Open in App
Open in App

Photo Pastimes

Memories associated with the photo.

Srila Prabhupada arrived at Durban Airport, 1975.

Riddha Dasa: This is on October 5th, 1975, Srila Prabhupada at Durban Airport. His flight from Mauritius landed at 8:45 p.m. It was Sunday. Our welcoming party consisted of some of our special friends from the Hindu congregation along with Mr V.K. Naidoo and his religious cultural group from Chatsworth.

We wanted to show our gratitude by the way we welcomed Srila Prabhupada. As it turned out, there were at least a hundred Indian people who had come from different areas to greet Srila Prabhupada. I went to the arrivals lounge to wait for Srila Prabhupada. When I got there, I met several of our life-members from the Hindu community.

One very kind and helpful life-member, Mr J.P. Gokool, who knew the officials inside the airport, arranged that when the flight landed I would go inside the restricted customs area to receive Srila Prabhupada as a dignitary. Mr Gokool had previously met Srila Prabhupada in Bombay and knew what a special, saintly person he was.

From the long line of passengers in the customs hall, I could see an orange woolen hat emerging - it was Srila Prabhupada! My immediate reaction was to chant loudly, "Jaya Srila Prabhupada!" only to find myself being ushered out by the police. Fortunately I was allowed in again! As he proceeded through the restricted area, I could see him from a distance. I realized how fortunate I was to be there.

I waited until my guru maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, came close to the exit, when I offered him dandavats and then gave him a flower garland. Dressed in conventional clothes, Pushta Krishna Swami and Harikesa were deliberately hanging back with the luggage and keeping a low profile in the guise of tourists.

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

Prabhupada with "Radha and Krishna"

Prabhupada in Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (Radha and Krishna in the background), summer 1968.

Bhurijana: Radhashtami fell on a Sunday during Prabhupada's visit. The devotees planned to go with Prabhupada to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and hold kirtana. Indira Dasi and her sister, Ekayani Dasi, were to be dressed up during the outing as Radha and Krishna. "We should treat them just as we would Radha and Krishna," the temple president told us.

Prabhupada arrived by car while most of the devotees rode the subway. (I wasn't sure how "Radha and Krishna" made their way, but later I found out that they too took the subway.) The overcast sky suddenly cleared as Prabhupada arrived and illuminated the park with his presence. The devotees sat around Prabhupada, and Radha and Krishna sat nearby on a blanket. Prabhupada led the kirtana and the devotees chanted and danced with their hands in the air.

I brought my 35-mm Kowa SLR camera, but I had no film. I was bubbling with anxiety. I really wanted to take pictures, so I left the kirtana to scour the New York streets for a shop open on Sunday that sold film. I ran and ran, finally found the film, and rushed back. I had been gone half an hour and the kirtana was going strong. I snapped some photos. One was included in the original ISKCON Handbook - Prabhupada chanting with Indira and Ekayani behind him dressed as Radha and Krishna - published in 1969 by ISKCON Press.

Prabhupada took part in the entire Radhashtami festival without saying a word about "Radha and Krishna." The devotees even offered them food and accepted their remnants as maha-prasadam. Months later, I heard that Prabhupada said it was not bona fide and that we should not do such things.

Reference: My Glorious Master - Bhurijana Dasa


In New York before Prabhupada fell ill, he had us drawing the story of Prahlada and Hiranyakashipu. He was keen on having the story as a slide show for children, which we eventually did. Prabhupada told us about the poses and demonstrated them. He posed for Hiranyakashipu standing on one leg.

He loved to pose for Lord Nrisimhadeva. At least once a day, he would come into the room, do a roar, and describe how Lord Nrisimhadeva came out of the column. "Rrrrrrrhhhhh!" His eyes would get big and you could see the whites up above. "Rrrrrrrhhhhh!" This was his delight and he enjoyed it very much.

Once Jadurani had him pose like Krishna. He wrapped up in a white dhoti so that we could see how the pleats fell from a three-fold bending posture. He was right there watching us, seeing what and how we were doing.

