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Chapter 28: Is a Devotee Simple or Crooked?

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 28
Is a Devotee Simple or Crooked?

A Morning Walk, Perth, Australia

Going on a morning walk with Śrīla Prabhupāda was never dull. Sometimes His Divine Grace wouldn't say a word, chanting japa throughout the walk. This disappointed some disciples who did not often get such an opportunity. They sometimes asked a question, hoping that Śrīla Prabhupāda would engage in a debate or conversation, but this was risky business. Śrīla Prabhupāda was never subject to our whims. Sometimes he gave a short response to such questions and continued to walk in silence.

One day, however, Śrīla Prabhupāda was in a talkative, humorous mood.

"Is a devotee simple or crooked?" he asked smiling.

"He is simple, Śrīla Prabhupāda," one disciple answered.

"Are you sure? Is he simple or crooked?" He again asked with a rascal-like gleam in his eye.

"Yes, a devotee is simple!" the disciple enthusiastically responded, not realizing he had fallen for a trick question.

Śrīla Prabhupāda then sprang the unexpected punch line.

"Actually, the devotee is crooked!" Everyone stood there with their mouths gaping.

"Take me for example," Śrīla Prabhupāda explained. "I came to your country and everyone was eating meat, taking intoxication, and doing so much nonsense. I tricked everyone. I've tricked all of you into becoming Kṛṣṇa Conscious. So, in that sense the devotee must be crooked, because he must be able to trick. Just like I have tricked everyone. No one wanted Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, but I have tricked you."

Śrīla Prabhupāda was the acarya. He taught us by example. And, again, on the morning walk, he demonstrated the art of tricking us.