Notes on Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021
(By Krishna Kripa Das)
I was a proofreader for Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021 back in June and July, and I noted down some excerpts that were striking in some way or other. Some are quotes of Srila Prabhupada, others are stories of Srila Prabhupada that I had not heard before, some are examples of eloquence, essential truth spoken concisely, others are creative rhymes. I hope reading them increases your devotion to Srila Prabhupada and inspires you to read the entire book, Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021. Sharing this with you is my Vyasa Puja offering for Srila Prabhupada this year.
“There is a science of God by which you can understand how God appears, disappears, how He acts, how He works. Everything is there, but if you are not interested that does not mean that the science of God is false or there is no such science.” (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.7–10 in Los Angeles on January 6, 1969)
“You believe that they have gone to moon planet. You have not gone. You have heard from somebody in the newspaper, that’s all. That is your authority. So if you can believe in the newspaper, then I cannot believe in the sastras [scriptures]?” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavam 5.5.1 in Delhi on November 28, 1975)
“I had read the Bhagavad-gita before, but it was only Prabhupada who told me to believe it.”
“‘The Americans will not accept some of these things you are saying,’ I said to Prabhupada in 1966.
“‘I am not going to change the truth for the Americans,’ Prabhupada replied.”
“In 1968 I asked Prabhupada’s servant why the grass in front of Prabhupada’s house was growing tall when all the neighbors had neatly trimmed lawns. His answer: ‘Prabhupada said, “You have given the animals a home. Do not take it away.”’”
“My godsisters and godbrothers have begun leaving this world, one by one. And none have left in fear. What better proof could anyone want?”
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:
“You were charismatic and charming. As the Village Voice reporter who interviewed you in the Bowery loft said, ‘I just plain liked the guy.’”
“Today, when I listen to your early classes at 26 Second Avenue or your talks to outside groups and one-time lectures to students at colleges, I am simply amazed at how bold you were, diving at once into the heart of Krishna consciousness without any fear or hesitation. I love you for being so straightforward. Every time I hear you speak, it builds my faith more and more.”
• Srila Prabhupada has brought the pure holy name.
• We can understand Srila Prabhupada by the grace of Srila Prabhupada.
• He kept it pure.
• He kept it simple.
• When we remember him he is with us.
• Just start to remember and serve him, and inspiration and realizations will come.
• On my own, what could I do with my life? Let me offer my life to him, and he will engage me in Krishna’s service.
• I am weak, but he is strong. Let me depend on him.”
“ISKCON’s actual wealth and treasure is its members’ selfless and loving commitment
to Lord Caitanya’s mission.”
“In Bombay you received a phone call from the temple president in Calcutta, who reported that one of your earliest disciples from America had come to Calcutta and was smoking ganja, marijuana, and asked what to do. You instructed your secretary to relay your response: ‘Tell him that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja I will reject him.’ Afterwards, Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, ‘Is it true that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja you will reject him?’ And you said, ‘No—I cannot reject anyone. The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limit.’
“Then, maybe two years later, we were in Juhu, and you had a disciple who fell into bad company and was living on Juhu Beach with a bogus, so-called yogi and doing tricks. He was putting a coin in one ear and then making it come out the other—different strange things to collect money—and he was known as your disciple and as a member of ISKCON. So, Tamal Krishna Goswami approached you and said, ‘This is happening, and he is giving you a bad name and giving ISKCON a bad name. You should reject him.’
“And again you replied, ‘I cannot reject anyone.’ Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, ‘But don’t you have to draw the line somewhere?’ And again you said, ‘The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limits.’”
Hridayananda dasa Goswami:
“Just as Lord Krishna commanded Arjuna, ‘Just be My instrument’ [Bg 11.33], so you urged us to try to become Krishna’s instruments. Just as Lord Krishna Himself had already slain the warriors whom He urged Arjuna to fight, so you revealed to us that Lord Caitanya has already spread His sankirtana movement around the world. Arjuna had only to fight a war already won by Krishna, and we have only to spread a sankirtana movement that Lord Krishna Himself has already spread.
“‘Why don’t you take the credit?’ you challenged me. ‘Otherwise, Lord Krishna will give the credit to other devotees.’
“I personally heard this from you on a morning walk in Rancho Park, Los Angeles. On this, your sacred Appearance Day, I pray that you may inspire and guide me to fully embrace Lord Krishna’s most generous, loving offer — to become His instrument in spreading the Hari-nama-sankirtana movement.”
Tridandi Bikshu Bhakti Vighna Vinasa Narasimha:
“Lord Caitanya has predicted that the chanting of the holy names would be heard everywhere. If we do not go to the remote corners of the world then in the future others will go there and they will get the credit. We want to see that you, Srila Prabhupada, get the credit for bringing the maha-mantra to every town and village on this planet.”
“Srila Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura explains further: ‘The supreme nectar (paramamrta) of favorable service rendered unto Lord Krishna will gradually become thickened until it breaks through your two bodies—the gross (sthula) and the subtle (linga)—and will finally cause your eternal spiritual form (aprakrta-svarupa) to reawaken.”
“Srila Prabhupada provided the entire world with the training and education needed to gradually perform favorable devotional service as taught by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. The chanting of the pure holy name is verily the only true welfare of the living entity. There exists no higher benefit for anyone in the entire three worlds.”
“You told Mr Sethi that you considered it your duty to provide accommodations for your disciples. Then you revealed to him the marvels of serving you: “Just as you are building these rooms for my
disciples here at Hare Krishna Land, Lord Krishna is making your rooms ready in Krishnaloka.”
“I am a sinful man,” Mr Sethi replied. “How can I go to Krishnaloka?”
“That I will see to,” you answered him. “This is not your duty. I will see that you go to Krishnaloka.”
Bhaktivedanta Vaikhanas aka Janardana Dasa:
[A quote from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:]
“It is only possible to chant the Lord’s name in the association of devotees. Hari’s pure name does not appear in the association of non devotees. If we are indifferent to sadhu-sanga, hari-katha, and service to Guru, Krishna, and the Vaishnavas, we will not gain anything. Therefore whether we are householders or residing in the Maṭha, we must pay special attention to these three items. Then our success will be guaranteed and we will develop a taste for chanting, self-realization, and find ourselves reestablished in our constitutional position.”
Dhirasanta Dasa Goswami:
“The virus that has brought everyone to their knees is nothing new. It is just another tool Krishna sometimes uses to slow things down when foolish people of the world think they are in control.”
“To godforsaken lands you brought the holy bhakti tree.
You crossed the ocean great to set the whole world free.
“Alone you spread the holy name, the only yuga-dharma;
In the park you chanted, capturing all by your loving charm.
“You gave the world the chance to know that God is personal;
With Deities, temples, prasadam you made Him accessible.
“You opened up the treasure chest, allowing all to enter in,
No matter what their background, even full of sin.
“You taught the world the secret of where to find true love
And happiness, peace of mind, descending from above.
“A lifestyle you gave and showed, to bring us to sattva-guna.
Farms, schools, temples, books were coming very soon.
“A simple life, but thinking high, a motto you did hold,
Compelling us to follow—your preaching was so bold.
“You traveled on your conquest, no obstacle could stop,
Showing how to preach the message till this frame does drop.
“Relentless, you wavered not, your message ever fixed:
Bhakti never fructifies unless it is unmixed.
“Fearlessness, compassion, love, and deep humility,
Tolerance, determination, true equality—
“These qualities you showed, which are inert within each soul
Covered by illusion, ignorant of life’s true goal.
“You challenged every doctrine that opposed the Absolute;
Speculative science and philosophy you really gave the boot.
“No scientific jargon was an obstacle to your scheme;
You impregnated truth within the mundane academe.
“A revolutionary never known, to bring us all back home
With sankirtana, every town and village, previously unknown
“Has spread to every continent, to almost every town,
And all conditioned souls in its waves will surely drown.
“The sweetest process, freely given: chanting the holy names.
