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Prabhupada didn’t wish to preach to him further.

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Bishop Kelley, the head of the Catholic Church in Victoria, visited Prabhupada at his cottage. As usual, Prabhupada sat on the floor. The bishop and his friend sat in chairs.

The bishop was elderly and pious, and Prabhupada struck up an affectionate conversation with him. They spoke about the cold June weather and then about the loss of values in society. Prabhupada asked the bishop to examine the book, A Scientific Basis for Krishna Consciousness, but the bishop didn’t have his glasses. Prabhupada then lent him his own glasses and his prescription perfectly suited the bishop. Prabhupada laughed, “Birds of the same feather.”

They discussed the perfect but covered nature of the soul, the importance of hearing shastrato remove the covering, and the possibility of communing directly with God. Prabhupada clarified the bishop’s fear that accepting the validity of subjective communication with God would increase the number of irreligious acts perpetrated in His name: “God told me to do it.”

Prabhupada: There is individual instruction, but that is subordinate. The general instruction is that one should be fully surrendered to God. That is the general instruction. Now, if one is fully surrendered, in a particular case in particular circumstances, God gives him instructions what to do. … According to circumstances He gives him. But general instruction is there, and that is recorded in scripture. That general instruction must be followed. One cannot say, “God is dictating through me something against the general instruction.” That is not possible. The general instruction must be followed.

As their conversation continued, Prabhupada requested that the bishop hear a tape of a recent class he had given, and as the bishop and his friend sat in their chairs and listened, Prabhupada leaned his head to the side and appeared to doze.

The tape finished and the bishop expressed appreciation for Prabhupada’s message. Wishing Prabhupada “Godspeed,” the bishop and his friend, with prasadam in hand and in a jolly mood, left the cottage.

Later that evening Prabhupada remarked to his secretary that the Christians should give up their meat-eating and then we could combine and preach with them. But first they must give up their meat-eating.

* * * * * * * *

Prabhupada seemed to consider the bishop sincere, and therefore expressed hope that a cooperative preaching effort — Krishna consciousness and Christianity — might one day occur. Yet I recently heard why Prabhupada may have played the tape for the bishop instead of speaking directly himself. After the bishop left, Prabhupada revealed to the devotees that he had smelled alcohol on the bishop’s breath and so didn’t wish to preach to him further.

Biographies and Glorification of Srila Prabhupada: My Glorious Master – by Bhurijana Dasa, Melbourne 1974: An Interfaith Dialogue

Bishop Kelley, the head of the Catholic Church in Victoria, visited Prabhupada at his cottage. As usual, Prabhupada sat on the floor. The bishop and his friend sat in chairs.

The bishop was elderly and pious, and Prabhupada struck up an affectionate conversation with him. They spoke about the cold June weather and then about the loss of values in society. Prabhupada asked the bishop to examine the book, A Scientific Basis for Krishna Consciousness, but the bishop didn’t have his glasses. Prabhupada then lent him his own glasses and his prescription perfectly suited the bishop. Prabhupada laughed, “Birds of the same feather.”

They discussed the perfect but covered nature of the soul, the importance of hearing shastrato remove the covering, and the possibility of communing directly with God. Prabhupada clarified the bishop’s fear that accepting the validity of subjective communication with God would increase the number of irreligious acts perpetrated in His name: “God told me to do it.”

Prabhupada: There is individual instruction, but that is subordinate. The general instruction is that one should be fully surrendered to God. That is the general instruction. Now, if one is fully surrendered, in a particular case in particular circumstances, God gives him instructions what to do. … According to circumstances He gives him. But general instruction is there, and that is recorded in scripture. That general instruction must be followed. One cannot say, “God is dictating through me something against the general instruction.” That is not possible. The general instruction must be followed.

As their conversation continued, Prabhupada requested that the bishop hear a tape of a recent class he had given, and as the bishop and his friend sat in their chairs and listened, Prabhupada leaned his head to the side and appeared to doze.

The tape finished and the bishop expressed appreciation for Prabhupada’s message. Wishing Prabhupada “Godspeed,” the bishop and his friend, with prasadam in hand and in a jolly mood, left the cottage.

Later that evening Prabhupada remarked to his secretary that the Christians should give up their meat-eating and then we could combine and preach with them. But first they must give up their meat-eating.

* * * * * * * *

Prabhupada seemed to consider the bishop sincere, and therefore expressed hope that a cooperative preaching effort — Krishna consciousness and Christianity — might one day occur. Yet I recently heard why Prabhupada may have played the tape for the bishop instead of speaking directly himself. After the bishop left, Prabhupada revealed to the devotees that he had smelled alcohol on the bishop’s breath and so didn’t wish to preach to him further.

Biographies and Glorification of Srila Prabhupada: My Glorious Master – by Bhurijana Dasa, Melbourne 1974: An Interfaith Dialogue


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