Chapter 121: Śrīla Prabhupāda Gives Me His Blanket and Sweater

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 121
Śrīla Prabhupāda Gives Me His Blanket and Sweater

December 1974, ISKCON Los Angeles

One cold evening in New Dwaraka, I had the two-burner gas stove on in the servant's quarters to warm the room so I could sleep that night. It was helpful because I slept on a straw mat and used my chaddar as a blanket. I tried to keep my paraphernalia to a minimum because it was easier to travel around the world with Śrīla Prabhupāda with only a few belongings. Sometimes, I used one suitcase for His Divine Grace and a small one for myself. Most of the time, though, I managed to keep both of our belongings in one large suitcase.

Śrīla Prabhupāda observed my stove on during the night, so early the next morning he called me into his room. I offered my obeisances and looked up at my merciful guru.

"Why are you keeping the stove on at night?" he asked.

I explained that the warmth of the fire helped me get to sleep since it was so cold.

"Don't you have a blanket?" he asked.

"No, Śrīla Prabhupāda," I said. "I usually don't need one."

"All right," he said. "Go into my cabinet and pick out any blanket and sweater you like."

I enthusiastically hurried over to the metal closet in his bedroom. After looking at the four blankets folded neatly on the shelf I took the thickest, most colorful quilt I could find. Then I helped myself to one of his saffron sweaters. I returned to Śrīla Prabhupāda in his sitting room to show him my choices. He smiled with approval and nodded his head.

"All right, now you can go," he instructed.

I offered my obeisances and left the room considering myself to be the most fortunate soul in the world.

I used the blanket every night, feeling enveloped in Śrīla Prabhupāda's love. It kept me spiritually warm. One day I was talking with one of my friends, Brahmarupa Dāsa. He asked if I wanted to take rest in the temple room that night with some of the other devotee men. I agreed. Always being alone, it sounded adventuresome. When I went into the temple room, I brought my beautiful bright orange quilt with me. It had a shiny silk finish on one side and a more cuddly soft finish on the other. When I walked into the temple room, Brahmarupa's eyes opened wide.

"Where did you get that?" he asked.

"Śrīla Prabhupāda gave it to me," I said. "Do you want it?" I asked, feeling guilty about owning something so priceless.

"Yes," he eagerly replied.

So, I gave it to him.

A week later while I was resting in the servant quarters, Śrīla Prabhupāda noticed I didn't have my blanket over me.

"Where is the blanket I gave you?" he inquired.

Feeling ashamed, I quietly answered, "One of the devotees saw it and when I told him it was yours he became so excited I just had to give it to him."

"All right. Get yourself another blanket," he calmly said. "And this time, do not give it away," he added, with a little more emotion.

Again, I happily complied with his generous instruction and helped myself to another prasadam blanket.

On a few occasions, when we were in a city that was cold, Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me sweaters. However, I never managed to keep any of them. Inevitably, a devotee would find out it was one of Śrīla Prabhupāda's remnants and I would feel somewhat selfish and give it away. My godbrothers very much appreciated Śrīla Prabhupāda's prasadam. While traveling with Śrīla Prabhupāda, I kept very little for myself. I didn't think it was practical to have so many belongings. I was the one that wasn't practical, but I didn't realize it at the time.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, in all of your actions you exhibited complete faith in the Supreme Lord.Very often you told us that if we were fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, all our necessities would be provided. I experienced this truth countless times while performing personal service to you. There was no need to make any separate endeavor. Your simplicity was exemplary. "As great men do, common men will follow." Life is a struggle when I forget to serve your lotus feet. I pray for your causeless mercy, so I may serve you eternally without regard for my personal comfort.