Kalakanta das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Kalakanta: I remember when I was first introduced to Prabhupada with some other library party members. When Prabhupada looked at me, like so many of my Godbrothers, I felt that he was looking right through me. I felt like a little insignificant spec of dust in the universe and completely unworthy of being engaged in his service. I was feeling that way and I heard from Srutakirti in one of his books about what Prabhupada was really thinking in his perception when he would look at his disciples that way. He was thinking, “How can I engage this person in Krishna’s service?” When I heard that, then some of Prabhupada’s gravity became understandable. I wish I’d known that at 3 that time. I would have felt more enthused instead of what I felt which was like crawling in a hole somewhere for feeling unworthy.

Being members of the library party, we had no home as we traveled constantly. Our home was the van and all year round we were distributing books. So on the occasion of Prabhupada being in Chicago in 1975, we had this very rare weekend off. The devotee who was cooking for Srila Prabhupada was a good friend and he asked, “Would you like to help me cook for Prabhupada?” I always had cherished the idea of 12 doing some personal service for Prabhupada so I said, “Yes of course. I’d be very happy to.” He showed me how to make sandesh and when it was time to bring the offering to Prabhupada he asked, “Would you like to take it in?” I said, “Of course.” I took the tray in to Prabhupada and left. When Prabhupada rang his bell a few minutes later, the devotee told me this means that he’s through honoring prasadam, and to again go in and take the tray out. I did and noticed Prabhupada had eaten two of the sandesh. The next day my friend came to me kind of sheepishly and I said, “Did Prabhupada say something?” I thought maybe he liked the sandesh and would make a comment about them. My friend said, “Yes.” He told me Prabhupada said, “Why are so many men staying back from book distribution to cook for me?” Although I had cherished the desire to serve Prabhupada personally, from that instruction I could understand that serving the order of the spiritual master is much more important that serving the body of the spiritual master.

In Atlanta in 1975 we were on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada. Someone asked, “Prabhupada, we sometimes go to anthropology departments and they ask, “If the Vedic culture is so ancient, where are the bones? Why are there no remnants from that day and age?” Prabhupada said, “Because they burn the bodies. That’s civilized.” Then he stopped for a moment and with his two hands as claws in a digging motion Prabhupada said, “Anthropologists, just like dogs digging for bones.”

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

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 07

Kalakanta: Prabhupada was speaking in the Bhagavatam class one morning. At a certain point in the lecture, he went into this kind of ecstatic trance. He was clearly very alert. It wasn’t that he appeared in any way to be dozing. His eyes were just closed, and he appeared to be ruminating very deeply. But he was silent for a long time, and everybody in the temple room was dead silent. It was a very, very poignant moment where everyone was in utter state of attention and nothing was being said. Everybody was just waiting for Prabhupada to do something, and nobody dared make a sound. After what seemed like much longer but was probably a minute or two, Hansadutta started chanting nama om visnu-padaya and broke the moment, and Prabhupada shook his head and indicated to go on chanting.

Interview DVD 08

Kalakanta: There was a parade. We had quite an elaborate procession through the streets of Vrindavan. There was an elephant, there was a shenai band, and all the devotees doing kirtan. It was quite a commotion with all of this procession going through. Prabhupada seemed to be very beaming and happy. He was walking at the head of the procession, which, now that I think of it, it must have been quite funny for the people who knew him from before and here he is with an elephant, a shenai band, and all these Western disciples walking through the streets where he had walked so many times as a sadhu. We walked quite a ways. It seemed like a very, very long walk through the city.