17 Sep SPECIAL FEATURE FOR SRILA PRABHUPADA MEMORIAL FESTIVAL!
THE FOLLOWING IS A SPECIAL PRABHUPADA KATHA GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI ON JULY 2010, AT ISKCON NEW YORK MANHATTEN
Transcribers : Sacikumar Dasa, Shyama Mohini Dasi, Bhaktin Ramola, Ranga Radhika Dasi, Ramananda Raya Dasa
Editing : Hemavati Radhika Dasi
Welcome to the Sri Sri Radha-Murlidhara here at the Bhakti-centre. Thank you very much for coming. This evening we have a very great speaker, we are very fortunate, one of the intimate and dear disciples of Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the Founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja.
HARIBOL, HARIBOL!!!! (Applause)
We requested, actually it was Radha-Vallabha Prabhu’s suggestion that Maharaja will speak on Srila Prabhupada. It was Maharaja’s good fortune to spend the last year and a half, pretty many twenty four hours a day, when Prabhupada was still present on this planet. So, he had a lot of personal experience, which is a very rare treasure for us. All of us, we never had personal association and it has always been our experience that when one of this rare souls, you know, invited Srila Prabhupada into their heart and dedicates their life to his mission, whenever they speak about their spiritual teacher, then that teacher manifests. Then we have the good fortune of directly associating with Srila Prabhupada. This association with Srila Prabhupada is always accessible and comes from his dedicated followers. We have the good fortune of having a very dedicated follower among us. Thank you, Maharaja.
Bhakti Charu Swami:
Om Ajnana Timirandasya Jnanajaya Salakaya Caksur Unmilitam Yena Tasmai Sri Gurave Namah
Sri Chaitanya Mano Bhistam Stapitham Yena Bhutale Svayam Rupa Kada Mahyam Dadati Sva Padantikam
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadadhara Srivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
I first met Srila Prabhupada in a dream. I got a book written by Srila Prabhupada, Nectar of Devotion, and as I started to read it, from the very first page it occurred to me that this is what I was actually looking for. And the next night I had a dream of Srila Prabhupada. And I saw Srila Prahupada was sitting on a majestic throne and those days I did not know what a vyasasana was, because in India the saintly people they sit on a rather simple seat, they don’t sit on such a gorgeous throne, it looks rather like a throne. So I saw Srila Prabhupada sitting on a throne. And there was a brilliant light around Srila Prabhupada, as if the light was coming out of his body. And just the sight of Srila Prabhupada made me feel that finally I found my spiritual master. I was in India, I was searching for a spiritual master, and prior to that I was in Europe. And when I went back to India, I went back with an idea, as soon as I go back to India, I will find a guru. Because there are so many gurus in India, so to find a guru is not difficult at all but when I went to India and started to meet these saintly people, sadhus, I had a real difficulty in finding somebody to whom I could surrender myself. Because some of them, if not many, looked like some of my hippy friends in the west and then at some point I gave up my search, totally frustrated, thinking that, if at all I have a guru, then let him come and pick me up. I had been searching for him for so long and I could not find him. And when I gave up my search, it was around that time that I got the Nectar of Devotion by Srila Prabhupada. And as I started to read it, it seemed that everything became clear, that this is the path, this is the way. What actually impressed me very much about the Nectar of Devotion, actually from the very first page, was that all this while I was thinking that liberation was the goal of life. But when I started to read Nectar of Devotion, I came to know that there are five kinds of liberation and out of them, one is a negative liberation and four others are positive. I mean, that it just impressed me so much. I felt that here is the real information. Then Prabhupada made it so clear that God is a person. My understanding prior to that was more of an impersonal understanding of God. Some energy some light, no clear understanding whatsoever and then Prabhupada made it so clear that God is a person and Krishna is God. So all my doubts, all my misconceptions were removed in just first two pages of that book and I just kept on reading, I could not stop reading that book. It was so engrossing, it was so fascinating. All the information was so clear and the next night of that dream of Srila Prabhupada, I made up my mind that “This is the path that I am going to take and I am going to surrender to Srila Prabhupada!”.