You empowered dvi-pada-pasus to carry out your aims.
“The seeds you scattered everywhere, most yet to fructify,
That in the future they would sprout and ever multiply.
“Incarnations are innumerable, your qualities the same.
Into this world from Goloka dhama so mercifully you came.
“Like the four Kumaras, you spoke the highest truth.
Like them, you did appear to be a fountainhead of youth.
“Like Varahadeva you challenged the greatest ass on earth;
Like no one else you shattered the illusion of our birth.
“Like Narada you traveled to everywhere you could;
You preached the purest bhakti path for everybody’s good.
“Nara-Narayana’s austerities to yours do not compare;
Patita-pavana manifest gave everyone their share.
“Like Kapila, you expounded the truth, defeated the atheist,
The Mayavadis, Sunyavadis, and all the craziest.
“Like Rsabhadeva, you showed the world the sheer futility
Of mundane social intercourse, so clear and vividly.
“You milked the earth like Prthu-raja, relieving all distress
Of numerous fools and rascals struggling in their mess.
“Like Matsya you did rescue the scriptures as they are
From deviant interpreters, leading us afar.
“Like Kurma you supported each and everyone,
Allowing us to churn the nectar of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
“Like Lord Nrsimha you destroyed all demonic traits,
Protected the devotees, relieved them of their weights.
“Like Vamana you tricked us by the beauty of your heart,
Took everything for Krishna, and that was just the start.
“Like Parasurama you slew all the so-called heads;
With the sharpened axe of sastra, you put them in their beds.
“Like Rama, you rescued Sita and returned her to Her Lord,
And showed us bunch of monkeys how our life was so absurd.
“You engaged us in the mission to build bridges ’cross the sea
And release the captive jivas, setting everybody free.
“Like Balarama and Krishna, your presence is sublime,
Transporting us to a realm beyond the mundane time.
“‘Krishna is the summum bonum, origin of all.’
Loudly you proclaimed this with your clarion call.
“Like Buddha, you were self-composed, compassion to its hilt.
Nourishing true bhakti, lest our creepers they might wilt.
“Fearlessly, like Kalkideva, you severed sinful thought.
With ‘the sword of knowledge’ you slash our pride,
practically to naught.
“Like Visvakarma you gave the world the gem TOVP,
Like Dhanvantari, the medicine to really set us free.
“To counter all pandemics, you taught us what to do:
Amala-harinama the only safe way through.
“You are Sri Vyasa personified, it’s clear as a bell—
The only hope to save mankind from falling down to hell.
“Your literary contribution—unexcelled does it stand.
Each word that you deliver, so expertly you planned.
“Ten thousand years these books you gave will stand as etched in stone,
The law books for mankind—a guide to the unknown.
“O Prabhupada, you embody all acaryas of the past,
The empowered representative of all the avataras.
“The mood of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai you surely epitomize,
And all subsequent practitioners you do harmonize.
“You gave association like never seen before,
The only hope for one and all, you opened up the door.
“O Prabhupada, I’ve drifted far from the spirit that you gave,
To a proud and lusty hypocrite, an egotistic slave.
“You are the only hope for a cretin like myself,
Full of envy, pride, duplicity—nothing but a helf.
“Lord Nityananda taught us in this fallen Kali Age
That everyone’s like a Madhai, no one is a sage.
“Fifty years have passed since the day that somehow there you were
Before me in my degradation—you appeared in my blur.
“Like Visvakarma you gave the world the gem TOVP,
Like Dhanvantari, the medicine to really set us free.
“You floated in as BTG, into that lowly place,
This fallen soul you did call ‘this message to embrace.’
“Have mercy, Lord, on one and all, so all may have a chance
To hear and chant the holy names, even here in France.
“The senapati-bhakta, the savior of the earth,
Delivers each and everyone from the cycle of rebirth.
“And in such simple human ways you welcomed all who came.
Everyone is eligible, simply ‘Come and chant the name.’
“Actually you are with us now, as if you never left.
Forgetting you are here, we will certainly be bereft
“Of the jewel of suddha-bhakti, the most valuable of them all,
As Dhruva realized at last; at your lotus feet we fall.
“In all the worlds there’s never been, nor will there ever be,
One like you, O Prabhupada, the topmost devotee.
“The Supersoul has manifest as Srila Prabhupada.
At his lotus feet we fall prostrate, remain forever bound.
“There is no shelter anywhere else in all the three worlds.”
Krishna Kshetra Swami:
“I recall a pithy statement by you in your purport to the introductory verse of the Sri Isopanisad: ‘All forms of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the Complete Whole.’ This sentence reverberates so deeply with your devotional conviction. I can understand from it that the inverse of this statement applies to yourself: You have complete knowledge of the Complete Whole, such that you do not experience any form of incompleteness. And because of such freedom from incompleteness, you are able to so powerfully bring us in the vicinity of the Complete Whole.”
“I approached you for sannyasa initiation which you kindly awarded me in Vrndavana on 6 December 1975. Srila Prabhupada, the instructions you gave me on that day, I always carry close to my heart: “So you should always keep yourself fixed up in Krishna consciousness. It is not very difficult. Strictly follow the rules and regulation and chant Hare Krishna mantra as many times ... for a sannyasi, you should increase. Then you will be fixed up. And go on preaching.
bharata-bhumite manusya janma haila yara
janma sarthaka kari kara para-upakara (Cc. Madhya 7.128)
This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, that every Indian should learn what is this Krishna consciousness and preach it all over the world. That is His order. So from that platform you go on preaching Krishna consciousness. By executing the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu you’ll be glorified, the country will be glorified, the whole world will benefit.”
Bhakti Prabhupada-vrata Damodara Swami:
“Now bearing the mantle of sannyasa, I yet helplessly glide toward impending death.”
Kesava Bharati Goswami:
“Indeed, you single-handedly founded and nourished a branch of the tree of pure devotional service planted by Lord Caitanya Himself, a branch that is still growing despite the efforts of some to choke it with the poison of dissension.”
“Then the audience stood up with the devotees and they had a kirtana. I remember Mahavisnu Prabhu, Prabhavisnu Prabhu, Janananda Prabhu and Revatinandan Swami leading the kirtana. As soon as I heard the holy name tears started falling from my eyes. I really didn’t know what was happening. I felt my hairs standing on end and profuse tears flowing from my eyes—then the penny dropped!
“This is krpa-siddhi. Now forty-eight years later I am still surviving and being nourished by this krpa-siddhi which is coming from our guru parampara.”
“Truly, after those joyous times of walking and talking with you, followed by the painful anguish of separation, we are now invited to enter the deepest mystery of communion as it unfolds in your physical absence. The fundamental lessons you initially imparted were the seeds which blossomed in time. Therein a new realm unfolded where you personally extend the sweetest assurance.”
“By your fulfilling the desire of Mahaprabhu, what you granted the critically tormented world successfully persists as humanity’s genuine hope and rescue.”
“There is no doubt that you had every talent needed to spread the teachings of bhakti around the world, or that your selflessness and devotion were self-effulgent. What is just as spectacular to me, however, is that you were always surrendered to the will of Krishna, down to both the simplest things you did and the unwanted things you avoided. It may not always have been flashy, but by your chastity to Krishna’s will, we were spared from seeing any ambition, lust, or pretension. I am honored that, in this world of cheats and showmen, I have a spiritual master who, imbued with pure devotion, always remained beyond suspicion.”
Bhakti Vikasa Swami:
“The prospects are bright and the possibilities unlimited, but the lures of maya are as dangerous as ever. Many greater men than I succumbed to maya even after performing phenomenal service which I can hardly imagine emulating. Srila Prabhupada, you are my only protector. Save me from the dangers I am constantly harassed by, and make me an instrument in your mission of saving others. I fall at your lotus feet.”
“O Srila Prabhupada, O unlimited ocean of mercy, I have committed many sinful activities, disrespected many great souls, and whimsically neglected your instructions. Despite making a show of being your disciple, factually I have not even a small drop of devotion for you. O Srila Prabhupada, only by your mercy may I be purified of these offenses.”
