Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Remembering Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada held a final meeting with his disciples in the afternoon, granting, as he had done the year before, the entire assembly of devotees darsana in his room. Srila Prabhupada sat on his ornate wicker asana below the stained-glass windows. On Prabhupada's right sat Pusta Krsna; on his left, Hari-sauri.

Devotees and guests filed into the room, placing various gifts on Prabhupada's desk -- donations of money, baskets of fruit and nuts wrapped in coloured cellophane, jars of honey, dishes of sweets, and bouquets of flowers.

The mood was happy and festive. Newly-initiated Hari dasi presented her young daughter before Srila Prabhupada, asking if he could give the child a spiritual name. Prabhupada spoke up softly. "Puspa," he said.

The pair offered their obeisances and sat down.

It appeared Hari dasi had started a trend. Girimakha approached Srila Prabhupada with the same intention. "Can you give my daughter a spiritual name?" he asked.

Prabhupada smiled. "You can call her Rose."

Girimakha looked astonished. "What sort of name is that, Srila Prabhupada?"

Prabhupada answered Girimakha with a slight twinkle in his eye. "It is the name of a flower."

When everyone was seated and the room quiet, Prabhupada spoke encouragingly to the young men and women who sat before him. The orders of the spiritual master, he explained to them, were first and foremost in a devotee's life. One should become perfect and then help others to become perfect. This, he continued, was real preaching. "Amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa. Become guru, and try to make others guru. This is the desire of Lord Caitanya."

Prabhupada stressed that the Deity worship should go on without any reduction in standards. "Remain humble and enthusiastic," he said, "and go on worshipping the Deity, gorgeously."

Prabhupada ended the darsana by asking for questions. One young girl asked, "Should we always do what the temple authorities say?"

"Yes," answered Srila Prabhupada.

"In all circumstances?"


Gopikanta raised his hand, and asked, both as an affirmation of his service as a full-time book distributor, and for the benefit of others, "We know there are many things that please you, Srila Prabhupada. We would like to know what would please you the most."

Prabhupada's reply was brief and to the point. "Understand Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, become perfect and distribute this knowledge to your fellow countrymen."

Prabhupada drew the darsana to a close. Since no auspicious event would be complete without distribution of prasadam, Prabhupada personally handed a sweet to each devotee as they slowly filed past. They thus happily received Krsna's mercy in the shape of coconut balls, laced not only with sun-dried currants and honey, but also with the potent blessings of Krsna's pure devotee.

- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu

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