So I went to the Calcutta temple and I found out that Srila Prabhupada was in America at that time. So I thought that I would wait till Srila Prabhupada came back to India and then I will surrender unto him. And in the mean time I will just travel around to the places where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed His pastimes or where Krishna performed His pastimes. Thinking that, the first place I went to, was Mayapur, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. Those days Mayapur’s setup was quite small, compared to what Mayapur is today. There were quite a few devotees and those days, all the devotees, even in India, most of the devotees were Western devotees, American or European. Like a little while ago, Jagat Purusa Prabhu told me that he was watching a video of Srila Prabhupada giving a lecture and when the camera turned towards the audience, he was saying they all were Americans. And I was telling him, Indians were a rare commodity in ISKCON those days. And very few Indians were actually involved, even in India. So, most of the devotees were Westerners and Mayapur was very remote, very few people used to go there those days. And everybody whom I spoke to in the temple, they just kept asking me “Why don’t you stay, why don’t you stay with us?” And I also started to think, that I already made up my mind that I want to join.
So, the next morning, I got shaved up… and took dhoti and kurta… and I went to Ganga.. I threw away my old clothes…. and put on dhoti and kurta and became a devotee. Maybe there was a little doubt at the back of my mind, just what if I do not want to become a devotee, what if I do not want to be a part of Iskcon. And then I thought that : “Well, in two months time my hair will grow. And if I want, I can go back. And I was waiting for Srila Prabhupada to come back. And when I joint, I became involved in so many activities, because at that time there were very few Indians in the movement. And there was so much to do and I got hips of services. But the main service that I had, was to do the purchase of the building materials. In Mayapur those days, we are building the longest building in Bengal. a seven hundred and fifty feet long building. And they asked me to do the purchasing, so from the very beginning of my involvement in Iskcon, I got in volved in so many activities like that. But at the same time, whenever I used to get some time, I used to go to some libraries and there I found the early, early writings of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada’s writings from nineteen fourty eight onwards. Fourty eight till fifty two. And I compiled them together in a book and I was printing that book also. So in the mean time Srila Prabhupada came to India. Finally we travelled to Kumba Mela, Allahabad. That was seventy seven, January. And Prabhupada was in Kumba Mela and we met him. Those days it was very difficult to have any access to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada had about ten thousand followers and everybody was dying to have a few minutes with him; And Prabhupada’s health also was not very good. So devotees, who were his secretaries and personal servants, they were really guarding Srila Prabhupada. So, when I saw that it was so difficult to have access to Srila Prabhupada, or to approach Srila Prabhupada, I did not make any effort to approach him. But fortunately, one day I got to know that Srila Prabhupada decided to leave Kumba Mela and go to Calcutta. And then I was informed that a small group of devotees will be travelling with Srila Prabhupada and I had been included in that team. And I literally jumped with joy with the prospect. And it was actually due to one of my senior Godbrothers, who included me in the team, his name is, he was the leader of Mayapura at that time, Bhavananda Maharaja. And he actually came and told me that Prabhupada was leaving Kumba Mela, he was going to go to Calcutta and I have also been included in the team that would travel with him; And in the evening the train started. So, soon after the train started to move, we took rest.