“I have nothing better to say than, ‘Another year gone, I am still here.’ Your merciful message of sanity continues to reverberate in my heart, subduing the egoism and foolishness therein, sustaining the conviction that I must remain at your lotus feet or I am doomed.”
“Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s departure last year ushered in what my dear godbrother Bhurijana Prabhu calls ‘the decade of tears.’ Inevitably many, if not most, of your disciples will depart over the next ten years.”
“I realise that only in trying circumstances can we perform purely. What would it be without you being my spiritual guide and inspiration for performing devotional services in such precarious circumstances that seem never ending!”
“You sent a letter to all your temples in 1976: ‘All householder couples should move to our farms immediately.’ Many devotees saw this letter. But it somehow vanished and is nowhere to be found on the Vedabase. Things get lost. Teachings get changed. Or even buried with ulterior motives. (There’s money in cities; no money in the country.) Yet the orders were given. You gave them.”
“Prabhupada had a very regulated life. He said, ‘Regulation is preventative of disease.’”
“When Prabhupada heard that people from the village were stealing construction supplies, he hired a guard and said that the guard should ring the bell every hour. That was to prevent the guard from sleeping on the job.”
“In the upper rooms of the Radha Damodar Temple I saw Prabhupada washing his dhoti in a bucket of water. I said, “Prabhupada, I would be happy to wash your cloth for you.”
He replied: “I can wash my own cloth, and in that way I can remain independent.”
He continued, “I shall teach you to roll a chapati with a bottle—just bring me one bottle.” I fetched a bottle, and Prabhupada showed me how to roll a chapati with it.
Then he said, ‘But I don’t even require the bottle,’ and he proceeded to flatten the dough into perfectly round chapatis using only his hands.”
“Another time, I saw Srila Prabhupada on his hands and knees scrubbing the floor. When he looked up and saw me, he said, ‘Be as independent as possible.’”
“The sky was overcast. I went near his rooms and made my walking and chanting sounds. Prabhupada came out again and smiled. He walked up and down the balcony with me, then turned towards the fields. He looked out and said, “The farmers beg Krishna for rainwater, ‘Give me water, give me water!’” He then said, “All right, take it.” He majestically swept his hand down, as if dispensing rain. Simultaneously, as he did this, a lightning bolt crashed, the sky opened, and rain came furiously down.
‘Take it,’ he said quietly, and walked back into his room.”
“I asked, ‘Are there mosquitos in Krishna loka?’
He answered, ‘They don’t bite, they sing.’”
“‘Do everything together, for if there is success, then everyone is glorified, and if there is failure then no one is to be blamed.’
“‘If we can help one person become Krishna conscious, then our movement has been successful.”
“‘Accounting means putting down every expenditure immediately.’
“‘A child takes protection of mother, even after she slaps him; similarly we take shelter of Krishna, even if slapped by Maya.’
“And once again, ‘Do everything together, for if there is success, then everyone is glorified, and if there is failure then no one is to be blamed.’”
“Quotes by others:
“‘A clenched fist cannot shake hands.’—Indira Gandhi
“‘Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.’—Oscar Wilde
“‘The nightingale desists to sing until it has something pleasing to say.’—Canakya Pandit”
“Prabhupada, far greater than your stark warnings was your guiding souls to Vraja, that jewelled land of play, joy, dance, and sweetness. You presented the ticket, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and bade us to board by always chanting. You offered us live books that reciprocate with those who read them. You captured first our eyes then our minds with visions of divine Deities. You led us to mysterious holy mountains and rivers. You created a Society offering both friendships that could last a lifetime and a worthwhile mission, a cause, a purpose that awards hope to ourselves and others. You placed in our hungry mouths truly nourishing food.”
“Today I can only pray that in this body’s decline, I will forget neither you nor your beloved Krishna.”
Arundhati Devi Dasi:
“How amazingly fortunate your disciples were to be given this teaching. So in the midst of this terrible pandemic, where so many are fearful that they may get the dreaded virus and die an awful death, we have this higher knowledge, that in fact there is no death. Death is simply the shedding of this body, just like taking off a coat and then putting on another coat. It is simple. It is the fear of the mind and the identification with this body that causes so much misery.”
“Suffering is a great gift, because that is when you don’t want to be your body anymore.”
“I pray I may chant better japa because I know when I concentrate and chant good rounds I feel so much better and my understanding becomes greater.”
Kausalya Devi Dasi:
“I find it unfortunate that in many places in the world, and even at times in our own society, the contributions of women are minimized and their potential stifled, but my experience with Prabhupada was quite different. He would always encourage me to be my best, and expected me to do whatever was needed, without any limitations, even if it was something I had never done before. Through his example, he taught me many life lessons which have been a wellspring of inspiration throughout my life.”
“Any devotee who spent time with Prabhupada knows what a powerful and fearless presence he emanated but I would like to share stories that reflect how kind, affectionate and funny he was. As I look back, I’m amazed how often he would teach us through kindness and his wry and witty sense of humor.”
“We met when I was 17 and had been reading the Bhagavad-gita since I was 14. The book was my constant companion. As my desire for self-realization grew, I felt that what I needed most was to live in nature and meditate. So off I went to Hawaii seeking the answers to life’s greatest questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the meaning of life? I set up a tent on the beach on the north shore of Oahu and was living on the fruits of the land when, through the most mystical event of my life, Prabhupada entered my world. It was March 1969.
“While meditating on the beach, a flier, carried on the warm ocean breeze, came to rest on my leg. It announced that an Indian guru, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, would be lecturing on the Bhagavad-gita at Sunset Point. I was so excited – had the universe just sent me a message? I went to hear what the Swami had to say... and it was love at first sight!”
“After his talk, Prabhupada invited me to come visit him at the apartment where he was staying with Govinda Dasi, Gaurasundar and Kartikeya. When we sat together in his room, I knew I was in the presence of a great soul, and yet his charming, warm and loving personality made me feel immediately comfortable. It was an open and honest exchange, and I felt like I could tell him anything, so we talked for a long time about many subjects.”
“He showed me his newly published Bhagavad-gita and compared it to my Bhagavad-gita by looking up a few verses then declaring with complete confidence, ‘mine is better.’
“When he showed me his first record album, I told him that I had listened to it many times. I would play it while taking LSD, which I explained that I used as a sacrament for self-realization. I told him that I saw Krishna on many of my psychedelic trips. Instead of being judgmental, Prabhupada was concerned for my welfare and said, ‘It is not the LSD. You see Krishna because He loves you and shows favor upon you. Promise me you will not take this any longer.’”
“A few months later, I flew to Los Angeles to join the temple. It was only a few weeks after my arrival that we met again. This time I was wearing a sari and tilak but he immediately recognized me and said, “We met in Hawaii. I’m glad you’ve come.”
“When we arrived, we were given two rooms next to each other. Prabhupada stayed in one, and Yamuna and I stayed in the other. The men slept in the courtyard, and it was extremely cold. Often, Prabhupada asked Yamuna and me to lead kirtana or sing bhajans. I had never performed for such a large crowd, and it was intimidating, but he encouraged us and we loved singing for him.
“Once, when a man criticized us for our imperfect Sanskrit pronunciation, Prabhupada defended us saying, ‘These girls have more devotion than you will ever know in a million lifetimes.’ The man slunk away, humiliated.”
“When we were invited to visit the Golden Temple, the holiest site of the Sikh religion, Prabhupada was very respectful and impressed by the spiritual mood of the temple. Food was being cooked and served to thousands of visitors of all faiths from their community kitchen. They would make thousands of rotis every day. When we left, Prabhupada was asked to write in their guest book. Under comments, he wrote, “very spiritual.” Under religion, he wrote “Krishnite,” then looked up at us and laughed and repeated the word he had made up, “Krishnite.”
