Ode to Srila Prabhupada
by Manmohini devi dasi
Born into dense illusion, one of countless conditioned souls, doomed to endless births and deaths while playing different roles.
My life a hell that made no sense, trying drugs I took my chances, searching faces on streets and buses, hoping to find someone with answers.
Religion (as I knew it) seemed a total farce, and the diet of dead animals weighed heavy on my heart.
Besides cruel peers, a boring school and scary dating games, my mother said I thought too much, perhaps I was insane.
So trapped I studied different books, became an avid reader......Leary, Huxley, Buddism, a short little Bhagavad-gita.
Though small and insignificant, I searched for knowledge true. If there was a kindly God I begged for but a clue.
The summer of '69 found my younger brother and I in Boston. Along with other seekers we'd go to Harvard Square quite often.
One special day before us danced a group in orange bed sheets. Intrigued, we watched and chanted along, and were given some "simply wonderful" white sweets!
Who were these people, what'd they find, what did their mantra mean? We soon became two new additions to Prabhupada's spiritual team.
Now the how and why this Prabhupada came is quite a blessed miracle. He melted the hearts and changed the lives of even the very cynical.
He understood our sorry plight with Godless lives so vacant, and pure devotees of his kind could never be complacent.
And so he came from far abroad and risked his life to save us. He taught us how to eat, speak, dance and even, renamed us!
He cut through our illusions using knowledge like a sword, explaining that as spirit souls we're meant to love and serve the Lord.
Embodiment of compassion and of the purest selfless love, it seemed his every movement was choreographed from above.
All moves had grace and purpose, never wasting any time, engaging every single soul in Lord Chaitanya's line.
The Prabhupada hat and two-step, so charming and unique, and the cookies that he handed us were sweetest of the sweet.
Humorous and charming, yet grave and fiery too. If someone offended the Supreme Lord, you'd better pray it wasn't you!
Ten years or so he walked and talked and lived right in our midst. Who could have ever fathomed a benediction such as this?
Like sheep we flocked to be near him, to please him was our passion; to get a chuckle, nod or smile gave life's utmost satisfaction.
The more we watched and heard and learned, obeyed and served and listened, the more our dirty hearts were cleansed until they almost glistened.
All desperate searches ended as our lives began anew. Our love for him propelled us to do things we'd never do.
Brahmananda said in class one day some humorous and true facts. At the beginning we were like Prabhupada's guinea pigs or better still, his laboratory rats!
Soon told to wed a temple cook, someone I didn't favor, I'd share the glory of opening new temples and so I didn't waver.
Right afterwards I called my mom to tell her I was now a married woman. When asked his "real" name I said, "Hold on. I'll have to go and ask him".
"You married him!" she shouted, "and you don't even know his name? This time you've really done it. You've gone totally insane!"
Irate she hung the phone up hard, (an act that wasn't new), but actually this time I kind of saw her point of view.
There was no doubt about it. Crazy was the truth. Crazy to please my glorious master, crazy with gratitude.
Crazy with happiness to understand all facets of this life, to have and to hold the holy names which counteract all strife.
Thrilled to play an active role in Prabhupada's great mission, armed with his books that reveal all that is real far beyond our limited vision.
So hell yeah, I'd dance in the streets wearing sheets and marry a guy I don't know. It's the least I could do for my beloved guru, for this Prabhupada who I love so.
I would like to state for the record, my fervent plea is that, again and again I obtain the rare boon, to be a Prabhupada laboratory rat.