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Chapter 42: Chants Rounds on My Beads

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 42
Chants Rounds on My Beads

April 4, 1972, Zurich, Switzerland

After leaving San Moritz we spent one day in an exclusive hotel overlooking the Rhine River in Zurich. Śrīla Prabhupāda had a room and his entourage stayed together in the room next door. They were not adjoining rooms, however. When it was time for his massage, I had to go into his room to change my clothes to avoid walking in the hallway in my gumpsa. One day when I finished giving him a massage, I inadvertently left my bead bag in his room.

They were not the japa beads Śrīla Prabhupāda had chanted on at my initiation two years earlier. Unfortunately, I lost them in New Vrindaban. I considered asking Śrīla Prabhupāda to chant on another set of beads for me but, I didn't want to admit how careless I had been. My bead bag was prasadam given to me by His Divine Grace. When I returned to Śrīla Prabhupāda's room, I noticed, to my delight, his hand in my bead bag. For the next half hour, I joyfully watched as he chanted on my beads. Again Śrīla Prabhupāda fulfilled my desire without me asking. I waited until he put my bead bag down and took my newly sanctified beads to our quarters. Elated, I bragged to the others how a miracle had just taken place.

From Zurich Airport, Śrīla Prabhupāda, a young brahmacārī named Jai Hari, and I boarded a luxury train headed for San Moritz. The other devotees attended to their investment business. The train ride through the Alps was magnificent. Following the contour of the snow-covered mountains, the train circled continuously in different directions. The awe-inspiring scenery had the full attention of Jai Hari and myself. Śrīla Prabhupāda quietly chanted as we pointed out the different scenic views to each other, completely oblivious to our Spiritual Guide sitting beside us.

"What do they call this place?" Śrīla Prabhupāda calmly asked breaking our meditation.

"San Moritz, Śrīla Prabhupāda, Saint Moritz!" I quickly said feeling delighted with the opportunity to answer such a simple question.

"They may call it Saint Moritz," Śrīla Prabhupāda responded. "I call it Saint Hellish. This place is hellish. Look out there. There is no life anywhere, simply branches of trees and snow. There is not a living thing for miles."

Śrīla Prabhupāda had effectively turned our illusion into an opportunity to instruct two of his fledgling disciples. Jai Hari and I spent the rest of the journey with our heads down, quietly chanting and hearing the transcendental sound vibration of the Mahā Mantra, just as Śrīla Prabhupāda desired. Being with Śrīla Prabhupāda was the most fortunate position. Just by following his example, we knew we were rightly situated.

If we asked him a question, the answer we received was the absolute truth. He regularly pacified thousands of disciples, answering their questions, alleviating their fears and engaging them in Kṛṣṇa's service. Śrīla Prabhupāda, please free me from my attachment to the mountains of maya so that I can hear your kind and gentle instructions.

Jai Śrīla Prabhupāda!