Room Conversation with Dṛṣṭadyumna’s Parents , New York , 1976-07-14

Rāmeśvara: If we have any qualification, it is from you, Śrīla Prabhupāda.


yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ

It is bhagavad-bhakti which makes one qualified.

Rāmeśvara: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: Bhagavad-bhakti is so nice that one becomes qualified.

Rāmeśvara: Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Now, things are becoming graver. Very soberly consider, and do the needful. It may not be broken. Always keep in mind. We are growing; There will be so many troubles, that’s a fact, that it must be very gravely think also.

Devotee: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: So the main editor is impressed?

Rāmeśvara: Yes. We took him to the restaurant, and he ate the prasādam; he liked it. And he asked some very good questions also of myself and Bali-mardana.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Rāmeśvara: I think he has taken so many notes. He was... He knows the system of shorthand, so he was writing everything you said.

Prabhupāda: Hah.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Every word.

Prabhupāda: Expert at everything.

Rāmeśvara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Journalist.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, he’s a journalist.

Prabhupāda: Unless one is expert journalist, he cannot...

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: ...be editor.

Prabhupāda: Be editor.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: [referring to a reporter who had interviewed Śrīla Prabhupāda previously] That girl, she was not so...

Hari-śauri: She wasn’t even good for a neophyte.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I was thinking that you might talk about the thirty-four-ounce brain.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Rāmeśvara: That is the biggest controversy.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: If you had said that, it would have created a controversy in the room.

Satsvarūpa: They think that is very unscientific statement.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: And very unfair.

Prabhupāda: No, just see. One who says unfair, all right, let me cut your brain and we’ll see. [laughter] I will show you.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That is the experiment---we will cut your head.

Rāmeśvara: He asked me about, um...

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: We should go. Prabhupāda, he’s holding up the...

Prabhupāda: Hmm? All right.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda.


Devotee (4): Two different types of paper, Śrīla Prabhupāda. For our printing the books in...

[Dṛṣṭadyumna arrives with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. McDonough, and their friends. Sounds of introduction and seats being moved.]

Prabhupāda: Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Mrs. McDonough: Thank you.

Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Mr. McDonough: Your Divine Grace.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this is my father and my mother, and this is Māyeśvara’s father and mother.

Prabhupāda: [laughing] So you are fortunate, you have got such devotee son.

Mrs. McDonough: Thank you.

Prabhupāda: They... He’ll do the best service to the family by becoming devotee. By his activities you will also be delivered.

Mr. McDonough: Yes.

Prabhupāda: God is so kind that he delivers the father and mother, his father, mother, even though they have not done any... It is special concession. Just like the government = if a soldier dies in the battlefield, the government takes care of the whole family. Is it not? Similarly, anyone who has become a devotee, Kṛṣṇa takes care of the whole family.

Mr. McDonough: That’s reassuring. I think I need help, sir. [laughter] Well, we feel our son is very fortunate to be so active and involved here.

Prabhupāda: Unless you are fortunate, how you can get such fortunate son? You are also fortunate.

Mrs. McDonough: How long are you going to be in New York City?

Prabhupāda: About a week more.

Mrs. McDonough: Uh-huh. And where will you go from here?

Prabhupāda: London.

Mrs. McDonough: London. Are you traveling all the time?

Prabhupāda: Yes, practically.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: And although he’s traveling constantly and giving so much advice, he’s written all these books. Śrīla Prabhupāda, our parents have read your Bhagavad-gītā. My mother especially, she makes many notes and underlines.

Prabhupāda: How do you like it?

Mrs. McDonough: I like it very... It gives me a great deal to think about, and, ah, some I don’t quite understand, because I think you need instructions; you need someone...

Prabhupāda: What is that point?

Mrs. McDonough: ...and they can explain...

Prabhupāda: Just take the point from the book. What is that point?

Hari-śauri: If you like, if there is any question you can remember now, you can ask Prabhupāda.

Mrs. McDonough: Well, right at this moment I can’t... I read it every, about once every month I’ll pick it up and read, and... You can’t... I read just a little at a time. And I try to understand. I get sometimes confused, over the Arjuna and the fighting and justifying war. That seems to conflict with your principle of peace. And that confuses me, because there’s a great deal of fighting and interplay among the Deity, and yet in the end they’re forgiven by Kṛṣṇa. And I wonder what did they do to deserve forgiveness. That confuses me.

