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Srila Prabhupada’s Deep Compassion for Conditioned Souls.

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Ghanasyama Prabhu was invited to come to Srila Prabhupada in his room and give a report of his recent book distribution efforts, and I was allowed to go with him, since I had been traveling with him. Ghanasyama had already been recognized and appreciated by Srila Prabhupada by his outstanding success in placing "standing orders" of Srila Prabhupada's books in many libraries in America. Now Srila Prabhupada was interested to hear how his books were being sold in Europe, and particularly Eastern Europe, where we had just come from.

 

There were five of us in the room: Srila Prabhupada, Tamal Krishna Goswami, Upendra Prabhu (Prabhupada's servant), Dvarakesa Prabhu (one of the Eastern Europe preaching pioneers), Ghanasyama Prabhu and myself. We came in and offered obeisances, then sat down on the carpet before Srila Prabhupada, who now had his dark glasses removed. He was sitting in a somewhat upright chair, as I remember, and Upendra was very gently massaging his legs. I found myself staring at Srila Prabhupada's legs, which were nothing but skin and bone, as Upendra stroked them gently. I looked up to Srila Prabhupada's face. Prabhupada had been looking at me while he listened to Ghanasyama as he read his report. As I looked up, Srila Prabhupada looked away. I felt foolish, seeing that he must have noted my mundane perception of his transcendental body.

 

As Ghanasyama Prabhu read about his activities in East Germany, Srila Prabhupada occasionally interrupted to make a comment about the conditions of communist countries. He told Tamal Krishna Maharaja to note down his comments. Ghanasyama had written some details about social conditions in East Germany, noting for example that people could be seen standing in long lines waiting to get the basic necessities of life. When Srila Prabhupada heard this, he became quite emotional, tears coming to his eyes. He said that due to the officially atheistic position of the government, material nature would withhold these necessities more and more. "They will not even get milk, butter and sugar," Srila Prabhupada said sadly.

 

I was moved to see Srila Prabhupada's deep compassion for conditioned souls: Not only was he concerned for their spiritual welfare, but for their material welfare as well.

 

It was Janmashtami time that Srila Prabhupada was present in London. The day after Janmashtami was Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa-puja ceremony. On that morning, Srila Prabhupada had Tamal Krishna Maharaja give an extemporaneous biography of His Divine Grace to the assembled devotees. Occasionally Srila Prabhupada would nod his head slightly, approving of the presentation and, in a sense, seeming to "approve" of his own transcendental activities throughout his life. The presentation was poignant, because, again, it was clear that Srila Prabhupada was saying "goodbye" He was wrapping up his pastimes on this planet and would be going elsewhere, perhaps to another place in this or another universe to preach, perhaps directly back to Goloka Vrindavan.

 

Some of us found out that Srila Prabhupada would be going into London to have darsana of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara. This would be a special event to witness because many felt that these Deities were Srila Prabhupada's "favorite" and because he would probably be seeing Them (from our mundane point of view) for the last time. So we piled into various cars and followed (or went ahead of) Srila Prabhupada, to be in the small Bury Place temple when he arrived. Srila Prabhupada was brought in on his "palanquin" and set before Their Lordships. He sat there silently, after a few moments taking off his dark glasses. Streams of tears were visible flowing down his cheeks. Radha-Londonisvara seemed to be particularly pleased to see Their pure devotee, smiling at him and revealing increased effulgence and beauty. It was only a few silent minutes that Srila Prabhupada sat there, as a few of us sat or stood toward the back of the room, witnessing a transcendental exchange which we could not begin to fathom.

 

– From "Memories of Srila Prabhupada" by Krishna-kshetra Prabhu (October 1994)

 


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