Jadurani devi dasi Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Jadurani: In May of 1969 Prabhupada visited Boston. Giriraj Swami had met Prabhupada when Prabhupada spoke at the university, and the next day Giriraj came to the temple and surrendered. Giriraj was a guest at the temple, when another guest asked, “Why is this material world here?” Prabhupada said, “Why is the cloud there?” The guest didn’t know. None of us knew. Prabhupada said, “Because there is a need of rain. Similarly, there’s a need for this material world.” Just like the sky is there, from the sky comes the cloud, from the cloud comes the rain, from the rain comes the vegetation. Eventually, the vegetation is finished, the rain is finished, the cloud is finished, and only the sky is there. Similarly, Krishna creates this world temporarily, because there is a need for the conditioned souls to come to the human form of life and become Krishna conscious. Prabhupada made the most complicated things accessible.

Sometime in 1967 I was painting a picture in the altar room, when Prabhupada called me into the greeting room. He said, “I want to give you an idea for a new painting.” I thought that he was going to explain something, but instead of explaining, he handed me a print. For the first two years I didn’t make my own compositions but only copied. This time Prabhupada gave me a beautiful picture of Narada Muni playing the clappers and the vina in an enchanting forest, and he asked me to paint that. A few days later I brought the almost-completed painting to him. He said, “It’s all right, but it looks like Narada Muni has breasts.” I corrected that, and then Prabhupada accepted it. On a small piece of paper he wrote, “Narada Muni bajaya vina, ‘radhika-ramana’-name,” which means, “Narada Muni plays his vina and chants Hare Krishna.” Radhika is Radharani, and Radhika Ramana means “the enjoyer of Radhika.”

In 1968, when I was in Boston, Prabhupada said, “Whatever painting I give you to do I want that painting to be in each temple.” First there was only the New York temple, and then there was San Francisco, then Montreal, then Boston, then Seattle and Los Angeles. Each time, each painting had to be in greater numbers. I was doing my second Narada Muni painting, for San Francisco. Prabhupada was in Los Angeles, and soon he’d be going to San Francisco, so I thought it would be nice to welcome him with that painting. I wanted that painting to be better than my first, which was crude and amateurish. Before I joined Prabhupada, I lived in New York, and I saw that people came from all over the world and lined the streets for three blocks to get a one-minute view of the Mona Lisa in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I thought, “I’ll make Krishna pictures on the same level as Leonardo de Vinci’s and Michelangelo’s paintings, and in this way Krishna conscious pictures will be famous all over the world.” So I got some references for Michelangelo paintings and some American redwood forest pictures for the background. I couldn’t find an Indian background. I went back to the temple and began work. After a week or two, the painting was finished. It had a muscle-bound Narada Muni wearing a Christ-like dhoti in a redwood forest. I sent the painting to San Francisco on a Greyhound bus. The devotees wrote me, saying, “This painting has increased our ecstasy in kirtan. It’s so wonderful we practically jump to the ceiling.” About a week later, Prabhupada went to San Francisco. He didn’t have the same response. Prabhupada asked Govinda dasi, his personal servant, to write me that, “Prabhupada was looking at a print of blind Sura das playing his vina and five-year-old Krishna listening. The Vedic conception of beauty is full, smooth cheeks and sweet, red lips. This is the milk-drinker’s conception of beauty. But what you have done is the meat-eater’s conception of beauty: gaunt cheeks and muscles.” Govinda dasi explained, on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, that the standard of the beauty was this Brijabasi print. Previously Prabhupada said, “The Brijabasi company does nice cartoons,” and I thought, “I am a realistic painter, and these are just cartoons.” But now I could see that Prabhupada liked the cartoons better than my work. A little later I received a letter from Prabhupada saying, “We are not meant for satisfying the senses of the public. They are fools. We are meant for satisfying the senses of Krishna and the previous acharyas. We don’t mind if people don’t buy our paintings; we will distribute them freely to the centers. We are not interested in following the so-called great artists. The other day I went to a universalistic Unitarian church, and on their walls they have paintings of still-lives of ropes and bamboo rods, and fishermen’s nets. But this did not inspire my Krishna consciousness. I find that Govinda dasi is a great artist because she is painting Krishna. You will do well not to follow these so-called great artists.” I was completely devastated, depressed, discouraged, miserable, and suicidal. I wrote back a three-line letter apologizing. Prabhupada answered instantly. That’s another one of his qualities, that although he was the busiest person in the world, he answered letters quicker than anyone else in the world. A week later I got a letter from him saying, “This is the first time that I’ve received a letter from you that’s only three lines. Please don’t be depressed.” And he told a story of a brahman who was away from home. Generally, according to religious tradition, brahmans only eat at the house of a Hindu. If they eat at the house of a Muslim, they are ostracized from the brahminical community. This particular brahman, who was away from home and very hungry, went to a Mohammedan home and ate. But when the brahman said to the Mohammedan, “Do you have any more?” the Mohammedan said, “I’m sorry, that’s all I have.” So the brahman left the house lamenting, “I’ve lost my caste, and still I’m hungry.” That was an analogy. Prabhupada said, “It takes a long time to become a great artist, and in the meantime you will lose your Krishna consciousness. So take whatever talent you have now and immediately engage it in Krishna’s service. We will talk further when I come to New York,” and he told me when he was coming. A couple weeks later he arrived in New York, and again all the Boston devotees went there. After his darshan Prabhupada asked to see me. I didn’t know what he was going to say, so I blurted out, “I’m sorry I did that painting of Narada Muni. I’ll do it over.” Prabhupada said, “No, it was very nice.” He gave me ten seconds of relief, and then he started again from where his letter left off. He told me not to copy from the so-called great artists. He said, “People don’t like a painting for how technically great it is, but for who did it. Picasso’s art really isn’t that good, but he has a name so everybody buys his paintings for so much money. They say, ‘Oh, so-and-so painting, oh very good.’” By now I was feeling a little better in his association. I said, “We say that too. We say, ‘Oh, Swamiji said that, oh very good.’” Prabhupada was so humble. He said, “That is love. That is a different thing. Just like a mother has a blind child, and out of love she calls the child Padmalochan, or ‘lotus-eyed.’” He was talking so casually that I didn’t realize how he was sitting. His trunk desk was covered by some kind of blanket where he did a lot of his work, and we were both sitting looking at each other over this trunk desk. Since we were talking about eyes, he said, “I like your eyes—cat’s eyes. Everyone likes cat’s eyes. Don’t you?” I was completely flustered and said, “I like your eyes, lotus-eyes.” Prabhupada was sitting on a mat. He threw himself halfway onto the floor and said, “I am an old fool.” I was so bewildered by his overwhelming humility that I offered my obeisances and left. There are many times that I kick myself for leaving his association, and that was one of them.