Prabhupāda: I claim forgiveness?

Hari-śauri: She can’t underst... Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness policy is live peaceful life, so she cannot understand how Arjuna could be considered a devotee and be favored by Kṛṣṇa when he’s fighting on the battlefield, when he has to fight his relatives.

Prabhupāda: No. He, as devotee, he did not like to fight with his relatives.

Mrs. McDonough: Aha.

Prabhupāda: Do you remember that point? [to devotee:] Find out.

Hari-śauri: Hmm. There’s this section here = "Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?"

Mrs. McDonough: So that was the point.

Hari-śauri: Hmm. It is Arjuna had that doubt himself.

Prabhupāda: So, so your point, that how a devotee can be engaged... He was not willing to engage in fighting. Devotee is always very kind and merciful. The devotee does not like to fight. But when there is need of fighting, one has to, even though one does not like. Just like the government wants somebody to be hanged. That does not mean that government is unkind to that person, is it? When a man is ordered by the government that "This man should be hanged," does it mean the government is unkind to him?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: You follow?

Mrs. McDonough: No, I don’t quite understand.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: In other words, if government orders a man to be hanged...

Mrs. McDonough: Hmm.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: ...does that mean that the government is unkind to that man?

Mrs. McDonough: Well, it depends on what he ordered him to be hanged for. Why was he ordered? What was the reason for him being ordered?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: So their question is...

Prabhupāda: So anyway, government is authority. There must be sufficient reason; otherwise why government should order some of the citizens to be hanged? Government is not partial---the government is very kind to somebody and rude to some other. That is not government’s policy. But still, government orders that "This man should be hanged." Why?

Mr. McDonough: Well, obviously for something he did.

Prabhupāda: Hah? Yes. That is justice. The high court judge, he gives decree to somebody that "This man must get one million dollars." And he gives another judgment that "This man should be hanged." Is the high court judge prejudiced?

Mr. McDonough: No, but it has some responsibility.

Prabhupāda: It is justice. It is justice. When you understand this point, that this high court judge is distributing justice, then he’s above criticism.

Mr. McDonough: For the common good.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mr. McDonough: For the common good.

Prabhupāda: Common good. So we should not study simply by the external feature; we must know what is behind this judgment. High court judge does not require to be unjust to somebody; otherwise his name, "Justice," is useless. So God’s business is,

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām

Any government, either you take this little government or this big government, there are two things = to give protection to the honest and to give punishment to the dishonest. That is required for the matter of justice. [aside:] Go on.


paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge

"In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium."

Prabhupāda: Purport.

Hari-śauri: "According to the Bhagavad-gītā, a sādhu, or holy man, is a man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person may appear to be irreligious, but if he has the qualifications of Kṛṣṇa consciousness wholly and fully, he is to be understood to be a sādhu. And duṣkṛtām applies to one who does not care for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such miscreants, or duṣkṛtām, are described as foolish and the lowest of mankind, even though they may be decorated with mundane education, whereas another person who is one hundred percent engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is accepted as a sādhu, even though such a person may neither be learned nor well cultured. As far as the atheistic are concerned, it is not necessary for the Supreme Lord to appear as He is to destroy them, as He did with the demons Rāvaṇa and Kaṁsa. The Lord has many agents who are quite competent to vanquish demons. But the Lord especially descends to appease His unalloyed devotees, who are always harassed by the demoniac. The demon harasses the devotee, even though the latter may happen to be his kin. Although Prahlāda Mahārāja was the son of Hiraṇyakaśipu, he was nonetheless persecuted by his father; although Devakī, the mother of Kṛṣṇa, was the sister of Kaṁsa, she and her husband Vasudeva were persecuted only because Kṛṣṇa was to be born of them. So Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared primarily to deliver Devakī rather than to kill Kaṁsa, but both were performed simultaneously. Therefore it is said here that to deliver the devotee and vanquish the demon miscreants, the Lord appears in different incarnations.

