(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada receiving the Macmillan Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972)
By Nanda Kumar Das
One day, when I was first with His Divine Grace in L.A., Brahmananda Prabhu came from New York and they were talking about the printing of a Bhagavad Gita with Sanskrit included. Evidently, there was a question as to whether the western people could pronounce the transliteration with diacritic marks.
Srila Prabhupad rang his bell, and I came into his room. Brahmananda was there. Srila Prabhupad handed me a paper with Sanskrit transliteration and said "Read this!" I have been able to read since I was three, so evidently, I made the pronunciations close enough. Srila Prabhupad said to Brahmananda, with great enthusiasm, "See! I told you they could do it!" He was very happy.
So the printing went on, and in New York, when His Divine Grace was there, Brahmananda brought in the first edition of the big Gita with all the Sanskrit in it. Remembering the LA experience, he very kindly gave the Gita to me, and said "Here, you can give this to Srila Prabhupad." I was overjoyed, and went to His room to offer it to Him, followed by a photographer. I gave it to Him and said "Here is the first copy of Your new Bhagavad Gita, Srila Prabhupad."
In His amazing way of innocence and childlike excitement, He took it and held it to His head, saying "Jai! Jai!" It was awesome to be present for such an important and empowering moment. Srila Prabhupad was so kind to me. Even though I was/am a deeply entrenched rascal, He has engaged me so many times in wonderful service. All Glories to Srila Prabhupad!