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"The servant of a king is better than the king"

Contributed by Mahavishnu Dasa

Pusta Krishna Maharaja led the devotees in an especially buoyant kirtana and Srila Prabhupada returned back to his rooms. He invited many of the senior men to join him, and as they sat eager and respectful around his low marble desk, Palika brought in some large pieces of the cake. Making sure that everyone had some, Srila Prabhupada happily consumed a good-sized portion himself and declared with a smile, "Hmm. Very nice, ananda-mayo 'bhyasat. This is the movement of ananda, pleasure only. Krishna is ananda-maya, and if you remain with Krishna you'll become ananda-maya. A rich man, he's enjoying, and if you remain in association with the rich man, you also enjoy. Where is the difficulty? A very rich man, and his associates, they are also rich men. Is it not? And if you remain with poor man, you are also poor."

Rupanuga said, "You've explained that the servant in the house of the king, he is almost as good as the king."

Prabhupada grinned. "No, he is better than king. King, he eats whatever is offered to him, but they can eat whatever they like. Is it not? Who is restricting them?"

I had a question about the ceremony in the temple. Srila Prabhupada's slight hesitancy before slicing into the cake brought it to mind. "Is that cutting the cake, did they used to do that in Vedic times, or is that a Western invention? We were just wondering about it."

Srila Prabhupada thought for a second and replied. "Prasadam distribution. Either you cut or take with hand, the same thing. It doesn't make any difference."

As we feasted on the delicious cake, Prabhupada educated us on another practical aspect of Vedic culture. He inquired who had made the cake and was told it was Lalita-sakhi dasi. He was pleased and said that was the Vedic system, that the women become very expert in cooking and household affairs. He said their duty was to learn how to please the husband and look after the children. Even if husband and wife did not always agree, there was no question of divorce. "You must accept whatever God has given you as husband or wife, you must. They had no thinking even, idea of divorce. One may not agree with the husband. That is natural. Sometimes we do not agree. But there is no question of divorce."


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