In 1968, I was concerned about getting inspiration from the so-called old masters because I knew I wasn’t very talented. In a letter I asked Prabhupada if I should study, and he wrote back, “There is a story about a man from another country who spoke a different language and who lived in a house next to you. One day his house was on fire, and you had to tell him what to do. If you took time to learn his language, then everything would be finished. So somehow or other express your Krishna consciousness now.” Prabhupada also told a story that, “In India, many British men were shop owners, and many Indian people worked for them. Once when a British cloth shop owner was out, some monkeys messed everything up. The Indian worker in the shop couldn’t speak English, and when the owner came back, the worker jumped up and down saying, “Monkey, sir. Monkey, sir. Monkey, sir.” Prabhupada was telling us that whatever we knew of the artistic language, we should use it to express Krishna consciousness, because it was an emergency. Prabhupada did not want to wait for us to become talented. This amazed me because even though we were young devotees, we knew the powers of a pure devotee. We had read enough books and heard enough lectures to know the mystic and spiritual powers of a pure devotee. Prabhupada was Krishna’s associate. He could have asked a demigod or gotten some big, powerful person on the earth to paint for him. Yet he engaged people who had extremely little or no talent. On top of that, he wasn’t interested in waiting for us to get talented before we started painting for his books. The 1969 Krishna Book was our first attempt at our own compositions, and they were extremely crude. Still he wanted it done at that time. When Krishna chose a particular time for him to come to the West, Prabhupada came. Historically and sociologically the sixties were a unique time. The whole thing was planned by Krishna, and although I couldn’t understand it, there was some reason that Prabhupada didn’t want to wait for us to become expert.

Prabhupada said, “If you see a spark of Krishna consciousness in someone, you should fan that spark.” Then he told a story of a thief in Vrindavan who happened to hear a Bhagavat recital of the Tenth Canto. This thief heard how Mother Yasoda decorates Krishna in valuable ornaments and sends Him off to play in the forest with His friends and cows. The thief thought, “Ah, jewels. I shall go and get those jewels.” He went to the Vrindavan forest and began looking for Krishna, and because he had something good in him, Krishna appeared to him. The thief said, “Oh, You’re such a nice boy. Why don’t You give me Your jewels?” Krishna said, “No, Mother Yasoda wouldn’t like it.” The thief said, “Oh, yes, it’s all right. You can give them to me.” They argued back and forth, and by Krishna’s association the thief became a pure devotee. He fell down, offered his obeisances, and fully surrendered. Prabhupada said, “Similarly, if there’s anything in anyone, you should bring that out.”

About 1968 in New York, some fifteen or sixteen-year-old girls joined who had some artistic propensity. I was in Boston, and Prabhupada encouraged me to visit them and help them with art and with general Krishna consciousness. I don’t know how much help I could have been, because I was still wearing dungarees and turtleneck shirts. I was painting in those clothes, and whenever I had to change colors or clean my brushes I would wipe the brush on my dungarees. But Prabhupada didn’t wait for us to become expert. Prabhupada would call the girls in New York my assistants, and he started talking about a brahmacharini ashram. From San Francisco he wrote, “I would like to establish a brahmacharini ashram, the female equivalent of the brahmachari ashram, where ladies can get training. The devotees here are asking you to come to San Francisco for a couple of months, but how will they do without you on the East Coast? You have already started this program and are helping many girls there. Maybe the girls from San Francisco should come and join you in New York.” Even though I didn’t know anything about Krishna consciousness, Prabhupada was so encouraging. I thought, “Yes, I’ll do it. I’ll train up all the brahmacharinis.” That was the beginning of the brahmacharini ashram.

I heard rumors that Srila Prabhupada was leaving New York to go to San Francisco to help open a temple there. It was the first time that he would be leaving us. Of course, we had only been with him for a few months, but still it was like an eternity. He was already everything to us. I said, “Swamiji, I heard you are leaving in a few days. When are you leaving?” He said, “Do you think that I would ever leave you? Don’t think like that. I am always with you and you are always with me.” Of course he did leave, but in the next year and the year after that, when I was depressed by his absence and not feeling his presence in separation, those words would come back in my mind.

Just before Prabhupada came to Boston, the devotees were painting the walls and woodwork to get the temple ready for him. Everyone was so busy that I was the only one who went to meet him at the airport. I took a taxi and made the garland in the taxi. When Srila Prabhupada, Govinda dasi, and Gaurasundar came off the plane I clumsily garlanded him, and he graciously accepted it. We took a taxi back to his house on Chester Street, and as we were walking up the steps to the house, Govinda dasi whispered to me, “When we were in New York, Swamiji said that your painting of Radha-Krishna there makes it look like Radharani has another boy friend.” One of the paintings I did in my so-called great example to the brahmacharinis was a painting of Radha and Krishna. At that time I was using references from the old masters, and the only nice picture I found of a girl that looked anything like Radharani was a Dutch painting. But in that painting the girl was facing the wrong way, not towards Krishna. I wanted to have a realistic girl, and she was pretty, so I copied her just as she was. I didn’t think of turning her around by flipping her with a mirror. So in my painting, Radharani, holding a garland, was facing away from Krishna, who was playing His flute. After we went in the house, Prabhupada sat on a big sofa, and we all sat at his feet. I said, “Swamiji, I heard that you didn’t like that painting because it looks like Radharani has another boyfriend. I’ll do it over.” He said, “No, Radharani is offering Jadurani a garland for painting so many nice pictures of Krishna.” I thought, “She’s personally offering a garland to me?”

After Prabhupada’s lecture Madhusudana asked, “If prasadam is old or stale, is it still all right to eat it?” Prabhupada said, “If you have got the faith,” meaning if you don’t have faith you’ll get sick, and if you do have faith then you can take.

