There are so many examples of Prabhupada not caring about public opinion – a public relations officer’s nightmare you could say! because Prabhupada could say anything at any time!
Ravindra Swarup brought this professor, a professor in Hinduism. Prabhupada asked, he said:
‘Oh you are a professor in Hinduism’
‘Can you please give a definition of Hinduism?
The man said: ‘Well that is hard to say.’
Prabhupada said: ‘ This is my disciple Swarup Damodara, he is also a PHD. Swarup Damodara, this is a professor of Hinduism, we are asking him to give a definition but he can not give, what would you call that?’
‘Cheating , Srila Prabhupada, cheating’
‘That’s right ‘ Prabhupada said, ‘Cheating!!’
And within moments, within moments it came to a huge argument between Prabhupada and this professor…
and they were arguing and arguing with each other to a point where Brahmananda, who was the biggest devotee…stood in front of that professor!
‘You better leave before you make more offenses!’
The professor looked at Brahmananda and got the point.. and he left! I mean, what a way to treat a professor! I mean, can you imagine it for a moment happening here, some professor speaking and a gorilla of a disciple chasing him out the door! I would probably say:
‘No please wait sir’ but not Prabhupada, he let him go!
Twenty years later Ravindra Swarup met this professor and the professor said to Ravindra: “Remember that time I met Swami Bhaktivedanta?”
‘ah yaaa, I sorrrt of remember’
And the professor said: “Well I must admit, he was right’
So after twenty years the professor admitted that the professor was right, twenty years he had thought about the argument and thought about it and finally admitted:
“alright he was right, I am defeated.”
So that was Prabhupada.
‘ I will hammer them’ Prabhupada said, ‘ again and again on their weak point, karate blow one after another, one after another until they crack!’
Yes Prabhupada did have this hammering preaching style. His spiritual master also had this hammering preaching style. Prabhupada was not a mild preacher, Prabhupada was a strong preacher. Prabhupada was a very fiery preacher. Prabhupada sometimes said about scientists:
‘I will kick on their face!’
So that’s a little heavy one might think but if you see it in the context of the scripture, then you should know that Lord Nityananada once went to Kashmir and there he encountered some Buddhists. And Lord Nityananda asked these Buddhists for some water, but these Buddhists were in mediatation and they were giving no response…then Lord Nityananda kicjked them in the face! Hare Krishna!
How much mercy did these Buddhists get by being touched by the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda! What a mercy!
So Prabhupada took to that spirit of Lord Nityananda, that spirit of not tolerating, not tolerating any deviation , then he would be strong but he could also be so humble!
One of my favourite photos of Prabhupada, there are so many photos, but one that I like every much is a photo that is taken in Gujarat. Prabhupada came to Gujarat and they offered him on an enormous silver throne, a monster of a throne! And you can see Prabhupada sitting on that grotesque huge throne and you look at his face, his hands are folded , his head is tilted and on his face is an expression, almost apologetic, from intense humility and apologetic – an expression of:
‘Forgive me for sitting on such a chair, I know it is grotesque, but I am only sitting here as the representative of my spiritual master and Krishna, I am sitting here as a matter of duty’
It was clear Prabhupada had this mood.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Croatia, Prabhupada’s Appearance day 2010)