I also had the same experience in Vrindavana about two years ago when Prabhupada was there. They’d said, “Prabhupada is not eating any sweets”. So one day I made this gulab-jamins, half Koa and half cheese. so I only made them that one day. Krishna Balarama Dasa, the cook that was there at that time, he had been sick. So one day I made all the sweets for the Deities’ offering at the Krishna Balarama Mandir. This is two years ago. And they brought up a few gulab-jamins for Prabhupada’s evening offering. He would have some fruit, and some sweets. He would usually eat one sweet. And all of a sudden Palika, she was his cook at that time, she came running back down into the Deity kitchen. She said,
“Rohini Kumar, who made these gulab-jamins?”
“I did not really know. I am not really the cook here. Krishna Balarama’s in charge. I did not know anything about these sweets. I am just cooking here on an emergency today. I did not know what’s going on here. I never cook in this kitchen”.
And she said,
“Krishna Balarama made this? Who made them? They are really different and Prabhupada likes them”. S
Therefore, she took another five or six up to Prabhupada. Then she came back about two minutes later she said,
“Are there any more of those gulab-jamins? Prabhupada wants more”.
And she took the whole pot of them up, and I never saw them again. Prabhupada ate quite a few of them. Although Prabhupada before that, other days, he was not eating any sweets. Nevertheless, that day when I made the gulab-jamins, he ate a big number of them. He liked them very much.
The next time, and the last time that, I saw Prabhupada before he disappeared was in 1976 in September or October in Vrindavana. I had not seen Prabhupada in several years, and I was very much sad because I could see that his health had declined o much. He was very much weak. I noticed he could not bow down. It was very difficult for him to do dandavats in the temple for darshan in the morning. I particularly noticed that. And his whole composure seemed very weak, his whole bodily structure. It seemed very weak and shaky. So I felt in a bit of anxiety when I saw that, a bit of apprehension. At that time I was cooking here in Vrindavana, and I was staying up very late at night. The devotees would go to bed by 9:30 PM, and I would get out of the kitchen at 10 o’clock, and Prabhupada would still be awake. Sometimes I would be coming out at 10:30 and that would be the time when Prabhupada would be going to bed. Excuse me, I would be coming out of the kitchen at 10:30 and Prabhupada would still be awake and I would stay up a little later more and he would go to bed about 11 o’clock at night, as I remember. And he would get up about 1 o’clock in the morning.
I remember we had some problems cooking—Krishna Balarama and myself, we were cooking for the Deities. We had a very overly complicated cooking program for the Deities. So many crores of preparations had to be cooked for every offering. It was very impractical. When Prabhupada was there, at that time, he came to know that we had some very complicated number of things, that had to be prepared according to some information, that we had gotten from the Gaudiya Math. So when Prabhupada heard about it, he called us and he wanted to know what we were cooking, and how much, and how much our ingredients are, how much ghee, sugar, and flour are we using for making these preparations every day. Then he completely threw out the whole cooking schedule and he made up a different schedule, which was very much simpler. The way he came to know about this was that we were in the kitchen very late at night cooking, so we had to make many different kinds of sweets for the different offerings. The main thing was we were making a lot of rasgullas at the time.
So we were having kirtana in the kitchen. Prabhupada heard the Kirtana, and he sent his servant,
“What are these boys doing in the kitchen, making so much noise at this time of night?”
He was chastising us. He said,
“What are you doing at this time of night, doing kirtana up there in the kitchen? What are you doing in the kitchen at that time of night?”
“We have to cook. We have so many preparations and all day long we are cooking. We have not time to even rest practically. We have hardly enough time just to wash our clothes. This is the schedule here in the temple. We have to finish our cooking of rasgullas for the morning offerings”.
Over the next few days Prabhupada had changed that whole cooking program. Also at that time it was when I had cooked those gulab-jamins that Prabhupada really liked that one time.
I remember at that time when Prabhupada was going over the whole cooking program in the temple, and how many kg’s. and how many ounces of this, and every spice, everything that we use; he went through everything. Then I had a very clear picture of how Prabhupada was so expert in every aspect of managing, no matter what kind of managing had to be done, he was perfect in it. He could go into the most minute detail of how everything should be done. A very illuminating experience.
So at this time, because there were many devotees in Vrindavana, they were all doing caturmasya, growing beards, and hair and looking like bears, and eating once a day and doing so many austerities. And when Prabhupada saw this, he was very displeased, and be began giving lectures immediately about going out; that people should come to Vrindavana, become enlivened, and then go out all over the world preaching. He kept stressing so much to go out and preach, that the whole dhama should be the center for preaching activities. Everyone in the temple immediately became very fired up for peaching. Everyone was leaving for some place or other. And finally also, I wanted to go out and preach somewhere. The desire came into my heart. So I ended up in Sri Lanka. I was there for several years. Then Prabhupada became very ill during that period. When he heard about our preaching program there, even though he was so ill he could not get out of bed. One day Hansadutta was there telling him about our preaching programs in Sri Lanka. We were sending Hansadutta letters about how preaching was going on very nicely. So when Prabhupada heard the letters, he said,
“I am going to go to Ceylon immediately”.
“Prabhupada, you are so sick. You cannot go there”.
“No. I want to go. immediately make arrangements. I must go there”.
I was always writing very regularly. Once a week I would write letters to Hansadutta in Vrindavana. So Prabhupada was always getting letters from us in Ceylon, so every time he would hear about the preaching program in Ceylon, he would immediately say,
“I want to go there”.
Actually he had told Hansadutta that when he was first going to America in the Jaladuta, he had stopped in Columbo on the way there, and that also when he was a businessman with his pharmaceutical concern, that he had also gone there for some business one time to Columbo. He remarked that the place was very nice, and warm, and they had a lot of nice bananas there. That is one of the main things, bananas. And he was very interested that we should expand the preaching program amongst the Buddhists in Ceylon. He told us,
“If you like, you can install a statue of Buddha on the altar, and worship it, and you may lecture from the Dhammapada and Bhagavad-gita together, but it must be done very expertly.”