Vrindavan das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 07

Vrindavan: Right now I’m looking at this beautiful footage of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival at Dallas Airport in 1974. I was 7 years old at the time, and I remember how excited we were. By this time, I think this was my fifth time maybe of getting to see Prabhupada. And from my experience at that time, the movement was so wonderful, it was going so well and, especially as a child, that was the universe for us, that was it. Prabhupada’s coming was the greatest event going on in the whole history of the planet, that was the vibe. So I remember we all got ready, we go to the airport and we were waiting for Prabhupada. Then he finally shows up and there’s huge kirtan, and then there was such a joyous feeling.

Vrindavan das: They had a room set up for Prabhupada to greet the media people. So then we all go in there and it was set up really luxuriously, and there was lots of prasadam and flowers. Prabhupada sat down, and then the media people started asking him questions. That’s a famous one where they ask, “Well, what is a hippie?” One thing I noticed even as a kid was the way our teachers had a way of making us look down on karmis and people who weren’t devotees. So we always had this feeling, “Oh, once we see Prabhupada interacting with these people, they’re either going to fully surrender or he’s going to smash them and show them what fools they were.” So first I noticed how charming he was to everyone. He really knew how to bring out the best in the people and want them to feel positive about meeting him, and I really noticed that. He didn’t smash them and get heavy with them. He actually would win them over through charm. He would get them to laugh, he’d get them to feel good and comfortable around him, and I really, really admired that, especially because our teachers were kind of young guys and they didn’t have much life experience so they had a real heavy mentality. So when we would see Prabhupada, we were always waiting for him to do that to people, but I never saw him like that. He was always wonderful, charming, and he would reinforce the sincerity and the genuineness in the people that came to see him. I have to admit too, I remember feeling a little surprised, “How come these people that just got this wonderful exchange with Prabhupada didn’t immediately run to the temple and follow us and shave up or put on a sari or anything?”

Interview DVD 11

Vrindavan: When Prabhupada first came back in 1977, he gave a real intense lecture about vani and vapuh, association through personal association or association through instruction. And I remember the intensity of that too because we also had our teachers. Despite the problems, they were pretty sincerely into this. Why else would they give up their lives? So whenever Prabhupada would give these heavy lectures, they used to go out of their way to make sure we got the point. So I remember when Prabhupada gave that intense lecture, “So many of you want to be around me physically. All right, but the truth is when you associate with me through my instructions, it’s much more effective and I’m much more pleased by it.” Of course, we want sangha with the sadhus and with the spiritual master, but he said the most important thing is to associate by carrying out the instructions, carrying on their mission. And I remember that too, and I knew what it meant. Then I’ve noticed even as an adult, a lot of projects I’ve done, the ones that were completely successful were when I’ve always had that attitude, that somehow I’m with Prabhupada.