Gurudas das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Gurudas: Prabhupada, Swamiji at the time, didn’t tell us about the vyasasana. He didn’t make us cut our hair. He didn’t say anything about bowing down. He just accepted things as they were. He accepted us. Krishna had sent us, enthusiastic, young and believing we could do anything. We were adventurous and not too staid in any lifestyle. We were able to go along with and do anything, and that’s what happened. A New York contingent slowly came to San Francisco. Among them there was an artist, Haridas, Harvey Cohen, who came in an old Cadillac. We called it the “Krishnalac.” For some reason Haridas put a totem pole with noses, rings, masks, and moons right by the temple altar in Frederick Street. Prabhupada just accepted it, along with eclectic pictures, pictures of Lord Jesus, and so on. Prabhupada didn’t tell us to do too much, but he did teach Yamuna, Harsharani, and Govinda dasi how to cook. Once, when Prabhupada was sick, the doctors told Govinda dasi to give Prabhupada a special diet. Prabhupada called them the “starvation committee.” He wanted his standard diet instead.

Haridas decided to paint the Panchatattva Deities, but he thought They were women and he painted Them with breasts. When the new painting was unveiled over the new altar, Prabhupada said, “Ahhhh,” and told Haridas, “Those are men, not women. Please change it.” Haridas changed it. It’s amazing how Prabhupada was so patient. He introduced things very slowly.

I would take lots of photographs, and sometimes Prabhupada would tease me, saying, “Why you are photographing me so much? Photograph something important like people chanting.” Once in San Francisco when I was photographing he said, “There is a superstition in India that if someone is photographed, it will shorten his life. What do you think?” I stopped. I said, “I think how long one lives depends on how one lives.” He said, “Yes. That other idea is just a superstition.”

Yamuna and I knew a number of people who could have married us, but we said, “We would really like the Swami to do it.” So we asked him, “Would you marry us?” He said, “First you must become initiated.” I said, “When do you want us to become initiated?” He said, “Tomorrow.” Tomorrow came, and I was still with my old jazz friends, uncertain whether to go ahead with it or not. My friends said, “Don’t get initiated. Stay with us.” Some Christian said, “This Krishna consciousness is paganism.” I was swayed, and right up to the last minute I was calling the temple saying, “I am coming,” and then hanging up the phone and saying, “I don’t want to do it.” No one, including me, was sure if I was going to show or not, but finally I did. Four of us got initiated that day. I was afraid. I knew that it meant that I would have to surrender even though there was no great Movement at the time, just twelve, fourteen, sixteen people around who ate and chanted. There was no bowing down or shaven heads. It was just a lot of fun. Prabhupada was like our father sitting in our midst. In the early morning kirtan, people were still coming off all-night LSD trips. It was part of the whole scene. They would come to the temple to chant and have breakfast. At my initiation there were all sorts of freaks. The temple was smoking like anything because Janaki brought compressed wood instead of real wood. We also used margarine instead of butter, so the flame sputtered and smoked. Prabhupada said to me, “You will be Gurudas das,” but I was so frightened at the time that I didn’t hear my name. Afterwards I said to Prabhupada, “When would you like to marry us?” He said, “Tomorrow.” He didn’t want to give me too much time to think.

Rabindra Svarup was a sensitive, thoughtful, poetic, and ascetic- looking person who obviously loved Prabhupada. He didn’t speak too much, but sometimes said things honestly and abruptly. He said what he thought. Prabhupada loved him very much. In the middle of a kirtan, Rabindra Svarup said, “I’ve got to reach God directly. I cannot do it through anybody else” and he started to cry. This was his conflict. He didn’t want to do it with any priest, or intermediary. He loved Prabhupada, but he said, “I’ve got to do it on my own.” Prabhupada said, “Come here, my boy.” Rabindra Svarup came right up on the vyasasana and put his head on Prabhupada’s lap. Prabhupada said, “Dear boy, I just want you to be happy. I just want you to be happy.” Rabindra Svarup looked into Prabhupada’s face and cried. Prabhupada looked at him very compassionately. Then Rabindra Svarup bolted up off the vyasasana and out the front door. He didn’t sneak out in the middle of the night. We were all there. We saw him run out, and we were all shak- en by it because we were a family. His girlfriend Haladapi was there and she didn’t know whether she would ever see him again. He just left, slamming the door behind him. Prabhupada said, “Now let us chant,” and he led with sizzling kartals. Prabhupada didn’t say anything about the incident. We all chanted and cried.

