop. So why we should fall down to that level? So we behave as separatist. We go into our room and we'll read, or we'll go into our room and chant, or we'll try and keep ourself clean, or try and do these things. And that is separatism because it's not in... falling into the level of māyā that's going on everywhere else in the temple, engaging in party politics and all these other things. That is... That is what I feel about it. Most of the devotees, they seem out of place.
Prabhupāda: Whatever is done is done. Now, you try to correct others by behaving yourself. Otherwise, there is no need of keeping so many men. We have attempted in Vṛndāvana. A few men may remain here. That's all. Otherwise, it will be not very nice to attract. When people are attracted by seeing your behavior, they are seeing that "Oh, Europeans and Americans, they have got such nice Vaiṣṇavas." They are attracted on that point. But if we are not to the standard point, they will immediately accuse, "Oh, they are..." So that should be corrected. The same principle, āpani ācari prabhu jīvere: we should behave ourselves nicely, then teach others. Then it will be effective. Another---this is general principle---now we have discussed, now we try to follow. Another thing, that Keśi-ghāṭa affair. Shall we make further progress? I acquired that property all this be dropped? What is your opinion? From the circumstances as that is now... Because any temple, it must be nicely, very nicely managed; otherwise you cannot attract. Our Los Angeles temple we want to attract people. So it is so nicely managed, very nicely managed. You have seen. So unless... And that means there must be sufficient bank balance, such a big temple.
Devotee: I don't...
Devotee: I don't think that there's enough people to clean up and manage and keep clean Keśi-ghāṭa. Maybe in the future sometime, but...
Prabhupāda: At the present it is not.
Devotee: It's so big. It's so big.
Devotee (2): Most of the quality of people that are there are... Less people of a higher quality in a smaller place, it would do much more good. Like I was in the Philippines by myself, all alone, but still the work would go on much quicker because I could avoid all of this. I could avoid all of this what with we're having right now. I could avoid it completely because I was..., there was nobody there to cause it---all new people.
Śyāmasundara: Everybody here knows everything. [laughter] Like...
Devotee (2): And it goes up very quickly, because the people are automatically attracted. And then you teach them, you train them. So less Americans and just one or two people who want to manage, and then start with the people here, the Indian people. And as they develop and become strong, then develop a center. It may take a long time, but it would be solid. It will be more solid then. Just bring a bunch of Americans here, and then the whole thing just falls to pieces. And then we ruin our reputation in that particular area where we want to open a...
Prabhupāda: Then what is your suggestion?
Devotee (2): That we start a small center and then develop it gradually, with less..., with less inexperienced people...
Śyāmasundara: We've had a small center here for...
Śyāmasundara: We've had a small center here for nearly a year, eight months.
Devotee (3): Well, we're not saying that it... He's not saying that that's going to succeed, but at least it may not be as much of a travesty. Whether or not we're going to succeed at all in India in getting Indians to listen to what we are saying, that's another whole point.
Devotee (2): At least we won't be killing ourselves. At least we won't be making it so that in the future we will have to leave India. We'll be asked to leave. Our visas will be taken away, and we'll be asked to leave. These things can happen very easily. It is not a..., it is not a... It's not an impossible thing. There are places in the world where we can't go already---Singapore. These things have happened. So I feel we should be very, very careful, selective, about who we let manage...
Prabhupāda: At Singapore our men cannot enter.
Devotee (2): This has happened.
Devotee (3): There's many places that, although legally we can enter, still people don't like us, you know.
Prabhupāda: That Singapore, legally our men cannot enter.
Śyāmasundara: They wouldn't even let you in.
Devotee (3): I think that his point... I think we spoke about this in Manila, was that anywhere in the world, in, as a general policy, from what I've experienced, is that if one or two people are sent to an area, or are in an area, and they are given full authority to try to get that population to engage in bhakti-yoga, engage in this process, that that gradual development with the local people, that that has more effect than...
Śyāmasundara: Yeah, it's more successful.
Devotee (3): ...than if we bring in a big party and try to do a big thing. And then, then the person has to get strong who's doing it. If I have to go somewhere, then I have to get strong for myself; I have to, you know, start from scratch.
Śyāmasundara: Yeah, I know the difficulty they're having, sannyāsīs have here, because many of these devotees think it's more like a tour, vacation, to come to India. They don't have to follow the rules and regulations...
Śyāmasundara: ...they're only here temporarily. They're just passing through. So it's very difficult, I know, but still we have to try to train somehow...
