Samir das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Samir: When I first came in contact with the Hare Krishna devotees, they gave me some literature, which I read. Because I was coming from an Indian background, I had respect for all the sadhus in India. I went to the Indian High Commission Library to read about their philosophies, like Ramana Maharsi, Aurovindo, Vivekananda and so many others. I thought that I should see what they had to say about spiritual life. However, I was taken aback by reading Prabhupada’s books, which were so simple and made more sense than anyone else’s books. Immediately I had this attraction for Prabhupada’s presentation of spiritual life.

I was fortunate to be with Prabhupada on a morning walk in Toronto. Many devotees were asking questions. One Indian devotee was complaining to Prabhupada about other North American devotees. He felt other devotees always criticized him, and he was expecting that Prabhupada, being from India, would support him. Instead Prabhupada said, “Do your service very diligently and try to please Krishna. In that way you will get everyone’s attention, and they will realize that you are doing such a nice service. In that way, just ignore what others are saying, do your devotional service properly, and do not pay any attention to what others are saying.” I thought that was a very nice answer as it applies to all of us.

Finally, I found an opportunity to meet Prabhupada when he came to Montreal. After one lecture Prabhupada went to his room and had a darshan with a lot of devotees including me. When the devotees left, I asked Brahmananda prabhu, who was Brahmananda Maharaj at the time, whether I could stay for a few minutes with Prabhupada alone. He looked at me and he noticed that Prabhupada had spoken to me before, so he was compassionate and said, “Okay, but not for long.” Brahmananda left and closed the door. I had the best time of my life being alone with Prabhupada. He began by asking me questions about my family background, which I explained to him. Finally, Prabhupada concluded our conversation by saying, “Do something for this temple.” Because I was an architect, he wanted to encourage me to do some service in my field of expertise. In those early days there were not many Indians coming forward, so he was encouraging me and other Indians to do some devotional service. In time I finally got the opportunity to design the Montreal temple. When this temple was bought, the temple president, Sripati, asked me, “Can you design something with an Indian style architecture?” I did, and then I went to Vrindavan with those designs and discussed them with Surabhi Swami who was the architect for the Vrindavan temple. He gave me some advice, and then I came back with an exact replica of the model in balsa wood. I went to the ashram where Sripati was staying and I gave the model to him to show to Prabhupada for his approval. Sripati asked me, “Why don’t you come?” I said I was too shy to go there and told him, “No, you are the temple president. You go ahead.” When Sripati returned, I asked him, “How did Prabhupada like it?” He said, “Prabhupada approved your design and said to go ahead with the construction.” I made the construction drawing from which the contractor made this temple. Over the years I realize that Prabhupada played a distinct role in my spiritual life by encouraging me and engaging me in my line of work for Krishna. Prabhupada, of course, always wanted to see that his temples were done nicely, so now the devotees in Montreal can also benefit by coming to this temple to appreciate the architecture as well as the philosophy of Krishna consciousness.

What I like about Prabhupada was his total dedication to his spiritual master. He was convinced about Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction that Krishna’s name will be spread all over the world. That is the thing that struck me the most, and because of his conviction, we are all getting influenced by his shakti and mercy.

To view the entire unedited video go to Memories 72 - Canadian Yatra

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