Rama Sraddha: We used to go for morning walks at the Hyderabad farm. We got the first farm donated by the Badruka family. Hyderabad was like a hidden gold mine for Prabhupada. We got the first temple land donated and then we got a farm, which was six hundred acres of land, one of the biggest farms in the movement including New Vrindavan. Prabhupada was very happy that we got the land so we had to do something special there. There was no temple program to speak of except for a little mangala-arati, and then Prabhupada would go on his walk.

Because Prabhupada was there, we did some bullock cart traveling to nearby villages and a lot of people would come especially for the prasadam distribution. One night the prasadam was distributed and somehow no one thought of cleaning a certain spot where Prabhupada's vyasasana was located. When Prabhupada came from the morning walk, he first saw one Indian mataji who was brooming outside the house after the sun rose. This was not a good sign because when the sun rises, you should not stand before the Lord with a broom. After all, the Supreme Lord is in the form of the sun, which is giving us light.

In other words, you don't greet Him with a broom in hand. There are subtle reasons for all these things. Prabhupada said, “Indians are forgetting everything.” That particular day Prabhupada was like a fireball. There were mistakes everywhere and he was chastising everyone of us.

He went to his vyasasana and he could see that the area was muci. It was not cleaned. He said, “Yesterday it was so clean and today it is so muci I cannot even walk.” Somehow or other Prabhupada sat on the vyasasana and then of course one devotee, one of our god-brothers, Patita Udharana, wanted to do something about the situation.

He took a pen-knife to scrape off the leftover prasadam. Prabhupada looked at him and said, “What are you doing?”“I'm cleaning, Prabhupada.” “What are you cleaning with?”“A little penknife.” Prabhupada responded, “Take this knife and cut your throat.” [laughs] I thought, “Oh, my goodness. Prabhupada is on fire today.” Then there was another devotee named Govinda das whom Prabhupada asked in Bengali, “Why don't you do something about it?” Govinda das said, “Even if we say something, nobody here listens.”

Then Prabhupada looked at me and said, “Beware of the association of these mlecchas and yavanas. They'll spoil everything. You know what is going on here. Why don't you do something about it?” I thought, “What can I say to Prabhupada?” I just put my head down. It was a very awkward situation. He told me, “You should teach by your example, but beware of your association with these mlecchas and yavanas.” At the time there were many GBCs and senior men like Hansadutta and Harikesh and others.

This was a very strong instruction he gave me to be always alert. In other words, he was telling me not to take anything for granted even though I was in the Hare Krishna movement. Sometimes we assume we are all devotees, not really knowing what is the depth of the meaning of a devotee. A lot of work is still left but one should not become familiar with this Krishna conscious culture. Because if you make an aparadha, there is a reaction.

There are four types of aparadha:

  • vaisnava-aparadha
  • nama-aparadha
  • dhama-aparadha
  • seva-aparadha

You can commit an aparadha at any level and when the aparadha happens you will be taken away from aradhana —from service to Krishna. Some blocks will come. Suddenly you will lose interest in chanting and lose enthusiasm to do service. These are some things that are very important to learn.

Prabhupada told us, “Don't take things for granted. Think.” In other words, I realized that just because somebody says something, it doesn't mean you have to accept it blindly. There is time to think about all these things. At the same time, Prabhupada said we should work together. Cooperate together. And in the last days he made the statement, “Your love for me is shown by how you cooperate.” This is a challenging thing for us.

We have to also raise our adikar from kanistha level to madhyama level. We can reconcile all contradictory situations and statements of Prabhupada and resolve it in a way so that our determination to serve Krishna becomes very strong.

And that is what Prabhupada himself did in his own life. After all, the Gaudiya Matha suddenly collapsed and there were some god-brothers whom he loved, but they could not work together any more. But Prabhupada was very determined. He was very fixed.

His guru's order was there and he had very firm faith that even though his god-brothers did not help him, Prabhupada never took them as a reason for giving up his own service. Prabhupada had no lamentation and no hankering. No lamentation means, “Whatever happens it is your desire Lord, but let me do some service for you.” This heavy chastisement Prabhupada gave me was a very significant lesson.