Chapter 33: "Hatchet" Obeisances, an Attitude

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 33
"Hatchet" Obeisances, an Attitude

Morning Massage, 1975

Every morning at approximately 11:00 a.m., Śrīla Prabhupāda began his morning massage for about one and a half hour. There were no hard and fast rules for the length of time he took his massage. Sometimes during his massage, Śrīla Prabhupāda's secretary read him his mail and took dictation for replies. His Sanskrit editor also came in with questions regarding Śrīla Prabhupāda's morning translation work.

While I massaged him one day, his Sanskrit editor came and went several times from Śrīla Prabhupāda's room. The first time he entered he carefully offered his obeisances. The next few times he entered he knelt quickly, momentarily touched his head to the floor and hastily sat up and asked questions. Again he left the room. The next time he entered the room, the same thing happened.

"What is this hatchet?" Śrīla Prabhupāda said, chastising him as he sat up. "You pay your obeisances. This hatchet is not good."

Śrīla Prabhupāda always cared for his disciples. He protected us from making careless offenses. This incident happened 22 years ago. I was never sure what Prabhupāda meant by the word "hatchet". I know that part of the meaning was the abrupt quick hacking motion one associates with that particular tool.

As I write, I see another meaning to the word. Our devotional creeper is very fragile. While rendering personal service to the spiritual master, we can easily damage our devotional creeper by carelessly swinging our hatchet- like egos. To be "Kṛṣṇa conscious" means we must be conscious of our activities at all times and never take short cuts respecting our Guru Mahārāja

All Glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda, the most expert gardener who lovingly tends to our devotional creeper! Jai Śrīla Prabhupāda!