"This is an advanced devotee,"
I had been gradually procuring items to make Srila Prabhupada a lunch. By 11:00 A.M. I had just barely enough vegetables, rice and spices to begin. Prabhupada had noticed on the hotel menu that the restaurant supplied jallebis, and he asked that some hot jallebis be sent up to supplement his lunch. Although cooking in a hotel living room proved difficult, somehow it all came together?thanks to Prabhupada's triple-boiler and Panditji's strainer technique for making capatis over an electric coil?and Prabhupada had a normal lunch.
Miraculously, Srila Prabhupada had done some Caitanya-caritamrita dictation that morning after being up all night, and at the first opportunity I set up the equipment and typed out his words. He had been translating Lord Caitanya's instructions to Rupa Gosvami and was commenting on verses dealing with the bhakti-lata-bija, the plant of devotional service. Lord Caitanya was describing to Rupa that an offense to a Vaishnava is like a mad elephant that destroys the young plant. In several of the purports Prabhupada seemed to be addressing the discrepancies and problems that he had confronted in Hawaii and Hong Kong. One purport in particular pointed out the danger of so-called advanced devotees and the danger of leaving the society of devotees. As I typed out these words, I knew that I wanted to save them and show them to Bhurijana and others:
When the bhakta-lata creeper is growing the devotee must protect it by fencing it all around. The neophyte devotee must be protected by being surrounded by pure devotees. In this way he will not give the maddened elephant a chance to uproot his bhakta-lata creeper. When one associates with nondevotees, the mad elephant is set loose. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has, said: asat sanga tyaga?avaishnava acara. The Vaishnava is to give up the company of nondevotees. A so-called mature devotee, however, commits a great offense by giving up the company of pure devotees. The living entity is a social animal, and if one gives up the society of pure devotees, he must associate with nondevotees (asat sanga). By contacting nondevotees and engaging in nondevotional activities, a so-called mature devotee will fall victim to the mad elephant offense. Whatever growth has taken place is quickly uprooted by such an offense. One should therefore be very careful to defend the creeper by fencing it in?that is, by following the regulative principles and associating with pure devotees.If one thinks that there are many pseudodevotees or nondevotees in the Krishna consciousness society one can keep direct company with the spiritual master and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master. However, unless one follows the spiritual master's instructions and the regulative principles governing chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one cannot become a pure devotee. By one's mental concoction one falls down.
But Prabhupada already had in mind to share the purport with Bhurijana. He called him to his room and played it right off the dictaphone tape, complete with all the pauses and dictaphone click-click sounds. Bhurijana came out and told me that hearing the tape was like having arrows going into his heart. Now he and his wife were very contrite, considering themselves mad elephant offenders. I said that I didn't think that Prabhupada meant they were offenders, not as long as they followed his instructions. They continued to feel devastated, but now they were clearly convinced that they had to follow Prabhupada. Jagattarini wanted to start performing Deity worship, at least in her home, since as yet they didn't have a formal temple in Hong Kong. And Bhurijana wanted to surrender to whatever Prabhupada wanted him to do. They bought Prabhupada gifts, a soft gold ring with the letter "P" imprinted on it and a gold I.D. bracelet. Accepting the ring, Prabhupada took a gold ring from his own finger, placed it in the ring box just given to him by Bhurijana, and presented the ring and the box to Jagattarini.
"If someone doesn't come to Krishna consciousness," Prabhupada said, "it is very unfortunate. If someone does come to Krishna consciousness, then he is fortunate. But if someone comes to Krishna consciousness and then leaves before he is mature, then that is the most unfortunate."
"Prabhupada?" Bhurijana said, "Yesterday you said that I should go to the Mayapur festival and I said that I didn't want to. But if you want me to then I will go."
"Yes," said Srila Prabhupada, "and bring some Chinese."
The Hong Kong newspapers ran accounts of Srila Prabhupada's press conference: "Spiritual Leader of Hare Krishna Movement Calls Popular Guru a Cheat. " The following day Newsweek magazine published a short article with the heading, "Trouble in Nirvana." Prabhupada chuckled as he read the report. "They have quoted me accurately," he said. "I did not want to speak against him, but they insisted. I could not help myself. I had to say it: he is a cheat. It is a fact. He says he is God, but if he has a toothache he will be in difficulty. What kind of God is that?"
Bhurijana wanted to bring the good results of his preaching before Srila Prabhupada. He said there was a nice Chinese gentleman who desired to meet Srila Prabhupada. Bhurijana had used the word "gentleman" to describe Yung Pak Hei, even though Yung was only twenty-five years old. He felt the word fitting because Yung was a reserved young man and wore a shirt with a tie. But when Bhurijana brought Yung before Prabhupada, Prabhupada asked, "Where is the gentleman?", since he was expecting an elderly man.
Yung Pak had become attracted to Krishna consciousness through Bhurijana's preaching, and he was now chanting sixteen rounds and donating money from his job as an engineer.
In a respectful and confidential spirit he inquired from Srila Prabhupada. "I am still attached to my family. So I want to know, can I still prosecute Krishna consciousness?"
With disarming boldness, Prabhupada replied, "It is not very surprising that you are attached to your family. Even the birds and dogs and cats are attached to their families." Yung Pak Hei took the remark like a gentleman and became very attached to Srila Prabhupada. The next time he saw Prabhupada, Yung bowed down and made fully prostrated obeisances.
"This is an advanced devotee," exclaimed Srila Prabhupada, "one who makes obeisances to the spiritual master, not one who goes away to seek his own prestige."