By: Kulasekhara das
Contributed by Mahavishnu Dasa
Swami Prabhupada’s England Visit
On September 11, 1969 Prabhupada arrived in London. After a short press conference, he was driven to the Beatle John Lennon’s Tittenhurst Manor. John Lennon had personally sent his white Rolls-Royce and chauffeur to drive Prabhupada from the airport. After arriving at the Manor, Prabhupada’s first visitors were the Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He took off the garland he was wearing and gave it to George Harrison. George smiled welcoming him to England.
Prabhupada smilingly spoke, “You are anxious to bring some peace to the world. Every saintly person should be anxious to bring peace to the world.” When John and Yoko left Prabhupada’s room a short time later, they were overheard noting Prabhupada’s simplicity. They said to each other, “Look how simply he’s living, could you live like that?” In fact John and Yoko chanted Hare Krishna for a while.
In June 1969 a reporter from the Montreal Star asked them, “Where do you get your strength?” John Lennon replied, “From Hare Krishna” and Yoko joined and said, “That’s where we get it from, you know. We’re not denying it.”
An Adventurous Morning Walk
I remember once at John Lennon’s estate, Prabhupada went out on his morning walk and there were only 3 people with him including me, my fiance Visakha, and another devotee. Normally devotees were over-protective of Prabhupada which he knew and so he enjoyed finding himself with just the 3 of us. We came to a field where the golden grass had grown up to about six feet tall. There were two tire tracks through this grass and it created a small passage-way through the field. Prabhupada stopped at the entrance and turned to me. He shook his head a little and asked pointing his cane to the field entrance, “Can we go through here?” I thought for a minute, and decided that if there was going to be a tractor coming through that field from the opposite direction, we would hear it ages before it could reach us, as it was early morning and there was nothing stirring. I said “Yes, Prabhupada!” And he beamed: AN ADVENTURE!!
In answer to my question Prabhupada replied, “That song was about Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtan party. They would go out for kirtan at this time. This is the time when Lord Chaitanya would go out for Sankirtan. When the Sun has risen, yet is not yet in the sky. And He would dance.” And then he hooked his cane over his forearm and raised both hands in the air, and started dancing. Standing on one spot and swaying back and forwards, putting one foot across the other with his arms up in the air in ecstasy, and Prabhupada again said “And He would dance like this.” He beamed at me as he danced there on that small hill in the middle of the field. The light reflected off the golden grass made his skin look effulgent and golden. This has always been one of my most treasured moments shared with my Guru Maharaja, and I miss him so much.
The Uncanny Approval
In 1967 Prabhupada had experienced a severe heart attack and all wondered whether he would live long enough to finish his translation of the 10th Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. He had translated the second canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, but knew that many years of work remained. He decided to immediately write the book entitled “Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead”. He then asked Shyamasundara to request George Harrison to publish it.
Shyamasundara was concerned and did not want to disturb his friendly relationship with the Beatle by asking him for money. Prabhupada had instructed him not to ask much of George or from any other wealthy or famous personality. However Shyamasundara knew that he had to follow his Gurudeva’s order. Thus he sat with George one evening and skirted the issue. A thunder-storm raged outside, and just as he brought up the courage to discreetly ask the question, lightning flashed. George’s face grew livid with a sense of hurt.
Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder and all the lights went out. The two sat in complete darkness without saying anything for a minute or two. The lights came on. George looked at him stunned and said: “I suppose that means Yes! Who can argue with Krishna?”
Letter of Thanks
Prabhupada later wrote George Harrison thanking him for his sponsorship of the printing costs of “Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead”.
“My Dear George, Please accept my blessings. I am so much obliged to you for your valued cooperation in spreading my movement of Krishna Consciousness throughout the whole world. I beg to acknowledge receipt herewith of your contribution of nineteen thousand dollars for publication of my book, Krishna, now going to the press within the week. Please note that every farthing of this money will be employed in the service of the Lord, and the Lord is so kind and grateful that He will bestow upon you benediction at least ten times more than that you have done for Him…I know that both you and John are very good souls. Both of you are pledged to do something for the peace of the world. By the grace of Krishna, you have already realized to some extent about the necessity and importance of Hare Krishna movement in the world. Similarly, if John also does so, it will be a great event. John and his wife were very kind upon me when I was staying at Tittenhurst Park as their guests. I always prayed for them to Krishna for understanding this great movement.
Please inform him this message on my behalf. I have dreamt something very nice about John which I shall disclose in proper time. In the meantime, please ask him to cooperate with this movement as you are doing, and he will be very happy.”
About the Author
Colin Jury was born in Barking, Essex, England. He was the youngest person accepted at the British School of Film Technique in 1964; however he was too young to start and worked in film as an apprentice and projectionist. In 1969, he took spiritual initiation from His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Colin was named “Kulasekhara das”. Named after one of the eight Alvars or mystic poets of their line, – great Emperor in South India.