“Sarasvati, where is Krishna?”

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Giriraja Swami

Contributed by Mahavishnu Dasa

In December of 1971, I arranged a speaking program for Srila Prabhupada in Madras, India. Thousands of people came to hear him, and the leading newspaper carried a summary of his lecture every day. Then the Chief Justice of Madras invited him to speak before a large gathering of High Court judges, advocates, and other leading citizens. Srila Prabhupada appealed to the audience to follow the examples of Sri Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami, who in the sixteenth century had given up their exalted posts as prime minister and finance minister in the Bengal government to help Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spread the Krishna consciousness movement.

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the six Gosvamis, namely Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who kicked off all association of aristocracy as insignificant. In order to deliver the poor conditioned souls, they accepted the garments of mendicants, but they are always merged in the ecstatic ocean of intimate love for Krishna and bathe always and repeatedly in the waves of that ocean.” (Sad-gosvamy-astaka 4)

After the program the Chief Justice invited Srila Prabhupada and his disciples to dinner at his home, and he disclosed that he wanted to join our movement as soon as possible. Srila Prabhupada again began to glorify the six Gosvamis, but this time in a different way. He explained how after going to Vrindavana, the Gosvamis were always longing for Lord Krishna and His eternal consort Srimati Radharani. “They never said, ‘Now I have seen God! Now I am satisfied!’ No! Rather, they were saying, ‘Where is Radha? Where is Krishna?’ ”

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the six Gosvamis, who were chanting very loudly everywhere in Vrindavana and shouting, ‘Queen of Vrindavana, Radharani! O Lalita! O Krishna, son of Nanda Maharaja! Where are you all now? Are you just on the hill of Govardhana, or are you under the trees on the bank of the Yamuna? Where are you?’ These were their moods in executing Krishna consciousness.”

The Chief Justice respectfully presented Srila Prabhupada with a sandalwood garland and a small statue of Krishna. Then, to demonstrate the ecstasy the Gosvamis felt when they were bereft of Krishna, Srila Prabhupada did something truly wonderful. He held the statue of Krishna in front of Sarasvati, his personal secretary’s three-year-old daughter, and he said, “Who is this, Sarasvati?”

“Krishna!” Sarasvati exclaimed.

Srila Prabhupada held the statue in front of Sarasvati’s eyes and then slowly moved it around to the side, until he had hidden it behind his back.

Then Srila Prabhupada said, “Sarasvati, where is Krishna?”

When Sarasvati realized that Krishna was gone, a startled look of anxiety crossed her face. Her eyes darted in all directions – “Where is Krishna?”

But Krishna was nowhere to be found. She appealed to the faces of the devotees, glanced at their hands, and looked around behind their backs, searching everywhere. Unable to find Krishna, she became stunned.

Srila Prabhupada’s grave voice broke the silence. “Sarasvati, where is Krishna?”

Sarasvati began again to look anxiously all over the room, but still she could not find Him.

Then a devotee said, “Sarasvati, where is Krishna? Who has Krishna?” Sarasvati’s mind awakened with a realization. She opened her eyes wide, raised her eyebrows, and exclaimed,

“Prabhupada has Krishna!” She immediately turned to Srila Prabhupada and rushed to his lotus feet. “Prabhupada has Krishna!”

Srila Prabhupada carefully brought the statue of Krishna from behind his back and gradually moved it before the expectant eyes of Sarasvati.
“Prabhupada has Krishna!”

Suddenly, Srila Prabhupada removed the statue from Sarasvati’s vision and again said, “Sarasvati, where is Krishna?” Thus he repeated the same procedure. As we observed this touching exchange, we all gained the clear realization that Srila Prabhupada held Krishna within his hand and that he could deliver Krishna to us whenever he felt our desire for Krishna was sufficiently intense. We could also understand that Srila Prabhupada knew our inner feelings. He perfectly knew the heart of everyone. Although Sarasvati was only three years old, Srila Prabhupada could understand her heart. He knew just how to engage her in Krishna consciousness.

And finally, we could witness Srila Prabhupada as the supreme preacher, engaging everything and everybody in spreading Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada had wanted to demonstrate transcendental anxiety in separation from Krishna, and thus he had created a situation wherein a three-year-old-girl could instruct a Chief Justice. As a result of Srila Prabhupada’s grace, everyone - from little Sarasvati to the Chief Justice of Madras - became fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness and completely attached to the lotus feet of Krishna’s dearmost servant, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

All this brought to mind an old devotional song about the special glories of the Krishna conscious spiritual master.

krsna se tomara, - krsna dite para
tomara sakati ache

“Krishna is yours; you have the power to give Him to me.”

ami ta’ kangala - ’krsna krsna’ bali
dhai tava pache pache

“I am simply running behind you, shouting, ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ ”

Thank you for spreading the word!