Badarayana: I was so captivated by the mood at that time of serving Prabhupada and his mission. Prabhupada was the consummate preacher in the mood of saving the planet and helping the conditioned souls whose future was very dark. Reading Prabhupada's books, being in the association of the devotees, going on sankirtan, experiencing the absolute nectar of being in kirtan, chanting the holy name was just deeply transforming for all of us. We were living in a whole other world. It was the spiritual world but it was fueled by Prabhupada's immense compassion for us to become pure and give that to others. His entire mood was, “Help them. Help me to help them.”
In one sense although I was fortunate to have Prabhupada’s direct association, it really didn’t matter. Many other devotees that I know, who were initiated by Prabhupada, feel the same way. I didn't need that direct connection all the time because that association of Prabhupada was and is available through his books. So that association is there for anyone. What I find so immensely important, having been around for some time, is of course reading Prabhupada's books. I find that I have to read Prabhupada's books every day, even if it is only for five minutes or hear a lecture. At the same time I also find that one of the most, I think the most valuable book or series of books that I have ever read for my devotional life, is this Memories Series. The reason is it gives you very profound glimpses into Prabhupada's mood. You can see Prabhupada acting Krishna consciousness in real-time. How did the pure devotee apply the high philosophy in every type of practical situation imaginable from devotees arguing to conflicting philosophical viewpoints, to dealing with somebody that left his movement, to dealing with somebody that was feeling insecure, to dealing with sexual issues or to philosophical deviation? By reading the anecdotes in the Memories Series you really get a glimpse into how to apply Krishna consciousness in a way that's meaningful.
I was with Shyamasundar recently and he said, “You know it blew my mind all the time that Prabhupada, sometimes in one day would tell one devotee one thing and six hours later he would say the exact opposite to another devotee. But it was perfect, perfect!” So how do we apply this principle of time and circumstance? Prabhupada was a master of time and circumstance. But we don't really know how that works unless we hear how Prabhupada applied it. And that is what I found so illuminating about these books. I couldn't be in all these places where these devotees were with Prabhupada. I never had that type of association with Srila Prabhupada. But you can get all that association in these little anecdotes. They reveal the things that stuck out in the early disciples’ minds of how Prabhupada acted here or acted there, exposed this person, captured this person's heart, brought this person back. And it was always brilliant, perfect with perfect philosophy, perfect compassion. Sometimes soft like a rose, sometimes stern and hard like a thunderbolt but always the proper medicine. So that’s why I feel these oral histories have been an invaluable contribution for future generations.