San Diego Vyasa-puja offering 1985 (anonymous)
Posted on October 27, 2014
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
INCONCEIVABLE is the word which to me most thoroughly describes you, because your activities are cent per cent inspired by the divine energy of the Lord -- daivim prakrtim asritah. Yet still, as your disciples, we are supposed to endeavor to understand you in our never-ending attempt to follow you in executing your mission of spreading Krsna consciousness throughout the world. But it is futile. How can a lowborn fool like myself comprehend the position of a paramahamsa? You possess acintya-sakti; therefore I cannot measure your greatness.
Personally I was never with you when you were not either talking about Krsna, preaching, or hearing krsna-katha. At those times I would be puzzled, considering how our movement was expanding throughout the world under your influence, while you were simply discussing philosophy, as if nothing were more important. You didn't fit my image of a sole managerial leader of a worldwide movement. It didn't look as though you were doing what someone would have to do to organize a large religious organization. In any case, I couldn't understand your position then, and I admit that today, even though I understand more, I still find your character beyond my grasp.
When I was personally initiated by you with a group of other devotees, the devotee who sat on my right had formerly been a heavy smoker. When he recited the four regulative principles, you questioned him in a humorous way about smoking, while making a gesture imitating a person smoking. When I recited the four principles you made no comment. When the devotee sitting on my left (formerly a heavy user of LSD) recited the four regulative principles, you said in a joking way, "What about LSD?" Again I was defeated in my futile attempts to estimate the position of my spiritual master. In 1973, during the Christmas marathon, our temple decided that we could be
just as successful by using direct preaching lines and wearing dhotis, while other devotees were in karmi clothes, using more indirect tactics. We felt this "pure approach" was the topmost form of sankirtana. Because we were successful, we wrote you, feeling that we had accomplished something wonderful and were setting a precedent as well. We were also a bit proud of our accomplishment, but being immature we didn't recognize it. We were certain that you would glorify us for discovering the ways and means to spread Krsna consciousness directly and purely. To our utter amazement, you replied that if some of us were uncomfortable wearing karmi clothes and
using indirect tactics, we could wear dhotis and be more direct. Thus we were made to feel inferior to the other sankirtana devotees (which we needed to hear), while you encouraged the mass of devotees who chose to wear karmi clothes. None of us expected such a reply. The 1970 San Francisco Rathayatra hosted the largest gathering of devotees to date. When you blissfully walked into the temple and saw the room completely filled with shaven-headed men, you became so pleased that you mentioned that you called your Guru Maharaja to come and see. You could call your spiritual master at will to visit and observe your activities. Thinking of this, I simply stand in awe with folded palms. In one lecture you mentioned the story of Bhismadeva lying on the bed of arrows and how wonderful he was. You also described how wonderful Lord Krsna was for being present before Bhisma on his deathbed. You then stopped speaking because of your choked voice, due to transcendental ecstasy. We've all also heard this story many times, and we all have some appreciation as
well. I cannot measure the depth of your attraction for Krsna, for simply by thinking of the Lord's mercy on Bhismadeva you become overwhelmed with loving sentiments. When you visited Mauritius in 1975 you predicted that Mauritius, which is but a small island of one million people, would become the Vatican of ISKCON and would also be the first Krsna conscious country. Sometimes we speak of
big vision. To me this is telescopic. In 1971 I ventured on one of the first traveling sankirtana parties launched in ISKCON; in fact it was the first traveling sankirtana party that was ever reported to you. The party was such a great success that I wrote the devotees a full report of our daily activities, which they then decided to forward to Your Divine Grace. My wife sent the letter, and for some reason
she mentioned that I had a wart and requested a remedy, as in those days we depended on you for everything. I had had this wart for seven years and was unable to get rid of it, despite much medical assistance. Shortly after she sent the letter the wart mysteriously disappeared. In 1972 my wife asked through your servant if you had a cure for worms, to which you replied, "I am not your doctor, I am your spiritual master. Consult a doctor." Another amazing feature of your personality was your knowledge of more obscure subjects. In Los Angeles, in 1972, you were explaining to the senior men how a model ship was built inside a bottle. Also, in the middle of the
night in Mayapur, you called for your servant to place your mosquito net around your bed and went on to give a complete explanation how, by the wind changing directions, the mosquitoes came flying into the room, whereas the wind's blowing in a particular other direction would cause them to fly elsewhere. When we think of saintly persons like Jesus Christ, Prahlada Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, etc., we don't think of them as humorous persons. Although we consider you the greatest of saints and most sober, you would often be
funny and tell light jokes to engladden your disciples. A great sage telling jokes -- this certainly transcends preconceived notions of a world savior. On a morning walk in Los Angeles in 1976, Ramesvara Maharaja began glorifying the preaching work of Hrdayananda Maharaja. Tamala Krsna Maharaja was present, and knowing his disposition, you told Ramesvara Maharaja that he should not continue speaking in this way; Tamala would have a heart attack. Immediately everyone burst out smiling, and you were laughing more
than any of us. While you were watching the debut of the film Spiritual Frontier in the Los Angeles temple along with all the devotees, there was a scene showing puris rising in ghee. When you saw the puris, you jokingly stated, "Let me have one," and began chuckling with the other four hundred devotees. You are our spiritual master, our worshipable lord, the greatest personality to all of us, yet still you remain the most humble. In 1972 in Los Angeles, while coming into the temple to greet the Deities, a devotee immediately
behind you shouted, "Jaya Srila Prabhupada!" Thinking someone was calling you, you turned around to that devotee and said, "Yes?" The devotee again repeated, "Jaya Srila Prabhupada!" to confirm that no question was asked but that you were being praised. You replied a humble "Thank you very much," and proceeded to pay obeisances to the Deities. I can't understand why you said thank you, but that's understandable, because I can't understand you. At the 1970 Rathayatra, in the "Family Dog" auditorium, I saw, by your influence, a hall filled wall to wall with people dancing and jumping. When you stood up and raised your arms, onlookers could not control their ecstasy
and were forced to jump in the air under your influence. The fact is that chanting the holy name in your presence was the greatest ecstasy, to which no kirtana will ever compare.
Srila Prabhupada, whoever met you was never again the same. When I first saw you I cried, which is something I never do. I can't say why I cried, because I really didn't understand why I'd seen Godbrothers become inspired to distribute over one hundred big books in a day by seeing you arrive at the airport. I've seen myself become totally inspired to preach Krsna consciousness for an entire year just by seeing you for one day of that year. I've met life members who are fully dedicated to ISKCON because of meeting you. I've met people who are now beating their heads because they missed the opportunity to personally see your divine form. I've seen hoards of devotees who'd left ISKCON return with shaven heads and rededicated hearts when you would visit Los Angeles. I've seen wealthy grown men
surrender hundreds of thousands of dollars to you. One time you stated, "Are you sure you want to give this all to me?" I've seen two-year devotees become first-class sannyasis by your inspiration, three-month devotees open new temples by your order, and inexperienced men develop a million-dollar incense business with your ideas. While all this was going on, I would wonder in amazement and think, "All Srila Prabhupada seems to be doing is talking about Krsna, yet the Krsna consciousness movement is expanding by
leaps and bounds. How is this going on?" Acintya-sakti. We know that we are insignificant. Our prayer is to gain, through following your orders, a particle of your potency, for that potency will deliver the fallen souls.