(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 19 January 2017, Sydney, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 9.13.4)
We have three categories of liberated souls – one with both feet in the material world, one with one foot in the material world and one foot in the spiritual world, and one with both feet in the spiritual world. The third category, with two feet in the spiritual world, means having a spiritual body. We don’t have many examples of spiritual masters who have spiritual bodies other than Narada Muni. So for all practical purposes, we have two categories of spiritual masters in the material world. When we look at the category of spiritual master who has one foot in the spiritual world and one in the material world, we would place Srila Prabhupada in this category and we would compare him to Sukadev Goswami who was completely transcendental. We remember when Prabhupada went to the Morning Star Ranch and there was a naked man in the garden. Prabhupada arrived in a car and rolled down the window of the car and asked the man, “What are you doing?” and the man replied, “Growing potates!” and Prabhupada said, “No, what are you doing with your life?”
Morning Star Ranch was a commune that was prominent and Prabhupada had gone to America to preach and he didn’t particularly choose that place but he allowed himself to be led. Preaching does not happen by sitting behind a desk, having a meeting, making a strategy and then going out to preach! No, in preaching one just follows the natural developments in the field. We do reach out to people, we don’t just wait for them to come but there are some people who just come forward and those are the ones we work with. This is what Prabhupada did, he went to America and some people came forward and these were the ones he worked with and in the course of that, they were going to this Morning Star Ranch – the path that Krsna was leading was going there, so Prabhupada went there.
From Prabhupada’s perspective, the entire journey to America was a journey of stepping into a world of insanity. He knew that the entire population was in the grip of kali – everyone was degraded; all the various principles of the Bhagavatam, of dharma were broken by society as a whole so from the first moment; Prabhupada was ready to deal with anything. His mood was that nothing could surprise him! You can see that in Prabhupada’s purports. He writes in the fifth canto about the hellish planets and gives detailed descriptions of illicit sex and these are intimate sinful activities. Prabhupada was not someone who was living in a big bubble of Krsna consciousness and was shocked at how sinful people can be. No, he deeply understood how sinful people really were, he was expecting it all, after all he was a Calcutta boy as he would say and had seen it all!
In this way, Prabhupada was ready to deal with anyone, wherever Krsna would lead him. He did not say that we would only accept people in Krsna consciousness who are in a certain category. It does not work like that. That is not the sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya. Whoever comes, without consideration of caste or creed, gets a chance to do devotional service. Now this does not mean that everyone has to be in the same place. Sometimes you have socially-educated cultural people and then you have a bum off the street, you cannot give them the mercy in the same place. Like this, you may need different programmes and that is fine but no-one is exempt from the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There is no condition by which one can say that this person is too sinful! No, everyone is eligible and entitled to mercy so it is our duty to embrace that spirit!