INTERVIEW WITH KKS AT THE ISKCON LEICESTER TEMPLE 27/04/08
VC: Please don’t shoot the messenger – but we have some
interesting questions here for you today.
KKS: OK.
VC: First, can being forced to follow a restrictive diet for health
reasons be transformed into voluntary devotional activity?
KKS: Well, we must be healthy for Krishna’s service, so therefore
sometimes we follow some diets so that we can be healthy. For
instance if you stuff yourself with pizza, pasta for a long time, you
will get high cholesterol and you can’t function, you can’t do any
more service because of blood pressure. And Krishna’s looking –
“Look at that guy – all fat and pudgy” – what’s the use? We need
to be fit for Krishna.
VC: Question two. How come you are initiating disciples when
your spiritual master (His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami) is still
around?
KKS: Because he ordered me to do it. And although generally
there is a principle called “mariadivyatikrama” that one should not
accept disciples in front of a senior, when the order of the guru is
there, that supersedes all other etiquette.
VC: Does that mean you are a ritvik guru?
KKS: No, no, fu lly -fledged guru – I am initiating disciples on my
own behalf.
VC: Third question – what really irritates you – apart from these
questions?
KKS: There are material things that irritate me like disturbing
noises, disturbing smells and all these things. They don’t REALLY
irritate me. What REALLY irritates me is when people are cruel. I
remember that once there was someone in Vrindavan who was the
Temple Commander, and he used to chase out dogs and beat them
in such a way that it was too much. I remember that one night I
took the stick from this guy’s hand and said that if you ever do this
again I am going to beat the daylights out of you with this stick.
Cruelty in people can really irritate me. Really. Then I can – tricky
– you had better watch out.
VC: If you were stranded on a desert island armed with antiscorpion
and anti-shark spray so you don’t have to worry about
them, and you have your essential copy of the Vaishnava
Connection magazine – what one book and CD would you take
with you?
KKS:My one book is the Chaitanya Charitamrita – when can I
go?! The CD – so I have a CD player as well? Well, if I have to
listen to it all the while, then it had better be Prabhupada.
VC: Any particular bhajan?
KKS: Well, if I have to listen to it all the time I would be
best off with the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Srila Prabhupada
chanting maybe a Hare Krishna dhun or something. I dunno,
because it’s – Because it is so – eternal. It never ends. I mean
Prabhupada just “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare – Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama
Hare Hare.” There is no end to it, it just goes on and on and on. It
has no beginning and no end. It is really very eternal. So I guess
that if I had to live there, I guess I would have to choose that.
VC: Final question. If Krishna agreed to change one thing about
you that you didn’t like, what would you choose?
KKS: The toughest question so far. What would I
choose? I would have to learn to say no. That’s the one thing I am
not good at is saying no.
VC: Can you recall any incident where…
KKS: …Where I can’t say no? My whole life is just a
matter of not saying no. I wouldn’t come to Leicester if I could say
no . I wouldn’t have agreed to this interview! I am not
good at saying no, that’s the one thing. The one thing that
has caused a lot of stress in my life is that I don’t say no.
Everywhere.
VC: Like this big harinam that you are planning to do in the
Queen’s Parade.
KKS: I should definitely say no.
VC: When is that coming?
KKS: Wednesday in Amsterdam. Last year there was this
guy – instead of wearing a garland he was wearing the seat of
a toilet around his neck – just to give you an idea of what’s
coming.
VC:We came up with the ritvik question as we once
published an article on the ritviks.
KKS: Ritvik would mean that the disciples would not be my
disciples, but would be Jayadvaita Maharaja’s disciples, and
that I would initiate on his behalf – something like that. He is
the great spiritual master. Therefore he doesn’t take any
active responsibility or anything like that – he’s friendly, he’s
merciful, but he doesn’t manage my disciples’ lives. And
some of my disciples, they have some sort of relationship
with Jayadvaita Maharaj and some don’t, some know him,
some don’t. Some are afraid of him, and some are very
attracted to him.
VC: That’s our five questions over. Just one personal
question – I didn’t know how long you’ve been part of
ISKCON, or when did you…
KKS: 1978. And I went first to Vrindavan and I stayed in
Vrindavan for some time – a short time. And then I went
back to Europe and then I moved into the Amsterdam temple.
It was quite dynamic at that time – it was something like
Soho Street – a very dynamic city temple in those days. I
stayed there for almost a year and then I went back to India. I
stayed in India for a long time. In the mid ‘80’s I was one
year in Australia for a break. In total I was 12 years in
Vrindavan, 6 years in Mayapura. Since then I left Vrindavan
‘95 and have been travelling ever since pretty much, no
home, constant travel.
VC: Just because you travel so much, what do you think of
the general preaching in the UK, England.
KKS: Well in the UK there is a lot of facility – it has very
good facility with the Manor, Soho Street. These are
powerful places. With the large Indian community in
England, obviously Krishna Consciousness took to a
different level. I think England has many challenges also. It
has to go beyond socialising. It is so easy to get bogged
down in just a nice Hare Krishna social life. We have to get
really to the core of things and change and become pure
devotees.
Our preaching in South Africa in many ways is very similar
to England, because of the same thing – in Durban we have
this huge Indian congregation, we have this very big temple.
There’s about 40 nama-hattas connected to Durban temple. A
big congregation and therefore there is always a programme
somewhere at someone’s house and everyone’s there and
devotees are just meeting each other at different gatherings.
But sometimes we become a little insulated in our own
community of devotees and we really have to go out of our
comfort zone and just do something to bring Krishna
Consciousness to others. Because England has the same
dynamics and I can see that.
But obviously England is an important place because here
you can really do things that can affect all of ISKCON.
England is a place that has its influence everywhere. Like
now with the cow campaign for example, you can try and
change legislation – that would be a great achievement
because it is a fact that the laws are not supporting cow
protection. It’s a big drama – is that tape recorder still on?
VC: It’s still on because we don’t know how to stop it.
KKS: OK? Well you can use whatever you like…
VC: Thank you, haribol.
KKS: Haribol!

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