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Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 307

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I was a new devotee then and I was very doubting, skeptical. The devotees were so enthusiastic, “Prabhupada’s coming!” Mandakini was always screaming and shouting, “Prabhupada’s coming! Prabhupada’s coming!” But I was thinking, “Who is this Prabhupada?” So then I was thinking when Prabhupada came I’ll really scrutinize him and I’ll test, see whether he’s what I thought was genuine. I was thinking maybe he’ll be a larger than life kind of figure, a bit flamboyant, glamorous, putting on a bit of a show. So then we were waiting inside, the new bhaktas. It was a big buildup for us inside. So we were watching the door. I was thinking, “What’s he going to be like?” Then the door opened and there was Prabhupada, and he was much shorter than I thought. Then I could see he was very composed. He wasn’t in an emotional state. He was like a father when he comes back from work and he returns home, he puts the key in the door and then he walks in, and then it’s normal for him. He seemed like the most normal person, and I was surprised by that. I thought that if he was putting on some act he wouldn’t have acted like that. He seemed very genuine, and I was pleased by that. He passed my test. I was expecting to see him put on some kind of act. Then he went and sat on the vyasasana after paying obeisances to the Deities and I thought, “What’s he going to say?” because I had been reading Prabhupada’s books. Then I thought, “Wow, he’s only saying exactly what’s in the books!” So then again he passed the test. He didn’t try to say anything new or invent something special. He passed my test in a way that I wasn’t expecting, so I was satisfied. In 1972 I was the temple president in London, and Srila Prabhupada noticed that there were so many boys and girls staying in the temple. In fact, in the morning sometimes you’d have to step over sleeping bodies to get down the stairs. We needed space to expand and, of course, asking George Harrison to give us a place was the logical course. But we had a policy never to ask George for anything. So during the spring and summer of 1970, I was living at George’s new 38-acre estate in Oxfordshire, Friar Park, and I would often mention how crowded we were at Bury Place. And he would say, “Well, maybe I can do something about that.” But it was only when Srila Prabhupada himself came out to Friar Park one day and we were walking around these huge grounds and George said to Srila Prabhupada that he thought that a place like this, and he waved his arms around, was needed for us. Here we’re looking at one particular property called Runnymede Park, which is very close to the River Thames. So when George saw the place, and it hadn’t been occupied for some years and it was quite overgrown, he said, “This should be called Runnydown Park because it hasn’t been maintained for so long.” When I was a kid, I used to like to go in the countryside. I’ve always liked nature, the woods or the ocean or gardens and natural things. I’m unhappy about the world being concreted over and all the forests chopped down and all the air polluted. I’m very unhappy about that. But I have a long-term view, which is all things must pass. Before it used to be “Maybe they’re going to blow us up with H-bombs.” But even that I thought, “It don’t really matter. They can’t destroy what’s within ourselves.” Krishna said there’s no time when we didn’t exist and there’ll be no time when we cease to exist. The only thing that changes is the body. But the music really was the key that opened the door into the yoga and the yogic philosophy and the Vedic scriptures, which is really the foundation of everything. It gave some sort of backbone to my life. So I often had the chance to drive Prabhupada from the temple to the park where he was going to walk in our Ford Transit sankirtan van, and he would sit in the front seat and chant japa quietly. Sometimes he would be reciting Siksastakam in a barely audible voice, ceto darpana marjanam, he would sing it to himself. I remember once we were walking in Hyde Park and there was a big group of devotees and they were all chanting japa so it made quite a bit of noise, and there was some bum sleeping on a park bench. So he was woken up by this, and then he saw this big crowd of devotees bearing down on him and he was a bit frightened or freaked out. Then Prabhupada said, “Good morning,” in a very polite way, and then he responded. One morning in Russell Square Prabhupada told the story of the yogi and the mouse, and he really got into it and he started acting out the parts. We all stopped, and he was entertaining us with the story. Finally when he got to the punch line, when the mouse has been transformed into a cat and then a dog and finally the mouse is a tiger and turns towards the yogi, and Prabhupada acted the part of the tiger and his eyes became very big and he said, “Oh, now I will eat you!” Then the yogi said, “Again become mouse.” The way he acted out the part where his eyes became so big and wide, Prabhupada was such a wonderful entertainer. One morning there was a couple of big swans, they were on the bank, and when the group came around they retreated into the water. Prabhupada said, “See, they feel safe when they take shelter of the water. Similarly, a devotee takes shelter of Krishna and feels safe.” Another morning Prabhupada’s servant had broken off some twigs for him to use as a toothbrush, and this was in Regent’s Park. His servant returned to the group pursued by a park attendant, who was very upset that he’d broken the twigs off. Somehow the incident was diffused, but Prabhupada was disgusted. He said either directly to the attendant or to us, “You came to India for 200 years, you exploited and stole so many things from our country, and you wouldn’t even let us take a twig from your park.” When he came to Bury Place and saw the Deities, he was always very encouraging. He used to say things like “Krishna is very happy here, thank you very much,” and just nod and smile, just a little something that actually kept us going. One time when he came, he was saying that “When the Deities are beautifully decorated, your heart becomes beautifully decorated. And when