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760614 - Conversation A - Detroit

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

760614R1-DETROIT - June 14, 1976 - 31:41 Minutes

(Conversation with Ambarisa and Catholic Priest)

Śrutikīrti: We took a few pictures that you could see. We took some pictures for you to look at of the restaurant. It's still being built, so there's not actually that much to see. (break) This street that it's on is very heavily traveled all day. This is taken at about five o'clock in the morning, so there's no one there. It's still under construction, you can see all the cinderblocks inside. But it's all-glass building.

Prabhupāda: It is being rented or purchased?

Śrutikīrti: That's still being worked out. I think . . .

Ambarīṣa: I think we're going to purchase.

Śrutikīrti: . . . Ambarīṣa is purchasing.

Prabhupāda: The back building? That is a different building?

Śrutikīrti: No, yeah. This is condominiums, houses, for people living above, so the restaurant is just that one floor. That's what we would be purchasing, not the whole building.

Ambarīṣa: The kitchen is inside the big building.

Śrutikīrti: But it's very choice space. It's just two blocks from what's called the Ritz Hotel, which is most famous hotel in the country, they have in every large city. These pictures, that glassed-in area, that would all be just the serving area. Then the kitchen is behind the wall. There would be a large kitchen facility, where all the devotees would be cooking.

Prabhupāda: Kitchen is within the building?

Śrutikīrti and Ambarīṣa: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So one-story building also included?

Ambarīṣa: Yes, there's a kitchen and dish-washing room and office, storage . . .

Śrutikīrti: Storage space, office. All inside.

Prabhupāda: Nice.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Did you explain that it was being built for someone who was going to start a restaurant, but they didn't?

Śrutikīrti: Yes. They ran out of money, these people, and there were so many restrictions at this location because of these buildings here. People live there, and they didn't want anyone in there who was going to cook meat. And they didn't want anyone who was going to serve intoxication. So practically we're the only people that don't serve meat and intoxication. So it's actually . . . they are very glad.

Ambarīṣa: The man who owns it says he gets fifty phone calls every day of people who want that space. It's such a good space that fifty people a day call.

Prabhupāda: Fifty?

Śrutikīrti: People are very interested. The location is excellent. It's on one of the most important streets in all of Boston.

Ambarīṣa: Once we get open we'll be able to serve a thousand people a day.

Prabhupāda: Oh. And what you are charging?

Ambarīṣa: We're charging anywhere between three and eight dollars. Eight dollars for a very big plate, many preparations and different nectars and very sumptuous feast for eight dollars. And then if you just want a sandwich or something a little smaller, you can pay just three dollars. We think we'll be making about . . . how much? About half a million dollars a year, which will all go to you, Prabhupāda. (laughter) So we couldn't call the restaurant the "Hare Kṛṣṇa Restaurant" because there were some restrictions in the block, so we were thinking we'd call it "Saṅkīrtana." That's okay?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. They are Hare Kṛṣṇa phobia. They are afraid.

Śrutikīrti and Ambarīṣa: Yes.

Prabhupāda: You have suggested "Saṅkīrtana"?

Ambarīṣa: Yes, they think that is nice. They do not know what that means.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Just like our Haridāsa. You know Haridāsa? Bombay?

Ambarīṣa: Yes, uh-huh.

Prabhupāda: He, Moscow, he was chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa on the street, and when people asked, "What is this?" "This is cinema song."

Ambarīṣa: Sometimes as devotees we have to be a little bit crooked.

Prabhupāda: (indistinct Hindi) . . . we shall do everything as the material person does, karmīs do, but we have to do everything for Kṛṣṇa, not person. Then it is all right. So?

Śrutikīrti: There's one thing. Our best hours, some of the best business in the restaurant, would be very late at night, like between nine to eleven o'clock at night. So is that all right as long as we can arrange . . .

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Śrutikīrti: . . . everyone's following the program? People are up 'til midnight?

Ambarīṣa: Still they will come to the morning program.

Prabhupāda: But there will be picture of Caitanya Mahāprabhu?

Ambarīṣa: Yes.

Śrutikīrti: We should have a nice altar, small altar, Pañca-tattva.

Ambarīṣa: The temple is only one block away. We were wondering, should we offer the food to the Deities in the temple or should we offer it in the restaurant?

Prabhupāda: Better in the restaurant.

Ambarīṣa: Better in the restaurant. Yes, that is a little easier also.

Prabhupāda: They must know that they're eating prasādam.

Ambarīṣa: Yes, yes.

