Srila Prabhupada’s Childhood
We have actual experience in our childhood that our mother would not go next door to her house to observe
an invitation by walking; she would go in either a carriage or a palanquin carried by four men.
TRANSLATION: Riding in a palanquin covered with cloth and accompanied by maidservants, Sita Thakurani came to the house of Jagannatha Misra, bringing with her many auspicious articles such as fresh grass, paddy, gorocana, turmeric, kunkuma and sandalwood. All these presentations filled a large basket.
PURPORT: The words vastra-gupta dola are very significant in this verse. Even fifty or sixty years ago in Calcutta, all respectable ladies would go to a neighboring place riding on a palanquin carried by four men. The palanquin was covered with soft cotton, and in that way there was no chance to see a respectable lady traveling in public. Ladies, especially those coming from respectable families, could not be seen by ordinary men. This system is still current in remote places. The Sanskrit word asurya-pasya indicates that a respectable lady could not be seen even by the sun. In the oriental culture this system was very much prevalent and was strictly observed by respectable ladies, both Hindu and Muslim. We have actual experience in our childhood that our mother would not go next door to her house to observe an invitation by walking; she would go in either a carriage or a palanquin carried by four men. This custom was also strictly followed five hundred years ago, and the wife of Advaita Acarya, being a very respectable lady, observed the customary rules current in that social environment.
[Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 13.114]
My mother was very much fond of pickles. After resting
in the afternoon, she would take something very sour, pickle. We used to take with her also. (laughs)
Prabhupada: My mother was very much fond of pickles. After resting in the afternoon, she would take something very sour, pickle. We used to take with her also. (laughs) We were small children, my mother died when I was only 14 years old.
[S.P. Room Conversation, November 3, 1976, Vrndavana]
I lost my mother when I was only 14 years old. So I didn't
get much of my mother's affection in my childhood.
I lost my mother when I was only 14 years old. So I didn't get much of my mother's affection in my childhood. But in my old age, Krishna has given me so many young mothers to take care of me. Another mother Govinda Dasi is there in Hawaii. She is always asking me to go there. So I will go there within this month.
[S.P. Letter to: Yamuna, Malati, Janaki, Los Angeles, 20 February, 1969]
I thought in that way. When my mother died, as
the devotees of the Lord think, I also thought in
that way. What is that? 'Oh, it is a grace of
the Lord. My mother is now dead.'
Prabhupada: (break) He's going to be a Narada. Narada, when he was five years old, he was thinking that "My mother is too much attached to me." And when his mother died, he thought free. "Oh, I am now free."
Janardana: At the age of five.
Prabhupada: Yes, at the age of five. And at once he went out. In his previous life. Then from five years till the end of life he cultivated Krsna consciousness, and next life he became Narada.
Yamuna: Oh. (break)
Prabhupada: I think that is described in the first part of our Srimad-Bhagavatam. That story is there, how he convert, how he became Narada. (break).... This is the age for injecting Krsna consciousness. If children are taught Krsna consciousness from this age, the face of the world will be different. (break) ...but they are not Hindus. They have got also obstinacy like that. (break) It is very important. "I thought in that way. When my mother died, as the devotees of the Lord think, I also thought in that way. What is that? 'Oh, it is a grace of the Lord. My mother is now dead.' Because she is the, I mean to say, real cause of my nonfreedom. So she is now dead. Then I am free." It is very contradiction from the materialistic point of view. It is said that, bhaktanam sam abhipsatah. "As the devotees think, so I also in that way thought." What is that? Anugraham manyamanah. "I thought it a special grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Anugraham manyamanah pratistham disam uttaram: "And I at once took leave of my so-called home and went away." So that is the difference between the devotees of the Lord and materialistic persons. When their materialistic relationship, comforts, are taken away, they think "Oh, it is all grace." And the materialistic person, when their materialistic comforts are increased, they think, "It is grace."
[S.P. Room Conversation, October 27, 1968, Montreal]
Long, long ago, when I was child practically, I went
with my father in the village. So one man from the
village was serving us. So my father: "This boy
is nice. So why not take him to Calcutta?"
Prabhupada: Naturally everyone wants to stay at his own place. "Home sweet home." "There is no place like home." That's a fact. That is psychology. They will like to stay there. But if they have got facility to live here with family they may come.
Mahamsa: I was thinking we can make their house just like our house. If they are living right on our border, we can go to their house, tell them how to make an altar and make them live like how we are living. Let them stay there but let them live a good Krsna conscious life.
Prabhupada: They'll come gradually, not immediately. Immediately, the psychology is, they have got attachment for their house. It may be worse house, but still, their attachment... That is natural. Long, long ago, when I was child practically, I went with my father in the village. So one man from the village was serving us. So my father: "This boy is nice. So why not take him to Calcutta?" So one day he was absent. It was dropping and... So I went in the interior of the village and I saw that his house was broken, there was no roof, and rain was falling and he was sitting, covering with a cloth. Then I told him that "Why not come with us in Calcutta? We shall give you nice place, nice food." So his answer was, na babu kanceri jabo na (?): "Babuji, I cannot go out of my home." That was his home. (laughter) This is my practical exp... He was sitting idly and it dropping and he could not come to serve. Still, that is his home, and he cannot leave home, that "Babu kanceri jabo na (?). That is psychology. It may be very worse condition; still, nobody wants to give up "home sweet home."
[S.P. Room Conversation, December 12, 1976, Hyderabad]