SERVING TEA IN ISKCON RESTAURANT VS BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI SERVING MEAT TO BRITISH

Prabhu: Sometimes devotees like to say a lot about how Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati said, ‘Feed them meat if you have to, whatever it takes to get them to be Krishna conscious.’

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, and so who is doing it?
Prabhu: So what would Krishna…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Who is doing it? Who is doing it?? Name me the person who just quoted that point! Are they doing it? Are they going out there, risking everything to make sure that every karmi they meet is taking up Krishna consciousness? Or they are just saying that, so they can sit at their house and follow the program however they like?

Prabhu: Well, they are serving tea and chocolate and quoting that.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Serving tea and chocolate?

Prabhu: In the restaurant, yeah.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, but are they preaching to those people?

Prabhu: Yeah.

HH BVPS Maharaja: They are actually preaching?

Prabhu: Giving them prasadam and kirtan and…

HH BVPS Maharaja: And? And?

Prabhu: Prabhupada’s books.

HH BVPS Maharaja: And do they ever tell them about Krishna and stuff like that? Do the people know it’s Krishna prasada that they are eating?

Prabhu: Not exactly.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, so then how is that preaching?

Prabhu: Well, it says ‘Krishna Cafe’ on the board.

HH BVPS Maharaja: I’ve see in Kolkata ‘Krishna Bidis.’ You know what I am saying? So it means… That’s nice. But are they dressed as devotees?

Prabhu: No.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. So then how will they know it has anything to do with Hare Krishna? That is taking a point that we don’t care what it is, if that’s what it takes to make them comfortable to sit down and listen to philosophy, that’s what we’ll do. But they are selling tea and chocolate so that people come to their restaurant, so that they make money. Because if there was no tea and chocolate they wouldn’t get as much clientèle. It’s business, it’s got nothing to do with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Because if they are quoting him – serve meat! But you know what your sadhana would have to be to burn off that karma? You’d have to have damned good sadhana because you are involved in serving meat. So therefore you’d better be doing some really crack sadhana! And you’d better be sure that those people are becoming Krishna conscious, otherwise, what’s the use?

He wasn’t doing it for business. He was giving it. If he was arranging, if he fed meat and all that to the British karmis, he was paying for it himself, it wasn’t a restaurant. They were invited over for spiritual discussions, but that’s what he fed them so that they would be comfortable in the environment and be happy to sit around. Because there was no such concept in the British culture as vegetarian. But he did not do that for Indians because they know what vegetarian is. Nowadays, everybody knows what vegetarian is, you don’t have to do that. Those days aren’t there. You can get vegetarian stuff in Russia now and the East block, but in those times when they were talking about preaching there, there was only basically alcohol and meat there. Do you understand? But now it’s available, you can get anything anywhere. So there is no need. So you have to know the purpose, just the rule is for carrying the purpose. But if we just catch the rule and don’t understand the context that the acaryas are discussing, we miss everything.

(From Lecture on Brihat Manu Siksha, 22nd March 2012, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)

Lecture audio, this passage starting 47:30

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