The next morning, Bhavananda came to me and told me that he wanted to take me to Srila Prabhupada. I was kind of hesitating, I did not tell him anything, but there was something that was holding me sort of back.. There was all kinds of thinking. Like, am I really qualified to go to Srila Prabhupada. And if I go to Srila Prabhupada, he will see how sinful and fallen I am. And if Srila Prabhupada rejects me, seeing my fallen condition, then what will happen ? So I was just… Bhavananda Prabhu probably could understand what was going on in my mind. So he caught me by my hand and dragged me to the corridor. And he opened the door of the compartment and pushed me in. And I fell flat, offering obeisances. When I got up I saw Prabhupada was looking at me. And then Prabhupada asked me to sit next to him. The first class compartments in Indian trains have two seats facing each other. In the other seat three very senior devotees were sitting and the temple president of Calcutta was sitting on the floor and Prabhupada was sitting in one seat. So, Prabhupada asked me to sit next to him. So, I told Prabhupada, I would rather sit on the floor. So Prabhupada said :’No, sit here.” So, when Prabhupada insisted, I just sat in one corner of the seat. And after some initial exchanges Srila Prabhupada told me to translate his books into Bengali. And I told him : “Prabhupada, I don’t have any experience in translating. Will I be able to translate your books ? And Prabhupada said :”Practice makes the man perfect”. So, just do it. And although I said that, although I had that initial hesitation, but at the same time, I was very excited that Prabhupada is giving me such an important service. Because I knew to Prabhupada the books were the most important thing. And I also heard that Prabhupada was very particular about the Bengali translation. Because many of the books that Srila Prabhupada presented were originally in Bengali. So, Prabhupada’s translations of Prabhupada’s works from english back to bengali, Prabhupada was very, very careful about it. So when I heard Prabhupada’d words, I felt very excited. And another thing that happened is that that service provided me an access to Srila Prabhupada any time I wanted. Nobody actually questioned me whenever I wanted to see Srila Prabhupada. And I had access to Prabhupada’s room. And then, soon after that, one afternoon, Prabhupada called me and he gave me a stack of letters in Bengali. And he asked me to reply those letters. The way I used to do it, is, Prabhupada wanted me to first read those letters out loud to him. I used to read out those letters and then, Prabhupada used to give me the points what to write. And then I used to make a draft, a rough draft of the reply and bring them to Srila Prabhupada and read them out to Srila Prabhupada. And then Prabhupada would suggest some corrections and then I would make a final draft, handwrite it on Prabhupada’s letterhead. And then Prabhupada used to sign those letters. So this way Prabhupada gave me first a stack of bengali letters that he received, And then he gave me a stack of Hindi letters. And then, one day, Prabhupada told me that he was appointing me as his secretary for Indian affairs. So, that actually provided me the opportunity to move into the room, next to Srila Prabhupada, Prabhupada’s secretary’s room. Those days, Prabhupada’s secretary was Tamal Krishna Maharaja. And Prabhupada called him and told him that he was appointing me as his secretary for Indian affairs. And Tamal Krishna Maharaja invited me to his room. So, we started to share the room. And that also gave me another wonderful stroke of good fortune, to have such close association with Tamal Krishna Maharaja who was a very, very wonderful devotee, an extremely exalted devotee. And we developed a very deep relationship. Tamal Krishna Maharaja was known for his aggressive nature so to say. Like he was a very powerful individual. Many people thought that he was, well aggressive is I think the right word, but I have seen the softer side of him. He had such a tender heart. He was so absorbed, he was so concerned. And this was how I had the oportunity to serve Srila Prabhupada under his leadership, under his guidance. So, this is another oportunity how I could come very close to Srila Prabhupada.