Prabhupada liked how Saraswati, Malati and Shyamasundar’s four- year-old daughter, helped encourage everyone to chant during kirtan. Later on he gave her a small Deity of Krishna. Saraswati became quite attached to her Deity, and one day Prabhupada hid her Deity behind his back. Saraswati was looking, “Where is Krishna?” Prabhupada also encouraged her, “Where is Krishna?” Saraswati became anxious, “Where is Krishna? Where is He?” When Prabhupada returned the Deity to her he pointed out how separation from Krishna can increase our awareness of Him and love for Him.

Prabhupada had a fast wit. People would say, “Swamiji, you look so nice today.” He would say, “Just today?” When he was trying to get permission to immigrate, Nandarani and Dayananda were thinking of sponsoring him. He said, “You can adopt me, but they will say, ‘What will you do with such an old child?’” Also for immigration purposes, Allen Ginsberg offered a woman for him to marry. He said, “No, no. I cannot do that.” (In the early times there was more than one woman that asked him to marry her not for immigration purposes. One person followed him to Montreal.)

Prabhupada was on a live call-in talk show hosted by a man who had a reputation for being unkind to guests. Jayananda, Mukunda, maybe Hayagriva, and I went along. Gargamuni stayed back to call in some questions. The host began, “Welcome to the United States, Swamiji,” and one of us gave a brief introduction about the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. Then Gargamuni called and asked, “What is the meaning of life, Swamiji?” Prabhupada explained, “The meaning of life is to be a servant of God,” for about twenty minutes. The next question was “Why are we on the earth planet?” Again Prabhupada gave a long answer. The host said, “We want questions from peo- ple outside of your group.” The third question was tremendous, “Why are we here? What is our purpose for being here?” Again Prabhupada took fifteen, twenty minutes to answer. The host was anxious to get another point of view. Finally a woman with a midwest twang asked, “Swamiji, why is your temple in the Haight-Ashbury?” Prabhupada said, “The rents are inexpensive.” She said, “Why are you teaching hippies?” Prabhupada said, “They are not hippies. They are happies.” She said, “How did you get here from India?” He said, “I received free passage from my friend, Sumati Morarji, on the Scindia Steamship line.” She said, “Who paid for it?” He said, “Free passage means there is no paying.” She was getting frustrated. She said, “Are you a freeloader?” Prabhupada had never heard the word before, but he said, “Yes.” We could hear her practically fall down on the kitchen floor. It sounded like she fainted. The host said, “I don’t like her questions. I am going to punch her out.” Then he started asking questions like, “What’s that mark on your forehead?”, and the program ended.

When Achyutananda was speaking with Prabhupada in Vrindavan he said, “Gurudas is stationed in Vrindavan, but it would be good if he could come preaching around India.” I said to Prabhupada, “I am happy in Vrindavan but I would like to preach too. What should I do?” He said, “Preach to the devotees. They need preaching.” And it’s true. I saw that after somebody joined, the courtship was over, and we grew complacent, forgetting that they were unique. So I took his instruction to heart and started preaching more. It was great. Everybody appreciated it. In London when the devotees came back from sankirtan, Yamuna would serve them milk, and I would tell them stories or read Krishna Book. The devotees said it was like I was their father and Yamuna was their mother. Prabhupada encouraged us by saying, “Men and women are in this Bury Place temple. There is just one floor difference, but there is no illicit mixing. That is because this is a family. You are like the father, and Yamuna is like the mother. It is not artificial.” It was a family type of thing. When I was to take sannyas, I pointed out that my preaching to the devotees would diminish because people treat sannyasis differently and because married couples would stop coming for counseling. Prabhupada said, “Yes, that is so. But as a sannyasi you can preach more widely to the world.”

