This list contains only somewhat lengthy articles and lectures that criticize each point in appropriate amount of detail and with substantial references to shastra and the teachings of the founder-acarya of ISKCON, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If you have any suggestions or additions, please leave a comment.
Articles that focused on Hridayananda Dasa Goswami’s personal behavior were purposefully not included here, as this way some would consider this list to be either offensive or borderline offensive, and therefore unsuitable for distribution among well-intended devotees. We don’t mean to offend anyone, so we tried to focus on ideas rather than people.
We want this list to reach as many devotees as possible so please share it widely.
Acceptance of homossexuality and acceptance of non-procreative sex as licit
- Moral Thesis Unravelled – Danavir Goswami
- Grhastha Licenses – Danavir Goswami
- Chaste Harlots – Danavir Goswami
- A Response to Hridayananda das Goswami’s“Vaisnava Moral Theology and Homosexuality” & Sex Life Srila Prabhupada Sanctioned – by Krishna-kirti Das
Rejection of traditional vaisnava dress and appearance
- Vaikuntha Dress – Danavir Goswami
- Lecture transcription: What about this Krishna West? – Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4 Lecture ##44 – Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami
- Krishna West – Melting Pot of Frustrated Egos – by Saksin Devi Dasi
- The value of wearing saris and dhotis in the execution of our devotional activities – by Hari-Sauri Dasa
- Bamboo Skyscrapers – Krishna-Kirti Das
- Krishna West – Preaching or apa-siddhanta? – Prithu Prabhu (ACBSP)
- Krishna West is not the Best – Bhakti Vikasa Swami
- On some current thoughts questioning ISKCON’s cultural norms and dress – Sivarama Swami
- Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4 Lecture #44 – Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami
Srila Prabhupada’s purports regarded as not infallible
- Hridayananda das Goswami, Krishna West, and Srila Prabhupada’s Infallible Purports – Krishna-kirti Das
- Hridayananda Goswami, Krishna West and Consequentialism – Krishna-kirti Das
- Dharma as Consequentialism: The threat of Hridayananda das Goswami’s consequentialist moral philosophy to ISKCON’s spiritual identity – Krishna-kirti Das
- The Draupadi Incident – Acintya Caitanya dasa
- The Real Dharmaraja – Acintya Caitanya dasa
- The ‘Fallible’ Purports: Decoding an Ungwang Doctrine – Acintya Caitanya dāsa
- What are the Four Regulative Principles? ( original content )
- Pizza or Pakoras: Two Sides of the Same Coin – Rocana Dasa ( see also: the original ISKCON Communications “Pizza or Pakoras” article on the Internet Archive )
- Why Krishna West Cannot Work – Bhakti Vikasa Swami
- ISKCON’s New Theology – Bhakti Vikasa Swami
- ISKCON’s Cancer – Bhakti Vikasa Swami
- Controversial Issues in ISKCON – Part 2 – On Following Srila Prabhupada – Bhakti Vikasa Swami
The UCLA tapes
End of list
Frequently Asked Questions
“I still can’t see why Krishna Kirti Das rejected his own guru.”
Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami – What About This Krishna West?
Devotee: What about this Krishna West?
BVPS: See is, Krishna West is working on the same philosophIcal principle that you have primary and secondary, and it’s about the primary, not the secondary. So it’s being applied that since it’s about the primary, the secondary doesn’t matter. But what’s missed is, no, it’s the secondary that manifests the primary. So what primary will be manifest by the secondary that’s being used? Because if it says it doesn’t matter what dress you wear, what food you eat, in one sense, yes, it’s true, it’s about the devotion. But what’s the reason that you would choose one over the other? Because there is a choice. Right?
Means, those devotees that accept that, okay, you wear the dress and food that Prabhupada gave, it’s that that’s part of Krishna consciousness, because that’s what the tradition, that’s because that’s been done by great personalities since time immemorial. As we mentioned, you go to any of the sampradayas, they all have the same opinion as us as what is Vedic dress and Vedic food, Vedic music, Vedic… It’s all the same. In other words, the Vedic, there is one lifestyle, there is the brahminical lifestyle, they don’t have a difference. They have a difference in philosophy, but not in religion. So, amongst the Hindus, one religion, many philosophies. Do you understand?