“When we took the Punjab Mail train back to Bombay, Guru Das was in first class with Prabhupada and Yamuna wanted to visit them, so we made our way to their cabin. Yamuna asked if there was anything Prabhupada wanted and he said, ‘Can you cook me some hot rice?’ We said yes – even though we had no idea how we could do it on a moving train.
“We wandered through the train until we found an employee and insisted that they let us cook. The answer from the official was a definitive, no! Fearless, Yamuna replied, ‘Then I may as well throw myself from the train.’ At last, he capitulated, saying, ‘Crazy American women!’ So, after cleaning the tiny filthy kitchen nook and scrubbing out a dirty pot, we made the rice. Yamuna was such an expert cook that even in the worst conditions, she was able to make sublime rice. She carried the platter to Prabhupada’s cabin, and he was delighted. Yamuna and I often wondered about this pastime – did he really want rice or was he teaching us a lesson in determination and commitment?”
“An Indian gentleman walked into his room and prostrated himself in front of Srila Prabhupada. He said, ‘Swamiji you will save me’ and Prabhupada replied, ‘I cannot save you. I can teach you how to save yourself, but you must do the work.’”
“As we traveled through India, I remember that once Tamal Krishna asked Prabhupada where he wanted to go next. He said, ‘I am just like a cow – I will give milk wherever you take me.’”
“Your words and deeds will empower our lives and speak to our hearts forever.”
Chintamani Devi Dasi:
“I pray when I die I can be in a big kirtana that goes on and on. My favorite thing, my heart and soul, and all because you came and gave us this divine gift.”
Krishna Bamini Dasi:
“You know my heart and my anarthas. But I won’t give up because you never give up on us. You kindly visit me in my dreams very often which I relish and have started to write these down. We can never repay you Srila Prabhupada, for presenting us with this most valuable treasure, if we can only just open the treasure chest.”
“By example and by your books you, Srila Prabhupada, have provided us a method and a tremendous insight into developing our role and attitude in devotional service. By highly practical advice and guidance you have steered devotees along the path of loving Krishna, and imbibing the science of Krishna without adulation.”
“One morning in Mayapur, I saw that you were alone in your rooms. I entered and paid my obeisances, and sat with you for a few minutes.
“‘Srila Prabhupada, may I ask you a question? No, not a question, a request?’ I asked.
“‘What is that?’ you replied.
“‘Prabhupada, would you please bless me that I may be your personal servant eternally?’
“You were silent for a moment, then you said, ‘Yes. Is that all right?’
“‘Yes Srila Prabhupada, thank you very much!” I paid my obeisances again and left in a joyful mood. That one promise alone has sustained me through all the highs and lows that every person, regardless of their station, must endure or tolerate in this world.”
“Your life was dedicated to awakening us all to the perils of material existence. If I did not have your purports, I honestly am convinced I would lose my mind. An 82-year-old man has no future, but an 82-year-old aspiring Vaisnava has the entire spiritual panorama before him. You are so wonderful, kind and merciful for having given us this future.”
“Thank you so much for the Bhaktivedanta Purports, but especially, thank you for promising me that I may have your personal service forever. Srila Prabhupada, I am depending on it.”
Sujan Devi Dasi:
“Srila Prabhupada, I am not at all qualified to be your disciple, but you have so kindly accepted me. Now my humble request is that you please empower me to carry out the duties of a disciple successfully. I am completely dependent upon your mercy. You have so kindly set me upon this path back to home, back to Godhead; it is my humble but fervent prayer that you bless me to always remain on that path and never wander from the shelter of your lotus feet.”
“Gurukrpa Prabhu once asked you what the most important verse in all the sastra is. You quoted this sloka from the Svetasvatara Upanishad.
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (SU 6.23)
Although Gurukrpa told me at least 30 years ago, it has never left my heart.”
“I had no idea who Krishna was. I had heard Krishna was one of the many ‘Gods’ worshipped by the crazy people of India who worship cows instead of eating them. That is what I had been brought up to believe. Yet somehow, I understood that I MUST have a teacher to whom I can submit myself with full faith. I thought I would have to go to India and search. But you had come to the USA a few years before. I guess that I could feel you with me from the time you landed. I always felt someone was with me always, watching over me. And when I saw your photograph, I knew you were the one who I was waiting for. Since that moment I never have doubted you. And gradually by following the practices you gave me, by studying your books with the other devotees, I started to have faith that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Truth, the Person who is the source of everything animate and inanimate.”
“I ask you, Srila Prabhupada, can you bless me now with a hundred times more purity, sense control, compassion and intelligence? I really want to be an instrument in taking your movement to the next level, yet without your blessings I can’t do much. Would you consider making me a puppet? I am willing. I am at your feet, a beggar crying to help execute the impossible task you have given me.”
“Whether you were addressing university students, Allen Ginsberg, George Harrison, journalists, ministers, educators, or politicians, you spoke to the soul.”
Kusa Devi Dasi:
“Knowing that merely expressing words of appreciation is severely lacking, we hope to convey our appreciation by dedicating our lives to you as best we can.”
“Although we are only infinitesimally aware of the blessings you have given us, by your mercy we may properly celebrate the life gifted by you by practicing your teachings and sharing your blessing with suffering humanity.”
Nagapatni Devi Dasi:
“Temples appeared in all the Western lands
It was not enough for this saintly man
Russia and China were added to the story
Even his country awoke to revive its glory”
“How fortunate we are to be able to speak to you still, to pray to you, to remember the unbelievable sweetness of your personal association and the profoundly powerful effect it has had on all of your fortunate spiritual sons and daughters, as well as whoever we meet with whom we can share Krishna consciousness. On the blessed day you appeared, the Lord smiled upon us, giving the most rare opportunity to begin our journey Home. Without you, there would have been no chance for us.”
“With each passing year, it becomes even more inconceivable that we’ve been given such mercy. Now most of my godbrothers and sisters and I are around the age that you were when you went to America. We begin to realise more intensely the austerities you performed in order to come to the west and accept us as your disciples. How patiently and kindly you dealt with so many young men and women who were completely new to Vaishnava life, behaviour and activities. I personally marvel daily that you gave us this amazing experience of devotional service. Through your books and personal example, you trained us in every possible way and continue to do so.”
“Even if we are not feeling joyful, as soon as we speak what you have taught, we immediately become happy beyond belief. There is nothing so enlivening as witnessing others taking to the process of devotional service. In this way, we experience your association and feel the presence of Krishna. It is wondrous.”
“You gave us the ability to rise above selfish desires, even ‘selfish spiritual desires’, and devote our life and soul to the mission of saving all conditioned souls. Setting aside what ‘we wanted to do for you and Krishna’, you gave us the vision and desire to instead devote ourselves to what pleases you and Lord Krishna the most. Regardless of our natures, our propensities and personal interests, you turned us into your Sankirtana soldiers to distribute your divine books and to distribute the holy name publicly to every town and village.”
“Once, when we were sharing a train car in India, you spoke to me about Lord Ramacandra engaging an army of empowered devotee monkeys to help rescue Srimati Sita Devi from the great demon of the age. You compared that lila to your coming to the West and engaging monkeys in human dress to help you rescue Laxmi Devi and bring Her back to the service of Sri Krishna.”
“I pray to remain your lowly instrument, your puppet, your ‘monkey’ to be used in any way that pleases you the most. On this great occasion of celebrating your divine appearance, I fervently pray with all my heart that you somehow find some use for me in your Sankirtana mission, life after life.”
Jaya Jagadisa Prabhu:
“Srila Prabhupada, as an eternally liberated soul you have always experienced full, ever-expanding consciousness whether you inhabited an external body or not. And when you did inhabit a physical body, you respected it and cared for it as a valuable vehicle with which to render service to Krishna in the material sphere.
“Those of us who identify with our body are always in a state of fear. On some level we’re always expecting danger; we know that our body will die one day, we just don’t know when. Our ever-present fear means that we’re never fully present – in the same way that someone who occupies a building that may burn at any moment cannot be at peace in that building.
