It is certain that Srila Prabhupada will be known as one of the great acaryas [holy teachers] of all times.
A disciple asked Srila Prabhupada how to follow that instruction to follow a resident of Vrndavana. Srila Prabhupada said I am that resident of Vrndavana.
Srila Prabhupada asked us in Potomac, “What is that red light on the transformer?” We did not know. He said we should know everything. Turns out next Janmastami at the celebration that transformer burned out. Perhaps we should have learned about it.
After I heard Srila Prabhupada speaking for the first time, I knew he was my spiritual master.
Thanks so much to New Raman Reti residents for their association since my visits to the community began in 1985.
Mother Nartaka Gopal:
Everything Srila Prabhupada did or said endeared us to him and increased our love for him.
He explained that humility is to act boldly for Krishna.
A man said, “Sai Baba is the Lord Himself. What do you say about this?” Srila Prabhupada replied saying that he did not know so much. His only realization was the Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the others are all bogus.
Prabhupada once said he had ten thousand dedicated followers with admirers numbering into the millions.
There was one Mayavadi in the area, and Srila Prabhupada said we should debate him. Devotees asked the topic of the debate. Srila Prabhupada said, “The debate shall be whether he can lift Govardhan Hill. God did it.”
Prabhupada told us the Vrndavana jasmine fragrance regulates your life airs.
He told people with hard-to-take-off shoes that they could keep their shoes on and sit at the extreme back of the temple.
Srila Prabhupada said, “If you distribute my books till your dying day, Lord Caitanya will personally take you back to Godhead.”
By acting according to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions throughout our lives we realize how much he has made us what we are and made us able to deal practically with so many situations.
Dealing with my mother’s impending death, I could see Srila Prabhupada had equipped us to handle it while my other siblings were confused and tended to act in denial.
Srila Prabhupada told us many things:
Study my books very carefully because after I go so many people will say “Prabhupada said . . .”
It is the business of maya [the deluding energy of the Supreme Lord] to make this Krishna consciousness movement look ridiculous.
You may be Rockefeller or any feller, but death will come.
He answered many questions:
Q: Why did not Lord Caitanya spread Krishna consciousness all over the world?
A: He saved it for me.
Q: Why do we need a guru?
A: The book cannot do this [he gestured by pulling his ear].
Q: What is the difference between the mind and the intelligence?
A: Your mind says to jump off the roof, but your intelligence says not to.
Q: I have so many doubts what should I do?
A: Doubt is a symptom of intelligence. We are not blind followers. Read my books and answer your doubts.
His disciples asked him to write a BTG [Back to Godhead magaine] article. He asked if the authors of the articles were writing what they had heard from him. When they said yes, he replied, “I am already writing all the articles.”
I saw the priest had placed Krishna’s flute in backwards, and I told Srila Prabhupada, who replied, “Krishna is all powerful. He can play the flute from either end.”
I had a successful prasadam business with Prahlada Priya Prabhu, but two very highly placed temple leaders who were friends of mine were so critical of my business it was painful. The night after a very heavy Srimad-Bhagavatam class on that issue, Srila Prabhupada appeared to me in a dream. We were sitting in the back of a car. He said, “So…?” indicating he wanted me to speak. I said I was thinking that if we could have many prasadam businesses like this, Krishna consciousness would spread and Krishna would be pleased. He smiled in agreement and embraced me. After that I had no doubts about what I was doing. And I learned if I am following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to the best of my abilities, even if others do not appreciate that, I will be protected by Srila Prabhupada.
I secured a ten-minute meeting with an important businessman. I went in and admitted that I had no business to discuss. I just wanted to give him a deluxe Bhagavad-gita. He said, “This is what we should be reading, not having these meetings.”
Mother Madana Mohan Mohini:
I saw Srila Prabhupada rubbing some cream in Radha’s face. Later I understood there had some been some problem with the painting. Observing Srila Prabhupada, I understood Srila Prabhupada wanted everything to be first-class for the deities.
In one temple, they were not prepared for Srila Prabhupada’s arrival. They threw one devotee’s possessions out of her room, cleaned it, and put pictures from BTG over the holes in the walls. They built a vyasasana [sitting place for a guru] out of the devotees sleeping bags, but Srila Prabhupada accepted it all so regally.
Prabhupada once said, “You must have peanuts and raisins on Ekadasi.” [This was funny for me because on the very last Ekadasi I was expressing to a devotee that it would be better if we had peanuts and raisins.—kkd]
Prabhupada told us, “Do not pick all the flowers. Save some for beauty.”
Ramananda Raya Prabhu said, “There is no greater suffering than separation from a pure devotee.”
What Srila Prabhupada gave us no one has given to the world.
The subtle point which Srila Prabhupada taught—that love of Krishna is attained by preaching the message of Lord Caitanya for His pleasure was not understood, even by many of his godbrothers.
“Where are you from?” Prabhupada asked, and I replied, “Surat.” He smiled and said, “A very nice place. I spent three weeks there. What do you do?” I told him, “I am an engineer.” He answered, “Very good, when you get sufficient money then build a temple in Surat.”
Prabhupada asked Kesava Prabhu, “Are you thinking of getting married?” When Kesava replied, “No.” Srila Prabhupada smiled and said, ”That is very nice. Marriage is like taking a 10-ton burden and putting it on your head. It makes it so difficult to preach.”
When I got married, Srila Prabhupada encouraged me saying, “Husband and wife, double strength.” In this way, he saw what we could do and encouraged us.
