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Photo Pastimes

Memories associated with the photo.

Durga's Ideal

On 9th of September in 1976,  Srila Prabhupada told me another anecdote to further illustrate his point of the wife's acceptance of the leadership of her husband. Prabhupada was chuckling as he narrated the story. "Lord Siva, he could not construct even a house. He was living underneath a tree. And his wife, Durga, srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka, she can create a new world, so powerful; she's living with her husband underneath a tree. Never claims, 'My dear husband, if you cannot, I can make one.'

There is a story about that. That, 'People criticize us. All right, let us have some house.' So Lord Siva, Durga, both of them capable to do anything. So they constructed a very nice gold house. 'Now we shall live.'

So there is new house entering ceremony. So one Gargamuni was invited and many other brahmanas. So they began to eat so much... Then whatever stock they have—finished. After eating, when they wanted, 'Give us daksina.' Because after eating there is...

"So Lord Siva — 'Where shall I get everything? I have finished.' Then they became puzzled what to do." Srila Prabhupada started laughing. "So Lord Siva said, 'All right, as daksina you take this house.'

"Their house entrance ceremony was there. As a result of that ceremony they became again underneath a tree."

Reference: A Transcendental Diary, by Hari Sauri Dasa

Krsna Conscious Community

Hari Sauri Dasa: Accepting Tamal Krishna Maharaja's invitation, Prabhupada decided to spend a day at the Pennsylvania farm, a five-hour drive away.

After we drove around the land the next stop was the huge cow barn and dairy, where Prabhupada saw a calf born just that morning. He petted some of the younger calves and then inspected the huge cows. The herd is Brown Swiss and they have gigantic milk bags. One cow gives one hundred and four pounds of milk per day -- that's the equivalent of its own body weight every eleven days! Paramananda informed us that two of the cows have the finest pedigrees in America. Their ancestry traces back two hundred and fifty years, to the time when their breed first came to America.
The cows were not the only occupants of the barn, however. A dog peacefully sat between the stalls; and as Prabhupada looked on, a small kitten ran among the cows, catching milk dropping from their udders. He smiled and said that this was the result of living in a Krsna conscious community: even the animals are great friends.

Reference: Transcendental Diary 3-3 New York

Prabhupada's dust...

Dugdhapana Dasa: In 1975, I had volunteered to go to Japan to collect money for the Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrndavan and I was sent from the Denver Krishna temple to New Dwaraka in Los Angeles. Srila Prabhupada also came there. He would go to Venice Beach for a walk and return to greet the Deities and give class. The first day I stood outside with around 30 devotees to greet him in the alley as he exited the car and went up to his quarters. On the second day, there were only 10 devotees greeting him. On the third day, I was the only one greeting him, but he didn't seem to notice me as I stood with folded hands. I stayed and chatted with the security guard, Rakshana Prabhu, by the outside door. Then I noticed Srila Prabhupada's footprints on the stairs going up to his quarters. He had apparently stepped in some muddy water in the alley and you could see the distinct pattern of the sole of his slip-on canvas shoes on the steps. I asked if I could wipe up the footprints with my Prabhupada hat and Rakshana Prabhu agreed. I turned the hat inside-out out and wiped up his footprints and gleefully put on the hat. Then I went into the temple and shortly thereafter Srila Prabhupada entered. I found this video of Prabhupada's entrance. I am the devotee second from the left in this image wearing the hat. Jaya Prabhupada!

Reference: FB post of Dugdhapana Dasa

Seeing God's Form

A short, stocky Indian man asked a leading question. “I would like to ask just one question. I would like to hear your explanation on how you have seen the form of God, if you have had any enlightenment on this, in what form you have..?”

Prabhupada did not wait for him to finish his question: “Here is the picture of Krsna. You don’t believe? You have not seen a picture of Krsna?”

“Yes, I have.”

“Then why do you say there is no form of Krsna? When you see a photograph of a person, how do you know that he has no form?”

The man did not understand Prabhupada’s question. Prabhupada repeated. “If you see a photograph of your father, how do you say that he is impersonal? That he has no form? How do you conclude? First of all answer me. I have seen the form of Krsna. You have seen also the form of Krsna. There are hundreds and thousands of temples in India. Do you think they are all fools? And they were established by big acaryas like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami and Lord Caitanya. There is Jagannatha temple. Every day hundreds and thousands of people are going to see. In Vrndavana there are 5,000 temples of Krsna. Five to ten thousand people are going. You know in India, there are so many pilgrimages. So do you think all these temples established by our predecessors, they are all fools?”

The man asked, “So therefore you conclude that when you become enlightened, you will see God in the form of human nature?”

“Yes. That is after.” Prabhupada answered the man’s doubt at length, and in conclusion told him “Chant Hare Krsna mantra with your tongue. Take Krsna prasadam. You will gradually develop your Krsna consciousness and you will understand what is God. That is the process.”

