Srila Prabhupada's Childhood
Pages 11 to 17
A nitya-siddha never forgets the service of the Lord. He is always engaged, even from childhood, in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Sri Narottama dasa Thakura therefore sings: gaurangera sangi-gane nitya-siddha kari mane. Every devotee should know that all the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu--His family members, friends and other associates--were all nitya-siddhas. A nitya-siddha never forgets the service of the Lord. He is always engaged, even from childhood, in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. [Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhy-lila 3.167]
The name was kept Abhaya. Abhaya means
"There is no fear of death of this child." In my maternal uncle's house, because I was born on
the Nandotsava, they kept my name Nandadulal.
...surrounded with Krsna consciousness. That was my great fortune.
My father, mother, my relatives, my neighborhood... I had the
opportunity mixing with... (break) Everywhere there was Krsna
consciousness. And they were all well-to-do, rich. This was the
opportunity. Then gradually it developed. My father was a great
Vaisnava. He was worshiping Radha-Krsna. Our family Deity was
Damodara. So hereditary we are Vaisnavas, followers of Nitai-Gaura.
[S.P. Room Conversation, July 19, 1977, Vrndavana]
I remember when I was only about one year old, there was a great sankirtana in our house
and I also joined the dancing party.
If we are passing through so many stages of life from birth or from the womb of the mother, then what is the reason that one does not believe there is no life after death? Can you say, any one of you? What is the reason? You remember your boyhood body; I remember my youthhood body. So that body is no longer existing, but I am existing. I remember my childhood body. My babyhood body also, I remember, particularly. When I was about six months old, I still remember very vividly, I was lying down on the lap of my eldest sister, and she was knitting. I remember still. Yes, six months. I remember when I was only about one year old, there was a great sankirtana in our house and I also joined the dancing party. And I was seeing up to their knees, very small. So I remember those days. And then after that, I was a boy. I was very much fond of cycling. So many things. Yes. So many dangers, so many adventures. Now I am old man. So all those different stages of body, I remember. But these bodies are not existing. So similarly, I remember or forget, but I was in different types of body--that's a fact. So similarly, after leaving this body, I will have another body. That is natural conclusion.
[S.P. Conversation with Dai Nippon, April 22, 1972, Tokyo]
Daily hundreds and hundreds of people were dying.
I was one year old or one and a half year old.
I have seen what was happening, but there
was plague epidemic.... the plague was
subsided by sankirtana movement.
This is the law of nature. If you become disobedient to God, then prakrti or nature will give you trouble in so many ways. And as soon as you become submissive, surrender to Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there will be no more natural disturbances. I have heard in 1900, 1898--I was born in 1896--so I have heard, I have seen also, I remember, in Calcutta there was a very virulent type of plague epidemic in 1898. So Calcutta became devastated. All people practically left Calcutta. Daily hundreds and hundreds of people were dying. I was one year old or one and a half year old. I have seen what was happening, but there was plague epidemic. That I did not know. I, later on, I heard from my parents. So one babaji, he organized sankirtana, Hare Krsna sankirtana. When there was no other way, so he organized sankirtana all over Calcutta. And in the, in sankirtana, all people, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Parsi, everyone joined. And they were coming, they were going road to road, street to street, entering in every house. So that Mahatma Gandhi Road, 151, you have seen. The sankirtana party we received very nicely. There was light, and I was very small, I was also dancing, I can remember. Just like our small children sometimes dances. I remember. I could see only up to the knees of the persons who were joined. So the plague subsided. This is a fact. Everyone who knows history of Calcutta, the plague was subsided by sankirtana movement.
Of course, we do not recommend that sankirtana should be used for some material purpose, that is nama-aparadha, nama-aparadha. Shama sa bhakti kriya (?) pramana. Sankirtana, you can utilize sankirtana for some material purpose, but that is not allowed. That is nama-aparadha, because nama, the holy name of Krsna, and Krsna, they are identical. You cannot utilize Krsna for your personal, material benefit. That is aparadha. Krsna is the Lord. You cannot engage the Lord for your service. Similarly you cannot utilize the holy name of the Lord for some material purpose. That is not allowed. So anyway, because ye yatha mam prapadyante. If you wanted some material benefit by chanting Hare Krsna mantra, you'll get it, but that is nama-aparadha. You won't get the ecstasy of loving God. That is the aim of chanting Hare Krsna mantra: how you shall elevate yourself to the platform of loving God. That is required. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje. Not for utilizing the holy name for some material purpose. But this happened, we have got experience, I have heard, I have seen. [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.5, Mayapura, June 20, 1973]
So in my childhood, when I was one and
one-half years old, I suffered from typhoid
Prabhupada: So in my childhood, when I was one and one-half years old, I suffered from typhoid, and the Dr. Karttika Candra Bose, he said that he, "Please give him chicken juice." So my father refused: "No, no, we cannot." "No, no he has to be given. Now he has become very weak." "No, no, I cannot allow." "Don't mind, I shall prepare in my own house and send. You simply..." So it was sent from his house, and when it was given to me, immediately I began to vomit. And my father threw it away, and when the doctor asked that this was the... "No, no, then don't bother." This story I heard. This allopathetic system of medicine introduced all these things in India. Otherwise they did not know.
[S.P. Room Conversation, August 2, 1976, Paris]
I asked my mother in my childhood,
"My dear mother, how did I come out
from your belly?" I still remember.
