Srila Prabhupada: Jaya om visnu pada parivrajakacarya ....So we are thinking we are very much fortunate to hear His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja. He is, by age and experience, in both ways he is senior to me. I am also always fortunate to have his association for a very long time -- perhaps since nineteen hundred and thirty or something like that. At that time, he did not accept sannyasa; he just left home, vanaprastha. In his white dress he went to Allahabad. (Aside, to Srila Sridhara Maharaja:) Maharaja, I think you remember this incident when you went to Allahabad.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, I do.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, thank you. At that time...
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: ...we took prasadam on the roof.
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. (Everyone laughs) On that auspicious occasion we were connected. Before that, in nineteen hundred and twenty, twenty-two, when I was manager in Bose Laboratory, as a young man I was a nationalist in the Congress Party. I was a devotee of Mahatma Gandhi. At that time...
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: ...1920, but at the beginning of non-cooperation.
Srila Prabhupada: No, I was in connection with Congress by 1917 when I became the Congress president. Then I became serious in 1920 and I gave up my education. So one of my friends...perhaps you know, Maharaja, that Narin Mandi...actually he was my intimate friend. So in their house old [Bhakti Pradipa] Tirtha Maharaja went to beg some alms, so he informed me that, "One nice sannyasi came to our house and he has invited us to go to Ultaganna there in the Gaudiya Math. So he has invited me, and I wish to go there. Why don't you come also? Let us go together." He was my very intimate friend, so at that time I was a little hesitant: "Why should I go? I know all the sadhus there; I am not going." But he forced me: "Oh, why not? Let us go." "Alright, let us go." So I went to see His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura in nineteen hundred and twenty-two in the Ultaganna building.
At that time Guru Maharaja was sitting on the roof of a small house at noon. He was very kind, because the devotees saw that Lal Mandi was a very rich man and had contributed some money. So we went to see Prabhupada and to offer our obeisances, and immediately he said, "You are all educated young men. Why don't you preach Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message throughout the whole world?" So because I was politically-minded at that time, I replied to him that, "We are a dependent nation. Who will hear our message? We can speak about all these things after we get independence." Yes. So he refuted my argument. That day I was defeated and I took his words very seriously; I appreciated him. Then we were offered some prasadam, we came down, and my friend asked me, "How did you like this sadhu?" I replied, "Yes, here is a sadhu in whose hands Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message is there, and it will be done. I think he was very nice." That was my appreciation, and then in nineteen hundred and twenty-three I resigned from my post as manager of Bose Laboratory and I accepted the agency of the whole of U.P. up to Delhi, and I made my head office in Allahabad. Still, I was always thinking, "Oh yes, I met a very nice sadhu." From the very beginning that was my intuition that, "I have met a real sadhu." So actually he was lava matra sadhu-sange sarva siddhi haya -- he was, actually. I could feel it, for a moment. I was so much impressed with Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. It continued. Then in nineteen hundred and twenty-eight, when there was Kumba Mela....Maharaja, when did you join Gaudiya Math?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Twenty-seven.
Srila Prabhupada: Twenty-seven, that means....
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: I was thirty when I met Prabhupada in August, 1926. That was my first meeting, and I joined the mission in May, 1927.
Srila Prabhupada: In nineteen hundred and twenty-eight there was a Kumbha Mela, and at that Kumbha Mela [Bhakti Pradipa] Tirtha Maharaja with a party came to my shop. He said, "We are sadhus,"and I thought, "Oh, these are the people I previously saw."
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, I was so glad. So Tirtha Maharaja requested me that, "We are new here, we have traveled here to attend the Kumbha Mela, and we have heard your name, so we have come to you. Please help us." I said, "Yes, I will help you." In this way I contributed to them, my attending physician contributed, and some other friends. In this way Tirtha Maharaja and I became friends, and he held his first program in Allahabad in my house with, I think, Sarvaisnava Brahmacari and Bir Krsna Brahmacari.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yajavara Maharaja.
Srila Prabhupada: Yajavara Maharaja, yes. So my father was a Vaisnava, but when I invited the Gaudiya Math sadhus, my father thought that I have invited some sadhus from the Ramakrishna Mission, so he was not very interested. (Laughter) When Tirtha Maharaja was speaking, I called my father-at that time he was invalid-I called him, "Please come down, there is a meeting with the Gaudiya Math." So he could not resist my request; he came down, but he did not think that some devotees have come — he thought that, "These are Ramakrishna Mission rascals."
