Tapati (tapati) wrote,

Prabhupada, Jamadagni and Kanupriya

Please note that Kanupriya said that before this conversation, Prabhupada had been told these two had fallen away and were in maya, etc., so that perhaps colored how he saw their questions, for what it's worth. This turned out to be a controversial conversation and cemented many devotees' opinions of Jamadagni and Kanupriya as trouble makers, though it seems clear to me that they were sincerely trying to serve Prabhupada and genuinely desired answers to their questions. Perhaps they violated some unspoken code that said you don't bother Prabhupada with the very real concerns and problems about things going on in the movement, abuses of power, and how to deal with scientifically impossible passages in scripture that undermined the movement's credibility in the West. Oh--and all you people who think you're disciples of Prabhupada but keep hairs? He says you're not disciples if you don't shave up. So get out that razor!

Los Angeles, June 26, 1975

Prabhupada: So you have given up the Vaisnava-sadacara for business selling. So you can be dangerous for that.
Kanupriya: But we have also maintained the Vaisnava-sadacara. They didn't tell us...
Prabhupada: That's all right. You do that. But they do not see whether you are maintaining.
Kanupriya: But at the same time, when we were maintaining that, we had the same problems, is that, when we presented sociological applications of the philosophy, for instance, to arrange marriages in a reasonable way, that the women not be sent out on sankirtana to prostitute themselves to sell books, but be trained up to be wives, or that the brahmacaris in the temple, someone would sit and talk with them and see how many of them want to be married and try and arrange some type of training for them, knowing that most of them are going to become married, rather than just have no training and one day find oneself married, out on the street with no occupation or training.

Prabhupada: First of all, you are not trained up. You are sometimes becoming astrologer, sometimes this, sometimes that.
Kanupriya: It's true, because of my birth in this...
Prabhupada: So how they can follow you?
Jamadagni: We're not asking them to follow us. We're asking you Prabhupada, that these are some problems.
Prabhupada: My request is that first of all you adopt yourself the Vaisnava acara. Then you try to teach others. Otherwise you have no right.
Jamadagni: But we have done that for five years, and no one here listened to us at all.
Prabhupada: So why you are anxious to listen... You... Let them not listen. You do your own duty.
Jamadagni: We had no duty. They gave us nothing to do. They would not recognize our qualities, as we understand, even of, say Krsna consciousness.
Prabhupada: So what can I do?
Jamadagni: Well, you can make statements on certain of these things so that when they hear them, their ignorance will be dispelled.
Prabhupada: Then we have to hear both of you. We have to hear both you... There will be regular court, and we shall see.
Kanupriya: Not court, simply...
Prabhupada: No, no.
Jamadagni: That would be fine.
Kanupriya: Okay.
Prabhupada: Before me. You are saying something. They may say something else. So brothers together, we sit down together, and bring this...