Prabhupada and I were walking together. I had begun to go to the India Office Library and the British Museum in London. The British Museum library had some old Gaudiya Math books, and the India Office Library had everything, including Bhaktisiddhanta’s works and the poem that Prabhupada wrote to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in 1935, “Adore, adore ye all the happy day.” I had found that in his handwriting and sent it to him, and he was happy to receive it. In the library I had begun to read Bhaktivinode Thakur’s writing about Puri, and I liked his poetry, imagery and compassion. In my heart I liked Bhaktivinode Thakur’s writings the best. I liked Prabhupada the best, but Prabhupada had a formal side, a public persona. When he lectured he was sometimes stern. His writing is very nice, but sometimes I found it repetitious. I am just being honest, not blasphemous. I liked Bhaktivinode Thakur’s writings the most, but on the walk I lied. I said, “I like Bhaktivinode Thakur as my second favorite author.” Prabhupada looked at me and said, “Second?” Again he read my mind. I said, “Actually, he is my favorite.” He said, “Yes. If I were one-tenth of Bhaktivinode Thakur, I would be a great devotee.”

Street sankirtan started in New York, but for us it began on Lord Chaitanya’s Appearance Day. We were told to go to the temple and alternate between kirtan, japa, and reading the scriptures. After about three or four hours, Jayananda, Jivananda, Uddhava, and I thought, “Let’s take this outside.” Chanting, we went around the corner to Willard Street where Prabhupada was staying. Prabhupada came to the window and motioned to us. We thought, “Oh, no. He is telling us to go away,” and we started back to the temple. Upendra, Prabhupada’s servant came storming out and said, “No, no. That’s the Indian way of saying ‘Come here. Come here.’” We went upstairs, and Prabhupada said, “Krishna has given you the intelligence to chant in the street. Now I want you to do this every day.” Street sankirtan, harinam, started for us as of that day.

Srila Prabhupada had all the qualities of a great devotee. Just by seeing him, one would think of Krishna. But the quality that I remember most was his compassion. Prabhupada, although non-compromising and strict at times, was also open-minded. He did what the situation called for, whether tying up a microphone with a brahman’s thread or understanding our complaints. With a compassionate look he once said to me, “If I don’t forgive you, then Krishna will forgive you. And if Krishna does not, Radharani will.”

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 03 - Brahmananda, Guru das, Nara Narayana

Interview 02

Gurudas: Nara-Narayana was going to massage Prabhupada but he said, “My hands are too coarse to touch the spiritual master! What am I going to do?! Such a fallen soul as me cannot…” he was going through that kind of thing. I said, “Just get prepared,” but he said, “No, I cannot!” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it” and I started to get ready. I went into Prabhupada’s room and Prabhupada said, “Anybody can rub oils. Go out and preach.” He spoke about himself as if he were some inanimate object. At that point Nara- Narayana came in and said, “I’m ready, Srila Prabhupada!” and they continued. I always stayed with Srila Prabhupada as much as I could because watching him was to see Krishna consciousness applied practically. Once we were at a gathering where many enthusiastic people were giving Prabhupada presents and getting his darshan. Prabhupada turned to me and said, “Just see how they are treating saintly people.” He didn’t refer to himself but just said, “saintly people.” At that time people were touching his feet and he told me that if someone touches a guru’s feet, a sadhu’s feet, they have to be able to absorb all the karma of that person. He said, “That’s why I’m patting them on their head, so I can give them their karma back.”