I didn’t know that I wasn’t getting second initiation so I was in the temple. But Govinda dasi, one of Prabhupada’s personal servants, wasn’t there because she knew she wasn’t going to get second initiation, and she felt bad. She came late. The fire sacrifice was taking place near the front door, and when she came in Prabhupada looked up and said, “Oh, I was just thinking, ‘Where is the girl?’ and Krishna has sent you.” Then the landlady stormed in drunk and saw all the smoke and the fire. She said, “Goddamn this house,” slammed the door closed, and left. Prabhupada looked up innocently and said, “What did she say, ‘this is the house of God?’” The next morning we joined Prabhupada for his morning walk, and he said to the devotees who received their second initiation, “Now don’t be a brahman in name only.” Govinda dasi and I, and Annapurna, who had joined us from London, felt miserable and horrible. I thought, “We’re not supposed to be on the bodily platform around here.” But I didn’t say anything. In fact, I was miserable because I was foolish enough to forget that I could have asked Prabhupada about it after the initiation. Instead I chose to feel bad. The next night, Prabhupada had second initiation just for the three girls, Govinda dasi, Annapurna, and I, although in subsequent second initiations, the girls and boys were initiated together. Most of his lecture that night was about how all women should be married. “When I was a householder,” he said, “my friend had a daughter who he wanted to marry, but the girl said, ‘I am not going to be the slave of any man.’” Prabhupada said to her, “Marriage is not slavery for the woman, it is grand protection.” Then he said, “There is no necessity of the brahman’s thread for a woman because she has to follow her husband. If her husband is a brahman then she automatically becomes a brahman by following his vows. And if her husband is not a brahman, what is the use of her becoming a brahman?” Then Srila Prabhupada pointed to a painting that I did, which was on the wall to his left, of Sita, Rama, Hanuman, and Laksman. That painting was a copy of a Brijabasi print. The only difference between my painting and the print was that I made Lord Rama green instead of blue because Prabhupada said He was green. The day that painting first hung in the temple room, I came in late for class. Prabhupada interrupted everything, and, although I was on the other side of the temple room, he called out to me, “Did you do that painting?” I said, “Yes, that’s my painting.” Then he made a big announcement, “You are already in Vaikuntha.” So again at this time Prabhupada motioned to that picture and said, “Just like Rama has a sacred thread but Sita doesn’t, but still we say Sita Rama. She is the energy. She is first, Sita Rama. We know so much about Krishna, and we hardly know anything about Radharani but still we say, Radha-Krishna.” Prabhupada was telling us that, “you’re not going to get a thread, but it doesn’t matter.” Then he said, “Don’t become implicated, just remain pure, and get yourselves married.” That was the thrust of his lecture.

At that time there were only three devotees in the temple, Satsvarupa Maharaj, Pradyumna, and myself, although one or two days before Prabhupada arrived, some other devotees came to help prepare and to stay during his visit. I wanted to tell Prabhupada that I had been so busy preparing for his arrival for a few weeks that I could not do all of the paintings he wanted, although I wanted to do them. I said, “I had to sew the vyasasana, make advertisements for your engagements, and go all around town pasting the ads on telephone poles.” It sounded like a complaint. Most indignantly and sarcastically, Prabhupada said, “Don’t worry I won’t be around that long.” I tried to explain that I just didn’t understand priorities. Then he showed a lot of compassion. He said, “When there is an order from the spiritual master that comes first, unless there’s an emergency.” By saying this, he showed me that he had understood. Then he stepped very close to me and looked me in the eye. He said, “Compared to the karmis, what suffering do you have? They are struggling and suffering so much. What inconvenience do you have?” That was his compassion.

I asked, “We learned that dinosaurs once ruled the earth. Is that true?” Prabhupada said, “How could they rule; they have no intelligence?” He would make the most complicated, philosophical understandings clear and simple. Once a devotee asked him, “How is it that you make this complicated philosophy so simple and clear?” He said, “Because it is simple. God is great, and you are not great. Therefore you are not God, and you should surrender to God.”

In 1969, when Arundhati was a new devotee, she asked me to ask Prabhupada, “Can you hear Krishna’s flute?” I asked Prabhupada, and at first he said, “Why not?” But then, to get attention off himself, he quoted the Sri Sri Sadgoswami- ashtaka by Srinivasa Acarya, about how the six Goswamis are serving Radha and Krishna in the transcendental land of Vrindavan, where there are beautiful trees full of fruits and flowers that have under their roots all valuable jewels. Prabhupada said, “A pure devotee can always hear Krishna’s flute.” In that way, he answered the question, but he got attention off himself.

After Prabhupada’s lecture, a strong-looking, lumberjack-type man who had come for the first time loudly challenged, “How do you know that God eats?” Prabhupada calmly said, “God says, ‘I eat,’ in the Bhagavad-gita. I may be a number-one fool, but who should I believe, God or a rascal like you?” Around the same time, Prabhupada spoke about prasadam in his lectures. He said, “The father gives the boy his supper, and they’re sitting together at the table, about to eat. The boy says, ‘Here father, you taste it first.’ The father doesn’t need food from his son. He provided it. But because the son offered it, the father says, ‘Oh yes, it looks very nice, I’ll take it.’ The fact that the son offered it to the father increases their loving relationship.” Prabhupada was teaching us the proper mentality. Then Prabhupada said, “People may criticize you for simply cutting up some fruit or making some chapatis, offering them with some prayers, and calling that food prasadam. But it is prasadam. Even an atheist can taste the difference between an unoffered chapati and an offered chapati.”

After the class, a boy stood up and asked, “Isn’t it all like a dream? When you wake up from a dream, you see that there’s really nothing there from the dream. Similarly, don’t we lose our individuality and merge?” Merging was the philosophy at the time. Prabhupada said, “You may not be the person you dream about, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a person. You’re the person who had the dream, although in the dream you thought that you were somebody else. When you wake up, then you realize who you are. That’s how Krishna consciousness is.”

Gaurasundar and Govinda dasi were Prabhupada’s personal servants as husband and wife. In Chester Street, we were all getting the nectar of Prabhupada’s personal association except for Gaurasundar. Gaurasundar felt that since he was always with Prabhupada, it would be better if he studied Bengali so that later he could help with Prabhupada’s Caitanya-caritamrta translations. Prabhupada said, “Where is Gaurasundar?” Somebody went out and brought him. Even though Gaurasundar was with Prabhupada so often, Prabhupada chastised him saying, “Don’t ever think you’re too advanced to hear.” In New York in 1974, the press was reprinting the Krishna book. We felt that the original Krishna book paintings were crude, and we wanted to put in new paintings that told similar stories. We spent hours picking out better versions of the old paintings and sent them to Rameshvara in Los Angeles. Rameshvara showed the new paintings to Prabhupada, and Prabhupada rejected 99% of them. He said, “These old Krishna paintings are our ISKCON trademarks, and unless you have my sanction, you can’t replace any of them.” He said, “This is such a beautiful picture, and this one just simply shows Putana’s black face. How can you say this is better?” In the original Krishna book there’s a painting of Vasudev crossing the Yamuna River carrying baby Krishna without Ananta Sesa. I wanted to replace it with another painting that was more expertly done but wasn’t the same pastime. Prabhupada said, “How can you take out this painting? It’s so important.” Ramesvara said, “But the old one doesn’t have Ananta Sesa over Vasudev.” Prabhupada said, “Then put Ananta in, but don’t take out the painting.” Prabhupada was very strict on the paintings, their importance, and how they have to be exactly right. Time and again he instilled in us the importance of the paintings.

