I read Bhakta Ricky's letter about giving up coffee with interest. Let me
relate a story related to me by Syamasundar prabhu seven years ago, when we
were staying in a tent out on the plains of Madagascar.
My apologies to my friend Syamasundar prabhu if I have misquoted him or made any mistakes in this recitation. I am only repeating his words as best I can recall them, as I was not present there at the time of this event.
I suspect this incident is well known, and perhaps has already entered in myth or legend. Anyway, here is the story.
After his wife Malati had obtained small Jagannatha deities, Srila Prabhupada set Syamasundar to work carving big ones. This was in San Francisco before the first ratha yatra festival.
So, he was thus working away carving the large forms of Baladeva, Jagannatha, and Subhadra, and one day Prabhupada dropped in unannounced to see the progress. This something Prabhupada tended to do from time to time.
Unfortunately, Syamasundar still smoked, and he had left a pack of cigarettes on top of Lord Jagannatha's head.
Prabhupada looked at the pack of cigarettes. Then he picked up the pack, examined it, and set it down again on Jagannatha's head.
He said, "If you simply smoke one less each day, in one month problem will be gone."
Then he held up his hand, sticking out his thumb and forefinger, holding then apart about the width of a cigarette, and he remarked, "It is a shame to let such a small thing stand between you and God." Then he walked out.
And that, Bhakta Ricky, is also how you give up coffee.