Chapter 119: Śrīla Prabhupāda's Ecstasy in Atlanta

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 119
Śrīla Prabhupāda's Ecstasy in Atlanta

February 28, 1975, ISKCON Atlanta

Śrīla Prabhupāda's visit to the Atlanta temple lasted only a few days, but it was packed with transcendental nectar. Śrīla Prabhupāda flooded the devotee community with love of Godhead. When His Divine Grace arrived, he delivered the following short, sweet lecture to the devotee congregation in front of Their Lordships.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: So I am very glad to see you, and I am coming first of all to Mexico City?

Devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So Mexico City, then Caracas, then . . .

Devotee: Miami.

Prabhupāda: Miami. So I see your temple is the best.

Devotees: Jaya! Hari bol!

Prabhupāda: So, Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very kind. Parama karuna pahu dui jana. Two Lords, Nitai-Gauracandra. Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They are very kind, you see? They have appeared just to reclaim the fallen souls of this age. So They are more kind than Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, He is also very kind. He comes to deliver. But, Kṛṣṇa demands that first of all surrender. Caitanya Mahāprabhu even does not demand surrender. He is so kind. (Voice choking) So, take shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu and be happy. Thank you very much. (Weeping).

Seeing Their Lordships, Śrīla Prabhupāda melted in ecstasy. Inundated by the flood of love of Godhead, nectarine tears of bliss showered from Śrīla Prabhupāda's eyes. Śrīla Prabhupāda was overjoyed to see the Deities being taken care of so nicely. What good fortune! How incredibly moving it was to witness Śrīla Prabhupāda's transcendental encounters with Their Lordships! It is not possible to adequately describe His Divine Grace as he gave us a hint of his divine ecstasy. Śrīla Prabhupāda saw the Lord before him. I, on the other hand, saw beautiful deities made of metal. I did not understand the real nature of Arca Vigraha. I could only imagine what Śrīla Prabhupāda was experiencing.

Śrīla Prabhupāda rarely revealed his ecstatic symptoms. On a previous occasion in Māyāpur, he apologized after he went into an ecstatic trance. This was the only time I was fortunate enough to witness Śrīla Prabhupāda's tears of ecstasy. Stunned and astonished, everyone remained motionless, mesmerized by Śrīla Prabhupāda's transcendental mellows. We stood in rapt attention as our spiritual master left external consciousness while each moment seemed like twelve years or more. Mysterious time stretched out around us like the great unknown. Astounded, we ecstatically stood and awaited Śrīla Prabhupāda's return. As His Divine Grace rejoined us, he nodded for kirtan to begin.

What amazed me was Śrīla Prabhupāda's ability to refrain from such ecstatic symptoms on a regular basis. He expertly controlled himself in order to instruct us and to push on Lord Caitanya's movement. We were not capable of fully understanding Śrīla Prabhupāda's ecstasy, so he compassionately trained us, beginning with the neophyte level. Devotional service is so full of transcendental bhava that foolish rascals easily consider such emotion to be like ordinary, mundane feelings, because that is all they know. Śrīla Prabhupāda carefully lived an exemplary life by teaching us what we were ready to learn.

Also, while in Atlanta, he played mrdunga on the vyasasana during a kirtan. This was the only time I was able to witness such a wonderful event. Everyone was treated to very rare and ecstatic glimpses of their divine spiritual master.

My dear Śrīla Prabhupāda, I realize that if I meditate on any day of your life, I can become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Every minute in your presence was filled with waves of nectar that continually poured from your transcendental form. I am still unable to appreciate the love of God emanating from you, because my consciousness is filled with the desire to enjoy. Śrīla Prabhupāda, please give me the eyes needed to see you.