Published on July 28th, 2022 | by Madhudvisa dasa

Matchless Gifts – Srila Prabhupada and Disciples in New York 1966

Srila Prabhupada: I was wondering the street and some of the boys saw me and gradually they can to me and actually I did not try for developing this institution, the boys did it. They are all educated, they are not fool’s. Mr. Howard is MA, he is also BA, he is Dr Ph.D., so they’re all educated. So they are not fools that they’re taking this blindly, no.

Most of my students, they were under the spell of this LSD but they have given up everything. They are simply living on this chapati and some fruits, that’s all. They don’t eat meat, they don’t want wine they don’t want cigarettes, they don’t want tea, coffee, nothing and they chanting Hare Krishna, following my instructions.  So I am getting good hope.

Kirtanananda: The meal is composed of rice, and this soup [which we call dhal], and a combination of vegetables and chapati, which is made of whole wheat. You see it’s all vegetable and grain. Sometimes some fruit, there’s fruit in the dhal. No meat, no animal products, such as eggs. This is because in the Gita Krishna has told us what He wants us to eat, namely fresh fruits and grain, not animal products. So we have a very nutritious meal here, it is very cheap; it goes a long way, it’s quite easy to prepare, and we have a lot of fun.

Essentially these are foods that are prescribed according to orthodox Vaisnavite discipline. So these foods are prescribed. But we don’t necessarily prescribe them for everybody, the main thing is no meat, fish and eggs.

Why not?

Because in the scriptures it states that certain foods Krishna will accept so we have to offer our food to Krishna, we have to offer the food He will accept. The food that He will accept is stated as vegetables, fruits, leaves, water…

Well we believe that vegetables have… also any living…  life form has a soul, therefore the murder of a vegetable is not in any way different qualitatively from the murder of an animal. But the thing is vegetables are our allotment according to scripture, we can eat certain foods that are given to us to eat by God. If we eat food that’s not given to us to eat that’s robbery.

Are there any tasks that you have to perform?

Well we’re… There’s no real task. We’re here to learn and that’s what we are doing and we also, we have jobs to perform to keep the organization running, to keep the word of Krishna being spread.

How do you do that?

Well, we recently purchased a couple of mimeograph machines and that’s helping our printing. By word of mouth. By constantly being active.

Do you work?

Yes. We all work.

But you meet here every day. Well I’m devoting all my time here so I work here all day. Money has to come in also. Some of us work regular jobs and devote most of our money here, if not all.

Do you feel any different since you joined?

I feel very good and closer to God.

What introduced you to this group?

A friend of mine told me about a love celebration at Tompkins Square Park which was last Thursday or the Thursday before last and I know that I had been seeking a guru for a while so Krishna sent me there. I was there and after meeting some of the initiates I knew that the Swami had to be into something, so I came the very next morning, and I’ve been here since then.

Srila Prabhupada: I came here, in America in September 1965. My mission is to preach the philosophy of Lord Caitanya. Chanting of Hare Krishna. This transcendental vibration will cleanse the dirty things of the mind. It doesn’t matter what he is, this transcendental vibration is equally appealing to everyone without any question of language, nationality, creed or caste because it is coming forth from the depth of the soul. This simple vibration can deliver the people of this age to salvation.

Human life is meant for getting out of the three-fold miseries of this material existence and forgetting their life’s aim they have become too much materialistic and the result is that actually they haven’t got that peace of mind or peace of the world which they are hankering [for] and if they take to this chanting, transcendental vibration, their mind, the dirtiness of the mind will be cleared and they will clearly see their actual identity as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord or Krishna and dovetailing their activities in that relationship, everything will be sublime.

Devotee: I think how we are different from drug people also is to realize that God is here and in my heart and all the time but we are realizing this consciously. We know this consciously. Not just to accept it once and enjoy. You know this moment to moment.

Well I’ve only tried maraujana. I’ve never taken anything else. You might say I was fortunate enough to have my self realization and other changes without drugs.

Leary and some of the drug followers, they are functioning high on a low level and we are functioning low on a high level.

Could you explain that?

They are functioning high, this feeling, this sensual perception which is extended so far that they are enjoying their foods, their incense and colors and all these things. This anyone can do. And we are not enjoying these things. But we are functioning on this high level, on the level of God.

We must consider ourselves as the gopis so that we can love Krishna that much more. That we devote our whole lives to Krishna and we must consider ourselves as females you see.

Be careful. It takes many, many lifetimes of perfection to get to be a gopi. One has to be the supremely developed perfect in perfection to qualify as a gopi…

But the reason that one of the people mentioned before that being feminine is that the masculine love and the feminine are loved and that you are feminine so that you can be loved by Krishna.

Well, does this have anything to do with being celibate or…

This has to do with the Supreme Being of course is male because He is Purusa as they say in Sanskrit. That is He is the origin, He is the creator. He is the seed. He plants the seed in the material universe of which we are the result. Therefore we are the feminine. The whole material creation, He is the Supereme Father.

Are you celebant?

That has nothing to do with it. I may be or I may not be, this has nothing to do with it.

I just came in and I was tired, so they said, “You’re tired go to sleep, lay down here.”

You mean this is your first day?


And this is your first chanting session?

Yes, this is the first time I have ever been into it at all.

I came about the first of August. Ray was here a little earlier I believe.

I came around the middle of August.

And then others of course have come within the last week.

But the one thing that usually happens is that the ones who come like this, they come and they just never go. Once you come, you stay, because the Swami has something which you are looking for.

The first thing he did for us was to give us our method of chanting which is so powerful a method that it will work for anyone. In other words you don’t need to be one person in a million who can really be successful in meditation and yoga where you have to spend years at that discipline without getting any place and then finally achieve it. Our method is so powerful that it will work for anyone in two days.

Should I bow down when I don’t feel anything? Should I say these words when I don’t feel anything? He says, “yes,” because this is a training.  You see you want to train yourself, this is the most important, then you’ll gradually just fall right into it, if you work hard at it. You must practice, and this is the main thing and then you’ll be attracted.

How about now? Do you feel really good?

Excuse me.

Do you feel uncomfortable?

Oh no, I see all this practicing and work just had to be done for where I am now.

Anyone who chants Hare Krishna, have you got the whole chant?

Just the same as we are all sitting here but if I call “Stanley,” that’s not the same as calling you. If I call your name that shows my attention is riveted on you. So by riveting our attention on Krishna we are able to… In other words if I meditated on the word: “Raymond,” that wouldn’t be the same at all. The word “Krishna” is God, the word “Raymond,” at least to my knowledge, is not.

Well you have to concentrate on these words, you have to be sincere about these words. You have to surrender yourself to these words and through this, this takes practice. It’s not done in one session. It took me maybe four sessions before I began to even chant, you see.

What happens when you do chant, when you’re in it?

Well, that’s hard to explain. I guess that each person has a different reaction but you do seem to open up. It seems as if something flies out of you. It’s like a door opens, it slowly opens and then you walk in to the unknown, the unknown is beautiful, this unknown.

You have every muscle of your body engaged in the exercise. You’re singing, you’re dancing, your mind is fully engaged in thinking about God. What more could there be? This is the full aim of any kind of yoga.

It’s to concentrate the energy to a point and in this kirtan your energy is concentrated on one point, God.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

What more could you want?

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

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