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Kolhapur, Maharastra
10 January 2003

Yesterday I wrote:

"I should not try to enjoy my relationship with the spiritual master. "

But that relationship is nectarean! Therefore it must certainly be enjoyable! So is it wrong for a disciple to be an enjoyer in his rasa with Lord Krsna's pure devotee?

Delhi, March 25, 1976

Prabhupada: Full freedom means to be under the order of the Supreme. That is full freedom. That is full freedom.

Atreya Rsi: The cinema or restaurant is not freedom. It's completely conditioning under the laws of material nature. But fully surrendered soul is fully free.

Prabhupada: No, no, if you simply, even if you want to go to a cinema. . .

Pusta Krsna: He's still responsible for going.

Prabhupada: If you ask, "Father, I wish to see cinema," if father says, "All right, we'll go," that is not sinful. But you go in your own whims--that is sinful. Tena tyaktena bhunjitha.

Cyavana: Sometimes it's difficult as devotees for us to know whether
we're doing the right thing or whether we're just speculating.

Prabhupada: And therefore you have to consult your guru.

The son going with his father to the cinema is a useful analogy. There certainly is enjoyment for the son in that relationship, but it is under the authority of the father. When the son's enjoyment conforms to the desire of the father, it is all right. In this relationship, the father's enjoyment is prominent. Yet there is still room for the son's desire. The son can even take the initiative for enjoyment. "If you ask, 'Father, I wish to see cinema. ' if father says, 'All right, we'll go,' that is not sinful. "

Think about it. It is indeed not sinful--it is love.

But if I insist that MY WHIMS TO ENJOY MYSELF should be prominent in relation to my father (spiritual master, Krsna)--in other words, if I go ahead and do whatever I like no matter what my superior desires--"that is sinful. "

So my bringing another fruit plate to Srila Prabhupada minutes after he had taken fruit was whimsical. I was not considering his desire. But then again, there is the element of the spiritual master's merciful expertise. Srila Prabhupada turned my whimsy into sadhu-seva of his disciples, my older brothers. And being satisfied with that, he again personally accepted fruit from my hand. Thus I was saved from a great blunder.

The next morning Srila Prabhupada got into the car to be driven to the bank of the River Charles to "enjoy" his morning walk with a number of disciples. As the driver started the motor, a disciple known for his eccentricity ran up to Prabhupada's window indicating he should roll it down. His Divine Grace kindly complied. The boy asked, "Srila Prabhupada, can I take sannyasa?"

"You must be pure," Prabhupada replied.

"I know, Srila Prabhupada. Can I take sannyasa?"

Prabhupada looked at the driver to indicate he should put the car in gear. Without another glance at the eccentric disciple, he rolled his window back up. The car moved forward. That disciple ran ahead of the car to pull up handfuls of grass from the lawn and strew them in front of the vehicle, as if they were handfuls of flower petals

On the riverbank Srila Prabhupada and his entourage walked by a bridge. Under the bridge lived a few of the kind of people it is now politically correct to term "homeless" (though back then, we just called them bums). They saw the devotees coming past, so they stumbled out in an alcoholic stupor to gawk and make coarse remarks. I believe one of them even called out to Srila Prabhupada to ask if he had a cigarette.

The disciple's faces were grim as they girded themselves to defend His Divine Grace. But Prabhupada's face was merry. "Intoxicants!" he chuckled, greatly amused.

I think by his use of that word Prabhupada showed a playful mastery of English vocabulary. Think about it. Those were persons who stumbled out from under the bridge. Why would Srila Prabhupada pick a word that only referred to the alcohol inside them? I think he had in mind sophisticated English words ending in "-ants" that refer to people: "savants," "hierophants," "dilettantes. " He put a similar spin on the word "intoxicants," rendering it into a high-sounding designation for this lowly pack of winos.

In a simple mid-day ceremony, Srila Prabhupada installed the beautiful Sri-Sri Radha-Gopiballabha. These Deities are twins of Sri-Sri Radha-Damodara, who at that time--or at least, soon after that time (I'm not exactly sure when the road show started rolling, but I know it was during my days in Boston)--were traveling around America with Kirtanananda Swami and the Transcendental Road Show.

About the name "Radha-Gopiballabha," the Boston Radha-Krsna Deities installed by Srila Prabhupada in 1971 were not formally addressed that way until a couple years later, when Trai Dasa Prabhu was president. By that time I had transferred out of Boston to the Radha-Damodara TSKP headed by Vishnujana Maharaja. (I started serving the Radha-Damodara Deities when They separated from the Road Show, which remained in the New York temple. Radha-Damodara continued to travel in a bus with Vishnujana Maharaja and eight or ten brahmacaris, one of whom was this humble self. )

Anyway, the Deities who later became known as Sri-Sri Radha-Gopiballabha had Their first bath in a large stainless steel bowl. Srila Prabhupada gracefully poured pancha-amrita over Them from a conchshell while chanting the "Govindam" prayers. Then Prabhupada dressed and decorated Them behind closed altar curtains. The ceremony ended with Deity darshan, kirtan, and a big feast.

Many guests attended, including a slick-looking Indian man who taught yoga to Bostoners. His chief disciples were well-endowed young women. He sat among the crowd in a yoga asana. When Prabhupada bathed the Deities, tears streamed down the yogi's face. To tell the truth, seeing that gave me some respect for him. But later I heard he left in a huff because he could not get a private audience with Srila Prabhupada.

There was a bearded longhair named Rafael who used to often visit the Boston temple in the company of a similarly hippie-looking boy and a girl. I got the impression that together these three formed a small cult of some sort. Their slogan was "Jaya Vishnu. " Rafael once asked me, "Do you think it is bona fide for us to chant Jaya Vishnu instead of Hare Krsna?" Years before, he had lived for a while at the Matchless Gifts temple on Second Avenue in New York. Gargamuni Prabhu caught him smoking grass in the bathroom. Rafael threw a punch and ran out onto the street. When Srila Prabhupada heard about it, he went into transcendental fury. "Where is he? I shall kick on his face!"

Unlike the Boston yogi, Rafael did get a darshan with Srila Prabhupada, who reminisced that he'd taught the boy how to make chapatis. But then Prabhupada's mood turned grave. "These are old stories," he said, dismissing the pleasant memories of Second Avenue. He indicated his shaven-headed disciples who were present in the room. "They have taken this Krsna consciousness seriously. " I didn't see Rafael and his friends much after that.

Later today (Friday) I am taking a 3-hour drive to the city of Belgaum. I'll stay the weekend for the Rathayatra festival. I'll leave the Shaligram Shilas here at Kohlapur, bringing only Giriraja and Ananta Narsimha with me. Not enough time for big puja during festivals.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

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