BV Padmanabha Swami Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 07

BV Padmanabha Swami: I remember that every morning Srila Prabhupada was lecturing on the first 14 slokas of the Caitanya-caritamrta, and that first chapter and that first volume had just recently been released. So Srila Prabhupada was now lecturing so wonderfully on the mood and pastimes of Mahaprabhu and the sankirtan movement. I can remember on one occasion, on one day, he was saying that this Krishna consciousness movement, now we have just a few gurus. But in the future there will be hundreds of gurus, and then there will be thousands of gurus. As he was declaring this, then all the devotees were cheering, all the hundreds of devotees there were cheering, “Jaya Prabhupada! Jaya Prabhupada!” But those first 14 days in Mayapur with Srila Prabhupada, oh, it was such an opportunity that I can never, never forget.

I remember one evening the Manipuri dancers came to perform in front of all the devotees and Srila Prabhupada, and this is perhaps even the very first time that I think Swarup Damodar Maharaj had organized. They were performing a kind of rasa-lila dance. Now, Prabhupada was sitting and watching this in the temple room and he was surrounded by many sannyasis and, of course, there were many, many brahmacaris as well during that time. And we were watching this dance performance where there were very beautiful decorated young ladies who were dancing and performing the rasa-lila dance depicting the beautiful moods of the gopis. Prabhupada gave a short talk after this. He was mentioning how Caitanya Mahaprabhu would never actually look, He was very, very strict; and especially He was very strict with his renunciate devotees, that they should not associate with the opposite sex. I think Srila Prabhupada was making this point because he could understand and see that this was an unusual experience for a lot of the renunciate devotees who were there, and perhaps it was a bit of a test for them. So Prabhupada mentioned like this. And he said, “But at the same time, we appreciate very much. We are very thankful that these dancers have come. They are very good devotees of Krishna, and this tradition is a very old tradition in their country. They are very, very expert at depicting the rasa-lila dance of Radha and Krishna.”

Interview DVD 11

BV Padmanabha Swami: We stayed in that room the whole afternoon, and now the reality was starting to hit. But even though the Ayurvedic doctor had said what he said, still within our hearts there was a ray of hope that Prabhupada can again start reviving himself. This was our prayer and this was our hope, but at the same time there was a kind of acceptance now that was taking place for us and especially as the afternoon wore on and Prabhupada was not showing any signs at all of reviving to external consciousness. So now the time was drawing closer and closer. And as it drew closer and closer, the kirtan got more and more intense.

The hole which was dug for placing Prabhupada in samadhi, the devotees had stayed up all night excavating that hole. There was a little roped off area, and we were all pressed up against this rope watching. Of course, we didn’t know what was going on. But we watched and watched, and gradually Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental Sri Vigraha became covered. Then it really started hitting me that this is the last time that I’m going to see Srila Prabhupada with my eyes, and then I just broke out weeping and weeping. And that was the completion. They poured the earth on top of the samadhi. I remember going back to my room, sitting down in front of one of the favorite pictures I kept of Srila Prabhupada, and I did my own little Guru Puja for Srila Prabhupada. Then after that I collapsed and took rest and got up a couple hours later and there was a whole ceremony going on of different speakers coming and glorifying Srila Prabhupada, and then after that there was a huge feast. Then all the residents of Vrindavan came, and thousands of people were fed with prasadam in Prabhupada’s honor.