"In Caitanya-caritāmṛta of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, the following verses summarize these principles of incarnation:

sṛṣṭi-hetu yei mūrti prapañce avatare
sei īśvara-mūrti 'avatāra' nāma dhare
māyātīta paravyome sabāra avasthāna
viśve avatari' dhare 'avatāra' nāma

[Cc. Madhya 20.263-264]

"The avatāra, or incarnation of God, descends from the kingdom of God for material manifestation. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatāra. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When they descend to the material creation, they assume the name avatāra.

"There are different kinds of avatāras, such as puruṣāvatāras..."

Prabhupāda: Avatāra means "one who comes down." Go on.

Hari-śauri: "There are various kinds of avatāras, such as puruṣāvatāra, guṇāvatāra, līlāvatāra, śakty-āveśa avatāra, manvantara-avatāra and yugāvatāra---all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Kṛṣṇa is the primeval Lord, the fountainhead of all avatāras. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descends for the specific purpose of mitigating the anxieties of the pure devotees, who are very anxious to see Him in His original Vṛndāvana pastimes. Therefore, the prime purpose of the Kṛṣṇa avatāra is to satisfy His unalloyed devotees.

"The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the Age of Kali. As stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the incarnation in the age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who spread the worship of Kṛṣṇa by the saṅkīrtana movement [congregational chanting of the holy names] and spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of saṅkīrtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya, as the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is described secretly but not directly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures, such as the Upaniṣads, Mahābhārata, Bhāgavatam, etc. The devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa are much attracted by the saṅkīrtana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatāra of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but He delivers them by the causeless mercy of the Lord."

Mrs. McDonough: I have a question. Why was the school that you had in Texas moved to India?

Prabhupāda: It is not. It is there.

Mrs. McDonough: It is still in Texas?

Hari-śauri: Yes. It’s just that rather than have one central school, now we have more regional schools in various parts of the world as well as America.

Mrs. McDonough: Oh. So the school is still in Texas, then?

Hari-śauri: Oh, yes.

Prabhupāda: Small scale.

Mrs. McDonough: I see. Oh, was it originally a big school here in the United States?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Right. There was one school for all the children.

Mrs. McDonough: Oh, I see.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Now we have schools on our farms.

Mrs. McDonough: So the children of the...

Prabhupāda: Big, big scale, the government imposes so many rules and regulations that perhaps it is impossible. Therefore we are keeping small scale.

Mrs. McDonough: So about how many students would you have in Texas now?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Students are there; they are distributed now. And Texas is also going on. Because American government, they, for schools..., these... What is it called? Dormitory?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yes, they require dormitory standards.

Prabhupāda: Yes, they prescribe that "It should be like this, it should be like this..." This way... So many standards. Therefore we have reduced the scale. Not large scale, but small scale.

Mrs. McDonough: Must be [indistinct].

Prabhupāda: You have been in Texas?

Mr. McDonough: Yes, Dallas.

Prabhupāda: You have been there? No?

Mrs. McDonough: No, I haven’t been. I was just wondering how many students you have.

Hari-śauri: Twenty; twenty or thirty. Something like that.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: We are operating a school on our farm in Pennsylvania. There is also one on the farm in West Virginia.

Mr. McDonough: I was wondering why... I know you sent people down to Madison Square Garden last night, and they’re going down there again tonight, and they’re up there at the Yankee Stadium... And in this morning’s paper I thought you got a very bad press, because they lumped you in with hippies and lippies and everything else. And what is your purpose in sending devotees to rallies?

Prabhupāda: Which paper?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: I don’t know. I never saw it.

Hari-śauri: Which paper is that?

Mr. McDonough: In the Times this morning.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Oh.

Mr. McDonough: The Times this morning. They said that the lippies and the hippies and the Hare Kṛṣṇas were down there yelling obscenities and everything else now.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: We weren’t yelling obscenities.

Mr. McDonough: No, I’m saying. But this is, this is the kind of press you got. I was wondering what you are trying to accomplish by sending the devotees...

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Well, I think that it will change tonight, because we actually had a very good interview on the TV, with one of our leading devotees. And tonight they’ve invited us to come back, and all three networks are going to perform..., are going to film our chanting.

Mr. McDonough: Yes.

Mrs. McDonough: Tonight?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yes.

Mrs. McDonough: On TV tonight? What time?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yeah, well I don’t know for sure what time it will be shown. On all three stations.

Mr. McDonough: And it will probably be re-broadcast.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yeah, sometimes they lump us in with all the other groups.

