Sankarshan das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 03

Sankarshan: That first Rathayatra I have seen that is led by ISKCON Calcutta. At that time I am reading in the university, Calcutta University, I am a student. I was not initiated at that time, but I am the follower of this movement. And among the family members, Prabhupada’s family member, Pisima, myself and my sister Jalatala. Then there were not so many Bengali peoples because at that time Bengali people, they are thinking, “Oh, these people are foreigners,” because it is very new thing to them. “How this could be possible being a foreigner they are shaving their head, they are worshiping our Deity?” They are suspecting something. But how Prabhupada is merciful. The first publicity we got, front page in all the newspapers, they say, “This is the first time that foreign devotees are chanting and foreign devotees are going on the street with the chariot, which is a miracle.” And Prabhupada was very pleased. Prabhupada told us that every year you celebrate Rathayatra, particularly in Calcutta because Calcutta is a place where he started Rathayatra at the age of 5. He was born in 1896, and he started Rathayatra 1902.

In the beginning, the mood was very nice. We were very not so much rich but we were pure in heart. We were very working hard, going to monument esplanade to distribute. I went personally. Once Jayapataka Maharaj told me, “Please come, you are Bengali.” I am the only Bengali boy. So I every day used to go after my college over, then distributing book. Then when the Bengali people see me, “Oh, you are Bengali, you work with foreigners. Oh, maybe they are CIA.” Then I told them, “Why you are saying all these things, because their Guru Maharaj is Bengali.” “Oh, their Guru Maharaj is Bengali? Is it possible?” “Yeah, you can come and see. He was born in Calcutta. He went abroad to preach this Krishna consciousness movement. Why not you are coming to our Calcutta temple?” So then so many people are interested, Bengali people, they used to come and participate.

Interview DVD 04

Sankarshan: I have seen that Prabhupada morning walking time, one villager, he is taking some subji, vegetables, to nearby market. Then Prabhupada stopped suddenly and he says, “Where you are going?” “I have to sell these vegetable to the market.” Then Prabhupada says, “Why not you are giving to the temple? You can serve Radha-Govinda by giving your vegetables.” Then he has agreed. He purchased all the vegetables, big bucket he purchased, and he told Jayapataka. Then Jayapataka paid his amount. He told that vegetable man, “Please you come every day and talk with the temple manager and give subji, fresh vegetables to the Radha-Govinda.” He has all the time mind to give fresh flowers, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits. I have seen also sometimes in Calcutta somebody purchased not fresh fruits. So he was very annoyed, “Why you do not buy the fresh fruits for Radha-Govinda?” So I have seen same thing, fresh vegetables he likes to offer Krishna.