Chapter 124: Śrīla Prabhupāda Makes Sure I Am Healthy and Happy

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 124
Śrīla Prabhupāda Makes Sure I Am Healthy and Happy

March 1975, ISKCON Māyāpur Candrodaya Mandir,
Māyāpur, India

During my first trip to India with Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1972, I contracted jaundice, malaria, colitis and, of course, dysentery within the first two months. The effects continued to linger and my health was somewhat fragile. Śrīla Prabhupāda's tour of India lasted about two months and due to the mercy of my beloved Gurudeva, I stayed healthy the entire time.

I am embarrassed to speak about my activities, but I must because Śrīla Prabhupāda personally saw to it that I received all I required to stay healthy. I ate fresh fruits, yogurt and cheese made from cows' milk. In addition, I ate steamed vegetables and rice. For breakfast, I also ate oatmeal. Of course, I ate Śrīla Prabhupāda's remnants whenever the opportunity arose. At different times he asked me if I was getting fresh cows' milk and sufficient fruit to eat. He would tell the Mātājī arranging his cooking to see that I was getting what I wanted. I do not want to sound offensive, but Śrīla Prabhupāda nurtured me, not like a father, but more like a loving, concerned mother. His Divine Grace endeared himself to all he met. I was enchanted with his kindness. He cared so much about us all. He still does. I am ashamed to say that I never deserved such transcendental favor.

Śrīla Prabhupāda's wonderful quality of mercy was not for me alone. He loved all of his disciples. When he arrived at the Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir for the temple opening he called the leaders into his room and asked, "How is everyone being taken care of? Are they getting cows' milk to drink? They must get cows' milk. They shouldn't be drinking buffalo milk."

I cannot emphasize enough how many times Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke about the importance of serving nice prasadam to the devotees. One of the first lessons Śrīla Prabhupāda taught me was that every visitor must take prasadam before leaving, even if it was one piece of fruit.

During the utsava, the opening festival of Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir, devotees stayed in various guest houses near the temple because there was not sufficient facility at the temple. Śrīla Prabhupāda told those in charge, "Be sure the devotees have nice facility. They should not be uncomfortable." It was delightful to watch a Kṛṣṇa conscious person in action. Śrīla Prabhupāda was fully cognizant of everything going on around him and everything not going on around him. Śrīla Prabhupāda's loving attention influenced all the devotees to do their best.

Śrīla Prabhupāda made sure that everyone in his entourage received all necessities and had nice prasadam. He told the leaders to be sure that everyone under their care received the same. I never heard Śrīla Prabhupāda tell anyone they were eating too much. However, it was common for His Divine Grace to tell his disciples they were getting up too late, if they were not rising in time to receive the spiritual benefits of Brahma Murta.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, you always set the perfect example by showing us how to act in all circumstances. When you were ill, you continued your service without complaining, but when I complained of illness you compassionately catered to my desires. I owe you my life and more. You accepted whatever Kṛṣṇa provided, but for your disciples you strived to provide them with the comforts to which they were accustomed. You were pleased to see your disciples happily engaged in devotional service and free from anxiety. Please bless me with the desire to treat my godbrothers and godsisters with the same love and care you bestow upon them.