These devotees are my jewels.
Soma das : In the summer of '73 is when they started work on Srila Prabhupada's Palace. I came in August, and right away I started working up at the Palace. So when Prabhupada came in '74? There had been correspondence with Kirtanananda Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada about the Palace, and Prabhupada kept on saying he was very anxious to come see the Palace. Me and my godbrother, Gostha-bihari, we were the only two people that were working on the Palace at that time. It was just some concrete blocks, there was no roof, it was mostly just a mud floor. I think they had just started to lay marble in one room and they only had two pieces of marble down, and the rest, it was just a construction site, nothing at all really to look at. Prabhupada, he got out of the car, and I remember he had a big smile on his face.
Kirtanananda Maharaj was showing him around the Palace and saying, "This is where the Deity room will be, and from your study you'll be able to look at the Deities. And this will be your bedroom and your bathroom," and Prabhupada was smiling, beaming. He was taking his cane and poking it on the walls and he poked the doorjamb, making sure things were solid. There was a pile of cement that just had some plastic over it and Prabhupada said, "You should cover this better." Me and Gostha-bihari were there. We thought, "Why did he say that? It's perfectly covered with plastic." And it wasn't until a week after Prabhupada had left that when we opened it up, when it had rained some water had gotten in and ruined some of the bags. Prabhupada was so alert, he'd notice things like that. Then Bali Mardan prabhu said, "Srila Prabhupada, in the Krishna Book it says that Krishna's palace was illuminated with the jewels on the wall." Prabhupada lifted his cane up and waved it towards the devotees and he said, "These devotees are my jewels."
Reference: Following Srila Prabhupada – A Chronological Series
Author: Yadubara Dasa