By His Example
The Wit and Wisdom of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
With great anticipation and excitement, we prepared a sumptuous feast on the appointed day. Later that afternoon a slick blue Porshe sports-car roared into Covent Garden and stopped in front of our Betterton Street warehouse. Watching from the window above, I saw George emerge from his chariot wearing blue jeans and a denim jacket. He checked the address and rang the bell. Shyamasundar greeted him downstairs; when he arrived upstairs, Mukunda, Yamuna, and I were introduced, and we greeted him warmly.
George took off his shoes and put them with all the others. He entered the temple floor and went before Lord Jagannatha, bowing his head reverently and dazing at the altar for a few minutes. Standing by his side I felt elated, for he was a great musician, an elevated persona, and a voice for our age. But I soon popped my awe-bubble and began to treat him just like anyone else. He was just another spirit soul on the planet.
* * *
George listened with interest and then asked, "Is Krishna the only name for God."
"There are many names for God, I answered. "Just like your have different names such as 'George," or 'son,' or maybe someday 'father', and they are all of you. If someone chants with devotion any bona fide name of God, it is the same as chanting Krishna. Krishna and His name are nondifferent. When we say Krishna, He is actually dancing on our tongue. It is a transcendental sound vibration."
George looked thoughtful and said, "That's lovely." Then he inquired, "Why is the Hare Krishna manrta called the maha, or great mantra?"
"Because Lord Chaitanya has made it easy and available for everyone," Yamuna said, as she brought in a large plate of basmati saffron rice.
Malati frenetically put plates in front of everyone, while Janaki followed with water in stainless steel glasses.
The plates were heaped with dahl, two different vegetable preparartions, puris, and salad. George ate with gusto. A soon as he finished one item, one of the ladies would replace it. Finally George tried to cover his plate, but Malati slid some more puris between his hands, just like the East Indian community had been doing to us for some time. We all had a laugh. I was hoping no one would milk the joke and keep piling prasadam on his plate. We were still a little restrained and on our best behavior.
George looked like he wanted to get up.
I led him to the sink, and as we washed our hands together, side by side, I perceived him as a friend rather than a musical demigod.
I handed him a clean towel, and he looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I am inspired here."
We walked back to the main room, and George said to everyone, "I had a really nice time, and the prasadam was great. I especially liked the lassis."
We said something like, "It was wonderful for you to be our guest; please come again."
As he was putting on his tennis shoes, George said, "I must go to a mixing session at the Wardour Street studio now, but could all of you please down to my house in Surrey soon and be my guests, and we can chant there too?
"Yes, that would be nice, " we chorused.
(To be continued.)
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