“Which brings us to a paradox: the only way to be fully present in a physical body is to not identify with it. If we identify with our body, we become enslaved by the modes of material nature, which cover our consciousness and blunt our self-expression.”
“Some people have great impact on the world but their character is flawed or abrasive. Many people are superficially “nice” but have little impact on the world. Few are those who accomplish great things and do so with pristine character. Srila Prabhupada, you epitomized such a person, for you taught us how to create the greatest benefit for the world and at the same time act in purity.”
Narayani Devi Dasi:
“Before we met you we were totally concerned about our bodies and minds, thinking ourselves the center of the universe. But by chanting we can experience something of spiritual life. In the beginning days we were so immersed in harinama that we would sometimes forget our bodies. After a month of living with devotees, they were concerned that I might be a little sick. They asked if I was ok. I answered that I cannot tell if I have a fever or if I am just in ecstasy. Now I am still tasting that happiness and wanting to share it with others.”
“You gave us beautiful Deities to worship so we could develop a personal relationship with Krishna. When we were pujari priests in Calcutta we could see their expressions change moment to moment. Our desire was to please Them with flowers, food, clothes, jewelry and our prayers. Although living in Calcutta, we felt like we were living in the spiritual world.”
“Srila Prabhupada, we need your mercy to understand the knowledge, to joyfully chant Hare Krishna and to worship the Deities with devotion. To access all the gifts of hope you have given us we must always remember you and pray for your causeless mercy at every moment.”
“‘A spiritual master takes his disciples
as his spiritual master. That is the position.
He thinks that, ‘Krishna has sent me so many
He does not think himself as spiritual master.
He thinks himself their servant.’
“Dearest Srila Prabhupada,
How many times have I heard and taught those words
Of yours, without realizing one word?
Sadder but wiser I bow again at your lotus feet
Amazed and grateful you never give up on me
Praying to see you in the serious seekers you send
Feeling myself their servant your lowly
servant makes amends
For those endless subtle falldowns, I scarcely had a chance
But for the kindly causeless mercy
of your loving lotus glance.”
“I prostrate myself before you, Srila Prabhupada, awe-struck, yet at peace, in the presence of your great wisdom, love, and compassion. And now, within my heart and before the world, I praise Your Divine Grace for what is certainly one of your greatest miracles: your creation of an army of sincere followers, who are faithfully, purely, and without speculation or deviation, carrying on your precious mission, continuing the parampara, increasing the flood of mercy, and inspiring even me, today and always.”
“You are the personified universal panacea and perfect holistic health adviser.”
Gostabihari Das & Mahavisnupriya Devi Dasi:
“You had all the answers that we were searching for without our being fully conscious of what we were truly looking for.”
“You saw Krishna everywhere and Krishna’s beauty in everything. Again in Hawaii in 1975 when you walked the grounds of the Honolulu temple at 51 Coelho Way, you saw a strawberry guava tree (known as Waiwi, in Hawaiian) growing alongside the driveway. That tree for the first four years of its life grew straight and tall, but after the temple became home to your disciples, the tree made a sharp right turn, growing sideways instead of straight up. Srila Prabhupada, you said, ‘This tree is trying to go into the temple to see Lord Caitanya and the Pañca Tattva.’”
“In Hawaii, in 1976 you stated, ‘Just like in our universe, there are hundreds of planets, so likewise there are millions of universes, and millions of planets. But on every planet there is Srimad Bhagavatam with slightly different pastimes because Krishna’s activities in these universes vary some. But in every Bhagavatam there is mention of our ISKCON society where the yavanas and mlecchas are joyfully chanting the holy name and dancing.”
“It has been a most unusual year for everyone in the world, your followers, but it is also one that you have prepared us for in your lectures and your books.”
“We pray that you allow us to continue to serve you year after year no matter what goes on in the world and feel completely protected by you. We pray that you continue to make us dance according to your desire and in this way our lives will be successful.”
Yadubara Das and Visakha Dasi:
“Due to your teachings and example, however, your followers – including us – feel far more prepared than before for the material energy’s challenges; the lengthy worldwide upheaval we’ve confronted and continue to confront due to the pandemic is one example. We feel unlimitedly fortunate to have had your teachings to guide us through this unusually dark time and to verify your many statements about the nature of this material world and our insignificance. We are definitely not the controllers.”
Guru Gauranga Prabhu:
“Life has continually examined me to verify whether I have understood your teachings. And ultimately, death, the great examiner, will do so as well.”
“I was so attracted that I didn’t want to leave the temple, but Tribhuvanath Prabhu pushed me out the door saying, ‘Come back tomorrow. Krishna will take care of you.’
I came again a couple of days later. Vishal Prabhu greeted me in the hallway and thrust a large Krishna book into my hands saying, ‘It’s a very auspicious day to take this book. The spiritual master will be
giving a lecture.’ He was a very convincing book distributor. I took both volumes and gave him all my money.”
“It was clear that you wanted me to feel at home, and use my gifts in Krishna’s service.”
“Your greatness is visible in your books, your temples and the quality of your disciples, yet you were seeing even a most incapable person like myself as useful.”
Ali Krishna Devi Dasi:
“By remembering your resolute, fearless character I can honestly say that I feel strong in my fights against maya and her innumerable agents, and by remembering your unflinching determination I find the strength to stay till the end on the path you have traced for us.”
“Oh, what a great fortune to have met you, Srila Prabhupada! You are everything to me: the most loving father, the eternal well wisher, the absolute master, the spotless example, the dispeller of all doubts and fears, and my constant shelter.”
“Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, for beautifying my life in countless ways. Your Grace is the most precious and brilliant jewel, and I hope to be able, one day, to reflect a ray of your light.”
“Yes, Srila Prabhupada is the perfect lover of God and the full embodiment of His selfless service whose miraculous life forever shines as the beacon of hope for the millennia of the Golden Age of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement.”
“And so just as you, your character and swan-like countenance convince me of the truth of Krishna, your disciples convince me of the truth of you. And even though I am such a hopeless person, Srila Prabhupada, I thank you for allowing me to come in contact with you, your followers and your Krishna.”
Sakshi Gopal Prabhu:
“You travel tirelessly to capitals and continents
Full fourteen times around the globe you fly
Yet jet lag never seems to dull your glowing countenance
And all the while the titles in your Book Trust multiply
“Meanwhile, it seems an empire tilters on the brink of ruin
A growing storm of karmic retribution for the crime
Of godless living at the cost of countless others
Destroying body, mind and soul of all mankind
“You urge we recognise the virus of our own illusion
And take the cure – the vaccination of Lord Krishna’s Holy Name
Or face conditioned life of never ending lockdown –
Samsara’s cycle of repeated birth, old age, disease and pain”
“It is also true that regularly, whatever doubt, or inner or outer conflict I may be going through, somehow or other, I will be directed to a purport or tape that will perfectly resolve any question or issue I am facing. It is as if Srila Prabhupada is personally instructing me, and I am at peace.”
“Srila Prabhupada, before meeting you my devotion lay in ever-changing eye candy.
I was a destitute rogue, cheating myself of life’s goal.
No sin had I not crawled under a rock with.
As a result I found myself churning in the ocean of material existence.
As I drowned you sent your disciples to save me.
You then compassionately engaged
me in beneficent services to aid
other drowning souls.
“You still patiently teach me through
your books, still inspire me through
your tireless examples, still open door
after door to the spiritual world
for me by introducing me to the writings
of the saints of the past.
“Please continue to guide this stumbling pilgrim.
May I always follow your lotus footsteps
as your aspiring servant.”
Jitamitra Devi Dasi:
“It is hard to imagine life without your guidance. What a lost soul I would be. Your guidance has brought many good times in my life and your guidance has gotten me through whatever bad times I was destined to experience. Your guidance has brought meaning and fulfillment to my life. The more I accept your guidance, Srila Prabhupada, the more content and peaceful my mind becomes. Your guidance has helped me develop the healthy, spiritual habits of rising early, chanting 16 rounds, following the four regulative principles, offering all actions in service to Krishna, and remaining in the association of devotees. I have full faith that accepting your guidance brings me the best possible life I can live.”
