Memories (#42)
Calcutta, 3 Albert Road, 1973

Mangala aratik was in progress with about 20 devotees attending. The lights were dimmed. A melodious kirtan was ecstatically kept to one rhythmic tune. Suddenly there was an unusual commotion in the back of the temple room. Srila Prabhupada had entered the temple unnoticed and was in the process of chastising one of the brahmacaris, quite severely it appeared. The kirtan stopped, and everyone hit the floor paying their obeisances. Srila Prabhupada motioned to continue on with the kirtan, shortly thereafter the chastisement stopped. The devotees tried to figure out what the cause of all this was. There was some confusion. The kirtan had lost it's melodious nature, but continued on with less enthusiasm, while trying to comprehend what was being said. Meanwhile Srila Prabhupada walked to the front of the temple room, again Srila Prabhupada raised his voice to yet another devotee standing up front. Again the kirtan stopped, and devotees got confused what this was all about.

After Srila Prabhupada finished up with the second devotee, he left the temple room. Afterwards it was revealed that both devotees that received the chastisement were standing with both their hands behind their backs while facing the Deities. Srila Prabhupada considered this a serious offense. Thus explaining the action he took. Epilog: do not stand in a disrespectful way in front of the Deity.

Mayapur Roof, March, 1973

Once while wandering around on the top floor of the Mayapur building which was still under construction, Srila Prabhupada suddenly appeared from one of the rooms dressed in a gumpsa only and chanting japa while holding his bead bag sort of pointed up. I hit the cement floor amid the construction rubble and materials and paid my respects. After finishing my prayers I got up brushing off the cement dust and expecting Srila Prabhupada still to be there, but he had left the scene, nowhere to be seen. I figured that due to my offensive nature, I wasn't worth the time to be paid attention to.

Calcutta, 1973, 10:30 PM

Fulfilling the duties as a treasurer of the Calcutta temple, I sometimes stayed up late to balance the books from that day's activities. My office was right next to Srila Prabhupada's room with a door separating it, which was permanently locked. But the keyhole was free and clear, and sometimes when I got brave enough I would peek through the keyhole and see Srila Prabhupada translating his books on his dictating machine. One evening around 10:30 PM I prepared to take rest, and walked carrying my toothbrush over the veranda, through the temple room, and to the back in the building where the bathroom was located. Before I even reached the temple room, I got startled by seeing Srila Prabhupada walking by himself in near-darkness on the veranda chanting his japa dressed only in a gumpsa. He was about 20 feet away from me. I had a gut feeling that I would be confronted. After paying my obeisances, I slowly got up while keeping on my knees and looked up only to see, as expected, Srila Prabhupada standing right in front of me. With a somewhat stern voice he inquired why I was still up so late. I answered that I just finished my treasury work and was just on my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. He replied that I should take rest on time and stay regulated, "now go on." "Yes Srila Prabhupada," I said and walked off hurriedly.

Vrindavan, 1975, Infected foot

While residing in the holy dhama of Vrindavan in 1974, I suffered from a stubborn infection between my toes on my right foot. I suffered from it for many weeks, and the infection refused to heal, no matter what I did. I had difficulty walking because it was swollen so bad. One morning when Srila Prabhupada started out for his morning walk, a group of devotees, including myself had gathered by the door of his room. Srila Prabhupada as usual looked supremely effulgent as he came out of the door and after walking a few paces he noticed me. I stuck out like a sore foot, with my foot all bandaged up. He paused while pointing his cane at my troubled foot, and inquired what was the matter with my foot? I replied that it was infected and that it had difficulty healing. He said to take care of it properly otherwise it would never heal. Then he walked off after taking the time to instruct me. And I hobbled off behind the entourage.

Bombay, 1974, Why are you so skinny?

Once upon a time in Bombay I paid a visit to Srila Prabhupada's quarters during darsan hours. After entering the room I immediately paid my obeisances and then automatically made eye contact with His Divine Grace. He stopped talking and looked at me and said, "Why are you so skinny?" Somewhat taken aback, I said that I didn't know why. He bounced right back saying "You should eat more." I replied that I would. I mean what else could I say? Then he gestured that I should come over and sit right beside him next to the table where a straw mat was laying on the floor unused. I complied with his request. After I took my place, he continued on with the discussion he was conducting with the few devotees present. Then he was served a glass of fresh sugarcane juice in his silver cup and he immediately proceeded to pour some of it into his mouth. While holding the cup, with a grin on his face he said confidently that this juice is excellent for one's health and gives one good strength. The devotees were all soon dismissed which brought the darsan to an end. I went off looking for something to eat.

Ekanatha Dasa
(President, Bhaktivedanta Archives)
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