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Chapter 39: Word Economy

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 39
Word Economy

September 15, 1972 to October 28, 1972,
ISKCON Bombay

Śrīla Prabhupāda's greatest pleasure was to speak about Kṛṣṇa and His associates 24 hours a day. He relished every opportunity to speak the Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy. This sharply contrasted with his economic use of words when it came to his own bodily maintenance. The dichotomy was ecstatic.

Every day Śrīla Prabhupāda took a short nap after lunch. Upon rising His Divine Grace walked through my designated area to get to the bathroom. Often I rested, too. As soon as I heard the sweet sound of his shuffling feet, I would rise and offer my obeisances.

"Dab," Śrīla Prabhupāda said in a deep voice as he walked by.

It was my duty to then go to the kitchen, open a coconut, insert a gold straw through the opening and place the sweet water on his desk. This was the daily ritual. Every time I heard the word "dab" the same ecstatic opportunity availed itself.

Particularly in Vrindavan, Śrīla Prabhupāda often boasted to guests about how his servant could cook lunch so quickly.

"Śrutakīrti," he said. "He can cook my entire lunch—rice, dahl, chapatis, and three or four subjis in just 45 minutes." Looking at me he then said, "Is it not?"

"Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda," I said nodding. "And I give you massage while the cooking is going on."

Now, widening his eyes he said, "Just see, 45 minutes and all bodily maintenance business . . . finished. This is Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. We minimize bodily maintenance as much as possible, so we have more time for devotional service."

Another example demonstrating Śrīla Prabhupāda's efficiency with minimal effort took place in the privacy of his quarters. Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed me without saying a single word. While sitting in his room, he looked up at the ceiling fans. If they were on, it meant I should turn them off. If they were off, it meant I was to turn them on. Other times, he looked at the French doors. If the curtains were open, I closed them. If they were closed, I opened them.

"This is the first-class servant," Śrīla Prabhupāda said. "He does his service without being asked. The second-class servant, you ask him and he does it. The third-class servant, you ask him and he does it begrudgingly or doesn't do it at all."

I pray to hear the shuffling of his feet, see his glances, hear his words and get the opportunity to serve him life after life. Śrīla Prabhupāda is Acarya.

Jai Śrīla Prabhupāda!