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My plans were bigger than he could supply.

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Achyutananda: In these early days, Kirtanananda and I were the cooks. Srila Prabhupada taught us preparations one after another. He showed us how to prepare a spice that is pronounced “chank”. In America we’d pronounce it “chaunce”, but actually it is pronounced “chank”. It would smell so much that the neighbors and the landlord would complain. You would want to get it smoking and then you put in your vegetables or drop it in the dhal. We were cooking breakfast, a big pot of cereal, and then lunch. You could never tell what Prabhupada was going to do next.

While reading the Nectar of Devotion, we read one of Krishna’s qualities is “gravity”. I thought this meant that He is serious, but Prabhupada said, “Krishna isn’t serious.” I looked back down at the page and it said, “Gravity is that you never know what a person is thinking.” So one day Prabhupada said to Kirtanananda and me, “We should have a Sunday feast and invite the yoga schools.” But earlier that day, Prabhupada came up to the kitchen and said, “Let me see what you have.” In the small apartment kitchen with four burners, and a refrigerator, we did have a big pantry closet. I opened the door of the pantry and told Prabhupada, “We have a hundred pounds of sugar, a hundred pounds of potatoes, hundred pounds of flour, hundred pounds of rice, and a hundred pounds of brown rice for the health people.” He responded with a “Hmm..” You couldn’t tell what he meant. That night the crowd was packed into the storefront and Prabhupada gave a Bhagavad-gita lecture on “yoga-ksemam vahmyaham,” where Krishna says, “I carry what you lack and preserve what you have.” Then he said, “In our kitchen we have hundred pound rice, hundred pound sugar, hundred pound potato, hundred pound everything we have, and we are just chanting this Hare Krishna maha-mantra. You karmis, you are working so hard in your office jobs. Do you have hundred pound sugar? You don’t have hundred pound anything!” That’s when Kirtanananda and I knew that’s why he came up to inspect the kitchen. This was an example of Prabhupada’s gravity.

Sometimes we would explain to Prabhupada that we had to buy a machine or we had to get a machine fixed. Prabhupada would tell us, “You have this disease.” He then told us a story to explain what he meant. “Once there was a big storm and a fisherman came to a man’s house and said, ‘Let me in, its storming!’ The householder opened the door and said, ‘You can stay here, but that net and that basket stinks so you have to leave it outside.’ In the middle of the night, the fisherman paced up and down. The householder asked him, ‘Why can’t you sleep?’ The fisherman responded, ‘I have to have that smell. I have to be with my supplies.’ The householder said, ‘Okay, go. The storm has stopped. Go take your smelly things.’ Just like that fisherman, you Americans think you have to have your machines.” There was a big jug of water that couldn’t stand up. Prabhupada said, “Give me some cloth”. He rolled up the cloth to make a donut, put the jug down on the cloth and stabilized the jug upright. He told us, “You do not have this kind of intelligence. You always need a machine.”

When we were starting the Vrindavan Krishna-Balaram temple, I was talking to Gurudas and I said, “What if we put our power and all of this money into acquiring Radha-Damodar temple and have something small in Raman Rati?” He said, “Yeah, let’s ask Prabhupada.” When we told Prabhupada our idea he said, “I cannot think of anything small, that is my disease. Everything must be big. Even when I was managing for Dr. Bosh’s laboratory, my plans were bigger than he could supply.” Sometimes people ask me, “How can I please Prabhupada?” I would always respond by saying, “I don’t know specifically, but I know that Prabhupada liked big. In other words, do something big and important.”


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