Tattvavit das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

From Vanipedia

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Tattvavit: I remember some points that Prabhupada made in one particular class. Very calmly he was sitting cross-legged with his hands on his knees with his eyes closed, and he quoted a verse from the Bhagavad-gita: “Krishna says if you worship the demigods you can go to the demigods in your next life; if you worship the ancestors you can go to the ancestors; if you worship ghosts and spirits you’ll go to them.” Then he said, “If you worship Me, (meaning Krishna), then you’ll come to Me.” As he was saying this verse with his eyes closed, he was curling his index finger on his knee motioning as if to say “come here”, as if Krishna was beckoning us to come to Him. I was impressed that Prabhupada was representing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I thought Krishna must be a Person like us. Previously we’d been taught a vague idea of God, but Srila Prabhupada was really giving us a concrete idea of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I was very grateful to my guru for what he was teaching. I also felt grateful to be in the ashram that Prabhupada so generously had opened up, allowing us to take up some practices of devotional service.

One of the first places I met Prabhupada was at the airport in Dallas. He arrived for a press conference and the devotees and reporters assembled in the VIP room. The first reporter was quite mean-spirited and was not respectful. He asked Srila Prabhupada rather bluntly, “Why did you come here?” It was quite aggressive, and to diffuse the reporter’s aggressiveness, Prabhupada didn’t say anything. The silence continued…and continued…and continued for about a minute or more. The reporter was quite surprised that he wasn’t getting the response that he expected. Prabhupada was taking control of the situation. After the silence had calmed everybody down, he pleased the devotees by telling the reporter, “These are my children.” That kind of explanation to the reporter made sense, as in “Okay, you’ve come to see your children. They’re your spiritual children.” And the devotees of course felt very happy that Prabhupada was thinking of them.

I associated with Srila Prabhupada mostly by attending his classes. I usually saw him in public as opposed to a darshan in his apartment. He spoke with so much authority and gravity and seriousness that his disciples were always attentive to what he said. Other than Prabhupada’s voice of course, you could hear a pin drop in the room. It was so wonderful to hear the silence of the devotees in their attentiveness. Their ears were just wide open. I also heard Prabhupada give a lecture once at the Sunday feast in Toronto. The audience then was mostly from India who had come to the west to work. Srila Prabhupada’s talk addressed that fact. He was telling the Indians that they shouldn’t forget Krishna and he quoted the verse, “Patram pushpam phalam toyam…” that if you offer Krishna a flower, a leaf, some fruit or water, Krishna accepts it. He said, “It’s very easy to serve Krishna even in your house, but if you forget Krishna, it won’t be very good. You have come to the west to work, and now you have good apartments, good cars, but if you forget Krishna, then in your next life you’ll become a cockroach in your car.” I think the Indian people may have heard strong words before from saintly people. In other words, it’s not unusual for a saintly person to speak in strong words to wake up a person especially from the culture of India and the land where Krishna appeared.

I saw Prabhupada as a philosopher, as a teacher, someone who really surpassed the professors that I had at the university, someone who surpassed the generation of my parents in being able to give advice to young people. He surpassed the counter-cultural heroes that we had. He was just so perfect, in many ways—as an author, as a philosopher, as a teacher, as a revolutionary, as someone who had the real message, as someone who had the backbone to deliver the message and tell people the truth. He wasn’t wishy-washy or unconvinced about what he had to give. He had an extremely strong and developed conviction and a very advanced faith in Krishna.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 60 - Banabatta,Govinda,GuruGauranga, Jivananda,Kalpa,Kriya,Mrgendra,Tattvavit

The full Prabhupada Memories Series can be viewed here and also at www.prabhupadamemories.com