Śrutikīrti: There was one other thing. Mānasvī, he is outside of New York, and I don't know very much what his position is. I talked to him once. He wanted to see you in New York, I don't know if you know that, because he says that all these things are not true. No.

Prabhupāda: He's a thief. He has taken about twenty-five thousand dollars. He's a thief from the very beginning. What he is doing now?

Śrutikīrti: He's working two jobs. They won't allow him in the temple. I think you sent one letter or something.

Prabhupāda: No, he should not be admitted.

Ambarīṣa: Also in Boston there's a lady who may be donating a million-dollar farm to the Boston temple. This is just a project that's a little bit . . . that's just started, and she wants to donate her farm. So that is also going on, and also the temple is purchasing the building next door. I gave them some money for a down payment on it so they could buy the building next door to use it to house the people that are living in the restaurant and also for the Bhaktivedanta Institute, because I think the Bhaktivedanta Institute is going to be in Boston. Mādhava is there.

Prabhupāda: Yes, Boston is nice place for the Institute.

Śrutikīrti: Best place for it.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It's the educational center of America.

Ambarīṣa: Academic center of the United States. So now we are fixing up the temple very nicely. We've spent about fifty thousand dollars putting in all new tile floor and a beautiful new onyx altar. Very, very gorgeous.

Prabhupāda: So it is framework or solid building?

Ambarīṣa: The building? It's stone, brownstone.

Prabhupāda: Oh, then it's nice.

Ambarīṣa: Very sound.

Śrutikīrti: It's in a very nice area in Boston. Commonwealth Avenue was the most aristocratic street in Boston. The temple is right there, just one block from downtown.

Prabhupāda: Near Commonwealth Pier?

Śrutikīrti: Near Boston Commons. Boston Commons? The big park.

Prabhupāda: Not park, there is a pier, pier, (pronounces "pire") what do you call?

Ambarīṣa: Oh, pier, pier. Oh, yes, it is near there, Prabhupāda. That's where you landed.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughs)

Ambarīṣa: Yes, it is not far. We're having Ratha-yātrā in Boston for the first time this year, and we're going to take the Ratha carts down to Commonwealth Pier in honor of your arrival.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughs) There is one A.P. store?

Ambarīṣa: A.P.?

Prabhupāda: A-P, A-P store.

Ambarīṣa: Market? Yes, it's still there.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that I saw first. (laughter) I remember.

Ambarīṣa: So there are many nice projects going on in Boston. We are hoping that maybe sometime you can come. That would be very nice.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. From New York it is not . . .

Ambarīṣa: No, it is very close to New York, half-hour airplane ride.

Prabhupāda: So it is ready?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: We were talking about different names for the restaurant yesterday.

Śrutikīrti: Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja did not care for "Saṅkīrtana Restaurant." (laughs)

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I thought that there might be a name of Kṛṣṇa, like they were using "Govinda," but that's obviously a name for Kṛṣṇa. Because people don't . . . we wanted to camouflage.

Ambarīṣa: We wanted to have a name that was Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, just exclusively Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. So we thought "Saṅkīrtana." No other movement . . . we're the saṅkīrtana movement. So we thought that name would show that it was exclusively Hare Kṛṣṇa, whereas many other Indians they have named their store "Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Store," stuff like this. So we thought . . .

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Something perhaps more exotic. I was just thinking as a restaurant.

Ambarīṣa: We wanted something that was exclusively . . .

Prabhupāda: They have started "Govinda's"?

Ambarīṣa: Yes, that is in Hawaii. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Govinda's name is nice.

Śrutikīrti: Yes, I always liked. Now Laguna Beach, they are also calling it "Govinda's."

Prabhupāda: Yes, so why not continue this "Govinda's"?

Ambarīṣa: Yes, we could. Okay.

Śrutikīrti: It's very good publicity. If many are started, they are all "Govinda's," then everyone will recognize it.

Ambarīṣa: Okay, there is no difficulty.

Prabhupāda: Govindam ādi-puruṣam. So that's all right, "Govinda's."

Ambarīṣa: Okay.


Śrutikīrti: Hari-śauri looks like he can give a very good massage. He looks like he can give a very good massage.

Prabhupāda: Mmm. Hari-śauri's one defect is he cannot cook. (laughter) Otherwise he is duplicate. Except cooking. He knows very good cooking.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He can eat though. He can eat prasāda.

Śrutikīrti: So I can travel and cook?

Prabhupāda: He can . . . a young man must eat. Why one should be like me?

