Bhakti Vikasa Swami: In April 1977 some followers of Cinmayananda Swami and Sivananda Swami paid a courtesy call on Srila Prabhupada who was manifesting the pastime of being severely ill.
Srila Prabhupada quoted to them from the Gita and Bhagavatam, to establish that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The followers of Cinmayananda and Sivananda tried to rebut Prabhupada’s assertion by stating “nobody knows the Gita.” At this point Prabhupada instantly transformed from an apparent invalid to a nuclear weapon in defense of Krsna. He shouted at them “you don’t know but don’t say nobody knows.” He kept shouting at them and, though they tried to change the topic, Srila Prabhupada persisted and would not let them go and was constantly flogging them.
Srila Prabhupada’s conclusion about their so-called spiritual life: “srama eva hi kevalam — it is a complete waste of time.”
This is a really inspiring preaching example of Srila Prabhupada’s uncompromising preaching spirit even in the last days of his time with us.
(This intro is by Shyamasundara Prabhu)
Search in the Vedabase: Conversation with disciples of Chinmayananda and Shivananda Ashram
- April 22, 1977, Bombay
Listen to the audio below:
Prabhupada: ….. So anyway, our mission is that Indians especially, they should take advantage of Bhagavad-gita — not by distorting the meaning. As it is. You cannot distort the statement of Bhagavad-gita. Then you defy the authority of Bhagavad-gita. You manufacture your own way. That is very bad. Then there is no authority. Sarvam etad rtam manye yad vadasi kesava [Bg. 10.14]. As Arjuna… “Whatever You say, I have accepted.” That is the need, not that “I am very learned scholar; I can change the meaning.” That is not good. You are not greater authority than Krsna. Thinking like that is foolishness. Krsna is authority. All the acaryas — Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu — they have all accepted krsnas tu bhagavan svayam [SB 1.3.28] . How you can speak something else what, against what, the instruction of Krsna?
Indian man (3): What is the means by which we know what Gita says to us, Swamiji?
Prabhupada: Do you don’t know what Gita says? Then why do you read Gita? Don’t read.
Indian man (3): But there must be some means that you can adopt…
Prabhupada: No, no. Do you know what Gita says? Do you know it? What Gita says, do you know it? You do not know?
Indian man (3): Swamiji, nobody knows Bhagavad-gita.
Prabhupada: Nobody knows! You do not know. We know. Why do you say, “Nobody knows”? You do not know. It is open secret. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam… [Bg. 18.66]. You do not know. But don’t say that “Nobody knows.” That is wrong impression. We know. You are blind. You do not like to know it. Everyone should know. What is the difficulty?
Indian man (3): No, Swamiji, mean…
Prabhupada: No, I do not know what you mean. But you say, “Nobody knows.” That is a wrong impression. Everyone knows. You do not know. That is my…
Indian man (2): Swamiji, we have been taught like this and, in fact, now we are convinced on that point. We are convinced.
Prabhupada: No, everyone knows, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam [Bg. 18.66]. These are open secret. What is the difficulty?
Indian man (3): Differences in meaning…
Prabhupada: You can take different meaning, but we do not take like that. We take Bhagavad-gita as it is.
Indian man (4): Swamiji, how do we know that the meaning is distorted?
Indian man (4): How do we know that the meaning is distorted?
Prabhupada: Because you do not worship Krsna.
Indian man (4): Swami?
Prabhupada: Because you do not worship Krsna. It is plain fact. But we worship Krsna. In every temple, all over the world, 102 temples, we worship Krsna. But you don’t worship Krsna.
Indian man (3): No, we worship all gods, Swamiji, irrespective of…
Prabhupada: Ah, that means avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritam [Bg. 9.11], kamais tais tair hrta-jnanah yajante anya-devatah [Bg. 7.20]. Hrta-jnanah, nasta-buddhayah.
Indian man (3): Swamiji, we are interested in…
Indian man (2): I think…
Indian man (3): Excuse me, Swamiji. We are interested in that one meaning which is the essence of the Indian culture. If we are wrong, we are ready to correct ourselves.
Prabhupada: No… You’ll never correct yourself, because you do not understand what is Bhagavad-gita. That is the difficulty. You say that “Nobody understands.” You say.
Indian man (3): No, Swamiji…
Prabhupada: At least you do not understand.
Indian man (3): Please forgive me if I have given a wrong…
Prabhupada: At least you do not understand. That’s all.
Indian man (2): Are we not, potentially, not to understand Bhagavad-gita, then?
Prabhupada: Everyone. What is the difficulty? But you understand in a different way. It is simple thing. Everyone understands. This is expected. But you understand in different way. That is the difficulty. You create your own meaning.
Indian man (3): I request, Swamiji, on what basis we can say that it is a different meaning or distorted meaning and not the meaning which the Gita says…?
Prabhupada: Because you say that nobody knows. You say. And whatever meaning, that is in your mind, but you said nobody knows.
Indian man (5): No, that is quite mistaken talk.
Prabhupada: That mistake… Then what can I talk? It is mistake.
Indian man (3): I said nobody knows until he knows.
