Chapter 22: Football; Scar

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 22
Football; Scar

September 1975, Calcutta

One day, Paramahāmsa Swami and I accompanied Śrīla Prabhupāda on a car ride. Passing a playground, Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled and said, "I played football there when I was young. I would be the goalie because I was lazy. I didn't like to run around. That was the position I liked."

One day, while massaging Śrīla Prabhupāda, he pointed to a scar on his leg.

"See this scar?" he asked. "That happened when I was young. I was in front of the house and I had matches. Somehow I started some fire and my clothing immediately went up in flames. It was very bad. I do not know what would have happened, but out of nowhere some man appeared and put out the flames. Then he left."

Śrīla Prabhupāda never spoke further about the gentleman. I got the impression that the person who appeared "out of nowhere" came directly from the spiritual world. I knew I couldn't ask him to be more specific. Having been with Śrīla Prabhupāda for so long I knew he had told me what I was to know. Personally, I always felt that the person who had put out the fire was Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In the two years I was with him, Śrīla Prabhupāda never stated in my presence that he, himself, came from the spiritual world. I am certain, however, that His Divine Grace was sent to us from the spiritual world by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Śrīla Prabhupāda was very merciful and always encouraged us by saying we could become Kṛṣṇa Conscious in this lifetime. He taught by example. He never asked us to do anything that he didn't do himself. He rose early, chanted japa, and read Śrīmad- Bhāgavatam. He never acted superior to his disciples. He allowed us to be comfortable with him by acting as if he were "practicing" Kṛṣṇa Consciousness rather than the embodiment of it.

"It is my duty to chastise because you are my disciple," he often said.

We are his children and his position was, and still is, to teach us.