Srila Prabhupada: So he was not very happy, but I told him, "While they are speaking, just sit tight." But when he heard the speech of our Tirtha Maharaja, our old Godbrother, he said, "They are Vaisnavas!" Then immediately after the meeting he fell down at his feet. [To Srila Prabhupada:] "I misunderstood what you said, thinking that he was a Ramakrishna sadhu. (Laughter) [To Tirtha Maharaja:] I am so glad to meet you." That is the beginning of my intimate relationship with the Gaudiya Math. And they kept coming, and whenever somebody would come, I would invite them to lecture in my house. In that way. Sridhara Maharaja — at that time, Ramendrasundara Bhattacarya — he was also invited to my house, and before that, I think I invited Bharati Maharaja and you were with Bharati Maharaja.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So, in this way my connection became developed with the Gaudiya Math, and then gradually the process began: harisye tad dhanam shanaih -- "Harinama takes everything away." (Laughter) I wanted to become a very big businessman and there was good opportunity. I was very nicely associated with the chemical industry of India -- Dr. Bose's laboratory, Bengal Chemical, and all of them -- and they liked my business organization. Then I started a big laboratory in Lucknow-those were golden days -- but gradually everything became tainted, and at last my Allahabad business was lost. I had to hand it over to Dr. Chandra Bose because I was his agent. There were some debts, so I told him, "Alright, you take this business." In this way the business was lost. So I was sitting at home, and Yajavara Maharaja -- at that time, Sarvaisnava Brahmacari and Atulananda Brahmacari used to come to sell their subscriptions, and they were requesting, "Why don't you come to our Math, why don't you come to our Math? You are now free." So I used to visit their temple, which was not far away from my house. Then my intimate relationship with the Gaudiya Math began. In this way, I think in 1933...yes, they came to lay down the foundation stone of the Allahabad Math. Maharaja, I think you remember?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, we were coming from Vrndavana parikrama.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, parikrama. And the parikrama, that is also another intimate story. I was not initiated at that time, but I had a very good aspiration for devotional service, and before 1933 I met Sridhara Maharaja and other devotees-old Tirtha Maharaja-and they were very, very kind to me. So I thought, "What are these people doing on this parikrama? Let me also go." So I met them in Kosi. Perhaps, Maharaja, you may remember that all the people were going to see some Sesasayi Deity.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Including Puri Maharaja.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So at that time, later on, Kesava Maharaja informed everyone that, "Guru Maharaja is going to Mathura tomorrow morning, and he will speak Hari-katha this evening. Anyone who wants to remain may remain, or otherwise they may prepare to go to see Sesasayi." So at that time I think only ten or twelve men remained. Out of them Sridhara Maharaja was one of them, and I thought it wise, "What can I see, this Sesasayi? Let me hear. Guru Maharaja will speak; let me hear."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: It was better to listen to him than to have the eye- experience.
Srila Prabhupada: Because we could understand that he is a Vaikuntha person and we were always eager to hear, he very much appreciated that. So when he came back to Allahabad, Golesh Babu introduced me to him saying, "Here is a nice devotee." Prabhupada immediately replied, "Yes, I marked that he does not go away. He hears very well. Yes, I will accept him." Then I was initiated. In this way my relationship with Gaudiya Math developed, and gradually as it developed, the other [family and business] side diminished.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: (Laughs)
Srila Prabhupada: (Chuckles) Then, there was a long history at that time, but I had the opportunity of associating with His Holiness Sridhara Maharaja for several years. I had the opportunity. Krsna and Prabhupada liked [him] to prepare me...
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: ...as a sannyasi.
Srila Prabhupada: (Laughs) He lived in my house as a sannyasi for a few years. So naturally we had very intimate talks and he was my good advisor. I took his advice and instruction very seriously because from the very beginning I know he is a pure Vaisnava devotee and I wanted to associate with him, and I tried to help him. He also tried to help me, so our relationship is very intimate. After the breakdown of the Gaudiya Math, I wanted to organize another organization making Sridhara Maharaja the head. And I wanted to arrange at that time for [Bhakti Saranga] Goswami Maharaja to have the house of one of my friends at.... Maharaja, you may remember those things. I wanted to organize in so many ways, but somehow or other....
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: There was one house...a very small place.
