Room Conversation

Type:
Room Conversation
Date:
August 10
Year:
1971
Place:
London

Śyāmasundara: There’s already a big church on it.

Dhanañjaya: That may be better, because there’s more space there.

Śyāmasundara: We haven’t seen it yet. We haven’t gone inside yet.

Mr. Arnold: I’ll try and make arrangements to go and have a look at that.

Śyāmasundara: And also that other one around the corner.

Mr. Arnold: The [indistinct] chapel? That’s a very large building. But you can’t go outwards[?]. You can’t go up. And there’s no other facility.

Śyāmasundara: [indistinct]

Mr. Arnold: Near Oxford. A very large building, but it’s, it’s in a bad state of repair.

Śyāmasundara: We’ll concentrate on the other ones.

Dhanañjaya: [indistinct] best as far as the land’s concerned. It’s situated in the biggest area of space.

Śyāmasundara: I have to try to find out when George is coming back.

Prabhupāda: George can give his…, what is called?

Śyāmasundara: Endorsement.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Śyāmasundara: Endorsement?

Prabhupāda: No. What is called? Reaction, or…

Dhanañjaya: His qualities?

Prabhupāda: No. The show, what is called?

Śyāmasundara: Concert.

Prabhupāda: Concert show.

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Better he can raise funds from New York, but…

Śyāmasundara: Well, most of the money that they get from these concerts is not on the concert itself but on the record album and the movie that comes from it, the film.

Dhanañjaya: And the royalties.

Śyāmasundara: Royalties from making a record of music and the film of the show.

Prabhupāda: Uh-huh.

Śyāmasundara: Just like Bangladesh. They raised about a million dollars from the concert and nineteen million from the record album and film. So those two don’t require any special place. They could be anywhere.

Dhanañjaya: Better here though, because George has never made any public appearances…

Śyāmasundara: Actually I think it would be just as big here.

Dhanañjaya: Yes. If the result, if people knew, if it was…

Śyāmasundara: He’s never made a public appearance. Only one in America.

Dhanañjaya: Everyone from all over Europe will be coming to see him, without a doubt… In Europe there’s about 350 million people, almost 400 million.

Śyāmasundara: Actually he made two statements that, well, they practically promised to do this. He said in Los Angeles when he saw the Deities: “Oh, we must have a place like this in London.” And then in New York, because I said, “Well, we don’t want to be on your show here. We volunteer. You promised…,” I said, “You promised us to be on the show in New York, and he said, “I know I promised, and I must fulfill my word, I gave you my word, but I’m just asking you if you will not be on this show, and later I’ll have another special concert for Hare Kṛṣṇa.”

Prabhupāda: So remind him.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: What about these Hindu communities?

Śyāmasundara: Well, that we can do during this time you’re here. We can organize it. We can at least inspire them to help us.

Prabhupāda: Are they willing to cooperate with us or not? Because they have already opened some Hindu temple.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Dhanañjaya: There’s not so much cooperation from them.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Śyāmasundara: They want their own local temple.

Dhanañjaya: They come here and they stay for ārotik, they take a little prasāda, they give some money, then go.

Śyāmasundara: They, the Indians know how to organize those things better that we do. They know how to collect money from individual Indians in their neighborhood, one, two pounds at a time. They can do that.

Mr. Arnold: We went out to an Indian concert one night at Southall.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Mr. Arnold: This was…, we were very welcome, made very welcome indeed. And they had like a very small television, and they had pictures of the Deities there, and Hare Kṛṣṇa, [indistinct] about the chanting, and they loved it. I should mention there must have been about five hundred people in that hall.

Śyāmasundara: There’s no Hindu temples on the West End, West End.

Mr. Arnold: There’s one in [indistinct].

Śyāmasundara: Oh, there is?

Mr. Arnold: Sikh.

Śyāmasundara: Sikh, yeah. But I mean Hindu temple.

Dhanañjaya: I don’t think the leaders, the leaders of these communities, they’re not so willing to raise funds on our behalf.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Dhanañjaya: I don’t think the leaders of the Hindu communities, they’re not so willing to raise money on our behalf. They’ll do it for their own functions, and their own temple requirements, but not on our behalf. And it’s a weak…

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Śyāmasundara: I’m thinking of the way Sadha Jivat Lal[?] raised so many lakhs of rupees, by selling, organizing, highly organized…

Prabhupāda: No, no. If they will, they can.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: But he says they’re not willing. That is the difference.

