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ISKCON 50 Meditations: October 13, 2015

By: for ISKCON News on Oct. 13, 2015

Prabhupada was not demanding in Butler. For himself, he kept his strict sadhana of chanting and hearing, his Bhagavatam writing, his vegetarian diet offered to Krishna. But he didn’t demand much from others. When he came early one afternoon to the Agarwal apartment and found them eating meat and Sally apologized – “Oh Swamiji, we have just prepared meat and the smell will be disagreeable to you,” – he said, “Think nothing of it. Think nothing of it.” When the guests came in the evening to see him, they were always smoking cigarettes and he said, “Think nothing of it.” Gopal Agarwal said, “His interest was not to have you change your way of life. He wasn’t telling anyone they should be vegetarian or anything. He didn’t stress that we should give up many things.” Prabhupada did not presume to be their guru. He was a humble guest, “an ambassador of bhakti-yoga”.

Yet he gave lectures – at colleges, at a seminary, the Lions Club, the YMCA. And he spoke to the guests every evening at the Agarwal home. We cannot imagine him speaking watered-down philosophy. We have no recordings of his talks at Butler, but surely he taught Bhagavad-gita As It Is, as he always did. Somehow, without compromising, he made his parampara message accessible and understandable – and not off-putting – to his American audiences. Bhagavad-gita is so fascinating and non-sectarian, its teachings of the eternal Self and the transmigration of bodies so revolutionary to Western audiences, and its main theme of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead so appealing to the heart, that no doubt Prabhupada’s lectures were enthralling, even to newcomers.

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