The following is a conversation between the interviewer, Sesa Dasa, and Arundhati Dasi. Sesa’s questions or replies are in italic & bold font.
So then from Hyderabad, we went to Vrndavana. I do not remember; maybe we stopped in Delhi for a few days. We traveled by plane with Prabhupada on that trip. Most of the Time in India, we would go by train, but that was a long trip, and we went by plane. So, in Vrndavana, I was cooking off and on. Palika had this problem with her hand, and I would cook; so, if she was contaminated, then I would cook. When I would cook for Prabhupada, he wanted sukta every day. Do you know sukta? do you know that preparation?
“I do not know”.
I seemed like when different people would cook for him, he would want different things. But when Palika would cook, she would make plain fried korella and Prabhupada liked that. But when I cooked, he would want sukta. He always would tell me,
“Make it every day”.
So, I was making it every day, and one day I thought,
“Prabhupada’s been eating sukta every day, let me make him something else”.
So, I though one day,
“Let me make something else with korella for Prabhupada today instead of sukta. He must be getting sick of eating this sukta every day”.
So, I made this other preparation, and I brought the plate in to Prabhupada, and right away he said to me,
“Where is the sukta?”
“Well, I though you would like this today, Prabhupada. This is also bitter melons
“I told you to make sukta every day. Why you have not made today?”
“I am very sorry, Srila Prabhupada, I just thought that you would like this today”.
So, then I went out and when he finished eating he called me in and he said,
“This was also very nice, but tomorrow make sukta”.
During that Time, he taught me how to make sak, spinach. He said to cook it very dry, and all the water out of it. He told me to make it with eggplant and radish. So, I made it. I had never made it before. So, I thought it was dry enough, and I brought it in to Prabhupada and he said,
“This is wet. Spinach is wet, it is useless”.
So fortunately, I had some more in the pan, and I cooked it direr, and brought it in. He said,
“That is how it should be.”
And he wanted that every day also, aside from the sukta. He said sak had to be there every single day.
When would he tell you this–after he finished eating or would he call you in before you cooked and tell you what he wanted?
Sometimes. I would go in before I was cooking and ask Prabhupada what he wanted to eat. Sometimes he just wanted normal lunch, sometimes he would want something in particular.
So, then he was going on this trip; about a two-week tour to Aligarh, Chandigarh, and Delhi. He said at that Time, Palika should not come. he did not want any single women coming on the trip. He said I could come, and do the cooking and the typing. And he said also Aniruddha, my small son, should not come. I do not know why; he just said on that particular trip, they both should not come. So first we went to Aligarh. The first day we were there the lady of the house cooked a few preparations for Prabhupada. She mad one vegetable and Prabhupada liked it very much. He called me into his room later on. Gaurasundara was there. Gaurasundara was an old devotee of Prabhupada’s. He was in the room at the Time when he called me in and he said,
“Did you taste the subj. that that lady made?”
“Was not it very good?”
“You must learn to cook like this”, and then he started talking about Radharani.
He then said,
“Radharani won Krishna’s love and became His favorite girlfriend because of Her cooking, because She could cook so nicely”.
And then he quoted about how Radharani would prepare so many different kinds of vegetables for Krishna. He spoke about this for about twenty minutes, just about how Radharani pleased Krishna by Her cooking. He said,
“You must also learn to cook like this, learn how to make all these Vedic preparations”.
So many Times, while I was traveling with Prabhupada ,he stressed cooking. Even before that, he was always telling me I should learn how to cook. He told me to learn how to cook from Pishima. It seemed like it was an important thing, that he wanted us to learn to be able to cook properly these preparations. So, we just stayed in Aligarh a few days.