Mr. Arnold: I don’t think they’re willing at this stage, my lord, because there’s been so little done for them, and I feel, and I…

Śyāmasundara: Well, we’re having Jagannātha parade, Prabhupāda is speaking…

Mr. Arnold: Yes, but in their own communities, we, I suggested a long time ago that in fact there should be an appeal, start off with an appeal in the local papers.

Prabhupāda: The priestly class, they will make propaganda against us: “Oh, they are mlecchas, they are Europeans, they are Americans. What they can do? It is not good.” Because India, the caste system is very strong. So I am giving the Europeans and Americans the opportunities to become brāhmaṇa, they are not satisfied.

Dhanañjaya: Also they say that here in our temple they don’t let anyone else speak, so why should we…, they, why should we let them speak? This is what they say. Because we don’t allow them to come, you know, and talk on Hinduism, so they say, “Why should we ask, let them do it here, in our community?”

Śyāmasundara: Still, they’re asking us to supply them pūjārīs.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Śyāmasundara: They’re asking us to supply them pūjārīs. Out of all their community, not one man will volunteer to be the pūjārī.

Prabhupāda: They’re asking us for pūjārī?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: So why not take charge?

Śyāmasundara: At the Hindu center, didn’t they ask, a couple, “Come and live there, be pūjārī,” and…? I was hearing that.

Prabhupāda: But we cannot become pūjārī…

Śyāmasundara: Under their, under their direction. That’s the trouble.

Dhanañjaya: So they have, they have already installed a Deity. They have a Deity of Vasudeva in the Hindu Center, but He’s not dressed. He’s standing with cakra, but He’s not, He’s not clothed very nicely, and the room is not decorated very nicely at all. He’s just standing there. And they asked for a pūjārī to come and look after. But they…, you see what they’re thinking, they’re thinking, “Oh, we’re pious. We’re pious for acquiring Deity.” You see? “Deity is only for the lower class people, so they can see, or they will be reminded that God is here. But we already know that God is here.” So they turn and sit with their back to the Deity and they talk like this, and the Deity is here.

Prabhupāda: No. They, as Dhanañjaya said, that are not willing to cooperate with us.

Śyāmasundara: Well, I’m not so sure. They used to be when I was here, and I think if you have a Bhāgavata-saptāha, if the weather stays, and the weather’s any good… I don’t know.

Prabhupāda: But the Bhāgavata-saptāha, if they are willing to cooperate with our Bhāgavata-saptāha.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah, that’s what I mean.

Prabhupāda: Some, some priest come from India, and they cooperate with me. But if they have a feeling of noncooperation with us, then what is the use of paṇḍitas and Bhāgavata-saptāha?

Śyāmasundara: Saturday night you’ll be speaking in the Hindu Center?

Dhanañjaya: On the fifteenth.

Śyāmasundara: Saturday, next Saturday night. So that will be a good indication. We’ll know after then, if they cooperated, if they’ll come. I think there’ll be a big crowd.

Dhanañjaya: Actually, you see, it’s the younger Indian families also. They’re English. They’re not Indian. They’re more English than Indian. Their children, they don’t speak Hindi, and they’re playing just like Western children. So they’re, when they see us, when we, when devotees go there, to the communities, they’re so eager to take the books ‘cause they can read them and they can relate with, with Kṛṣṇa consciousness somehow. Because they go every Sunday to their meetings there, and they hear the priest, and it’s all boring. It’s for the older, for the old. It’s sentimental. That’s all. So the older people, they’re coming, and they’re listening to the readings of the Rāmāyaṇa and so many other things. And the young people, they know, “Oh, these, these European people and American people, they must be doing something genuine. Otherwise why are they sacrificing so much?”

Prabhupāda: So how to attract the Indian younger people?

Dhanañjaya: But then again, they’re influenced…

Śyāmasundara: They’ve asked us in that Hindu Center to teach classes.

Prabhupāda: Hm?

Śyāmasundara: They’ve asked us to teach classes also in that center.

Prabhupāda: So why don’t you do that?

Śyāmasundara: Not many people come, though. But we could attract them to come. Advertise and attract.

Dhanañjaya: See, that…, their main function is on a Sunday, and the last time Your Divine Grace came there, last year, that’s where they hold their meetings, in that hall. But it’s full of so much nonsense. They have pictures of Vivekananda…

Prabhupāda: Why don’t you call that Dr. Shah?

Śyāmasundara: Dr. Shah.

Prabhupāda: He cannot help us?

Śyāmasundara: I don’t know. We’re still not sure about him.

Prabhupāda: And that one Mr. Ahujya came?

