PIONEERING THE WAY
Srila Prabhupada Impacts Mexico (Part 9)
SRILA PRABHUPADA TESTS THE OFFERINGS OF THE DEITIES
Krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva
Vande guroh sri caranaravindam
The spiritual master is always offering Krsna four kinds of delicious food (analysed as those which are licked, etc.), bhagavat-prasada, and he is satisfied. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.
Once in Mexico City His Divine Grace called his servant and asked him to bring the plate of Sri Sri Radha-Madanagopala. At that time we made the offering and left the plate on the altar until the arotik was finished. The pujari would then take the plate of Radha-Madangopala. The pujari gave the plate to Sruatakirti das, Srila Prabhupada's personal servant and His Divine
Grace took the prasadam directly from the Lord's plate to test it. After testing it and stating that he liked it, he asked who cooked the offering.
While this was going on I went out with the two devotees, the sannyasa candidates. The reason being why they had asked me to accompany them was to show them where one could obtain bamboo rods to make a tridanda. Tridandas were required since Srila Prabhupada had agreed to initiate some brahmacaris into the order of sannyasa. Before going with them I had to finish cooking the offering for their Lordships. When we arrived back a
devotee came running towards me, he told me that His Holiness Hrdayananda Swami (GBC secretary for Mexico City) was looking for me. Immediately my mind wandered back to an incident that happened the day before. The incident was that his Holiness had asked for some kind of sauce but I had stated that we did not have any. Because of his desire to please Srila Prabhupada he became annoyed and chastised me saying that he did not consider me fit to be in charge of the kitchen. So because of this incident and also due to the fact that it was getting late I tried to avoid him. This was to no avail as I met His Holiness on the stairs. He asked if I had cooked for the Deities. Closing my eyes I replied that I had done so. His Holiness then said that Srila Prabhupada liked the offering; I could hardly believe what I was hearing! It took me time to gather my senses together again. My heart was beating quickly in happiness that His Divine Grace liked my cooking. I took this as encouragement to serve him in the kitchen, and also as an award because I was a travelling sankirtan devotee and hence agreed to become in charge of the kitchen.
A tray of prasad had to be brought to His Divine Grace. The temple president was carrying one plate and another had to be brought from the kitchen. I was there at the time and I took the opportunity to help and to be able to render some small service for Srila Prabhupada, so I got the plate from the kitchen, then I went upstairs to Srila Prabhupada's room. I opened the door and put one tray on his table, then, as I was about to offer obeisances to Srila Prabhupada, he started asking something about the preparations which were on the plate. Because the temple president couldn't speak English, I started to explain to Srila Prabhupada the different kinds of preparations on the plate. When he asked what was in the onyx cup, I said it was coconut milk. He said coconut water and moved his head in his classic way, expressing that he liked that. After that he asked me who cooked all the preparations, and I answered "Sriman Rohini Kumar dasa." Knowing him from the early times in starting from New York, in the sixties, he smiled and moved his head in approval.
While the conversation was going on with all the questions between Srila Prabhupada and me, the other devotee was embarrassed because he could not understand what Srila Prabhupada was saying; he thought he was missing the opportunity to talk with His Divine Grace because of the language barrier.
After the temple president and myself offered our obeisances and took leave from Srila Prabhupada, leaving him alone honouring prasad. When we got out of the room, out of frustration that he could not speak with Srila Prabhupada, the temple president started chastising me because I didn't offer my obeisances to Srila Prabhupada when I entered in the room, but I explained that after I put down the plate on the table and was about to offer my obeisances His Divine Grace started asking questions, and I had to answer the questions without delay. He accepted this explanation and we offered obeisances to each other and felt very happy to be able to render some small service to His Divine Grace and to share some intimate moments with His Divine Grace before he took prasad.
Mexico City temple
Rama Govinda das
(R.G. Bhakti Prapanna Parvata Maharaja)