Vedamata devi dasi Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Vedamata: I was on a girl’s traveling book distribution party from New Vrindavan in the summer of 1976, following Srila Prabhupada around to different temples. One of the things we got to do was go to the New York Ratha-yatra where Srila Prabhupada was. At the end of the parade, Kirtanananda was whisking him away and nobody saw it except me and another girl. I nudged her and I said, “Prabhu, look there goes Prabhupada. Oh, my gosh, he’s all alone with Kirtanananda.” We went running over to the limo with the kirtan party approaching. We were chanting and dancing right next to Prabhupada, “Hari Bol, Hari Bol.” Prabhupada made a motion with his garland like he was going to 10 take one off and I said, “Jai, Srila Prabhupada, I’ll take your garland.” He ended up smiling at me real big with a big twinkle in his eye. He did take off his garland, leaned over Kirtanananda and he handed it to me out the window. It was just in time because all the senior men were going to be there in two seconds and I knew I’d get knocked out of the way. This garland was more meaningful to me because of what happened the summer before that Ratha-yatra. I was in a horrific car accident with three other sankirtan girls. I had sustained massive head injuries and none of us really should have lived through it. We ended up in intensive care for a long time. I wasn’t initiated at this time and to maintain any spiritual consciousness I tried to chant but it was almost physically impossible. So I mentally went through the fields and meadows in New Vrindavan picking all the wild flowers that I used daily at that time for Prabhupada’s garlands. When Prabhupada handed me the garland at that Ratha-yatra, I felt he knew what I was trying to remember at the time of death or what I thought was the time of my death. The third part of the story that was really significant to me was six months later. I was distributing books at an airport during the Christmas marathon and I just happened to call home. I was talking to a couple of college friends, one of whom was a cross-country airline stewardess. She said, “Oh, I had that guru of yours on a flight and I asked him about you.” I said, “Oh my gosh Vicki, what did you do?” She told me she knew he was a special person to me so she kept going up to him asking him if he needed water or 7-up. It got to be the end of the flight and she couldn’t hold back any more and she said to Prabhupada, “You know I have a good friend of mine and she’s at that farm of yours in West Virginia and she’s just been in a horrible car accident. I’d like to know if she’s all right? Are they taking care of her?” She thought maybe he wasn’t going to answer as he just looked out the window for a minute and then he turned around and said to her, “I am aware of it, Krishna is aware of it and she will be fine.” I said, “Oh, Vicki, you’re such an airhead. This happened six months ago and you didn’t tell me? Prabhupada knows who I am? Krishna knows who I am?” I was so ecstatic that I danced in the airport.

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