Jamadagni: All right. But we have some, also, questions that don't require that. These are philosophical questions. For instance, in Krsna Book there is a statement that King Ugrasena had four billion personal servants. Now you have asked that we go and spread Krsna consciousness to the scientific community.
Prabhupada: So everyone is servant. What is the question of four billion? Krsna's servant...
Jamadagni: No, Ugrasena, King Ugrasena, that when he was on the planet, he had four billion personal servants.
Prabhupada: That's all right. He is always the master. He... The Krsna is the only master.
Jamadagni: Not Krsna. No. King Ugrasena, Prabhupada. Not Krsna. King Ugrasena. The statement is that King Ugrasena had four billion personal servants. Now, we have gone and tried to spread to the scientific community. And if we say to them, "There was a king whose name was Ugrasena. He had four billion personal servants," they laugh and say, "What did they do for toilets? What did they do for food? Where did they live?"
Prabhupada: So you want to preach this particular portion and no other portion?
Kanupriya: No. We want to... We want to know if the story has an allegorical meaning rather than a literal translation, or that King Ugrasena who was a man who lived five thousand years ago and had four billion bodyguards, or whether the stories within the Bhagavatam, apart from some of them being actual, are allegorical stories. Such as the story of Krsna and Balarama chopping off the the eighty-eight...
Prabhupada: All right. You can give up that portion. You can take other portion.
Jamadagni: We don't mean to give it up.
Kanupriya: We don't mean to give it up.
Jamadagni: We're saying how can we say to them...
Prabhupada: Anyone, anyone... Why you are going to preach that portion to a professor?
Kanupriya: No. When they read your books, they pose that question to us.
Jamadagni: They read it. They say to us.
Kanupriya: And unless we can answer that question...
Prabhupada: They ask to only you, but they never ask to us.
Revatinandana: They have. Sometimes they ask me.
Prabhupada: That's all right. Let them ask. But you can tell away that(?) but you don't repeat this thing. You can give up that portion. You read other portion.
Kanupriya: But then because so many things they have to accept on faith without knowing, it then weakens their faith as to what they should accept and why should they accept Krsna, who they can't see any more than King Ugrasena's four billion bodyguards.
Prabhupada: Don't accept. Don't accept.
Jamadagni: But we want them to accept. The point is, if we say to a scientific man, "There was four billion," and if our statement is wrong...
/Prabhupada: But our position is that if some portion we cannot understand, it is our incapability.
Jamadagni: That is all right. But since we are...
Prabhupada: That's all. Unless we have got this faith we cannot use these Puranas. In the Puranas there are many such statements.
Jamadagni: Yes, but we just want to understand.
Prabhupada: Therefore many people, they do not accept Puranas. So what can be done?
Jamadagni: We're just trying to understand it because we've never dealt with Puranas before. We have been your disciples. But when we present this to the scientific community, because you have said that if one word is wrong, the whole philosophy is wrong, so they will say to us...
Prabhupada: So let them take it and throw out, don't read it. That's all.
Jamadagni: But then they discredit the Bhagavad-gita. We don't like that when they discredit the Bhagavad-gita.
Prabhupada: Why? They don't believe. What is the use?
Jamadagni: Well, because we also want to know how did they have four billion personal servants just so that we'll be able to convince them and also...
Prabhupada: If a king has four billion servants, so it is not very astonishing. Why do you think that a king shall have only four servants?
Jamadagni: Well, there's only two billion people on the planet right now.
Prabhupada: That's all right.
Jamadagni: So where did they all go?
Prabhupada: I say you don't believe, you don't take it. Why you are insisting on that point? If you don't believe, you don't take it. If you don't believe the whole book or the whole society, then who forbids you?
Jamadagni: We were hoping that there are some things which can be improved, because they have not been set up by you.
Prabhupada: No. You cannot improve. Whatever we are, we are.
Jamadagni: Why can we not improve it?
Prabhupada: No. There is no possibility.
Jamadagni: Then what is the use of action?
Prabhupada: Action, whatever action we can do by chanting Hare Krsna, that's all.
Jamadagni: But we also have to make varnasrama society or farms or businesses.
Prabhupada: That, when we shall do, we shall see to it.
Jamadagni: But we are doing it. We are.
Kanupriya: We are doing it now, and that's the question...
Prabhupada: So do it in your own way.
Jamadagni: We don't want to. We want to do everything Krsna's way.
Prabhupada: Stop it. Stop it. I say stop it. You have come to me for my advice. I say you stop it.
Jamadagni: Then, we say, what should we do?
Prabhupada: You should do your business. That's all. Earn money and enjoy.
Jamadagni: No, I mean what should we do Krsna consciously?
Prabhupada: You give up Krsna consciousness, I say. That is my advice.
Jamadagni: Why should we do that?
Prabhupada: Then that I cannot say.
Kanupriya: Isn't there a middle of the road?
Prabhupada: If you are finding so many faults, you give it up.
Kanupriya: No. We're not finding fault.
Prabhupada: Then there is no other advance, alternative. No alternative. Either you accept or reject it.
Kanupriya: We accept, but we would like some instruction on...
Prabhupada: No. I have no such knowledge to convince you.
Kanupriya: No, we accept Krsna consciousness philosophy...
Prabhupada: That's all right. Accept, or if you reject, reject.
Kanupriya: We accept.
Jamadagni: We want to apply it.
Kanupriya: We want to apply it to the world as it is now.
Prabhupada: No no. You cannot. You are not authorized.
Kanupriya: Well, who is authorized?
Prabhupada: The authorized... You are not authorized. Who is authorized, that is not your business.
Jamadagni: Then what does it mean to become disciple?
Prabhupada: Disciple, if you don't like, give it up.
Jamadagni: We do like it.
Prabhupada: You have already given up.
Jamadagni: If we didn't like it, we would not come here.
Prabhupada: No, no. You have already given up. My disciples do not keep so many hair.
Jamadagni: Many of your disciples do.
Prabhupada: No. I don't accept that. You just this one circle, little. But those who are keeping big hairs, they are rejected from my disciples.
Jamadagni: All right. That is clearing some things up.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Jamadagni: This is what we want to know.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Jamadagni: Because then that is an unequivocal statement.
Prabhupada: No. This is, that you can, that anyone who is keeping hairs and not following the rules and regulations, they are rejected from second initiation.
Jamadagni: What if they are keeping hair but they are following the rules and regulations.
Prabhupada: Then let them follow. That's a good life. But from external features he must be a Vaisnava.
Jamadagni: To get second initiation.
Kanupriya: Does that mean shaved head?
Prabhupada: Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when His students used to come without tilaka, so He refused to see his face. He refused to see his face. He said it is a crematory ground.
Jamadagni: Why is that?
Prabhupada: There is no "why." If you accept it, accept. If you don't accept, leave us, leave us. There is no "why."
Jamadagni: Then that is...
Prabhupada: You are not following strictly. You cannot ask why.
Jamadagni: We could not ask why when we were following strictly either, Prabhupada. So I'm sorry that it has to be this way.
Prabhupada: No, our thing is that we have got some principles. If anyone cannot follow, then we don't accept him.