Śyāmasundara: Uh-huh. There are many men here who respect us, who would help us…

Prabhupāda: He wanted me to go to his house.

Śyāmasundara: Ahh.

Prabhupāda: From that Auckland.

Śyāmasundara: Oh, he’s from Auckland.

Prabhupāda: So he visited there…

Śyāmasundara: Oh, that’s right, I know him. I have his card, yeah.

Prabhupāda: You have got his card?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Why don’t you call him just now?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah, I have his… I think I have his phone number and everything too.

Prabhupāda: So call him so he can come here just now. He was talking seriously about “You please come immediately.”

Śyāmasundara: I have his Delhi address too.

Prabhupāda: Now suppose the estimate is 250,000 pounds. So how much the bank may advance?

Mr. Arnold: I don’t think the bank, in this state of, of, umm, the one at King Street, Hammersmith…

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Mr. Arnold: The one at Kings Street, Hammersmith. I don’t really think the bank will advance you anything. Umm, you see you’ve got nothing to mortgage.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Mr. Arnold: This is the first thing. You see, when we’re talking of Kingsway Hall, you know, the big one, before, well here you had a bank on the site, and they were rather anxious to keep their premises, and consequently they would have loaned us money to retain their site. Any of these four that we’re dealing with at the moment, there are no other banks or building societies on the site. This is what I think is, is absolutely imperative, that within the…

Prabhupāda: The bank will not be prepared to advance in such property?

Mr. Arnold: Well, they may well do, but it would only be… One couldn’t guarantee that they would be expected to. But the bank manager, where the account of this temple is kept, they may be tempted to loan a half or three quarters of it, if they think that the thing is a good… I mean, this site at Kings Street, Hammersmith, for instance, if we don’t buy it, then the suggestion is that within the very foreseeable future the place will be pulled down to build a large hotel, which means to say that the site is very valuable. On this score, the bank may well be tempted to loan you some money, just on the site alone, [indistinct] the premises. They would be interested.

Prabhupāda: Then means that a church turned out a new building. So that is a big stake.

Mr. Arnold: Mr. Dwyer was very anxious that the Dawson Place should have been purchased, or some house of a similar nature, because these can be used.

Śyāmasundara: [re: Mr. Ahujya] He’ll be calling up in a few minutes. He’s just gone out. She said she would tell him. He has an Indian Handicrafts house.

Prabhupāda: Suppose we can arrange for the money, somehow or other, half. Half a million required?

Mr. Arnold: For, for the new premises.

Prabhupāda: One fourth million if we can arrange. So is it possible to arrange for the other one fourth million from the bank?

Mr. Arnold: I think that if you’re putting up a quarter of it, a quarter of a million, then I think there’s every certainty of the bank loaning you the other quarter. I think this is quite a definite circumstance.

Dhanañjaya: See, because what they do is they loan the money on the strength of the value of the property. If the value of the property is 500,000 pounds, then they’ll be quite…

Prabhupāda: So why don’t you try for this property?

Śyāmasundara: Oh, yes.

Prabhupāda: Then I will need the help of this Mr. [indistinct]. I can try to raise that one fourth million, and one fourth million if the bank advances, then we can negotiate immediately.

Śyāmasundara: It would be nice if the Indians could help.

Prabhupāda: Do some practical proposal.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: So far George is concerned, now it is more or less Utopian.

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Because…

Śyāmasundara: You can’t count on him at all.

Prabhupāda: …if he was willing, he would have done long ago, but he is not very serious.

Śyāmasundara: Well, I’ve never asked him for it, to do that.

Prabhupāda: So what is this asking? When he visited our Los Angeles temple, he appreciated and he said, “Why not a temple like this in London?”

Śyāmasundara: Well he’s…, I…, He’s been waiting for me to come here and talk to him here about it. I haven’t…

Prabhupāda: But it is difficult to meet him.

Śyāmasundara: Well, he’s just out of station now. As soon as he’s in station I’ll get him, I’ll meet him.

Prabhupāda: Why don’t you call him in New York?

Śyāmasundara: I don’t know where he is.

Prabhupāda: That you are getting.

Śyāmasundara: I don’t know where he is.

Prabhupāda: But they can say, his men here.

Śyāmasundara: His men here won’t say. They don’t know themselves usually. Only his wife or one other, two persons know.

Prabhupāda: So his wife is here?

Śyāmasundara: They’re all with him. His manager, Terry, is there.

