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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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You Are My Real Children.

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Contributed by: Mahavishnu Dasa

Giriraja Swami: After starting his mission in New York and San Francisco, Srila Prabhupada had a stroke, and after all efforts to recover in America had failed, Srila Prabhupada decided to return to India to recoup his health. Before his departure, he came to the San Francisco temple. No one had expected him to speak, but he asked for the microphone. He spoke about his mission, how under the order of his spiritual master he had brought Lord Chaitanya’s movement to America and how Krishna had kindly sent so many sincere souls. He told the devotees, “I have a few children in India from my family days, but you are my real children. Now I am going to India for a little while.”

One of Srila Prabhupada’s early disciples from San Francisco suddenly entered the room. The devotees knew that he wanted to leave Krishna consciousness, that he hadn’t taken his initiation vows seriously, and that he wanted to move on he didn’t want a spiritual master any more. The other devotees tried to discourage him, but he persisted. Now they were incredulous: how could he do such a thing on the night before Swamiji’s departure?

The devotee, Ravindra-svarupa, fell to the floor to offer obeisances, but he didn’t rise up. Instead, he began crawling on his hands and knees towards Prabhupada. This dramatic encounter is vividly described in Srila Prabhupada- lilamrta: “Ravindra usually had a cavalier manner, enhanced by a handsome face, long tousled hair, and a beard. But now he was wretched and sobbing and crazy. He crawled towards Prabhupada, who sat but two steps off the floor on the simple redwood dais. Prabhupada looked at him with compassion: ‘Come here, my boy.’ Ravindra crawled up the steps and placed his bushy head on Prabhupada’s lap. Moved, the devotees watched as Prabhupada stroked Ravindra’s head and the boy cried and cried.

“‘What’s wrong, my son? You don’t have to be so unhappy.’

“Ravindra bawled out, ‘I want . . . ,’ he sobbed, ‘aah . . . to . . . aah . . . reach God directly! Without anyone in between!’

“Prabhupada continued to pat and stroke the boy’s head: ‘No, you continue to stay with us if possible. Don’t be a crazy fellow.’ Ravindra’s weeping subsided, and Prabhupada continued, speaking both to Ravindra and to the emotion-struck group in the room. ‘I am an old man,’ he said. ‘I may die at any moment. But please, you all carry on this sankirtana movement. You have to become humble and tolerant. As Lord Chaitanya says, be as humble as a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree. You must have enthusiasm and patience to push on this Krishna conscious philosophy.’

“Suddenly Ravindra’s tears were gone. He jumped up, dejectedly stood, hesitating for a moment, and then hurried out the door, banging it behind him.

“Ravindra-svarupa’s dramatic exit from Krishna consciousness shocked the devotees. Prabhupada sat still and continued speaking to them gravely, asking them to stick together and push on the movement, for their own benefit and for others. Whatever they had learned, he said, they should repeat.

“They realized, perhaps for the first time, that they were part of a preaching mission, a movement. They had a loving obligation to Swamiji and Krishna.”

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