The Miami temple was located on two and a half acres in suburban Coconut Grove. On the property were several large banyan trees, and flowers and tropical vines grew along the fencing surrounding the property. To Śrīla Prabhupāda the climate was similar to India.
As he was entering the temple room on his arrival, Prabhupāda noticed an adjoining room housing tulasī plants, and he entered. Śrīla Prabhupāda smiled to see the room crowded with very healthy tulasīs in large pots. He then entered the temple room. Once again Śrīla Prabhupāda beheld Gaura-Nitāi as the worshipable Deity. He had just come from Caracas, where the same two transcendental brothers were the presiding arcā-vigraha incarnations. It was mid afternoon, and Śrīla Prabhupāda sat on the vyāsāsana and addressed the twenty or so devotees who had gathered in Miami for his arrival.
“It is a great fortune for you,” Śrīla Prabhupāda began. “Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared for delivering all kinds of fallen souls in this age. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, pāpī tāpī jata chilo, hari-nāme uddhārilo, tāra sākṣī jagāi mādhāi. So, brajendra-nandana yei, śacī-suta hoilo sei, balarāma hoilo nitāi. The same Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Kṛṣṇa has appeared as the son of mother Śacī, and Balarāma has appeared as Nityānanda. Their business is to deliver all fallen souls, especially in this age, Kali-yuga. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission was that He should be present by His name, by His form, by His pastimes, in every town and village of the world. And you are fulfilling His mission. So undoubtedly you will be blessed, and you will get Kṛṣṇa’s mercy through the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. To understand Kṛṣṇa is not so easy thing.”
SrIla Prabhupāda emphasized the difficulty of attaining spiritual knowledge in the material world. Recalling a recent talk with a psychiatrist in Caracas, he told how the man had adamantly refused to understand the existence of the soul. So the devotees were fortunate.
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu,” Prabhupāda continued, speaking slowly, “out of His great compassion for the fallen souls, He appeared. Kṛṣṇa comes also. But Kṛṣṇa is not so liberal. Kṛṣṇa makes conditions that ‘First of all you surrender, then I take charge of you.’ But Caitanya Mahāprabhu is more compassionate than Kṛṣṇa, although Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya Mahāprabhu are the same thing. By Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy we are so easily understanding Kṛṣṇa. That Caitanya Mahāprabhu is present here. You worship Him. It is not very difficult. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ. Kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam/ yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana. You simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and whatever you can, offer Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is very kind. He does not take offense. Radha-Kṛṣṇa worship is a little difficult. We have to worship with great awe and veneration. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu has voluntarily come to deliver the fallen souls.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda continued explaining the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya does not accept any offense from His worshipers, and He is pleased just by your dancing and chanting, the easiest process for God realization.
“So as far as possible,” Prabhupāda requested, “if possible twenty-four hours—if that is not possible, at least four times, six times—chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra before Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and you will get success in your life. So I am very glad that you are worshiping Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu. So continue to do this. There is no need of installing Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, at least at the present moment. When you become more advanced in spiritual consciousness, then you can establish. But even if you do not establish, it does not matter. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is sufficient. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is combination of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. In one place you worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. So I see this place is very nice, and you are also very nice. Take advantage of this opportunity and go on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and worship Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He will bless you sufficiently to become successful in getting shelter at the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda stayed in the house next door to the temple, in several rooms prepared for him. In the living room an altar was set up, and to the right and left of the altar were potted tulasī plants in white straw baskets. On the wall hung a large poster of Lord Kṛṣṇa speaking to the despondent Arjuna.
Traveling such a great distance from South America to leave again after a day or two was a real test whether Prabhupāda could follow his usual schedule while in Miami. But he did. As usual, he took rest that evening and rose about 1:00 A.M., translating and commenting on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the same room he had slept in. Wherever he was, Śrīla Prabhupāda was always steady—with Kṛṣṇa. As he had once commented, “No place is my home. My home is at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.”‘
Putting aside his books, Prabhupāda took his japa beads and in the still pre-dawn began chanting, pacing back and forth in his room. Śrutakīrti, who had returned as Prabhupāda’s servant, entered, made obeisances, and performed some duties in Prabhupāda’s room. While chanting, Śrīla Prabhupāda gazed at the picture of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. Suddenly he smiled and said, “I like this picture very much. It is very instructive.”
“What is that, Śrīla Prabhupāda?” his servant asked.
“Kṛṣṇa is saying,” Śrīla Prabhupāda explained, “‘You have to give up everything. Very difficult job. You have to kill your family members.’ Arjuna couldn’t do it, but he had to do it because it was Kṛṣṇa’s order. That is kṛṣṇa-bhajana. One has to be ready to give up everything and do what Kṛṣṇa wants.”
Dawn arrived, but the skies remained gray. Prabhupāda went by car to a secluded section of Miami Beach and walked along the shore. He wore a wool cādar against the slight chilliness in the air.