Dhanañjaya: Bob Dylan would know where he is.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah, but Dylan changes his number about every two weeks. I have his old number from a year ago. I’m sure it’s not the same.

Prabhupāda: If he agrees, he can in one night, he can.

Śyāmasundara: Oh, I have one number in New York who would know where he is. Al Abramovitz[?].

Mr. Arnold: I wonder whether this large records firm in New Oxford Street…

Śyāmasundara: Warner Brothers?

Mr. Arnold: No, no. Record. James something or other. James…

Śyāmasundara: Oh, right over here.

Mr. Arnold: Yes, in New Oxford Street.

Devotee: Yeah.

Mr. Arnold: They’re agents for practically every…

Śyāmasundara: Yeah, the, one of the, man who works there, big man, is also with George now. They might know where he is.

Mr. Arnold: …something to do with that particular firm.

Devotee: Derrick Taylor.

Dhanañjaya: Kenny Records.

Śyāmasundara: Kenny, Kenny Records. Well, there are several record agents. They might know…

Mr. Arnold: The whole building is taken up, and it all comes under the roof of James something or other, or agencies.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Mr. Arnold: Now in New Oxford Street, you can see it very easily. There’s a Midland Bank, takes up the ground floor.

Śyāmasundara: It’s right over here, isn’t it?

Mr. Arnold: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: So, so long I am here, let us try some tangible, not simply proposal.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah. Now we’ve seen how nice places we can get, so we have to work on these other angles: the Indian community and George.

Mr. Arnold: The bank

Śyāmasundara: And the bank. There’s… What about Mr. Gopal? Did you see him? He’s very wealthy.

Dhanañjaya: Yes, but he helps by donating material things. Not material things, but he likes to give things rather than…

Śyāmasundara: No, he’s never been tactfully approached for anything else. He used to like us. He’d come around all the time. He lost his son, so he adopted us, like that. He used to give us presents, money.

Dhanañjaya: The most he’s given is carpets.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Dhanañjaya: Carpets. He was giving carpets. The purple carpet in the temple.

Śyāmasundara: The carpet in the temple cost how many hundreds of pounds?

Dhanañjaya: Three hundred pounds. And the material for the Rathayātrā cart. All the material.

Prabhupāda: Where he is?

Dhanañjaya: He lives in Stretton.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Dhanañjaya: Near Stretton.

Śyāmasundara: Do you have his phone number? I’ll call him, call him. He’s, I’m sure he…, we could count on him to give something for…

Prabhupāda: So take their consult, what price they want.

Dhanañjaya: There’s also Nandalal Chabria, Mr. Chabria’s son, he’s here.

Śyāmasundara: He’s not very wealthy.

Dhanañjaya: No, he’s not wealthy.

Prabhupāda: This Chabria is here?

Śyāmasundara: Yes. His son.

Dhanañjaya: Nandalal.

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Nandalal?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: What is his father’s name?

Śyāmasundara: Rāma, Ramachand.

Prabhupāda: Oh. Ramachand.

Dhanañjaya: There’s Mr. Padma[?].

Śyāmasundara: Yeah. Those men might help do legwork, but they’re not wealthy in themselves.

Prabhupāda: So you raise one fourth million.

Śyāmasundara: Okay. [begins laughing]

Prabhupāda: And Mr. Arnold will help for the bank one fourth.

Mr. Arnold: I don’t think I can get my bank to loan it, my lord, but certainly we’ll go and see the bank… [laughter by devotees]

Prabhupāda: And we’ll pay gradually to the bank. Then we can immediately…

Mr. Arnold: You see, the tragedy is, my lord, they haven’t got one account in this temple in my bank.

Śyāmasundara: Then why don’t we go and take an account in his bank?

Dhanañjaya: Mr. Arnold’s in the Midland Bank.

Prabhupāda: So why not open all the accounts there? Or ask the present bank that we are proposing this. Otherwise Midland Bank is a famous bank, it is nice bank.

Mr. Arnold: Well I suggest that they, they should go to the National Westminster and tell them that you’ll want this loan for…

Prabhupāda: But they agreed, National Westminster.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: To agree to pay on account of this Kingsway.

Mr. Arnold: Oh, no. That was Lloyd’s that agreed then, because they were trying to save their premises. They knew perfectly well that if it went to someone else then the whole premises, sooner or later, would be torn down.

Prabhupāda: That was it.

Mr. Arnold: Yeah.

Śyāmasundara: So he’s, he promised them perpetual lease.

Prabhupāda: At what price it was being sold?

Dhanañjaya: Two and a half million pounds.