One of the reasons that Prabhupada married me was because my health wasn’t good, and after I got married it got a little worse. Satsvarupa, my husband, and I asked Prabhupada about having children. We asked if we could pray for a ray of Vishnu to be our son, just as Bhaktivinode Thakur prayed and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur became his son. Prabhupada wrote back, “We cannot imitate the acharyas. We can only follow in their footsteps. You shouldn’t pray for a ray of Vishnu.” Because my health wasn’t good, Prabhupada concluded all these children letters by writing, “Better if you both become children of Krishna rather than trying to have a child for Krishna. If the mother is ill when she’s pregnant, then the baby will be sickly, and it will be a burden both on the child and on the parents.” I had a lot of problems with submission, as a lot of Westerners did. Since Satsvarupa would type and edit Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatams, we would get the manuscripts before anybody else on the planet. I read the transcript of the story of Devahuti and Kardama Muni. Devahuti was a great princess, but she gave up her prestige and served her husband like a menial servant. In that passage, Prabhupada wrote that if the wife serves the husband, then she shares his pious results. I wasn’t in favor of being the recipient of somebody else’s pious activities. I wanted to be the benefactor of the pious activities and take the predominant role. I thought, “Probably this is ancient Vedic culture, which doesn’t apply to me.” I hoped it didn’t. I wrote to Prabhupada quoting that verse in the Bhagavatam and said, “I’m writing this to you for confirmation.” Prabhupada wrote back, “Yes, it is confirmed by me that the wife is the shareholder of the husband’s pious activities. You should know that Sriman Satsvarupa’s life is fully dedicated to Krishna, and you should follow his instructions. Of course, he cannot stop or interfere with your service to me. But at least you should follow the general instructions.” Then I realized I had to do better.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 20 - Jadurani dasi, Giriraja Swami, Bhakti Caru Swami

Interview 02

Jadurani: My first conversation with Prabhupada was after he and the devotees left the park. At that time Hare Krishna wasn’t well known, as it is now, and I had never heard of it. Some stranger came over to me and asked me if I’d like to go to the temple to see the Swami. I didn’t know what that was, but intuitively I felt there was something there. I went to the temple and I saw the devotees chanting in front of Prabhupada’s dais (vyasasana). A devotee came over and gave me a chapati, which I immediately started eating, and while I was eating it, I overheard two other devotees talking between themselves. One of them was saying, “The Swami just said, ‘Whenever devotees fight, it should be taken like clouds passing by, because when clouds pass by, you hardly even notice it. So it should be taken as insignificant.’” I thought that was amazing.

Somebody invited me to see the Swami in his apartment. I went in, and ten or fifteen devotees were there chanting japa, although I didn’t know what they were chanting. Prabhupada was sitting in front of his little altar that was surrounded by tall gladiola plants. He offered his obeisances to one of the pictures of Krishna on the altar. I was an impersonalist, and I thought he was offering his obeisances to the floor because everything is God. Then he went into his back room, which was called the sitting room, and somebody asked me to go back there. I didn’t know anything, I just followed the requests. I noticed that Prabhupada reciprocated with everybody as they reciprocated with him. Whoever shook his hand, he shook their hand. When someone offered pranams, he did similarly. As they did with him, he did with them. He sat back on his mat and said, “We are eternal, and everything around us is temporary.” Because Prabhupada is the external manifestation of Supersoul, you felt the power of the Supersoul speaking when he spoke. Just that statement had a tremendous influence on me. He asked me if I lived nearby, and I said, “Oh, yes, I live very near,” because I thought I was all-pervading, but actually I lived an hour-and-a-half away. He said, “Oh, very good. Then you can come for morning classes.” Although it was very difficult to take an hour-and-a-half train ride from the Bronx to downtown Manhattan, by the power of his invitation I felt obligated to do it. I began taking the train in the mornings. That was my first experience with him.

When I went into the temple I noticed that lots of pots were there. Usually somebody brought the pots back to Prabhupada’s quarters to wash them, but this time, because there was an engagement right after lunch, they had been left there. So I brought the pots to Prabhupada’s apartment. When I got to the kitchen, Achyutananda said, “You’re not supposed to be here unless you’re initiated.” I was so embarrassed and flustered that I didn’t know what to do. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that Prabhupada was sitting in his greeting room. I turned to Prabhupada and said, “Oh, yes, that’s what I came to talk to you about, initiation.” Prabhupada was calm and serene. He said, “Can you follow the principles?” I said, “Yes,” although at that time I had only given up smoking. He said, “All right, in two weeks you can be initiated with Bob.” The day before initiation, I still didn’t have any beads. In those days we didn’t have tulasi, so we bought red beads at Tandi’s Hobby Store and strung them ourselves. I asked some of the devotees what initiation meant. They said, “It means that we agree to serve the spiritual master. We accept him as God and we agree to serve him for the rest of this life and eternally thereafter.” I thought, “Oh, okay.” For the special occasion of my initiation I wore tight black jeans and a black turtleneck shirt. I didn’t know Prabhupada’s pranam mantra yet, so when he handed me my beads and told me to bow down, I didn’t know what to say. He said, “Nama.” I said, “Nama.” He said, “Om.” I said, “Om.” He said, “Vishnupadaya.” In that way we went through the mantra. Then he said, “Your name is Jadurani. Jadurani is the original queen in the Yadu dynasty. Although Krishna is eternal, He appears in a particular family of devotees to glorify that family. He appears just like the sun. As the sun is always there but it appears in the day and disappears at night, so Krishna’s appearance is like that.” I was honored to get the name Jadurani.

In 1966 or ’67, Prabhupada began his Prahlad Maharaj series. Prabhupada explained how Prahlad would speak to his classmates when his teachers were out, and Prabhupada gave an analogy. He said that in an airplane there’s a driver and a motor. Without the motor the plane doesn’t run, and with the motor but without the driver, the plane also doesn’t run. Similarly, even if you have all of the mechanical bodily arrangements, without the soul in the body, the body doesn’t work. Prabhupada said, “Even though the body is so big and complicated if you take a small drop of poison, life is finished. In the same way, if the tiny soul, one ten-thousandth the size of the tip of the hair, is in the body, it brings the whole body to life.”

After a couple of paintings in which the proportions were wrong, Prabhupada taught me a grid system to make the paintings more accurate. The pictures he gave me to paint from were in a frame with glass, so with some kind of marker or paintbrush he had me divide the picture in half and then in half again and then in half again to make sixteen lines across and sixteen lines down. Instead of trying to do the whole picture at once, I would paint one box at a time, and it would be more accurate. The first painting I did with that system was of his Guru Maharaj with long hair and a beard. I was surprised at how he looked, because Prabhupada was clean-shaven. Prabhupada told me that for four months of the year, called chaturmasya, devotees perform austerities, and at that time his Guru Maharaj didn’t shave.

