Out on the beach in the fresh morning sea air Prabhupada described how swiftly human beings can descend into animalism when spiritual culture is lost. He recalled that in the concentration camps during World War II people were forced to eat their own stool.
Dr. Patel admitted that as an honorary Colonel for the British he knew that they had a regulation allowing soldiers to drink their urine. "But," he said, "they were not allowed to eat stool."
Prabhupada shook his head in wonder. "Just see, 'I am making law. You can drink urine.' Just see!" He turned to us, his eyes wide open, as everyone laughed incredulously.
Dr. Patel offered his medical opinion that urine has many properties essential to the body, and therefore isn't so bad.
"So you are advising your patients to go and drink?" Prabhupada asked.
"No, I don't say. But that is not so bad because it convinced the hormones..."
Prabhupada broke out laughing, and Dr. Patel became annoyed.
"It does convince the hormones. I mean, it has been analyzed like that, scientifically. It is not to be joked about!"
Prabhupada proffered some humorous agreement, "Ne. It is analyzed. And stool is full of hydrophosphates."
The devotees were all laughing by now, and Dr. Patel became a little indignant. "Our Mr. Desai, Morarji, who lost his premiership of India, he is drinking his own urine."
"Accha! Why?" Prabhupada asked.
Ignoring Prabhupada's response, Dr. Patel continued, "And look at him! He's so, I mean, so absolutely healthy. I mean it is ... we should not laugh about it, but there is something right in it."
"No, no. I don't laugh; I am surprised!"
Prabhupada decided to save Dr. Patel from further embarrassment. He moved on, proceeding at a steady pace down the flat sands, changing the subject to speak about the good fortune of taking birth in India.
Dr. Patel, now again at ease, verified the benefits of such a birth by citing the example of his mother who died while gazing at a picture of Lord Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada also recalled an incident of an old man in Delhi who requested a picture of Radha-Krishna a few minutes before his death. He died just as it was placed before him.
Dr. Patel mentioned that his mother had also chanted Bhaja Govinda as she died.
Prabhupada turned to the devotees and remarked appreciatively, "Oh! Just see. Govinda."
Unfortunately, nowadays many Indians are leaving behind their spiritual tradition, in pursuit of modern materialistic advancement. Sravanananda said that one well-known "spiritual mission" in Madras had a slogan above a school playing field entrance that read like an epitaph to Vedic education: "The playing of football will bring one closer to heaven than the study of the Gita."
He said they had refused to rent the field to ISKCON devotees for a program. They were told that the cricket season was coming up soon, and the school did not want the turf to be ruined. Officials frankly said that they did not have time for spiritual training, only physical.
The rapid decline of spiritual culture is especially visible here, where Bombayaites seem especially intent on imitating Western culture. Srila Prabhupada commented, "A person born in a brahmana family, he is claiming 'I am brahmana.' Similarly, even though born in Aryan family, without any culture they are claiming, 'I am Aryan.'
"Krishna observed it in Arjuna, and therefore he chastised him, 'This kind of proposal is anarya-jushtam, from the non-Aryans. You are forgetting your duty.' That is the beginning of loss of culture. A small beginning, it creates havoc.
"Yuddha? everything must be religious. Why yuddha? Your ordinary living must be also religious. Otherwise, animal. Animal also lives. But if you don't live religiously, that is animal. If you live like human being, that human being means dharma. We cannot expect any dharma in the animal society. It is meant for the humans. Canakya Pandita says that a flower without smell and a man without education the same thing. A flower without smell, similarly, a man without education."
Like an old flower that has lost its fragrance, this city in particular has become a veritable bastion of materialistic consciousness. Evidence of cultural imposition abounds. At the beach, big hotels stand brazenly as crass reminders that modern Indian society is swiftly degenerating, becoming increasingly dedicated to sensuality.
That Srila Prabhupada has had to fight so strenuously with the Bombay municipality simply to build a Krishna temple at Juhu is disturbing testimony.
Two hundred years of British colonial rule has systematically re-educated the Indian people into thinking that the simple and natural God-conscious way of life they once enjoyed is backward and primitive. Bombay is obviously the one place in India that has achieved graduate status in the school of materialism.
Yet, now Westerners are coming here to study and adopt a culture India is trying so hard to lose. By the strength of Srila Prabhupada's love for Krishna and his profound knowledge, he is reversing this trend.
Dr. Patel is one of the few who truly appreciate Srila Prabhupada's contribution. Despite his brash exterior he is always keen to inquire.
"Sir, what is the distinction between a culture and an education?"
Prabhupada answered, "Culture means human being. Just like Canakya Pandita says, matrivat para-dareshu para-dravyeshu loshtavat atmavat sarva-bhuteshu yah pasyati sa panditah. This is culture. To see every woman as mother. The modern meaning of education is rubbish, to learn ABCDE. This is not education. Without culture, what is the meaning of education?"
"So culture is the background for education?" Dr. Patel asked.
"Yes. Education is required to help culture. Not that you take degrees from the university and remain a dog. That is not education. Here is education.... First of all learn how to see every woman as your mother. There the culture begins. And they are, from the very beginning of the college school life, they are learning how to entice one girl. This is education."
Dr. Patel said, "They are following the so-called advanced countries."
But Prabhupada answered, "Advanced means Freud's philosophy, sex philosophy. This is their education. So how you can expect them to learn? It is not possible. From the very beginning there is no culture, animal culture. Just like dogs? as soon as he finds another female dog he wants to have sex. This is education."
"One friend of mine told me that this culture is vulture's culture," Dr. Patel said.
"Yes. Not vultures," Prabhupada clarified. "It is called hog civilization. The hogs, they eat anything and they have sex with anyone.... Culture means human life; otherwise, dog's life.... Amanitvam, first of all you have to learn how to become humble. And here all the people, they are educated how to become proud. What is education? And this culture cannot be maintained unless one is God conscious. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna, there cannot be any culture for a godless person, that is not possible. And, yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana. Just like these European and American boys are offering obeisances to the guru; this is culture. Why he has learned this culture? Because he has become Krishna conscious. Therefore, yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. If you make one devotee of Krishna, then all culture will automatically come. One thing. Hare Krishna."