Srila Prabhupada told us we were all nonsense

Śrīla Prabhupāda told us we were all nonsense. He angrily rebuked us, “Now you have to fast for three days!”

[Hare Krishna Land Juhu Beach, Bombay, January 13th, 1976]

Hari Śauri: Today was Ekādaśī, and Śrīla Prabhupāda took his morning walk along the Gaṅgā. Hundreds of pilgrims were taking a dawn bath there, having come for the Gaṅgā-Sāgara-melā. Prabhupāda explained that sāgara is the sea, so the melā is a spiritual gathering on an island in the Gaṅgā’s estuary.

Evidently eager pilgrims had traveled from as far away as Rajasthan in the northwest. They camped along the banks of Mother Gaṅgā, washing their few possessions, as well as themselves, in the holy waters, unmindful of the boats and other river traffic passing by. They sat contentedly on the pathways cooking breakfast and drying out their clothing.

Noting the shining lotā one man carried, Prabhupāda remarked that if even the lotā is so clean, we can understand how clean he must personally be.

Prabhupāda also recalled how he and his mother had bathed in the same spot when he was a child.

* * *

Because it was Ekādaśī we skipped breakfast and fasted until noon. But at lunchtime the devotees inadvertently broke the Ekādaśī vow because the cook accidentally put peas into the vegetables. No one noticed until too late. Fortunately I arrived late for lunch because I had been massaging Śrīla Prabhupāda. Just as I was about to eat, Jayapatākā Mahārāja shouted for me to stop. Although initially annoyed at being told not to eat, I was relieved when he pointed out the peas.

Shamefaced, Tamal Krishna Mahārāja went to Prabhupāda to report what had happened and to find out what should be done.

Śrīla Prabhupāda told us we were all nonsense. He angrily rebuked us, “Now you have to fast for three days!” This shocked everyone. “Yes, that is the procedure,” he confirmed. Seeing the stunned look on our faces he relented but said that we should observe Ekādaśī for the rest of the day and then again tomorrow on Dvādaśī.

* * *

During the morning Śrīla Prabhupāda noticed I was limping because of a boil forming on my leg. Later, while talking with Jayapatākā Mahārāja, he called me in and told me to show him the boil. Prabhupāda was so thoughtful that he asked Jayapatākā to go out and buy some medicine to heal the boil. I was somewhat embarrassed that a sannyāsī should be running an errand on my behalf, but Prabhupāda was more concerned to see that it was cured. Like a loving father, he always takes time to see that we are properly looked after, especially concerning our health.

* * *

In the evening Prabhupāda spoke in Hindi and Bengali to the large crowd that packed the temple room. The darśana seemed especially sweet and enjoyable because Śrīla Prabhupāda is the local Calcutta success story. Although Prabhupāda always remains wholly transcendental in consciousness, he is fully familiar with the surroundings and cultural idiosyncrasies of Bengal. There thus seemed a special rapport between him and the audience as he preached on the necessity of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious.

—Hari Śauri

[VedaBase 22. Biographies and Glorification of Śrīla Prabhupāda / A Transcendental Diary Volume 1 – Hari Śauri dāsa / Volume One – November 1975 – April 1976 ]
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