(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 08 October 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa, Nama Hatta Lecture, Bhagavad-gita 9.10)
In Srimad Bhagavatam, in the discussions with Kapila Muni, it is said that doubt is a symptom of intelligence. So this is interesting, doubt as a symptom of intelligence. We always thought that doubt was a symptom of faithlessness and so on. No, an intelligent person will inquire and will not just blindly accept. So doubt is alright and pure devotees are there to alleviate doubt by their own personal example.
This is a very important point and this is why I call Prabhupada the shortcut. See, once we have faith in Prabhupada, then we do not have to put every word of the Vedic literature on a scale and weigh it because Prabhupada supersedes it because he has realised the essence of the Vedas. He is clearly in direct communication with the Supreme Lord.
That is actually how people developed faith in this movement. We did not first study all the literature inside-out and then thought about it in great depth and then said, “Shall I accept this as truth?” Nobody bothered. Some people sort of intuitively came, “Why did you come?”
“Well, I do not know. I just liked it. I felt it.” That is also there but others went a little deeper. They understood that it is Prabhupada who is the living proof for us. Therefore, one should investigate Srila Prabhupada and read about Srila Prabhupada, especially these biographies.
We have the Srimad Bhagavatam which is our main scripture. One day Prabhupada was giving a lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam when someone in America asked a question, “Is Joan of Arc also in Srimad Bhagavatam?”
Prabhupada says, “Eh? Joan of Arc in Bhagavatam? Eh?” Then he says, “Yes, she is also in Bhagavatam because the life of the devotees are also Bhagavatam.”
So Prabhupada just right there and then, extended Bhagavatam beyond the twelve cantos and said actually the life of all these devotees are also Bhagavatam because they are the person bhagavat. Therefore the Prabhupada Lilamrta is also Bhagavatam because it is the life of the bhagavat. It is the life of the person who is the personification of the bhagavat. By reading the Lilamrta and so many other biographies, we can see very clearly how he is not an ordinary person.
If anyone wants hard evidence then I always give the example how in Germany there was a photographer. He was making many photos of Prabhupada and in those days it was not digital camera. It was film inside and there is a big flash and the flash would just, “Whoo!” Really like strong flash, worse than the phones. This photographer was just like one picture after… flash, flash, flash. So at one point, Prabhupada was just seeing balls and he said, “No more balls.”
So then what happened was that the photographer used another technique. He put in a slow, very light sensitive film. Those kind of films would very slowly capture the image and needed less light but then any movement would upset the picture. So he put the camera on a tripod, put the slow film and did not even touch the shutter. He had one of those extension cords. They used to have like that. Before he was taking the photo, he had to adjust the camera. It was not computerised because we did not have computers yet in those days, and the lens had to be manually adjusted. He had to adjust the camera manually according to the light so he had a light meter. So he was measuring the light, adjusting the camera for the light, everything ready. Click. Suddenly, as he was clicking some pictures, suddenly, the light just got much stronger. The meter just goes into maximum! He looks, “Did someone turn on a light?” No. it was Prabhupada. He was beaming with light and it was measured on German light meter. So if that is not hard evidence, then what is hard evidence? German light meter.
So in that way, it was measurable. It was not just imagination that some people, due to sentiment, we are just seeing Prabhupada as an amazing personality. No, even a German light meter. There is no sentiment in a German light meter but even a German light meter could recognise that Prabhupada was an enlightened personality. So in this way, we appreciate, how the pure devotee makes everything accessible and makes everything real.