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 47 - Twenty Disciples Remembering SP

Interview 03

Gurudas: We’d been apprised of the rules and regulations. Prabhupada didn’t go through them at our initiation. He just said, “Chant sixteen rounds, and Krishna consciousness means happiness,” which he had said many other times over the years and which was a very strong statement. Prabhupada sometimes gave nice, short instructions. Once we were in Nandagram looking at the beautiful paintings. He turned to me and said, “Art means full belly.” He said, “If someone is hungry, they cannot think about making or looking at art. They are thinking about filling their belly.” Very pointed, very short, very sweet, and a bit of philosophy. So, Krishna consciousness means happiness. It was powerful.

We were on a train and Prabhupada said, “Just as rain falls everywhere, on the land as well as on the ocean, so Krishna loves all His devotees equally. But if someone steps toward Krishna, He reciprocates. He shows His love for that person.” Similarly, Prabhupada did not love any devotee more than any other, but he showed his love to the devotees who were doing something. At the first Kumbhamela we attended, Prabhupada was in a large, grand tent that looked like a nomadic bedroom. All the so-called “big guns” gathered. Again, it wasn’t because he loved us more. It was because we were doing something and he was reciprocating with us. He asked us, “How do you know Krishna is God?” Somebody said, “Because it says so in the Bhagavad-gita.” Prabhupada said, “Someone can say that that is just a book.” I said, “Because you say so, Prabhupada.” He said, “Someone will say, ‘What does he know? He is an old man.’” So we didn’t know. Prabhupada said, “The answer is because you feel ecstasy. You feel blissful. You feel the nectar. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” I thought, “What a great answer,” because many times I had felt ecstatic. That’s what kept me going, along with Prabhupada. I was scholarly but from the very beginning my Krishna consciousness was interacting with Prabhupada.

So, in the tent at Kumbhamela Prabhupada had said, “You know Krishna is God by your ecstasy. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Seven or eight years later we were on a morning walk in Philadelphia when Prabhupada said, “Stop.” Everybody stopped. “How do you know Krishna is God?” I let a few people say this and that. Nobody knew. I said, “Because you feel the ecstasy. You feel the nectar. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” He said, “No, because the Bhagavad-gita says it.” I said, “But Prabhupada, you said . . .” By that time he was walking on. This was one of those seeming contradictions that aren’t actually contradictions, because they’re transcendental.

At our pandal program in Calcutta we had some seats for Life Members, a rupee each. Some communists came and said, “This is a distinction. Those seats are for a rupee, and some people might want to sit on those seats but can’t pay a rupee.” I said, “If there is a distinction and you like the seats, go sit in the seats.” They did and were satisfied, but previously they had sent a piece of paper to Prabhupada on the stage that said, “Quit India or die.” Prabhupada started the program with beautiful Brahma-samhita prayers. It soothed everybody.

Prabhupada started out with the Brahma-samhita prayers. They were beautiful. It soothed everybody. Then Prabhupada was about to lecture when we heard a lot of noise. Pishima was coming on the stage with her following of mostly Bengali ladies. They were talking, and some men were saying, “Shut up. Shut up,” which made the ladies make more noise. Prabhupada called me over and said, “What’s going on?” I said, “Pishima is trying to get your attention.” He looked at me as if to say, “We’ve got a program to do here, so what is going on?” I said, “Some disciples and well-wishers of Pishima are making noise.” He said, “Get them to stop.” As nicely as I could, I said to them, “You’ve got to stop.” It subsided in three or four minutes. I went to Prabhupada and said, “Okay.” He said, “I used to beat her up, and I still shall.”

Sometimes he described what it was like coming to the United States. It wasn’t easy for him. He was sick, he had to cook for himself, and he felt out of place. At first he had some doubts about staying in America. The way he counteracted the doubts was to go to the shipping line and find out when the ships would be returning to India. The customs man said, “Swamiji, you have been coming here for a year looking at the times, but when are you going?”