The picture he gave me to paint from was very old, as you can imagine, since it was a picture of his Guru Maharaj. The details weren’t clear, so in my painting I didn’t paint fingernails. He brought that to my attention, and I said, “Well, I didn’t see them.” He said, “All right,” as if I had said something intelligent. He was tolerant and patient with my lack of any kind of consciousness, what to speak of Krishna consciousness. Everybody knows what fingernails look like, and I realized that I should paint them in. I painted white tilak, because the picture was black-and-white and our tilak was also white because there was no gopi chandana at that time. We used Fuller’s Earth, which one of the devotees bought at a hardware store. Prabhupada told me to make the tilak yellowish and also to make a bright garland. He told me not to put a halo around his Guru Maharaj (perhaps I had already put one). Then on a narrow, long piece of paper, which subsequently he did for many paintings after that, he wrote the mantra of that particular painting, in this case his Guru Maharaj’s pranam mantra, and he told me to write that at the bottom of the painting. When it was complete he made a big announcement. There were about ten devotees in the room, and he said, “You have brought me Vaikuntha.” Although he had brought us Vaikuntha, he said that.

Sometimes Prabhupada would give me instructions while I painted. He would squat in that typical Indian way and say, “Make the ponds pink,” or make something else some other way. Sometimes he would come by and look, and I would ask him philosophical questions. For example, he was lecturing about how the Goddess of Fortune was born from the churning of the Milk Ocean. So, when he was standing behind me as I painted, I turned around and said, “How could that have happened?” Prabhupada said, “You should think, ‘All right, I don’t understand now but later on the understanding will come.’” He explained it a little bit, but still it’s beyond the mind.

Prabhupada spoke every morning and on Monday, Wed- nesday, and Friday evenings. We would also meet him on many other occasions. As soon as anyone heard an instruction from Prabhupada they would repeat it to the other devotees, so we were hearing not only from Prabhupada directly, but from the devotees as well. Since we were dull, even though we heard so many things, they registered in their own time. Under Prabhupada’s instructions Govinda dasi and Gaurasundar introduced an arati ceremony which was simply a large tray with a small Jewish votive candle (Hebrew letters were still on the glass). There was a line of devotees in front of the Pancha-tattva, and they took turns offering the candle, each devotee offering it and then passing it on to the next one in line. Afterwards, somebody brought the arati paraphernalia to me for cleaning. One day, although I tried everything, the candle wouldn’t go out. Prabhupada was standing nearby, and he said, “Why don’t you blow on it?” I said, “I thought we’re not supposed to blow on anything.” He said, “When there’s no other alternative, then that’s all right.” A little later my leg brushed against the tall gladiola plants that were around his oval altar. I said, “I just touched the plant with my leg. Should I offer my obeisances because the plants were on the altar?” He said, “Yes.”

Once in New York in 1967, Prabhupada called me into his room after his darshan. I was one of the devotees from Boston who had come to see him. He handed me a print of Radha and Krishna and the eight gopis and asked me to make a four-foot by five-foot painting of that. We didn’t have the Brahma-samhita at that time, but he began explaining from the Brahma-samhita how in the spiritual world the palaces are made of touchstones and the cows give nectar that can fulfill anyone’s desire and the ground is muddy with the milk of the cows. The trees are wish-fulfilling trees that supply all eatables upon demand, and the gopis, the associates of Radharani, serve Radharani and Krishna by fanning Them, singing and dancing for Them, and offering Them food. I couldn’t relate to the exalted description. As I looked at the print, my response to those beautiful words was “How come the gopis aren’t looking at Radha and Krishna? Shouldn’t they be looking at Them?” (They were holding their paraphernalia and looking in different directions.) Prabhupada said, “When you’re dancing, you don’t always have to look.” Then he told me to make Krishna a little smaller. He said, “Krishna looks a little fatty there and He’s too tall. Make Him a little thinner and shorter.” I said, “Those flowers there, they’re all blobs,” because the artist hadn’t made details. “What flowers should I put there?” He said, “You can transport any flower to Vrindavan.” I said, “I heard that Krishna’s eyes are red.” He said, “Reddish, reddish-black.” I asked him, “You say that Krishna’s the color of a fresh rain cloud, but what color is that?” Prabhupada lowered his head and put his hand on it. Then he gradually brought his head up and his hand down. In great humility he said, “They say Krishna is the color of a fresh rain cloud, but I do not know what color that is.” One amazing thing about Prabhupada was that even an ordinary person could see him make simple gestures and hear him say simple things and get great realizations about the nature of a pure devotee. He emanated those truths by his glance and his words. You felt that he could see Krishna.

If Prabhupada just casually or even quickly looked at us, it had tremendous significance. Like many devotees, I felt that he wasn’t just seeing my dress, this body, but he was seeing the soul. He saw me, although I couldn’t see me. It was almost embarrassing, but at the same time it was not embarrassing because you knew that not only was he seeing beyond the body, but he was seeing beyond the faults and beyond the interactions of the modes of nature. He was seeing the soul, which is so full of wonderful qualities. It was embarrassing, and then it went beyond embarrassing; it was blissful when he would glance at you. We hear that when Krishna took lunch with His cowherd boyfriends, everyone would think, “He’s just looking at me, it’s just me and Him.” That’s how it was with many of us and Prabhupada. If ten people were in the room with him, each had a personal story of the same moments. There were a few experiences that I had with Prabhupada’s glance. He called me into his greeting room because some young Indian gentlemen had come to speak with him. Prabhupada offered them some maha sweet, and before they ate it, they put it to their head. We had never done that. He glanced at me and indicated that we should be that respectful to prasadam.

Prabhupada said, “Just keep hearing. Your material qualification or disqualification doesn’t matter. Just keep hearing submissively, and everything will come. You will fully realize God.” We had that faith. Prabhupada gave many arguments to defeat Mayavadis which helped me tremendously. For example, Mayavadis say, “When you become self-realized, you become God and you become silent just like a water jug. When you’re filling a water jug, it goes gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, but when it’s full, it’s silent.” Prabhupada said, “The Mayavadis give this kind of argument, but an analogy must have many similar points. This analogy has no similar points. Is the living entity like a water jug? Can I be compared to a water jug? And this analogy contradicts the scriptures. In the scriptures it says that, ‘Now that we’ve passed through all the lower species and come to the human form of life, it’s time to talk about human subjects.’” A Mayavadi also says, “I’m God.” Prabhupada would counter, “Oh, you are God? How have you become a dog?” The Mayavadi responds, “I’m God, but I’ve forgotten.” Prabhupada, “Okay, you may be God, but you’re not that God who doesn’t forget.” In this way he would play both sides. Purusottama cleaned in Prabhupada’s quarters, and I painted there. Achyutananda worked in the kitchen. After class and breakfast, Prabhupada would come into the room where we were and say, “What did I say in class?” I would say, “God is everything, but everything is not God. Or is it that everything is God but God is not . . .” Then Prabhupada would continue teaching us. He would say, “The greatest illusion is to think that ‘I’m God,’ and LSD is the greatest illusion because it puts you in that foolish frame of mind.” We got to hear his lectures and his personal discussions, and we also heard from all the devotees. One little instruction he gave me was “Don’t use washing machines. They’re not nice.” In those days Prabhupada washed his laundry in his bathtub, and the devotees who lived downstairs also washed their clothes this way. So besides everything else, we received little instructions here and there.

