Programs over, we left Chandigarh to return to Delhi. Before we left, Srila Prabhupada spoke with Caitya-guru prabhu, thanking him for his efforts and praising the highly successful visit. He told him to stick to Chandigarh and preach strongly, declaring it one of the best places for propagating Krishna consciousness. He also sincerely thanked Mr. Sethi for his kind hospitality in allowing us the use of his house, both during our stay and as a temporary ISKCON center.
The rest of the party left by van at 10:30 A.M. while Srila Prabhupada and myself Flew out at 1:30 in the afternoon. (Gopala Krishna Prabhu was careful not to mess up the travel arrangements this time.) The Flight took fifty minutes in an old Fokker Friendship propeller plane. It was very noisy and cramped but much better than driving.
We were met at the airport by Gargamuni Swami and all the members of his highly successful library party. Jagadisa prabhu, our ISKCON Minister of Education, was also there; he will be Prabhupada's secretary for the next month or two. Hansaduta Swami will rejoin his bus party and begin preaching in the villages again.
Sri Sri Radha-Partha-sarathi Mandira
21A Fehroz Gandhi Road
Lajpat Nagar III
Arriving to an enthusiastic reception at the temple, Srila Prabhupada invited the crowd of devotees and onlookers into his room for a general darsana. As everyone jammed in, Prabhupada sat down comfortably, smiling and attentive and happy to hear from his GBCs and preachers.
Gargamuni Swami gave yet another positive report of ever-increasing orders and favorable receptions in the field of library distribution. Though usually scattered over the country, most of his men are here to see Prabhupada, and they crowded around, eager to hear his response and hopeful of personal direction. Library and university distribution has been going on in the West now for a couple of years and has attracted Prabhupada's special attention and praise, and it is clear that they are all feeling it an honor and a privilege to be doing this service. Prabhupada had high praise for their efforts and success and encouraged them to continue.
Bhagavat prabhu is also here in Delhi, and he had some interesting news from Orissa. He reported that Gour Govinda Maharaja is staying there on a deserted plot of land just outside Bhubaneswar. He is mostly alone, living in a small brick hut with a thatched roof and no electricity that the local people constructed for him, and is steadily translating Prabhupada's books into Oriya. Bhagavat and Gargamuni both gave their opinions that it would not be good to build a temple there, because it is too far out of the way and anyway, we would probably be able to build only a small one-story structure.
They both favor establishing something in Jagannath Puri, about an hour's drive from Bhubaneswar, and there seems to be some promising developments there. Gargamuni said that he had found a disused house situated on a large plot of land in a good beachfront location. We have also been offered some land by the government, but he said that this land was not so good, being inaccessible and out of the main town.
Bhagavat has made his main work the attempt to gain entrance for our foreign devotees into the main Jagannath temple in Puri. He told Srila Prabhupada that there is a lot of opposition from the pandas and pujaris but that the local government officials are very favorable. There will be a meeting between the government and the temple managers within a few weeks, and Bhagavat expressed his confidence that we will be granted permission to enter. He promised Srila Prabhupada that as soon as permission comes he will arrange for His Divine Grace to go there and enter the temple at the head of a grand parade of all his Western devotees.
Prabhupada smiled at his news and told us, "I will not go to Jagannath Puri unless they allow my disciples to enter the temple."
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Gopala Krishna Prabhu arrived late in the afternoon. He had spent the day at the printer and now, beaming with anticipation, he presented Prabhupada with a copy of the first Indian printing of the English-language Bhagavad-gita As It Is, abridged edition. Prabhupada was very pleased with it, and with Gopala, and said it was comparable to the American standard. Gopala Krishna informed him that the devotees have already received orders from several big businessmen, totalling about four thousand copies. Diwali is coming up, and they are canvassing life members to buy multiple copies to give as gifts. Surendra Kumar Saigal from Tiger Lock Company visited Srila Prabhupada this afternoon and has agreed to purchase several hundred, his enthusiasm boosted by Srila Prabhupada's recent program at his home in Aligarh.
* * *
One thing that marred the day was the constant bickering between Gargamuni Maharaja and Gopala Krishna Prabhu. Gargamuni is upset with Gopala because he feels that the new Hindi printing of Srimad-Bhagavatam is not up to a good standard, at least by comparison with the printing in the West. The copy he showed to Prabhupada today was printed on Government concessional paper, which has a rough appearance, and the color printing was largely out of register, giving an "out of focus" blurry aspect to the color plates. When Srila Prabhupada had shown the book to Gargamuni Maharaja to see if he could sell it to the libraries, Gargamuni said quite frankly that it was so poorly done that library sales would not be possible. Obviously, Prabhupada, while happy with Gopala for finally getting his books printed in Hindi, wants the standard to be improved. But this evening, Gargamuni Maharaja used the issue to goad Gopala quite strongly. Unfortunately, he seems to delight in insulting and provoking Gopala, largely, it seems, because he is Indian and a householder. Even in the presence of Srila Prabhupada, Gargamuni takes muted verbal pot shots at Gopala, and out of Prabhupada's presence he is openly aggressive and barely restrained in his dislike for his Godbrother. Also unfortunately, Gopala cannot resist responding to Gargamuni's mundane remarks rather than ignoring them.
The acrimony culminated this evening with a loud argument in our servant's room. Provoked by Gargamuni, it resulted in a brief physical altercation and the spilling of a few drops of blood. Jagadisa prabhu had to jump in and separate them. Things calmed down and they went their separate ways. We didn't dare inform Prabhupada for fear of upsetting him.
This is going on despite Prabhupada's constant appeals to his GBC men to work cooperatively and not argue. His great worry is that things will not go on in his absence if this fighting spirit is maintained.