“I stand to be inspected, corrected and directed. Hoping to never be neglected!”
Ramya Devi Dasi:
“How can I find words to glorify you when everything’s been said thousands of times in thousands of different ways by thousands of different people who are far more advanced and qualified than I am?”
“I will just say a heartfelt thank you Srila Prabhupada for the opportunity to go beyond the familiar and
safe and, in isolation, to go deeper within ourselves.
“For the time and space to read more and listen more and to try and gain a deeper understanding of what a truly wonderful gift you have given us and to begin to realise that actually that is all we have.
“Nothing else matters but the knowledge which you have brought us. Nothing else has any value.”
Thank you Saila Prabhupada for this unique opportunity to learn what is truly important in our lives.
“You coined the term ‘Krishna consciousness’ for your ‘matchless gift’, and you underwent countless hardships to deliver it to us. Day and night you endeavored tirelessly to introduce the chanting of the maha-mantra and translate the cream of the ancient Vedic scriptures to support the authenticity of this method. You also introduced us to the most elevated philosophers, saints and spiritual teachers that the world has ever known.”
“Alone, in the kingdom of ignorance, the uncivilized madhouse of New York, single-handedly you started the chanting and teaching of the philosophy, and the rest is glorious and miraculous history!”
“While I haven’t really any big external accomplishment to offer unto your lotus feet, as if it was ever possible to thus repay you, I am here to thank you immensely and testify about the amazing beauty and nature of this blessing we have being given ... the vision of Krishna consciousness personified in your perfect example!”
“Dear Srila Prabhupada, I am praying intensely for your mercy. Please bless me to awaken again the forgotten art of serving and pleasing the Lord and His devotees. I remember, when you were with us, you wouldn’t judge us for our fallen past, nor take seriously our then immature present, but you would look at our potential, how we could be in a purified, perfected and saintly future. Such a lovely and encouraging vision! I want to make it mine!”
Uttama Devi Dasi:
“I have no idea where to begin, as I am grateful to you for so many things. I am grateful for your immense compassion for all of us. I am grateful for your eloquent, deeply insightful translation and commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam. I am grateful for your witty comments, that cut to the essence. I am grateful for your perseverance to spread Krishna consciousness despite odds that would have sent most people back to the warm comforts of home. I appreciate the personal dealings you had with each Deity, every disciple, every guest. I appreciate witnessing, even second hand, the vast spectrum of love that you have for Krishna. I pray that somehow, I too, may develop a sliver of that love.”
“Preaching MEANS . . . to confront the outright atheists, and the covert atheists too, that hide behind
a veil of religiosity.”
“Srila Saraswati Thakur wrote:
A chanter of Hari-kirtana is necessarily the uncompromising enemy of worldliness and hypocrisy.
It is his constant function to dispel all misconceptions by preaching the truth in its most unambiguous form, without any consideration of person, place, or time.
—Harmonist, 26.249–50 (April 1929)
“Our Srila Prabhupada, following the example and precept of his Guru Maharaja, taught us exactly the same thing. He wrote:
‘The fact is that I am the only one in India who is openly criticizing, not only demigod worship and impersonalism, but everything that falls short of complete surrender to Krishna. My Guru Maharaja never compromised in His preaching, nor will I, nor should any of my students. We are firmly convinced that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all others are His part and parcel servants. This we must declare boldly to the whole world, that they should not foolishly dream of world peace unless they are prepared to surrender fully to Krishna as Supreme Lord’ — Letter, January 3, 1972
“By his uncompromising preaching spirit Srila Prabhupada, was the greatest revolutionary and human society was the beneficiary.”
“Create a revolution! Distribute Srila Prabhupada’s mercy in the form of his books, his recorded lectures, his letters, his devotees, and his temples. And especially we should endeavor to bring the attention of the world to recognize his books as the most profound contribution to the welfare of human society that history will ever see. If we dedicate our life to this task of making Srila Prabhupada the most well-known, authoritative, spiritual authority on the planet, there is hope for society. Doing this is more important, and more fruitful, than an abhiseka, obeisance, and a handful of flowers.
“O Srila Prabhupada, O Vaishnava Thakur, I am simply begging at your lotus feet to be a participant in your revolution, in any way you see fit.”
Jaya Bhadra Devi Dasi:
“Meditating on you, your unfathomable devotion to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and the previous acaryas, your overflowing love for Lord Krishna and His entourage, your affectionate gratitude and concern for those who attempt to serve you, and your unfathomable compassion for all souls who are not engaging in a loving relationship with the Lord – all this draws my attention away from maya’s glaring and bewildering reflection.”
“My dear Srila Prabhupada,
“A few weeks ago a line of a Beatles song ‘speaking words of wisdom’ popped into my mind and I desired to write a cover of the song in your glorification, and this is the outcome:
“The first thing that I do each day
Is hear a class from you
Speaking words of wisdom so sublime
I listen to your classes play
Whether I am glad or blue
Grateful for your wisdom all the time
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Speaking words of wisdom, so sublime
And when the searchers of the truth, living in the world agree
That you have the answers, Prabhupada
For though you have departed,
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer in your books
If they look in your book it will be hard to overlook
That you speak the truth, so sublime
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Enlightening the world, all the time
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Speaking words of wisdom, so sublime
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Enlightening the world, for all time
“You spoke for a few minutes on the verses leading up to this one [SB 1.8.21], and then you spoke these words that went straight into my heart and drew me irrevocably to your lotus feet:
“Chant Hare Krishna mantra and hear repeatedly, and take prasadam. These are the two businesses of the tongue. So you’ll realize. Very simple method. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam . . . Krishna will reveal. Not that by your endeavor you can understand Krishna, but your endeavor in the lovingservice, that will make you qualified. Krishna will reveal.
Svayam eva sphuraty adah. Krishna is very much anxious to take you back home, back to Godhead. But we are stubborn. We do not wish. So He’s always finding out the opportunity how you can be taken back home, back to Godhead. Just like affectionate father. Rascal son left his father, loitering in the street and has no shelter, no food—suffering so much. The father is more anxious to take the boy home. Similarly, Krishna is the supreme father. All these living entities within this material world, they’re exactly like the misled child of a big, rich man, loitering in the street. Therefore the greatest benefit to the human society is to give him Krishna consciousness.”
“Srila Prabhupada, I very much felt like the rascal son loitering in the street with no shelter, and I very much felt that you were my real father who was anxious to take this boy home. I still feel that way, and I fervently pray that by your mercy I can overcome my deep-rooted anarthas, stay in your service till my final hour in this body, and rejoin you in our eternal home at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.”
“It was only when I went back to the temple the following summer, and sat in Bhagavad-gita classes given by your disciples, that understanding of your book came to me—quickly and easily. And this is the wonder of you. In giving your personal association to your early disciples, you transformed that small number of ordinary people into living, breathing, walking Bhagavad-gitas with the capability of rendering transcendental knowledge accessible and relevant to me – instantly.”
“Instantly. ‘Just add water’ is the expression used in the instant foods industry. Instant mashed potatoes, instant noodles, instant idlis—whatever it might be. Water is the additive with that magic touch that plumps everything into shape, reconstitutes it and makes it recognisable. In the same way, when we are lucky enough to happen upon the records of wisdom left in this world by God, often thousands of years before our time, it is the personal association of the pure devotee, the emissary of God, that activates that knowledge for us, making it understandable and usable by us in our lives. This is the reason for the disciplic succession, the need every one of us has for personal exchange with a living guru.