In the early 1970s we were not only painting Krishna, but we were also painting for the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Of course, Krishna is very distinctive. He’s blue, He wears a peacock feather, and He has a yellow dhoti, so even if it’s a bad painting, you know that it is Krishna. But there are many people mentioned who are not so distinctive. Prabhupada told us how to paint them. For example, kings do not have a beard but have a small moustache. We couldn’t imagine that a king could be a Vaishnava, because we thought that you’re only a Vaishnava if you wore a dhoti. But Prabhupada said kings with helmets could also be Vaishnavas. So we had general descriptions of kings like Prithu, or brahminical ladies like Mother Saci. I wrote to Prabhupada and asked, “It’s easy to understand that Krishna is in His picture. But how is somebody like King Prithu or Saci Mata in their picture?” Prabhupada wrote back, “They are present by your consciousness.” That is, if we’re thinking that it’s them and we’re painting not by concoction, but from Prabhupada’s authorized instructions and especially from his books, then these people are actually present. Sometimes we’d learn in a positive way, and sometimes we’d learn in a negative way; that is by the school of hard knocks. For example, in the early 1970s, I did a painting for the cover of Adi-lila Volume Three of Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtan party going to the Chand Kazi’s house. Lord Nityananda was playing the mridanga. I asked Prabhupada “Is that all right?” He said, “Lord Nityananda doesn’t play mridanga.” Because we had to do many details, and not all the details were in the manuscript, we had to ask many questions a normal reader of his books, even a normal devotee reader, wouldn’t have thought to ask. What did Ramananda Raya look like? How old was he? Did he have hair? Was he a sannyasi? Prabhupada patiently answered hundreds and hundreds of such questions. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya is such-and-such years old. Ramananda Raya is in his forties. One question was about Lord Nityananda’s sannyas, and Prabhupada said, “He never took sannyas.” Then we knew not to paint Him the same way we painted Lord Chaitanya as a sannyasi. In the original Krishna Book, Prabhupada used Devahuti Pra- bhu’s painting of rasa-lila, based on an Indian print that Prabhupada had copied. Devahuti’s painting was a little stylistic but dignified and very nice. When we were doing another description of the rasa-lila from the Third Canto, I thought, “I’ll make a more realistic one than Devahuti’s. With proper lighting and realistic folds of the cloth, this one will be much better than her’s.” We went through a great endeavor. Murlivadana, the BBT photographer, took about ten or fifteen devotees in a van to some big park in New York where they posed for the rasa dance, the girls with their hair long and Krishna with His long hair. They were moving around and things were flowing as you would imagine they would if they were dancing. Murlivadana took pictures, I painted from the pictures, and the painting went in the book. When Prabhupada saw it, he said, “This has ruined my whole book. You have made it like a hippie plaything. Jadurani is a hippie rascal. Devahuti’s was much more dignified. The rasa-lila is Krishna’s smiling face,” (the different Cantos are like different parts of His body) “and you have made it like a plaything.” So in that case also we got instructions in a negative way.

For the paintings for Caitanya-caritamrta, Narottam asked Prabhupada about a thousand questions, sometimes in letters and sometimes by phone. Prabhupada was traveling around the world, and we were on a marathon because each book had to come out in a week. We couldn’t wait for letters to come back from India, so sometimes Ramesvara would call in questions to Paramahamsa Swami, Prabhupada’s secretary. Paramahamsa Swami would call Ramesvara back with Prabhupada’s answers, and then Ramesvara would bring the messages back to us. Sometimes I would write the questions and give them to somebody going to India. Prabhupada would write a one or two line answer between my written lines and another devotee, who was returning from India, would bring that back. Everything was going very fast. In 1969, we asked some questions for each painting, and Prabhupada encouraged us by writing, “If you discuss it amongst yourselves and use your discretion that will be better than asking me.” In the same letter, he answered one of our questions and showed us that asking him was better than using our own discretion. We were doing the painting of Krishna fighting with Jambavan. In the Krishna Book, Jambavan is addressed as the “king of the gorillas” and also as riksha-raja, which means, “king of the bears.” The question was, “Was Jambavan a gorilla or a bear?” Prabhupada answered, “He is neither a gorilla nor a bear. Just like somebody may be named, Krishna das or Krishna, but that doesn’t mean that he’s Krishna. So Jambavan may be called ‘the king of the bears’ or ‘king of the gorillas,’ but that doesn’t mean he’s a bear or gorilla. Otherwise how could his beautiful daughter, Jambavati, become Krishna’s wife?” Prabhupada said, “Jambavan was like a big, strong man of your country.” In this way, we got further instructions about Krishna consciousness. To know anything we were fully dependent on Srila Prabhupada.

Twice I wrote to Prabhupada asking if I could be a san- kirtan devotee. Twice he wrote back, “No, your specific talent is painting. You should do that. But even in spiritual life variety makes one more fit for work, so you can go on sankirtan sometimes.” In 1974, when Prabhupada wrote many letters glorifying the book distributors, I started feeling left out. In a letter to the Chicago temple, he wrote that only two devotees should stay back to take care of the Deities, and everyone else (that meant one hundred and fifty devotees), should go out all day on book distribution. He always stressed book distribution, and I was glum because I wasn’t doing that. I wrote to him again and asked if I could distribute books. He said, “Just because I write something to one person, it doesn’t mean that it’s the same for everybody. Making pictures for the books is the same as distributing them.” He rejected my proposals.

Once in Boston, I was sitting in his darshan room, and he was telling me something brilliant. I said, “Gee, Swamiji, you know everything.” He said, “Unless one knows everything, how can one be a teacher?” Another time he was saying something brilliant, and I said the same thing, “You know everything.” He put his head down and said, “I have done nothing extraordinary. I simply canvass on behalf of the disciplic succession.”

