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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON 50 Meditations: May 18, 2016
By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami   |  May 18, 2016

Evoking Memories of 1966

There is a famous example in the novel Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.  Proust eats a little piece of pastry, a petite madeleine, and as he mixed it with tea and it softened in his mouth, the scent of it and the taste of it suddenly threw him back many years to his childhood.

Maybe we can do things like that, by hearing the noises on the street and remembering how it was during those 1966 lectures:

I’m in my spot hearing him speak.  A little afraid when hoodlums or teenagers out there make noises, but we’re not going to give up our places.  I hope it doesn’t get into some big scene, but that they will go away so we can continue to hear the Swami.  When someone comes and makes noises at the doorway, you can get a flash of how it looks to outsiders.  They see you are just some hippies with this strange Indian man.  The whole thing seems weird to them and they can’t figure it out.  They just can’t figure it out.  The Swami is obviously an Indian, so why is he with these young American hippies?  They are street-tough, street-wise; they know American hippies well enough, but they don’t know the Swami.

When we were in the storefront and someone would look in or play their music from the radio and say, “Hey, what the hell is this?”  Or just, “Hey!” – you sat there and absorbed it and they would usually go away.  But one intruder after another would come; sometimes for a large part of the lecture there would be disturbing sounds.  The thing is, Swamiji kept the door open.  If he had shut the door, it might have been better, but he wanted people to feel free to come in.  Maybe it was better that way.  Maybe there would have been more disturbances if they hadn’t been able to look in and check it out and say something.  If the door was shut, they might have been more frustrated.  But for whatever reason, he kept it open.

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