Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON 50 Meditations: August 22, 2016
By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami   |  Jan 01, 1901
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Prabhupada Accepted Our Awkwardness

There are awkward moments in spiritual life, especially in the beginning.  One is hesitant to chant or dance or to accept the “Indian God”.  And yet we are drawn to Krishna consciousness.  In one of his early lectures, Srila Prabhupada said something which assured us not to feel awkward.

This was at a time when I myself did not know whether I wanted to be completely surrendered to him and agree with everything he said, or whether I wanted to consider myself an interested visitor to the storefront.  Prabhupada said, “I can assure you that those who are taking seriously to Krishna consciousness are doing so because you have practiced it in your past life.”  He said this while lecturing on the Sixth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita.  Prabhupada said, “Why are you coming to the storefront?  You have the urge.  And this is coming from the past.  If we accept what the Bhagavad-gita says, then you have developed your attraction to Krishna consciousness in a past life and it is coming up again.”  When Prabhupada said this, it made me feel privileged and rare.  Everyone likes to think that perhaps within himself he is a mystical person, a yogi, and here was Prabhupada giving us just such information about our own past lives.

Once I crossed over the line between guest and disciple, there were still awkward moments.  One night, before I was initiated, I was hanging out in the storefront with a few of Prabhupada’s followers.  Suddenly, Prabhupada walked into the storefront, although it was not an evening in which he was scheduled to lecture.  He said that he had come down because he saw a light on in the storefront bathroom and he did not want the electricity to be wasted.  After he turned off the light, we stood facing Prabhupada, and there seemed nothing else to say.  It was an awkward moment because our relationship with Prabhupada was so undeveloped.  Prabhupada had his great hopes for spreading Krishna consciousness, but so far not much had happened.  It would also be in the future that we would become more attached to Prabhupada and understand him better.  So everything was undeveloped and we were waiting.  One has to endure those times in order to go on to something better.

And sometimes you can see it all very clearly, how you are undeveloped and awkward.  You can see your lack of serious devotional relationship with Prabhupada.  He was a stranger to you, and yet he was awesome, the way he came down gravely and caught you all hanging around idly.  He suddenly came into our midst and we had nothing much to say to him, and not much to offer him.  At that moment Srila Prabhupada also had nothing more to say to us except, “I came down because I saw the light on.”  Of course there was much more.  Prabhupada had not come to America just to stay alone in his room and to notice that a light was on in the downstairs bathroom.  But at each particular moment, you sometimes have to accept only a little bit.  You accept it and go on, and Krishna makes better things happen.

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