Based on a two-inch-by-three-inch picture without de- tails, I was painting Lord Nrsimhadev. At the bottom of the picture there was an Indian rug that Lord Nrsimhadev and Ananta were on. I needed a reference for an Indian rug. I remembered that there was an India rug in a print of Sita Rama and Hanuman on the wall directly behind Prabhupada’s sitting place. Prabhupada was working in the next room, so I tiptoed in to look at the print, but it was a little far away unless I stepped on Prabhupada’s mat. I didn’t want to step on the mat, so I stood in front of it, but to see the picture I had to jump up and down. Prabhupada looked at me and asked, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m trying to see this picture as a reference for my painting, but I don’t want to step on your bed.” In the daytime he used the mat for sitting, and at night he slept on it. He said, “In Krishna’s service, you can step on my head.” That was his whole frame of being. He was willing to sacrifice anything to help others come to Krishna.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 13 - Jadurani dd, Tripurari Swami, Bhagavata

Interview 03

Jadurani: In relation to women, the young men even in those days, in 1966, ‘67, ‘68, were saying, “Women shouldn’t give class because they are less intelligent.” Govinda dasi happened to have been one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants at that time, so I asked her to ask Prabhupada for me, “Is it true that women can’t advance as quickly as men?” I was feeling depressed. Prabhupada told her to tell me, “Yes, if you think you are a woman, how can you make any advancement?” One of the brahmacaris wrote to Prabhupada that I shouldn’t be giving classes, as well as many other girls, like Kanchanbala and Lilasukha. In the letter he said, “This is not right.” Prabhupada wrote back quoting the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 8.128) where Lord Caitanya said “kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya”—whether one is a sannyasi or a brahman or anything, if he knows the science of Krishna, he can be a teacher of Krishna consciousness. Then Prabhupada added, “And even if you think that women are less intelligent, still everyone should be given a chance to speak.”

I used to get sick a lot when I painted in the basement of the Boston temple. There was no air down there and there were a lot of water bugs. So at some point, working and over working, I had a lung collapse. After I recovered I asked Srila Prabhupada on a morning walk, “Was that due to overwork that I got sick?” He said, “The cause is this body. The cause is already there.” Regarding the body itself being the cause of all of our miseries, not any situation or person, Prabhupada told the story of an individual who brought a skull home. He was an anthropologist who put the skull in a drawer, and then he came back later and found that the skull was smashed. He asked his wife, “What happened?” She said, “Oh! I thought she was some previous lover of yours. So in anger I crushed it.” So Prabhupada said, “Now I can understand this person was destined to suffer so much that even after he left his body, his skull was smashed.” So it is all pre-arranged.

After Srila Prabhupada experienced a heart attack, he recuperated in New Jersey by the beach. The policy was that two of us could visit him each day. The day I was there, I told him that one of the brahmacaris had criticized me for wearing shorts and I wasn’t satisfied with his explanation as to why. I asked Prabhupada, “Is it okay to wear shorts?” Prabhupada said, “The attraction is already there. Don’t aggravate it.” Then he said, “In Vedic culture, the woman would be so covered that even the sun could not see her. And who can hide themselves from the sun?” He pointed out that within the Muslim religion the women have only their eyes showing. On the wall in the room was a picture of Draupadi and the assembly of crude men who were trying to strip her naked as Krishna continually gave her cloth to cover herself. Prabhupada imitated Draupadi and said, “By nature a woman is ashamed to be seen without clothes.” So that was his instruction on me following the brahmacari’s instruction.

When Prabhupada saw all the changes that Radha Vallabha prabhu and I wanted to make regarding the paintings for the books, Prabhupada was furious according to the letter that Ramesvara sent us just after his talk with Prabhupada. He said, “Prabhupada was holding the signatures of the pictures and they were shaking in his hands. He was so angry.” Ramesvara added what Prabhupada said about me. “She is such a hippie. She likes to see men with long hair and beards even when they don’t have them in the painting.” He said, “Why the change of Vasudeva carrying Krishna across the river? Why did you take it out? Why didn’t you just fix it?” Ramesvara said to him, “You can’t just fix it at this point.” Prabhupada replied, “Then just keep it as it is. But don’t change it. These are our ISKCON trademarks. Don’t change them without my authorization.” When I heard about all the mistakes that I made in the books, I wanted to kill myself. But that’s not so easy. So I just lamented and figured I just had to keep going and show him more pictures beforehand. Sometimes we showed him the paintings half done, sometimes all done but not published yet, and sometimes just sketches. When we were doing the Caitanya-caritamrita marathon, because the paintings had to come out so fast, and he was all over the world, he said, “There’s no time to send the sketches now. Just pray to Krishna. He’s in your heart.”

When Prabhupada came to Boston, I was complaining to him that there was a certain devotee in the temple that I couldn’t get along with. I was explaining and expanding my complaint, and in the middle of my complaining, I got the realization that, “Who am I telling this to? Prabhupada came to this world for loving relationships with God and each other.” Then I stopped myself in the middle, and I said, “Well, should I just forget about it?” He said, “Yes, you have to forgive; otherwise, how can you live?” Around the same time in Boston, I was in Prabhupada’s room along with Govinda dasi. Prabhupada had his trunk desk and there was a little ant walking across his desk. I was starting to attempt to brush the ant off the desk and Prabhupada said, “No, let him play.” But it was too late. I was already brushing and I ended up squashing the ant. I felt bad, as if the ant was a brother and this is in front of a person who sees the soul. Prabhupada didn’t look very happy with me. Then Govinda dasi asked Prabhupada, “Did he immediately get another body?” Prabhupada said, “Yes, at once transferred.” Then I started apologizing over and over again, but Prabhupada would not look up at me.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 79 - Devotees Share

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

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 01

Jadurani: Starting in November, he began lecturing on Chaitanya-caritamrta, Lord Chaitanya’s teachings to Sri Sanatan Goswami about Krishna’s innumerable incarnations and how He has a road show and goes all over the universe and every second appearing in another universe—the second second being the first second in the second universe and how He’s in millions of universes at the same time. He would say such interesting things like if you give somebody just an atomic particle of ptomaine poisoning, the person would die just by an atom of that. So similarly, the soul is so tiny but it gives all life to the body.

We just didn’t know what to call it. It’s arati, but we just called it “bells” in those days, “Prabhupada is doing…” or “Swamiji is doing bells.” Later on we learned about the genuine process of arati.