Srila Prabhupada: He wanted to rent from us only for 90 rupees. I told him, "Please give the contract," because my friend at that time was getting some more. But because I was his friend, "Alright, then give me...." Anyway, that could not happen somehow or other. But I was trying [to assist] from the very beginning after the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: At that time you published Back to Godhead.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, in 1944.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: 1944.
Srila Prabhupada: I think that you were at that time at my house.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: So somehow or other this intention for preaching the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu increased, and the other side decreased. I was not disinclined, but Krsna forced me, that, "You must give up!" (Laughter) These things are known better to Sridhara Maharaja-how it decreased, decreased, decreased...then, it became almost nil. Whatever was there: "Alright, you give up your [grhastha] life in 1954." Four years I remained as vanaprastha-almost four years-between 1954 and 1959.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: In the meantime, Bombay life.
Srila Prabhupada: Bombay life, yes; that was during my householder life. I opened an office in Bombay for my business, but the Gaudiya Math there was established by us. I was one of them, and Sridhara Maharaja also. We made two parties for begging, collecting alms. Sridhara Maharaja, myself, and Goswami Maharaja-at that time he was Atulacandra Gosai. So I took them to some of my friends: chemist friends, doctor friends. Sridhara Maharaja would speak, I would introduce, and Goswami Maharaja would canvass. (Laughter) We combined together, and in one day we collected about 500 rupees. At that time 500 rupees was a...
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: ...big sum.
Srila Prabhupada: Big sum, yes. So Goswami Maharaja appreciated and began to speak highly about me, that "Abhay Babu is so expert, and he has so many friends, and he has collected something. So why should he not be in charge of the Math?" In this way, "Why should he not be with us? Why is he living separately in this way?" So Prabhupada said to me-Sridhara Maharaja remembers-he said, "I think it is better [for you] to live separately." [And he said to the other devotees:] "Let him live separately and he'll do the necessary in due course of time." I could not understand what Srila Prabhupada meant by that, but his blessings were always upon me, although I was unfit. He was so kind.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: [inaudible]
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, Prabhupada gave me some money. He was afraid, so: "You take this money. When they need, you can give." So by guru, Vaisnava -- whatever position I have got, it is by guru's mercy and the Vaisnavas' blessings; otherwise I am insignificant. So I wish that Sridhara Maharaja may bestow his blessings... (to Srila Sridhara Maharaja:) ...as you are doing always... and that my Guru Maharaja may help me, if I can give some service.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Remember... some dissertation of Bhagavatam at Radha-Damodara on Jiva Goswami's [appearance] day?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, Jiva Goswami.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: That gave you that last impression which you told about and the possibility for foreign [preaching].
Srila Prabhupada: And Guru Maharaja wanted that, yet those Gaudiya Math people did not do anything. So: "Let me try in this old age in a special camp," and I went [to the West] by his grace and it has become a big success. But I have no credit. It is all the blessings of guru and Vaisnavas, that's all. I have no credit. I do not know how things are happening because I am not at all in a bona fide position. I did it through tadiya vaisnava seva nistha.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: "Carry me wherever You like, karuna-avatara ...." (Laughter)
Srila Prabhupada: ...I wish to say [to America]: "Taking care of your position is very good. Now, if you take to Krsna consciousness and you become a perfect nation-that I see coming by the grace of Krsna. You have already got all material opulences; now make it plus Krsna, and then it will be great. Laksmi plus Narayana." So these boys are trying very sincerely and seriously, and I hope that even if I do not live many more years, they carry out this order.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: We are in that current, so we are also counted within that current.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Current is there, so it will be done. It will be done. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada (to the devotees): So, chant Hare Krsna.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: The central principle of ISKCON philosophy is surrender, otherwise one will not be able to get to know the substance. Whatever you are seeing externally by means of your intelligence -- that is not going to help you to become acquainted with the real substance.
Srila Prabhupada: That Dr. Radhakrishnan [author and one-time president of India] was victimized by Western philosophy. He had no real understanding of Indian philosophy.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: No matter; up to whatever extent they go, ultimately they end up becoming the worshiper of the self. They think that they will become God. The geocentric philosophy is not heliocentric. According to Srila Prabhupada [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura], they are not heliocentric. They are geocentric. Their limit is only up to their senses. Beyond that, they don't have any understanding whatsoever. Ultimately their goal is Brahmaloka. Brahmaloka is the ultimate goal of these people, and beyond that they don't have any knowledge. The para-bhakti on the brahma-bhuta platform-that when one is situated on the Brahman platform, the transcendental platform, there the pure devotional service begins-they don't have any understanding about that.
