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Do you want to live as animals or go back to Godhead?

Early the next morning, Prabhupada went on a walk through the streets near our house. It was very cold and snow covered the ground. Prabhupada wore his long, hooded coat, which one of the devotees had made for him, and which I was now glad I had been lugging around with us since Los Angeles. Hardly anyone else was up yet, but when we met one elderly woman dressed in the traditional Japanese sari, she bowed at the waist and seemed to respect Srila Prabhupada as a saintly person. We entered a small park that would have covered an area no bigger than an empty street corner lot in the West. It was very intricately designed, and for me it was a fascinating, mystical adventure to follow Srila Prabhupada down the narrow paths, ducking branches and exploring. Srila Prabhupada quoted a verse by Sukadeva Gosvami, "Do the trees not give fruit? Do people not throw rejected clothes in the street? Are there not caves in the mountains?" Prabhupada thus described the life of a true renunciate. "The Japanese people" he said, "work so hard to live in nice houses. But Sukadeva Gosvami says there is no need to flatter materialists in order to get food, clothing and shelter. If one is renounced, then nature, under God's direction, can provide these necessities, and one can be freed to pursue self-realization." Walking closely behind Srila Prabhupada, I questioned, "But the hippies in Hawaii might say that they follow these verses of Sukadeva Gosvami, eating only fruit, and wearing discarded clothes." "Therefore, vairagya is useless without Krishna consciousness," Prabhupada replied. "Monkeys also live in the forest and eat fruits, but they have many girlfriends and much sex life. If a human being lives like a monkey, then in his next life he will be an animal. Just as in this industrialized city of Tokyo, people are working hard for sense gratification, but in their next life they will be animals. Do you want to live as animals or go back to Godhead?" Prabhupada spent the rest of the day in his little room and again spoke about devotees straying away from the association of Vaishnavas. "The deviators," Prabhupada said, "claim they are above the rules and regulations of devotional service. But we never are. Follow these rules or you have to follow others. We must follow the traffic rules, the rules of birth, the rule of death, disease, and old age. These rascals claim that they are higher devotees, but in Hawaii they didn't come to see me to pay obeisances." In this way, Prabhupada stressed that an advanced devotee was one who was faithful to the spiritual master and followed his program strictly. Anyone could be judged on that basis. In the afternoon, a few officials from the Dai Nippon printing company, who had been printing Prabhupada's books for years, came out and honored prasadam with Prabhupada. One of these businessmen also accompanied us to the airport and stayed with Prabhupada right up until we boarded the plane for Hong Kong. I had so far not encountered any difficulty in making travel arrangements. We had round-the-world tickets, and everything was working on schedule. But just thinking of upcoming travel and baggage handling, communications with the next temple, and possible delays or difficulties, regularly put me into anxiety. But as things continued to go smoothly, I realized that I was not in control and that Krishna was guiding Srila Prabhupada, His pure devotee. It was as Srutakirti had remarked when he was leaving and I was joining as Prabhupada's servant: there seemed to be a special protective aura around Prabhupada and whoever traveled with him. Nevertheless, I continued my anxiety while traveling, thinking myself responsible for Prabhupada's security and comfort.


Reference: Life with the perfect master - A personal servants account by Satsvarupa Das Goswami