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Chapter 58: Ants & the Sweets; Coconut Kachorī & Pain

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 58
Ants & the Sweets; Coconut Kachorī & Pain

January 25-31, ISKCON Calcutta

Calcutta was definitely Śrīla Prabhupāda's hometown. The temple, which had a relaxed atmosphere, was situated on the second floor with a modest-sized temple room. Śrīla Prabhupāda's room was at the end of the building. The nicest part of the facility was a marble verandah that ran the width of the building. It overlooked a pond that was across the street.

While in Calcutta, we could not stop the flow of guests entering Śrīla Prabhupāda's room. It was different from other temples where there was much more control. When Śrīla Prabhupāda rested in the afternoon I would lie down in front of the doors of his room so no one could enter. It was one of my favorite services, getting the chance to be his guard dog. Śrīla Prabhupāda knew it was the hometown crowd so he was especially gracious. There were always a few boxes of milk sweets in his room that had been purchased at the local sweets shop. Sandesh of many varieties were the best tasting in the world. Śrīla Prabhupāda always emphasized, "All guests should be given prasadam"

One day I noticed that a box of sweets was covered with ants. I thought if I showed them to Śrīla Prabhupāda he would tell me to discard them. Then I could dust off the ants and keep them for myself. I lustfully walked into his room and offered my obeisances. I told him of the dilemma. He smiled at me, no doubt reading my mind.

"That's all right," he told me. "They don't eat very much. Go get a thali (a plate with a one" rim around it) and put water in it. Then you can put a pot in that upside down and put the sweets on the pot. That will make a moat so the ants can't get at the sweets."

One of Śrīla Prabhupāda's transcendental characteristics was he never, ever wasted anything. This quality manifested itself in many pastimes.

One afternoon while lying outside his room I heard him moaning. I didn't know what to do. A few times I looked in and saw him tossing and turning on his bed. He didn't call for me, but I couldn't take it any more. Finally, I rushed into his room.

"Śrīla Prabhupāda, what's wrong?" I asked.

"My stomach, very painful," he said. "It must have been something I ate. It's very, very painful."

He didn't ask for any assistance. I remained in the room and gently rubbed his stomach.

Later he said, "It must have been that coconut kachorī my sister made me for lunch. It was not cooked. The coconut was very difficult to digest. It is causing me very much pain."

Throughout the evening different devotees took turns rubbing his body. The pain continued all night. With each breath he took he would let out a sigh. In the morning the kaviraja came. He confirmed what Śrīla Prabhupāda had said. I entered Śrīla Prabhupāda's room at 4:00 a.m.

"This kachorī has created havoc," he told me. "All night I have not been able to rest. It has created havoc in my life."

Śrīla Prabhupāda, please forgive me. Because of voluntarily accepting the reactions to my sinful activities, you had to endure suffering. I watched as you were quiet and never complained. I am forever indebted for what you have done for me.