Krsnavesa devi dasi Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Krsnavesa: After I had been a devotee for about a year, I decided I would ask a question at the end of one of Srila Prabhupada’s lectures. I wasn’t one of the devotees who regularly had Prabhupada’s association and I wanted to get a little of it by asking a question. So when he said, “Any questions?” after the Bhagavatam class, I raised my hand and he called on me. I was surprised. In fact I was shocked. I wanted to ask if the Bhagavad-gita was always spoken by Krishna to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra or if it was also spoken by Krishna in some other circumstances, because in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says that He speaks it many times. I didn’t have much time to prepare my question and I was nervous. So all I said was, “Does Krishna speak the Bhagavad-gita on the hellish planets?” Everybody thought it was a funny question. Srila Prabhupada asked Bhagavan, “What did she say?” and Bhagavan repeated my question. Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, this London is a hellish planet, and Krishna is speaking Bhagavad-gita here.” At first I felt disappointed because I didn’t get the answer to my real question. But everything Prabhupada says is so valuable, and over the years I got so much out of his answer. In Bhagavad-gita 18.75-76, Sanjaya says, “By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Krishna, who was speaking personally to Arjuna and as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.” In the purport Srila Prabhupada explains that when the spiritual master is bonafide, then one can hear Bhagavad-gita directly, as Arjuna heard it. So by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada we’re all hearing directly from Krishna. Also, another instruction I got from Prabhupada’s answer was that, although I was thinking that London was such a great, cultural place, actually it was a hellish place.

When I was only fifteen years old, some devotees told me, “Just come and join the temple.” Other devotees said, “We’ll take you to New York or somewhere.” Others said, “It might not be such a good idea.” I was a bit confused, and someone suggested, “Why don’t you write to Srila Prabhupada and ask him?” So I did. In my letter I told Prabhupada that I was not happy, because I felt my parents were an obstacle to my becoming Krishna conscious. I told him that I wanted to run away from home, but I was underage. After I sent the letter off things got really bad at home. I didn’t know if I’d get a reply from Prabhupada. I couldn’t wait, so I impulsively decided to run away. I wasn’t very experienced and didn’t think what the outcome would be. Since I was so materially attached, I wanted to take some of my material belongings with me to the temple. I packed a box full of things, including my tape recorder, and at three o’clock in the morning I snuck down the stairs with a big cardboard box on my shoulder. My parents knew something was up. My father heard the stairs creaking. He opened his bedroom door and started furiously chasing me down the stairs. I turned around and threw my huge cardboard box on the staircase between him and me. When I threw it, the start button on the tape recorder was depressed and a tape of Srila Prabhupada chanting the Hare Krishna mantra started playing loudly. Prabhupada was chanting really fast, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” It became dramatic, and as I ran I felt like Prabhupada was speeding me on. Somehow or other the front door was not locked, so I got out. It was pitch black. I didn’t have any of my material possessions, not even any money. I just had the clothes on my back. Somehow I managed to get to the London temple and throw myself on the mercy of the devotees. They helped me. I felt Prabhupada’s presence there. The unfortunate thing was that after I’d been in the temple for three months, by this time I was in Germany, I got a reply from Srila Prabhupada. In his reply, as you might imagine, Srila Prabhupada told me not to run away from home. He said, “There is no material impediment to Krishna consciousness. Just like Prahlad Maharaj who had a demoniac father who abused him, but that did not stop Prahlad from being a pure devotee. Stay at home, finish school, and then you’ll have so many skills that you can use in Krishna’s service.” When I got that letter, I felt crushed. I felt like I’d blown it big time. I was embarrassed and ashamed. My false ego was such that I couldn’t take an instruction from my spiritual master in the right spirit. Devotees should know about that letter so that others can benefit from Prabhupada’s instructions, even though I didn’t. But Krishna must have had some hand in everything that happened, and things turned out for the best. If I hadn’t joined the temple when I did, perhaps Srila Prabhupada wouldn’t have initiated me.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 47 - Twenty Disciples Remembering SP

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