Reference: This is my heart - Patita Uaddharana Dasa

Srila Prabhupada inspects the first ISKCON Press

Gargamuni Dasa: In the late 1960's His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada inspected the first ISKCON Press where many books were printed by hard-working devotees, thus fulfilling Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur and Srila Prabhupada. Later, Srila Prabhupada was very pleased when the German press was named Radha Press.

In the picture: Kirtiraja is checking the printing machine and next to Srila Prabhupada is Jagadish. Satsvarupa Dasa was than temple president in Boston.

Reference: Facebook post by Gargamuni Dasa

Srila Prabhupada's eating pakoras

Sunanda Dasa: In 1971, at the age of 16, I started visiting the Hare Krishna Temple in Brooklyn, New York and got my first taste of Krishna prasadam. In fact, like most of us, I became a prasadam addict, and that was one of the most important factors which attracted me to Krishna consciousness.

In due time I got involved in kitchen services (pot washing was always the first service for new bhaktas), and after getting initiated became one of the cooks for Sri Sri Radha Govinda, New York temple's beloved Deities. Eventually, I became the cook on one of the Radha Damodar Traveling Sankirtan buses and even got the opportunity to cook for Srila Prabhupada during his drive to Gita Nagari farm on this bus

This is the photo of Srila Prabhupada eating pakoras I cooked for him on the Radha Damodar bus, 1976.


Prabhupada left just by saying, "Hare Krishna."

Rama Sraddha: In Vrindavana during Prabhupada's final days with us, I had the service of being in charge of the kitchen. Ayodhyapati, who is now Govinda Bhrnga Maharaja, was the cook. At the very end everybody went to his room, but I had no time to go to Prabhupada's room because I was too busy with my service. Somebody had to finish the cooking. Prasadam had to be taken care of. Devotees were coming so this was more important than sitting with Prabhupada in his room, even though I wanted to.

The last three hours, however, I did go and sit next to Prabhupada. I sat by his bed right next to his head and feeling a little uncomfortable to even touch Prabhupada to do the last massage. At that time, he was easily available to everybody, but I was very shy and thought, "I am so fallen, how can I touch Prabhupada and give him a massage? Let me just do kirtana."

As the devotees were chanting from the bottom of their hearts, I was very carefully observing Prabhupada's lips. Prabhupada opened his mouth two times and softly uttered, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna." That was it. I could see very clearly it was "Hare Krishna." Prabhupada left just by saying, "Hare Krishna."

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Rememberance - Siddhanta Dasa

100 West 72nd Street

100, West 72nd Street, Srila Prabhupada would sometimes discuss with Dr. Mishra the aim of his visit to America, expressing his spiritual master's vision of establishing Krishna consciousness in the West. He requested Dr. Mishra to help him, but Dr. Mishra would always refer to his own teaching work, which kept him very busy, and to his plans for leaving the country soon.

After a few weeks, when it became inconvenient to maintain Prabhupada at the apartment, Dr. Mishra shifted him to his hatha-yoga studio on the fifth floor of 100 West Seventy-second Street, near Central Park. The large studio was located in the center of the building and included an office and an adjoining private room, where Prabhupada stayed. It had no windows.

Spending most of his time in his new room, Srila Prabhupada kept at his typing and translating. But when Dr. Mishra held his yoga classes, Prabhupada would sometimes come out and lead a kirtana or lecture.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 2 - Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Srila Prabhupada with children, Dallas, 1974.

Srila Prabhupada with children, Dallas, 1974. Brahmananda Swami holding the water glass for Srila Prabhupada.

Reference: Facebook post of ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry

Krishna appeared and gave me this garland

Bahushira: After Prabhupada's disappearance I began helping Satsvarupa with the Lilamrta by interviewing people in India who had known Srila Prabhupada. One of them was Acharya Prabhakara Misra, Prabhupada's first disciple. Acharya Prabhakara was clean-cut, well behaved and articulate. His demeanor impressed me. He had an M.A. and Ph.D. and was a very cultured Sanskrit scholar and teacher. In Jhansi Prabhupada had told Acharya Prabhakara, "I met you here because I saw you in a dream and I knew I was supposed to come here." Prabhupada and he would do bhajan together, they'd hold Ratha-yatra festivals, and they'd have programs in villages in the area.

