Chapter 63: Chanting in Temple While the Deities Take Rest

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 63
Chanting in Temple While the Deities Take Rest

September 1972, ISKCON Los Angeles

Śrīla Prabhupāda took great pleasure in hearing his disciples chant the Mahā- "Manta," but sometimes he wanted them to do it elsewhere. The former temple room in New Dwarka, which now houses the museum, was beneath Śrīla Prabhupāda's quarters. One afternoon, a male devotee was chanting japa very loudly in the temple room. Śrīla Prabhupāda was resting and so were Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarkadisa. Śrīla Prabhupāda didn't even ring his bell to call me. He opened the door of his room and shouted down the stairway, "Tell that devotee that the Deities are taking rest and that he should be quiet. Tell them to shut up."

Śrīla Prabhupāda was very humble. He could have said that he was resting and didn't want to be disturbed, but that was not the way he presented it.

June 1973, ISKCON Māyāpur Candrodaya Mandir

During our stay, Śrīla Prabhupāda and his entourage had rooms on half of the second floor of the guesthouse. The other rooms were available for devotee guests. There was a beautiful verandah that surrounded the entire facility. Sometimes Śrīla Prabhupāda walked on the verandah and chanted japa. Devotees often gathered at the other end of the verandah hoping to catch a glimpse of His Divine Grace.

One morning an elder godbrother of mine was walking back and forth chanting japa on the marble verandah. My instincts and previous experiences told me that he was chanting too loudly and that Śrīla Prabhupāda might be disturbed. Śrīla Prabhupāda relished his quiet ecstasy.

"Prabhu, perhaps you could chant a little softer," I said. "Śrīla Prabhupāda might not like it."

He looked at me like I was crazy. I think he had the idea that Śrīla Prabhupāda would be pleased by his devotion. He continued with his loud chanting.

Within a few minutes the bell rang. I already knew what was going to happen and admit I was in bliss. I hurried into Śrīla Prabhupāda's sitting room and offered my obeisances.

"Who is that chanting out there?" Śrīla Prabhupāda said in an angry mood. "If they want to chant loudly, tell them to go into the temple room and chant before the deities."

I happily exposed the culprit and rushed outside. This time I had a rather smug look on my face. After all I was armed with the 'Śrīla Prabhupāda Cakra weapon. I was indestructible. Needless to say after conveying Śrīla Prabhupāda's message he went on his way with a new attitude.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, you once told me, "The first class servant knows what his master wants and does it without being asked."

There were so many occasions when I knew from experience what you wanted, but due to my weakness of character was unable to carry it out. I always tried to be quiet. You also said, "For oneself the devotee is meek and humble, but for Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotee, he becomes like the lion."

Thank you for always showing these characteristics.