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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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Compiled by Mahavishnu Das .

Yogesvara: I’ve been living with this memory since it first happened some forty years ago. I had been initiated for a year before I first met Prabhupada when he came to Paris after his meeting with Professor Kotowsky in Moscow. Prabhupada was going to do a press talk at the offices of Air India on the Boulevard de Madeleine. Somehow or other devotees were delayed getting there so I was the first one to arrive. Prabhupada was in one room resting after his flight along with his secretary and I’m in the next room where there was a plate of Prabhupada’s prasadam. I took some mango skin from the plate and began sucking and weeping like an idiot.

I was sobbing when all of a sudden the door opened and Prabhupada’s servant said, “Should I let them in Srila Prabhupada?” I peeked around the door and saw Prabhupada sitting casually on a bench where he had obviously been resting. With one hand he motioned with a sweeping gesture for me to come in. I was flabbergasted. That was the first perfect thing I had ever seen in my life. There was no wasted effort, no fidgeting and no uncertainty about it. This was obviously the intentional gesture of someone in complete control of his faculties. It was a beautiful gesture like something out of a classical ballet. I came in and I just plopped down on my face in front of him. I was looking up at him and he was looking down at me. Tears were streaming down my face.

Getting back to the temple after the press conference I again was the first one back and I heard Prabhupada call from his room, “Yogesvara?” I came running in and this was the first time I actually talked to Prabhupada. He sat on a cushion with his right leg up and his elbow resting on his knee. With his hand in his bead bag, he traced circles on his forehead with his forefinger. His eyes were closed and he said, “You know, throughout my entire life I have never forgotten Krishna.” Then he opened his eyes and said, “Even when I was a boy I had my dolls.” He called them “his dolls”, and he told me about how tall they were by measuring with his hand two to three feet off the floor. I thought to myself, “Why was he telling me this?” Was he concerned that maybe I had doubts about him and that he needed to reassure me that it was okay for me to give my life to him, and that he was not going to harm me?”

Later when I reflect about Srila Prabhupada, the overwhelming sensation is that he is a person in authority who will never hurt you. He will never hurt you. That this person has only my well-being at heart. He would never do anything to hurt me. And that was the sensation at that moment when he was bothering to tell me this. It was because he was confirming for me, “It’s okay. It’s all right. We’ll continue on together as spiritual master and disciple. You have nothing to fear. You have nothing to fear.” It has taken forty years for me to actually come to a point of understanding some of these memories.


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