[Gunavnava Dasa was interview & recorded by Kundali Dasa.; his questions & comments are in Bold & Underlined & Blue Font.]
Prabhupada came to Vrindavana in May 1977, and he stayed for a long time there. Then he went to the Bhaktivedanta Manor in London. Nevertheless, I want to talk about this time now, May 17 to August 27, 1977. We were fully into the goshala by then. By the time Prabhupada came to Vrindavana on May 17th, I had five cows. I was managing underneath the tamal tree. At night we put the cows in a room within the gurukula construction area. We were using these spare rooms for the first goshala in Vrindavana. I thought it was an important service, so I was fully absorbed in it. I had a lot of responsibility. When Prabhupada came he was not able to walk. I remember when the train came in to Mathura station. We had to carry him from the train to the car. Then when we arrived at the Krishna Balarama Mandir, we had to carry him into his house. He would sit in chair all the time or lie in he would lay in his bed. He was not able to visit the goshala and see the cows. However, he was drinking the milk from these cows and he appreciated that like anything. I was like a a little cowherd boy then; that was my engagement. I was involved in the construction, but my mood was that I was the goshala man. I would deliver milk to the kitchen, to the Deities, and to Prabhupada’s house. Bhakticaru Swami was Prabhupada’s servant, and he use to come over to the goshala and sit with me in the morning, watching the cows being milked. It was very nice. It got to the point where Prabhupada could not leave his house. Instead of walks, he would go for car rides. Then it got to the point where Prabhupada could not eat anything. He would only drink milk, so he requested that there would be one cow on twenty-four-hour service. At that time, the goshala shifted to the Taboria house, because it was getting bigger and bigger.
“That is where it is now?”
That is where it is now. So, Prabhupada said,
“So you can arrange to have milk any time I want it?”
“We can arrange that”.
Prabhupada was having twenty-four-hour kirtana in his room, with a little pair of karatalas. So I was on a two-hour shift, seven to nine, and it was a good time. I was leading kirtana and Puskara-dasa was with me. I also had a group of about seven or eight devotees with me. I remember Tamal Krishna Maharaja, who was the secretary, he was very busy. He was always thinking how can we enthuse Prabhupada? Prabhupada was very interested in the book distribution. Bhaktitirtha Swami was in the European countries at that time doing standing orders for libraries, and he was doing really big. He sent this reports, which pleased Prabhupada so much. One particular time, I was chanting for Prabhupada and he was sitting on his bed and looking down with his eyes closed. I was sitting right at his feet. I was looking at him and chanting very softly, very melodiously. All of a sudden, I said,
“Jai, Srila Prabhupada!”
And he sorts of broke his concentration on whatever he was thinking about, and looked down and saw me and said,
Then he just stared at me like that for ten minutes, and then, all of a sudden, he said,
“Please stop the kirtana. So Gunavnava, how is your goshala?”
“It is going very well due to your grace. Cows are very health”.
He looked at me and said,
“This is your mercy, that you are taking up this project”.
This is what Prabhupada said to me.
He was translating the Tenth Canto, and it was all cows in Vrindavana, and it was very nice, you know. So he said,
“How can I thank you enough for this service? I am so pleased. This is your mercy”.
What do you do when your spiritual master says that? Then he says.
“Now you chant”.
So I was chanting. I remember Gopal Krishna came in. Everyone was there, Tamal Krishna, Gopal Krishna, Satadhanya Swami, Bhakticaru Swami and many other different devotees. There was a lot of people in his room. Gopal Krishna came running in, and had all these new books that he had just printed in Hindi.
Everyone was trying to really inspire Prabhupada, because Prabhupada was sort of feeling depressed that he could not do anything. Can you imagine, he was a real preacher, a real gostyanandi, and he wanted to die Preaching.
“Put me on a bullock cart. I cannot die in a chair or on bed. I want to die preaching the glories of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu”.
We were all feeling great, and it was very emotional in those days, very emotional. I was continuing with the chanting. Half an hour later, Tamal Krishna was reading a report about Bhaktitirtha Swami an, and all of a sudden, Prabhupada turned around and he said,
He then turned around and said,
“You know, by your grace, by your mercy, I am drinking this milk. I cannot eat anything else. I can only drink the milk that you are supplying. You know something? I am getting healthier”.
Even though it seemed that he was not getting healthier, he would say like that.
“This is your grace”.
He kept on repeating that.
“This is your grace”.
I had sent my wife off to America, to collect for the gurukula, so I was on my own. Every morning I would go into Prabhupada’s room, and I would massage his head or try to do some menial service. Then he started to become weaker and weaker. At one point he could hardly recognize me anymore.
Once Prabhupada wanted everyone to stop what they were doing, and come and sit in his house, and chant Hare Krishna, but everyone was thinking.
“I have to do my service. This is what Prabhupada wants”.
However Prabhupada did not want that. He wanted everyone to center, their love and attention, on him in Vrindavana, but no one understood that mood.
Jayapataka was sitting in Prabhupada’s room in the morning and all of a sudden, he jumped up and said,
“What do you want? What do you want us to do? You have to tell us what you want”
Just like that, really heavy. I forget what Prabhupada said to him.
I guess Prabhupada thought, what should I tell you, I want you to love me? You know what I mean?
So then Bardaraja and Hansadutta were leading kirtanas with the harmonium. Now there was a continuous kirtana going on now.