The first place Prabhupada got in New York when he started preaching in America was a commercial room on 72th Street, but when his things were stolen, he started sharing a studio with David Allen in the Bowery. However, when Allen had a psychotic attack he was forced to leave.
An early follower of him, Carl Yeargens offered to host Srila Prabhupada in his apartment for some time. Prabhupada was a quiet guest, living in a corner of the apartment without making demands, but still, the wife of Carl, Eva, was quite hostile to him. This is another example of a soul who had the opportunity of associating with a pure devotee but was not capable of making good use of it.
We can see that it always comes down to the free will of a soul. A pure devotee is like a cloud that pours rain everywhere without distinction. Some accept the mercy with open arms, but others try to actively avoid it. Even when Krsna Himself comes, some souls act inimically to Him. This is a mistake we must avoid.
The story is narrated in the Prabhupada Lilamrta:
"Almost at once, the situation became intolerable for Eva. She resented the Swami’s presence in her home. She was a feminist, a liberated white woman with a black husband and a good job. She didn’t like the Swami’s views on women. She hadn’t read his books or attended his classes, but she had heard that he was opposed to sexual intercourse except for conceiving children, and that in his view a woman was supposed to be shy and chaste and help her husband in spiritual life. She knew about the Swami’s four rules – no meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication, or gambling – and she definitely did not want Carl’s Swami trying to change their ways to suit his. And he had better not expect her to wait on him as his servant. She sensed the Swami objecting to almost everything she did. If she were to seek his advice, he would probably ask her to stop taking drugs, get rid of the cats and dogs, stop drinking, and stop contraceptive sex. If the Swami had his way, they would probably eat only at certain times and only certain foods. Eva was a heavy smoker, so he probably wouldn’t like being around her. She was ready for a confrontation.
But Prabhupāda was not one to make intolerant demands while living in another’s home. He kept to his allotted corner of the loft, and he made no demands or criticisms. Hadn’t he seen his hosts in Butler eating meat and only remarked, “Think nothing of it”? Nevertheless, his imposing spiritual presence made Eva sorry Carl had ever met him. To Eva the Swami was an inimical force – and she, being candid and independent, let him know. As soon as he asked whether she could bring him something, she replied, “Get it yourself.”
Prabhupāda was not insensitive to the distress his presence was causing. He didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, and of course he could have avoided all inconvenience, both for himself and for people like Eva, if he had never come to America. But he wasn’t concerned with convenience or inconvenience, pleasing Eva or displeasing her. He wanted to teach Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Prabhupāda had a mission, and Carl’s loft didn’t seem to be the right base for it. Prabhupāda’s friends all agreed: he should move more into the center of things. The Bowery and Chinatown were too far out of the way. They would find him a new place.
Forced by conditions he accepted as Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, Prabhupāda sat patiently, trying not to disturb anyone, yet speaking about Kṛṣṇa consciousness day and night. Carl assured him that with half a dozen people searching, it wouldn’t take long to find a new place, and they would all chip in together and help him with the rent."