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Chapter 70: Kali Yuga Machines; Ugra Karma

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 70
Kali Yuga Machines; Ugra Karma

April 1973, Zurich, Switzerland

While spending two days in a land famous for its quality time pieces, Syamasundara presented Śrīla Prabhupāda with a digital watch, the latest in wrist watch technology. It looked very modern. Its round face was completely black except for a few seconds when a small button was pressed and the time appeared in red. It was quite innovative. Śrīla Prabhupāda unemotionally put on the watch and was shown by his secretary how to use it. He explained that to view the time you must press the button on the side of the watch with your right hand and then you can see the time. It did not take long for Śrīla Prabhupāda to make his evaluation of the latest technology.

"So, now it takes two hands to tell the time instead of one," he said.

August 1974, ISKCON Vrindaban, India
Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir

On July 24, I rejoined Śrīla Prabhupāda after being away from him for seven months. While away, I married and increased my possessions. I brought one of my new acquisitions, an electric razor, to India.

One morning, while giving Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class, Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke about "ugra karma."

"One can shave very simply with a blade," he said. "There is no difficulty, but now it becomes complicated. One must use electricity. Noise is there and when it breaks then you cannot shave. By trying to solve a small problem, so many other problems are made."

He never said anything to me directly, but I knew he was referring to the fact that, only an hour before, I had been shaving in my servant's quarters and this created a disturbance for him.

November 1974, ISKCON Juhu
Bombay, India

Hearing Śrīla Prabhupāda's bell, I hurried from the kitchen where I had been busy making fresh vegetable juice for myself using a juicer that Pallika devi had gotten me.

"What is all that noise?" Śrīla Prabhupāda said in an angry mood.

"It is a juicer, Śrīla Prabhupāda," I said nervously. "I started to drink fresh juices because I have had a difficult time staying healthy in India. I thought drinking fresh juice would help." He didn't appear very sympathetic.

"So much noise," he said. "How can I concentrate? Why is it necessary to make such disturbance?"

I agreed it was foolish and that I would stop using it. An hour went by when Śrīla Prabhupāda rang his bell. I headed for his sitting room with thoughts of the recent incident out of my mind. He looked at me compassionately and said, "So, if these fresh juices are helping you to stay healthy then it is all right to continue. It is important for you to be healthy so you can do your service. I don't mind."

Again, I was overcome with joy knowing how much Śrīla Prabhupāda cared for me. Now I feel ashamed. It is commonly known, the way to keep healthy in India is to cook your vegetables and peel your fruits before eating to avoid all types of organisms. Śrīla Prabhupāda, you tolerated my foolishness. More than that, you kept me around even though I created disturbance with my machinery. Please forgive me for my foolishness.