Mr. McDonough: That’s what I say. You get a very bad press that way.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: But those who are actually sincere will understand that this is just bad press.

Mr. McDonough: Mm-hmm. I’ve got a copy of the paper downstairs. You’d better get the article, find out who has the byline, get a hold of them and get a little instruction...

Hari-śauri: This is the becoming our policy now, because sometimes the press are not very fair to us.

Mrs. McDonough: Well, I would say that is a very good example.

Hari-śauri: So we’d like to write back and explain what we’re actually doing. It’s very difficult, because of the spiritual nature of the movement, it’s very difficult for a materialist to understand what we’re actually doing. So sometimes they put us contained within another movement.

Mr. McDonough: Well, I would like to understand. What is your purpose for going to rallies like that?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: We are going there to perform this saṅkīrtana, distributing free food that’s offered in the temple to the Deity, because there is spiritual benefit derived from eating this food. And also...

Mr. McDonough: To the people who are there.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yes, the cookies and sweets.

Mr. McDonough: Mm-hmm.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: ...and also performing this chanting, which actually, if one listens, is very beautifully done with cymbals and drums and many voices. Its like in a church choir, very beautiful chanting the names of God. Because if anyone hears these names of God it will cleanse the heart, and also this, we are giving to all the Democrat delegates and all the people there literatures that explain our movement.

Mr. McDonough: Well, I think you write them, and get back to the paper.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Actually, in New York City I think is the most favorable place in the world for us. We just received from the police a letter wishing to reprint an article with His Divine Grace and an interview with the police chief in Chicago.

Mr. McDonough: Mm-hmm.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: They want to now print this in their police journal for all the New York policemen, because the comments His Divine Grace made on how the policemen could stop crime in society were very much appreciated by the police. So we are...

Prabhupāda: They have published that?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yes, they will publish that article, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: Where is that?

Hari-śauri: I think once... I think you saw that before. They asked for permission to reprint that article. Maybe in Hawaii. Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja had...

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Mostly in Chicago.

Mr. McDonough: It was in Back to Godhead. I think I read it.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yeah, you read the article. So the local policemen here, the editor of the policemen’s paper, he has read that article, and he wants to print it now in his journal for all the policemen in New York.

Prabhupāda: That’s nice.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: And actually the policemen here, they like the devotees. They never harass us, and even though sometimes we hand out food without permit, they don’t bother us. They are very friendly towards us.

Mrs. McDonough: Is there any way that you can get on good terms with a reporter so that whenever you have publicity, you can go straight to this person, not that you are going to get...

Dṛṣṭadyumna: We have hired a public relations firm, which is... Just like there is a Newsweek reporter coming... Or came?

Hari-śauri: Came today, and Newsday also.

Mrs. McDonough: And he is going to cover your parade?

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Right. Oh, the parade will be covered by all the TV stations and newspapers. So I think by this counterpropaganda, that will minimize the effect of these little...

Mr. McDonough: Yes. You have to combat the tendency for people who lump the Moonies and the this and the that together, you know. Everybody asks me how does the Kṛṣṇa movement feel about the Moonie movement.

Hari-śauri: Yes. At the moment they’re thinking we are some cult; they don’t understand the spiritual value. This is not some concoction. Just like Śrīla Prabhupāda always quotes from Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And he’s not translating these books as a pastime; the purports there are very serious. If anyone reads them, then they will understand that this is very serious and that actually there is some real spiritual benefit.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: You saw that book, "Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is an Authorized Movement"---I just gave my parents a pamphlet---and you saw all the recommendations from all the professors, for these books. So that immediately separates us from all these other groups which have no substantial philosophy or any type of authority or historical cultural reference. They are just modern-day creations of some... Who knows what their motivations are, these men.

Mrs. McDonough: Well, there was an article in Readers Digest within the last eighteen months or so, and I’m not sure, but I believe they listed four counter-cultures.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Four groups, right.

Mrs. McDonough: ...and I believe that the Hare Kṛṣṇas were listed with the Moonies.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Yeah, we were listed with the four. But I think as these groups drop by the way...

Prabhupāda: We have got standing orders for our books from so many libraries.

Hari-śauri: This is the one thing about our movement that is different from everyone else, that every leading professor in every top university in the world is accepting standing orders of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, because they very much appreciate the scholarship and the learning and the wisdom and the practical value of these books.