Prabhupada: So if one does not want to know, how he’ll know?
Indian man (5): Whatever Swamiji says, that…
Prabhupada: Yes. And Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam [Bg. 18.66]. Why don’t you do that? Who has got the…?
Indian man (5): We want to be student. Sarva-dharman is word.
Prabhupada: That… That means you become student; hear me and you’ll learn it. It is not the one minute’s business.
Indian man (5): Somehow you can give some that, advice from you. But whatever…
Prabhupada: Advice… Well, you come here. Stay here. We shall teach you. Not that you have come here for five minutes, I have to teach you sarva-dharman…
Indian man (5): No, you don’t have time.
Prabhupada: No, I have got time. So that’s all right. You have to… You have to learn it.
Indian man (3): Swamiji, you bless ourselves in such a way that we will not…
Prabhupada: You have come. You are welcome here and take the blessings. But you won’t come. When I say, “Come here and take the blessings,” you won’t come. What can I do? If one has fallen in the blind well — “Please get me up! Get me up!” — so I give him a rope: “Yes, catch it. I’ll get you…” “No, no, I shall not catch.” Without catching, there is no… So if you want to learn, come here. Stay. We shall teach you. That you won’t do. Then how can I teach you? You learn from them. Just see these European and Americans, how they are… You have to learn from them by their behavior. These are American boys. Just see how they have tilaka, how they…
Indian man (3): No, Swamiji, we know Swamiji’s tremendous work going on around the world.
Prabhupada: So if I can teach them, who did not know what is Krsna, I cannot teach you? I can teach you. But you won’t take the teaching. That is the difficulty. Stubborn. That is the difficulty.
Indian man (1): Swamiji, we have thrown ourself on his lap, Swamiji. There is… (indistinct) We have thrown ourselves, performed everything. We have left our home, everything.
Prabhupada: But what for?
Indian man (1): And he’s our bread, and he’s our… He’ll look after us. That’s all.
Prabhupada: What for? Srama eva hi kevalam.
Indian man (1): Everything…
Prabhupada: It is srama eva hi kevalam.
dharmah svanusthitah pumsam visvaksena-kathasu yah notpadayed yadi ratim srama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8]
After leaving your home and everything, if you do not understand Krsna, srama eva hi kevalam — it is simply waste of time. If you want to waste your time, that’s all…
Indian man (3): If Swamiji forgives me, I don’t see… I have read Swamiji’s…
Prabhupada: That is your blindness. You do not see the…
Indian man (3): I don’t find any difference between Krsna consciousness and the concept of our Brahman.
Prabhupada: No, then you do not know what is Brahman, what is Krsna. That means you are not fully in knowledge.
Indian man (3): Accha… It is not a name, sir.
Prabhupada: It is clearly stated, brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate.
Indian man (6): Are we not catching only names and forms?
Prabhupada: You can do anything nonsense. Who cares for you? The sastra is there.
Indian man (6): Hari means knowledge(?). Vasudeva means…
Prabhupada: Yes. Yah sastra-vidhim… Yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya vartate kama-karatah [Bg. 16.23]. This is in Gita. You do not know it. Na sa siddhim avapnoti. He’ll never get success. Na sukham na param gatim. That is there. Here is sastra.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sab… [SB 1.2.11]
You do not know.
Indian man (1): Swamiji, can’t…
Prabhupada: No, don’t waste my time.
Indian man (5): Swamiji, we have not come to waste. We have come here to take only your blessings.
Prabhupada: That’s all. I cannot… I cannot waste my time in this way. We have got our sastras. We are following them. That’s all. If you want, you learn here. Otherwise do your whatever you like. Let us alone. We have no difficulty. We are triumphant all over the world. That’s all. Phalena pariciyate. We have to see by the result, not by talking. So thank you very much for your coming. Give them pra…
Indian man (5): So please bless us.
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. But if you are interested, you are welcome.
Indian man (3): Yes, Swamiji.
Indian man (6): When door is kept open, it is…
Indian man (6): … very natural to come to you, Swamiji.
Indian man (1): Really, Swamiji, bless (indistinct).
Prabhupada: Jaya. Jaya. Aiye. (Hindi) (guests leave)
Tamala Krsna: Next time maybe we should deal with them.
Tamala Krsna: Is it all right that they are brought in, or should we talk to them?
Prabhupada: Yes, it is all right.
Tamala Krsna: Not necessary to bring these people.
Prabhupada: Distorting meaning.
Tamala Krsna: Phew! This… The thing is, their guru is nonsense, so he’s attracted nonsense disciples. They want to be cheated, and they have the cheating guru.
Prabhupada: They have come from Hawaii(?)
Tamala Krsna: Hawaii(?). Hawaii(?).
Prabhupada: Oh, oh, that Hawaii program(?).
Tamala Krsna: Two of them are disciples of Shivananda Ashram in Hrishikesh, and three of them are from Swami Chin… They’re Swami Chinmayananda’s disciples. Swami Chinmayananda has this program. He advertises for getting young men. Now they’re the second batch. They study different Vedas and Upanisads. (end).