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Volunteer
In Teheran

Teheran, Iran

August 7th, 1976

The Air France flight brought us into Teheran airport at 7:30 p.m. Srila Prabhupada's GBC for the Middle East, Atreya Rsi prabhu, and Mr. Patel, a Gujarati Vaisnava with the Vallabhacarya sect, were already inside the airport waiting to greet Srila Prabhupada. In order to expedite our entrance into the country Atreya Rsi asked us to sit to one side while he and his companion approached the immigration counter with our passports. Within a few minutes entry was granted, and we were on our way out the door, all without our having any personal contact with the officials -- a pleasant contrast to some of our previous immigration experiences. It made me think that, as Lord Krsna's most confidential emissary, this should be the minimum standard for Srila Prabhupada's visits to every country. Harikesa Maharaja and Pradyumna brought the luggage through customs, again without difficulty.

Outside the airport Dayananda prabhu was waiting for us in his car. He struck quite a different profile from when we last saw him in Delhi in March. Now he wears a suit and has grown out his hair. As he drove us to Atreya Rsi's house he informed us that he has a job working as a computer programmer for a local firm. Atreya Rsi works for Arthur Young, one of the top accountancy firms in the world. He is a junior partner, and the managing director of their Iranian operations. Prabhupada was pleased to hear about their work. He asked Dayananda whether computers could think.

Atreya Rsi got himself entangled in a convoluted explanation as to why they couldn't, when Dayananda cut in. "Actually Srila Prabhupada, they are all just nonsense," he said drolly, grinning from ear to ear.

Srila Prabhupada laughed and changed the subject.

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Sipping a drink made from local melons, Prabhupada relaxed for a while as we unpacked. He chatted with the devotees about the availability of fruits and the local climate. Atreya Rsi said the climate was similar to that of Vrndavana, but Parivrajakacarya Maharaja quickly added that Teheran is about six thousand feet above sea level and backed up against mountains, so although it gets hot in the summer, it snows in the winter months.

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Glancing affectionately at Dayananda Prabhupada told him, "So I am also very happy Dayananda you are here, and you can have more facilities. You family men, you require some money also. So your present situation is very nice?"

"Yes."

"What they are paying you?"

"I bring home about one thousand dollars per month after deducting taxes."

"It is better than USA. You were getting six hundred there?"

"Yes."

Thinking back to earlier days in Los Angeles when Dayananda was one of the few devotees working at an outside job, Prabhupada reinforced his endorsement of this. "So you are getting more? Why Gargamuni advised you to give up? I chastised him, 'Why you have given him such advice? He's a grhastha, he must have some money. He has to take care of the children.' Anyway, you have got better job now and better service also. Krsna has awarded you for your service. Stick to it. If you like to serve here, you can be permanently settled. Now, what is their rules?"

Dayananda explained that visas are easily given to foreigners, especially Americans.

"That's very good opportunity," Prabhupada said. "Bring more Americans and start this movement nicely. Not necessarily that we have to establish a temple. We want to preach our philosophy. That is most important. Bhagavata-marga. There are two ways, bhagavata-marga and pancaratriki. The bhagavata-marga is more important than pancaratriki. Pancaratriki is Deity worship."


- From "A Transcendental Diary Vol 4" by HG Hari Sauri Prabhu
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