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Chapter 40: I Want to Run Up the Stairs

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 40
I Want to Run Up the Stairs

June 1972, ISKCON Los Angeles

One morning after Śrīla Prabhupāda's walk, a group of five or six devotees stood in the downstairs hallway and watched as he walked upstairs using his cane.

"Jai, Śrīla Prabhupāda!" we gratefully chanted.

He turned toward us with an endearing and beautiful smile.

"I was just thinking," he said. "When I was young, I would run up the stairs. Now that same desire is there. I still want to run up the stairs, but due to this body, now I can't run. I still want to do all these things, like when I was young. I want to be active, but the body is very limiting."

He continued walking up the stairs as we paid our heartfelt obeisances.

Śrīla Prabhupāda had voluntarily accepted so many inconveniences to save us from this foolishly gross bodily conception of life. I witnessed the majesty of Prabhupāda's lila while personally serving him, but there were many painful periods as well.

My heart ached as I witnessed the suffering His Divine Grace endured due to willingly accepting the sinful reactions of fallen souls such as me. The fact that Śrīla Prabhupāda experienced these discomforts will never diminish his greatness, but magnify it. This is the unlimited mercy of the pure devotee. Who can be this magnanimous? He is our ever well-wisher having taken the unbearable responsibility to save us from our fallen condition.

In my writings, I have attempted to describe some of these bittersweet pastimes of Śrīla Prabhupāda in the hopes of increasing our appreciation of his greatness. I beg forgiveness to all I might offend having shared my imperfect perceptions. If I wait until I become perfect before attempting to glorify our beloved guru, I am afraid all memory may be lost. I recognize my inability to properly glorify Śrīla Prabhupāda. I realize that His Divine Grace, being nitya-siddha, wasn't susceptible to any material disease. Still he granted us his merciful association and walked among us in this land of misery. He came to deliver us by voluntarily coming to this place of misery. This was his causeless mercy.

Jai Śrīla Prabhupāda!