Satsvarupa das Goswami: The Swami had a protocol that you could ask a question after his talk. In Dear Theo, Van Gogh's letters to his brother, I had read that misery is eternal, so the first question I asked was, "Is there freedom from misery?" The Swami said, "There is no freedom from misery. You can break your arm and go to the hospital and come out, and then you will break another limb. So there's no relief from misery and at the end of this body you'll take another body. But if you are liberated and do not come back to the material world, then there is relief. The only way to be relieved from misery is to chant Hare Krishna."


I was upset and with tears in my eyes I went to him and said, "My father said if I continue to have anything to do with this movement, he won't have anything to do with me." The Swami saw my teary state and with twinkling eyes said, "That's all right." Sometimes he would encourage his students to keep good relations with their parents, but he didn't do that with me. He smiled and more or less told me to let it go. Not long after that in a letter I asked him, "Are you my real father?" He wrote back, "You have accepted me as your father, so I have also accepted you as my dear and real son. The relationship of father and son on a spiritual platform is real and eternal, but on the material platform such a relationship is ephemeral and temporary." I never had any problem with that.