Prabhupada seemed to be very fond of George and philosophically interested in John. They had many philosophical exchanges. George, like Prabhupada, is a very down-to-earth person, not a self-conscious person. Prabhupada was able to surmise that. George was also friendly and respectful to Prabhupada. They were talking about addiction. “As someone may be addicted to drugs, we are addicted to Krishna,” Prabhupada said. At the time, John and Yoko were addicted to heroin. Sometimes, if you are just speaking the eternal truth, it will cover a situation. But Prabhupada seemed to be able to read minds. After that, basically, it was about developing a taste, a love, for chanting, for this philosophy. It was quite nice the way Prabhupada was doing it. He wasn’t judging them or asking too much about them. He was talking like artists talk when they get “in the zone.” It’s actually a trance state, a state of meditation. At that time you become so involved in what you are doing that everything else disappears. That’s what Krishna consciousness is. It’s that taste for chanting. That’s what Prabhupada was preaching.

Prabhupada asked me to arrange a meeting with the United States Ambassador to India. Some devotees and I had already met the Ambassador, Kenneth Keating. He liked me. He knew me from the Food for Peace program, and through him I was able to get tons of food for distribution. In two days the Ambassador was leaving Delhi, but I arranged a meeting for the next day, which turned out to be quite friendly. The Ambassador asked if we’d like tea. Prabhupada said that we don’t take tea, so he gave us warm milk in gold-rimmed, American Eagle cups and saucers. Prabhupada explained that there are many designations but these are not very important. “You may think you are American, and you may think that I am Indian or Hindu, but in Krishna consciousness we rise above these bodily distinctions. These distinctions can change.” Prabhupada explained that, “We can change our name, we can change our passport, we can change the country we live in. These things are temporary, and we should not think of each other in these ways because it only separates us. I don’t call you Mr. Striped Suit, and you don’t call me Mr. Orange Robe. We know each other for something greater than that. Our clothes don’t stop us from being friendly towards one another.” He went on to make some other points, and to demonstrate one of them, he said, “Just as I don’t drink this milk with my elbow,” and we all laughed uproariously. Kenneth Keating was enthralled, but his secretary came in and said, “Mr. Ambassador, you have another appointment now.” Finally Mr. Keating said, “We have to bring this meeting from the sublime to the mundane. I have to go.” Prabhupada immediately said, “I have to bring this meeting from the sublime to the mundane. I want to meet your President,” who was Nixon at the time. Kenneth Keating said that he had gotten that request before and that Mr. Nixon was not interested in meeting anybody from India, but he would try.

He told us how his Guru Maharaj had gotten somebody to buy cigarettes for a visiting scholar from Germany. His Guru Maharaj would do such a thing for preaching. Similarly, when I was in Russia there was a scarcity of food, and Prabhupada told me, “You can even eat meat if you have to, to keep this preaching going on.” I didn’t have to, but the principle was there. On one Ekadasi Prabhupada said, “On Ekadasi my Guru Maharaj fed everybody.” Based on that example, Prabhupada had us observe Ekadasi and at the same time cook and distribute regular prasadam. In other words, he didn’t want us to discontinue the prasadam distribution program.

We were invited to Gaurachandra Goswami’s house for lunch, and Prabhupada asked me, “What do you think of Gaurachandra Goswami?” I said, “He is a rascal, but I think that he loves you.” Prabhupada said, “That is how I feel. He has invited us to have lunch prasadam. We should go.” So we were there, and Prabhupada was sliding his own bitten-from chapatis, puris, and subji onto my plate. He kept feeding me like that, which I thought was great. Then I would slide his prasadam onto somebody else’s plate so that they could share the nectar. At the end of the meal Gaurachandra Goswami, who was almost blind, wanted to have a bidi. He tried to go behind the door to have his smoke, but he wasn’t actually behind the door. He was in front of the door and acting sneaky. We had a good laugh, because he was so obvious. He was trying to sneak out and smoke.

I said to Prabhupada, “Gaurachandra Goswami is in a goswami family, but he doesn’t want his son to eat prasadam with us.” Prabhupada said, “Yes. You can find out how they really feel about us in Vrindavan by inviting them to prasadam. If they come, they are for us. If they don’t, they are not.”

