Dharmatma das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Dharmatma: Right away the devotees had realized that we didn’t have a vyasasana for Prabhupada. Bahudak knew I had some carpentry experience, so he immediately volunteered me to Danavir Prabhu who was the temple president. Then the first question was, “What’s a vyasasana?” At this point in the movement there was not one in Portland and there wasn’t one in Vancouver. Luckily someone produced a picture of the Los Angeles vyasasana. The catch, however, was that Prabhupada was going to be there in two days. I started busing myself around Portland, as this was a foreign city to me. At that time there was not a Home Depot and Lowes on every corner which made things a little difficult. I finally got all the materials together and I basically worked day and night until it got to the day Prabhupada was arriving as we worked up to the last minute. On the morning of his arrival, all the devotees left for the airport and maybe two other devotees and I were left at the temple. I was feeling a little bit left out because as a new devotee I didn’t understand that I was getting the opportunity to make a vyasasana for the Jagat Guru of the universe. I was getting close to finishing when all of a sudden the devotees started yelling, “He’s coming. He’s coming, hurry!” Devotees were scattering around, cars were pulling up and devotees were running into the temple room. It was crazy. I was in a dirty dhoti and I franticly tried to get my tools off the vyasasana. Finally I got it done and I looked at my work. “Okay, it’s all right. No tools, screwdrivers or anything else sitting there.” Then Prabhupada walked in. He offered dandavats to the deities and then got up and looked around smiling at the devotees. Then he started his walk back to the vyasasana and all of a sudden I got this cold chill down my back. I began panicking because I remembered that I forgot to secure the back of the vyasasana. I had tacked in a couple of nails just to hold it and I was going to put the bolts in later but with the frantic pace I forgot to do it. It was the most horrific feeling. I was just terrified that Prabhupada might lean back and the whole thing was going to fall down. Anyway, he walked to the vyasasana and instead of going to the front, he walked to the side and he looked at the back as if examining my work. He turned around and with a smile on his face came around to the front and got on the vyasasana. I don’t remember what the context of his class was because the whole time I was sweating and freaking out, but he finished the lecture and the devotees were ecstatic and I was so relieved because Prabhupada never leaned back once as he sat erect for the entire 5 lecture. I was thinking that how fortunate I was that I had that service and I felt that Krishna had saved me. The lesson I learned from that experience was not to work in haste but I should always be thinking that I have to do my service to the best of my ability for Srila Prabhupada.

Once in New Vrindavan Prabhupada gave a nice lecture and all the sankirtan matajis were invited to that darshan. All of a sudden one mataji started coughing quite a bit. Prabhupada stopped the lecture and looked at her and said, “What is wrong? You don’t have sufficient clothing?” It got cool that evening so he asked, “Who is in charge?” I was the sankirtan leader but thankfully nobody pointed me out. I realized, however, that even though Srila Prabhupada was busy, opening temples all over the world, yet he was so concerned about just one of the devotees. He had so much compassion and kindness for everyone.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 53 - The Alachua Clan 2

The full Prabhupada Memories Series can be viewed here and also at www.prabhupadamemories.com