Prabhupāda: Therefore we cannot establish very big establishment. Because they come like a tourist.
Devotee (2): And if the temple is constructed, it would have to be more rigidly controlled. It would have to be managed by people that by their preaching and by their Kṛṣṇa consciousness can make it so that the people who come and stay in that temple will want to practice bhakti. It can't be a negative ass thing. The negative motivation is not going to keep a person.
Prabhupāda: Now, such camps, because you are not established, so under the circumstances, what is to be done? To reduce our devotees?
Śyāmasundara: We have our base in Calcutta. We have our base in Bombay. Those two places.
Śyāmasundara: Those are important cities in the world.
Prabhupāda: Vṛndāvana, as long as our temple is not constructed, we are minimized. So therefore automatically there is no question of negotiating this property.
Devotees: No, no.
Devotee (2): Because not everyone is going to want to be, uh, you know... If the temple's not there where the devotees can just come and fall into the schedule and program and activities...
Devotee (2): ...then they'll not want to maintain any standard themselves. They just fall back immediately into their old habits, naturally.
Śyāmasundara: Of course, if we could, we could enter the negotiation and save it for a future date, because it won't be available.
Devotee (3): I don't think we need to worry about that.
Devotee (3): I think that if we..., if we don't worry about the material thing at all, that if we do the sp..., we start and we have a spiritual base, that it will grow naturally and Kṛṣṇa will provide us with any material facilities we need. We don't need to try to get things for the future.
Devotee (3): If we have devotees then...
Śyāmasundara: That's why I think Kṛṣṇa doesn't want us to have it, really.
Devotee (2): What's the use of having a giant temple if, if we all... We have seen that all over India. They have giant temples, but no...
Prabhupāda: No management.
Devotee (2): No management.
Pañcadraviḍa: As far as the men, since I think a lot are even... Some cases they are sending problem cases to India, people they can't manage in the States. I think maybe if you divide, if you actually... Since in the States, you've divided the States into territories, and certain men have certain territories. If you maybe appoint certain people in charge of territories of India and ask them which men they want, then they will tell you who they want, and the rest they can send away or send somewhere else. Then you'll have solid centers, because the men will actually be desired.
Śyāmasundara: That's a good idea.
Prabhupāda: That's good. So you make like that.
Śyāmasundara: That's what... Didn't Śaṅkarācārya do that, divide up four parts?
Prabhupāda: But we are... Śaṅkarācārya was concerned in India. But we are preaching all over the world. Therefore we have divided four..., twelve. Twelve zones. My idea is like that, Śaṅkarācārya.
Śyāmasundara: But India itself could be divided even a few parts for preaching purposes.
Prabhupāda: That is already divided = Calcutta, Bombay, Māyāpur, Vṛndāvana.
Pañcadraviḍa: So the men in charge, they could say which men they wanted to keep, and the rest they could send somewhere else. That way you would have men who were willing to work on the project. And if they were not willing to work, they could also be sent somewhere else.
Prabhupāda: So, make something like that, because I cannot tax my brain with the administration.
Devotee (3): Yes.
Śyāmasundara: Well, Tamāla Kṛṣṇa will be in Hyderabad, and we can ask him to do it.
Prabhupāda: Weak, weak I am. Physically I am weak, and besides that, if I have to see to the administration then I cannot think of writing books and how to present our philosophy to be understandable by the people. Therefore the administration is divided. Now you do, little intelligently. We have got still respect. Keep our standard. The people will like us. People wants to give us help, just like this big sannyāsī, one of the biggest sannyāsīs, Gangeshvara[?], he is attracted. He is a man of immense resource; men and money he has. Immense resource.
Śyāmasundara: We have to be careful not to...
Śyāmasundara: ...not to offend these people, the...
Śyāmasundara: ...spiritual leaders.
Prabhupāda: So, not offense. There is no question of offending. We should behave ourself very nicely. Offending or pleasing, that is [indistinct]. You cannot offend everyone, neither you can please everyone. That is not possible. You keep to your standard. You keep to your standard. Then everything..., everybody will see, "Oh, that is nice." Offending, you cannot please everybody. That is not possible, even if you hear very nicely. Caitanya Mahāprabhu could not please everybody. He had to start civil disobedience. Even Gandhi was killed. That is not possible. You cannot please everybody. But you must stick to your own principle and behave nicely. That's all. All right. [end]