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We got to see Prabhupada.

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Compiled by Mahavishnu Das.

Amarendra: We got to see Prabhupada in a Nrsimhadeva mood when they wouldn’t give us the occupancy permit in Bombay. He was outraged. He was obsessed with it day and night. He couldn’t believe that in the land where Krishna appeared, where Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita, they wouldn’t give the temple an occupancy permit. At every darshan and class, he would just pound the politicians and the Indian government. I had never seen Prabhupada that angry before and never again. But he was definitely in a Nrsimhadeva mood. All of us were running around meeting with politicians trying to straighten this out, but we’d come back every day without anything being accomplished. Finally Prabhupada himself met with the leader of the local Shiv-Sena party, which I think is still in existence in India today, and because they were so impressed with Prabhupada, they gave us the permit.

When Mr. Nair sold the property to ISKCON, in reality it was a scam. He was going to take the money that we gave him and then pull some strings with some of his political friends to get the property back since Juhu was extremely valuable. Today it’s like prime Beverly Hills or South Beach real estate. Mr.Nair was trying to cheat us but Prabhupada outsmarted him. Like a chess match, Prabhupada moved the devotees onto the property and set up residence. Then he installed the deities onto the property thinking that no Indian would ever disturb the deities. Prabhupada was from Goloka Vrindavan and he had a strategy and was fully aware of this political warfare. He was a brilliant tactician.

Ananga Manjari: I was in Bombay one year during Janmastami and a devotee asked if I would play Devaki in the Appearance of Lord Krishna drama. Srila Prabhupada was going to leave Bombay before the day of Janmastami, but he heard that we were practicing the play and he wanted to see it before he left. As Devaki, I remember driving with Vasudev and the voice came to tell Kamsa that he would be killed by my first-born. So the devotee playing Kamsa grabbed my hair and my prayers were, “Oh, Krishna, save the child.” At that moment I looked at Prabhupada as I tried to say these prayers as heart felt as possible. At the end of the drama we were all chanting Hare Krishna on the stage and I looked out again to see Prabhupada but he wasn’t there anymore. I saw a group of people leaving so I thought, “He’s leaving for the airport and this might be the last time I see him.” I jumped off the stage in full make-up and costume, which was an ornate wedding sari, and ran after Prabhupada. I had no concern for how I looked.

When I got outside, the car had already taken off. I was just standing there in the dust of the car. I thought, “I have to get to the airport.” I was a very passionate person so I grabbed my friend, Aditya, who is a very somber and humble lady, and said, “We have to go to the airport to see Srila Prabhupada!” She said, “How are we going to get there?” There was one car with the door still open as they were waiting to take the sannyasis to the airport. I jumped in the backseat and pushed Aditya in with me. When the sannyasis got to the car, they looked at us as if to say, “Who are these women in the car?” I was in a state of ecstasy with my eyes closed muttering, “Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada.” Then one of the sannyasis mercifully said, “Let them stay”.

When we got to the airport Prabhupada and the devotees had not yet arrived. Just when Aditya and I thought maybe they were inside the airport, a car pulled up right in front of us and Prabhupada opened the door himself and stepped out. At that point it had been drizzling making me damp and I was crying. I’m sure my make-up was smeared on my face. Prabhupada leaned on his cane and looked right at me with a huge smile on his face. I paid my obeisances and said, “Prabhupada, thank you, thank you.” When I got up he still had this huge smile and he was just waiting. It was the longest moment that I could ever remember. He just stood there laughing at me in a way, smiling and then he walked on. I was so excited I didn’t know what to do so I started jumping up and down chanting, “Prabhupada! Prabhupada!” Aditya said, “Did you see how he was smiling at you? He was laughing at you!” She was in ecstasy as well.

At that moment, I remembered several months before when I was in Vrindavan, Prabhupada came to the courtyard to watch a drama of the “Age of Kali” performed by Lokamangala and Rasajna, who were amazing actors. Prabhupada was sitting on a rocking chair under the desire tree with all the devotees sitting around him. My eyes were mostly on Prabhupada the whole time during the play and I saw him smiling from ear to ear. I would look from the actors and back to Prabhupada thinking, “They are making him smile and laugh. They are entertaining him. I wish I could entertain him like that. I wish I could make him smile like that.” I looked up and realized I was also under the desire tree and wondered if this could work. So in Bombay months later, when Aditya grabbed my arm and asked, “Did you see how you made him smile and laugh at you?” I realized that the desire tree worked. I got to entertain him and made him laugh at me.


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