Pavamana das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Pavamana: My first contact with Hare Krishna was the song in the 1960’s musical, Hair. In the last scene they dance around less than fully clothed and chant Hare Krishna. I used to listen to that album every day. Later, in 1985, I met a man in New York who said that he was present when Prabhupada was preaching to the playwright of Hair and Prabhupada told him to include the Hare Krishna mantra in his play. So that last song was there because Srila Prabhupada requested it.

The first time I saw Srila Prabhupada in person, he was speaking in the compound of the Radha-Damodar temple in Vrindavan. On one side was Rupa Goswami’s samadhi, and on the other, Rupa Goswami’s bhajan kutir . As Prabhupada described it, this place is the center of the universe. Seeing Srila Prabhupada there, it struck me how listening to Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and reading Prabhupada’s books is the same as associating personally with Prabhupada. There isn’t any difference. To be in Prabhupada’s presence, all you need to do is open his book and it’s as good as Srila Prabhupada sitting there. There is no difference.

We traveled from Bombay to Ahmedabad where we had another huge pandal program. The size of the pandal tent was as big as a city block and it would fill up every night with 15,000 people. When Srila Prabhupada sat on the vyasasana and preached he was fire and brimstone. That was wonderful. The Indian people are very intelligent and many of them are very well versed in the shastras. So, when Prabhupada preached, he would say things that they could understand were correct, even though he was chastising them. Many times Prabhupada would speak in the local language, Hindi or Bengali, and because of the verses that he cited, we knew that he was extremely stern. But, when we went to a Life Member’s house, he was the most wonderful guest. He would make small talk and he was concerned about every single person. Srila Prabhupada was like an amazing jewel that had many different facets. For us to try to describe him is like a blind man describing an elephant. When the blind man touches the elephant here, it seems like it’s big and round. When he touches it there, it’s small and round. It’s got so many different aspects. Srila Prabhupada was an absolutely perfect judge of time and circumstance. He always had exactly the right thing to say at the right time for the right person. And sometimes, if we read the letter books and other anecdotes about Srila Prabhupada, perhaps he’s saying to one person, “Yes, very good idea, you should get married.” Then in another situation he writes, “No, it’s better not to get married.” Srila Prabhupada knew how to engage each person and make that person enlivened in Krishna consciousness. On one hand, he had disciple scholars like Pradyumna. On the other hand, he had disciple ex-bikers. And he had everything in between. He could engage all these different people and make them work together. The fact is that all of Prabhupada’s senses were in complete control. He was never out of control.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 31 - LA Reunion, Guru Krpa, Nanda Kishore

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