Amsterdam, the Netherlands
24 May 2004
In the transcendental world there is nothing contradictory, whereas in the relative world everything has its opposite. In the relative world white is the opposite conception of black, but in the transcendental world there is no distinction between white and black. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1. 10. 19p)
Srila Prabhupada was meticulous. He put on his Vaisnava tilaka that way, artistically and methodically performing each function. He used his pen that way also. He took it out of his pen box, used it, and then returned it to the box on his desk. Prabhupada warned his servants never to touch anything or move anything on his desk.
His book writing was also like that. His standard was that each and every word out of tens of thousands of Sanskrit words in the verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam must have its own synonym. Prabhupada had a limited time for writing the Bhagavatam every day, yet he never diminished his standard that each word get its own synonym. Then he always gave the English translation, and then a purport. Whenever he saw the editors or publishers failing in this meticulous standard, he became very upset.
In general, he demanded his disciples be very careful in all their activities. Deity worship, for example, he only gradually introduced because of its meticulous demands. When a devotee who was worshiping the Deity inquired how to obtain bhava, or ecstatic attachment to the Lord, Prabhupada replied by stressing a meticulous following of the rules and regulations: the devotees should be punctual, clean, and give the Deity nice dresses and food.
Srila Prabhupada was particularly meticulous in handling finance for Krsna, especially in India. He personally looked into the accounting and saw down to the single rupee how his managers spent money.
Srila Prabhupada displayed his tolerance and lenience in accepting the sometimes inexpert offering of his disciples. He demonstrated this amply in the San Francisco Rathayatra in 1970 by accepting some unusual clothing which the devotees had sewn for him. Bhavananda had purchased imported silk, Nara-Narayana had purchased pearl buttons, and Dinadayadri and Citralekha had worked very meticulously on sewing Prabhupada a western-style cowboy shirt. The shirt had sewn pockets with pearl buttons on them. The dhoti was supposed to complete a matching set, along with a "Prabhupada hat" made for the occasion. When Prabhupada put on the dhoti, the cloth was so wide that the dhoti dragged on the ground. (This can be seen in a series of photos of Srila Prabhupada at the 1970 Rathayatra. ) The cowboy shirt had its own unusual appearance, and as for the hat, it was too small and stuck up on the top of his head. Prabhupada tolerantly accepted and wore the clothes offered by his American boys and girls.
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 4. 14. 32p: One should not at any time tolerate blasphemy and insults against Lord Visnu or His devotees. A devotee is generally very humble and meek, and he is reluctant to pick a quarrel with anyone. Nor does he envy anyone. However, a pure devotee immediately becomes fiery with anger when he sees that Lord Visnu or His devotee is insulted. This is the duty of a devotee. Although a devotee maintains an attitude of meekness and gentleness, it is a great fault on his part if he remains silent when the Lord or His devotee is blasphemed.
From the time the devotees first moved into the Berkeley temple, the neighbors caused trouble. The people living across the street from the temple made a large sign blaspheming the Hare Krsnas and hung it in front of their house.
When Prabhupada came to Berkeley for Rathayatra, the devotees became anxious. They tried to take Prabhupada down another street so that he would not see the sign, but road construction and a detour forced the devotees to take Prabhupada past the house. To keep Prabhupada from seeing the sign, the devotees began pointing to the opposite side of the street. "Prabhupada," they said, "look at the trees, aren't they nice?" Then Prabhupada happened to turn and he noticed the sign. He said it was nice, and that this was the only house in America with Krsna's name on the front.
More Billions for More Bafflement
Early this year I made a couple mentions of the two NASA "rovers" (robot vehicles) that are exploring the surface of Mars. The cost for putting these high-tech machines onto the surface of the Red Planet is astronomical, and predictably the result is that the information so collected raises at least as many new questions as it answers old questions. In March one of the rovers, Spirit, photographed a UFO that passed from north to south across the Martian sky. Was it a meteor? Or one of seven Earthly spacecraft in orbit around Mars? Or something else?
A retired policeman went out of his Kiev flat, leaving his pet parrot alone. When he returned after a few minutes, he found three would-be thieves stretched out on the floor with their hands behind their heads. They explained that when they came into the flat, they heard a voice say, "Stop! I'll shoot! On the ground!" The parrot, which had lived with the policeman for a year, had never spoken before the incident. (This was reported in a newspaper called Cegodnya. )