Giriraj Swami: In late 1971 a prominent businessman, Mr. A. B. Nair, offered Srila Prabhupada some land in Juhu, on the outskirts of Bombay. Later we discovered that Mr. Nair was very tricky and cunning. Before taking money for the land from Srila Prabhupada, he had already taken - and kept - money from two other parties. After Srila Prabhupada signed the purchase agreement and left Bombay, Yadubara dasa and I had to deal with Mr. Nair. We would meet him at his home in Juhu and talk with him, but we couldn’t understand: was he our friend or our enemy? Ultimately, from thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada concluded that Mr. Nair was trying to cheat us. Eventually, Prabhupada came to Bombay to deal with the matter. Tamal Krishna Goswami told him how Mr. Nair had bluffed me. Perhaps he expected Srila Prabhupada to reproach me. But Srila Prabhupada replied, "Giriraj is simple. What can be done?" Srila Prabhupada’s words stayed in my mind: "Giriraj is simple." I considered my simplicity a fault, a disqualification.
Some months later, while reading the Krishna book to Srila Prabhupada during his daily morning walk on Juhu Beach, I came to the chapter "The Salvation of Trinavarta," in which Lord Krishna defeats a demon who had assumed the form of a whirlwind. There I read, "After observing such wonderful happenings, Nanda Maharaja began to think of the words of Vasudeva again and again." Previously we had read how Nanda Maharaja considered Vasudeva a great sage and mystic yogi because Vasudeva had foretold an incident that happened in Vrindavana, where Krishna was living. Srila Prabhupada had remarked, "Vasudeva is a kshatriya, a ruler. With political eyesight, Vasudeva predicted, ‘This may happen,’ but Nanda Maharaja, as a vaisya, a simple agriculturalist, thought, 'Oh, Vasudeva is a foreseer.'"
I noticed that Srila Prabhupada was applying the word "simple" to a pure devotee - Nanda Maharaja - and I was surprised. I wondered how a pure devotee like Nanda Maharaja could have a disqualification such as being simple. So I asked Srila Prabhupada, "Simplicity is not considered a bad quality?"
Srila Prabhupada replied, "No. For him it is all right. He is a vaisya, so he should believe like that. And a politician should act like Vasudeva. One should not imitate. For example, a physician does operations, but I should not imitate and take the knife and operate. That is not my business." Then Srila Prabhupada explained, "But Vasudeva was thinking of Krishna, and Nanda Maharaja was also thinking of Krishna. As a simple agriculturalist, Nanda Maharaja was thinking of Krishna. And Vasudeva, when he was asking Nanda Maharaja, 'Go and take care of your children there,' he was also thinking of Krishna. If thinking of Krishna is there, then whether kshatriya or vaisya or brahmana, it doesn’t matter. Everyone gets the same benefit." "Everyone should understand, 'Whatever I may be, I am an eternal servant of Krishna.' If this consciousness is maintained and everyone is engaged in the service of Krishna by his work and by his occupational duty, then he is perfect."
Srila Prabhupada’s answer was deep. He said that for a person in a certain position simplicity may be a good qualification, and for another it may not. For a vaisya or a brahmana to be simple may be good, but not for a kshatriya, who has to deal with politics and diplomacy. Yet ultimately it doesn’t matter whether one is a brahmana, a kshatriya, a vaisya, or whatever. What matters is that one works in Krishna’s service and thinks of Krishna in love - Krishna consciousness.