Then Srila Prabhupada, from Mayapur, he went to Bombay. There was a program in Cross Maidan, arranged for Srila Prabhupada. Cross Maidan is a very large parc, in the heart of Bombay, in the centre of Bombay. There was a big pandal, a big marquis was constructed there, where every evening about five, six thousand people used to come to listen to Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada was giving lectures. And Prabhupada’s health was quite frail at that time, he was quite sick. But Srila Prabhupada was so transcendental, that although he was physical so weak, but when he would come to give the lecture, we could visibly see that he was so weak. But then as he started to speak his body would become more and more straight and erect. Prabhupada would be preaching like a lion. One incident that displays Srila Prabhupadas broad outlook. One day Srila Prabhupada noticed thousands of people, like every day they used to be five six thousands of people attending that program in the middle of the park, and most of the people were sitting and at the age all around people would be standing. Prabhupada noticed one day an Arab gentleman in the crowd. He was dressed in typical Arabian attire, long with dress with the head covered with a white piece of cloth and a ring around his head. So Prabhupada saw this gentleman and he sent one of his leading disciples to bring that man onto the stage. So he went and brought that man to the stage and Prabhupada made him sit on a chair next to him. Prabhupada was sitting in the middle of the stage and there were rose of chairs on both sides and Prabhupada made him sit on a chair next to his. And that was such a wonderful sight – here is a prominent spiritual leader flanked by his senior devotees and important people of the city those who had been invited as guests and then next to Srila Prabhupada is a Muslim gentleman dressed up in a Muslim dress. But not only Srila Prabhupada invited him onto the stage Prabhupada was talking to him in a very personal way and I had the good fortune of hearing what was going on because I was fanning Srila Prabhupada. Just standing behind him. Prabhupada asked that man who he was, what he was doing here and that gentleman happen to be the chief of the police of Kuwait and he came to India for a medical treatment. He was in a hospital, I think he had a operation or something, and that was the first day he was allowed to go out of the hospital. He just came out and he was walking and then he saw that big gathering and out of curiosity he just walked in. he was standing there watching what was happened there and then Prabhupada invited him onto the stage (laughter). Prabhupada even asked him to say something but the man declined saying that, like it won’t be good for him, as a government official to come and speak like that. Anyway, Prabhupada was having such sweet exchanges with him. So that man had, I don’t know whether you had noticed, many Arabs often carried a kind of a bead in their hands, there are smaller beads made of semipreasure stones, so he had one in his hands. So Prabhupada asked him, what would you do with that? He said, I just fiddle around with it. (laughter) Prabhupada said, no this is actually meant for chanting the name of the Lord. Then Prabhupada pulled out his japa-mala and showed it to him and said, I also had one and this should be kept in a bag. Because it’s a sacred thing and it should be kept in a proper way. So in this way Prabhupada had such a loving affectionate dealing with that person.
So these are some of my experiences of Srila Prabhupadas greatness. And in the same program another incident happened. A person kept on challenging Srila Prabhupada. In India sometimes it used to happen that some people sometimes becomes very challenging. Thinking that they know better than anyone else. This man eventually became so unpleasant that the people there became extremely upset with him. They practically carried him out of this place. Prabhupada was very patiently answering his questions but the people becoming disturbed. And they threw him out. This is how Srila Prabhupada attending the program in Cross Maidan. I used to come with Srila Prabhupada and after the program I used to go back with Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada there was staying in the house of one of our life-members. Because it was felt that from Juhu to come to the city everyday was very far. It would be a long drive for Srila Prabhupada; therefore the arrangement was made in the house of a very wonderful life-member. His name was Kartika Mahadevia. He was so nice; he had a very nice apartment in a very luxurious area. Luxurious apartment in a very posh area right on the beachfront. He actually moved out of this apartment, the whole family moved out and he kept this available for Srila Prabhupada. And we three of us with Srila Prabhupada, Tamal Krishna Maharaja, Bhavananda Maharaja and myself. He moved into another apartment in the same complex. Prabhupada used to come back at night after the program. While the program used to go on. Tamal Krishna Maharaja and Bhavananda Maharaja used to be in the program and I used to come back with Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada used to come back and lie down and I used to give him a massage. So one day while I was massaging his lotus feet Srila Prabhupada asked me, “So, how do you like the program tonight?” No, Prabhupada said, “How did you like my lecture?”So I said, “Prabhupada, it was wonderful.” So he said, “So, what was so wonderful about it?” Then I mentioned the points that Srila Prabhupada made and the incidents that took place. And Prabhupada was very pleased and he liked it when he saw when we listen to him very carefully. Then after that Srila Prabhupada went back to Juhu temple and there Prabhupada’s new quarters just got ready. One the 6th floor of one of the two towers. So Prabhupada was staying there. My service used to be, of course, to translate Prabhupada’s books, I was translating Bhagavad gita at that time that was the first book I translated. At the same time I used to be with Srila Prabhupada as often as possible. And Prabhupada also gave me quite a lot of service. One of the services was, at seven o’clock I used to collect all the local newspapers and go to Srila Prabhupada and read out the headlines. And if Prabhupada likes some news he wanted me to read it. So this was one service. And sometimes Prabhupada give purport to the news also. At that time a lot of turmoil was going on in India, like Indira Ghandi called a national emergency. And Sanjay Ghandi, her eldest son, was causing a lot of distress to the sadhus in Vrindavana. All over and especially in Vrindavana. One day I was reading some incidents with Indira Ghandi and Sanjay Ghandi and Prabhupada told me how corrupt that family was. Prabhupada used to know that family very well because that family is from Allahabad and Prabhupada spent many years in Allahabad and he had a close contact to that family. He was talking about Nehru and his sister Vijaya Laksmi Pandit, then Indira Ghandi – all kind of things he kept on saying. Then he started to tell what Sanjay Ghandi was doing. The causing distress to the sadhus in Vrindavana. And he said that the consequence of that is going to be very, very severe. And true Srila Prabhupada statement, soon after that, Sanjay Ghandi died in a plane crash.
