Nartaki devi dasi Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 09

Nartaki: I was making pillow cases and curtains and bed covers. There was also one pillow case I made with tassels on the end, and Prabhupada is leaning against that and playing with the tassel. Prabhupada watched me cleaning, particularly his desk. He would sit behind the desk and I would take all the things off the desk, wipe the whole desk, and then wipe each article and put it back exactly where it was before, and Prabhupada really liked that. He told me, “It is very nice how you are cleaning and putting things exactly the way it was before.”

The devotees in Los Angeles once arranged for some theologians from the University of Southern California, which is nearby the temple, to come to meet Prabhupada. We always liked to hear Prabhupada speak to other people who have not yet accepted Krishna consciousness because we were going out on sankirtan and meeting the public and we wanted to see how Prabhupada speaks with these kind of people. So we were always eager to hear Prabhupada, but we were not always allowed to come back early from sankirtan. This time I was wanting to come very badly, and we came early. The garden is very small so not everyone could fit. So we were looking through the holes in the wooden fence, and we could see Prabhupada. And whatever we could not hear, we would afterwards hear the tape. Actually the same thing was on morning walks. If we would walk in the back, we could also not hear Prabhupada very well; but we would afterwards hear the tapes, and then we could understand. So this time also Prabhupada was speaking to these theologians. At first he was talking about how the animals are actually very expert. They may fly in the sky, and then they go into the water and they dive into the water and pick a fish out and eat it. And how an eagle seven miles up into the sky, he can see from up there where there is a carcass and he dives down and swoops at his prey, he can see so high. So they are actually very advanced. They can do things that we as humans beings even can’t do. But he says actually the difference between human beings is that they should understand what the problems of life are. Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi dukha-dosanudarsanam. So Prabhupada, after some time talking in general, then they were introduced to him. One was Stillson Judah, who liked Prabhupada very much, and he had done some research previously into the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And the others, they did not know anything about Krishna consciousness. So one was introduced to him as having studied modern theology. When Prabhupada heard “modern theology,” he was kind of laughing and he was saying, “So God is modern?” We in Krishna consciousness are being taught by Prabhupada right in the beginning dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam, that only God can enunciate religious principles. And we know from Bhagavad-gita that Krishna is consistent. What He has taught to Arjuna 5,000 years ago He has also taught to the Sun-god Vivasvan some millions and millions of years ago, the same wisdom, and there is no change. He remains consistently giving us this knowledge. Therefore, when this professor was saying “modern theology,” Prabhupada immediately understood this is a hoax, this is cheating. Then after that, he became quite stern and he was talking about how “You are theologist, but actually theology means that we know God and that we abide by His laws. ‘Theos’ means God, and theology is the science of God. So someone who knows about God is the theologian and then automatically abides by His laws. I think you mean to say theosophist. A theosophist means a person who is in search for God, who does not know yet God but he is eagerly searching for God.” Then the professor was saying, “So is knowledge…does that mean that is the end of search?” Prabhupada says, “Yes, automatically.” “Can you not do both?” Prabhupada says, “No, this is illogical. Once you know, then there is no need for searching anymore.” Sometimes we as devotees also may have thought, “Prabhupada is very strict with these people.” But actually he had to be strict because actually they are cheating. They are presenting themselves as authorities and teaching at big big universities and get all kinds of degrees, and naturally a young student will take them as an authority. But that is cheating because they don’t even know about God and they are presenting themselves as someone who does know; and, therefore, people are wasting their time with hearing these kind of speculations, which may be accepted now and in a few years again they are overthrown. So then he said, “So we accept from higher authorities. I’m not presenting whimsically a God, I am presenting how I heard from my spiritual master and from the great acaryas in the past. Therefore, what is the difficulty to accept what I am saying to you?” Dr. Stillson Judah, he was kind of representing everyone else and he was saying, “Maybe because we are older it is a little difficult for us to take up something new.” Then Prabhupada said, “Then you are not serious. If you really want the truth, if you are really in search of God, when it is presented to you, presented in an authoritative way, then you should accept.” So in a very short time he showed that it was actually cheating to present oneself as an authority when one has no knowledge. So I came from a family of theologians, and to me this was just extraordinary to hear Prabhupada speaking like this. And that really made it clear in my mind that I have done the right thing by taking up Krishna consciousness and by taking Srila Prabhupada as my authority, because I could see. Previously I was living amongst these people and even at the dinner table they would talk like that about God in a very speculative way, and I was never satisfied with that when I was a child. When I was 12 years I was praying to God, “Please let me know more about You. You are very kind that You have sent Jesus, but I want to know more about You.” And these people were always speculating and I felt not only that, they were cruel. They were harsh and cruel in their way of speculations. Anyone who couldn’t keep up with their arguments… I was a young girl then. It was always high above my head what they were talking about. And I felt they were cruel, they’re not sensitive to anyone else who may truly be interested in knowing. If you were not on the level that you can argue with them, then you were left out. But Prabhupada never gave us that sense. We were always included. He wanted us to know, he was eager for us to understand. So I felt Prabhupada is very kind. That is a real truly spiritual person. He is knowledgeable, authoritative, he himself has accepted a guru from a line of teachers, and he is presenting Krishna as He is. I just immediately felt comfortable with Prabhupada. I never felt like I was cheated – never, never. I felt like Prabhupada is truly an authority that I want to surrender to. My relationship with Prabhupada was always that I felt really, really close to Prabhupada when I heard him speak. Either he was preaching to someone else or he was giving classes to us, and I felt so close to Prabhupada. I felt he is my well-wisher, he is my friend, he is my father.