Bhaktivedanta was an old gent who was from the Bengali elite in Calcutta.
The Bengalis had a dominent role in British India until 1911, when the Raj moved its HQ from Calcutta to Delhi, a process that made the Bengalis less important and led to increased influence for the Punjabis, whom the sophisticated Bengali elite considered bumpkins.
The Bengali elite felt this rejection keenly and detested the Brits for that.
So anyone who could serve as a culture bearer for Bengali culture (and its covert pattern of prejudices) would have been lionised - as Bhaktivendanta was.
Prabhupada's naive Western followers had no way to know that the fellow was using them to boost prestige and gain power and pelf for the Bengalis to soothe them in compensation for their rejection by the Brits and the further weakening of Bengal by the terms of the 1947 Partition which split East Pakistan now Bangladesh) from the Bengal region and ruined Calcutta further by cutting the city off from its trading partners further up in Dakka and Chittagong.
Old Prabhupada was sex negative, as well as homophobic. Whats amusing is that he decried "sensualism" but adored superbly cooked food.
Sensualism in the form of sexual tenderness was sinful, but not sensualism if indulged at table.
Little did the Western youngsters know that they were not being taught a transcendental spirituality, but a freightload of sexist and ethnocentric biases -- many old fashioned, if not archaic, even in relation to India.
More on 'ol Bhaktivedanta here.
(Note: Ive studied Lord Krishna's Cuisine
, a cookbook written by a disciple who was taught fine cookery by Prabhupada. Its a useful textbook, but the menus and food items unless carefully modified, can put people at high risk of incurring heart disease and diabetes--much too much saturated fat from butter and too much refined carbohydrate from sugar, and from refined grains such as white basmatic rice and white flour.
In fairness to the author she reported she herself had reduced quantities of butter and sugar. But in terms of what has since been learned about carbohydrate metabolism and health risks, even further reductions are called for.
This diet would be a disaster for anyone with hereditary predisposition to coronary heart disease, insulin resistance and especially, Type II diabetes)
No, there is no way the young kids who were Prabhupadas first and trusting followers could know that the man was indoctrinating them into a very culture specific set of dietary biases and emotionally driven prejudices, all tied not to God but to the history and culture of Bengal from the 1890s to the 1950s.
And despite being a monk, Prabhupada was waited on hand and foot. If one reads all the stories Yamuna Devi tells lovingly of her time with the guru, its clear that though his garments were simple, he was waited on like a prince and cooked for like a prince.
Habits disastrously passed on to his successors who went very much further in the luxury department.
End of digression.
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