Siddhanta das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Siddhanta's Story

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 09

Siddhanta: I remember distinctly Prabhupada was talking about the potency of prasadam, and he said that prasadam is so potent that any animal that eats prasadam jumps over all species of life and takes next birth as a human. Then also one godbrother, Padmanabha, was selling incense or jewelry at that time, and he would always drive. That was his sankirtan. He wouldn’t do books, but he would drive. And because of that, he couldn’t eat heavy prasadam in the morning. So it was a bone of contention because at that time we’d overload everybody with kitchari and a huge breakfast prasadam; and generally when you eat a whole bunch and you start driving, you tend to fall asleep at the wheel. So that was his concern. So he asked Prabhupada about eating other things besides those things that are offered to the Deities. Prabhupada, of course, was very practical and saying that you don’t have to eat everything that Krishna eats. Krishna eats very opulently but you can eat simply, fruit and…not that you are forced to eat the opulent things. If it doesn’t suit your body and your service well, then you eat simply. So there was a gap in the conversation between the devotees and Prabhupada, at which point I decided I was going to jump in with a question that had been on my mind. I had distributed books for a long time, and I would constantly be bombarded by people’s statements: “Why don’t you get a job?” “Stop harassing me.” “Why are you asking for donations?” And so many comments that would affect my mind and my faith. So I asked Prabhupada, I said, “Prabhupada, sometimes we get the comments that as devotees that we’re trying to escape this material world by living in a temple, asking for donations, and that we’re not being responsible human beings and taking up regular nine-to-five type of jobs.” And he responded very kindly in that he didn’t blast me for my lack of faith or lack of understanding of our position as devotees and disciples and followers of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the mood of sankirtan. Prabhupada, he went on the entire walk from that point on talking about this very point. He said, “Does a rich man’s son work? We are sons of Krishna, and Krishna is the wealthiest man. A factory owner, he is very wealthy, but does he work? No, he employs others to engage and do his business. Does that mean he is lazy, that he is not productive because he himself doesn’t work?” So he was giving some analogies like that. So he was able to dispel my doubts that morning walk about the non-necessity of having to go back and get a nine-to-five job, that I was actually doing the proper service, and he was just so compassionate. He would look at me very lovingly and if I didn’t understand one point, he would come up with another analogy so that I would really get the point. That’s the first time I really felt a personal connection with Prabhupada.