Srila Prabhupada: But that Radhakrishnan-inwardly he was afraid. I used to invite him from time to time. He used to be quite intimate with me. He used to say, "Please pray to God about me."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Where did he say that?
Srila Prabhupada: Where he used to stay in Delhi. He once wrote to me also, "After I retire, I shall join your movement."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Sometimes the false prestige spoils everything.
Srila Prabhupada: He used to have a lot of respect for me. Once he asked, "Are you writing everything in English?" So I asked him, "What do you do?" and he smiled.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: When he used to teach in Calcutta University, Bon Maharaja used to go to him, and once he took me with him, and before that once he brought him to Prabhupada. So this second time when we went to invite him I went with Bon Maharaja.
Srila Prabhupada: Personally he was a fine gentleman. A brahmana, very cultured, but a mayavadi. He is dead now.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, but Rajagopalachari [another Indian political leader/ author] was a Vaisnava.
Devotee (to Srila Prabhupada): Your Srila Prabhupada has given you a lot of mercy.
Srila Prabhupada: That is all due to your blessings. I do not know for how long I will be able to carry on, so I came to see Sridhara Maharaja.
Devotee: If you all go away, then the world will become dark.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja (to Srila Prabhupada): It is so wonderful that the will of the Lord becomes manifest through someone.
Srila Prabhupada: I very much want, Maharaja, that you come and stay at Mayapura. Because Prabhupada always desired that you preach. He told me quite a few times, "Why don't you pull him out?" [They both laugh.] You know, I also tried to some extent before, but somehow or other it did not work out. Now, why don't you come and stay at Mayapura?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: At last Prabhupada told me: "You are an ease-lover. [Laughter] The qualifications - that you have."
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that's true. He told me also, "He is such a qualified person. Sridhara Maharaja is one of the finest preachers." I want to take you everywhere. At least at the place we have in Mayapura, people are coming from all over the world. Why don't you come and stay there? What is your objection to staying in Mayapura? If you just agree, then whatever kind of building you want, I will arrange it for you. They are trying to build a house for me, so both of us will stay there. And whenever you want, you can come here [to his Navadwipa math].
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, as long as I am alive to fulfill Prabhupada's desire.
Srila Prabhupada: This is my earnest desire. Since you could not go around the world and preach, at least stay there and people will come to you. I shall make that arrangement. And if you stay there, then it will be very helpful to me also. Sometimes I need to consult with someone but there is no one. There is no one with whom I can consult. I feel this deficiency very greatly.
Devotee: If he stays in Mayapura, then all kinds of people will get to hear from him.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that's right.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds will come there.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they are already coming. And in that house I will make arrangements for an elevator so that you won't have to go through the difficulty of walking up and down the stairs. You won't even have to move a step yourself. I'll make arrangements for a car and a lift. Jayapataka Maharaja is telling me that he will build a house for me. So both of us will stay in that house. Most of the time I am just traveling around, so if you are there, then they can get some guidance. So Maharaja, please-give me the order and I will make all the arrangements for you.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Well, I'll think it over and let you know.
Srila Prabhupada: Let me make that arrangement, Maharaja. That planetarium [the "Temple of Understanding"] also will be built under your direction. My idea is to combine the Indian culture and the American money-the lame man and the blind man policy. I tell them also that this will be very beneficial for the world. Indian culture and varnasrama. Prabhupada's desire was to establish the varnasrama-dharma. So we have to do that: we have to establish our Varnasrama College. Let the people from all over the world come and learn about varnasrama.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: The effort that you are making to acquire the land in Mayapura-has that been successful?
Srila Prabhupada: No, nothing has happened as yet, but we are buying the land. How far one can hassle with the government-of course they haven't yet said either yes or no. But we are buying the land now. They demand a very exorbitant rate, but what to do? We are buying; wherever someone is selling we are buying. When they see the Americans they want a price four times more, but what to do. I feel, let these poor people also have something. They are stealing, but what to do? I feel, let them also have something. Every month I bring one million rupees to this country and spend it for our development work-about seventy to eighty thousand dollars.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: So this is a big income for Indira Gandhi.