Another service I used to have those days was Prabhupada’s… Prasad was cooked by one of our Godsisters Palika. Palika used to cook and I used to serve Srila Prabhupada. When she was ready, I used to make – no actually she used to make the plate and I used to bring the plate to Srila Prabhupada. And one day Palika was sick so she could not cook for Srila Prabhupada so some other Godsister was asked to cook for Srila Prabhupada and when I served I could see that Srila Prabhupada was not able to eat, he took a bite and he just could not eat it. Seeing that I asked Srila Prabhupada whether the cooking was not alright. Prabhupada said “No, she does not know how to cook!” Then I asked Srila Prabhupada, “Should I cook for you tomorrow?” Prabhupada said, “Yes you can try”. Next morning Srila Prabhupada called me and he asked me to bring some vegetables and things and then he asked me to cook certain preparations in a certain way and I cooked and I served. After Prabhupada took the Prasad, I took the plates and I went to clean them in the kitchen. In the mean time Prabhupada’s personal servant Upendra Prabhu used to come and take Srila Prabhupada to his bed and Prabhupada used to lie down for a while. So after putting Prabhupada to bed, Upendra actually came running to me and said “Hey what did you cook for Srila Prabhupada today, Srila Prabhupada wanted me to taste it” and that day. At 3’o clock Tamal Krishna Maharaj used to go to Srila Prabhupada with the letters and Prabhupada used to give dictation to the replies. So after Tamal Krishna Maharaj came to me and said “You know Prabhupada was very pleased with your cooking today” and the next day I cooked and I served and Srila Prabhupada took one bite and told me “You don’t have any standard. One day you cook nicely and I praise you and then you are gone.” So I felt completely devastated and especially I was thinking that now I got this most coveted service to Srila Prabhupada, cooking for Srila Prabhupada and I got this golden opportunity to cook for Srila Prabhupada and now I blew it. The next day I cooked as carefully as possible. I was so nervous, I could practically hear my heartbeat- the sound of my heartbeat while cooking. Then I served Prabhupada, my heart was pounding even faster and louder. Then when I saw that Prabhupada did not say anything and he was eating then I got some courage and confidence so I asked Prabhupada. “Prabhupada was it alright today?” Prabhupada said “Yes, today is alright”. Then I told Prabhupada “Prabhupada I was so nervous and I was so afraid while cooking today”. Prabhupada said “Yes, when you are serving your spiritual master you should be afraid and you should be in anxiety”.
