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Prabhupada's purposes for taking a collection

In 1974, Prabhupada was scheduled to speak in the executive meeting room at the Hong Kong Hilton on the last evening of his stay. The hotel posted a black placard that read, "Tridandi Goswami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada will speak on Krishna Consciousness."

In the plush meeting room, Prabhupada sat on a makeshift vyasasana - a decorated chair - and received garlands from each of the almost one hundred children from our classes. Garlands covered Prabhupada's shoulders, then neck, and threatened to cover his face. As more garlands were offered, we removed and distributed garlands as prasadam. Prabhupada lectured on the urgency of spreading Krishna consciousness throughout the world. He also spoke about the Bhagavad-gita, advising the children to memorize the entire scripture, beginning with the first verse.

During the final kirtana, Prabhupada motioned for me to come up to the vyasasana. "You should take up a collection," he instructed. I picked up a fancy silver bowl and approached each guest. Almost all the guests donated something, and by the time I placed the bowl by Prabhupada's feet, it contained the equivalent of about $150 U.S. Prabhupada was satisfied with the reciprocation. I was acquainted with most of the guests. Mainly they worshiped Lakshmi-devi and Siva Sankara for a few minutes in the morning to ensure a prosperous day. They had not come to Hong Kong for spiritual progress, but to make money. They were businessmen.

I understood two of Prabhupada's purposes for reminding me to take a collection. One was to test the financial support of the Indian community. Prabhupada was satisfied by the result. The second motive was compassion. These guests had heard both Prabhupada's lecture and the holy name of Krishna, but they were doomed materialists. Prabhupada was certainly not in need of $150, but they would get eternal benefit by offering Prabhupada some of their hard-earned money. Prabhupada was compassionate and wanted to give them the opportunity to render service.

Reference: My Glorious Master - Bhurijana Dasa