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Yes, I would like a 7-Up.

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April 1973, ISKCON Brooklyn, New York

At this time, Bali Mardan had been talking about getting a new temple facility in New York City, so he invited Srila Prabhupada to look at a possible location. The sun was brightly shining as Bali Mardan, Kirtiraja and I followed Srila Prabhupada into a small Toyota. Bali Mardan drove for a while until he finally stopped across the street from a large, beautiful cathedral.

"This is the possible temple I told you about, Srila Prabhupada," Bali Mardan said. "We can't go in because it may not be beneficial if they know we are Hare Krsna's. We can look at it from here."

We all got out of the car and looked at this immense cathedral from across the street. The structure was stately and beautiful. Fortunately, the front doors of the church were open and we could see inside. Srila Prabhupada seemed very impressed with the facility. He could see the huge marble pillars inside.

"This will make a very nice ISKCON hall," Srila Prabhupada said. "This is beautiful."

As we stood on the sidewalk, Srila Prabhupada turned around and saw a small Italian grocery.

"Do you think they have 7-Up?" he asked Kirtiraja.

"Well, I can see if they do, Srila Prabhupada," Kirtiraja said, with a shocked look. "Do you want one?"

"Yes, I would like a 7-Up," Srila Prabhupada said.

Kirtiraja went into the store and quickly returned with a can of 7-Up. Srila Prabhupada regally stood with cane in hand and japa bag around his neck. He looked especially transcendental.

Kirtiraja opened the can and Srila Prabhupada took it with his right hand. His cane was in his left hand, securely planted on the concrete sidewalk. He lifted the can to his lotus-like lips and sipped the 7-Up. I was in ecstasy watching the next episode of the "7-Up saga." We could not contain our joyful smiles seeing our Guru Maharaja's aristocratic simplicity as he drank about half the can.

"All right. Now we will go," Srila Prabhupada said.

After we all got into the car, Srila Prabhupada handed the can to Bali Mardan and Srila Prabhupada said, "I've had enough. You can drink."

The three of us blissfully passed around the maha-remnants until we finished the can of soda. The ride back to the temple was light-hearted and carefree.

I tried not to spread the news, realizing it could create a 7-Up frenzy. A week later when we arrived in Los Angeles it was apparent that the news had already reached the New Dwaraka community. Karandhara informed Srila Prabhupada that 7-Up aided in relieving gastrointestinal digestive discomfort. Srila Prabhupada occasionally drank a small glass to relieve his stomach pain.

"This is not good," Srila Prabhupada said one day. "We should not be drinking so much 7-Up. I take it for digestion. Otherwise, drinking 7-Up is not necessary."

When we returned to India, many devotees were avidly drinking soda since they had heard that Srila Prabhupada condoned such beverages. One day, as Srila Prabhupada left his flat in Juhu, he noticed the stairway lined with 7-Up and Limca bottles. Disapproving of the juta (contaminated) litter he declared,

"What is this?" Srila Prabhupada said, disapproving of the juta (contaminated) litter. "This should not be done! This is not good! This can't be done!"

He continued walking to the temple and did not mention it further.

Srila Prabhupada, I never saw you do anything for your own sense gratification. It is my feeling that you engaged in these unique pastimes just to increase the love of your disciples who were fortunate enough to be with you. You were completely renounced and totally satisfied serving the Supreme Lord. The vision of you on the sidewalk is forever etched upon my heart Thank you for teaching us how to use everything in Krsna's service.

Biographies and Glorifications of Srila Prabhupada-Srila Prabhupada Uvaca-Prabhupada Visits a Potential Temple in New York-Srutakirti das

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