Chapter 54: Prabhupāda Observes Us Eating

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 54
Prabhupāda Observes Us Eating

Summer 1973, ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor,

Indian culture was apparent while visiting Indians all over the world. While traveling, Śrīla Prabhupāda and his disciples were often invited to a life member's house for a feast. His disciples were always eager to attend such a gathering as they would get Śrīla Prabhupāda's association as well as opulent prasadam. I don't remember Śrīla Prabhupāda ever refusing an invitation. Sometimes he gave a short lecture before prasadam was served. One such gathering took place when Śrīla Prabhupāda was staying at the manor. Several dozen devotees went to an Indian gentleman's house. The prasadam was very opulent.

Śrīla Prabhupāda described prasadam in different ways.

"The devotees should get sumptuous prasadam," he said. "Simple, but sumptuous. Sumptuous means very tasty. If the prasadam is tasty, you can go on eating even if you are not hungry and if it is not tasty then you'll immediately lose your appetite. Prasadam must be very nice for the devotees then everything else will be all right. Opulent prasadam means ghee and sugar."

At the feast there was halavah, sweet rice, puris and many other preparations. I watched Śrīla Prabhupāda eat. It was always special. Normally, he took prasadam alone in his room. I cannot do him justice by trying to describe the heavenly way he moved his fingers, hands and mouth as he ate prasadam, but even I could see that he was honoring Kṛṣṇa prasadam. We all ate to our full satisfaction.

When we returned to the manor, Śrīla Prabhupāda rang his bell. I trotted to his room and offered my obeisances.

"So everyone has enjoyed prasadam?" he asked smiling. "Everyone has enjoyed the feast?"

"Well, actually, Śrīla Prabhupāda, some of the devotees, they are not feeling well," I said. "They are saying that everything was fried in oil instead of ghee."

"Well, what do you expect?" he replied. "I was watching them and I saw. Pradyumna, he ate so many puris and another devotee he ate so much of the vegetable."

I was amazed. I noticed Śrīla Prabhupāda eating, but I had no idea he had observed so much. He simultaneously did so many things without ever appearing to do anything at all. However, I had an observation of my own to offer.

"Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda," I agreed, "but, I also don't feel well and I didn't eat very much."

"Yes. I know this," he said. "You didn't eat so much, but I do remember you ate four puris."

"Yes, Prabhupāda, I guess I did," I answered in disbelief.

I offered my obeisances and left the room still trying to figure out how he knew all of this. He knew more about what I ate then I did. It was remarkable to me how he was so aware of everything that was going on around him at a simple function.

Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda, for paying such close attention to this useless person. I pray that I never forget all the time you spent patiently instructing me in countless situations. You performed such monumental service, but I am more impressed by all the wonderful little things you did for me and continue to do for me every day. Please, let me remember your kindness birth after birth. Separation from you is so bittersweet. It is a taste for which I can't get enough.