So therefore to say that, by modern academia that you… That there is no support because the word ‘dhoti’ is not used, this is just as foolish as the ritviks and their whatever it is… ‘Herefore after,’ whatever it is the word that they choose out of a letter and then base their whole philosophy off that, even though that there is evidence in the books and everything else. And Prabhupada said, the books are the basis, letters should be seen as details to show what the books are. They are taking that as the main evidence, because everything else proves them wrong. Do you understand? So this is selective reasoning. It’s just like we were discussing the six schools of philosophy, the first four. So nyaya, vaisesika, sankhya and yoga, they only quote verses that support what they do, they can’t, they don’t have an interpretation of all the verses. They take verses or sections within the Veda and from that put together a philosophy. They are not taking from the whole Veda any verse they can explain according to the philosophy, only purva-mimamsa and uttara-mimamsa can do that, like Jaimini and Vyasadeva. Does that make sense? So therefore then they are using that same kind of narrow definition that they have a word or a particular concept and they are basing it all off that, even though that there is evidence against that.
So yes, maybe the Veda doesn’t use the word ‘dhoti’, but it’s not that the word ‘dhoti’ doesn’t mean something. Right? And just because someone doesn’t have the academic knowledge to understand that, doesn’t mean that it authorizes it. You know what I am saying? The modern college level understanding of Sanskrit grammar in the Vedic would be considered the first level. It wouldn’t be considered very developed at all. All the kids would know that much grammar, in fact, they would probably know more. When I took up the Gurukula service in 1982 there was one South Indian devotee there from a brahmana background, he knew the Sanskrit, he knew all the things like that. He said when he was starting with 3 and 4 what they would do in their tradition is the kids learn Amarakosha, which is a… I think there is, I forgot how many verses, I mean, it’s… I can’t remember how many verses, but it’s basically a dictionary in verse form. So his point was, when the kids started Gurukula at five, he already had a 10,000 word vocabulary. I think your standard average, whatever it is, educated person in the West has a 2,000 word vocabulary. Individuals may have more, but that’s pretty much the average. So this is, you are starting over with 10,000 word vocabulary, and you are already starting off with grammatical principles that probably in your first years, even in university, unless you specialize in English grammar you won’t learn. Do you understand? So, we are talking… All I am saying, I am just bringing this out, is that’s the level of Sanskrit grammar we are working with. And English grammar doesn’t even have comparative elements to the Sanskrit grammar. In other words, everything in English is in Sanskrit, but everything in Sanskrit is not in English. You know what I am saying?
So therefore for the academic to think that they know everything about the Vedas just because they are an academic, it’s like the modern academy in medicine. Because they are a doctor, they know everything, and if they don’t know it it doesn’t exist, even though in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine they have cures for things that the West doesn’t have cures for. And if you scientifically check it, it works. But because they don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist. That’s called narrow-minded, that’s not called broad-minded, that’s not called liberal. That’s called very narrow-minded and conservative. It’s a fact, you could probably even say xenophobia. You know what I am saying? But the point is is, they have fancy words, so that they don’t look like that. You know what I am saying? And, in other words, if you believe in something, then you just qualify yourself. But this is where the point comes is, according to the modern academy then they will say that the dhoti and all that is not mentioned. But according to their own attachments they disqualify themselves. According to their own… You can’t use one and then go against it. Because according to that, if it doesn’t say that, but it doesn’t not say that either. So therefore, according to that, it could be, it could not be. But no, it’s taken that we throw out the tradition in favor of the modern. Does that make sense? So it’s a direct choice. So if it doesn’t matter, then why does it have to be Western? Then there is a whole theory behind that, but what I am saying, where they are connecting that to philosophy is at this point, but that’s why in here it’s saying is that it’s got to be logical, it has to be according to shastra and it has to be according to what the acaryas say.
So even if you haven’t found a verse that says ‘The dhoti as A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada introduced in the Hare Krishna movement in 26 Second Avenue that’s the way it should be worn,’ you don’t find a verse like that, then what about Prabhupada introducing it? What about you come to India, everybody is wearing it? Not only all the Gaudiyas, all the other Vaishnavas, all the smartas, everybody. It’s a standard thing in India, you can’t do puja unless you are wearing a dhoti. It’s just that’s the rule, that’s the Pancaratric rule. Now, the respected Swami will say, ‘I don’t know Pancaratra,’ but that’s not an excuse. You can’t say, ‘I don’t know the things that prove I’m wrong,’ and then say, ‘I can go on with my own philosophy.’ Does that make sense?
