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Tamal Krishna Goswami
By Siddhanta dasa
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
In memory of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami, we submit a few of his stories about his relationship with Srila Prabhupada.
Tamal Krishna Goswami: The devotees invited me to a darshan where I heard Prabhupada beautifully sing the Chintamani prayers. Afterwards he asked if anyone had any questions and I raised my hand. At that time America was at war with Vietnam, and at our age, the draft board was a problem. I was very concerned about whether or not I would be drafted, and so I asked Prabhupada to describe what the spiritual world was like. He looked at me and said, "In the spiritual world there are no draft boards."
Then he told a story. He said, "There was once a Christian minister who was preaching in England to coal miners. He said that the hell that awaited someone if they didn’t accept the shelter of Jesus was a terrible place, dark, dank, cold, and wet. He said, "No one would want to go there."
But all of the coal miners were thinking, "Well, if that’s hell, where are we? We’re already in hell. It doesn’t sound very fearful to us. That’s where we live now, we’re coal miners."
The minister was trying to think of a way to convince them to worship Jesus and finally he said, "In hell, there are no newspapers and there is no tea."
Then they all said, "Oh, then we must worship Jesus."
Prabhupada said, "So in the spiritual world, there are no draft boards. Is that all right?"
I said, "Yes," and everybody said, "Jai!"
The first time Prabhupada saw me with a shaved head, he said, "Ah, now you are an ideal brahmachari." He was pleased that I had shaved my head because although I had been keeping my hair short, I wouldn’t shave up. I had joined with Vishnujana and he had shaved up, but I hadn’t. When I finally did, Prabhupada appreciated it.
On the first walk I went on, I asked Prabhupada, "How many pure devotees are there on the planet?"
Srila Prabhupada asked, "How many devotees are there in ISKCON now? That is how many pure devotees there are.
We made about twelve dollars the first day. I went back to the temple and said, "Gargamuni, we did twelve dollars."
He said, "Wow! I’m gonna give up my shop. This is big, this has huge potential." The next day I decided to take Back to Godhead magazines with us, and when people gave a donation, I gave them a Back to Godhead. By the end of five days the collections had gone up to forty dollars. I wrote Prabhupada day by day how it was increasing.
Prabhupada wrote me, "Don’t worry so much about money. If Krishna wants to, He can give you the whole USA. The question is what will you do with it? Do you know what to do with it?" It was a sobering letter.
In the early days, I was the temple commander in the La Cienega temple in Los Angeles. Prabhupada called me one day and asked me to get the Bhagavatam. He had his original Bhagavatam with the spiritual sky on the cover. He said, "Do you see this spiritual sky? It’s very big. You cannot fathom how big this is. Three-quarters of Krishna’s creation is the spiritual sky and one-quarter is the material creation. That material creation has innumerable universes. One universe is so big the scientists can’t measure it. We’re on one planet in one of those universes out of innumerable universes, which constitute one-quarter of the creation. This one planet, earth is one of the smaller planets in this universe. On this planet there are seven continents, and on one of the continents, North America, there is a great city called Los Angeles. In that Los Angeles city, there’s a long boulevard called La Cienega. On that La Cienega Boulevard, there is one church building that is now a Hare Krishna Temple. In that one Hare Krishna Temple, there is one Tamal Krishna, and he thinks that he is very important." (Laughs) I felt so small.
Before the operation began, they gave me an anesthetic and said, "Count from ten, down." I got to about seven and that was it. I was meditating on Radha Rasabihari in the aratik and then I had a very good dream. In my dream Srila Prabhupada had been called by the previous acharyas to make a report on his preaching mission on this planet. The previous acharyas asked Prabhupada, "What is your report?" Prabhupada said that he had studied the people of this planet and he had found that they had no capacity for any type of austerity. Nor were they very capable of studying, nor were they very pious. He said the only thing that they were able to do was, "somehow take shelter at my feet."
After the operation they wheeled me to my assigned room. Prabhupada was sitting there. He said, "I came here as fast as I could. I wanted to stop the operation because I think you should have had this operation in America, but anyway it is done now." He had come all the way from Juhu in a jeep in the middle of the rush hour to try to stop the operation. I told Prabhupada about the dream. Prabhupada listened very intently and said, "Actually, this is so."
For the complete "Memories" from Tamal Krishna Goswami"
(Tapes 10, 11, 16 & 29) please contact:
© CHAKRA 16 March 2002
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