Room Conversation , New Māyāpur , 1976-08-02
Prabhupāda: Hmm? You can say?
Harikeśa: There are two sons? And a friend asked what was his... One was very dark... [laughter] Not Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Indian system is, the bridegroom... So when the man went to see the bridegroom, his father called his son, bridegroom's father, "My dear Gaurachand, please come here." So he came. He was just like a black Negro. And gauracānda means fair complexion. So one of the party came to see. So, "This is in your country gauracānda, so where is kālacānda, can you bring him?" So that is the respectable gentleman, and what is debauch?
Harikeśa: Kālacānda means black, very black. Gaura means fair.
Prabhupāda: When Gaurachand was called, a black Negro came. So if Kalachand is called, who will come then? [laughter]
Hari-śauri: There seems to be such an amazing repertoire of stories and analogies in the Bengali language, isn't there? So many.
Prabhupāda: In Bengal the, just like here, so many, black mixed up with white. In Bengal and Madras, so many Dravidian have been mixed up with the Āryan. Therefore in Bengal and Madras you'll find many black.
Prabhupāda: Dravidian culture. Dravida. They are non-Āryans. Just like these Africans, they are not Āryans. Now they are mixing up with European and American. In India, it was, one from the higher section, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, they will be fair complexion. Śūdras, black. So if a brāhmaṇa becomes black, then he's not accepted as brāhmaṇa. Kāla-bahu. And if a śūdra becomes fair, then he's to be known, understood, that he's not pure śūdra. Although we do not take very..., but this brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya by birth, but still, we have seen, those who are coming purely from high caste family, their behavior and śūdras' behavior, different. The family culture. Although spiritually culture lost, still, the family culture keeps them separate.
Hari-śauri: Still we still met a lot of people in India who are actually following the regulative principles just as a matter of social training. But they're becoming very few now.
Prabhupāda: In, actually, in Bengal, Bengal has lost its original culture. In other provinces the brāhmaṇa class, they are keeping very strictly the original culture. Even a brāhmaṇa would not accept foodstuff prepared by his wife, because woman is considered śūdra. The woman, when she becomes wife of a brāhmaṇa, then she is called brāhmaṇī, but she's not offered brahminical culture. She remains as śūdra. So therefore a strict brāhmaṇa does not accept foodstuff prepared by his wife. Still there are in U.P. The wife will arrange for cooking, and he'll sit down and cook dāl, cāpāṭis. Then he will eat, and whatever remains, that is there, that will be taken by her. But he will not take foodstuff cooked by his even wife. And if there are several brāhmaṇas, so each one of them will cook his own food. In Calcutta, mostly the rich men they used to keep the collector's darwans. They are called darwans, means guard, policemen, guard. They're all, very big, big brāhmaṇa family, they used to take, accept the job. But each of them, even in police, I have seen, they are cooking separately. They take bath thrice, cook their own food---very strictly. The government had to give them a big hall for cooking. So it will not take much space, say, little space, one small oven and demarcated = "This, you see, is mine, and then I, you get, this is yours, this is yours." So within that space they'll sit down and cook dāl, cāpāṭi, rice, one vegetable, and cook, and immediately all the utensils will be cleansed and washed, and the space washed and kept. You'd like to eat, they cook so nicely, although simple. And I have got practical experience, if you cook your own food, whatever it may be, it is healthy.
Harikeśa: That a fact, yes.
Prabhupāda: And if you do it very carefully, then you'll never get disease. Take simple food, neat and clean, you'll not get disease. So everything depends on eating to keep the health proper. But these things can be simplified when the life is simple. If I go to work in office at this time, then so many things become topsy-turvied. But if you depend on yourself, either as a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya, you haven't got to depend on others, then you can do timely. Now we have to go fifty miles at least to attend office. In your country at least, this is the system. They are coming from Long Island, Liberty Island. In New York I have seen. Three, four hours to go to work, and again three, four hours to come to home. And work there eight hours. Then what value? He's shattered. He has no other solace than wine, and he has no other culture. No family, dog friend [laughter] and television idea, that's all. What his life? Every man has got a dog friend because he has no family. Men, women and television, engagement, I have seen it, all this, in New York.
Hari-śauri: If they do go out, it's just to go and get drunk.