So we are dealing with someone here who is extremely intelligent, extremely qualified, extremely fortunate, done many wonderful things for Prabhupada, very thoughtful. How you say? You have to say, a real brahmana, because he is always happy, always happy, like that, and that’s a symptom of a brahmana, and he doesn’t get disturbed by things much. So very brahminical. But somehow or another the environment that he grew up in must not have had a very eclectic, or much exposure to other cultures, which could be. You have those from the aristocratic background that deal with no one but themselves, and those that deal with a very wide range. You know what I am saying? And in the intellectual field you would expect the wider range, unless you were a major in some scientific area, you were like a physicist or something, then they have a very narrow range and they are very socially disfunctional. But he is very socially functionable. Like it’s very pleasant to be with him, you can sit and talk with him for hours, he is a nice person to be with. Like that, relates to so many things, especially language. But somehow other than language he doesn’t relate. So it seems he has a very wide range in the language aspect, but on the personal aspect of culture and dress and this, not very wide at all, not much exposure.
So therefore then that’s a weakness that if one has those attachments, or one’s own preference, or comfortableness, then you do that, but you don’t have to make a philosophy to prove it, especially when you are in a position of a sannyasi, and sannyasis, Prabhupada wanted to wear the traditional outfit. Others may or may not, according to the preaching situation. I think it came up in connection with Singapore. Prabhupada went to Singapore dressed in how he dressed. They wouldn’t let him in. So devotees suggested he wear karmi clothes, he said, ‘No, we are sannyasis, we don’t do that.’ And there is a whole discussion, I’m not sure, it’s one of the discussions where one sannyasi is bringing up this whole thing about this and that and trying to say exactly the same things, so this whole idea of this kind-of Krishna West thing, this was brought up when Prabhupada was here, directly to Prabhupada. And Prabhupada just said, ‘No, we are sannyasis.’ So he was asking like, ‘You please wear this.’ Like that. I don’t think he is around anymore, and I don’t think he wears it, but whatever it is, that’s the point. It was already discussed, it’s not like it was something new and Prabhupada didn’t know about this. These things have been around forever.
So you have your standard dress, like Prabhupada would wear his dress and then wear accessories that may be modern. He would wear his clothes and then the coat, or the shoes, or the hat. Like that, you see Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura do that. Like that. Do you understand? So that is okay, because that fits it, you are working in these environments, you have got to keep warm, so you can wear a chaddar, you can wear a coat, whatever works. You know what I am saying? What’s available. But to make the mistake that ‘My preference is actually what I am going to go with,’ when you see so many are taking what Prabhupada gave. And just that Prabhupada gave it, why wouldn’t that be taken as evidence? You say, ‘It doesn’t say in the shastras,’ so Prabhupada is wrong? Why did Prabhupada translate that Prithu Maharaja’s dress specifically is dhoti? You know what I am saying? Because we know the word. We use whatever the other word is, trikaccha, or whatever it is.
See, the point is, just because it says… It’s just like this. Amongst, let’s say, Bohemians had a term, your clothes, you call them ‘threads.’ Do you understand? Because clothes are made out of thread. Or, you call them duds, you know you have all kinds of slang terms of just generally used terms. So people know those, they might not know something else. Like if I told someone, ‘Oh, nice pantalones,’ most people wouldn’t know what I am talking about, unless they would have a Hispanic background, that they knew some Spanish, you know, something like that. If I said, ‘Great dungarees,’ you still wouldn’t know what I am talking about. Like dungaree is the cloth that it’s made out of. The jean material is actually dungaree cloth, it comes from the sails that one village in South India uses for their boats. It’s really, really strong. And so that weave, that make, that’s what nowadays is jean material. So therefore pants made out of that can be called ‘dungarees,’ because they are pants, ‘pants’ are short from of ‘pantalones.’ Do you understand? So you use terms that people know, because they may not know the more technical terms. But that Prabhupada used the term, why wouldn’t that be evidence? And if a disciple doesn’t use that as evidence, then the question comes up, as Vishnu said, if you don’t accept the Vedic literature, then are you actually a devotee?
So, I have no doubt that here in this case it is a devotee, because we are only talking about a little bit of distraction when it comes to what he eats and what he wears. Other things then, no problem at all. You know what I am saying? So everybody has got some… How you say? Some anartha somewhere, so that’s there, but you don’t make a philosophy out of your anartha. You connect your anartha to Krishna. You know what I am saying? Does that make sense? So you don’t make it. Otherwise then, like we were saying before, it’s that it doesn’t even have the glory of Paul, it ends up more like Descartes. How do you say his name? That French guy, Descartes?
