Drops of Nectar #2
When the Swami walked into the storefront to give class, everyone bowed down and I started bowing down too. Gargamuni was the only one who wouldn't. He would just sit there. This went on for some time and Gargamuni felt a little self-conscious about it. After class, Prabhupada would always ask for questions and on one occasion Gargamuni said, "When you come into the room, everyone bows down, but I don't feel like bowing down so I am not going to do it because it would be artificial. I am asking if this all right." Prabhupada said, "You should bow down. By bowing down the feeling will come." This was a very nice instruction and when Gargamuni started doing that, it worked.
Haridas decided to paint the Panchatattva but he thought They were women and he painted Them with breasts. When the new painting was unveiled over the new altar, Prabhupada said, "Ahhhh," and told Haridas, "Those are men, not women. Please change it." Haridas changed it. It's amazing how Prabhupada was so patient. He introduced things very slowly.
Little by little, we learned who and what was the spiritual master. In so many cases Srila Prabhupada was challenged by our ignorance, by our lack of spiritual education. For example, after one lecture a young woman raised her hand and said, "Swamiji, I don't agree that we shouldn't have illicit sex. I don't think there's any such thing as illicit sex. Sex is a good way to know God." Prabhupada tried to speak to her reasonably but she was adamant. Finally Prabhupada said, "All right. But I have brought only one medicine, so please take it," and he began kirtan.
At the end of the talk Prabhupada asked if anybody had questions. I said, "How does one become sincere?" because I thought that sincerity was the key quality in achieving self-realization. He said, "You become sincere by being sincere."
Nara Narayan dasa:
Srila Prabhupada said, "We should always be considering, 'What is my duty?" I thought, "Duty. Okay." I was hearing impaired since I was young and between Prabhupada's accent, my inability to hear and the psychedelics residually floating in my brain cells, I was having a hard time understanding. Prabhupada pointed to his coffee table and said, "Do you see this ant?" I looked carefully. I knew that Srila Prabhupada was the external representative of the Supersoul, and if he said that there was an ant, then there was an ant. But there was no ant. I didn't want to say "No" and appear stupid to not see the spiritual or whatever ant was there, and I didn't want to say "Yes" and be proven a liar because I couldn't see the ant. Srila Prabhupada looked at me intensely as though, the ant issue now solved, he wanted to get on to real business. He said, "My job is to understand, 'What is my duty to this ant?'" Not only was there an ant that I couldn't see but now I had a duty to it. Prabhupada looked at me almost beseechingly, "Somehow I have to help this ant. Maybe I can chant Hare Krishna to it or feed it a little prasadam. If we can help one ant become Krishna conscious, then our whole movement is a glorious success." I realized that it was a pure metaphor. I had a duty to feed and chant to this invisible ant and if I did so, and if we all did our respective Krishna conscious duties, our whole movement would be successful.
Dina Bandhu dasa:
When the Los Angeles temple room was where the F.A.T.E. Museum is now, Prabhupada used to come in the back door, walk up to pay his obeisances to the Deities and then sit down on his Vyasasana. Once Prabhupada came in the back door, cocked his head back, and said, "What is in Krishna's eye?" At that time we were worshiping only the little Deities and from the back door, I can't even see if Krishna has an eye, what to speak of seeing what's in Krishna's eye. Even the pujaris who were right there took two minutes to figure out what was wrong. Finally they found that when they had put the tilak on Krishna, little splinters of it had fallen down in Krishna's eye. We were totally shocked.
Atma Tattva dasa:
One big businessman said, "Swamiji, I have a factory here in Delhi and I have a factory in Jaipur…." He listed his things and said, "I have all this but I can't sleep." Prabhupada said, "You can't sleep because you have so many things. Give them to me, then you can sleep peacefully," and he turned to somebody and said, "Take his address." The man said, "No Swamiji, I can come any time." "You can come any time, but we should also be able to go to you any time. Take his address." "No, No Swamiji." Prabhupada said, "If you give some of your things to Krishna, you will be peaceful. We will relieve you of your problem." The man was smashed right there and he gave his address. He had to.
In the early days, before I ever met Srila Prabhupada, his letters were vitally instructive and enlightening. In one letter that came to Tamal Krishna Maharaj in Bury Place in 1970, there was an admonition. Tamal had asked, "What is more important, sankirtan, rounds, devotional service, or our health?" Prabhupada answered, "The highest principle is to save yourself."
Gauridas Pandit dasa:
The temple room was full of devotees and one of the big book distributors asked, "Prabhupada, what pleases you the most?" Prabhupada said, "If you develop your love for Krishna that will please me the most." It was really nice to hear that and all the devotees said, "Jaya Srila Prabhupada!"
Another time, a letter described different achievements that were taking place, like a restaurant opening in South Africa, another activity that was going on and so forth. Srila Prabhupada said, "When I hear the achievements of my disciples my chest swells with pride for them." So there were little statements that Srila Prabhupada made that rang through and will ring through, I am sure, for decades and centuries.