Prabhupāda: And still, our landlord in 26 Second Avenue, if there is anything wrong in the apartment, he would personally do it. He could spare money to call a worker. He was alone. I don't think he had any dog, but he was always seeing the television, and when there was some complaint, he would come and work on. He's landlord. And so many tenant, there is complaint always. Old house. That house was not very good, very old house.
Hari-śauri: There was many stories?
Prabhupāda: I think five, six stories.
Hari-śauri: Oh. You just had the shop at the bottom.
Prabhupāda: Bottom shop and the first floor, I took my...
Harikeśa: With a garden.
Prabhupāda: Not a garden, but there was some vegetables.
Hari-śauri: Few plants.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Not bad. For me, it was very convenient, come down immediately to my down storefront. And some boys were living in the storefront. There was a sink in the storefront, and for toilet I allowed them sometimes in my bathroom. Not some; only two or one. So he was washing my dishes also. In this way, I was living.
Hari-śauri: That was Mukunda, or somebody...?
Prabhupāda: No, that was another boy. He was drunkard. [laughter]
Harikeśa: Yogeśvara has many pictures of those meetings at 26 Second Avenue, with Hayagrīva with the beard and the long hair hitting this... There's pictures of all those meetings, photographs, of Hayagrīva with the beard and long hair hitting the gong next to you.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Long hairs almost everyone. This Umāpati was also one of them.
Harikeśa: He said he was eating meat up until the point you gave him the beads.
Harikeśa: He was eating meat up until the point you gave him the beads on the day of initiation.
Harikeśa: No, Umāpati. He said then, next..., from that point he gave up.
Prabhupāda: Yes. They were trained up in such a way from the beginning of their life. I have seen small children, they give them powdered meat mixed with hot water and spoon. Is it not? What can be done? Poor child.
Hari-śauri: They made them eat meat. My nephew used to refuse, so they used to force him to eat it.
Prabhupāda: Just see, by nature refusing, and by force...
Hari-śauri: Then they develop a taste. My mother said that I used to refuse as well, but then they made me. Now I got a taste.
Prabhupāda: So in my childhood, when I was one and one-half year old, I suffered from typhoid, and the Dr. Kartik Chandra Bose, he said that he, "Please give him chicken juice." So my father refused = "No, no, we cannot." "No, no, he has to be given. Now he has become very weak." "No, no. I cannot allow." "It is necessary. He become... Don't mind, I shall prepare in my own house and send. You simply..." So my father thought it was essential, so it was sent from his house, and when it was given to me, immediately I began to vomit. [laughter] And my father threw it away, and when the doctor asked that this was the... "No, no, then don't bother." This story I heard. This allopathetic system of medicine introduced all these things in India. Otherwise they did not know.
Hari-śauri: What system?
Prabhupāda: This meat-eating, chicken juice, tea---these things are unknown to Indians. No, why India? By nature, you say that you refused meat. Although you were born of a father and mother meat-eaters, still. What a horrible civilization they have made. He's human being born; making him animal by culture. Instead of making him more cultured towards the spiritual life, making him redirected again to animal life. This is the civilization, Western civilization.
Hari-śauri: Yes, there's not much choice. Not any choice.
Prabhupāda: These children are therefore fortunate. Yesterday I was astonished how these children were receiving just like friend, laughing and something saying. You have seen it? Yes. As an old friend. Their mother pushes, they would not come, but they were very glad to see me.
Hari-śauri: Everybody's very glad to see you. [laughs]
Prabhupāda: I was astonished, that how these children take me as friend.
Hari-śauri: I don't think that's too difficult. You're the best friend for everyone.
Prabhupāda: No, but after all, they are children. How they can take it as it is? So they are fortunate children, and their parents and everyone should take care of them. A very difficult age.
Hari-śauri: You always said they're our asset for the future.
Prabhupāda: If they can be trained up, they can become very good preacher, each one of them. And they can make hundreds of devotees. In this way we can expand.
Prabhupāda: Are you realizing that there is no civilization? Actually civilization we are introducing. Except Āryan civilization, Vedic civilization, there is no civilization---animal society. What do you think? Are you convinced about it?
Harikeśa: Oh, yes. Every time I walk out the door I'm convinced. And when you come back to the temple, it's like marvelous, the spiritual world. No matter what's going on, may be bad, may be good, doesn't matter. It's very relieving.