BVPS: Day-KART. Right? So he was doing things that shouldn’t be doing, and he made a philosophy to back it up, just so that people would leave him alone. So that’s not bonafide, Manu says that. He says, you do something what you do, you want to do, do! But if you make a philosophy about it and preach it, you get a 100 times the reaction. So whatever is wrong with it, you get a 100 times reaction, so it’s not recommended. You can’t bluff the Vedic system, especially when Prabhupada introduced it. He was very clear on that. You know what I am saying?
So, for us is we know, you wear, you don’t wear, it doesn’t matter to us. But you shouldn’t make a philosophy out of not wearing. We are wearing it because Prabhupada gave it, all the Gaudiyas wear it, all the Vaishnavas wear it, all the Hindus wear it, everybody wears it. And so to come up with… How did the academic come up with ‘There is no evidence’? They have to be blind, literally, blind. And if they don’t know enough Sanskrit, they don’t study enough literature, that’s no excuse. They can’t get off and say ,’Yes, I am a big academic and I am so smart because I am not very well read.’ That’s cheating. That’s all. But according to the modern theory they are the only ones that are smart, so even if they are cheating, they are still superior to everybody else. So false ego is not a symptom of knowledge, humility is. Does that make sense?
So the reason we speak so strong is because they are saying there is no evidence when Prabhupada gives it. Prabhupada gave it. If Prabhupada didn’t give it and devotees just found it and Prabhupada didn’t care, but ‘It’s okay, you can wear what you want, it’s not important…’ But Prabhupada introduced. In fact, there was more ways to wear the cloth then. You look at the pictures from the 1960s, there would be more variety of how they’d wear, they’d wear turbans and chaddars, all the different things, and variety of ways they would wear their dhotis. Where did they learn those from? Americans, they naturally grew up, they went to their grandmother, and she told them how to wear a persimmon? Or they came over on the main floor, there everybody was wearing like that? [Laughter] You know what I am saying? No, they got it from Prabhupada. And they went to India and they learned from there. You know, Acyutananda and Jayapataka Maharaja, they were living in the Gaudiya Matha, they would learn so many things, they made them show all the little details how to do them. Like that. Prabhupada, when they were travelling in North India with that first crew, I think in 1971, and Yamuna was there and the other senior ladies, then they would stay in these very wealthy, aristocratic people’s houses. He told them to learn from the ladies about the culture and all that. She learned the cooking and all that. Right? So the whole thing, how to dress, how to do, how women behave, how to… You know what I am saying?
So it’s just like… Simple things like that… I think it came up in Hungary. Like about how often does a lady wash her hair? No one knew, not even some senior ladies, no one knew. But the standard in India – twice a week. Once a week if it’s cold, twice a week if it’s warm. But not more than that, because Prabhupada mentioned, if you wet it every day, you got a cold. Right? If the ladies would shave their heads, they are recluses, then they can, they don’t have to worry about it. Right? Then they can wash their head every day. But otherwise, the other ladies don’t. Therefore this restriction in the big temple worship, because the ladies aren’t as clean as is ideal. While the men, they shave. Like in South India, the ones that do really technical Pujas, you know, the karma-kanda stuff, and that, they shave the whole body. They only leave their eyebrow and sikha. I mean, literally, they shave their arms, their legs, everything, because it’s just the standard of cleanliness. So these are standards that are there, these are what you learn. So Prabhupada wanted them to learn, you know, Jayapataka Maharaja and Acyutananda to learn these things, teach the others, which they did. And Yamuna, I guess, she took cooking, but other things they didn’t catch, because they didn’t know they were there. You know what I am saying?
