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Chapter 34: Retired for One Hour

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 34
Retired for One Hour

ISKCON Los Angeles

His Divine Grace spoke many times about retiring from managerial duties to concentrate on translating the scriptures for humanity at large. My first experience was as follows:

One morning at about 9:00, Śrīla Prabhupāda called me into his room and told me to call Karāndhara. This happened often while we were in New Dwarka. Śrīla Prabhupāda had great faith in Karandhara's abilities. He even praised Karāndhara for fixing the concrete stairs which led to Śrīla Prabhupāda's garden.

"Karāndhara can do anything," Śrīla Prabhupāda commented, pointing to the stairs.

If any problem arose while we were in Los Angeles, Śrīla Prabhupāda called for Karāndhara to solve it.

When Karāndhara arrived in Śrīla Prabhupāda's room, His Divine Grace stunned him by saying, "I don't want to be involved in management so much. I want to translate books."

"Yes," Karāndhara enthusiastically replied. "I can do all of your secretarial work from here and you can stay here to translate. We'll keep everything very nice for you." "Yes! We'll do it immediately," Śrīla Prabhupāda said. "I want to have no business. No more business. No more management. You handle all of my affairs for me."

Karāndhara left the room, ready to organize ISKCON from his office on Watseka Avenue.

"This is amazing," I thought. "Prabhupāda is going to let the Governing Body Commission (GBC) run the society."

New Dwarka was perfect for such an arrangement. It had all facility for Śrīla Prabhupāda, including the garden which was his "favorite place." He could have stayed there for years and translated all day if he wanted.

About one hour later, Śrīla Prabhupāda again rang his bell. I entered Śrīla Prabhupāda's quarters and offered my obeisances, but before I raised my head from the floor he said, "Call Karāndhara."

Karāndhara soon entered the room and offered his obeisances. As he did, Śrīla Prabhupāda noticed a letter in Karandhara's kurta pocket. Śrīla Prabhupāda's eyes grew large.

"What is that?" he asked.

"Oh, it is a letter for you, Śrīla Prabhupāda," Karāndhara replied.

"Open it," Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed.

Karāndhara opened the letter and read it to Śrīla Prabhupāda. It was a typical letter from a senior disciple who managed one of ISKCON's temples. Śrīla Prabhupāda intently listened and then dictated a reply.

Śrīla Prabhupāda's retirement lasted a little over an hour. It was the first retirement I had experienced, but certainly not the last. Śrīla Prabhupāda relished translating Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam for us. He also relished teaching his children how to walk on the spiritual path. His patience was endless. On a daily basis he picked us up as we stumbled and encouraged us to try to walk again. No matter how much he dreamed of retirement he would not leave us alone until we were able to walk on our own. The time has come for us to walk.

Jai Śrīla Prabhupāda!