Srila Prabhupada’s Childhood
Pages 39 to 41
My father would never take food at anyone's house
or in the hotel. He will find out some temple
and pay them and take prasadam.
Formerly, the system was, there was no hotel, but there were temples. You go and you can purchase very cheap price. I went with my father in my childhood in a place. My father would never take food at anyone's house or in the hotel. He will find out some temple and pay them and take prasadam. Still there are many temples. So I was about ten years old at that time, say, seventy years ago. So he paid two annas to the pujari and he gave us so much. It can be eaten by five, six men. Kicheri, vegetables, varieties. So much. Two annas.
[S.P. Room Conversation, January 3, 1976, Nellore]
In our childhood, when I was a boy of eight or
ten years, sometimes I used to accompany
my father. My father was a great devotee.
He would take prasadam from the temple.
In India there are many thousands of Krsna temples all over India, especially in Vrndavana. I have several times told you that Vrndavana is the city, only fifty thousand people, not even one hundred thousand, fifty thousand people within a small city. But there are five thousand temples, five thousand, all Krsna temples. Now, in each and every temple you will find how nice foodstuff. According to the capacity of the temple owner, oh, very, I mean to say costly foodstuff are being offered. And those foodstuff is distributed amongst the poor class men.
Now, at the present moment, after the, we have got sva-raja, or independence, the government has interfered with this sort of service. They say that "This is waste of money. Why you are offering?" They are becoming atheist. But this is not waste of money. At the cost of the rich men, the prasadam was being distributed to the poor class of men at a nominal cost. You see? Now, poor men, they go to hotel. But if they take prasadam in a temple, oh, the far better quality foodstuff is supplied to him only at nominal cost. In a hotel, what will be charged, one dollar, he can have it in the temple for ten cents. So this is still more sane.
In our childhood, when I was a boy of eight or ten years, sometimes I used to accompany my father. My father was a great devotee. He would take prasadam from the temple. So I have got experience that we paid for two dishes, four annas. Four annas means, according to modern exchange, it is five cents only, five cents according to your exchange value. For five cents we were, very nice prasadam we can get. Two persons we were fed. Still there is a place which is called Nathadvara. Nathadvara, if you pay there two annas, you will get worth prasadam, two dollars worth. So this system is going on still.
So if one has got sufficient means, he should supply Krsna to his best capacity. But when Krsna wants that "You give Me..." He says... This is the lowest common factor. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Anyone, any poor man in any part of the country, they can supply Krsna and take the prasadam. So that by taking that prasadam, you become free from the, I mean to say, responsibility of being sinful.
[Bhagavad-gita Lecture, 4.19-22, New York, August 8, 1966]
My father, he used to be guest
of a Muslim gentleman.
My father, he used to be guest of a Muslim gentleman. He was his customer. So he used to make separate arrangement my father, a brahmana attendant, supplying all foodstuff. So there was no... And he was coming to our house, so he, accompanied with his servant Muslims, we used to supply foodstuff. They were cooking in their own way. Of course, no meat was allowed, but there were friendship. And while departing, he would give us some money, four rupees, five rupees, in the hands of all our brothers and sisters and offer respect to my mother as "Auntie." These feelings were there. This ill feeling was created by the Britishers. When they saw that Gandhi is improving the Hindu-Muslim situation, they created a, what is called, a split.
[Bhagavad-gita Lecture 2.13-17, Los Angeles, November 29, 1968]
"I like you very much. I have no son.
Why don't you become my son?"
Prabhupada: Another gentleman in Hasi(?)... We were going in the same car. So he requested me, "Please come here." An old man, nice, very well-to-do man. And after giving the nice seat and some refreshment, so he said that "I like you very much. I have no son. Why don't you become my son?"
Tamala Krsna: Seems like everyone is very affectionate to you, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Yes, it is Krsna's grace. He picked up on the street like this.
Tamala Krsna: That man?
Prabhupada: Yes. Ne, adopted son, that is a practice.
Tamala Krsna: In America also, they have the foster home. The children are there, and parents may go and adopt some child.
Prabhupada: That is everywhere. So that village gentleman, that place I liked.
Tamala Krsna: Would you have agreed to stay with him?
Prabhupada: I would have been glad. Very nice foodstuff, very nice, clean, and he has got his fresh vegetables, like that.
Tamala Krsna: How old were you?
Prabhupada: At that time I was ten years old. Or twelve years. Not more than twelve years. But I liked that place very much. They still presented the foodstuff, fresh. I have been many... Not many. In the village so tasteful, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and they cooked so nicely. Nice milk. Everything very nutritious. That life is gone. What is this nonsense life, hanging in the daily buses, outside. Krsna advises to live village life, agriculture, and utilize time for understanding your spiritual life. That is... So we are trying to introduce this, this farm life.
[S.P. Room Conversation, April 19, 1977, Bombay]
I had such experience. I had some experience in
my childhood in 1911. I was thirteen years old.
There was a riot.... So I would have been
killed in that riot.... Saved. Krsna saved.
Unless Krsna saves, who can?
Prabhupada: I had such experience. I had some experience in my childhood in 1911. I was thirteen years old. There was a riot. So our house was there in Mahatma Gandhi Road, and all sides Muhammadans. We are simply... The Mulliks and our house are simply some respectable men. Otherwise it was surrounded (surrendered?) by... That is called Kwalabala and Bastik, all Muhammadans, backside fully Muhammadans. So the riot was there, and I went to play. There is a square, Marker(?) Square. So I did not know the riot has taken place. I was coming home. So one of my class friends said that "You do not go to your house. That side is rioting now." So because we are in the Muhammadan quarter, this fighting between two parties, that was going on. It is usual. So I thought it may be like that, that two gundas are fighting. I have seen. One gunda is stabbing the other gunda. I have seen. And they are pickpockets. When you are passing they would... I have seen, he is pickpocketing. (laughter) And they were our neighbor men. So I thought "It must be like that. This is going on." But when I came the crossing of Mahatma Gandhi... At that time Harrison Road it was. Harrison Road and Holi..., Holiday, Halliday Street, yes. So one shop was being plundered. Putamat putamat putamat..." So I was child, a boy. I became... "What is this happening?" In the meantime all, my father, mother, members: "Oh, the child has not come." They became so mad, they came out of home expecting, "Wherefrom the child will come?" So what could I do? When I saw, then I began to run towards our house, and one Muhammadan, he wanted to kill me. He took his lathi and actually... But I passed through some way or other. I was saved. So as soon as I came before our gate they got their life. So without speaking anything I went to the bedroom, and it was in the month of... It is winter. So I... Without saying anything I laid down, wrapping myself with quilt. So that time I was rising: "Is it ended? The riot is ended?" I was asking. I remember. So I would have been killed in that riot. So I have got experience of this riot. That is the first riot in Calcutta, in 1911.
Gopala Krsna: We haven't had any such experience.
Setterji: I was passing on my car after Pakistan from Laul(?) and they put bomb, hand grenade, and the back glass broken, but we...
Prabhupada: Saved. Krsna saved. Unless Krsna saves, who can? So I had the experience of riot in Calcutta in my childhood.
[S.P. Room Conversation, January 3, 1977, Bombay]