So therefore Prabhupada is introducing this tradition, and then to oppose that and say it doesn’t exist, because from an academic point of view it’s not there and not important? That is not a disciple, that’s not what a disciple does. Rupa Goswami mentioned many things that previously were not discussed and other Vaishnavas criticized. So did Jiva Goswami say, ‘Well we have to remove this stuff from Rupa Goswami’s books,’? No, he wrote books to prove that Rupa Goswami was right. That’s disciple. Right? We are not saying anyone here is not a disciple, we are just pointing out what is disciple, the mentality of a disciple. Is that the acarya did it, you prove it. Not that, ‘Well, no one else knows. Oh, it’s politically incorrect,’ all this, and then you change stuff. That’s not how a disciple thinks or works. That’s like Jesus said, ‘You will all deny me.’ And the one who actually made a mess was an academic. [Laughter] Right? They had to replace him as one of the 12. Right? And then, 50 years later another academic makes problem, and which we discussed in the first part of the class, Paul [indistinct]. Like that. But if we remember, Jesus didn’t say… He said his church would be founded on Peter, not Paul. In fact, in Rome, I was mentioning, if you go around and see there is the cathedral for Peter, and that’s the center of Christianity. There is also cathedral for Paul, which nobody cares about. It’s big, and nobody cares, it’s just a parking lot around, nothing happening, no crowds of people, no decorations, nobody is building, it has been there quite a while. But I mean, Peter’s, there has been 5 developments of it. Like that, and the greatest artists and everything, and all that, and the courtyard around, that thing with all the columns and how perfect they are in place, you know, like this. But for Paul, nothing has been built. So somehow or another is that he is the one that has influence. But then look at how Jesus, his teachings, it’s watered down to the point you can’t even recognize it. Other than you got the guy there with a little beard and all that, and he wears really un… How you say? Clothes, you wish he wasn’t wearing. Right?
And just as a side point, it’s also said that by us wearing these clothes then we are subtly hinting that if you want to take up Krishna consciousness, then you have to wear these clothes. But if that’s true, then the Buddhists all wear their clothes, so is that hinting? The Westerners who are Buddhists, do they wear Buddhist clothes? No. Sometimes they wear a little bit of an orientally kind-of shirt, now and again when they are hanging around. But they don’t wear Buddhist clothes, even though they are Buddhists. How many Christians were those kind-of black outfits? You know, the common guy in the street, how many wear? It’s no, only the priests wear. So why would that have anything to do with… They would think it’s a priest. Anybody who dresses like this must be really serious about what they are doing. So one, you can go to them and discuss about philosophy and religion, that’s what Prabhupada said, that’s why he dresses like that. Because people know, okay, here is someone you can go and talk to, he gives the example. Just like you have a problem, you know you can go up to a police. How do you know he is a police? Because he is dressed in a uniform. You know, you don’t think ‘Why can’t the citizen of the state… Because the police dress like this, I have to dress like a police man?’ That’s a fallacious argument, very fallacious. Because then you are trying to say that even by doing this we are wrong. At the same time is then… And what’s the problem? And since when is the West so fabulous anyway? Then we are working on it that the West actually has something to offer. And the point is is, everybody is a devotee, because the West doesn’t have anything to offer. Does that make sense? If it did, why would we be devotees? We would be out there being successful. But we are not, that’s why we are here. Does that make sense? So what does it have to offer?
So we have to be very, very careful. Because these things have a specific point, and Prabhupada has explained that. And if we don’t accept the acarya, we don’t accept the previous personalities, then technically we don’t accept the shastra either, because if we do give the quote, it won’t be good enough. I have seen that with the ritviks, no matter what you bring up, it’s never exactly… Because it doesn’t have the word that they want to hear, right? Because their vocabulary is really wanting, and so when push comes to show Monier-Williams is wanting. Like I said, the 5-year old joins with a 10,000 vocabulary, you know. I am not saying we have that, but I am saying, Prabhupada can translate Vedic Sanskrit. That means, he knows Nirukta, means, he knows Sanskrit. And so, for anybody else to oppose that, you can’t call yourself being a disciple of the guru. You would really have to stretch it. Just say, ‘I am opposing what Prabhupada is saying here and I am doing this because I am a great disciple.’ You cannot say that. But the point is is, b this point here is that when you say it’s not there in shastra, what about what Prabhupada did? We just shove that aside so easily, how serious are we? What is our intent?
I am using the philosophy, okay, it’s not about the primary, it’s about the secondary, but what’s my intent? Pure devotional service? Or to wear Western clothes? Because all you ever hear talked about is their Western clothes and how it’s okay to wear their Western clothes. What about getting on with life and getting down to pure devotional service? It’s just like I used to find it interesting, as a side point. Sitting here in Mayapur, we are surrounded by Gaudiya Mathas. We got more Gaudiya Mathas around us than probably any other temple in the movement. Right? And we go every day of our life for years and never think about the Gaudiya Mathas. But devotees from ISKCON that go to Gaudiya Mathas, all they ever do is talk about ISKCON. [Laughter] Somehow or another their position is that we are bad. And we go on fine without even thinking about them. You know what I am saying?
