Chapter 60: Māyāpur's Hot Puris; Do not Heat Deity Mahā
Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 60
Māyāpur's Hot Puris; Do not Heat Deity Mahā
While staying in the small facility at the front of the property, Śrīla Prabhupāda sometimes walked outside and observed his disciples taking prasadam behind his quarters. In the existing conditions, Śrīla Prabhupāda considered his disciples like pioneers, undergoing great austerities to help him in his mission. In most places in India the conditions were fair, at best. Śrīla Prabhupāda was anxious to have guest facilities built so his disciples would have adequate living arrangements.
Having no permanent cooking facility, the devotees used a small kerosene stove to cook puris. They cooked outside, near the area where they took prasadam. Cooking was going on as the devotees were eating, so they were continually being brought hot puris. During that time of the year date trees were tapped for their sap and it was cooked down into an incredibly tasty gaur.
One day Śrīla Prabhupāda left his room to use the meager bathroom facility. He walked outside and, of course, everyone offered their obeisances.
"Go on. Take prasadam," he told them.
The exchange between Śrīla Prabhupāda and his disciples was so sweet. He always enjoyed seeing his disciples eat prasadam. He saw the combination of hot puris and date gaur and said, "Oh, very good combination."
Later in his room he said to me, "This is not a very good practice . . . the devotees having puris made on the spot, hot like that. This is not our system. You just take prasadam. Are we so high, lofty? These devotees have to be getting hot puris, one after another. This is not good. This must be stopped."
That day I transferred the message to one of the temple administrators so that Śrīla Prabhupāda's wishes could be carried out.
After our arrival in the morning Śrīla Prabhupāda informed me he wanted
the Deity's mahā-prasadam for lunch. I was happy with this instruction since no one had arrived yet who could prepare his lunch. When the mahā arrived from the temple, I started to heat it up. While in the kitchen, a devotee came in and told me that Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted his prasadam then.
"I am heating it up," I told him. "I will bring it in right away."
In an instant they returned and said," Śrīla Prabhupāda is angry, he wants it now."Trembling, I went into his room and offered my obeisances. He was yelling before I lifted my head.
"Why are you heating up the prasadam?" he asked. "Mahā-prasadam is not to be heated up. I want it now. I didn't want it heated up. I just wanted the prasadam. You bring it now."
Being with Śrīla Prabhupāda was never boring. Many devotees have commented that it must have been very difficult to be Śrīla Prabhupāda's personal servant. It was indeed. But, it was more difficult for Śrīla Prabhupāda to have had me as his personal servant. I still have no idea how much nonsense he tolerated because of my bad habits. He had so much patience. There were so many things to learn from him. He often said, "Kṛṣṇa consciousness is common sense."
Śrīla Prabhupāda, please benedict me with common sense so I can begin to serve you according to your desires.