Kanupriya: Then what do you do with the rest of the world, except for the few people who...
Prabhupada: So what I can do I am doing. Therefore you have no right to ask me. What is possible by me I am doing. And those who are able to follow, they are following. That's all.
Jamadagni: But they cannot engage anyone else. How can you reach the intelligent class?
Prabhupada: So that is their business. That is not your business.
Jamadagni: We are trying to be disciples, so we considered it our business because we are sincerely trying.
Prabhupada: So why you are bothering me? You do your business.
Jamadagni: Because from you only...
Prabhupada: I do not accept you because you are keeping hairs.
Jamadagni: I did not know that.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Jamadagni: You never told me that in Hawaii.
Prabhupada: Now I say, I'll repeat that anyone who is keeping long hairs, he is no more my disciple.
Jamadagni: All right.
Prabhupada: This is the first condition.
Kanupriya: Does that apply also for householder dharma, or is that simply for brahmacari dharma? Even you... I have pictures of you on the Bhagavatam when you did not have shaved head, with a mustache when you were doing your business as a householder. So does that apply to householders, or only to brahmacaris, that a householder must also keep a shaved head or is that...?
Prabhupada: At that time I was not initiated. You were seeing my picture, mustaches, at that time I was not initiated. Since I became initiated, I have shaven.
Kanupriya: Well, in India where one can do business...
Prabhupada: I can... Why you are bringing this question? You ask, "Why you had mustaches?" I say when I had mustaches, at that time, I was not initiated. That answer is given. That's all.
Jamadagni: Can I ask one more question, Prabhupada? What I would like to understand is why it is wrong to ask why? If I can just understand this, why it is wrong for us to ask you in a submissive way. We were humbly asking you these "whys," not because we are trying to be intimidating or we were trying to rebel, but because we have sincerely tried to understand as your disciples.
Prabhupada: So you better ask my so many other disciples?
Kanupriya: They don't have any answers.
Prabhupada: Then there is no answer. I cannot attend so many things.
Jamadagni: We are not so many.
Kanupriya: But these are the same questions which we have talked over with Revatinandana Swami and Jayatirtha. A great many...
Prabhupada: If my disciples, advanced students, cannot answer, then I am sorry. I cannot answer. I cannot answer.
Jamadagni: That we did not know. That we did not know.
Prabhupada: Yes. Now you know it. I have appointed so many GBCs because to help me. It is not possible to see everyone, individual. This is not...
Kanupriya: But these are the same questions which they themselves are posing to you.
Revatinandana: I have never met any other people who asked questions on the level that they are asking questions. I cannot answer many of their questions. I have studied all your books.
Prabhupada: I cannot. If you cannot, I cannot also. Because you have been taught by me, if you cannot, then it is...
Jamadagni: We have also been taught.
Revatinandana: I have read your books, and I have heard you lecture. And so many things they are asking, I am, have no capacity to answer them. But you must have the capacity because you know Krsna. Therefore they want to ask you personally.

