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It was like Moses parting the Red Sea.

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It was like Moses parting the Red Sea.

Pragosh: I met a policeman in the Port Authority in 1977 just a little bit after the Ratha-yatra. The policeman said that he had worked on the detail for the ‘76 Ratha-yatra and he said, “I knew that your guru was special.” We said, “Why do you say that?” He said, “Because normally, in New York, when there’s a celebrity of some kind or politician, or whatever, it’s really difficult to hold the crowds back. Everybody’s getting up there and we have to have a lot of cops to push everybody back. He said, “There had to be a thousand of you kids running around there, and when your guru got out of the car and just stood up, he didn’t even seem to notice. He just started walking towards the carts, and everybody just parted to let him through. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea. And he never even appeared to notice that this could have been problematic.”


I sold Bhagavad-gitas to two soldiers, separate events, in the airport, as we were waiting for Srila Prabhupada to arrive for the Ratha-yatra in San Francisco. After the first guy gave me twenty dollars for the Gita, I said, “You know the author of this book is arriving right now. If you like, I can take you to greet him. We’re all greeting him. Would you like to do that?” The guy said, “Of course, let’s go!” So we ran over, which was quite a distance to get to the gate, and as we’re running, he was getting more and more excited. He saw all the devotees running with the devotee women in their saris and the men carrying mridangas. As he was running along, he pulled out his wallet and said, “Here,” and he handed me another fifty dollars. “I didn’t give you enough.” I said, “Okay,” and accepted it. When we got to the gate, it was almost time for Srila Prabhupada to come through.


This soldier was trying to look over everybody to get a glimpse of Srila Prabhupada, and then he jumped up on one of the chairs so he could look right where Prabhupada would come through the gate. When he saw the top of Prabhupada’s head, he went crazy. He started yelling, “There he is! I see him! I see his head! I see his head!” You wouldn’t think this would be a normal reaction for anyone other than a devotee. The soldier continued to exclaim, “I see him! I see him! I see him! I see his head!” Prabhupada came out to greet the devotees and the guy looked at me and he said, “What should I do?” I said, “Just do what everybody’s doing, offer obeisances.” So he jumped down on the floor and his hat fell off and somebody kicked it. He paid no attention. He bowed down his head and then I rushed over and I grabbed his hat because I didn’t want it to get stepped on. I brought it back to him and he was like a child. He was a soldier in uniform, carrying a big green rug sack, but when he saw Srila Prabhupada, he got swept up in this intoxication of momentary association with Krishna’s pure devotee. After Prabhupada walked by us and went out, my new soldier friend was beside himself. He turned to me and asked, “Did you see that? Did you see what happened? Did you see?” Totally excited he stated, “That was incredible! That was amazing!”


Two years later in Washington, D.C., I did the same thing. I met another soldier a half hour before Prabhupada was to arrive. I gave him a Bhagavad-gita and I told him, “Hey, you know, the author of this book is arriving. How would you like to greet him?” He said, “Are you serious?” I said, “Yeah. Come on, let’s go!” We rushed over to the TWA wing in the airport. By this time all the devotees had set up two lines for Prabhupada to come through, and they had thrown flowers. The airport was a little upset because they had made a little bit of a mess with the flowers.


Finally Prabhupada came through the finger of this big cavernous TWA building in the D.C. airport with a really loud and resonant kirtan roaring behind him. There was a bright light behind Prabhupada that almost made Prabhupada like a shadow. I pointed him out, “There he is. There he is. He’s right there. Do you see him?” I turned the book over and I said, “See? See his picture? There he is. He’s right there.” The guy said, “Oh my God!” He was holding onto my arm. He said, “My God, you’re right! That’s him! That’s him! He’s there! Oh my God!” When Prabhupada passed by, the soldier took the Bhagavad-gita and he held it up and said, “Sir!” He was trying to get Prabhupada’s attention. “Sir! Sir! Sir!” Prabhupada stopped right in front of him. The guy said, “I got your book!” Prabhupada looked at him and said, “Thank you very much” and then he turned and walked on. The guy looked at me, again and said, “Can you believe that? He talked to me! Did you see that? He talked to me!” I said, “Yeah, you can’t believe what just happened to you. You have no idea what just happened to you.”


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