So this is how I got this service of serving Srila Prabhupada and then Prabhupada’s health condition was not really so good and one day two very important people came to see Srila Prabhupada – Sriman Narayan – he was the ex-governor of Madras and Ram Krishna Bajaj- the chairman of Bajaj industry. They were brothers in law and they came to see Srila Prabhupada. When they saw that Srila Prabhupada’s health condition was not good so they suggested that Prabhupada went to some place for a change – change of weather and scene. They suggested that Prabhupada went to Rsishikesh. Prabhupada liked the idea and he said that he’d never been to Rsishikesh before. That place which is a holy place at the foothills of the Himalayas on the bank of the Ganges. So Srila Prabhupada liked the proposal, so Prabhupada agreed to go and Sriman Narayan actually made the arrangement in Rsishikesh for Prabhupada’s accommodation and a small team travelled with Srila Prabhupada – Tamal Krishna Maharaj, Upendra Prabhu and I. We travelled from Bombay, we flew from Bombay to Delhi and from Delhi we travelled by car to Rsishikesh. It was a beautiful house on the bank of the Ganges. The most beautiful house in that area actually, and just three of us. Oh no, few others were also there already before. Trivikrama Swami, one of our Godbrother Sanyasi and two south American Sanyasis – Viraha Prakash and Pramana Swami. They were already there; they went before Prabhupada’s arrival to make arrangements for Prabhupada’s accommodation there. Then Pradyumna Prabhu also was there. Pradyumna Prabhu also, he came afterwards. Pradyumna Prabhu used to travel with a few trunks of books with him. Wherever he went he had this metal trunks, metal boxes carrying his books. So just few of us with Srila Prabhupada and so I was cooking for Srila Prabhupada and also I was serving Prabhupada in other ways like every night one of us had to be with Srila Prabhupada. Our shift was something like. I used to be with Prabhupada from 12 to 2. Upendra used to be from 10 to 12. Pramana Swami used to come at 2’o clock. Then Tamal Krishna Maharaj used to come at 4’o clock. So for 2 hours we used to be with Prabhupada at night. We had some very sweet exchanges there, like Prabhupada used to give darshan every evening. Rsishikesh is a very holy place in India so many pious people go there for pilgrimage so when they got to know that Prabhupada was there, many people actually used to come to meet Srila Prabhupada, and Prabhupada used to give darshan in the evenings. These darshans used to go on for quite late at night Because Prabhupada was always so eager to speak to people and preach to them. So… Tamal Krishna Maharaj told Trivikram Maharaja that we have to do something about that. We must have a fixed time and the time was something like 5 to 6 or 5 to 7 for two hours. No, I think it was 5 to 6, one hour Prabhupada used to give darshan. And so after darshan people used to move out. We actually… we used to take them out of Prabhupada’s room and if we found that somebody was interested we used to preach to them. We mean others used to preach to them, like; I was a very new devotee at that time. But I was also very excited to preach. And so one day there was a very nice young sannyasi, from some other school, he came and he was an impersonalist, so anyway after everyone was ushered out of Srila Prabhupada’s room, I started to preach to that person. And I was… in course of our discussions I was just pointing out about the personal aspect being superior to the impersonal aspect. I was taking the cue from that verse from Srimad Bhagavatam:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate
Like initial realisation is Brahman realisation, the more advanced is Paramatma realisation and the highest is Bhagavan realisation that comes from devotional exchange. And so after that person left I went downstairs and Upendra came to me and told me that Prabhupada was calling me. So Prabhupada, whenever we made some mistake, Prabhupada used to be very heavy. Prabhupada… I mean I got a lot of chastisement from Srila Prabhupada. Like I’ll tell you, what kind of chastisement. (laughter) So when Upendra called… told me that Prabhupada wanted to speak to me. Why Prabhupada was calling me. I just went upstairs, not really expecting anything special (laughter). So when I went there, Srila Prabhupada asked me, ‘So? What were you doing?’ And then I realised, that where I was talking, it was just outside of Prabhupada’s room. And there was a window also, so I could… And I told Prabhupada, ‘I was preaching, Srila Prabhupada.’ Prabhupada asked me, ‘What were you doing?’ I said, ‘Prabhupada, I was preaching.’ And Prabhupada… And I knew now probably Prabhupada would blast me, because you know, I must have done something wrong. And then Prabhupada asked me, ‘So what were you preaching?’ So I tried to briefly repeat what I told that person, that the external endeavour for finding the Absolute leads to the dead end of Brahman realisation. But then one, coming to the dead end when he has no other recourse, he has to turn internally. And that is the process of yoga and through the yoga when one achieves the perfection, he sees the Paramatma. And when he sees the Paramatma, then automatically, seeing the greatness and glory of the Supersoul, and finding himself as so minute and insignificant, he surrenders himself. And that surrender leads to devotion. And through devotion only one can see the personal feature of the Lord, Bhagavan. Anyway, I mean, that was the sum and substance of what I as telling that person. And when I said that, Prabhupada was very quiet. And I didn’t know what to expect. So finally I asked Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, did I say anything wrong?” Prabhupada said, “No, you preached very nicely.” And I really felt as if my life has been successful.