Kanupriya: So that is the...
Prabhupada: So far I am not so able to answer. I admit my fault.
Kanupriya: Oh, so then that is...
Prabhupada: I cannot answer.
Kanupriya: I understand. Okay? But they are saying, the general conception of you is that because you know Krsna...
Prabhupada: You can... You...
Kanupriya: (interrupting) Excuse me. Because you know Krsna, therefore you know everything about the material world and can answer all questions.
Prabhupada: So whatever I know I have explained in my books. Beyond that I have no knowledge.
Jamadagni: If that is the case, Srila Prabhupada, that does not diminish our respect for you in the least because we have always held...
Prabhupada: So what can I do? I say that whatever I have got experience, I am explaining in my books. I have explained. So it is not possible for me to answer every individual person. It is not possible.
Jamadagni: We respect that. We understand. It is just that because they are saying these things...
Prabhupada: I have got my advanced students. They can answer. If they are unable, answer, if you do not find answer from my books, then it is hopeless.
Kanupriya: Ah! But your advanced students are saying if they give an answer that because they have been appointed by you, therefore their answer is perfectly correct, because, absolutely correct on all things in the relative world because, they have been appointed by you, and because you know...
Prabhupada: You may... That's all right. If you don't believe them, you can finish business.
Jamadagni: But are they correct? That's what we want to know.
Prabhupada: Yes. They are correct.
Jamadagni: That everything they say is the absolute truth?
Prabhupada: So what can I say? But I have no time to meet everyone.
Jamadagni: Is that correct, Srila Prabhupada? I want to know very clearly that every word that anyone whom you have appointed says is completely correct on all things?
Prabhupada: Yes. If they are authorized, it is correct.
Jamadagni: If they are authorized by you to be temple president...
Prabhupada: There is no reply.
Jamadagni: Then when (name witheld) said to me that he wanted to have homosexual affair with me, I should have said, "Okay. Whatever you say." Is that correct?
Prabhupada: So how to answer these questions?
Jamadagni: That is what he said to me. And he was a sannyasa. He is sannyasa and he said to me, "I want to have sex with you." Does that mean that Krsna was saying I should have sex with him?
Jayatirtha: So you have to see whether it is according to our principles.
Jamadagni: I'm asking you on a very practical... No. That is not what he said. He didn't say that. He said absolutely, and this is...
Upendra: Then you should listen to everything he said.
Jamadagni: I am. Because if I can judge then, if I can say, "Oh, at this point he is wrong," then that is what we are talking about, Srila Prabhupada. That is the issue. If they are absolutely right all the time and they can make no error, they wield absolute power over our lives.
Prabhupada: Where is (name witheld)? Where is (he)?
Satsvarupa: He is across the street.
Prabhupada: Has he said like that?
Jamadagni: Yes. I have witnesses.
Upendra: But he's admitted his error.
Jamadagni: That's beside the point.
Revatinandana: That's all right. But that's not the point here.
Upendra: The point is that Prabhupada, that if you come before Prabhupada for your own spiritual advancement, then it doesn't matter what other people are thinking...
Jamadagni: That's not the...
Kanupriya: That's not the crux of the matter at all.
Revatinandana: The point here is not to criticize (him).
Kanupriya: No. We did not come for that at all.
Revatinandana: That wasn't the reason. The point is that anyone, (name witheld) or anybody else, he may be a sannyasi, but if he's doing all kinds of nonsense, how can we say that he has absolute authority? Because he was in charge of the place, etc., and he is also in an authoritative position, yet he breaks the principles.
Jamadagni: His personal servant, when he came... His name is (name witheld). (He) instigated a homosexual affair with him. This boy came to surrender to Krsna and surrendered to (him). But (he) told him to do that.
Upendra: But Prabhupada...
Jamadagni: Wait. I am not speaking with you. He said he did that and he did it in the name of his authority as a sannyasa. So if you say, Prabhupada, that everything that they say is absolutely true, then they will have absolute power and can do anything that they want, and anything that they say and any opinion they express is taken to be the same as yours, then it becomes implied that you agree with and condone such things, because they do them with absolute license. And we don't believe that to be true. So we think it is some kind of mistake.
Prabhupada: They say like that?
Kanupriya: Everyone says like that.
Jamadagni: They do, Prabhupada.
Satsvarupa: No, they don't. Srila Prabhupada has said these things don't apply to you. Don't worry about them because you are not following the principles.
Kanupriya: But they do say, and we are following and you don't know what we're doing, Satsvarupa, because you haven't known me for two years. So you really don't know what I'm doing. You're not around.
Satsvarupa: But our society is going nicely. It's not...
Jamadagni: In some respects it's going fine. But these are problems which can be dealt with amongst us, and they are affecting all of us. And for some people these are problems though they may not be for you. I think, as far as I know, your conduct has always been very honorable. But for some people who it's not and where these misconceptions apply, it's a real problem and we're trying to deal with it because it affects our lives.
Upendra: The strength to deal with those problems comes from following sadhanacara.
Jamadagni: We are also attempting to follow sadhanacara. And if we are imperfect...
Prabhupada: Anyway, if he has said so, that is wrong.
Kanupriya: But is that then applying to everyone. Does someone who is in the adminis... (end)

Tags: abuse, gaudiya vaishnavism, gr, religion

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