So that’s my whole point, is that if it’s not important then why are they talking about it? And if it’s so important then why would they interpret it the way they do? Why don’t they make it obvious? Just like grihastha, they have a particular form. We don’t we sit around talking about how fabulous grihastha life is and this and that? ‘I am such a happy grihastha,’ you’d think it’s a little weird. [Laughter] Right? So why would we talk about, you know, ‘I am such a happy western-dressed mode-of-goodness gentleman.’ Though, guaranteed, whatever any of those persons are saying, they would not be able to get into a good restaurant, or into any place of worship. You could not wear what they are wearing and walk into a church on Sunday. Right? But they will sit on the Vyasasana and give class like that. So they are not a Western gentleman and should not kid themselves. Western gentleman would be wearing a suit in that kind-of formal occasion. So… That you make the connection? [Laughter] You had something?
Devotee: No, that’s just later in the chapter it’s mentioned that one simple definition of a Vaishnava by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is one that when you see him, you immediately remember Krishna…
BVPS: Oh, yes
Devotee: …and dhoti also facilitates that.
BVPS: Yes, that was the idea, because then they see us, they say, ‘Hare Krishna.’ Even if someone is a neophyte, that’s how you know that they are liberated, otherwise why does the neophyte remind? The guy is just shaved up, wearing his tilak, wearing his dhoti, immediately they chant, ‘Hare Krishna.’
Devotee: And they ask, ‘Where have you guys been?’ [Laughter]
BVPS: Yeah, that’s the worst part, that’s the worst part.
Devotee: On a jet walk in Long Island last week a car parked by, ‘Hare Krishna!’
BVPS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…
Devotee: I was wearing dhoti. If I was not wearing dhoti…
BVPS: Yeah, of course not. So that’s the whole thing. It’s not about us, it’s about the preaching. Interesting thing, I just noticed. I don’t remember what’s there in the beginning because we started last year, but I was just looking at it in the Introduction, or the Preface, I forgot where it said, that Prabhupada wrote in the 4th Canto. So then he is offering his obeisances to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, by whose grace then we can get the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Now, this is the fun part. He said, ‘by whose grace we can get the shelter of the six Gosvamis, by whose mercy then we can understand Radha and Krishna. ‘You know what I am saying? So it wasn’t even… So they are working to please Lord Caitanya, and so anything that will preach… So even if you just dress, it’s preaching already. But we are looking at it, ‘Well I feel bad,’ and ‘I feel uncomfortable,’ and ‘I feel this,’ and ‘I feel that,’ and ‘I this,’ and ‘I that,’ and just ‘I, I, I, I…’ And then what happened to preaching?
It’s one thing if they give you trouble, you are going from preaching and they stop you at the borders and you cannot preach, that’s another thing. But for the preaching then people expect it. They expect it. So it’s part of a bigger picture, it’s a whole culture, there is a religion that’s there, because the point is is then they define what the religion is, so then you are seeing what’s a Western Oriental gentleman. [Laughter] What does a gentleman wear? And I’ve heard two cases, one where he is wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and that’s what a gentleman wears, and since when does a gentleman wear that? [Laughter]
Devotee: And Gasquet. And shoes Gasquet. Tennis shoes.
BVPS: Tennis shoes? Okay, yeah. The point is is, okay, I can understand the tennis shoes along with a real high-end pair of pants, shirt, scarf and some other, few other things like that, watch, some other thing on the wrist and that, then it will be more avant-garde kind-of thing. And the tennis shoes would probably be untied, they would be the high ones that are untied. Unless it was a lady, then they would be low-ones and tied, unless she was a [indistinct], then they would be high ones and untied. And most likely they would be [indistinct], whatever. You know what I am saying? So it’s not matching gentleman on that kind-of avant-garde thing, but it’s not matching standard gentleman. You know. So…
Devotee: And a cap.
BVPS: And a cap, yeah, baseball cap. Who wears baseball cap? No one. A gentleman wears a baseball cap maybe when he is golfing, but not when he is going to a temple. The guy would not wear that to a church. No gentleman would wear a baseball hat and a T-shirt and like that, or even a polo shirt and some slacks. They wouldn’t wear unless their denomination specifically did that and probably they’d only find that in some variety of protestants. But most even wouldn’t do that. And there is a good chance, the priest is wearing a little beret. Like that.