Reference: The Great Transcendental Adventure, Auckland '72

Krishna Balarama prototypes made at Radha-Damodara Mandir

Yamuna : We had a doll maker from Bengal come, and in this little courtyard space at Radha-Damodara Mandir, the first Krishna Balarama prototypes for our temple were made with straw and mud. Prabhupada said They should be posed with Balarama's hand resting on Krishna's shoulder. Srila Prabhupada liked that pose very much. I believe They were modeled after the painting Bharadraja Dasa did which was on the cover of Back to Godhead magazine.

Unfortunately, at the time the mice were particularly bad at Radha-Damodara, so when the prototype Krishna and Balarama Deities were stored in Srila Prabhupada's kitchen, the mice, probably attracted by the wheat flour, gradually destroyed Them. Finally, Srila Prabhupada asked us to put Them in the Yamuna River and requested that another, smaller set be made. And so a second pair of Krishna Balarama clay prototypes were then made. When They were done, those Krishna Balarama clay Deities were placed in a little niche in Prabhupada's cupboard.


Reference: Yamuna Devi - A Life of Unalloyed Devotion

That's how "Spiritual Sky" was born

Swarup: In '69 at 61 (2nd Ave) Gargamuni and I were trying to develop an incense business. First we asked Srila Prabhupada for permission; i.e. would it be authorized activity or maya. Srila Prabhupada said he wanted to think about it for a few days. Then he called us to his room and said that the Rama Krishna Mission in India does it, so we could also. (There is a historical connection between RKM in Calcutta and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta's Gaudiya Math of the 1930's, which is a story unto itself.)

New York Yellow Pages directed us where to get the scented oils, but we couldn't figure out where to get the sticks for dipping. Then someone recalled how as kids we lit our July 4th firecrackers with these slow burning "punks." The crackers were Chinese and so were the punks. Down in Chinatown, we found tons of punks, cheap as anything. All that was left was a brand name.

We debated over "Krishna", "Hare Krishna", "Lord Chaitanya", etc. but none seemed right. Finally, I reverted back to my pre-devotee days when I used to make major decisions by consulting the I Ching Book of Changes. You ask the book a question, open the book randomly, point to text on the page, and start reading. And the book always answered your question. So, I took out a copy of the first volume of the Indian Srimad Bhagavatam, opened it and here's what I read. "In the spiritual sky, the effulgence of Brahman is spread all round and the whole system is dazzling in spiritual light. The Mahat Tattva is assembled in some corner of that vast unlimited spiritual sky and the part which is thus covered by the Mahat Tattva is called the material sky. This part of the spiritual sky, called the Mahat Tatwa, is only an insignificant portion of the whole spiritual sky, and within this Mahat Tattva there are innumerable universes." And, that's how "Spiritual Sky" was born, straight from Srila Prabhupada's purport.

Reference: Facebook post of Swarup Hebel

Devotees doing kirtan on a flight

Satsvarupa: On February 22, 1976, three hundred fifty devotees arrived on a Boeing 747 Air-India jet at Dumdum Airport in Calcutta. The special flight, all devotees, had flown from Los Angeles to New York to London, picking up more devotees at each stop. As it was the first landing of a 747 in Calcutta, the mayor, local militia, leading Air-India dignitaries, and media people were on hand to greet the historic flight. One of the devotees told a reporter that the Boeing 747's coming from the West to Calcutta was the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada. Ten busloads of devotees then rode to Mayapur. This is the picture inside Boeing 747 with devotees doing kirtan on a flight.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 6 – Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Morning walk conversation in Potomac

Anuttama Dasa: This photo is taken during morning walk conversation in Potomac, at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in July 1976. Srila Prabhupada explaining the philosophy of Krishna consciousness and it is recorded by his personal servant Hari Sauri, behind Srila Prabhupada is Pusta Krishna and in front of Srila Prabhupada is scientist disciple of Srila Prabhupada Swarup Damodara.

Reference: Facebook post of Anuttama Dasa

At Magic Island, Ala Moana Park, Honolulu, Hawaii

Babhru Dasa: This Picture is at Magic Island, Ala Moana Park, Honolulu, Hawaii, January 1974, and it is interesting that the water at the shore is below their knees, and at the horizon above the waist. In the picture, Srila Prabhupada in the center, right to him is Bali Mardan Dasa, and left to Srila Prabhupada is Satsvarupa, the personal secretary of Srila Prabhupada. In front of Srila Prabhupada is Sudama standing with his danda. Next to Srila Prabhupada is Nitai and rear behind is Jayasri Dasi.

Reference: Facebook post of Babhru Dasa

Srila Prabhupada was interviewed by Village Voice newspaper

Gauracandra Dasa: The photo of Srila Prabhupada that appeared in the Village Voice in June 1966. Journalist Howard Smith interviewed Srila Prabhupada for the Village Voice newspaper in June of 1966. Mr. Smith was famous for interviewing 1960's counterculture icons such as John Lennon, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, Jim Morrison, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, etc. He interviewed Srila Prabhupada on the Lower East Side before the Hare Krishna movement took hold in the West, and unwittingly landed a very special interview.

Reference: Facebook post of Gauracandra Dasa