Memories (#41)
My wife Hasu and I were fortunate to have darshan of Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness).

As I remember it was first week of July 1974. The first Rathyatra festival in Chicago was organized by the ISKCON Chicago Hare Krishna temple. The Rathyatra was to begin from the compound in front of a high rise building now known as Daley Center (in commemoration of late Mayor Daley) in downtown Chicago.

And Swami Prabhupada who had become a legend was going to attend the Rathyatra.

My wife and I went to downtown in a car. The Rathyatra was about to begin. The compound was crowded with devotees and some curious onlookers. We decided to stay in the car as my wife was pregnant and we were expecting the baby in a few days. (Our younger daughter Shetal was born on July 7, 1974).

And then the Rathyatra started. The excited chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare) by the devotees filled the air.

Breathlessly we were watching from the window of the car to have the darshan of the Rath and Swami Prabhupada.

And then the Rath passed a few yards away from our car. We had darshan of Swami Prabhupada seated in  the Rath. And then the Rath was quickly drawn further by
the devotees.

Our darshan of Swami Prabhupada was for a few seconds only, but I vividly remember it. He was 75+ years young. I still see him, clad in orange clothes and seated erect in the front of the open Rath.

Girish Parikh
(Editor, WHSW)
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