The poor, needy and disabled
Posted on December 28, 2013
The following is from Transcendental Diary, by Hari-sauri Prabhu (slightly edited).
Monseigneur Kern [a Catholic dignitary who had come to meet Srila Prabhupada] seemed mainly concerned about the poor, needy and disabled.
Prabhupada however, told him that this type of work is not so important. "You have to accept it. But as far as possible we can give them help. That is not the question. Question is, those who are not handicapped, they are rotting without education, without enlightenment by keeping themselves as fourth-class, fifth-class men. Why not train them to become first-class men? That is the point. If one is blind, you cannot give him eyes. If one is lame, you cannot give him leg. That is beyond your ability. That is another thing; we shall deal with them later on. First of all, those who are born as human beings, why should you keep them as third-class, fourth-class men?"
He told them that we cannot expect that everyone will become first class, but there must be at least one class of man who is peaceful and self-controlled. "If there is a first-class man on the head of the society, then everything will be done properly."
Monseigneur Kern's concern was for the poor, the downtrodden, those who suffer and those who are deprived.
Prabhupada was frank with him. He said it was imagination to think that one can change that -- there will always be a richer class, a middle class and a poor class in human society. Before coming to America he had thought that everyone here was rich. But after arriving he saw there were so many bums lying on the street. In London he had also seen so many hippies lying in the parks with the police moving them on. So simply having money will not change things.