Posted September 28, 2006
The following are stories from the "Memories" collection that hopefully will provide some inspiration and meditation for the day.
Shyamasundar das (ACBSP): "Prabhupada was so compassionate with those around him as well. His devotees and every living entity that came into his purview were treated in a very compassionate way. I remember in the early days something he said to me that was very compassionate. I had done something, prior to meeting Prabhupada, where the law had finally caught up with me, and I had to go to jail. I didn't think it was going to be for a long period of time, but I knew it was going to be a month or two. And Prabhupada was in San Francisco at the time. So I went up to say good-bye to him. I said, "Prabhupada, I have to go away for a while." And he said, "Oh? Where are you going?" And I said, "Well, I have to go to jail for something I did in the past." And he said, "Never mind. Krishna was born in jail." [Laughs.] "Nothing can harm you in jail. You just chant Hare Krishna. Everything will be fine." And at some later point in the conversation, he asked me, "Well, what was your offense? Why are they sending you to jail?" I told him it had to do with drugs. And he said, "I too was a drug dealer." [Laughs.] I guess he was dealing chemicals and medicines in Allahabad and other places. And he said once some unscrupulous men approached him to use his opium-buying license to illegally buy some opium, and he refused to do it." [Laughs.]
Gurudas (ACBSP): Srila Prabhupada had all the qualities of a great devotee. Just by seeing him, one would think of Krishna . But the quality that I remember most was his compassion. Prabhupada, although non-compromising and strict at times, was also open-minded. He did what the situation called for, whether tying up a microphone with a brahman's thread or understanding our complaints. With a compassionate look he once said to me, "If I don't forgive you, which he usually did, then Krishna will forgive you. And if Krishna does not, Radharani will."
Vaikunthanatha (ACBSP): In 1972, when Prabhupada gave a series of lectures on The Nectar of Devotion for one month in Vrindavan, a thought was plaguing me. When I first joined, I'd been taught that the paramparasystem is like a chain, and if you're not initiated, if you're not linked up to this chain, then you can't go back to Godhead. I thought, "We're distributing so many books, but if the people who read them are not initiated, then they can't go back to Godhead." So, one day I followed Prabhupada from Rupa Goswami's samadhi, where he lectured, and just before Prabhupada stepped onto his courtyard, I said, "We're distributing so many books but if people aren't initiated, then they can't go back to Godhead." Prabhupada turned, looked at me right in the eyes and said, "Just by reading my books they are initiated." I thought, "That is an incredible example of compassion."
Jayapataka Swami: Once Srila Prabhupada was giving a lecture about how we have to be cent percent Krishna conscious. He was ramming home the point that we have to surrender to Krishna one hundred percent. At the end of the class the devotees were serious. They were looking down thinking, "Who can come up to the standard of complete surrender?" As if he could read their minds, Prabhupada relaxed his mood a little bit and said, "If you can be ninety percent Krishna conscious, then you can also go back to Godhead." He was on a large, high vyasasana, four feet in the air, and had to go down some steps to get off the vyasasana. As he started down he said, "Even if you are eighty percent surrendered, Krishna will still take you." Then he got off the vyasasana and started walking away. His chaddar was flowing behind him, dragging on the ground. He stopped, looked at the devotees and said, "Even if you are seventy percent Krishna conscious, still Krishna will take you." He threw his chaddar over his shoulder and walked off with his head high.
Jaya, Srila Prabhupada!