The book distributors were recognized for their service more than the dancers and actors. These performers wanted to be more accepted, and they asked me what to do. I said, “Let’s have a performance for Srila Prabhupada when he comes to New Dvaraka.” When Prabhupada came I said to him, “The dancers and theater people would like to do a performance for you. When would you like it?” He said, “Tomorrow.” So they did it in the temple. Prajapati played Baladev, and somebody else played the Pralamba demon. Prabhupada was laughing. The next morning we were in the BBT warehouse, and Ramesvara was talking about the books. I guess this is one of the times Prabhupada was reading minds. He said, “Where is Prajapati?” Somebody ran to get him. When Prajapati came, Prabhupada said, “Let us have these Krishna conscious performances in every town and village just like we distribute books in every town and village.” This was an affirmation for the performers. After that it was more understood that even if you weren’t inclined to distribute books, you could still be valuable.

Prabhupada saw Krishna in everything. He said that if Govinda slaps, we accept it as mercy. During the Pakistan-India war we were in Delhi, and some people were saying, “Now we have black-outs, and you are not putting the lights out. Aren’t you afraid?” Prabhupada said, “We are not controlling. You cannot even control your toothache, your stomachache.” They would say “But if a bomb should come?” Prabhupada said, “If the bomb comes, I will see it as Krishna.”

Most of the time people did not tell Prabhupada the full story. When they did, Prabhupada always wanted to rectify it right away. He didn’t want to let it fester. For instance, Siddhasvarupananda’s people from Hawaii, who weren’t initiated at the time, bought a few hundred dollars worth of books from me in London. The next day, someone told Prabhupada that I had sold those books to the people of Hawaii. So Prabhupada got all the parties together. Bhavananda looked at me and said, “You have sold a few hundred dollars worth of books to the people in Hawaii.” Prabhupada said, “They are reading my books? And they are chanting the holy name?” Bhavananda wanted to crawl under the cushion. What I liked very much about Prabhupada was that every time, rather than backbiting, he would get all the parties together and bring the issue out in the open.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 06 - Sridhara Swami, Baradraj, Hari vilasa, Guru das

The full Prabhupada Memories Series can be viewed here and also at

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 01

Gurudas: Jayananda planned the car and built the car, and subsequently every year he was known as “Mr. Rathayatra.” He would not sleep before the festival, and each year it improved – the decoration, from one car to three. This was the first car that he built, and it’s so beautiful. This became and has remained a San Francisco tradition. On this day is a special day for Lord Jagannatha, and this is acknowledged by the officials of San Francisco.

Interview DVD 02

Gurudas: There were many engagements, and Prabhupada would just have us set up anything for him to speak. It didn’t matter if it was small or large or in a seedy part of town; and when he spoke about Krishna and sang the Holy Names, he was happy and he would get energy. Sometimes we would even say, “Well, Prabhupada, we went to this place before and two people showed up, and we don’t know if it’s worth your time to go there.” And Prabhupada would say, “No, I am like a cow, I give milk anywhere. That is what I like to do.” And we would go, just go with him – this place, that place, this town, that town. We just liked to be with him.

Interview DVD 03

Gurudas: The pandal program was scheduled to begin, but some of the work was still going on. At this time in northern Calcutta, there was some bombing and shooting going on between the Naxalites, the Communists, and other people. We had some chairs for life members. In case some people didn’t want to sit on the ground, there were some seats for one rupee each. So this was the basis for the Naxalites to complain. So they’re complaining. Meanwhile, there was a gentleman named Colonel Datta who used to come to the Calcutta temple, and he wore this pith helmet, this African hat that was very flamboyant. So he wanted to fight all the Naxalites and I said, “No, that’s not a good idea.” But he was barring the entrance and they were going back and forth, and you could hear a lot of commotion. Meanwhile, Prabhupada is up on the stage and Prabhupada wanted to know what all the commotion was. Meanwhile, a note then came and said, “Quit or die. Quit India or die.” Prabhupada sees it and he said, “Let’s go, let’s start the pandal.” He sang the Brahma-samhita prayers. He told me also, he said, “Go and tell them that if they want to sit in the one rupee chairs that they can. Just invite them to sit.” So I invited them to sit, this diffused the argument, Prabhupada started singing the Brahma-samhita prayers, cintamani-prakara-sadmasu, and they just quieted down and the pandal program started.