your heart is beautifully decorated, then very soon you will see Krishna.” They were making a new vyasasana, so I’d been requested to upholster that vyasasana. So most devotees went off to the airport to meet Prabhupada, welcome Prabhupada, but we were still trying to finish this thing up before he arrived. So we wanted to finish, get it in the temple room, and it was green with gold trim around it. So Prabhupada came and immediately everyone was offering obeisances and I was completely overwhelmed, I’d never seen such a personality. I immediately had extreme emotions of crying, and I was quite overwhelmed. Then we went in and Prabhupada took darshan, and he sat down on the vyasasana and started giving a lecture. Then just as he finished the lecture he mentioned something about the vyasasana, “Oh, this is very nice.” Then he went upstairs. As soon as he got there it seemed, he had just arrived and then immediately somebody said, “Oh, Prabhupada is saying something about the vyasasana, you should go up there.” So I went up and Prabhupada said, “I want two more vyasasanas.” He said, “Yes, they should be small size because every day Lord Brahma and Narada Muni come here for the evening aratik and there should be a vyasasana for each of them. They should look identical to my one in small size.” I think we finished them on that same day, and next morning they were placed there. So Prabhupada was very appreciative the next day. He said, “Yes, yes, they should stay always and be here next to Radha-Londonisvara.” Then he told everyone, “Every day Lord Brahma and Narada Muni come here for the evening aratik.” We went down early to Marble Arch to help decorate the cart, and Prabhupada arrived. Again, when he stepped out of the car, the devotees just took off, they just left the ground, and there was such incredible joy on everyone’s faces and such a feeling of safety and security being around Prabhupada. He sat on the cart that year, he didn’t dance, and I just stayed by the Rathayatra cart by the rope just in front of Prabhupada’s vyasasana on his right side. I don’t think I ever looked forward in that Rathayatra, I think I just looked at Prabhupada the whole way. I was really fascinated by him because I was still pretty young, I had just turned 17. When Prabhupada would ask if there were any questions at the end of the class, I’d never put my hand up because I always felt that everything he said was fairly straightforward, everything made sense. But one morning he began to talk about a Golden Age, about a Vedic Age which had ended 5,000 years ago, and he described that there was only one language, one culture and one religion throughout the whole of the world. I’d never heard this before, and I’d been very interested in history. I had quite a hard time taking this in because it seemed to me that if that was correct, then the professors would be teaching this in the universities and it would be appearing in the historical textbooks. But it sort of shook my faith a little in Krishna consciousness in that it just didn’t make sense to me. So I decided that I would investigate this myself, and I started to do that over the following years. I discovered to my surprise that there was a great deal of information and that everything that Prabhupada was saying there is evidence for. I’ve since spent 30 years actually just studying this very point. When Prabhupada first came to England, there was a press conference arranged by Apple. One of the newspaper reporters asked Prabhupada, “What have you come here to teach?” And Prabhupada said, “I have come to teach what you have forgotten, that is all.” Actually what Prabhupada has brought back to England we can definitely say is exactly the same as existed here previously. All the Vedic gods were worshiped here, the language is from Sanskrit, the priests of Britain totally correspond to the brahmanas of India, they performed fire yajnas, they divided their society into four spiritual and four social orders. There are dozens and dozens of parallels, and it’s quite amazing that Prabhupada gave that answer. What he has brought is actually what we have forgotten, even in this country of Britain. Just to note the triumphal look on Prabhupada’s face and his whole manner, look at that regal bearing. He’s been to his Rathayatra in London, he’s the king. We did everything in our power to make the situation around him that he would appear as a king. If you look at the faces of the devotees, they all look tense and sort of pensive and sad and anxious because Prabhupada is leaving and he’s been staying in London for five or six weeks and now suddenly he’s going. It’s a very sad moment actually. A lot of people will be bursting into tears once he’s gone. Some of them might already be tearful. When Prabhupada is around for a few weeks, a month or six weeks, just a little bit you start to get used to…take him for granted a bit. I remember I used to think, “This is Krishna’s punishment. He’s taking Prabhupada away because we’re not appreciating him enough.” We went with him right up to the passport barrier, but we couldn’t go with him any further. We’re seeing the public faces of Prabhupada in these videos, but the private moments with Prabhupada in his rooms were, of course, the most attractive to the devotees. Those were not captured in film so much. But the end of the day or early in the morning sitting in Prabhupada’s room while he discussed the daily activities or giving our reports at the end of the day of what we had accomplished during the day, these were the most delightful moments with Prabhupada, the most intimate and surprising moments. Prabhupada never for a moment was predictable in any way. Everything he did and said was a complete surprise. In all the years that I used to open the door to his room and go in, I never ever lost that feeling of slight anxiety when I opened the door that I couldn’t predict what was going to happen. I knew it would be wonderful and it would be a total surprise, but you could never tell what the spiritual master was going to do or say. Goodbye, Prabhupada.

Video Details

Duration: 22 minutes and 18 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 2
Posted by: lopter001 on Sep 9, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 307

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