A few personal stories about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaj Srila Prabhupad by Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad

Lecture, Los Angeles, December 9, 1968

When he was a child two, three years old, he ate one mango fruit which was kept for offering to the Deity. So his father mildly rebuked him, "Oh, you have done a very wrong thing. It was meant for Deity, and you have taken it. You should not have done it." The child was two or three years old. He took it so seriously that never after that he took mango. Whenever we offered him mango he said, "No, I am offender. I cannot take mango." He was thinking like that, you see. Never in his life he took a mango. He was thinking that "I offended in my childhood by taking the mango of the Deity." This is the characteristic of acharya. They teach by their life’s action that one should be so much determined, that one should not be… A child took the mango, there was no offense. But he took that vow.

Another instance, in my presence. At that time, we were also young men, and one of my God brothers, his name is Dr. Oul Bihari Kapoor… He’s now retired in Vrindavana, last time I saw him He was also young man, and his wife was also young. So we were sitting together, talking with Guru Maharaja, and the girl proposed, "My dear master, I want to speak with you." So Guru Maharaja said, "Yes, you can talk whatever you like." So she said, "I want to talk with you secretly, not in the presence of everyone." Guru Maharaja said, "No. I cannot talk with you secretly. You can talk in the presence of my all other disciples." So even that girl was just like his granddaughter by age calculation, he refused to talk with a young woman in a secret place. These are the instances. So in his life he was akhanda brahmachari.

At that time, Guru Maharaja was indisposed little, and he was staying at Jagannatha Puri, on the seashore. So I wrote him letter, "My dear master, your other disciples, brahmachari, sannyasi, they are rendering you direct service. And I am a householder. I cannot live with you, I cannot serve you nicely. So I do not know. How can I serve you?" Simply an idea, I was thinking of serving him, "How can I serve him seriously?"

So the reply was dated 13th December, 1936. In that letter he wrote, "My dear such and such, I am very glad to receive your letter. I think you should try to push our movement in English." That was his writing. "And that will do good to you and to the people who will help you." That was his instruction. And then in 1936, on the 31st December–that means just after writing this letter a fortnight before his departure–he passed away. But I took that order of my spiritual master very seriously, but I did not think that I’ll have to do such and such thing. I was at that time a householder. But this is the arrangement of Krishna. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master, his order, then Krishna will give us all facilities. That is the secret. Although there was no possibility, I never thought, but I took it little seriously by studying a commentary by Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura on the Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavad-gita the verse vyavasayatmika-buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, in connection with that verse, Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura gives his commentary that we should take up the words from the spiritual master as our life and soul. We should try to carry out the instruction, the specific instruction of the spiritual master, very rigidly, without caring for our personal benefit or loss. So I tried a little bit in that spirit. So he has given me all facilities to serve him…

Devotee: When your spiritual master was a little boy, did, was he, um, did he do things like Lord Chaitanya did like when He went to the, um, like when Lord Chaitanya went to the water and all girls were asking for…

Prabhupada: No, he was not so much naughty. (laughs) My Guru Maharaja was very gentle boy. Yes. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very naughty boy. Yes. (laughs) And Krishna was also very naughty boy. (pause) Chant Hare Krishna. ….

Lecture, Los Angeles, December 13, 1973

So at that time we had some talks, and of course I was defeated by his argument, my argument. (laughter) And then, when we came out, we were offered prasadam, very nice treatment, the Gaudiya Matha. And when I came out on the street, this my friend asked me, "What is your opinion of this sadhu?" Then I said that "Here is the right person who has taken up Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message, and now it will be distributed."

Devotees: Jaya!

Prabhupada: So I was at that time a fool, but I opined like this. And I accepted him as my spiritual master immediately. Not officially, but in my heart. That was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on my business tour…

If somebody wants to be actually devotee of Krishna, at the same time, keeps his material attachment, then Krishna’s business is He takes away everything material, so that cent percent he becomes, I mean to say, dependent on Krishna. So that actually happened to my life. I was obliged to come to this movement to take up this very seriously. And I was dreaming that "Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me, ‘Please come out with me!’ " (pause) So I was sometimes horrified, "Oh, what is this? I have give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me? I have to take sannyasa?" Oh, I was horrified. But I saw several times, calling me. So anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life, my so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel. So this is memorable day. What he desired, I am trying little bit, and you are all helping me.

Lecture, Hyderabad, December 10, 1976

So 1922 I met my Guru Maharaja through the exigency of my intimate friend, Mr. Narendranath Mullik. And I would not go. He told me information, "There is a nice sadhu. Let us go and see." I did not like very much these sadhus in those days, national spirit. So I said, "I have seen many sadhus. They come at my father’s care. I was not very much pleased with their behavior." So he dragged me forcibly: "No, I have heard this person is very exalted." So I went. And his first opening version was that "You are educated young men. Why don’t you preach Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s gospel in the Western countries?" I did not know. So this was his blessing in the first meeting. I did not know, but because we belonged to a Vaishnava family we were very much worshiper of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda, our family Deity. So I was very much pleased that "Here is a personality who is going to preach Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s gospel." I was very much pleased.

So anyway, from 1922 to 1933 practically I was not initiated, but I got the impression of preaching Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult. That I was thinking. And that was the initiation by my Guru Maharaja. Then officially I was initiated in 1933 because in 1923 I left Calcutta. I started my business at Allahabad. So I was always thinking of my Guru Maharaja, that "I met a very nice sadhu." …..

…. And in 1933 I was officially initiated, and my only qualification was when I was introduced to my Guru Maharaja for initiation, so Guru Maharaja immediately said, "Yes, I shall initiate this boy. He is very nice. He hears me very patiently. He does not go away." So that was my qualification. The high standard of philosophy which he was speaking at that time, practically I could not follow what was, he was speaking, but still, I liked to hear him. That was my hobby. Whenever… I was asking that "When Guru Maharaja will speak?" So he took it very seriously.

Lecture, Hyderabad, December 10, 1976

So I am very much happy that he is doing there very nice. So this should be the attitude. My Guru Maharaja wanted me to preach in the Western countries, although I was at that time a ordinary manager in a chemical firm. I never thought, but I took it seriously. So from that 1922, in 1965 it was fruitful. How many years?

Devotee: Forty-three.

Prabhupada: Forty-three years. So it is better late than never. Yes. So he desired me.
I thought, "Now I am a family man. Let me adjust things." I would have accepted immediately, but I was not so intelligent at that time. I thought "My responsibility to family is there. Let me wait." But still, Guru Maharaja was so kind to me that when I was grihastha, I was seeing him in dreaming and I was… He asked me, "You come with me." So I was going, and after that, I was thinking, "Oh, I will have to take sannyasa and go with him?" So it appeared to me very horrible. I was not very much inclined to take sannyasa, but Guru Maharaja is so kind that he ultimately forced me to take sannyasa and do this work. So it is all his kindness. So this is the memory of his kindness.

Generally a girl dresses also to attract the attention of the boy. So the same thing is there but it is Krishna’s sense gratification, not the gopis’. The gopis did not want anything. But Krishna will be satisfied. That is the difference between lust and love. Love is there, only possible, when it is diverted towards Krishna. That is love. And beyond that… Not beyond that… Below that, everything is lust. So we should always remember this. The senses are not stopped, but when the gratification of the senses is directed towards Krishna, that is bhakti, or love. And when the sense gratification is directed towards personal self, that is lust. This is difference between lust and love.

So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura knew this art, how to turn our activities for the satisfaction of Krishna. This is Krishna consciousness movement.


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