Srila Prabhupada: That's what I say. With much difficulty I translate the books at night and they print it and sell it and send seventy, eighty thousand dollars every month to me here. Is India benefiting out of this, or losing out of this? Yet they [the Indian government officials] are accusing them [the American devotees] of being C.I.A. agents. [Bhakti Vilasa] Tirtha Maharaja used to say, "The American government has given Swamiji two million dollars." As if the American government could not find anything better to do or any better person to give the money. For making them chant Hare Krsna and dance they would give me two million dollars.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: A man from the Central Intelligence Department took initiation from me. He was asking me [about the American devotees]. I told him, "These are nothing but rumors. I know Swami Maharaja for a long, long time. I know him very well, and his movement is nothing but a purely spiritual movement." Actually, what they are thinking is that previously they [the Westerners] used to send the missionaries, then they used to send the merchants, and then the army used to come and take over. But those days are no more. Though if a net of such a faith of universal religion [as Gaudiya Vaisnavism] could be cast throughout the world, then perhaps that could be actualized in future.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, this study has been quite proper. This is what our plan is. I tell them that, "You work in this direction, and in the future everyone will recognize this movement." The American government is already saying that this movement is spreading like an epidemic. (To his disciples:) Who said this?
Devotee: One congressman has said that.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Who said this?
Srila Prabhupada: One American congressman from the Senate said this on the television. "The Hare Krishna Movement is expanding like an epidemic, and if we allow them to go on like this, then one day they will capture the government-within ten years."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: All the governments are becoming alarmed. (Laughter) Even this government, if they [the Western devotees] can conquer the masses and get them to support them.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is the fear of everybody.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Ultimately, it may become the "world state" religion.
Srila Prabhupada: Automatically it will become so; that is the idea I have.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: America was being accused of trying to make a one-state world so that, "Let there be just one state, and then there won't be any wars. If the whole world is made into one state, then there won't be any wars."
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, I replied to that, "You may make a one-state world. But if you make the populace into dogs, then there won't be any use, they'll just keep barking. You have to make them into human beings."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, they'll still go on fighting with each other.
Srila Prabhupada: Right, that is their nature to fight. So first of all you have to make them human beings; that is the brahma bhuta prasannatma, sama sarvesu bhutesu.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Then, mad bhakti labhate param.
Srila Prabhupada: When they come to that stage, then it will be more useful; otherwise there is no hope. It is not impossible to happen.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, when there is a common center, then everybody can unite. Everybody can be harmonized. But that has to be real. If it is fictitious then there won't be any achievement.
Srila Prabhupada: I am hearing that the present American president, President Carter, he has some such plan and he is discussing it with Indira Gandhi. He is consulting with Indira Gandhi quite intimately.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, they are accepting our broad policy. From what I hear from the radio and newspaper, it seems that their policy is becoming much more broader than before.
Srila Prabhupada: Besides that, they don't have any other way. Otherwise they cannot achieve what they are actually wanting-the peace through the United Nations; that cannot be achieved.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, nothing less than Krsna consciousness will be able to give them that desired peace; nowhere else will they find it.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, bhoktaram yajna tapasam, sarva loka mahesvaram. So that is what I was telling them, that, "Stop fighting and making all those legal suits; then so nicely the preaching can be done in India in every village, every town." One disadvantage with these people is the language, but still, you must have heard, wherever they are going they are getting a very good reception. My Geetar-gan-first I printed five thousand, then ten thousand, then thirty thousand, but this time we are printing one hundred thousand and they are selling very nicely. In Bengali we are printing various books-Geetar-gan, Bhagavan Ekankatha, Bhagavata Darsan. In Hindi also, we are selling many books, like at Kumbha Mela we sold many, many books.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, this is what Krsna consciousness is, and people will naturally wonder what is there in it that captured the whole world in just ten years.
Srila Prabhupada: Now that they are opposing it, this is a great credit.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, that's why the governments are organizing the oppositions.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they are clearly mentioning that, "If they get a chance to expand unrestrictedly, then in ten years' time they'll capture the governments."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, if the mass is converted and their votes can be acquired, then the government will be captured.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, and these are all young men. The young class of people have accepted it. One scholar, Dr. Stillson Judah, has already predicted that this movement will not be destroyed, because it has entered into the bones and marrows [of Western culture].
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Who is he, where is he from?
Srila Prabhupada: He is an American, a professor in the Berkeley University.