Chapter 112: Ghosts and Fearlessly Chanting the Mahā Mantra

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 112
Ghosts and Fearlessly Chanting the Mahā Mantra

Being with Śrīla Prabhupāda was always relishable. I especially enjoyed when he gave us a glimpse of his life before coming to America. Sharing his pastimes was a wonderful expression of his love for us. Śrīla Prabhupāda also took great pleasure in describing different aspects of his life with his disciples. One afternoon he began describing to Paramahāmsa and me about his life as a sannyasi.

"While I was living in Vṛndāvana," he said. "Sometimes I would go to Delhi for a few days to make arrangements with my publisher. I would stay in one room during these periods. During the winter, it was so cold. I would have to crack a thin layer of ice with my lota in my bucket of bath water. Then I would bathe with that water."

At Bhaktivedanta Manor, a few ladies came to visit Śrīla Prabhupāda on a number of occasions. They knew His Divine Grace was a very saintly person. They were hoping that he could help them solve their predicament. They described to Śrīla Prabhupāda how poltergeists had inhabited their flat. They had tried many things to rid their home of the pesky spirits, but nothing worked. They informed Śrīla Prabhupāda that different items were being broken, while being tossed around the rooms. One of the women asked Śrīla Prabhupāda if there was any particular prayer or mantra they could chant to force the entities to leave the premises forever. It was no surprise to his disciples when Śrīla Prabhupāda advised them to chant the mahā-mantra. He sweetly told us of his own experience with the "supernatural." He described that when he was a grihasta, he bought a large haunted house in Calcutta for a very good price.

"No one would buy the place," he said smiling. "It was a very nice, big house, but because it was haunted, everyone was afraid. So, I bought it and lived there. Sometimes, I remember sitting down and you could see things moving about in the house. I would sit in my chair and chant 'Hare Kṛṣṇa.' One time, one of my servants came up to me and said, 'Swamiji, how can you stay here with these ghosts?' I told him there was nothing to worry about. Just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. So, I was living there and so many things would go on, but nothing frightened me."

One day in the spring of 1973, Śrīla Prabhupāda was in his room in New Dwaraka. He was walking around chanting japa. I was fortunate to be sitting on the floor watching him. Suddenly, he looked at me and in a very serious tone said, "The difficulty is that none of my disciples believe Kṛṣṇa is there. Actually, no one has any faith that Kṛṣṇa exists."

I sat motionless as Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to chant japa. My faith was microscopic, at best. I was in illusion, but not enough to disagree with his profound words. Besides, I could not think of anything to say. Śrīla Prabhupāda had already said it all.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, my faith is very weak and my ghost-like senses powerfully haunt me. Please purge my soul of these demons. Let me hear the holy name from your courageous lotus lips. Please guide me in your service. I do not know Kṛṣṇa, but I have experienced the shelter of your stalwart lotus feet. I have complete faith that you lovingly experience Kṛṣṇa at every moment. If I hang onto your fearless lotus feet, by your mercy, I will come to serve the Lord.Your Kṛṣṇa consciousness was evident in every word you spoke, every glance you gave and every transcendental move you took. Please bless this misguided soul and mercifully glance upon me once again. Without hearing you chant the Holy Names, I am lost and full of fear.