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We offer our respectful obeisances to the pure devotee who came to the West to liberate us from this material world and  help us return to our true home, back to Lord Krishna

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Prabhupada was uncompromising with spiritual principles.

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Achyutananda: A lady asked Prabhupada, “But I have so many doubts.” He said, “Doubt is a symptom of intelligence. Keep asking questions. This is not blind faith.” But then after that crazy man had confronted Prabhupada in his room, he told us, “Do not bring up any crazies.” This was the first time that he was giving us some responsibility in that we had to know who to bring and who not to bring to him. At that time Prabhupada was reading Caitanya-caritamrita and he was discussing the chapter of Srivasa-sangat where only special devotees of Mahaprabhu were allowed into that association. So the storefront on 26 2nd Avenue was like the Srivasa-sangat to us.

Prabhupada asked us on a couple of occasions, “Are you going to take initiation and then go away? Or are you going to stay and learn and practice?” We would always wonder why he would say that because of course we’d stay and learn and practice even without the ceremony. What is the need for the ceremony? He said, “The ceremony is needed to make an impression on the mind. But otherwise it is not necessary.” Prabhupada thus impressed upon us that initiation is not simply about throwing ghee but rather a spiritual practice and study. To take initiation just to say, “I have a guru” is not recommended. Some people are looking for gurus who don’t ask for too much dakshin (donations) or who say, “If you can’t chant sixteen rounds, chant one.” But Prabhupada was uncompromising when it came to the spiritual principles for his disciples.

While in Gujarat Prabhupada said, “We are eating and offering the finest food in the world to Krishna. These dishes have been made for centuries and offered to Krishna.” Tamal asked Prabhupada, “Is this food good for you?” He said, “It is not good for me, but good for my tongue.”

There wasn’t a single event whereby Srila Prabhupada didn’t push on this movement. I tried to calculate that Prabhupada probably composed about a hundred pages of literature a week. It seems impossible to write so much, run a movement, have lectures, and travel around the world. My comment about Prabhupada’s rasa is that madhurya rasa doesn’t mean just talking about gopis. It means getting on a boat bound for a foreign country at seventy years of age with about nine dollars in his pocket, and making a world-wide mission. Prabhupada spoke to a gentleman from India who said, “Oh, you are here preaching?” He said, “Yes, I have disciples, we have temples all over the world. There is a famous singer who has chanting Hare Krishna on a record that is world-wide. Our magazine is selling thousands of copies a month. And none of this had happened yet. He said, “It is just a matter of time.”

In the early days all the devotees shared one bathroom. There’s a picture somewhere of devotees standing in line to use the bathroom and Prabhupada has his towel and he is fifth or sixth in line waiting. We didn’t know. When Prabhupada would use the word “unconditional being”, he exemplified what it meant to be an unconditional being. He had no effects of this material world. We didn’t know how to behave with him, and he wouldn’t tell us. That’s how humble he was.


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