1. Big-time Indologists

    This Bhagavad-gita is the science of Krsna consciousness. No one can become Krsna conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure consciousness. A Krsna conscious person has realized knowledge, by the grace of Krsna, because he is satisfied with pure devotional service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By transcendental knowledge one can remain steady in his convictions, but by mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions. It is the realized soul who is actually self-controlled, because he is surrendered to Krsna. He is transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship. For him mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others, are of no greater value than pebbles or stones.

    (From Srila Prabhupada's purport to Bg 6.8)


    The following is from ISKCON in the 1970s, by SDG

    The friendly scholars of Hinduism also invited me for an informal gathering at their hotel room one night. I brought pots of sabji, capatis and nectar drink from the St. Louis temple and acted as a humble servant of the scholars to give them krsna-prasadam. They sat around in a bedroom, speaking either academically about Hinduism, or talking in a most frivolous mood of prajalpa. They were, of course, drinking liquor and smoking cigarettes. One of the professors told a long story about how he and his friend, who were high on marijuana in India, imagined a small puddle to be a big river. Everyone listened and laughed hilariously. One eminent professor held forth his opinion that Ramanuja was actually an impersonalist and that Vaisnavism had, in a high, sophisticated sense, the same conclusions as Sankara. I had to wince upon hearing this, but I just did not feel it was my place to strongly preach at this gathering when they were all sitting around in such a relaxed, casual mood.

    One of the professors, Thomas Hopkins, was the friendliest toward me, and he was certainly the biggest eater of prasadam, taking seconds and thirds. Another young professor, a Harvard graduate, asked the group whether they thought that any yoga or spiritual discipline was necessary in order to be learned in Hinduism. His remark was mostly replied to with jokes of various sorts. On the one hand, it was a thrilling occasion for me to be in the same room with many of the big-time Indologists in America, but by Krsna's mercy, their frivolousness made a deep impression on me. Since then it has been very hard to take them seriously.