Chapter 69: Machine Eats Tape; Chapati Dough to Test Toilet

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 69
Machine Eats Tape; Chapati Dough to Test Toilet

June 1975, ISKCON Honolulu

One morning Śrīla Prabhupāda did something that was most unusual. He called me into his room at about 1:30 a.m. Normally, Śrīla Prabhupāda went out of his way to see that I wasn't disturbed while taking rest. In some places, such as Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir, he would have to go through the servant's quarters to use the bathroom. I always awoke hearing the shuffling of his feet as he passed by my head. I instinctively offered my obeisances. Sometimes he became disturbed with me and said, "No, no take rest."

On the morning he called me at 1:30 a.m. I was half asleep when I entered his room and offered my obeisances. I lifted my head to the sight of Śrīla Prabhupāda with a beautiful, childlike smile. I was also faced with a pile of recording tape on his desk. He had been translating and somehow or other, the tape machine malfunctioned. I don't know what happened, but there was tape everywhere. He offered no explanation. With a transcendental smile he said, "Look what the machine has done. Can you fix it?"

For the next half hour I hand rolled the tape back onto the reel and loaded it into the Uher Dictaphone machine. Upon completion of this transcendentally tedious task he replied lovingly, "Okay, go take rest."

New Navadvipa was the site of a very peculiar pastime. When we first arrived, Śrīla Prabhupāda used the bathroom in his quarters, but the toilet did not flush. One devotee who had plumbing experience came and fixed it. He explained to Śrīla Prabhupāda that because the plumbing had not been used for some time that it hadn't flushed properly.

"So, now it is working?" Śrīla Prabhupāda asked.

"Oh, yes, Prabhupāda. It is working well," the brahmacārī said.

Śrīla Prabhupāda didn't seem convinced. "So, how do you know it is working?" he asked.

"I flushed it and the water went down," the brahmacārī said.

Śrīla Prabhupāda wasn't satisfied. "Go into the kitchen and get some chapati dough," Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed. "Make some balls and put them in the toilet and if they go down then we will know for sure that it is working."

The young brahmacārī complied with Śrīla Prabhupāda's instructions and we were all very happy to hear that everything worked as it should.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, being with you was never boring. You showed me that one should not be taken in by the words of another. You often said, "The proof of the pudding is in the tasting." I pray that some day I may perform some useful service to you.