On the way out on this morning's walk Ramesvara Maharaja told Srila Prabhupada about an unusual meeting he had yesterday. His father, who lives on Long Island, sent a man to the temple to somehow persuade Ramesvara to leave Krishna consciousness. Tamal Krishna described the man as "a very big demon." The devotees described the event as an attempted kidnapping, but it seemed a little less than that. Ramesvara got into a philosophical debate with the hapless fellow, telling Srila Prabhupada, "We made him very embarrassed by preaching to him. He felt very insignificant."
Tamal Krishna had also been there. "Ramesvara Maharaja called him a jackass and many other things."
Prabhupada asked him how the man had tried to take him away.
"He was trying to convince me that the goal of life is sex life," Ramesvara said.
Prabhupada laughed. "Yes. That is the material world. Yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham. That is already mentioned. Unless one understands that there is another life, sex life is the only pleasure. That will keep him perpetually conditioned."
Ramesvara continued. "He also tried to say that our Movement will never be accepted, it is a waste of time. Why are we trying? We'll never be accepted by the public."
"And why you have accepted?" Prabhupada said.
"We said that-why have so many Americans now given up voluntarily? From wealthy families they have given up so many material things. But then he said, 'But you haven't given up material things. Just look at this building, just see how opulent. How can you claim you have given up?' "
Answering the man's foolish statement Prabhupada said, "So what do you mean, we shall live in the sky? You shall live in the building, and we shall live in the sky, in the air? You mean to say like that?"
Ramesvara Maharaja described how he spoke strongly to the man, calling him a rascal to his face. He eventually realized it was a lost cause, and left.
They also had some news for Srila Prabhupada from Japan. When we first arrived in New York Ramesvara reported that Gurukripa Maharaja has already collected $125,000 to send to Mayapur this month, and he was aiming for $200,000. Now he said they are having some difficulties. "Some of his men were deported."
Prabhupada was a bit concerned. "Why deported?"
"Well, because they are Hare Krishnas," Tamal Krishna said. "There's one man, he says, in Osaka, that's a big demon, one policeman who simply makes his business to try and find out the devotees. So that one man arrested three of them in one day. Anyway he's just taking another $35,000 out, and he's immediately transferring today $10,000 to Gargamuni. And he's arranging a bank account jointly with Ramesvara in Los Angeles for his other money. Ramesvara will put the money in fixed deposit and monthly transfer $10,000 for construction. Gurukripa was happy to know that the money could be used for that. He says he's studying, chanting and working very hard."
Prabhupada asked for ideas how to counteract their attempts to drive us away.
Tamal Krishna Maharaja felt we had to do something that would be seen as positive. "I suggested that a cultural center should be opened there on the basis of showing dolls, showing movies, restaurant. ... "
"Books," Prabhupada added.
"But very vague," Tamal said. "Not dressed as devotees, strictly cultural."
Prabhupada agreed that cultural seemed reasonable, but his idea of cultural was a little different. "Yes, cultural. They should, Deity worship is one of the items. Otherwise it is called bhagavata and pancaratra."
Srila Prabhupada was looking out observing the street scenery as we drove along. Down one road he told us, "I came here in the evening with umbrella, and in the morning I saw the whole street is white."
"Whitewashed? You thought it was whitewashed?" Tamal Krishna asked.
"Yes." Prabhupada smiled. "When I first saw from the window that the street was all white, 'How is that? One white-washed?' Then when I saw in the street, 'Oh!' "
Tamal asked him if he had ever seen snow before that.
"Even in the Himalayas?"
"I saw in Kashmir," Prabhupada told us, "but that was not so white. On the street also, but not so white. That is ice, not snow."