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Memories associated with the photo.

Srila Prabhupada's speaking at Durban City Hall

Riddha Dasa : On October 7th, 1975, that evening was spent at Durban City Hall. It was spectacular. The large hall was packed with about two thousand people, mostly Indians, but also many Europeans. The stage had been tastefully decorated by the devotees and the vyasasana was center stage.

Srila Prabhupada entered the large auditorium by the side entrance of the hall, proceeding through the audience. Everyone stood up to honor him as I showered flower petals at his lotus feet. It was glorious. Once on the main stage, Pushta Krishna Swami led the devotees in kirtana with a simple, straightforward melody.

Srila Prabhupada was introduced, and then he sang the Jaya Radha-Madhava prayer and began his lecture on the first verse of Bhagavad-gita. He took the opportunity to tell the Indian community that they had their origin in the very great and rich tradition of Krishna consciousness. He was instilling a deep sense of pride into the Indian community, who for so long had been indentured and humiliated under the oppressive regime of apartheid, instigated by the former British rule.

Srila Prabhupada spoke with great authority. It was clear that he greatly liked his South African audience, and it set the pattern for the remaining programmes in South Africa.

Reference: Mission in the service of His Divine Grace - Riddha Dasa Adhikari

Srila Prabhupada put Hare Krishna on the map

Srila Prabhupada and his early band of disciples played an intrinsic part in the spiritual and cultural revolution of America in the 1960s. Both in the Lower East Side of New York in 1966 and in the Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco in 1967, preaching the sublime message of Krishna consciousness.
In fact, Srila Prabhupada put Hare Krishna on the map, both literally and figuratively. In the lower left diagram of Haight-Ashbury during the historic year of the "Summer of Love," the "Radha Krishna Temple" (in red) was established at 518 Frederick Street, nestled right next door to the Digger's Free Store. Also shown are other notable landmarks of the day:

- The Trip Without a Ticket
- The Straight Theater
- The I/Thou Coffee Shop
- The Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic
- Mnasidika (boutique)
- The Psychedelic Shop
- Grateful Dead House

In his book, "The Haight-Ashbury: A History," Charles Perry writes: "Dozens of hippies were quickly converted to Krishna with the aid of a testimonial from Allen Ginsberg, who said that the Hare Krishna mantra 'brings a state of ecstasy.'" By virtue of his complete faith in Krishna and His holy name, Srila Prabhupada rapidly established Krishna consciousness as the genuine "peace and love" movement which so many young people were earnestly seeking at the time. As a result, his movement spread like wildfire during the '60s and '70s with enthusiastic support from many of the countercultural heroes of the day.

Reference: The Prabhupada Connection

Prabhupada's purposes for taking a collection

In 1974, Prabhupada was scheduled to speak in the executive meeting room at the Hong Kong Hilton on the last evening of his stay. The hotel posted a black placard that read, "Tridandi Goswami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada will speak on Krishna Consciousness."

In the plush meeting room, Prabhupada sat on a makeshift vyasasana - a decorated chair - and received garlands from each of the almost one hundred children from our classes. Garlands covered Prabhupada's shoulders, then neck, and threatened to cover his face. As more garlands were offered, we removed and distributed garlands as prasadam. Prabhupada lectured on the urgency of spreading Krishna consciousness throughout the world. He also spoke about the Bhagavad-gita, advising the children to memorize the entire scripture, beginning with the first verse.

During the final kirtana, Prabhupada motioned for me to come up to the vyasasana. "You should take up a collection," he instructed. I picked up a fancy silver bowl and approached each guest. Almost all the guests donated something, and by the time I placed the bowl by Prabhupada's feet, it contained the equivalent of about $150 U.S. Prabhupada was satisfied with the reciprocation. I was acquainted with most of the guests. Mainly they worshiped Lakshmi-devi and Siva Sankara for a few minutes in the morning to ensure a prosperous day. They had not come to Hong Kong for spiritual progress, but to make money. They were businessmen.

I understood two of Prabhupada's purposes for reminding me to take a collection. One was to test the financial support of the Indian community. Prabhupada was satisfied by the result. The second motive was compassion. These guests had heard both Prabhupada's lecture and the holy name of Krishna, but they were doomed materialists. Prabhupada was certainly not in need of $150, but they would get eternal benefit by offering Prabhupada some of their hard-earned money. Prabhupada was compassionate and wanted to give them the opportunity to render service.

Reference: My Glorious Master - Bhurijana Dasa

The most corrupt place in the world

Someone broke into room 307 while Srila Prabhupada was out and stole his typewriter and tape recorder. Prabhupada had lost his spirit for living in room 307. What would prevent the janitor from stealing again? Harvey Cohen and Bill Epstein had advised him to relocate downtown and had assured him of a more interested following among the young people there. It had been an attractive proposal, and he began to reconsider it. Then Harvey offered Prabhupada his studio on the Bowery.