Prabhupāda: Civilization means to push the man forward for perfection. That is civilization.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Society and economic condition, everything should be so arranged that this human child should be gradually pushed for perfection of life, go back home, back to Godhead. This is civilization. And modern civilization is "Don't care for what is going to happen. So long you live, eat, drink, be merry, enjoy," that's all. Sense gratification. This is called nāstika-vāda. Very dangerous. And that is going on all over the world. How a gentleman can live in that society?
Hari-śauri: They can't. Gradually people...
Prabhupāda: Therefore my Guru Mahārāja used to say, "This is not a place for a gentleman to live." Formerly, therefore, they used to go away from the society, go in the forest, to give up this bad association. Live alone.
Hari-śauri: Practically speaking, that's what we've done. By your establishing these temples, it's given us someplace to go where we can get out of Kali-yuga.
Prabhupāda: Therefore our temples should be very carefully managed, it may not become again another pandemonium.
Harikeśa: Pan-demon. Pan-demon-ium.
Hari-śauri: Says that in the dictionary.
Harikeśa: Place of demons. Pandemonium
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa has given us many nice places. People can live very comfortably. There will be no scarcity. Cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness very seriously. That is wanted. Therefore in this old age I am struggling so much to see that things are going on nicely. But so far I have seen, it is going on nice. But maybe the management is lacking. It may be. The māyā is very strong. So be careful. All, you are all old students, and try to organize more and more solidly. The children should be taken..., you can give lectures to the mothers, that children should be taken care of. They are future hope. Child is the father of man. They say that we escape. What we are escaping? We have got all types of social society. There is gṛhastha, there is sannyāsī, there is brahmacārī. Whichever position is suitable, you accept and keep yourself sincerely, that's all. Unnatural there is nothing. Is there anything unnatural? And if they think that we're prohibiting this meat-eating, this is unnatural, that we cannot help. That is not unnatural, that is natural.
Harikeśa: I notice that these things, they are very unnatural. These four sinful things, very unnatural.
Prabhupāda: Unnatural, yes. What for smoking? What for drinking? How nicely they sit down on the ground and take prasādam. Why there is need of table, chair and these dishes and fork and knife and so on, so on? Why?
Harikeśa: It's hard to cut the meat. You need a good surface. [laughs]
Prabhupāda: Our Bon Mahārāja, once I was eating in his festival and... He's a bara-sahīb. So he has given fork and knife. [laughs] So I did not know, I do not remember even which way I took fork. So Bon Mahārāja began to criticize, "You are going to foreign country, you do not know which hand you have to take this fork and knife." So I told him, "I am not going to learn all these things. I am going to teach them something else, to forget it. [laughter] You went to learn all these things. But I am not going to learn anything."
Harikeśa: What did he say to that? [laughter]
Prabhupāda: It was our...
Hari-śauri: He's following the line of Vivekananda.
Prabhupāda: Just see how rascal they are. My Guru Mahārāja every step condemned this Ramakrishna Mission and Vivekananda. He said frankly that if there are any impediments for our movement, that is this Gandhi and Vivekananda. He said frankly. Hodgepodge. Gandhi's also hodgepodge. He was a politician, and in politics he mixed some spiritual ideas, hodgepodge. And this Vivekananda was also politician. His name was recorded in the government as "sannyāsī politician." Because after returning from America, he began to preach to make the poor man rich, and these weak, fatty, and so on, exercise. So the government took it that he's, under the dress of a sannyāsī, he's preaching social and political upliftment. So his name was recorded as "sannyāsī politician." And his name was also recorded "political saint," Gandhi. After all, the British government, they were very intelligent. They could understand what is what. Otherwise, how they were managing this big empire? Very intelligent, there is no doubt about it. And actually they were intelligent. When they were managing, we were happy, actually. Nobody can deny it. Although they were exploiting. But nobody could understand. Everyone was feeling happy. And as soon as they left, everyone is unhappy. That distinction I can give evidence. I can, from my personal experience. Things were very, very nice. Calcutta, oh, it was so nice city. Now it is hell. It is same Calcutta. Why it is now hell? Hidden[?] Garden, that was a nice garden. So... Everywhere hell, only hell. Calcutta was considered the nicest city in India, better than Bombay, but it has become now hell. The streets, especially those quarters in our temple.
