New version available here: vedabase.io

Chapter 80: Dvivida Gorilla; Bhagavat like a Sweet Ball

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 80
Dvivida Gorilla; Bhagavat like a Sweet Ball

May 1972, ISKCON Los Angeles

I went to New Dwaraka for about one week with Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja to receive Brahmana initiation. Each evening at dusk, Śrīla Prabhupāda went to his garden to hear Kṛṣṇa Book. A few fortunate disciples were able to join him. By Kṛṣṇa's grace, I was asked to read. I spent each day in anticipation of this blissful activity. Seated on his asana under the arch of a vine-covered trellis, Śrīla Prabhupāda usually kept his hand in his bead bag. Sometimes we heard him softly chant the mahā-mantra. He carefully listened to Kṛṣṇa Book and sometimes smiled as he heard the delightful activities of Kṛṣṇa and His brother Balarāma.

One evening as I read the story "Deliverance of Dvivida Gorilla," Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled broadly while hearing the mischievous nature of Dvivida. He chuckled when I read the passage, "Often he would go to the hermitages of great saintly persons and sages and cause a great disturbance by smashing their beautiful gardens and orchards."

I sensed the story was going to get better, and it did.

"Not only did he create disturbances in that way," I continued, "But, sometimes he would pass urine and stool on their sacred sacrificial arena."

Śrīla Prabhupāda laughed so hard I stopped reading for a moment. Seeing his reaction we all experienced incredible bliss. He ecstatically slapped his leg. He liked hearing about Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma killing the demons.

The next evening when we entered the garden I immediately sat down on the lawn and began to look for a story involving a demon. I was going through the pages for a few seconds when Śrīla Prabhupāda stopped me saying, "Go on. Read from anywhere. Kṛṣṇa is like a sweet ball. Wherever you bite, it tastes good."

I joyfully went to the beginning of the next story and started reading.

Staying close to Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja, I was able to go on morning walks with Śrīla Prabhupāda as well. Each day we waited in the hallway for Śrīla Prabhupāda to come downstairs. Because I had been reading Kṛṣṇa Book in the evenings, Śrīla Prabhupāda kindly noticed me one morning as he walked down the stairs. He looked straight into my eyes.

"Oh!" he said. "Look at this nice young brahmacārī. What is your name?"

Struck with awe, I couldn't answer. He continued walking down the stairs.

"His name is Śrutakīrti, Prabhupāda," Kīrtanānanda said.

"Oh! Suta Goswami," Śrīla Prabhupāda said smiling.

Śrīla Prabhupāda walked out the door. I finally had a reason to live because my beloved Gurudeva recognized me as the reciter of Kṛṣṇa's lila, like Suta Goswami. Overwhelmed with the graceful glance of His Divine Grace, I understood that he appreciated my Kṛṣṇa book reading.

My dear Śrīla Prabhupāda, after becoming your personal servant, I was able to see how appreciative you were of the service rendered by each of your disciples. You were pleased to see the seeds of devotion you planted taking root and becoming strong. You relished seeing your students advance in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Many times you said,

"I have turned hippies into happies."

As I remember your beautiful lotus feet, I feel very happy. Serving them is my only shelter. Thank you for giving me this eternal opportunity.