Acharya Prabhakara said that on Krishna Janmastami in 1954, he had to go to Delhi. When he came back to Jhansi, he took a little rest, woke up at 1:00 a.m. and heard Prabhupada ecstatically playing mridanga in the temple room. Prabhupada was chanting in total bliss. Acharya Prabhakara went upstairs and saw Prabhupada bouncing around the temple room doing kirtan. Prabhupada was wearing a kadamba flower garland that went all the way down to his feet. Kadamba flowers are very rare in Jhansi and when they are available they are usually the size of a golf ball, but the ones on Prabhupada's garland were big - the size of tennis balls. And he said the atmosphere and aroma was aprakrt - nonmaterial. It was surcharged and smelled like the heavenly planets.

Acharya Prabhakara wanted to ask Srila Prabhupada, "Where did this garland come from? You can't buy it in a market." But Prabhupada wouldn't answer. He just kept doing kirtan, bouncing around the temple room chanting. The next morning Acharya Prabhakara asked Srila Prabhupada, "Where did you get the garland, why did it smell so much, and why were you feeling so blissful?" Srila Prabhupada told him, "I was chanting to Krishna and feeling some love for Him, and He appeared and gave me this garland. I went to touch His feet, and He disappeared. Because of that, I was dancing around the temple room." Prabhupada was crying.

Acharya Prabhakara was very believable and I felt that what he said was valid. He also said that sometimes Srila Prabhupada's mood was to do kirtan intensely. He would chant on and on and on - for three days straight without eating and sleeping. Ordinarily we never hear about Srila Prabhupada chanting for two or three days straight. We hear that sometimes he wouldn't eat for long periods, especially near the end, but remarkably, in Jhansi, he was doing kirtan for a long period of time without eating and sleeping. And the result of his bhajan was that Krishna appeared.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Rememberance - Siddhanta Dasa

Havi, what are you doing???!!!

Havi: In 1975, Srila Prabhupada came from Mexico to Caracas, Venezuela. In those years we had buses and we were distributing lots of books. When Prabhupada arrived, another devotee and I were asked to wash Prabhupada's feet. Our hearts were joyful. I jumped so high I almost touched the ceiling.

Srila Prabhupada came, sat down, and a devotee told me, "Havi, go and wash his feet." But I was not trained in how to do it. I was in front of Srila Prabhupada along with the honey, milk, water, yogurt - but what was I supposed to do? I concluded that I should offer it from thick to thin.

Prabhupada had his socks on, and I waited for him to spread his legs, which he did. I took his socks off and I touched his feet, which were warm. I understood that the principle behind washing a saint's feet was that in traveling from one town to another, walking long distances, the host refreshes the holy man by bathing his feet with nice ingredients.

So, although I was very nervous, I started to pour honey on Prabhupada's right foot while the devotees chanted sri-guru-carana-padma. Then I poured the yogurt, then the milk, and with my fingers I started to massage his feet and toes. Behind me a devotee said, "Havi, what are you doing?" and Nitai kicked my behind to tell me that I was doing something wrong.

I stopped and slowly lifted my head towards Prabhupada. Prabhupada smiled at me and nodded his head as if to say, "Don't listen to them. Go on." I went on with enthusiasm. Tamoha was supposed to wash Prabhupada's other foot, so I called him. But Prabhupada said, "No, no, no. You." Then I did something childish. I showed off. I lifted Prabhupada's feet and he had to brace himself by putting his hands behind him.

Anyway, after I washed both his feet, I had a big bowl with yogurt, honey, milk, and ghee. I thought, "Let me distribute it," and I started to sprinkle it on the devotees while they were chanting Nitai-Gaura haribol. After everybody was wet, what was I supposed to do with the rest? There was still a lot left and I wasn't going to throw it away. So I drank it.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Rememberance - Siddhanta Dasa