The next morning I asked, "Prabhupada, I'm on the Library Party and I'm visiting professors in big universities but I'm just a graduate from San Diego State University. Yet I'm trying to represent you…" I felt, "How can I become more qualified?" but I didn't quite finish my sentence. Prabhupada looked at me and said, "Krishna's already helping." In other words, I thought I was doing the work. Prabhupada was good at bringing us back to reality. Then Prabhupada said, "Anyway, just pray to Krishna. To those who constantly worship Krishna with love, He gives them the intelligence to come back to Him. Will you pray like that?" I said, "Yes, Prabhupada." He said, "Everyday?" I said, "Yes, Srila Prabhupada." He said, "In that way, Krishna will supply you intelligence."
Sri Nathji dasa:
My father gave a lot of money to Prabhupada. I thought, "Prabhupada makes my father work and takes away his money." So I told my father that we better talk a little bit. I was about 31 years old and my father was close to 60 years old. I asked him, "What are you doing? This man comes in our house and he virtually asks you to do everything for him." My father said, "He's doing a very important duty. He is like a Vedic ambassador. He's spreading Indian culture and nobody's done this before. I appreciate it. I am going to help him."
Nara Narayan dasa:
There was a family named Acharya on our property in Juhu and Srila Prabhupada was going to stay in their house. When Prabhupada was on a morning walk or traveling, he always had a flying wedge of disciples behind him. He'd be leading and we would be swept along in his wake. So we came to the Acarya's small house and the whole family was standing at the top of the stairs beaming and smiling, welcoming Prabhupada. Although we knew it was a small house, we were planning to crowd inside and sit down with Prabhupada because he always said some wonderful things when he came to someone's home. We all wanted to witness those wonderful things. So Prabhupada went up the stairs with his cane, turned in front of the Acharya family, looked grandly over his disciples and said, "Ah, now I am finally taking shelter of the Acharyas."
Afterwards a woman asked, "Why do you shave your head?" In a heartbeat Prabhupada said, "Why do you shave your legs?" Everyone was stunned and scared. After a moment of silence Prabhupada said, "Better to have a cool head than cold legs." Everyone said, "Jaya!" It broke the ice. The guests laughed.
Deva Didhiti dasi:
Once in the airport, Prabhupada was sitting by himself at TWA. I thought, "Oh, my God, how could Prabhupada be by himself? Why isn't anybody here?" I stood there thinking, "Let me guard Prabhupada." The sannyasis were huddled together because there was a problem with the tickets. I stayed by Prabhupada and he was so cute. He knew that I was worrying, and he said, "Don't worry, don't worry, I'm fine," but I stayed close. I was doing sankirtan too, because I was preaching to the people who were on that flight. I told them how fortunate they were to be with the pure devotee and I handed out "Back to Godheads." I could see that Prabhupada was pleased that I was doing this tiny service. I felt happy to do anything for Prabhupada. And he was so appreciative.
In New Vrindavan in 1976, there were a lot of women with one or two month old babies and we took turns watching them during Prabhupada's classes. We had them lay in little seats. On my morning, I decided it would be cute to line them up so when Prabhupada came out he would look at them and they would have that contact with him. So I got the five or six babies lined up. When Prabhupada came out of the temple I stepped aside so that he wouldn't see me. I didn't know what a woman's relationship should be around Srila Prabhupada and I didn't want to be too close. I could still see him but he couldn't see me. Prabhupada was shocked. He turned to Kirtanananda, "Where are the mothers? What is going on?" Kirtanananda didn't know where they were but, he's said, "They must be around. I'm sure they're not far away." Kirtanananda assured Prabhupada enough so that Prabhupada moved on but Prabhupada was very concerned that the children were watched and taken care of.
Prabhupada laughed and said, "How do you like your name?" I thought, "Fine. It's nice." Afterwards I realized that the reason he named me 'Guna' was because I'm from Laguna Beach but at the time it didn't click. I was too much in awe.
After the lecture there were several questions. One man began explaining how he was experiencing Krishna, how he had realizations of Krishna, how he saw Krishna, and so on. Some of Prabhupada's sannyasis felt that this man was wasting time and started to move him from the microphone but Prabhupada said, "No, no. Let him finish." When he was finished, Prabhupada explained how a realized person never feels that he has seen God. A realized person always feels, "Where is Krishna?" Prabhupada described the prayers of the six Goswamis, "krishnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau," and how a Krishna conscious person never feels that he has seen Krishna but is always hankering to see Krishna. We learned that we should never feel that we are with Krishna, but that we should always be hankering to see Krishna.
Madhava Gosh dasa:
One of the local kids had a motorcycle and pulled into the driveway close to where Prabhupada was talking. The kid couldn't see that there were a lot of people in the yard. He turned the motorcycle around, revved it up a bunch of times and roared down the road back to his house. He was just a kid running up and down a quarter mile on the ridge road making his motorcycle go "rrrmmm, rrrmmmm, rrrmmmm," the way a kid does. He was going back and forth making a lot of noise, peeling out, and heading down the road. Every time he'd come we'd have to stop talking because it was so loud until he left. Finally Kuladri said, "Maybe I should ask him to stop." Prabhupada said, "Oh, don't. If you ask him to stop he'll just do it more." I thought that was insightful into the way teenagers think.
I said, "Prabhupada, sometimes I fight with my god-brothers. Is that bad?" He said, "No, not necessarily." I asked, "Prabhupada, sometimes I have problems and the spiritual master isn't there and it's too detailed for the scriptures. What should I do?" And he said, "If you chant Hare Krishna very nicely, all the answers will come from within." That was a timeless answer.