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750710 - Conversation - Chicago

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

750710R1-CHICAGO - July 10, 1975 - 09:20 Minutes

(Conversation with City Councillor)

Śrī Govinda: . . . city council representative from our area.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Śrī Govinda: (indistinct) . . . kindness to come today.

Prabhupāda: Very good. Very good. (break)

City Councillor: Thank you. No, I have the pleasure of having the temple located in the area which I represent on the city council, and I've found the temple to be a welcome addition to the city. I have no questions. There are formalities which have to be met in order for the temple to be repaired. And I'm sure that as soon as these formalities are met, then the work can proceed. But, er . . .

Prabhupāda: What are the formalities?

Śrī Govinda: There's been some delay in the approval on the building due to different building violations, and we have to receive approval from the zoning board of appeals, then the city council. And it's a matter of time. But also there has been some opposition in the city council, and . . .

Prabhupāda: So what can I do? What is the difficulty? What do you want from us?

City Councillor: Really nothing. The only problem is that there are certain rules and regulations that all citizens of Evanston must comply with. And that's all that has been asked of the temple. Originally, as I expressed, there were some . . . this property . . . the temple is located in an area which is zoned for business. And there were some originally who wished to maintain that . . .

Prabhupāda: But there are so many churches.

City Councillor: Yes, there are many churches, yes. And I think . . .

Prabhupāda: So what is the fault if there is a temple?

City Councillor: Well, I think the . . . originally, again I say, some of the no . . . not I, but some had some objections to any church, any temple . . .

Prabhupāda: But already there are churches. I have seen so many churches surrounding our temple.

City Councillor: But I think that that is no longer a problem with the zoning. I think they accept the temple, because they have seen that the . . .

Prabhupāda: The churches are not problem? Only the temple is problem?

City Councillor: No, I don't think that's the situation.

Prabhupāda: Then, what is the situation?

City Councillor: Well, I cannot read the minds of those who objected. Again, I was not an objector.

Prabhupāda: But you are the head. You should judge. If the churches are not objectionable, why the temple should be objectionable?

City Councillor: May I explain? I am one of eighteen who make the decision. And . . .

Prabhupāda: No, no, decision, you may speak on our behalf, but if there are so many churches, what is the fault of one temple?

City Councillor: Again, I have spoken in favor of the temple. I think that there were a number that . . .

Prabhupāda: So you plead like that, that there are so many churches, why our temple is the only objectionable? What is this?

City Councillor: Well, I have no objection. I can't say for the others.

Prabhupāda: You have not. Why they have objections? If they can allow so many churches, so what is the temple has done? We are praying God. We have got Deity worship. What is the wrong there?

City Councillor: Nothing. Nothing is wrong.

Prabhupāda: Then? What is their answer?

Jagadīśa: They say that we are weird. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: Weird?

Jagadīśa: Weird.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Jagadīśa: Strange.

Prabhupāda: Strange.

Śrī Govinda: Yes, in dress.

Prabhupāda: So is there any law that if the dress is strange we cannot worship?

Jagadīśa: They want . . . they have a . . .

Prabhupāda: But they may want whimsically, but is there any law?

Jagadīśa: No.

Prabhupāda: Then what is this nonsense?

City Councillor: It shouldn't be.

Prabhupāda: Then what can I do? If they go out of law, then what can I do?

Jagadīśa: They want to make their own law.

Prabhupāda: That is another thing.

City Councillor: Again, I think the problem now is only complying with the building laws, and that is to get the temple in a safe condition. That's the only problem now. I don't think that there is opposition to the temple per se.

Prabhupāda: Then it is . . . it comes to the conclusion of suppression that, "Give the dog a bad name and hang it." "You are not properly dressed; therefore you should stop it." It is like that.

Śrī Govinda: We have spoken very sincerely to the other aldermen, and Mr. Winfield practically is the only one who has responded.

Prabhupāda: So public vote . . . elect Nixon and then drag him down. This is public opinion. Sometimes make him president, sometimes drag him down. So what is the value of these votes?

City Councillor: Well, I can certainly pledge that wherever I find and can identify prejudices . . .

Prabhupāda: If they become unreasonable, whimsical, then who can defend? There is no such law that one should have a particular dress in their church or temple. There is no such law. But they are insisting about the dress. What is this?

City Councillor: Again, I will pledge that whenever I can expose such prejudices on the parts of my fellow aldermen, I will do it.

Prabhupāda: No, that is very kind of you, but if they are persistent on majority vote, then you are nowhere.

City Councillor: I am one, yes.

Prabhupāda: So the majority, if they want whimsically to do something, you cannot check.

City Councillor: No, but I can talk.

Prabhupāda: You can talk. We are also talking, but they don't care. This is the difficulty.

Jagadīśa: They are making it difficult, Śrīla Prabhupāda, but it seems that they will not be able to check us.

Prabhupāda: Then we shall have to go to court if they do something whimsically. You speak to your best, that's all. That is our request.

City Councillor: That I will do.

Prabhupāda: That is going on everywhere, whimsically. Everything is being done whimsically. Again it is being reformed whimsically, again being the same. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30), chewing the chewed, that's all. No standard. That is the fault of the modern civilization. You make your own standard, I make my own standard, he makes his own standard. And therefore there is fight between the leaders. But according to our Vedic conception there is one standard. We are persisting that, "You take this Vedic standard; then you will be perfect." And if you go on manufacturing your own standard, you will never be perfect. Because you make your own standard, I make my own standard, he makes his own standard, and there is fight. We are putting therefore the one standard, Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. That is our propaganda, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you take the standard given by Kṛṣṇa, you will be happy. That is our propaganda. (end)