“My story shows that the process of receiving the torchlight of knowledge from the person of Your Divine Grace, and passing it on in person to others is not happening only now on account of the fact that you are not physically present among us, but was happening even then in the early days of ISKCON when you were physically present. My hearing from your disciples, who became my senior godbrothers and godsisters, in no way excluded me from a relationship with you, but brought me closer to your lotus feet and gave me a whole family of spiritual mentors. The bliss I feel on remembering my senior godbrothers and godsisters and the merciful guidance they have given me over the years is beyond wonderful.
“It is my hope that young devotees of today and tomorrow will read this as an affirmation of their personal connection with Your Divine Grace as siksa disciples that will give them joy and inspiration. Remember, between diksa and siksa, siksa is more important, and in that we are all equals and equally fortunate.”
“In all of your activities you gave the sterling example that with the combination of a steadfast vision of future success, tireless effort, and taking necessary risks, wonderful results could be wrestled from seemingly impossible situations.
“You are justly appreciated and lauded for these efforts and activities by your followers every year on this occasion. Today I wish to acknowledge, thank, and praise you, not just for these, but for another of your wonderful gifts, that is too often overlooked – your vision and efforts as a social reformer.
“While everyone in this mad world glorifies the continued materialistic development of modern civilization as ‘progress,’ mesmerized by its baubles and bangles, you, as a spiritually cultured Vaishnava, stood alone against the entire world, calling it out for what it actually is: a society of hogs, dogs, camels and asses. A soul-killing civilization that destroys the finer sentiments of the human being.
“Indeed, it is a ‘civilization’ created by the demonic to serve their purposes at our expense, yet we cannot see it, blinded as we are by the pleasures it offers. We cannot see this because since birth every one of us is indoctrinated, by parents, schools and media, to the understanding that this is not only a great civilization, but that we are at the pinnacle of progress! Conditioned as we are by the sense gratification it offers, we think of this world as a benign place where we can pursue our dreams to find happiness and fulfillment.”
“But it is a demonic civilization that is organized to control and exploit us at every turn. And so conditioned are we in this ‘culture’ that we think it normal and sadly, we even apply its demonic methods in our own activities.”
“Better that we follow your example that we need not focus on money as the means of performing our service. You said many times ‘when you get money, spend it immediately, and Krishna will supply more.’ Yet due to our conditioned nature we too often take shelter of money, not Sri Krishna, for security. Again you demonstrated by your own example, how your success came as a result of giving freely everything without consideration of return: instruction, mantra, prasadam, etc. And because everyone was touched by your gifts they reciprocated with you, giving everything needed to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world.”
“The second demonic method of control is institutional hierarchical control where authority is placed in a seat such as president, and power given regardless of qualification. The demons have created this system to allow them to control hundreds and even millions of people, and to build huge enterprises to accumulate wealth and power. Such methods are antithetical to spiritual culture where authority is given not to a seat or position, but to individual persons according to their qualification.”
“You instructed us not to have excessive hierarchical command-control authority within ISKCON, severely chastising your leading men when they attempted to do so, writing: ‘Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility,competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. No.”
“We have now come to this momentous time, a time of great change when everything in this world will be changed. This is the stated intention of the demonic powers that control this world. They say there will be a Great Reset. We heartily agree that a Great Reset is needed. The question is: in which direction? Towards more control, exploitation, materialism and impersonalism? Or towards a God-centered, spiritual, personal culture? Encouraged by you, our senapati bhakta, our great devotee commander, we choose to use all of our energy to establish the latter. Although it seems like an impossible task from where we sit just now, it is no more impossible than the task that was before you of establishing Krishna conscious all over the entire world.”
“Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, you saved me from disaster
And you will always remain my loving master
We are living in a difficult age
I feel so lonely and suffocated in the false ego cage
But by associating with sincere devotees a door is being opened
When I lend my ear to hear I experience less fear.”
“Your message of good spiritual will to save us from repeated birth and death is very rich and we find ever new and encouraging passages. For example, you told your former personal servant His Grace Nanda Kumara Dasa that calling out for Krishna through the regular chanting of sixteen rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra will protect us from fall down just as a child is protected from falling by holding the hands of his parents. What a thoughtful, simple and touching example!”
Purnamasi Devi Dasi and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Dasa:
“We offer our humble obeisances to you Srila Prabhupada. You are the Founder-acarya of ISKCON.
“We all are aware of you being the founder, however, we are slowly becoming more aware of how you are our beloved acarya. More and more books by your disciples are allowing us to experience your loving, giving, and compassionate side. These remembrances help us and all future devotees to have a deeper appreciation and personal relationship with you.”
“As a pure devotee of Krishna, you are a transparent via medium to Krishna. Devotees and non-devotees alike can catch a glimpse of Krishna’s love for us by reading your books and also the books or memories of your disciples. People are attracted by a ‘good personality’. We are attracted to you because you are a perfect representative of Krishna who is the greatest personality. We can try to follow the example of your perfect interactions with others so that they may be attracted to the process of Krishna consciousness, their only hope.”
Phalini Devi Dasi:
“We are forever indebted to Your Divine Grace because you have delivered to us the holy names of Krishna and you gave us a fixed number of rounds to chant each day for the rest of our lives. You stressed again and again the importance of sticking to a vow of chanting at least sixteen rounds per day. We are grateful to you for establishing this minimum, so that no matter what happens to our bodies or our minds, we know that we must complete our rounds.”
“I heard you say in a lecture recently that we have promised to chant Gayatri mantra three times a day. Your Divine Grace said, ‘Tri-sandhya means three times. We initiate...They promise that three times they will chant Gayatri-mantra, but I do not know what they are doing (you paused here a moment to let your heavy words sink in)...So these are the recommendation[s] in the sastra. If we don’t follow, then we must fall down. There is no doubt about it.’ (Lecture, SB 1.3.29, LA, Oct. 4, 1972) Srila Prabhupada, that’s scary. Please protect us from falling down by helping us to be strongly devoted to maintaining our vows that we made at our initiations.”
Kalpalatika Devi Dasi:
“One day I went by myself to a local park to chant and sing. Then my husband joined me. Gradually, more and more devotees started coming to the park to have kirtana together. We had to sit six feet apart and wear masks, but we were ecstatic to have each other’s association. Every week Lord Caitanya invariably sent souls to come hear the kirtana and take some cookie prasadam and a book. We had a large festival in the park for Lord Nityananda’s Appearance Day, with 38 devotees and guests and a wonderful feast of twelve preparations. In this way we have managed to take shelter of the holy name and continue to have the loving association of devotees. Our weekly gatherings have been the life and soul of all of us.
“None of this would have been possible if you had not come to New York so long ago and sat alone to chant beneath a tree in the park. When I think of that, tears of gratitude well up and my heart feels full of love and appreciation for all that you have given to me and to the whole world. I know that I can never adequately repay you, Srila Prabhupada, but I pray that I always remember you and strive to live in a way that pleases you.”
Tripti Devi Dasi:
“For it’s your sincere disciples that are the real tributes,
serving you selflessly with body, mind, heart and spirit.
That’s the true glory of your life’s holy art,
to have lifted up so many and set them apart.
Miraculously transforming souls transfixed by maya,
cleansing their hearts, sparking spiritual desire.
With humor, compassion, strict and constant attention,
you freely taught how to love and serve Krishna.
You built a house based on Love, Trust and Service,
inviting the whole world to come home – Back to Godhead.
And they are still coming, those gentle souls who surrender
at your lotus feet from now til’ forever.
For your love knows no limits, no restrictions, no boundaries,
Unlimited Krishna bhakti – given free for the asking.”
MokshaLaksmi Devi Dasi:
“Srila Prabhupada, you are the greatest of altruists, your unselfishness knew no bounds. Your self-sacrifice was exemplary and your humility unmitigated. You cared for everyone from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor; Your mercy was there for every last entity. You surely saw only the soul trapped in its material body.”
Sandamini Devi Dasi:
“A DAUGHTER’S RAP
“I ponder your nobility,
Marvel at your ability,
Wonder at your humility,
Charmed by your tranquility.
