Jagadatri devi dasi Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Jagadatri: The implication of what I was doing began to dawn on me, and I blurted out, “Srila Prabhupada, how am I going to remember you and surrender to you for the rest of my life?” Prabhupada was quiet for a second, but he liked that question. He chuckled and said, “If you chant sixteen rounds a day and follow the four principles, you’ll remember me and you’ll surrender to me.” Then he paused a moment, laughed again and said, “And don’t forget to feed me.” In later years, I thought how kind Prabhupada was because he knew I’m a simpleton. I’m so simple that this is all I have to do and I’ll go back home to Godhead. If you remember Prabhupada and surrender to him, you’ll go wherever he goes, and he’s definitely in the spiritual world. So my task is to remember him and surrender to him properly. I’ve been told also that “don’t forget to feed me,” means to distribute his books, to preach. But I think he meant that I shouldn’t forget to offer him food, so I don’t take anything that isn’t prasadam.

One morning in Mayapur, I was helping Daivishakti cut fruit for Srila Prabhupada when Prabhupada’s servant, Srutakirti, told us, “Srila Prabhupada said that before you put the watermelon on the plate, you should taste it to make sure it’s okay.” I thought, “I can’t taste the watermelon before I put it on Srila Prabhupada’s plate. I just can’t. I’ll put the best watermelon on his plate.” Of course, that watermelon wasn’t good. The next day I heard, “You didn’t taste the watermelon and it was no good. Srila Prabhupada was displeased.” So, Prabhupada reciprocates. The way he’s done it for me is to reciprocate through others. I haven’t had the association that other devotees have had, but somehow or another his mercy is always there.

Prabhupada was visiting the Dallas gurukula when we had one of the most ecstatic kirtans I’ve ever experienced. Vishnujana Swami was there, along with many others. Everyone was five feet off the ground. Jayatirtha was flying in the air and twirling on the way down, while waves of devotees were running back and forth. There was a great feeling permeating the entire room. Then I thought in a demoniac way, “Everybody loves Prabhupada, everybody’s worshiping Prabhupada. I want to see if he’s really transcendental.” The affection, love and honor that everybody was giving to Srila Prabhupada was palpable. I thought, “I want to see what he does.” So, after the kirtan was over and everybody was paying obeisances, I sat up and looked at him. I wanted to see his expression—if he was gloating from the worship. He glanced to the other side of the room, then he glanced at me, and in a fraction of a second I was shocked that I could be so gross and fallen. I immediately knew that he was totally transcendental and not bothered by worship. And I could see that he was embarrassed for me. It was a great lesson for my stone-like heart to see that all the time he was a humble servant of Krishna.

Once in Detroit, when Madhavananda was the temple president there, I went on a morning walk with Prabhupada. Prabhupada wanted Govardhan to be president there again. Then, when Prabhupada went to New York, I joined him there and went on another morning walk. We women weren’t able to walk close to Prabhupada, but that morning Prabhupada stopped walking, everybody else stopped also, and we all looked down at the crack on the pavement. Prabhupada said, “Look at this plant. The living entity is so powerful that it’s pushing through the cement.” He pointed out how the atma is so strong that it can crack cement. It was wonderful.

Once, all the devotees went from the Hyderabad farm to Hyderabad while Palika, Kaushalya and I were swimming. We were left behind. Prabhupada was at the farm then, feeling relaxed and happy. He asked us if we had enough prasadam, if we had enough saris, if we were comfortable, if everything was okay, and why were we there. We had to say that we got left behind, and Prabhupada arranged for a lorry truck to bring us to Hyderabad. He was very caring and loving. Once, after sankirtan had been introduced, I wrote to Prabhupada from Dallas on behalf of our sankirtan party—ten other women and me. This was before sankirtan was in full bloom. We were bothered by the heavy pressure for women to be chaste, humble, shy and submissive and at the same time, at nine o’clock every morning we went out the door in pants to stand on an island in the middle of a highway. I wrote, “I want to be chaste, shy and submissive, but this is what we’re doing during the day. Do you know this?” Prabhupada wrote back a wonderful letter. The gist of it was that aggression for the cause of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would purify you of all your desires for sense gratification. I didn’t think I was asking about my desire for sense gratification, but obviously he was telling us to go on being aggressive. Aggression for the cause of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s preaching is purifying. And we were all trying to get purified. We were thinking we were victims, but actually we were in the process of purification.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 32 - Jagadatri dd, Giriraj Swami and 6 others

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

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 05

Jagadhatri: Most of the kids are really small. So my son began to pick up the kids, the little ones, because you can see they’re having a hard time, some of them can’t quite get the cookie and whatnot. This is the morning where Prabhupada did not give Raghunath a cookie. Usually after Raghunath would hold the little child out to get the cookie, then Prabhupada would give him one. I understood that this is the spiritual master and whatever he does is perfect, but I was really upset. How come my son didn’t get a cookie? Everybody else did. Raghunath, he just accepted, “Oh, I didn’t get one? OK, I didn’t get a cookie.” See, Raghunath is bringing another little kid out. So the next morning when Srila Prabhupada would come down from his quarters on the side stairs and Karandhar would drive the Rolls Royce up to take Srila Prabhupada on his morning walk, and Raghunath and I were out there… Oh, look – Raghunath took a cookie. He didn’t get one. So the big sannyasis were there and they were going to go on the morning walk to Venice Beach with Prabhupada, and he motioned to Raghu to come and had Raghunath come inside the car and sit next to him. And for the next two or three mornings, he took Raghu on the morning walk with him. So I thought, “Raghu didn’t get a cookie, but Raghu got to go on the morning walk.” So the pure devotee always does wonderful things.

Interview DVD 07

Jagadhatri: It was Gaura Purnima evening, early evening, and the moon was rising. So Lord Caitanya’s moon was rising. We were walking close to the mandir and we glanced up, and there was Srila Prabhupada outside of his quarters and he had his arms on the balcony. His head was resting on the back of his hands, and he was just watching the moon rise. We immediately paid our obeisances, but it was so beautiful to see him looking at Lord Caitanya’s moon in Mayapur.