Room Conversation , Vṛndāvana , 1976-10-04

Prabhupāda: People have got already very respect now for the... [break] You should maintain the temple. They already call it angrej [English] temple. But still people come. But if you make a mleccha temple... Actually, [laughs] they can say like that, but still they come. But their awe and veneration may be disturbed..., may not be disturbed. That is management.

Hari-śauri: One of the things they haven't been able to criticize us for is our Deity worship.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Hari-śauri: One of the things they can't criticize is our Deity worship, because it's a lot better than anywhere else.

Prabhupāda: But we are not above criticism.

Hari-śauri: Oh, no, they criticize us for plenty of other things.

Akṣayānanda: So many discrepancies. Even that does not mean...

Hari-śauri: That's one point..., that was one point in our favor, so we should maintain it.

Prabhupāda: The servant should be kept only when it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, everything should be done by us.

Haṁsadūta: I understand that, Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: They are paying two thousand rupees.

Haṁsadūta: 'Till now, as far as possible, I've let a number of people go already. But until I can get the devotees to do these engagements, I can't let the servant go.

Prabhupāda: No, that's all right, but devotees, why they shall not do?

Haṁsadūta: Well, that is the...

Prabhupāda: If they are unwilling to do, then they must remain in the guesthouse as a respectable guest.

Haṁsadūta: I'm finding that's happening. I have so many devotees who stay in the guesthouse, because they're not willing to be engaged.

Prabhupāda: They are paying?

Haṁsadūta: They are paying, yes. So it will have to be dealt with very, very tactfully, because for a long time there's been so many devotees here who just have not been engaged. And now someone is coming and he's trying to capture them...

Prabhupāda: Reluctant to work.

Haṁsadūta: ...trying to take account of their time, and they become upset. They think, "Oh, now this man is going to take my time."

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Haṁsadūta: Just for example... [break] "...chanting from nine to twelve, could you please chant then?" She became furious. She said, "I am already making garlands for four hours. I have no time."

Prabhupāda: No, no, if she is making garlands, that is another thing.

Haṁsadūta: I know, but it's only four hours, and I said there are twenty-four hours, so that leaves twenty hours left over. It will take a little time to account their time and convince them that they have to accept more and more engagement.

Hari-śauri: It's like pulling a tooth.

Prabhupāda: No, if somebody is engaged in some business, so he may not chant. That concession may be given. But chanting...

Haṁsadūta: But, actually...

Prabhupāda: It is not very compulsory. Take it.

Haṁsadūta: But if we want to have a twenty-four-hour kīrtana, I was speaking...

Prabhupāda: If that is not available, not possible, don't be very serious. But these things must be done.

Haṁsadūta: Yes. It's just that I want to comply with all your desires.

Prabhupāda: That may be taken as voluntarily. But nobody can sit idly. That is the point. If one is engaged in making for flower garland, all right, you may not take him. It is not compulsory for you. The twenty-four-hours kīrtana may... Suppose if we haven't got sufficient men, it is not possible. It is required if there is sufficient men and they are not... We must see that they are not wasting uselessly time. That is the... If they are engaged in some business, there is no compulsory that he has to go and chant. But these things are...

Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā-śṛṅgāra-tan-mandira-mārjanādau. That is compulsory. It must be done by you or me or... It must be done early in the morning. Whole temple should be... There is sufficient water supply in the pipe. Simply it takes half an hour. It is neglected. I see the temple is not washed. There's so much dust.

Akṣayānanda: We used to wash it three times a day.

Prabhupāda: It is stopped.

Akṣayānanda: With great difficulty, of course.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Akṣayānanda: With great difficulty. But still, it can be done.

Prabhupāda: So these devotees, they come here not to work.

Akṣayānanda: It is a fashion. They come to be bābājīs.

Prabhupāda: Ācchā?

Akṣayānanda: Like that. Consciousness is like that.

Haṁsadūta: Yesterday two girls came. One came from Paris and one came from Australia. When I asked them, "Did anyone send you for a particular engagement?" They said, "No, I just left." "How did you get your money?" "From my family." Then, "Why did you come?" "We just wanted to see Vṛndāvana," and like that. And in this way, every day someone is coming, and as soon as I want to... They will say, "Well, I didn't come for this. I came..."

Prabhupāda: But that's all right, if they then remain in the paying guest.

Haṁsadūta: Yes. I don't want to discourage them, but at the same time I can't have people just sitting around.

Prabhupāda: No, those who are coming for excursion, they can remain in the paying guest room. Pay for food, pay for... Otherwise, one has to be engaged. Devotee must voluntarily engage. Why one has to be requested? They should be very glad.

Hari-śauri: They're not very conscious about doing service.

Prabhupāda: But this is the service.

Akṣayānanda: He used to be the temple commander, Hari-śauri. He had a very difficult time, before, about a year ago, I think. He used to be the temple commander, and nobody would...

Hari-śauri: I had to practically throw them out the room sometimes to do some work.

Akṣayānanda: This center particularly has just always been like that. [break]

Haṁsadūta: All the anxiety is how to get some fruit to maintain their body nicely. Very few devotees can actually accept engagement and maintain good health and a good consciousness, because the change for Western people for India is so extraordinary that it disturbs their mind, and consequently their body is disturbed, and then all they think about is how to maintain their body.

Akṣayānanda: They're used to eating large quantities of food. Here it cannot be done.

Haṁsadūta: And if I ask them... They're used to eating huge amounts of very rich foods.