Mrs. McDonough: But these books are all different translations, aren’t they?

Hari-śauri: Hmm. Just like this is the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. You can also get many other versions of Bhagavad-gītā, but Śrīla Prabhupāda’s called it Bhagavad-gītā As It Is because he’s a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, so he can actually explain what Kṛṣṇa’s intentions are in the Bhagavad-gītā when He speaks it. Whereas a person who has his own ulterior motives, he simply changes everything that Kṛṣṇa says to prepare his own philosophy. He utilizes the fame of the Bhagavad-gītā as a philosophical text so that he can become a famous philosopher or a politician or whatever, like this. But Prabhupāda’s presenting the Gītā as it is. It means that if you read it, you will become a devotee, and that’s practical, ’cause before Prabhupāda came there were no devotees. Six hundred editions of Bhagavad-gītā in the West, and not one single devotee ever came from any of them. But as soon as Prabhupāda started to speak what it actually was, immediately so many hundreds of devotees are coming, and like that.

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Also, there is a difference in the quality of these disciples. These other groups, they don’t have any kind of structure or discipline, whereas Śrīla Prabhupāda has given us four regulative principles to follow, rising early in the morning... They..., none of these groups have the strength to follow any type of discipline. So gradually we see they’re falling by the wayside more and more. And we have practical experience when we are traveling on the buses distributing books, we are going to distribute now one million magazines in the coming six months, and about over three hundred thousand big books---just a hundred men. So the people are well receiving this literature. The other groups, when they approach, they are simply taking from the people some money. But we’re giving literature, valuable literatures, at almost at cost, and people actually appreciate the difference between our presentation and others simply with materialistic motivation.

Prabhupāda: Our mission we are presenting in writing, not that we are saying some superfluous that is entering this ear and going out that ear. No. Our proposition is recorded; you can talk on that basis of that recording.

Hari-śauri: Even in India, one of the criticisms used to be that we weren’t..., we were established in the West but we weren’t there in India, which is our roots. But just in the last three months over two hundred standing orders have been taken in all the Indian universities. So this is substantial evidence that even the Indian scholars are appreciating. Actually, we found in the last two years that the whole Indian population is becoming very appreciative of the activities of ISKCON. And they’re accepting Śrīla Prabhupāda as being an actual spiritual master, not a cheater, not a fake guru. So we... As far as ourselves are concerned, we know that in the coming years, as Dṛṣṭadyumna was saying, gradually we’ll be separated from everyone else, because everyone will understand this is actual..., this is actual benefit here; it is not some cheating bogus religion or some cult, like that. It is practical benefit.

Mr. McDonough: Time is on your side.

Hari-śauri: Oh, yes.

Mr. McDonough: It’s a long-cycle product life. [laughter] Well, I know His Divine Grace is very busy, [indistinct], and I hope you enjoy your stay in our country, and I’m glad that our sons are associated with you. And I hope they follow you and emulate you as they go through life.

Prabhupāda: I am much obliged to the American boys for their co-operation.

Mrs. McDonough: I thank you for being...

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Mr. McDonough: Goodbye, sir.

Prabhupāda: Give this garland, one garland, to your father.

Mr. McDonough: Oh, reminds me of when I was in India. [laughter]

Hari-śauri: Jaya. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

[leaving, and final indistinct words]

Dṛṣṭadyumna: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Hari-śauri: I’ll do it. You go down...

Prabhupāda: Yes, go with your father. A good father.

Hari-śauri: Very nice. He’s very favorable. I think all the parents, when they actually see their sons, they’re becoming purified, they can understand that... Especially someone like Dṛṣṭadyumna’s father, he’s such a very important..., considered very important man in society. That Seagram’s wine and whiskey company---very, very big, biggest in the world. And he also is the president of some big business organization which stretches out all over the world. He’s very influential man. It’s very... [laughs] As soon as we quote the Bhagavad-gītā or the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then immediately everyone has to listen. Even they may have some objection or some doubt, as soon as we quote the books, then everything is finished; our position is established.


Hari-śauri: Now we have to make strong propaganda against the press.

Prabhupāda: You cannot make propaganda against the press.

Hari-śauri: Well, not against them, but to correct them. [end]