As Prabhupada was preparing to leave his Seventy-second Street address, an acquaintance, an electrician who worked in the building, came to warn him. The Bowery was no place for a gentleman, he protested. It was the most corrupt place in the world. Harvey Cohen's loft, on the top floor of 94 Bowery, was an open space almost a hundred feet long (from east to west) and twenty-five feet wide. Ninety-four Bowery was just two doors north of Hester Street. The corner was occupied by the spacious Half Moon Tavern, which was frequented mostly by neighborhood alcoholics. Above the tavern sat a four-story Bowery flophouse, marked by a neon sign - Palma House - which was covered by a protective metal cage and hung from the second floor on large chains. The hotel's entrance at 92 Bowery (which had no lobby but only a desolate hallway covered with dirty white tiles) was no more than six feet from the entrance to 94.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 2 - Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Srila Prabhupada's reading The Star newspaper

Riddha Dasa: On October 16th, 1975, Johannesburg. Srila Prabhupada sat reading a center-spread article featuring himself in The Star newspaper with evident relish. The Star reporter had followed-up the interview with Srila Prabhupada four days previously, with what amounted to a glowing testimony to His Divine Grace and his mission to help people understand the science of God.

The laudatory article, which appeared in The Star on the morning of 20th October, served as a fitting introduction to Prabhupada's lecture, which was due to take place that evening at Witwatersrand University.

Reference: Mission in the service of His Divine Grace - Riddha Dasa Adhikari

The first Western connection with Vrindavan

Brahmananda Dasa: This painting, which was done by Jadurani, is a painting of Vrindavan. It's the Madan-Mohan Temple. This is one of the first paintings that Jadurani did and it's Madan-Mohan, Madan-Mohan Temple that Sanatan Goswami erected for the first Deity in Lord Chaitanya's movement. Prabhupada would give her a picture, and she would copy that into a painting. Prabhupada...he hung it right above his head, he sat underneath this. So it's the first Western connection, you might say, with Vrindavan, and here's the personification of Vrindavan sitting there.

Reference: Following Srila Prabhupada - Yadubara Dasa

The West End Superette

The West End Superette Prabhupada frequented. Sometimes Prabhupada would walk in Riverside Park. Still careful for the condition of his heart, he liked the long stretches of flat walking area. Sometimes he would walk from Dr. Mishra's studio down Seventy-second Street to Amsterdam Avenue, to the West End Superette, where he would buy produce and spices for his cooking. Sometimes he would wander through Manhattan, without any fixed direction, and sometimes he would take buses to different areas of the city.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 2 - Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

The First Vyasa Puja book offered by devotees

The next day was Vyasa-puja day, the celebration of Prabhupada's seventy-fourth birthday. That morning a package arrived from New York containing several copies of the Vyasa-puja booklet, a twenty-five-page paperback filled with homages from Prabhupada's disciples.

Months before, one of the devotees had discovered an old issue of a magazine published by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati; the magazine contained a Vyasa-puja homage Prabhupada had written commemorating the appearance day of his own spiritual master. When the article had been brought to Prabhupada's attention, he said that his disciples could also write their own appreciations, just as he had done forty years before. So the devotees in New York had gathered offerings from seventeen different temples and had printed them all in a Vyasa-puja booklet.

Prabhupada was very pleased to receive the little booklet, and he had one of the devotees read it aloud in the temple. When all the readings were finished, he explained how service and prayers were accepted by Krishna through the medium of the disciplic succession. Although outsiders might think that, "This man is becoming flattered in hearing his own eulogy," the real meaning of Vyasa-puja homage is that it is a test of how well the disciples were understanding Krishna consciousness and serving the spiritual master. Their praises were all going to the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the disciplic succession. And such praises were required training for the disciple, just as officers train soldiers in the military.

Reference: Prabhupada Lila – Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Prabhupada arrived at Jan Smuts Airport, Johannesburg

Riddha Dasa : On October 14th, 1975, Prabhupada arrived at Jan Smuts Airport, Johannesburg, at midday. The welcome at the airport was much more relaxed than on his arrival in Durban. Prabhupada flew from Durban on a domestic flight with South African Airways, accompanied by Pushta Krishna Swami on one side and Harikesa on the other. A proud Mr Rasikbhai Parekh and friend greeted Prabhupada with a beautiful garland and walked by his side. Ramanujacarya led a chanting party that included Rocani, Bhaktin Gail and Bhakta Mike, while I scattered flower petals before Srila Prabhupada’s path.

As Srila Prabhupada was walking through the terminal, two young hippies appeared and prostrated themselves on the floor before His Divine Grace. Although I had no idea who they were, they evidently acted in all humility. Most likely they had read some of Prabhupada’s books and knew us from our former ISKCON center in Cape Town years before.

Reference: Mission in the service of His Divine Grace – Riddha Dasa Adhikari

Posters announcing Prabhupada's arrival in South Africa

Riddha Dasa: Srila Prabhupada always intended to visit South Africa. Since the very beginning of the Hare Krishna movement in South Africa, seemingly insurmountable obstacles had blocked the path for his intended visit. The situation differed from that in the rest of the world because the whole country was politically isolated.

Nevertheless, by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, I could feel his presence quite strongly, regardless of his physical absence. When we knew that Srila Prabhupada was finalising his travel arrangements, the devotees shifted into top gear. Vishnudatta prepared the artwork for the posters announcing his arrival. Plans were made to take Srila Prabhupada on tour in South Africa. Everyone was very excited. The finished posters were beautiful. In a photograph chosen by Pushta Krishna Swami, Prabhupada had the look of one deep in trance. He seemed to be completely absorbed in love of Krishna. 

Since there were no computer graphics in those days, Vishnudatta did the artwork manually using Letraset rub on typographic lettering, which was then sent for printing. However, as it turned out, Srila Prabhupada would not be setting foot on South African soil until several months later. 

Reference: Mission in the service of His Divine Grace - Riddha Dasa Adhikari