This is Brahmananda, who is Gargamuni’s brother, and Prabhupada made him the first temple president and his brother the first temple treasurer. That’s me getting up to dance now. Prabhupada had them pose for my first Lord Nrsinghadev painting. He had one of them be Hiranyakasipu and the other be Lord Nrsinghadev, and he put one on the other one’s lap and he showed them how they should pose for Lord Nrsinghadev to rip apart the demon Hiranyakasipu. Prabhupada also posed for the painting, making his eyes crossed and showing himself ripping the demon with his hands and showing long nails. This painting on the window of Matchless Gifts is from a copy of a print that Prabhupada gave me of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan party; His performing sankirtan at the courtyard of the house of Srivasa Thakur. Prabhupada pointed out who the different personalities in the painting are; that’s Mukunda and his sons, that’s Haridasa Thakur, and who the Panca Tattva members are. That was my very first painting that I did for Prabhupada, and it was so bad. Everything was out of proportion: the feet were gigantic and the heads were small and a hand was coming out someplace that wasn’t connected to the body. But Prabhupada was so encouraging that when he saw the painting…all the devotees would always gather around him. So he said to everybody, “Krishna has sent…” Lord Krishna sent me to paint. Even though it was so bad, he was so encouraging. On that day, he also invited me to come and paint up in his quarters. So for the next months I was painting there, and he would often come into the room, which was the room that he said bells, and give instructions about the paintings.

I was doing a sign that he asked me to do upstairs in that first place where he was offering arati, a sign of the Hare Krishna mantra, because there was going to be a big program at Tompkins Square Park. So the sign was about four or five feet on oak tag, and I had to sprawl my whole body across it to reach to the other end. We didn’t have easels in those days. So I also apologized to Prabhupada when he came in the room that “I’m sorry that I’m offending the Holy Name.” So he told the story of when Krishna had a headache and the gopis took the dust from their feet to put on His head to relieve His headache, and they didn’t care if they would go to hell as long as Krishna would be cured. So when I apologized, Prabhupada told me that story and he said, “It’s fine because it’s for service.”

I did this painting, and then Prabhupada was going back to India in July of ’67 and we were all devastated that he was going. But then he looked at this picture and he said, “If you look at this picture, then we’ll all be together even though I’m in India. And if you chant Hare Krishna, then we’re all packed up tight even though I’m in India and you’re here.”

So about a week or so before Prabhupada arrived, I put up hundreds of these fliers all over the city – on lampposts, on billboards, in stores and anyplace I could – advertising Prabhupada’s bhakti-yoga and Bhagavad-gita classes.

On this particular day, he took us downtown where he went when he first got off the Jaladuta boat. Because the captain was doing some shopping, so he took Prabhupada and Prabhupada was pointing out different places that he remembered. The next day, Prabhupada took all the devotees for a tour of where he first landed. I was in the back and I ran up so that I could walk right next to him, and he turned to me and he said, “If the jackals glorify you, what’s the benefit?” In other words, don’t try and get material glorification. And then he said—because the nature of any big city is that things are being broken down and things are being built up—he said, “Building and breaking, building and breaking. So we have to stop this building and breaking, and we have to break with Maya and build with Krishna.”

And now he’s sitting there in New York, and he said things like “You could chant any name of God, either Allah or any name of God that’s bona fide. But because we are followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we chant the Hare Krishna mantra.”

Interview DVD 09

Jadurani: The artists had a meeting with Prabhupada in his quarters. And at that time Baradraj was having all the artists take drawing classes where the model would move around and run around in the middle of all the artists and then run out, and then the artists would have to remember and then draw it after. So I couldn’t relate to all these drawing classes, partly because it was too difficult for me. So we wanted to ask Prabhupada whether he actually approved of these drawing classes. So during this meeting, Pariksit Prabhu was asking Prabhupada about the classes and Prabhupada answered, “Yes, morning and evening classes we should have.” So Ramesvara said, “No, Prabhupada, we mean the drawing classes.” So Prabhupada said, “But I mean the morning and evening shastra classes. The real technique of any art is hearing and chanting. It doesn’t matter what else you do for the rest of the day, but you must attend the temple classes. Then by advancing in Krishna consciousness, the Lord is in your heart and He will give you directions how to do your art.”

Interview DVD 10

Jadurani: Soon after Prabhupada’s arrival, Radhaballabha revealed to Prabhupada a big problem that was going on in the L.A. temple at that time. A group of men and women which was called the Gopi Bhava Club…that is, they were seeing some Radha Kunda babajis who are still prevalent up till today, and they were learning from them a misunderstanding of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrta. Caitanya-caritamrta would say things in Prabhupada’s own translations and commentaries like “regulative principles are an impediment in the execution of spontaneous love.” So they would take it that regulative principles are an impediment to them, imagining that they are on the platform of spontaneous love and not realizing that without regulations they only have material life. So they were trying to pretend…imagine that they were already gopis and giving up their regulative principles and having illicit sex and getting pregnant. So this was brought up to Srila Prabhupada, and Prabhupada became very, very angry and began talking about this subject in many different venues. He said, “For a neophyte to try and understand Radha and Krishna’s pastimes is like a very little baby trying to understand sex life. If he tries to do things by his baby mind, his whole life will be ruined.” And then Prabhupada made many statements in class about it. Then on June 11th, we were able to have one of our very rare art meetings with him; and present were Pariksit, Muralidhara, Jayarama, Caruhasa, Dhriti, Dhirga and myself. That was the Art Department at that time. So then Jayarama showed his picture and Prabhupada said, “Why do you do the same picture all the time? Why do you always do Radha-Krishna? Why don’t you do a different picture?” Then when Caruhasa showed his picture, which was some meeting of Radha and Krishna, Prabhupada began to condemn the sahajiyas. He said, “Why do you imagine some pastime of Krishna? It’s like you are thinking that Krishna is some playboy and He has so many girlfriends, and then you are imagining, ‘Oh, now I understand Krishna. I can control Krishna and make Him as I like. Now I am perfect.’” So he is seeing that even the devotees who weren’t in the Gopi Bhava Club, we all had some tinge of that sahajiya and impersonalism. Therefore, he is nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine. And he explained that we should understand the words of Sri Jiva Goswami, who said that Krishna is transcendental and would never have anything to do with material energy. He said, “Radha-Krishna’s intimate pastimes are not for being explained by the neophytes. How can those engaged in illicit sex and smoking bidis think that they are understanding and having any relationship and what to speak of becoming the gopis? If we misunderstand Radha and Krishna from a wrong person and by our own imagination, then we will think that Radha and Krishna are a similar debauchery and we’ll use that so-called debauchery of Radha and Krishna, which is pure, to support our own illicit activities.” So then Ramesvara said to him, “But they think that they are becoming purified by this.” So Prabhupada said, “Not purified, but putrefied.” So Pariksit asked Prabhupada at the art meeting, “So should we just stick to painting the First and Second Cantos, which are Krishna’s two lotus feet?” So Prabhupada said, “No, go on painting these upper cantos, and by painting you will become purified and qualified.”