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Prabhupada still had his cookie.

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My first personal experience with Prabhupada, besides getting a cookie from him or a pat on the head, was when I was four years old. I was at the time dressing as a sannyasi and had a danda.

We all met Srila Prabhupada at the airport and I got to ride back to the temple in the Cadillac with Srila Prabhupada.

There was a driver in the front seat and my father was in the passenger seat doing security. I was in the back seat with my little danda and Prabhupada sitting next to me. It was the best day of my life.

On our way back from the airport Srila Prabhupada took out a big cookie that someone had given him. He could see that I was obviously interested in the cookie, so he broke it and gave me one half. I ate it so quickly that I just buried the thing. However, Prabhupada didn’t eat his right away. I was sitting there with mine finished, and Prabhupada still had his cookie.

I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m a brahmin. I’m supposed to wash my hands and Prabhupada is sitting right next to me, and he’s going to see that I don’t wash my hands after I eat.” I was four years old and this was the biggest problem that I could ever have.

I remember my danda was sitting next to the door and I was touching it. I was thinking, “Am I going to be exposed as a smarta brahmin or a false brahmin?” But I kept cool though.

I watched Prabhupada to see what he would do. Prabhupada ate his cookie, and without touching his fingers to his lips. When he finished, he clapped his hands together three times cleaning any crumbs left on his hands. So I did the same thing.

It was just such a relief. There were all these pressures on me. I was a brahmin so I had to wash my hands, or maybe take a shower. This was some pretty intense pressure. Prabhupada cleaned his hands by clapping them together and instantly my suffering vanished.

This event has meant more and more to me over the years. I’ve had different realizations but I’ve come to understand that everything has a time, place and circumstance.

(Kiba Jaya, Memories of Srila Prabhupada)

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