One of the great benefits of living in New Dwarka (Los Angeles ISKCON community) in the early 70’s was that Srila Prabhupada came so often and usually stayed for a few months. For his morning walks we would sometimes take him to the beach and other times to Cheviot Hills Park. One morning he commented “of the two I like the seashore the best” after which we began going to the beach every morning. At one point in time Karandhara Prabhu purchased a used Rolls Royce and had the words “His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Founder-Acharya ISKCON" stenciled onto one of the doors. I usually went along on the walks and some of the mornings I accompanied His Divine Grace in the car.

One morning on the way to the beach I noticed that Srila Prabhupada twice asked what the time was. On the way home (back to the temple) again Prabhupada began asking about the time. Finally I got up the nerve to ask Srila Prabhupada what happened to his watch since he seemed to always have one in his possession. He told me that before coming to L.A. he was in London and while there Shyamasundara had bought him a new and expensive watch; however after a short time it had stopped running. In order to fix it Shyamasundara had to send it to the original manufacturers in Switzerland and wait a few weeks for its return. Srila Prabhupada was waiting for his watch to be fixed and forwarded by Shyamasundara from London to Los Angeles. I immediately took the opportunity to offer Srila Prabhupada the watch I was wearing. I quickly removed it from my wrist and handed to him saying “here, Srila Prabhupada you can have my watch while you’re waiting for yours.” Prabhupada examined it approvingly, fastened it onto his wrist and said “thank you very much.”

Around two weeks later I was standing in front of the L.A. temple when Brahmananda Swami walked over to me. He told me that Srila Prabhupada’s expensive Swiss watch finally arrived fixed and Prabhupada asked him to return my watch to me. My one-time mundane Timex had been transformed into Guru Prasad and smelled strongly of sandalwood and mustard seed oil from the transcendental body of Srila Prabhupada. From then on I got to wear “watch prasadam” on my wrist.

Addendum: At one point when Prabupada asked the time one disciple answered by saying “I’ve got 7:40.” Another replied, “according to my watch it’s a quarter to eight” and a third said “and I’ve got ten to eight.” Prabhupada laughed and commented, “Just see -- in every aspect of life -- even in the telling of time -- there is individuality."

Swarup Das
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