Mohan Gopal das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 10

Mohan Gopal: I was a street vendor back in ’76, and an old man gave me a Back to Godhead magazine. So after reading the magazine, I wanted to get more books. So I called the temple and when I went out there, I met a devotee by the name of Lokaguru and told him that I’d like to get some books. I bought the whole collection, and so I was invited to come there the first part of July when Srila Prabhupada was supposed to visit. So for the last two days that he was there I came. When I first saw him, he was walking in the temple and they were playing “Govinda.” That was the first time I ever heard anything like that, and to this day that’s my favorite song. It was the most beautiful sound, and he would go down and pay his obeisances. To me, I said, “That looks so cool.” I’d never seen anything like that. So I just wished I could be like that. Then he gave a lecture and he was passing out prasad, so that was my first lecture that I ever heard was from Srila Prabhupada. When he was handing out cookies, the devotees pushed me up front and he personally handed me the cookie. So that was my first experience with prasadam. Then Prabhupada was chanting and the devotees were dancing, and they were jumping like jack rabbits. They were touching the ceiling it looked like. I’d never seen anything like that. So after that experience, I knew that it was something very special. Before that I had spent a whole month in June reading the Bhagavad-gita, and I read it at my vendor stand every day. It was in June, it was warm, so I’d sit outside my stand on Georgia Avenue. Each day…it took me 30 days to read, and on the 30th day I had it completed. I started on June 1st on my birthday, so it was like a rebirth for me. I read it for 30 days and I couldn’t stop, couldn’t put it down, and a whole transformation just came over me – the way I was seeing things, the way I was responding to life. It was the answer to all my questions that I had ever since I was a small child. But then actually seeing the devotees and associating with Prabhupada, it put a spark of service in my heart, and ever since then I’ve been somehow connected with the devotees.