Was Srila Prabhupada Systematically “Positioned”?
Balavanta Dasa GBC,
[Balavanta dasa was interviewed and recorded by Radhavallabha-dasa; his questions and comments are in Bold & Underlined & Blue Font.]
So this was in August of 1977, Vrindavana. Satsvarupa Maharaja, and I decided we would go, and I had written to Prabhupada and he encouraged me,
“Yes, you can come. Be my servant”.
Of course this was not a very happy time, because Prabhupada was very ill at this time. So Satsvarupa Maharaja and I flew over and went to Vrindavana. Satsvarupa Maharaja immediately began doing some personal; quite a lot of personal service, staying up all night massaging his feet, and watching him. However, at that point he decided he wanted to go to America. Actually when Satsvarupa Maharaja and I walked in, he saw us and he decided he wanted to go to America, to visit with devotees.
I remember they were reading him the Sankirtana newsletter. He would listen to every score, and every word of the Sankirtana newsletter. He would listen to the whole thing. And he would make comments, like “Very good”, and if there was someone with a big, big score, he would be very much surprised; he was very happy. When it would be a good score, he would actually look forward to the next Sankirtana newsletter coming in. It was like the best part of his day when there would be letters from America, and from the west.
When they would read letters, Prabhupada would get real encouraged and he would decide he would go to the West. So then he would say to me,
“Should I go?”
Then some doctor would come and say,
“You cannot go”.
Prabhupada would say,
“Maybe I should not go”.
And then the letters would come again, the Sankirtana newsletter would be read to him, and again, he would decide he would want to go.
Satsvarupa Maharaja has a diary. I have a diary too, but I am not sure where it is. There is so many wonderful things he said like,
“India is my mother; America is my father”.
You remember all these things. You have all these things. Satsvarupa Maharaja has all this, because he was there at the same time. I have it, but I am not sure where my diary is. I think it is at the farm. They are not in the safe?
Anyways, he said,
“Father gives the son necessities. America has given me so much money, so many men. I am eternally indebted to America. how can I repay the debt? I cannot repay”
He was saying like that. he would say other things like,
“I have great love for America. I am eternally indebted to America”.
He said these thing when he was planning to go. That is why he wanted to come to the West. He wanted to come to America.
So he would practically be living for those letters, that would come, and the reports that would come. He would be very glad, and enlivened to hear them. Tamal would read them.
So then he immediately began engaging me. I was thinking I was coming to India to be with Prabhupada. I wanted to be with him, and see him, and he immediately began engaging me. I had to leave Vrindavana. I had to leave him and go out and start arranging for his visa and everything, because, Abhirama said that I had a friend in the USA Immigration department in New Delhi. Prabhupada’s green card had expired.
Oh yes, you were supposed to have got his green card renewed a year ago. Ultimately it was Tamal, who was now his personal servant, he should have done it.
No actually I kept on asking for it and he would never give the green-card, and when he finally sent it; it was too late.
Tamal will never say that. He blamed you, but anyway. Because Tamal controlled the scene at that time. According to Tamal, you were the real culprit, he would say,
“That no good Radhavallabha. That is why he was not in charge of BBT anymore, because he committed such offenses against Prabhupada, by not getting his green card renewed.”
Did Prabhupada say anything?
No, that was Tamal who said that, But I am sure Tamal told him,
“It is Radhavallabha”.
Prabhupada called me in and said,
“Ah, you have got a friend, some facility in America”.
I did actually. Our lawyer here had been made the chief attorney of the Department of Immigration in Washington, when Carter was elected president. So I was now going to come back to America, and get the green card renewed, or whatever needed to be done, but then we thought, why do that. And I thought,
“Gee! I had only been in Vrindavana for two days, I wanted to be with Prabhupada”.
If it can be done in India, because Abhirama also has a friend in Calcutta, in the Embassy there, who might do it. Therefore, I thought that if we can get it done in Calcutta, I can stay with Prabhupada. We went to Delhi and we got all the papers, and then we went to Calcutta. When arrived in Calcutta; it was on a Sunday night. We called the guy, and the guy said there will be no problem. He would do it. He could arrange something. So I had a chance to get back. I could just barely make the last plane, so I jumped on the last plane and headed back to Delhi, to go back to Vrindavana, to be with Prabhupada. The next morning, on Monday, Abhirama was going and got the cared from this guy
I arrived late in Delhi, and had to take the train to Mathura, and then a rickshaw to Vrindavana. I arrive at about 5 o’clock the next morning, and Prabhupada was just coming out for his darshan. He would come out every day and take darshan of Krishna Balarama. We sat under the Tamal tree, that tamal tree in the courtyard. And he would sit there and everyone would chant and it was real ecstatic, and then he would be carried back into his room. So when he came back into his room, I came in and he had seen me out there, so he called for me, he thought there would be reports. I came in. I thought I would bring him some good news. He said,
“We have got permission, Prabhupada, for you to go to America”.
“Very god, very good. give it to me”.
“Ah, Srila Prabhupada, Abhirama has got it in Calcutta. I did not bring it. I left early to come back with you.”,
Immediately his expression completely changed. He said,
“Oh, you have not got it?”
The man, he said it was alright”.
“Oh, why you have come back without the card”. He said,
“This is not good. I have sent two. One has returned. This is not good”.
“But Prabhupada, I just came to be with you. I thought I would get the opportunity of your association, so nice, purifying. Now I would get the opportunity of more of your association”.
“Hmmm. You have only brought me anxiety”.
I realized that actually the consciousness should be simply to satisfy the spiritual master, not some kind of transcendental sense gratification, enjoy being in his presence. The idea should be to satisfy him, so I realized the defect. Then I rushed, and I tried to get on the phone, and Prabhupada was in anxiety because he did not know whether he was going to get the card or not. So I was getting on the phone, trying to get Calcutta, trying to get confirmation from Abhirama. Phoning from Vrindavana to Calcutta, you can just imagine how slow it is; just practically impossible, you know. Lightning call; that is the fastest one, which takes like two or three hours, and Prabhupada’s in the next room in anxiety. I finally just by a literal miracle I got through to Abhirama and I asked,
“Did you get it? Did he sign?”
“Yes, he signed”.
And I went
I went running to Prabhupada, and said,
“He signed it”.
Prabhupada was relieved. He was pleased.
Abhirama came back the next day. He had the card; it was not exactly a card, it was some document, that would allow Prabhupada go get in. It was not actually a green card. And so then everyone was preparing to go to the airport. He had not hardly eaten since Mayapur, around 5 months ago. It was now August. The original diet that the doctor gave him in Bombay prescribed “no ghee”. For Prabhupada “that is starvation”. He wanted the ghee. He was really fond of ghee.
So Prabhupada went.
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