Devotee: If I look at the karmis I have been preaching to over the last couple of years, very few of them would appreciate that type of Western dress.
BVPS: Yeah. No, very few. Because, I mean, as I am saying, it’s there, but as you say you want to do something according to culture, then you said, yeah, Jesus West, but then you had Jesus East. Right? And you had Jesus South and you had Jesus ‘Don’t like the West’, you know? ‘Jesus don’t like Jesus West.’
BVPS: So, you know…
Devotee: Jesus Tribal.
BVPS: Yes. Yeah, then you go to South America, then you have Jesus Tribal, they do what they like to do, they have their own customs and have a good time, like that. Church sometimes accepts it, sometimes doesn’t, but, hey. Like that, I think it’s in the… I don’t know about now, but before, like Bolivia, Ecuador, I think you wore bowlers. You know, like in England, the bowler hat, the general wear? Their ladies were wearing bowlers. Why I don’t know, how it got introduced I have no idea, but that was the standard hat. So whatever.
So the thing is is that Europeans don’t like, no one else likes. I remember like over here, this side from here over. They will wear the Western dress and up-to-date, but it looks sharp. You go to Orient, you go to Singapore, you go to Hong Kong, inside China, they look sharp. Clean, properly, everything matching, nothing baggy, nothing old, nothing rugby. But I remember sitting in JFK, which is a major airport in America, you have to kind-of agree it’s major.
BVPS: Pretty central. And I think in sitting there for either 2 to 4 hours I saw three people dressed like a gentleman that you could say is this guy looks good. Everybody else looked like a slob. [Laughter] Everybody else looked like if it was Sunday morning and they were sitting on their couch in their living room or out in the back yard and they’d be properly dressed. But for anything else they looked bad. And now we are going to say that’s the universal dress? No one else in the world accepts it. So that’s the thing. So it’s also saying ‘Krishna West’ is also a misnomer. Say ‘Krishna America,’ ‘Krishna West Coast,’ ‘Krishna West Coast America,’ ‘Krishna Southern California,’ you know. But don’t say ‘Krishna West’ meaning that this is the international, because it’s not at all, not at all.
[Laughter] I remember one devotee here, American. There were some French people who came to visit, just tourists, and because they were Westerner and at that time the president who happened to be American, he saw them, called them, took them around and took care of their day, gave them tour and all that. And so when he came back to the place he fed them I think peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. [Laughter] And then he was thinking he was doing something nice for them, you know. And then he mentioned something about it, and they said, ‘Yes, the last time we had this was when the Americans were occupying France during World War II. [Laughter] You know, like that. [Laughter] So that was about how much they appreciated America.
Devotee: It’s happening again.
BVPS: Yeah, so, like that. So that’s this whole thing, we have to be very, very careful, is that the Vedic is actually the universal, because it goes beyond, like that, because there is principles that work there, but you have to get the principles, you can’t just say you are getting the principles. It’s just like McDonald’s will say that they have family restaurant, good food and all that, but, you know, people who know know better than that. But people say anything. You want to sell something, you say anything. You go out, you buy some product, the things that it says about it are amazing what they do. I was just hearing there was this little like glass thing, and it’s got these little holes in it that I think has these little kind-of like, some kind-of signs, some kind of like mandalas in it. And you take this, it costs 500 dollars, just a piece of glass, right? You could probably go down to Tesco and buy a glass that has more glass in it than this piece of glass, probably for… I don’t know, 5 bucks or something, like that. So this is 500. And you put it in your water, and amazing things that it says it will do for you, it’s like incredible. It’s just like, why is anybody using anything else, why is anybody drinking any other water? You know, it’s just like it cures all these diseases and mental things, and intellect, and you will sleep better, just it goes on and on. Like that. Then there is reality.
So you can say what you want. And one can say, well, I am just saying what I want. But you can see, it’s here in the shastra, I am only saying it because it’s here. You know, I may be limited in my understanding of applying it, but at least Prabhupada did it, the shastras say it, we are trying to do it, it’s there in the tradition, we are trying. We may not be good at it, but we don’t appreciate someone oppose us, because Krishna Himself said He doesn’t appreciate. Does that work? Yes? Good? Yeah? Okay. So tomorrow we’ll continue… [Laughter]