Chapter 46: Supersoul and the Stewardess traveling from Mexico
Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 46
Supersoul and the Stewardess traveling from Mexico
Śrīla Prabhupāda influenced everyone he was with. Traveling with him was an enlightening experience. While visiting various temples, it was ecstatic to see how he lifted everyone's spirits to the transcendental realm.
Being with him in planes and airports, however, offered a different opportunity. I was able to see how he changed the lives of those who knew nothing about him. It must have been his effulgence. It could be seen, even by a quadruped such as myself.
Once a stewardess passed by him and said, "This man looks very wonderful." Others would ask what they could do for him.
One incident on Venezuela Airlines stands alone because of its uniqueness. Śrīla Prabhupāda, Paramahāmsa Swami, Nitai Dāsa and I were traveling from Mexico City to Caracas. I hadn't prepared any prasadam for the flight, but just before we boarded the plane a Vaiṣṇava Indian lady handed me a bag filled with puffed rice that she had made for the trip.
"All right, let's take prasadam," Śrīla Prabhupāda said shortly after takeoff.
"Do you want what is being served on the plane?" I asked.
"No, no!" he immediately said. "We have our prasadam. That's all right."
I didn't ask for a plate. I simply put the tray-table down, unwrapped the aluminum foil and placed the puffed rice before my spiritual master. He immediately started to eat. Although it was a small portion, he only ate about half. Without even looking at me he said, "All right, now you can take."
This was the nectar for which we were always anxious. Śrīla Prabhupāda always took great care of his entourage. This quality was one of many I greatly appreciated.
On this flight, as always, Śrīla Prabhupāda sat by the window. I always sat in the middle next to Śrīla Prabhupāda, unless I succumbed to the wishes of a GBC member. Paramahāmsa sat in the aisle seat. I took the puffed rice from His Divine Grace and split the foil down the middle, keeping half for myself and giving the rest to Paramahāmsa Swami. We were happily eating Śrīla Prabhupāda's remnants when a young stewardess who was walking down the aisle looked at us and spontaneously reached past Paramahāmsa and placed her hand in my mahā-prasadam. Grabbing a fistful, she tossed it into her mouth.
"Oh, this is very good," she exclaimed. "What is it?"
"It's puffed rice," I said trying to keep my composure. "It's made from rice."
Śrīla Prabhupāda looked at her with a broad smile.
"Ah, this is very good," she again stated.
"I'm glad you like it," I said still a little shocked about what she had done.
"Are you having anything else to eat?" she inquired.
"Well, we're vegetarian," I explained. "Unless there is some fruit, we can't have anything."
"I will go up to the first-class section and get you a basket of fruit," she eagerly responded.
In a moment she returned with fruit and knives and again asked if there was anything she could get us. Turning to Śrīla Prabhupāda I asked, "Prabhupāda, would you like some milk?"
"Yes, hot milk," he said.
"Okay," I told her. "He will have some hot milk and we will have some as well." She quickly went to first class and came back with the hot milk.
Śrīla Prabhupāda lectured many times about Supersoul residing in the heart of the living entity. However, I had never experienced His presence before that day. I became convinced that only Supersoul within the heart of the stewardess could have inspired her to act in such an unprofessional manner.
Sometimes devotees would offer me money to get a taste of Śrīla Prabhupāda's remnants. (I never took it.) They begged for the opportunity to render personal service. Here was this flight attendant boldly going where no one had ever gone before by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotee.
All Glories to you, Śrīla Prabhupāda, for distributing your mercy
to all living entities who came in contact with you.