Śrutikīrti and Ambarīṣa: Jaya. Jaya, Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (break) (tape continues after entrance of Eugene Stansky, or Stowsky, a Catholic priest who had met Prabhupāda and the devotees in L.A. and was now traveling with Satsvarūpa Mahārāja)

Eugene: . . . the very best.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Eugene: I'm very, very pleased. I feel very blessed by being with Satsvarūpa Mahārāja.

Prabhupāda: So just work cooperatively for the benefit of human society. We were just discussing our so many things. (to Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa) You can explain what I was talking.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: How the present civilization is . . . just like here in Detroit, producing so many cars.

Prabhupāda: Kalke teen char baar apnar bishoye khoj korechilam. Apni chilen na. (I inquired about you three or four times yesterday. You were not there.)

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So how long can this civilization go on, simply producing automobiles, like this? So the situation is that the people are always in a state of poverty. Just like the black people here in Detroit, even they are making sufficient money, still they are always in a state of poverty because they don't know how to live. Prabhupāda related one story that the capitalist and the worker, both of them, they went to the goddess of fortune appealing for a benediction. So the capitalist asked: "Give me such money that I will be able to work one day and it will last me for six months." And then the worker, he went and he said, "Give me one thousand dollars I have every day to spend."

Prabhupāda: No, he said that, "Give me the same money as the capitalist will spend in six months. I shall spend every day. I shall get that money every day and I shall spend it." So this worker class, there is no culture. You may pay them heavy amount of money, but they will spend it and remain a poor man, because he has no culture.

Eugene: This is true.

Prabhupāda: You see these black men. They earn sufficient money, but see their home. See their home. You America, you have given them equal rights, they are getting money, but they have no culture. Therefore you may pay them as much as you like, but still poverty-stricken. In Africa also I have seen that they have got their own kingdom, independence, but if we go to the African slums, they are poverty-stricken, wretched. So this civilization will not endure. If there is no culture, simply by money you cannot maintain a standard of civilization. That is not possible. Now the American leaders, they are thinking, "Let us have money, then everything . . ." Of course, by money you are covering all the defects of the social culture. But this will not endure. Day will come when everything will be exposed. Therefore culture required.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Prabhupāda was explaining how in India even the poorest people, they live—husband, wife, family, like this—in very . . .

Prabhupāda: Happy.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: . . . simple quarters.

Prabhupāda: Happily they live. As soon as there is no quarrel between the husband and wife, the home will be happy. And as soon as there is misunderstanding between husband, wife, it will be hell. So the principle is the husband honestly tries to earn livelihood, and at home the wife should be so intelligent that whatever money the husband has earned, she'll manage. She'll not demand, "Bring money, bring money, bring money. Otherwise it cannot be . . ." Then the home will be happy. So where is that training?

Hari-śauri: (explaining) Where is that training?

Eugene: Well, there is no training here. There is no culture, as you pointed out.

Prabhupāda: No, I mean to say culture, not training.

Eugene: As a matter of fact, even among the educated classes in the United States, there is no culture. There are no cultural roots.

Prabhupāda: No, no culture. There is no culture. There is no standard social life. Simply hodgepodge. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the only hope to bring everything in proper order. Everything is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. So America is the leading nation of the world. If you work on the principle of Bhagavad-gītā and train up your people, it will be ideal state and example for the whole world. At least a certain section of the American population should be ideal. That will also do. Not that . . . we cannot expect cent percent will take Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not needed. But if there is one section of the people ideal, that will be followed. But we want to create that section, our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Eugene: May I pose a question, Your Grace? It's less than two weeks that I'm asking you for the second time to instruct me. You gave me some very general instructions in my last audience, and I'm very grateful. Many things have transpired since then. I'm now here in Detroit; we'll be going on to Toronto very shortly. From Toronto to Chicago, and then I'm not sure what the agenda is. I'm tremendously pleased, because it's giving me an opportunity to work in the area that you said I should be working in. In addition to which I have ample time to study. And I have the assistance of Satsvarūpa with my studies. Now I have a question. I would like very much to keep a log of my daily activities and start preparing an outline of a book. Now the book very basically won't . . . I won't be starting on the book for at least a year, but I would like to start keeping a log.

Prabhupāda: You can keep record.

Eugene: Yes. Now the reason I would like to keep a log and prepare an outline and start a book, say a year from now, it would show a transition from Roman priesthood to Hare Kṛṣṇa devotee. I think this would open up the door to all of the colleges and universities across the country.

Prabhupāda: Very good idea, yes. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59). The nature is, if we get better engagement, we give up inferior engagement. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. So this will be an example. You are a Roman priest. You are educated, learned scholar also. So when you come to this movement, you do not come here by sentiment or by whims. You consider, then you have come.