But as I was saying, getting chastised by Srila Prabhupada. One day Prabhupada asked me to cook one preparation that is made with a lot of chilli, red chilli and lot of ghee. So at that time Prabhupada… since Prabhupada’s stomach was not very good I did not put so much chilli in it. So Prabhupada took a bite and he was very upset with me. And he said, “I personally taught you how to cook this preparation, and you already forgot?” So I didn’t know what to say, so I was just quiet about it. And in this way, Prabhupada was so upset, whenever I went near him, he blasted me. (laughter) “I personally taught you and you forgot?” In this way it went on for two days! (laughter) On the third day when Prabhupada’s voice sounded a little more mellow (laughter), so I told Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, actually I didn’t forget, I didn’t put the chilli because your stomach was not very good that’s why I thought I shouldn’t put so much chilli.” Then Prabhupada said, ‘Then why didn’t you tell me?’ (laughter) And then Prabhupada told me that when you put a lot of ghee, you must put a lot of chilli because they counteract each other. Chilli is heavy, ghee is heavy. But when you put ghee and chilli together they counteract each other. So this is one thing that Prabhupada taught me. You also can try it out. (laughter).
Another time when Prabhupada, I mean I am talking about getting blasted by Srila Prabhupada. Once in Bombay, Srila Prabhupada wanted me to get… one morning actually Srila Prabhupada wanted me to get some orange juice. So in the kitchen, Prabhupada’s kitchen, there was no orange. Then I went to the devotee kitchen, there was no orange. I went to the Deity department, there was no orange. So I had to go out to buy some oranges. And those days there was nothing around our temple in Bombay. You had to go quite a distance to get anything actually. So by the time I came back, it took me quite some time, and then I was making the orange juice. Prabhupada used to call us by ringing a bell. There was an electric bell that was connected to Prabhupada’s table. So the bell rang. So I just ran to Srila Prabhupada. And Prabhupada asked me, “What happened to the orange juice?” So I said, “Prabhupada, I am just now bringing it.” So then I went and tried to quickly make it. But took me some time. So this time the bell rang again. But the bell just kept on ringing. (laughter). Just from the sound of it, I could understand how angry Prabhupada must have been. And so then Prabhupada… I just quickly took the orange juice in a silver cup, put it on a silver tray and just ran to Srila Prabhupada’s room. As I opened the door, it sounded like a thunderbolt. Prabhupada just shouted I didn’t have to bring it to him, I can take it back! Now I didn’t know what to do. Like, I couldn’t take it back. And so I thought I’ll just take it to Srila Prabhupada and just see what Prabhupada, you know, like, since I brought it I just took the thing and just kept on holding it in front of Srila Prabhupada, without saying anything. I just took it, looking down. (laughter) just held it in front of him. For some time Prabhupada didn’t take that, actually. Prabhupada… Then finally Prabhupada picked it up. So when Prabhupada started to drink it, then I realised that I forgot to bring the water for Prabhupada to wash his mouth. So I just ran to the kitchen and got a bowl of water for Prabhupada to rinse his mouth after drinking the orange juice. And when Prabhupada was rinsing his mouth with water, I realised I forgot to bring the napkin. (laughter) So I just ran to… I didn’t go to the kitchen, I just ran to Srila Prabhupada’s cupboard and got a small towel and brought it to Srila Prabhupada. And actually I used to wipe Prabhupada’s mouth. And so while I was wiping Prabhupada’s mouth with the towel Prabhupada said, “See, you are trying to serve me so nicely, but I always chastise you. Please don’t mind. You see when one becomes old, he becomes short-tempered.” When Prabhupada was blasting me I didn’t mind but when Prabhupada started to speak like that I felt that my heart would break. I tried to speak but I couldn’t speak because my throat was choked. And finally I told Prabhupada, “Please don’t speak like that. I make mistakes and you have to correct me. If you don’t, then what will happen to me?” And Prabhupada just placed his hand on my head. And…
So in one hand Prabhupada sometimes would chastise but then again he would shower his affection coming out from his body. And just the sight of Srila Prabhupada made me feel that finally I found my spiritual master.
