Vitthalesvara das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Vitthaleshvar: The temple president, Rabindra Svarup prabhu, invited an Indian professor of Hinduism and philosophy to meet Prabhupada in Prabhupada’s quarters. The professor came with several students. He and Prabhupada were introduced, and Prabhupada looked straight at him and said, “What is Hinduism?” The professor said, “I don’t know, you tell me,” perhaps thinking that he would be at an advantage if Prabhupada spoke first. His idea was to try to defeat Prabhupada and impress his students. Prabhupada looked at Bhakti Svarup Damodar Goswami and said, “He is teaching, but he does not know. What is that called?” Bhakti Svarup Damodar Goswami said, “He’s a cheater, Prabhupada.” Prabhupada pointed to Bhakti Svarup Damodar Goswami, looked at the professor and said, “He has called you a cheater. What do you have to say for yourself?” The professor tried to talk about something else, but Prabhupada stayed on that point. Somehow or other it went back and forth until the professor actually admitted that he was a cheater. He was so crazy he said, “But I am an honest cheater.” At one point in the conversation Prabhupada talked about surrendering to a spiritual master, “tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya.” The professor didn’t agree with Prabhupada’s translation of the Sanskrit words. He said, “No, no, no. I don’t accept that meaning. I want the—” Prabhupada said, “You don’t know what the word ‘surrender’ means,” and asked a devotee to read the dictionary definition for the professor. Prabhupada said, “He doesn’t know what surrender means, and yet he is a professor.” The professor said, “I want the Sanskrit etymological meaning.” Prabhupada pointed to the door and said, “Get out. You don’t want a spiritual master. You want a Sanskrit teacher. Get out.” The conversation went back and forth a little more, and finally Prabhupada smiled, put his head on his elbow, turned sideways, and, indicating the professor, said to all of us, “He’s a madman.” Everybody in the room cracked up in laughter, including the students who had come with the professor. At one point in the conversation the professor got a little offensive. Brahmananda was in a room down the hall and could hear what was going on. All of a sudden, boom, boom, boom. The door flew open, and there was 300-andsome- pound Brahmananda with just a lungi on. “Excuse me sir, you will have to come with me. Now!” The professor started trembling and saying, “I have said something? Have I offended you?” Brahmananda said, “Before you do, sir, come along.” Afterwards Rabindra Svarup apologized to Prabhupada, “I had no idea he would act in such a horrible way. Please forgive me, Prabhupada.” Prabhupada laughed and said, “That’s okay, at least he was chastised.”

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 10 - 1995 Prabhupada Festival

The full Prabhupada Memories Series can be viewed here and also at