Hari-śauri: I think Calcutta was voted the second dirtiest city in the world.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Ācchā? Just see. And it was next to London. People used to say, "In the British Empire, first London, second Calcutta." And now it is...?
Hari-śauri: Second dirtiest city.
Prabhupāda: And who is the first?
Hari-śauri: Karachi. [laughs]
Prabhupāda: Both of them got svarāja, Pakistan and India. That means after getting svarāja... Karachi was one of the first-class city, yes. They cannot manage. Unfit persons, they are on the top of government.
Hari-śauri: Seems everything is devolving at a phenomenal rate. Every decade that passes, everything breaks down twice as fast. Just in the last twenty years or thirty years everything has become so much degraded and...
Prabhupāda: No, I have got experience. I am Calcutta-born. What Calcutta was in our childhood days and what is now, I know everything. How we were happy during British days and what is now position, I can speak from my personal experience. We do not belong to the richest class nor to the poor class---middle class. So we have got practical experience. My father's income was not more than 250 rupees. How opulent we were. At least, there was no question of need. We were receiving daily four, five guests, and my father was functioning so many festivals, and he was asking... My father gave in marriage four daughters. There was no difficulty. The income was not more than 250 rupees. Of course, that 250 rupees at least ten times now. But still, there was no needy. Not very opulent, but there was no need. The first necessity is to feed and to clothe. So there was no such scarcity. May not be very luxurious life, but there was no scarcity for food and shelter or cloth. There was no scarcity. Happy. That is wanted. Happiness in whatever circumstance. Not that because we did not possess a motorcar, therefore unhappy. I purchased one motorcar in 1925, Buick car. Not for personal use, but for using it as a taxi. My one nephew, he was a good driver, so my father, "Why don't you give him? He can do that, we can use it our own car, also taxi." So I took it, Buick car. I think I paid eight thousand rupees.
Prabhupāda: Buick, yes, very strong car. At that time, Ford, Chevrolet and Buick, these cars were very popular in India. Ford for the poorer class and Buick for the first class.
Hari-śauri: Your nephew was a taxi driver.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Nephew was my sister's son. We had to maintain one sister and her family. She became widow. So this is Hindu family obligation. When the daughter is widow, she comes to the father's shelter with all family. The father has to maintain.
Hari-śauri: You wouldn't get that in the West. [laughs] They don't even maintain their own parents.
Prabhupāda: On the whole, during British time, people were happy. That I can... The thing is that Britishers were little afraid that "If the government is not good, it will go against our credit, if we may agitate." So they were careful to see that people are happy. But here nobody's careful. Everyone thinks, "I'm in my own country. Whatever I do, it is all right." They were conscious that "We are foreigners. If the management is not good, then it will go against our credit, and it will be difficult working such a big England empire." So they were little careful. But these rascals are not... Just like the governor, he was friendly, but what is the report? Did he say? Did not behave very nicely?
Hari-śauri: What was that?
Harikeśa: He wasn't interested to help for the tax exemption.
Hari-śauri: Yes, you said... You told me before, Bon Mahārāja and Tīrtha Mahārāja, they were inviting all these big, big men, but they told them frankly that "I'm not going to do anything for you."
Prabhupāda: They cannot do anything. Formerly, a British governor, secretary, was a friend. You could get some service from him. The Britishers, they knew the etiquette that if friends ask some help, I must help you. That is etiquette.
Hari-śauri: Now there's so much self-interest, they don't...
Prabhupāda: It is expected.
Hari-śauri: Still, due to the British presence, isn't that the main reason why India has become so degraded now?
Prabhupāda: Yes, from...
Hari-śauri: Because they introduced so many bad things?
Prabhupāda: Yes, from cultural point of view, they are degraded. And that was that British policy, to kill them culturally. Otherwise not possible to rule over them.
Hari-śauri: They always advertised that India was so backward because that was a justification for their being there, that "We shall go and educate."
Prabhupāda: They used to advertise like that.
Hari-śauri: Then they could exploit and avoid criticism. [begins massage]
Prabhupāda: Yes, so many bad things Britishers introduced. Bad things means Western type of civilization.
Hari-śauri: Sometimes people, they say we're always glorifying Indian culture, so why are they so badly off? So we tell them it's because they've give up the culture that they're badly off. Otherwise, a hundred years ago there was no problem. [end]