My job…one of them was to invite chief guests to the program, and so I thought it would be a good idea to…because we did this in London…have titles for what Prabhupada would talk about and have guests that would sometimes have something to do with the theme. One of the chief guests was James George, the Canadian ambassador to India, who was very favorable. I think his talk was appreciated by the populace as well as any of the chief guests, if not more. So we invited Dr. Atmaram, the chief scientist, and he talked on how religion and science actually don’t have to be at odds with each other. And then Prabhupada spoke on Easy Journey To Other Planets type of a scientific talk. So we invited Hans Raj Gupta, the mayor of Delhi, who was a really good friend of Prabhupada. It was more anecdotal, how Prabhupada continued and persevered and started the League of Devotees and printed the Srimad Bhagwatams. It was very enlightening to us because Prabhupada really did persevere at the beginning of many of the things that we take for granted and made them happen.

I was so ecstatic, and we got into the Ambassador car at the Delhi Airport. Shyamasundara was there and Prabhupada was sitting in the front, and we were riding to Vrindavan. Prabhupada was quiet and I was thinking, “He’s going to give some spiritual sloka about Vrindavan that will inspire us.” Prabhupada was quiet. Finally I hear Prabhupada clear his throat and he said, “Cement. We must get cement and build a water tower like that,” he pointed out the water tower, so we could have sweet water.

We went to Mr. Saraff’s house, and he had just decided to give us the land in Raman Reti. There was a slip of paper that said “yes” and a slip of paper that said “no.” Our friend Shamadevi from London and Kenya and Vrindavan also wanted this piece of land. She had an ashram down the street in Raman Reti, and this would be an expansion for her. She was vying for it. Radharani arranged so that we picked the right slip of paper that said “yes” and so Mr. Saraff was finalizing this process at his house, signing the papers and the deeds. Shyamasundara was with me, and he had a portable typewriter and he was making this draft. At the same time, Gourachand Goswami and Madan Mohan Goswami had shown up because they were contending and wanting money for Prabhupada’s rooms in Radha-Damodara Temple. At the same time, Prabhupada had sent me to Mathura to arrange for theses rooms for life as a seva. It’s a technicality. So we were also drawing up this draft. The interesting thing is that even though Madan Mohan Goswami and Gourachand Goswami lived across the same courtyard in Radha-Damodara Temple, they were not speaking and they were both in Goswami families. So Prabhupada put Gourachand Goswami in one room, Madan Mohan Goswami in another room. I was going from room to room. Shyamasundara was making up documents. At the same time, Shamadevi came with a member of Parliament and a policeman to try and contest this land being given to Prabhupada. We put her in another room. So Mr. Sharaff’s house was full of people who were not talking and arguing and contending, and Shyamasundara was making up documents. At this point, Krishna das Babaji shows up, Prabhupada’s godbrother. Somehow or other, he always knew when Prabhupada was coming to Vrindavan. This was not announced, there was no emails, and he shows up from Radha Kund and he laughs and chants. He didn’t speak much. He laughed a lot, he chanted a lot. One time he left his bead bag in Anand’s room and we immediately had a poll, how fast he would be to return to get it. I said, “Well, at least within the minute,” and sure enough he came back and got his beads. So I called Prabhupada “the ringmaster” because he was like a circus ringmaster, taming clowns and lions and contesting people. And all the documents were drawn up, we got the rooms in Radha-Damodara for life, we got the land, Shamadevi couldn’t do anything, and Krishna das chanted and laughed. And it was a wonderful day at Mr. Saraff’s house.