The guru's vision

Babhru Das - December 15, 2004 5:55 pm

I just shared this story with Swami, and I thought I'd share it with the rest of the family:


When Srila Prabhupada left Honolulu after his second visit in 1974, I seized the opportunity to fo to the airport to see him off. (I never got to go on walks or to where Prabhupada was staying because we were the head pujaris and had to cover everyone else's service. This time, though, I apologized to Satyaki as I dumped the responsibility on her.) Although most of the devotees stayed just outside the terminal and kept a kirtan going, five or six of us went inside and sat with him as he waited for his flight. Satsvarupa read newspaper clippings about ISKCON from around the world for a few minutes, then Prabhupada said, "Where is Aniruddha? I hear he is living in Hawaii, but he hasn't come to see me."


Sudama replied that Aniruddha was embarrassed about his current situation, and I mentioned that he was just outside with the kirtan party. Prabhupada: "So . . . he may come inside. There is no difficulty." A devotee scurried out to invite Aniruddha in but came back empty-handed. Aniruddha was reluctant to come in, but Srila Prabhupada insisited: "He may come inside. There is no difficulty!"


A couple of minutes later, Aniruddha approached Srila Prabhupada, his hands folded to offer pranams. He wore his then-typical t-shirt, cutoff jeans, flip-flops, and had a jeweled stud in his left ear. He smiled shyly, and Srila Prabhupada asked, "So, Aniruddha--how are you?"


"Not so good, Prabhupada." Then, although the rest of us were all sitting on the floor, Srila Prabhupada insisted that Aniruddha sit next to him on one of the chairs (which took a little coaxing). They exchanged small talk for a minute or two, then Srila Prabhupada turned to us and said, "In Los Angeles temple, he is the beginning."


With this remark, Srila Prabhupada cleared any judgment any of us may have had because Aniruddha wasn't living in the temple and apparently was "not following." I remember this incident every time I hear Swami assert that the guru sees our potential. The guru's perspective is that the important thing in a disciple's life is the service, and the potential for further service and spiritual progress. Everything else is ephemeral, or,as Swami says, without roots.

Bhrigu - December 15, 2004 8:08 pm

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Babhru. I love to hear about this side of Prabhupada -- sometimes we only hear about his conservatism, sternness, etc, and that may not always be as endearing as these types of stories are. They increase my attachment to him, and give me hope.

Shyam Gopal Das - December 16, 2004 8:35 pm

Thank you, Babhru. I appreciate it a lot to hear such personal stories involving Srila Prabhupada.