Giriraj Swami: One evening an American young man, or a hooligan, came forward to the stage. He was bare-chested with a leather vest, he had tattoos all over his body, he had chains hanging from his neck and had wild long hair, and he came up to the stage in a very aggressive mood. He wanted to challenge Srila Prabhupada. So immediately Prabhupada’s disciples rushed forward to keep him away, but Srila Prabhupada surprised us all and said, “No, let him come on the stage.” So Prabhupada had him come on the stage, he had the disciples give him a cushion or asana to sit in, and Prabhupada had the disciples put a microphone in front of him.
He said, “Have you realized yourself within yourself?” and Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes.” Then the young man was sort of taken aback and he said, “How old is the Bhagavad-gita?” Srila Prabhupada said, “Five thousand years.” Then the young man began to spout, “No, no, according to my authorities, according to my information Bhagavad-Gita is only about a thousand years old.” And Prabhupada said, “That’s nonsense.”
Then the young man asked another challenging question and Prabhupada finally said, “No, you answer my question now. What is the process for learning Bhagavad-gita?” And the young man said, “No, I asked you first. You answer my question first.” And Prabhupada retorted, “No, I am not your servant, I don’t have to answer your question. You answer my question. What is the process for learning Bhagavad-gita?” So eventually,the two were shouting at each other, and Prabhupada motioned and the disciples escorted the man from the stage.
Then Srila Prabhupada proceeded to explain what the process for receiving the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita is, and that is submissive oral reception, not by challenging. I was in the audience distributing books at the time, and the incident created pandemonium in the audience and the whole audience was polarized, some in favor of Prabhupada and some in favor of the young man. The ones that were sympathetic to the young man got up and surrounded us and started to challenge us and say,“Your Guru Maharaj should have answered his question.” So the mood was so agitated that all of us that were distributing in the audience made our way as quickly as possible back to the area of the stage. But later we realized what Prabhupada had done. He had created a situation to illustrate how one is unable to learn Bhagavad-gita and in contrast Srila Prabhupada explained what the real process is, and that is by submissive hearing from the authority.