When serving Srila Prabhupada, I slept in Prabhupada’s room. Once Srila Prabhupada kicked me gently with his feet, and said, “You are snoring too much.” I said, “I can sleep on the terrace.” He said, “No, usually it is not so bad. Just tonight it was too much.”
I would stop massaging him only when he told me. Once he did not say for some time. Then at 12:30 a.m. he asked the time, and when he heard it was so late, he said, “OK, you can go now.” Five minutes later he rose, and began translating at 12:45.
Although Srila Prabhupada was guru of the world, he would act like a respectful gentleman and treat everyone nicely.
One time Srila Prabhupada was blasting the philosophy of “yata mata, tata patha” which says you will attain the same destination regardless of the path you take. Mr. Shah protested, “You criticize Gandhi. You criticize Ramakrishna. You criticize Vivekananda. . . .” Srila Prabhupada explained, “We are not against any person just the bogus teachings.” Krishna says those who do not surrender unto Him are fools. So we are teacher. We must tell what Krishna has said. Later at the temple, Mr. Shah bowed at Srila Prabhupada’s feet with tears in his eyes and apologized for his critical remarks.
Prabhupada was very excited to go to new places.
On the vyasasana [speaker’s dais] he was very bold, but when he came off he was very friendly.
He showed the power of one who is faithful to guru, saints, and the scripture, and he encouraged that we could also do like him. By preaching in this way, we can please Prabhupada.
Keep it simple. Our main practice is harinama [chanting the holy name]. By chanting for the deity, we invoke His mercy.
As far as the children. They should be trained in such a nice way that whatever they do they will not forget Krishna.
Ganga Narayana Prabhu:
I would always give Srila Prabhupada a rose in the morning. Once I was late and his Rolls Royle (which Karadhara had leased) was pulling out. Prabhupada could see me following the car, and he had the driver back up to get the rose I had in my hand.
One disciple eagerly said he was going to distribute BTGs to spread Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Srila Prabhupada responded gravely, “This is not my movement. It is Lord Caitanya’s movement.
Love for the guru is the foundation of our love for Krishna.
Trying to maintain loving relationships with ordinary people who have left their bodies increases our material bondage. They are already in new bodies enjoying loving affairs with a new set of people. [The guru can reciprocate our love after he has left this world.]
In Henry Street, Srila Prabhupada said, “You will be surprised to know self-realization comes through tongue. By chanting and hearing about the Lord, we remember Him.”
For the last five months of his stay, Srila Prabhupada had not eaten practically anything. If he ate a grape, we were all excited.
Big bags of salt arrived for the samadhi [memorial], while Prabhupada was lying in bed inside the building, and it suddenly hit me about Prabhupada’s leaving. It was so disturbing I did not eat the rest of the day.
When Krishnadasa Babaji Maharaja would come, the atmosphere became enlightened. Prabhupada enjoyed his company.
We all have a treasure box that is so deep.
Abhirama Prabhu tells how near the end of his life, Prabhupada regretted being so heavy with his wife.
Once in Paris, Srila Prabhupada sat on the vyasasana and began by saying that Krishna is feeling hot. Then he lectured on the importance of care in deity worship.
In 1977 when he came to London after the lecture, he looked at each and every devotee as if to say thank you and we looked back at him as if to say thank you. That was the last time I saw him. I am glad Krishna made that arrangement to say good-bye to him in that way.
I spoke in Atlanta to a Christian vegeatarian group. The leader loved the prasadam and inquired about it, saying he thought he had tasted it before. I asked how he became vegetarian as many Christians are not. He explained he was disenchanted with Chrisitanity and visited other groups. He visited a Hare Krishna temple and heard Srila Prabhupada speak and was attracted and attended many lectures. Once, however, a devotee giving a lecture dealt with a Christian lady in a disrespectful way and he was turned off and never returned. All the while he was telling the story, I did not tell him I was a Hare Krishna. Srila Prabhupada's association was such that although the man did not become a devotee, he gained the conviction to start a society of Christian vegetarians.
I was Prabhupada’s flower boy. I would give him a flower in Bombay whenever I saw him.
Once I gave him a flower from another devotees garden, and he noticed it and chastised me for taking a flower from someone else's garden. He called all the gardening devotees to his office, and showing us a map of the temple grounds, pointed out the locations of gardens for each of us and told us not to take from another’s garden.
I brought a whole branch of a banana tree to the airport to show Srila Prabhupada. “These are our own bananas?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied and he cut them up and distributed pieces to all the devotees.
I made samosas, but he did not take any. Later an Indian man made delicate small Indian samosas. Prabhupada asked if I made them. I said no but some Indian man did, and he replied, “You do not know how to make samosas, you only know how to make footballs.”
I explained to Srila Prabhupada that aphids and spider mites were attacking tulasi [Krishna’s favorite plant], and I asked how to kill them. Srila Prabhupada said angrily, “Who are you to kill the insects? Leave them alone.”
A devotee asked the benefit of offering flowers to Krishna and the guru, and Srila Prabhupada replied, “For every flower you offer to Krishna or guru, the plant producing it becomes a human in the next life.”
Once at the end of “Jaya Om” prayers, I said directly to Srila Prabhupada, “Jaya Srila Prabhupada!” And Srila Prabhupada responded, “Jaya Srila Prabhupada.” Then I remembered he also had a Srila Prabhupada—Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada!
Kalakantha Prabhu and Mother Sukhada wrote beautiful poems, and I hope to post them in their totality in the future.