Bhakti Swarup Damodar Swami Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 05

Bhakti Swarup Damodar Swami: After the first meeting of Srila Prabhupada in 1970, then Srila Prabhupada started giving me instructions. And since I was still a Ph.D. student at the University of California at Irvine, whenever Prabhupada came to New Dwaraka, Los Angeles, I used to come and have darshan of Srila Prabhupada regularly. The main program was to join Srila Prabhupada in the morning walk, and that morning walk was a very animated discussion and basically about the role of scientists in the modern world and how to give them some principles of Krishna consciousness.

Interview DVD 07

Bhakti Swarup Damodar Swami: When Prabhupada saw Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, he named this New Panihati Dham. Then also I presented an outline of a book, Life and Its Origin, about 12 to 14 chapters in this book. Srila Prabhupada approved all of them, and then Prabhupada said, “But it should have one more chapter in this book.” That title was “Original Life is Lord Krishna.” Then I requested Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, will you please write that?” Prabhupada said, “Yes, I will write for your book.” We were supposed to write that book together, but it has not still come out yet. I am preparing and praying Prabhupada’s mercy. What I’m wanting to do is get the compilations from Prabhupada’s writings and then try to put it together, that section, “Original Life is Lord Krishna.”

Interview DVD 09

Bhakti Swarup Damodar Swami: One time I invited Professor Bamford from the University of California Irvine. He is a particle physicist, and he had some interest on something beyond science. In the garden, Prabhupada’s garden, in the course of discussion with Professor Bamford, Prabhupada was asking that “You scientists are spending so much time in studying a piece of grass, what is the color of the grass, and then you dry it and you try to see what are the components that make up this grass, then what are the molecules, the atoms. So on a piece of grass you can write volumes and volumes of books.” Then Prabhupada was asking, “But what good is that knowledge?” And Bamford said, “Well, scientific knowledge is a different category of knowledge. Those who are pursuing scientific discipline, they get great satisfaction and great happiness in doing these things. Science is very useful.” Then Prabhupada said, “Do you think that from bullock carts to motor cars and airplanes, do you think this is advancement?” And Bamford said, “Yes, definitely, we are making progress.” Prabhupada said, “This is not correct because by this type of knowledge, you are forgetting your own nature, your own spiritual nature. You are forgetting who you are and what is the purpose of our existence. So this most fundamental knowledge you are neglecting. Therefore, we are not making progress.” And Prabhupada asked him, “Do you believe in God?” Professor Bamford said, “Not exactly. I am agnostic.” Then Prabhupada said, “Oh, you are agnostic means you are doubtful. Sometimes you think that there might be God, sometimes you think that there might not be God. That means you are ignorant.” So then he said, “Yes.” So he was not angry or he was not upset. And so in this way, Prabhupada was treating in a wonderful way. Although Prabhupada has a strong philosophical principle, but the way he treated people and the scholars, they felt very comfortable and they always had respect. But that day, that Sunday was also the marriage day of Jayatirtha and there was a huge feast. So during that conversation, one devotee brought a huge plate of all these preparations full to offer to Prabhupada. So what Prabhupada did, he took the whole plate and gave it to Bamford, “This is for you. This is maha-prasadam, please take.” So Professor Bamford was completely amazed. He didn’t expect that the whole plate is going to come to him, and he took so much prasadam. One of the main preparations, this eggplant preparation, I still remember he was so much fond of that eggplant. Then after when it gets a little dark, then Prabhupada also went upstairs. Then the Sandhya-arati started and Professor Bamford said, “I’d like to have a little experience of this singing. It seems very nice.” So I took him inside the temple, and then he joined arati. Then he said it was getting a little late and I saw he was wanting to leave. But he said before he left he wanted to see Prabhupada, he wanted to say goodbye. So I took him upstairs to Prabhupada’s room; and on the way there were some plates, these prasadam plates with a lot of eggplant. And Professor Bamford picked up again one more plate, he ate again this eggplant. Then after that we went upstairs to see Prabhupada again. This time he was so impressed by Prabhupada’s dealings with him as a spiritual authority. So he said, “I’d like to thank you for having me here this evening. You are doing so much wonderful service to train these American young boys and girls, learning this culture, and it is a wonderful thing.” So he was giving tremendous appreciation of Prabhupada, and then he left.