Kirtiraj das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 01

Kirtiraj: This was the first time I saw Srila Prabhupada in person. When we were waiting at Logan Airport, we were waiting for Prabhupada to arrive and when we got a first glimpse of him, I was really in awe—that he appeared as though he was floating down the exit from the airplane. And he seemed like he was just floating down the hallway with such a glow to him, that it was like no other person I ever saw in my life.

Prabhupada was supposed to go to the hotel in downtown Boston for a press conference and Uddhava who was my boss at the press, didn’t allow me to go to the hotel. Instead, he took me back to the temple. So I was really angry with him that I didn’t get a chance to see Srila Prabhupada more, and as we were standing on the porch of the Boston temple—and I’m there kind of under my breath cursing Uddhava— all of a sudden Prabhupada’s car drove up and there was Prabhupada at the temple. There were probably only about five of us there, me and Uddhava, the pujari and a couple of others. So we walked—greeted Prabhupada and walked down the hall to Prabhupada’s room with him. In the meantime I guess, devotees figured out or found out that Prahbupada wasn’t going to the hotel so they all converged upon the temple and we all went to Prabhupada’s room. I couldn’t believe that here, first time in my life, I was sitting so close and right before Srila Prabhupada. So during the course of probably about an hour and a half or two hours of sitting in Prabhupada’s room with him—and of course the crowd grew—there was one devotee in the group, Patit Udaran, he had a brother, Madhu Mangal, and they were two of the first initiated devotees from New York. Prabhupada knew their mother. And Patit Udaran was in the room. Prabhupada asked him how he was doing and he asked him about his brother and then he asked him about his mother. So Patit Udaran said, “I want to try to save them, Srila Prabhupada. And Prabhupada said, “There’s one story in this regard. He said, “There was family of sparrows and a young baby sparrow flew out of the nest and got captured by the hunter. And the mother said, ‘Oh my baby she’s gotten captured by the hunter. I’ll go to try to save him.’ And she flew out of the nest and she got captured by the hunter. And then the father sparrow he said, ‘Oh my son has gone out of the nest. He’s gotten captured by the hunter. My wife has gone out. She’s gotten captured by the hunter’ He said, ‘If I go out I’ll get captured too.’ And he flew away and didn’t try to save them.” So Prabhupada said, “The most important thing is that you’ve got to save yourself and that’s of primary importance.”

The transcription of all Interviews from DVD 01 can be viewed here

Interview DVD 09

Kirtiraj: Prabhupada would have a group of devotees come and sit, and Shyamasundar would tell the different philosophies of the different philosophers for the philosophy book to be compiled. So while we were waiting for the class to start in Prabhupada’s room, I was sitting right in front of Prabhupada’s desk and Prabhupada was sitting at his desk and I was chanting my rounds. I was chanting very nicely and very attentively and I was pronouncing very properly, and I was chanting out loud. I was chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare again and again and again. Prabhupada had been very quiet. And at a certain point, Prabhupada raised his voice and from total silence Prabhupada said, “No sound!” and raised his hand up in the air with his palm probably about two or three inches from my face, and all my pride in trying to please him by my nice chanting was totally shattered. What I understood from that is that one shouldn’t make a show of their chanting in front of the spiritual master. You’re supposed to chant on the side, not showing off, chanting for your own purification and calling out to Krishna to please engage us in His service, but especially not to make a show of our chanting.

The transcription of all Interviews from DVD 09 can be viewed here