Just like a child, he does not know how he is produced. I know. I asked my mother in my childhood, "My dear mother, how did I come out from your belly?" I still remember. So my mother showed me her navel: "You come out from this place." So anyway, a child cannot understand, but when he grows up, he understands everything. So how Krsna consciousness acts, how this transcendental sound cleanses your heart, you may not understand in the beginning, but if you take to it and if you practice it, then you understand.
[Srimad-Bhagavatam Lecture, 6.1.7, San Francisco, March 1, 1967]
In our childhood I remember that even for going
to the privy I wanted permission of my mother,
"Can I go?" That is nature.
Just like father and son, little child. He wants to do something and wants permission from the father or the mother. And he gives. In our childhood I remember that even for going to the privy I wanted permission of my mother, "Can I go?" That is nature. That is nature. Mother is not restricting me; still, I am asking the permission of mother. "Can I go? Can I go?" I remember it. This is natural. Similarly, we cannot do anything without the permission of the Supersoul within the heart.
[Bhagavad-gita Lecture, 13.23, Bombay, October 22, 1973]
We were taught, "There is a grain of rice on the ground, and if it is touched by your feet, you should pick up the grain and touch on your head."
[S.P. Room Conversation, June 28, 1974, Melbourne]
This is my childhood practice. I do not
like to see anything wasted, nor I waste.
You had everyone busy trying to keep up. Even now I see that you're
not at all wasting a second. Even in the middle of the night you
[S.P. Room Conversations, February 20, 1977, Mayapura]
My father also was keeping a cloth shop...
So one basinful rice he will keep in the middle
of the shop. And there are rats. So the rats
will take the rice, and not cut even a
single cloth. It is practical.
That is the system. That is mentioned in Bhagavata. If the animals
like monkeys, they come to your garden to eat, don't prohibit. Let
him. He's also Krsna's part and parcel. Where he will eat if you
prohibit? It is very practical. I have got another. This is told by
my father. My father's elder brother was keeping a cloth shop. My
father also was keeping a cloth shop. So it is in the village. So my
uncle, what he would do, that before closing the shop, he'll bring
one, what is called...?
[S.P. Room Conversation, June 11, 1974, Paris]
In my childhood, when I was three, four years old,
I was saved. My all cloth burned, and there
is a scar. You have seen. I would have died
that day, but fortunately I was saved.
In my childhood, when I was three, four years old, I was saved. My all cloth burned, and there is a scar. You have seen. I would have died that day, but fortunately I was saved. The cloth was burning. That, what is that called, matches color? So I was trying to burn, and it caught my cloth. So the cloth burned, but I did not burn. Similarly, this body also burns, but the soul... Nainam chindanti sastrani na dahati pavakah. The soul is never cut into pieces by any weapon, neither it is burned by the fire, soul. That is eternity. Anything material, it will burn, it will be cut into pieces, it can be dried up, it can be moistened.
[Srimad-Bhagavatam Lecture, 1.8.30, Mayapura, October 10, 1974]
So we took very much pleasure in watering.
But my special tendency was that along with
the plants, I, with the bushes, I'll sit down.
My tendency. And I'll sit down for hours.
Yes. No, I like this life, from my very childhood. And on our roof
there were trees, plants, flower plants, and... My grandmother,
she... We, all grandchildren used to water it. So downstairs we took
water in, what is called? A jhari?
[S.P. Room Conversation, August 2, 1976, Paris]
In this mango season, because father saw it
that "There must be a full basket of mangoes
daily for the children," so we were jumping,
playing and eating mangoes.
Rather, they are more distressed. Take for example, in our childhood
my father's income was, utmost, three hundred rupees. So we were not
very rich men. But we had no want. Father was maintaining his
family, getting children married, distributing the wealth.
Everything very nice. And we never felt any want. In this mango
season, because father saw it that "There must be a full basket of
mangoes daily for the children," so we were jumping, playing and
eating mangoes. And now, taking consideration of gold standard... At
that time my mother was purchasing gold, twenty rupees...
[S.P. Conversation, May 19, 1977, Vrndavana]
From my childhood I liked this lemonade
Prabhupada: From my childhood I liked this lemonade. I think it was cost, in our childhood, three paisa.
[S.P. Room Conversation, July 18, 1976, New York]
In our childhood we were thinking
that in the gramophone box there is
a man. And the fan there is a ghost.
You, why do you believe on your seeing? That is the defect. That is
the defect of the Westerners. They are very deficient; still they
say, "I cannot see." What is your seeing power? Suppose if Narada
comes, some demigods come, but you cannot see. Just like when Lord
Nrsimhadeva appeared, Prahlada was seeing. "Is your God here?"
"Yes." And he could not see. So why do you believe so much on your
seeing? You have to attain seeing power. That is very good example,
Prahlada... Hiranyakasipu asking Prahlada, "Where is your God?" "My
God is everywhere." "He is on the pillar?" "Yes." So he was seeing,
but he was not seeing. He became angry and broke the pillar. "Let me
see, where is your God." This is the position. So one has to create
the eyes to see things. Not that whatever eyes you have got you can
see everything. No. Just like motorcar is being driven, a child is
seeing that the car is running automatically. And the father is
seeing, "No, there is driver."
[S.P. Morning Walk, May 21, 1975, Melbourne]
Just like in our childhood we used to think
that the gramophone box, there is a man,
and he is speaking from the box.
Just like in our childhood we used to think that the gramophone box, there is a man, and he is speaking from the box. This is a childish suggestion only, but similarly, anyone can think that within this body there is something which is making the body moving. It is not very big philosophy.
[S.P. Room Conversation, June 19, 1974, Germany]