Sureśvara: We were walking right along the edge of the water, and the water would come up, and Prabhupāda’s cane would touch just beyond where the water reached. His cane would make little holes in the sand. Someone would ask a question, mostly Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Mahrāja, and Prabhupāda would sometimes stop walking to answer it. At one point on the walk when Prabhupāda stopped to answer a question, I stopped right in back of him. We would all walk with him, and the positions of the people would change just by the nature of our walking. At one point when he stopped, I was right in back of him, behind his head, and as he answered the question he turned and faced me. I suddenly had an intense understanding that even though I was next to Prabhupāda physically, actually I was a million miles away from him because my consciousness was so un-Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted to see the temple rooms and the grounds. But when he walked into the yard and saw it covered with leaves from the various trees, he showed his displeasure. He reprimanded the temple president, Abhirāma, saying that the grounds should always be kept clean and the leaves raked. Actually, because the yard had no grass, the devotees had carefully gathered leaves and spread them out evenly all over the yard, thinking they would be like a soft carpet for Śrīla Prabhupāda. They imagined he would like to walk on it when he went to the vyāsāsana they had set up for him outdoors under the banyan tree. But Prabhupāda criticized the dirty, unkempt appearance. This was K:rsna’s property, he said, and should not be neglected. “Look at the neighbors’ yards,” he pointed out. “Their yards are clean. Why do you have leaves on the ground?” Abhirāma made an excuse. “Under the leaves,” he said, “there is only dirt. So we thought the leaves would keep the dust from rising.”
Prabhupāda replied sharply, “There are nice lawns everywhere. Why here you have dirt? Why?”
Another Miami devotee made the mistake of replying, “Prabhupāda, there’s no one to do it.” Śrīla Prabhupāda looked around at the twenty people following him. “How is this? No one to do it?” He refused to speak in the backyard until they cleared away the leaves. And so, while Prabhupāda went to his room, the devotees began to remove the carefully placed “carpet” that they now saw as piles of dirty, insect-infested leaves.
For breakfast Śrīla Prabhupāda took the juice of local coconuts, which were golden colored, and found it delicious. He also took his favorite fruit, mango, which grew abundantly there. His class was in the evening, and so he took time in the morning to speak with Abhirāma. Abhirāma presented an idea of forming a farm community in Florida. He told Śrīla Prabhupāda about Disney World in Orlando, where māyā was presented expertly.
“We should also have a place like that,” Prabhupāda replied. “It should be called Vaikuṇṭha World.” A farm community, Prabhupāda said, should be according to varṇāśrama, and everyone should be engaged according to his propensity and occupation.
The evening class was a treat. It was cool, about seventy degrees, compared to the oppressive heat of the day. The setting was dramatic. Spotlights shone on Śrīla Prabhupāda as he sat on a vyāsāsana under the banyan tree, while guests and disciples sat around his feet. Prabhupāda chose to speak on the first verse of the Thirteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā. Although he lectured regularly on Bhagavad-gītā as he traveled, he did not use consecutive verses from city to city. In each city, he would open the book at a different place and begin from there.
Śrīla Prabhupāda had repeatedly taught that the basis of Bhagavad-gītā and of all spiritual life is to hear submissively from the spiritual master. “Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is teaching people how to become submissive to the authority.” Again he recalled the psychiatrist who visited him in Caracas. The man’s arrogant unsubmissiveness had made an impression on Prabhupāda; even so-called educated men were too proud to submit themselves to absolute authority.
“This psychiatrist’s question was,” Prabhupāda said to his audience in Miami, “‘The problems of the world are increasing, so what is your prescription to solve these problems?’ So the problem is very easy to be solved. I gave the example that the body is here, and there is something which is moving the body, the living force. So that living force is the driver of the body, and also the body is described in the Bhagavad-gītā as a machine.”
Prabhupāda explained the Bhagavad-gītā verse, commenting that real knowledge was to know the difference between the self and the body. To manufacture a nice car or machine was not education.
“In India,” Prabhupāda said, “he who knows how to join wires and bring current like an electrician is called a mistrī. Mistrī means ‘worker.’ But that does not mean he is educated. Education is a different thing. But at the present moment the education is technical. Formerly this technical education was entrusted to the demons. Formerly they also manufactured big, big airplanes, but that was being done by the demons—not by the great saintly persons or sages, no. That was being done by the demons. The yogīs could also produce wonderful things by their yogic mystic power. That was another thing. But generally, where there was a question of manufacturing, that was being done by the demons. Education, however, means brahma-vidyā, to understand what is the living force within the body—What is his constitutional position? How is it working? Where from it has come?”
On the second night Prabhupāda lectured again. Each talk was lengthy, and he answered all questions. As the last question on the last evening in Miami, one of the devotees asked, “Śrīla Prabhupāda, if someone takes prasādam even once, is it true that they are guaranteed at least a human body in their next life?”
“Yes,” Prabhupāda replied. “You go on simply eating, that’s all. And all of my devotees, they have come to me simply by eating prasādam.” As he said this, Prabhupāda was beaming, smiling, looking all around. When his glance fell on Abhirāma, the temple president, who sat beside him, Prabhupāda said, “You, too, Abhirāma?” Abhirāma looked sheepish and said, “‘Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda.” Prabhupāda made other devotees admit their attraction for krsna-prasādam. “You also?” he asked one after another. “You also?” Everyone admitted, until the audience was thrown into laughter and appreciation of prasādam.
“Yes,” Prabhupāda continued in good humor. “‘So we give all facilities. If you cannot do anything, please come and eat with us. All right, thank you very much.”
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