Sri Vyasa Puja 1987

Daso asmi, Chapter 4

Dear Srila Prabhupada

Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet.

It is expected, according to the tenets of scripture, and traditionally in the heritage of thousands and thousands of years of disciplic succession, to offer you words of praise on this glorious day in the format of awe and veneration. I dare not supersede such formal lows, lest I commit the offense of considering you anything but what you are: the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead, the Lord’s representative within the mundane sphere, you whose glories are sung throughout the three worlds, who are respected and praised even by the topmost of demigods, sages and saintly personalities. O saktyavesa avatara! Parivrajakacarya! Topmost swanlike personality!

But, Prabhupada, I beg you to let me put aside these formal lines and remember and address you as just that- Prabhupada. Of course, even this name carries the grandeur of “one at whose feet all other masters sit” But for those of us who knew you and are coming to know you now, that name carried memories of so many moments sublime. I must admit that as much as I can appreciate your unparalleled achievements throughout this world in establishing the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I take shelter in remembering your daily activities in love of God. As we forever remember and repeat the glorious pastimes of the Lord as the sustenance of our very lives, so we now exist in separation by remembering yours.

It was the small moments with you that shook me free from Maya’s grasp, associating with your transcendental personality, watching in awe the sublime activities of an eternal resident of Vrndavana. By Krsna’s grace, moments with you remain fresh within my mind, and remembrance of those moments destroys my obstinate nature to seek happiness within this material world. It seems so long ago I left that ugly place, and looking back is only awkward now. Through your grace I perceive the desperate struggle that alone is material life. What would have taken lifetimes of preparation to see this world for what it is was achieved in moments through your association.

It was you, Srila Prabhupada, who captured my heart! Once, when I was on the way to Europe with you, the customs official at the New York treated you harshly as he asked you to open up your bag. The lock was jammed, and you looked to me for assistance. I remember coming forward and commanding the officer to step aside, chastising that he did not know with whom he was dealing. Taking the bag, I opened the lock and presented it defiantly in front of him, as if to say, “How dare you treat my spiritual master in this way!” And then, as if a small reward from Krsna, the customs official let only you and me pass through, the first to walk to the plane, the other passengers left for the moment in another bundle of confusion.

Suddenly I was alone with you, and you were saying, “Just see these rascals. So much technology and material progress, but no good qualities.” You then turned to me and said, “What do you think?” In my nervousness I could only blurt out, “Yes, Srila Prabhupada!” Again you repeated, “All rascals; what do you think?” I again replied, “Yes, Srila Prabhupada!”…and then I was convinced forever more that one cannot develop good qualities unless he is a devotee of the Lord.
While in flight the movie came on, and I quickly buried my head in the Bhagavad Gita. Suddenly I heard your secretary laughing, and as I looked over I saw him watching the film, a silent movie of the antics of Charlie Chaplin. I immediately returned to my book and thought, “How is he watching that movie?” Then suddenly I heard you also lightly laughing, and I turned to see you also watching the film. I then put down the book to watch that Charlie Chaplin. After the movie, at the back of the plane I whispered to your servant, “But what about that movie, I mean, you know movies are…” He interrupted, saying, “Oh, but Srila Prabhupada remarked that Charlie Chaplin’s humor was original.” I thought, “Yes, Prabhupada is seeing Krsna everywhere. Krsna is the original source of everything, including humor.” I returned to my seat somewhat embarrassed for having seen only Mr. Chaplin.

When we arrived in London, your secretary told me to stay at the airport to await a bag of yours that was arriving late. All of you went to the Bury Place Temple, and I remained behind alone, lamenting that I would miss the temple reception. When that heavy bag came hours later I dragged it to the taxi, and upon arriving at the temple I again pulled it up four flights of stairs to your room. Knocking lightly, I entered and was surprised to see you standing just before me! In my exhausted state I immediately offered obeisances, falling upon the floor. Suddenly I felt your sharp slap upon my back! Saying a few words you then left the room, and I slowly stood up, finding only your astonished servant there before me, mouth agape. I asked him, “Prabhu, what did Prabhupada say?” He replied, “Prabhupada told you, ‘So much endeavor in the material world, but when you go back to Godhead, everything will be easy and sublime!’” And Prabhupada, from that moment on I was convinced that with you everything is sublime. And since then I have never known it differently, even in the most trying of times- simply by remembering you.

So please forgive me if I do not recommit my vows in praising words before you today. And please forgive me if I do not use these minutes to extol your glories in fancy prose. And please do not think I am only offering sentimental words of refrain! I am remembering you as you once appeared before me, and this simple remembrance means no longer to see the endless repetition of birth and death.

O Prabhupada! Thank you for those precious moments (and more) of your association. Thank you for accepting me as your disciple, when in fact I am not the least deserving. And thank you, Prabhupada, for the privilege to remain behind and carry out your orders divine.

And Prabhupada, if I could take just one more moment of your precious time on this auspicious day to make a small request…may I, sometime, somewhere in my long journey back to home, carry that bag for you again? And then perhaps you’d slap me free from Maya’s grasp as once before and, with the touch of your lotus hand, free me from all inebrieties that keep me from purely serving you. With that grace I’ll toil here for as many lives as you see fit to carry out your mission, knowing one day your promise will come true- you’ll take me home to be with you again, where everything is easy and sublime.

Your eternal servant

Indradyumna Swami

Views: 733 • July 30, 2009 Daso asmi