Was Srila Prabhupada Systematically “Positioned”?
Arundhati Dasi Part 3.
Visvambhara said he started talking about my father. I was really surprised. He told Visvambhara,
“She has a very nice father. Both of them, both here, and her husband have very nice fathers”.
He only met them once. I was really surprised that he said that. They were such karmis.
Aniruddha ( Arundhati’s young son), used to bring things into him every now and then. He would bring in sweets.
One-Time Prabhupada said to Aniruddha,
“What are you going to be, a Sanskrit scholar or a cook?”
“I am going to be a cowherd boy”.
“Oh? You do not want to be a Sanskrit scholar like your father?”
“No, I am going to be a cowherd boy”.
And Prabhupada opened his eyes very wide and he said,
“Your father chants Sanskrit very nicely”.
Actually, Aniruddha, a lot of times would have a motive of wanting to get some of Prabhupada’s prasadam. Prabhupada would always give him a sweet ball off his plate.
In Vrndavana, Abhirama became assistant secretary to Tamal Krishna. Prabhupada was not really eating much then. His diet consisted mostly of fruit and fruit juices. Srutirupa, Abhirama’s wife, was always desirous to cook for Prabhupada. She had traveled with us off and on, and she used to help out in Prabhupada’s kitchen. Once in a while, she would cook for Prabhupada. Tamal Krishna Goswami said that she should come to Vrndavana ,and that she could help with cooking. But there was not really any cooking to do, since Prabhupada had no appetite. But she was very, very eager to cook. So, one day Prabhupada had not been eating anything, and he told her to make samosas and kachoris. Srutirupa was very excited about that, and she made them, and Prabhupada ate a little bit. She was really good at making juices, and different kinds of fruit preparations. She made them for Prabhupada, and he was very pleased. Prabhupada would take a little bit, not much, just a little.
At one point, Prabhupada said he did not want any women in the kitchen. He said the women were mixing with the men, and it was not good. The men were in the kitchen a lot. Upendra would come in frequently, and Prabhupada said it was not good. Then the men said they would not be in the kitchen at the same time as women, and Prabhupada said, all right.
Srutirupa was once in the kitchen and Upendra came in. He and Srutirupa were speaking to each other for a while, and somehow Prabhupada knew about it. Prabhupada said something to Upendra about it. He told him that he did not want any women coming into the kitchen any more. Prabhupada was very depressed because he was so sick. He could hardly do any work. He was still translating a little bit off and on, but very little. He started talking about wanting to go traveling and preaching. He was not walking at all then. The devotees would have to carry him on a chair everywhere he went. I remember Hansadutta Maharaja, wrote him a letter asking him to come to Sri Lanka, and even though Prabhupada was so sick, he said.
“Yes, I will go. I can go anywhere by chair”.
He got more and more depressed, and decided that he wanted to go to the west on this big tour to all of his centers. He said that even though he could hardly speak or do anything, simply by his presence the devotees would be encouraged. He did not want to just stay there and die in Vrndavana, he wanted to go out and preach. He was always saying that it is better that he should die preaching. These plans kept changing. First, he was going and then he was not going. We would be already to go one day, and an hour before it was time to leave, Prabhupada would say.
Prabhupada started going to darshan at the temple every day. He would sit under the Tamal tree while we would have a very quiet kirtana. At first ,Jaya Sacinandana was leading the kirtana. He would sing Jaya Radha Madhava. Only karatalas were being played, nothing else. Then Jaya Sacinandana left Vrndavana without telling Prabhupada, and Prabhupada was upset that he had done that. Prabhupada was upset, because Jaya Sacinandana was living in Prabhupada’s rooms at the Radha-Damodara temple. So Bardaraja prabhu started leading the kirtans every day. It was a very quiet and mellow kirtana.
One time during the kirtana, Prabhupada all of a sudden pointed to my son Aniruddha ,and instructed him to get up and start dancing. So Aniruddha got up and he was dancing real nicely. Then Prabhupada told this other boy named Krishnadasa, to get up and dance too. All the devotees were around Prabhupada, and Aniruddha would be on one side, and Krishnadasa on the other, opposite from each other, dancing. Then he told all the other Gurukula boys to get up and dance. He instructed this boy named Markandeya, a little boy, to start playing the mrdunga. Then there was some more karatalas an, and then all of a sudden, some devotees got up to join the dancing. Prabhupada was very pleased and he said that it was all right, and then everybody got up, and we had this really ecstatic loud kirtana. Up until now, the kirtana was always soft, so I became very blissful while participating in this loud kirtana. All of a sudden, the kirtana got really loud. An ecstatic booming kirtana. Prabhupada looked like he was in ecstasy. It was really nice. Every day after that, Prabhupada would have the Gurukula boys get up and dance. Not everybody would participate in the dancing, just the children. Then one day, some men came and offered some money to the children. One man waved the money in a circle in front of the children, and then placed it at Prabhupada’s feet. It was amazing. This action of this one man started a chain reaction. All the Indian people, one after another, came up and were offering all this money, first to the children, and then placing it at Prabhupada’s feet. The temple management decided that this would be a good thing to do every day. So, the next day they arranged that one of our devotees would start it off. This devotee did not look like a devotee, he looked like an ordinary Indian visitor. He would offer the money and this would start it rolling. Every day that would happen. So many people would come and offer all this money to Prabhupada.
Prabhupada liked the way Sacinandana chanted, very much. He chanted very nicely. So, then it was still after that one big day–it was still relatively quiet kirtan, it was not really booming. So then when Prabhupada left, and went to London, we would go the temple, and the kirtana was really booming. Prabhupada liked it very much. The devotees were really enthusiastic. To me it seemed like they were really much more enlivened than the devotees in Vrndavana–I guess because they had not seen Prabhupada in such a long time.