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As the press conference began

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Lecture London Aug 23 1973

As the press conference began, it appeared that many of the journalists were somewhat hostile. A young reporter, perplexed by the devotees' reverence, wanted to know why the devotees had pressed their faces to the ground in obeisances at Prabhupada's arrival. Prabhupada answered soberly, unfazed by the reporter's aggressive mood: "The devotees prostrate themselves because the Kingdom of God is for the humble and meek. I am teaching them how to become humble and meek. I have to collect obeisances as a tax collector has to collect taxes."

Another reporter, displaying the attitude of irreverent interrogation typical of his kind, made an issue out of the devotees' fund-raising on the streets of Melbourne. "Have you any idea how much money the sect makes every year?" he asked.

Prabhupada grinned, "We can spend all the money of the world".

The devotees roared, "Haribol!"

Prabhupada added with a twinkle in his eye, "Unfortunately, you do not give us the money." The devotees laughed and Prabhupada grinned even more....

Another reporter expressed his disapproval of the luxury car waiting for Prabhupada outside the airport terminal. "Your Grace, er, your religion is a very ascetic one. Will you be living ascetically in Melbourne? We're told that you'll be taken away in a Rolls Royce."

"Our religion does not say asceticism. Our religion teaches to love God." Prabhupada pointed to the reporter's stylish suit. "You can love God in your, this, dress. There is no harm." "But it is a self-denying religion, isn't it?"

Prabhupada shook his head slightly. "No, no. Not self-denying. We are using everything; why self-denying? We simply use whatever is absolutely necessary, that's all."

The reporter was not about to back down. "But wouldn't it be better that you were travelling in a much smaller car, less pretentious?"

But Prabhupada was not about to relent, either. "Why? If you give me a Rolls Royce to travel in, why shall I refuse it? It is my favour upon you that I accept this. The guru is the representative of the Supreme Lord. Krsna rides in a golden chariot. What is this Rolls Royce? Tin, rubber and wood. I say, 'Rolls Royce is not enough!'"
Airport Arrival Tuesday, 25 June 1974

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