Memories associated with the photo.
Visakha: In early July, tens of thousands attended San Francisco's Rath-yatra parade and festival. Prabhupada addressed them in a sunny meadow in Golden Gate Park, saying that the Bhagavad-gita was the basis of the Krishna consciousness movement. And the Bhagavad-gita reminds us that we are integral parts of God, who is the chief of all living beings. It's God who maintains all living beings. It's He who is the predominator. We are maintained and predominated.
My heart gladdened to hear Prabhupada explain these basic points. He spoke with conviction, and what he said was based on the authority of scriptures and sages throughout the ages. It was also clear and logical and epically relevant. "Why didn't more people 'get' it?" I thought, completely ignoring the grim fact that only weeks before, for some unknown reason, I'd been missing it myself.
After his talk I started to climb the stage steps to photograph the event when a devotee blocked me, saying, "Women are not allowed on the stage." I explained that I was authorized by Prabhupada to take photos, but this man was adamant. Usually, I devised ways to circumvent such obstacles, but this time I found myself disheartened - after all, the fundamental Krishna conscious understanding was that we're not these male or female bodies but spiritual beings, and besides, this person was interfering with my service, and anyway, women as well as men should be on the stage, and so on.
Suddenly weary, I meandered to the middle of the field behind the audience and plopped down on an empty chair, thinking, "If I could think of something better to do than Krishna consciousness, I'd surely do it." I wondered what my life would have looked like if Prabhupada hadn't entered it. Through a lens of oversimplification, I suddenly saw myself caught in a web of competition, clambering for photographic assignments, climbing a ladder of prestige while trying to ignore a pervasive stench of phoniness and meaninglessness. Probably drinking more than wise. Hiding beneath a layer of competence and conviviality. Certainly confused. In summary, miserable.
After a short time the kirtan intensified. I looked up to see Prabhupada getting off his seat. He took a bunch of pink roses and threw them one by one into the huge crowd. Finally, he threw what was left of the bunch and, raising his arms, began to dance. I stood on the chair I'd been sitting on and realized I was in an ideal spot to take photographs: in the lower part of the frame were the audience's upraised hands - black and white, men's and women's, young and old - and in the center was an ecstatic Prabhupada surrounded by his blissful students. Behind him stood the Deities.
The experience left me humbled: how easily my consciousness had drooped. How much I needed help with my service, and how ignorant I was of the ways in which that help came. Clearly, awareness of Krishna, which was natural for Prabhupada, was superficial for me. Yet, also clearly, someone was trying to help me. I bowed my head in thanks.
Reference: Five Years, Eleven Month - Visakha Dasi
Gargamuni: In 1970, I purchased the above Los Angeles temple and constructed Srila Prabhupada's 4 rooms which were before closets - everyone, all devotees were engaged for the simple pleasure of Srila Prabhupada - the representative of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Later Srila Prabhupada comments - if he is given a big task to do, Gargamuni has got determination and he always comes out successful in this matter of raising money and doing some big work with it, just like when he purchased our Los Angeles temple.
Reference: Facebook Post of Gargamuni Dasa
Gargamuni: At Tokyo in April 1972, Srila Prabhupada spoke with Top Directors of Dia Nippon. To Srila Prabhupada's right is his servant Nanda Kumar and to his left is Karandhara, who was one of the best managers at that time. Srila Prabhupada challenges the Top Directors of Dia Nippon; they were the topmost printing company in the world at that time and they were printing Srila Prabhupada's books. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu challenged the Kazi, Srila Prabhupada challenged them.
Prabhupada: I challenged him, "You are Buddhist." "Yes." "You are eating meat?" "Yes." "What is this?" [laughs] That was my first talking with him.
Sudama: They were wanting to talk business for a long time. You were simply preaching to them.
Prabhupada: Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the Kazi. His first question was that, "What kind of religion you are following, you are killing your father and mother?" This was His beginning of the talk. "What kind of religion it is?" "How is that? I am killing my father, mother?" "Yes, cow is your mother and bull is your father. You are killing them. The bull is giving you grains by working in the field, and the mother is giving you milk, and you are killing them." [Morning Walk February 4, 1976, Mayapur]
The Directors had absolute respect for Srila Prabhupada as a genuine saintly person and gave him huge credit facility simply based on his word of paying later - a policy they never gave to any other customer.
Reference: Facebook post of Gargamuni
Riddha Dasa: October 10th, 1975, Durban. It was on this day that Srila Prabhupada received Dr. S.P. Olivier, the rector of the University of Durban-Westville, privately in his room. Prabhupada had deep and meaningful discussions with the rector and came to like him very much. He said that he was a good and a very open man. He stressed further that he wanted to bring his disciple, Svarupa Damodara Dasa, a Ph.D., to take up a post at the University of Durban-Westville.
Reference: Mission in the service of His Divine Grace - Riddha Dasa Adhikari
Gargamuni Dasa: In 1968 Rayrama Dasa editor of Back to Godhead wanted to print ISKCON'S distaste for cow-slaughter by showing a man with cow-face slaughtering a cow with a man-face. Srila Prabhupada stopped this. Srila Prabhupada said depicting this picture is indirectly advertising cow-slaughter.
Reference: Facebook post of Gargamuni Dasa