Eugene: This is what I wanted to say, that I'm not here because of sentiment. I'm here for very, very sound reasons, and I want to explain the reasons.

Prabhupāda: Therefore we are presenting these books, that we are not a so-called sect of whimsical faith. It is based on science and authorities. Recently we have got report that our books have been taken in Hamburg University. You know Hamburg University?

Eugene: Yes.

Hari-śauri: East Germany.

Prabhupāda: As their textbook for Sanskrit class. They found it so wonderful. Because for Sanskrit scholar it is good opportunity to learn Sanskrit, because each word we have given in English and German synonyms.

Eugene: I want very much to learn basic Sanskrit, but I have so much to learn right now that, ah . . .

Prabhupāda: No, it is not necessary. But those who are interested in studying Sanskrit literature, for them it is very good help. And at the same time they get sublime knowledge.

Eugene: Indeed.

Prabhupāda: They study Sanskrit and get knowledge. So you have kindly come to join us. You study our philosophy very minutely, and then try to do something for the suffering humanity.

nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau sad-dharma-saṁsthāpakau
lokānāṁ hita-kāriṇau tri-bhuvane mānyau śaraṇyākarau
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-bhajanānandena mattālikau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

The saintly persons, at least in Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement, they are not meant for idle life. They are always busy for the welfare of the whole human society. This is the sign of saintly person. They are misguided and they are suffering, and it is the duty of the saintly person to give them instruction, education, how they can become really happy and make their life successful. This is saintly person. A saintly person doesn't mean to live at other's expenditure and do all nonsense things. This is not saintly person. Hmm. Ki kotha bolben . . . (What were you saying . . .) (break) You asked me some question?

Eugene: Well, I wanted to know whether it would be all right to keep the log and to write at the . . . work out the outline for the book. You told me to go ahead. So I will do that. Basically, this is what I wanted to do. I would like to continue with the group. I would like to travel with the group and keep an accurate log and start an outline and see, possibly within a year's time, I will have sufficient material to start the book.

Prabhupāda: That's nice, huh? You like this idea?

Satsvarūpa: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Ajke ingreji koto tarik? Ingreji? (What is the date today according to the English calendar?) These boys who are working for this movement?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: How do you like our men, the devotees?

Eugene: Oh, I'm very, very impressed. This impressed me to begin with—their enthusiasm, their joy, and their complete surrender. This is what . . .

Prabhupāda: That is the qualification.

Eugene: This is the qualification.

Prabhupāda: Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau (ŚU 6.23). That is the secret of success. If one has got unflinching faith in his spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, then he's successful. Two things. Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpā-pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). So if the guru is false, then how they can keep their faith? That will be broken. Our process is very simple. There is no difficulty. You have seen our Los Angeles temple?

Eugene: Yes.

Prabhupāda: When we purchased, it was a church, perhaps you know. Nobody was coming, so that they were obliged to sell. They started this Sunday class, this, that, so many things. In Melbourne also we have seen a big . . . what was that?

Hari-śauri: It used to be what they call a Christian Brothers school.

Prabhupāda: That we wanted to purchase?

Hari-śauri: Oh, that nunnery.

Prabhupāda: Nunnery. So they wanted to maintain themselves by becoming washermen. Still, they could not maintain. They eventually became washermen . . . washerwoman, to maintain. Huge establishment. So I wanted, negotiation was there. They persisted that the church should not be broken. No? To be broken.

Hari-śauri: Yes, there were different sections. They had a school there and . . .

Prabhupāda: So we thought that we shall use it as temple. That they disagreed. "No, you cannot keep it. You have to break it, then we can sell to you." Then why shall I break it? We shall pay for it and break it? No. Then the negotiation failed. But a huge land, and we are prepared to purchase. In England, in London, I was . . . one, two churches I was negotiating, and one church, that man, he said, "I'll burn into ashes. I'll not sell it to Bhaktivedanta." (laughs) Recently we wanted to purchase in St. James Park one nice house. So they did not give us. They . . . we offered better price; still they did not give us.

Eugene: Your Grace, the thing that impressed me the very most at the temple in Los Angeles . . . now you must bear in mind that I am very, very steeped in Catholicism, I'm very steeped in the New Testament. So when I observed what was happening at the temple in Los Angeles, I was seeing the Book of Acts coming to life—something that died three hundred years ago in the Roman church. In 300 A.D. it died. Since then there's been no such example. And I was just amazed, wandering around, because there I saw the exact book, the Book of Acts. And I was impressed.

Indian girl: Humne aaj subah me record kiya tha. (I recorded it in the morning.)

Prabhupāda: That's alright.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. (end)