Memories of Mother
Prabhupada told me how much his mother loved him and even admitted that she spoiled him as a child. Once, after little Abhay insisted, she had given him two toy guns, one for each hand. Another time he was sent to his room without dinner for being naughty. His mother was so caring, however, that she couldn't bear to think of her darling child being hungry, so she relented and brought plates of prasadam to him to eat while he was confined to his room.
Entering his room in the Calcutta temple, which was next to a lake, I found Prabhupada sitting on the floor. "They have dethroned me, " he laughed.
"Who, Srila Prabhupada?" I asked.
"The mosquitoes. But I am fooling them. I am sitting on the ground, because they rise to the ceiling." He etched a spiral into the air with his golden fingers fluttering upwards.
After a pause, I asked, "Are there mosquitoes in Krishnaloka?"
He paused ever so briefly and replied, "Even if there are mosquitoes there, they don't bite; they sing."
The Monkeys of Vrindavan
The trees, rocks, plants and animals in Vrindavan are said to be great, devotional souls. Monkeys permeate life in Vrindavan in a very personal way. Living among the trees and rooftops in Vrindavan village, they cause merriment and excitement. They hang on the electricity wires until the lights go out. They take your food when you aren't looking. They kidnap passports and bead bags from devotees and ransom them for bananas or other food. During Krishna's earthly pastimes they lived at Seva Kunj and danced with Radha and Krishna on the full-moon night.
One day, a little baby monkey fell through the bars of Radha Damodar Temple's upstairs room where Srila Prabhupada was living. Screaming from the separation from her baby, the mother monkey was trying to get through the steel bars. Very carefully Prabhupada picked up the little monkey and, with his lotus palms, gave the baby back to the thankful mother. After that incident the mother came to the window every day looking for Prabhupada.
In the upper rooms of the Radha Damodar Temple, I saw Prabhupada washing his dhoti in a bucket of water. I said, "Prabhupada, I would be happy to wash your dhoti for you."
He replied, "I can wash my own cloth, and in that way I can remain independent," He continued, I shall teach you to roll a chapati with a bottle -- just bring me one bottle." I fetched a bottle, and Prabhupada taught me to roll a chapati with the bottle. Then he said, "I don't even require the bottle," and he proceeded to teach me how to flatten the dough into a perfectly round chapati with only his hands.
Yet another time, I saw Srila Prabhupada down on his hands and knees washing the floor. When he looked up and saw me, he said, "Be as independent as possible."
Another time, when I asked Prabhupada about Krishna's mercy, he imitated Krishna and poked me three times in the belly, saying, "Take my mercy, take, take."
"Take hot jalebis for a cold."
--A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami