From The Heart

The early, bright stars and the moon were out, and the pastel colors of the Vrindavan dusk sheltered the evening. The night air was refreshing and balmy. Srila Prabhupada was sitting under the black tamal tree in the courtyard of the Krishna Balarama Temple.

I recalled how, during the first days of the temple construction, the plans called for the tamal tree to be cut down. But I thought temples were more beautiful when there were trees in the courtyards. In many temples benches were built around trees to shade the pilgrims. I petitioned to save the tree, but no one seemed to pay attention. Then Krishna dasa Babaji visited Srila Prabhupada and pointed out that the tree was a tamal tree. Krishna dasa Babaji said that there were only a few tamal trees left in Vrindavan. Prabhupada then took an interest in the tamal tree, and it was spared. The architect's plans were altered so that the courtyard was moved elsewhere. This restructuring enabled Prabhupada to sit under the tamal tree that night and talk and hear about Krishna.

Prabhupada had asked a few devotees to speak that evening, including me, informing us that he would attend. I was anxious because I had overheard some of the speakers practicing Sanskrit verses from the Bhagavad-gita. I knew some verses also, but my pronunciation was not very good. Many leaders of ISKCON were there for the inauguration, and, sure enough, their lectures were laced with Sanskrit verses. I spoke about how we are not this body and about the value of chanting, serving Radha and Krishna with love, and how to please Prabhupada, who was sitting right there. After I spoke, I went to Srila Prabhupada and sat at his feet. He looked at me and said, "You have spoken so nicely, now I can retire."

Later on that evening, Prabhupada, his sister Pishima, and I were sitting in his rooms alone. Again Prabhupada said, "Now I can retire, you speak as I speak. My sister thought you spoke well, too."

I was surprised again and stammered out, "But Pishima does not speak very much English."

Prabhupada said very quietly, "She understood your talk, and she told me that you speak from the heart. Now I can retire," he said again.
(Gurudas, By His Example, Chapter 5)
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Memories (#133)