Another time I was serving Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavana Prabhupada was hardly eating anything. He couldn’t actually eat anything. His health condition was so bad. But still I used to cook every day, thinking that if Prabhupada has some appetite and Prabhupada eats something. So one day Prabhupada, while sitting on his table, when I served him, Prabhupada told me that, “You have so much to do, why are you wasting your time cooking when you can see that I don’t have any appetite?” So I told Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, I cook hoping that someday you will develop some appetite. Someday you’ll get some appetite to eat.” Prabhupada said, actually yeah, I said, “Prabhupada, I hope someday you get well and you will develop some appetite to eat.” Prabhupada said, “I will get well only when I die.” It came in such a painful way that I could not control myself. I broke down. And then Prabhupada said, “Is this what you learned from me? Didn’t I teach you that the spirit soul never dies? The spirit soul simply changes from one body to another. Spirit soul doesn’t die at all.” In this way Prabhupada reminded us that he would always be there with us. Although we may not be able to see him, but he will always be with us. Although we won’t be able to see him, he’ll be watching us and he’ll be seeing how sincerely we are following his instructions.
When we start to speak about Srila Prabhupada we can go on for hours together, but I think its nine o’clock so I’ll stop now. Yeah, okay, next time. Oh yeah, right, I forgot. They requested me to tell about that pastime one day. I’ll just it’s a brief pastime. Hare Krishna. The devotee told me, the person to whom it happened, he actually told me about this incidence. Prabhupada was very particular about his chapatti being fully fluffing up. When, if you serve the chapatti, if it is not fully fluffed up, then Prabhupada used to get very upset. So this devotee was Srila Prabhupada’s secretary at that time and he was also cooking for Srila Prabhupada. He served the chapatti to Srila Prabhupada and the chapatti was not properly swollen up. So Prabhupada told him, “Why can’t you make it properly!” And he started to give excuse: “Prabhupada, the flame was not right and this…” Prabhupada said, “Okay, come, I will show you how to make it.” Prabhupada said, “Now the flame gets the blame for your inefficiency.” So Prabhupada walked to the kitchen and said, “Come, I’ll show you.” So Prabhupada rolled the chapatti. He baked it on the pan, on the ‘tava.’ Then he put it on the fire. It didn’t fluff up properly. So he was standing behind Srila Prabhupada, was finding it difficult to control his laughter. Prabhupada didn’t say anything. He took another dough. He rolled it. He baked it, put it on the flame and it fluffed up perfectly like a football. Then Prabhupada picked it up, slapped it on his head and walked out of the kitchen! [laughter]
SRILA PRABHUPADA KI JAYA!
You see whenever I used to go to Prabhupada I used to offer obeisances. So one day Prabhupada told me, “Why do you always offer obeisances?” Just once is good enough.” But still I couldn’t I spontaneously I would just do that. So one day Prabhupada was upset with me and he told me that, “You are useless. All you can do is offer dandavats.” [laughter]