Prabhupāda: Where?

Hari-śauri: In the West.

Haṁsadūta: In the Western temples. They get so many nice foodstuffs which are not available here, and when they become sick, then they...

Prabhupāda: What rich food?

Haṁsadūta: Oh, like sour cream and butter and so many things, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Akṣayānanda: In the West, the devotees must eat about four times as much as the ones in India who are not sick. The ones in India...

Prabhupāda: I see that here they eat more.

Hari-śauri: They appear to eat a lot. But I don't know. The food here is not...

Akṣayānanda: Not so rich.

Hari-śauri: It's not got so much nutritional value.

Akṣayānanda: It's simpler.

Hari-śauri: But I've seen boys here, they have been here a year or two years and they've had dysentery constantly, because they cannot control their tongues. They eat, and then they get sick, they get dysentery, so they say, "Oh, I need boiled this and fruit and this and that." But then again you see them on the first feast, or something like that, they're eating kachorī or this or that, stuff cooked in ghee. And then immediately they become sick again, and they can't do any work all the time, and at the same time they refuse to control their tongues to get better. They stay on that platform. Always sick, but not eating the correct food.

Haṁsadūta: This is one of our biggest problems. Just as you say, when someone gets sick he should fast. I tell them, "Stop eating. You'll get well immediately. If you have fever, don't eat. Take water, lemon. You'll be all right in a few days." They have not realized the function of the body, how their own body is functioning, and they insist on eating. They get sicker and sicker. They complicate things. I've seen so many people get incredibly complicated digestive diseases. And then they can't work. They get jaundice, they get dysentery, amoebic dysentery, boils---all these things come from taking too much food. And then they want to change their diet. Although they change their diet, they eat so much of the changed diet that it also has no effect.

Akṣayānanda: Yes, true. Actually, this is the main problem.

Haṁsadūta: And then they require money for medicine. I have spent so much money on medicine. Now I have stopped it. I tell them, "First you fast for three days, and if you don't get better I'll give you some money for medicine." But they are constantly running to this hospital, getting this pill and that pill. All these pills are useless. The real problem is they are just overeating. And of course, when they overeat they want to sleep. Because India is hot. And when they sleep, then they get dysentery. And when they get dysentery they can't engage. And in this way they run into a cycle which is very difficult to break. Only very few devotees are able to maintain themselves in India for any length of time. I see a nice strong man comes, and I look at him and I see him eat and I say, "Within a week this man is going to be sick." And sure enough, he's sick. He's laying down, he's got fever, he's got dysentery, he's going to the hospital. In this way we have so many people like that.

Akṣayānanda: They become so weak that they can't work anyway.

Hari-śauri: So they just become a liability.

Haṁsadūta: I had one devotee, his name was Rad... [break] ...you know and you know. He does nothing at all. He's always sick. But at prasādam he eats more than any other man. I told him, "Prabhu, you're a doctor. You should know that if you eat so much food you can't digest, you're going to be sick." He says, "No, I'm so weak I require food. I have to. I can't get any strength." So I asked him, "At least sit down in the temple and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." He said, "I can't..."

Prabhupāda: I have seen. Some of them eat so much I am surprised.

Akṣayānanda: But the ones who eat that much, they are the ones who are always sick. They're the ones.

Prabhupāda: Overeating means sick.

Hari-śauri: I used to eat a lot, but I used to burn it all off.

Akṣayānanda: They don't know if you eat a lot and then work very hard, that's all right. But they eat a lot and then sleep a lot, as Mahārāja said. If they would simply work. Eat a lot, all right, but then work very hard. Then it's all digested.

Hari-śauri: They eat a lot at midday, and then they're useless for the rest of the day. Sleep two or three hours in the afternoon and then stagger out for ārati.

Akṣayānanda: Now they eat in the morning.

Prabhupāda: So, how to manage this? It is very difficult.

Akṣayānanda: I thought it was better when they were eating at noon. At least they'd work before they ate, work before eating. But I don't know. But even then the thing wasn't going any better.

Hari-śauri: I've found if you want things to go on, you have to make them do it. That's all. Because they don't have sufficient realization to volunteer to work.

Prabhupāda: They have to be... One man say, "You come here, you do this, you do this." Then it will be done.

Hari-śauri: Like this twenty-four-hour...

Prabhupāda: The temple commander must be a very able man.

Hari-śauri: He's got to be a heavy man. I was telling Haṁsadūta, when I was here I tried for so long to get the kīrtana going at nighttime, and they wouldn't turn up or they'd fall asleep, or this or that. And so many people would refuse to do it. I could only get maybe five or six men out of the whole temple who would volunteer to do it. So we worked it out. We made a list of all the people who could possibly chant at night. Everyone. I even put the pūjārīs down, because we were short of men. And then we said, "Now you either chant..."

Prabhupāda: No, pūjārīs, they have to rise early.

Hari-śauri: Well, yes, but apart from that... We told them, "Now you either chant this one hour at night or you go." We made 'em chant. And then everything went very nicely. No one...

Prabhupāda: Why don't you do now?

Hari-śauri: Well I told him that. He's going to do it.

Prabhupāda: Not tell him, but you do it. [chuckles]

Haṁsadūta: No, his suggestion is good, because one hour they can do. I've noticed... Your Divine Grace suggested three hours...

Prabhupāda: Three hours continually not possible. Make it one hour.

Haṁsadūta: It's impossible. Not a single person can do it.

Akṣayānanda: [indistinct] [end]