When challenged you’re serenity,
With children sly passivity,
To devotees total purity,
To the world such credibility.
For ISKCON you’re stability,
Engaging with agility,
Your principle, utility,
Not a moody-blue futility.
No gender nix-ability,
Just spirit capability,
You welcome us to reality.
With no whiff of debility,
You show the possibility,
Of earth’s sustainability.
You’ve given us facility,
To act with flexibility,
Evincing great mobility.
While teaching with gentility.
Your writings’ readability,
Full of rasa not sterility,
Showing God’s adorability,
And ageless likeability.
You see our trainability,
A spark of suitability,
Our rounds with audibility.
Your incredible incredibility!”
“I offer my obeisances with respect and care.
With gratitude I extend a heartfelt prayer
For remembrance of you, to be ever aware
Of your great compassion for the world’s welfare.
“I bow before your empowered lotus feet,
Praying for your mercy, whether bitter or sweet.
Teach me to refrain from the tendency to cheat.
Purify my heart, make my serving mood complete.
Your Vyasa-puja day, a time for recollection,
Honoring your many gifts of spiritual direction.
With deep appreciation for your caring protection,
For the holy name and meditative reflection.
You came to this world full of Kali-yuga tension
Giving us a glimpse of the spiritual dimension
Where would we be without your intervention?
Surely in places we wouldn’t want to mention.
Thank you for your clear, ongoing corrections.
For initiating me without any objections.
For your kind acceptance rather than rejection.
Despite my many, many imperfections.
You awakened us to the root of our dissatisfaction
Conferring upon us the highest benefaction
Starting us out with a simple plan of action
You prayed that we’d gradually develop attraction.
Alerting us to Maya’s keen ability to distract
How fault-finding is her way to get us to react.
When our bhakti lata creeper is clearly ransacked,
Your grace fills our hearts with what we lacked.
Although I thought I was looking for perfection,
Through years of transformative introspection,
My goal is now simply to model your affection
For Krishna and His devotees through loving connection.”
Samapriya Devi Dasi:
“And when your words are the prime objective,
everything is in perfect order.”
“I came across an article written some time ago by an independent Irish journalist, Brendan O’Connor. Phenomenal article, as this man perceived Srila Prabhupada’s all pervading influence. He said: ‘I was reading somewhere recently that while we might think of Hare Krishnas as a marginal cult, their influence on the world we live in is enormous. The view seems to be that while the religion has not succeeded in the mainstream, as such, the ideas have. Everywhere you look there is watered down Hare Krishna-ism, from the kinds of foods we eat, to the notion of sustainable, community based living, to the whole mindfulness thing.’ He says. ‘IT SEEMS WE ARE ALL A LITTLE BIT HARE KRISHNA NOW!!!’ Mr. O’Connor goes on to say ‘Do you practice yoga? Are you a vegetarian? Do you believe in karma? Do you believe in positive vibes through social media? If you do, then, my friend, you might just be a little bit Krishna conscious.’ Mr. O’Connor wonders if it’s okay to take the trappings of spiritual techniques without buying into the ‘whole thing’. He goes on to muse, ‘Or do the Hare Krishnas and the rest of them know something we don’t? Do they know that the more people they can get to chant or meditate or not eat meat, or do the yoga, even if those people just do it for well being, the more people they bring a little closer to Krishna?’ He concludes his article, ‘WILL WE ALL END UP IN SAFFRON ROBES SOME DAY’ Well, guess what Brendon, that’s Prabhupada’s plan, so that’s our plan and we’ll continue to give out your mercy. The seeds have been planted and continue to be planted.”
“Before I left for Mayapur from Australia I asked a friend what I could personally take as a gift for you, Srila Prabhupada. She said ‘full cream powdered milk’. I was startled because in Australia it is such a common commodity. I bought a tin of it along anyway. In those days every Australian devotee would bring you 2 kg of ghee each, and I also brought the tin of full cream powdered milk. I was so embarrassed to give it to you. I was thinking – this is such a common thing for us – how can I give this to my spiritual master? I thought you were going to say – this is so far from milk, etc. But when you saw the banged up tin of milk your eyes lit up and you said to your servant, ‘Make all my milk sweets out of this’. Then you talked for 30 minutes on cow protection and the incredible value of milk.”
“Lately I have been invited by your granddisciples to give classes in Pakistan. You will be very pleased to know that because of your pure desire, the Pakistan government extended financial support to sponsor and print 10,000 of your Bhagavad-gita As It Is in the Urdu and Sindhi languages. . . . May you and Lord Caitanya continue to bless the Government of Pakistan.”
“Your Divine Grace: ‘I can understand your concern about the deterioration of the civilization. Yes, the city will be more dangerous place as Kali-yuga advances. It will be very deteriorating. The modern civilization is so corrupt and as sinful activities are more and more committed., the people will be forced to face more troubles, by nature’s order. Our business, however, is simply to take shelter of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and pray to the holy name to give us protection. We shall be unaffected by all that will happen. Krishna will provide us with working facilities. Be assured of this, that the devotees will be protected by the holy name. Others will have to suffer in the days that are coming.’ (Letter Kurusrestha, 3 July 1973)”
Shyamasundara Dasa (Jyotisa Sastri):
“I recall a vivid dream that I had in the early part of 2001. It was during a very dark time in the history of the movement you had started. You were being publicly insulted by miscreants in your own institution and your official representatives did not come to your defense or censure the guilty. In that dream I was weeping uncontrollably that such a horrible thing was happening in your own institution. Then suddenly in the dream the whole ‘screen’ went black and then a white spot appeared in the center and this spot gradually expanded to cover the whole screen again. In this white area the whole lila of Prahlada Maharaja played out and in the end Lord Nrsimha appeared and vanquished the demons and protected Prahlada. Then a loud deep voice booming like rolling thunder stated, ‘Just as Prahlada Maharaja could not be vanquished, in the same way Prabhupada’s mission cannot be stopped.’ Then the dream suddenly stopped, and I woke up having fallen out of my bed in shock.”
Guru Carana Padma Devi Dasi:
“What a year it has been! Although we have been locking down for the most part, on a personal level, you have been unlocking so many things for me within my heart and mind.”
“Even though we could not go out and about, we could enter a world unaffected by viruses and pandemics...a world you have allowed us access to.
“Even though we could not be in the association of devotees, we were able to connect through the airwaves and there were so many wonderful souls sharing inspiring wisdom on many levels.… you taught us that this sanga is most vital for spiritual life.”
“Being confined at home enabled us to expand our horizons and meditate on the gifts you have bestowed upon us.”
Sarnga Thakur Dasa:
“Thank you Srila Prabhupada for the most profound blessing of being able to worship and connect with the divine names of God – the most personal, the sweetest, the purest, all-powerful, and all-attractive names in existence!
“The holy name is everything. Such a priceless gift! It is the life-blood of our International Society for Krishna Consciousness that you created. The holy name is the ultimate goal and sustainer of our devotional lives. We cannot have peace and happiness without the holy name being at the center of our lives.
“All of our reading, worship, and sadhana is to perfect our chanting of the holy name. Purified and thoroughly honest, we approach the holy name humbly and submissively, knowing we serve your lotus feet by doing so. Pure chanting, suddha nama, brings prema – pure loving devotion to Sri Sri Radha Krishna. We get so enlivened by chanting, we want to do everything with more attention and devotion. We want to soak in any, and all, of the knowledge about the Lord and His devotees, their spiritual affairs and abode. We want to broadcast the Lord’s glories and share the chanting with everyone.”
“Because of your deep and sublime faith in the holy name, your influence continues to sweep across the world, carrying multitudes of ignorant people into the magic of chanting Hare Krishna.
“Because of your divine potency and that of Harinama, we get surcharged every day, to live and practice the lifestyle that brings us closer to the holy name.
“Where would we be, Srila Prabhupada, without the holy name? Who can imagine how many souls will swim in the ocean of nectar, revealed by the holy name because of your dedication and love?”