Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON 50 Meditations: March 26, 2016
By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami   |  Mar 26, 2016

“Don’t Turn Your Attention, Just Hear”

Outside the closed windows of the Room 307, the late winter night had fallen.  Prabhupada’s words are punctuated with the muted sounds of car horns and occasional sirens from the street, and sometimes the startling chords of a lonely fog horn on the Hudson.  Although bare, the room is warm.  Prabhupada is speaking on the second chapter of Bhagavad-gita.

Now Arjuna is perplexed.  He is perplexed about whether to fight or not to fight.  After seeing in front of him his relatives, with whom he was to fight, he was perplexed.  And there was some argument with Krishna.

Now here is a point: Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead….

Prabhupada’s voice is earnest, persuading.  Sometimes his speech becomes high-pitched and breaks with urgency.  His cultured British diction bears a heavy, Bengali accent. 

Suddenly, he pauses in his lecture and addresses someone in the room. 

Prabhupada:  What is that?

Man:  What?

Prabhupada:  What is this book?

Man:  Well, this is a translation of the Bhagavad-gita.

Prabhupada is obviously displeased that while he is speaking, someone is looking through a book.  This is hardly like the respect offered to learned speakers described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Prabhupada:  Well, no, you can hear me.

Man:  I am hearing.

Prabhupada:  Yes, don’t turn your attention, just hear me. 

He is taking the role of a teacher correcting his student.  Of course, there is no compelling reason why any of his casual guests should feel obliged to obey him.  He simply begs for their attention, and yet he demands it – “just hear me” – as he attempts to convince them of Krishna consciousness.  

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