Mr. Arnold: Two and a half, which is exactly the price that I told them to put the bid in for. I went over…

Prabhupāda: Two and a half million.

Mr. Arnold: Yes.

Śyāmasundara: What Dāyananda didn’t tell us is that the bank was prepared to finance the whole thing.

Prabhupāda: Huh!

Śyāmasundara: The whole thing.

Mr. Arnold: Well the bank and the building society.

Śyāmasundara: One building society and one bank combinedly would have financed the whole thing, but he sent us a letter that said only two-thirds, they would finance two-thirds.

Prabhupāda: So he is not very intelligent. A missed opportunity.

Mr. Arnold: See, I went to the Midland Bank, to various departments, and I found out almost to within a penny what exactly what it would raise. Of course, some of the people that put in the bids it happened were Midland Bank customers. I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I did it, and I…

Prabhupāda: The bank was prepared to finance it, and he missed that opportunity?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah, and he didn’t even tell us.

Mr. Arnold: The bank was only going to loan two-thirds. Then the building society next door was going to help, and also the National Westminster was prepared to help, I’m quite sure. But of course, I think…

Prabhupāda: It was not tactfully done.

Śyāmasundara: No.

Prabhupāda: Not intelligent.

Śyāmasundara: He didn’t tell us.

Prabhupāda: He is not very intelligent.

Śyāmasundara: Had he told us a hundred percent financing…

Prabhupāda: Hm?

Mr. Arnold: I pleaded with him to send you a letter. Of course you told him that to only put in a bid for a million and a half, and I pleaded with him to send you a letter that said no, step the bid up to two and a half million. Because quite honestly, I feel that the place was so vast, and most of it was let-places like Decca Recordings, Kodak, things like this—that most of the repayments to the banks would have been met quite easily.

Prabhupāda: I asked him also to consult some expert.

Śyāmasundara: Well, somehow or other…

Prabhupāda: That was two and a half million, and it is half million.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah. Perhaps it’s better if we go step by step.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Śyāmasundara: Someday we’ll go up into the big place. There will always be a big place.

Dhanañjaya: But there was not even a thousand pounds here.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Dhanañjaya: There wasn’t even a thousand… At the time, there was not one, even one thousand pounds in the temple fund, and they were going for a two and a half, one and a half million deal.

Prabhupāda: No. The bank was prepared to finance. That is the point.

Mr. Arnold: You see, I sort of schooled Dāyananda and told him to go over and have words with the bank manager, promising that, you know, if they helped us to fund this building, then we would guarantee them tenure, and instead of paying interest back on the, on the loan, we, for bids, we would give them a guaranteed tenure, or peppercorn rent, but we would pay the original loan back, so that there was no charge at all, it was just…

Prabhupāda: Anyway, na tasya śocananarthi. Don’t lament which is gone. [laughter]

Mr. Arnold: Yes, thank you, thank you.

Dhanañjaya: Don’t cry over spilt milk.

Prabhupāda: That is Sanskrit, na tasya śocananarthi.

Śyāmasundara: Actually, for a place in the center of London like this, it’s nice to have offices and a small chapel and maybe a bookstore, but we would not be able to recruit many people to come on a residential basis, being in the center of the city. But in a place a little bit further out, like in a student neighborhood, everybody comes.

Prabhupāda: What? Student neighborhood?

Śyāmasundara: Yes, they’ll come.

Prabhupāda: So, why not negotiate that?

Śyāmasundara: Daily they’ll come and then gradually become devotees.

Prabhupāda: No, among the young men there is hankering after this sort of an institution. Everyone asks me, “Why the younger generation is attracted to this movement?” so many reporters. So somehow or other, I reply, “The young men, they’re receptive, they can understand the value, whereas the old fools cannot.” [laughing]

Mr. Arnold: Well, my wife and I, we can. We’re old.

Prabhupāda: [laughing] You are excepted. You are excepted. Sometimes old men are called old fools. [laughing]

Mr. Arnold: My wife is twice…, she’s older that I am, and she’s made me return because sometimes I’ve lost my temper with, over, you know, various things that happen…

Prabhupāda: The thing is that you are liberal to understand things as they are. But generally, old men, they are sophisticated. They do not like to accept anything new: “Go away.” Or they are not serious about religion. That is another thing. Actually…, as I see that old, older section, they have been habituated in a different way, so they do not want to change [indistinct]. That is the difference. So “Here is a nice thing; you should accept it.” They are not inclined in that way. All stereotyped. Just like you have said last night, I told Lord Zet… [end]

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