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Photo Pastimes

Memories associated with the photo.

Swami to Give Lecture in City

Riddha Dasa: Srila Prabhupada's South African tour had been publicized in the Natal Witness newspaper on Saturday, October 11th 1975. It carried a notification of the city hall programme in Pietermaritzburg with the heading "Swami to Give Lecture in City." Word soon got around, and the deputy principal and staff of a local high school were encouraged to attend by the principal.

At the programme, the film The World of Hare Krishna and Prabhupada's lecture had a lasting effect on many of the several hundred Hindus who attended. For them this was the opportunity of a lifetime and the seeds of devotion were planted. Many people obtained books, such as Bhagavad-gita As It Is, which would nurture their spiritual being. This was no ordinary meeting.

As a result of this interaction, years later the deputy principal became a full-time devotee, now known as Lokabandhu Dasa. Srila Prabhupada enjoyed his tour in South Africa so much he told Pushta Krishna Swami that if the programmes were to continue in this way he was prepared to stay on, indefinitely.

Photo is the photograph in the Natal Witness.

Reference: Mission in the service of His Divine Grace - Riddha Dasa Adhikari

Prabhupada was so pleased by the Govinda Prayers

Danavir Goswami: It wasn't too long after I joined that the Govinda Prayers started to be played in the morning. The album had come from England, that Radha Krishna Temple album. Just one morning it happened. It seemed quite spontaneous that the Deity doors opened up and the Govinda Prayers went on, and Prabhupada went through his normal offering his dandavats in front of each altar. But when he went around and he sat on the vyasasana, tears were coming down his face. He was so pleased by the Govinda Prayers, and he wasn't able to speak for some time.

Reference: Following Srila Prabhupada - Yadubara Dasa

A brilliant rainbow hued Lord Krishna

Gaura Dasa: The Maverick was a rare contemporary of 1960's underground newspapers like the San Francisco Oracle, the Berkeley Barb, Seattle's Helix and New York City's Village Voice. The Maverick was published in both San Francisco and Haight-Ashbury.

In Vol.1, No. 2, 1967, there's a multi-page article entitled "Welcome To San Francisco", written as a survival guide for all the hippies arriving for the Summer of Love. Also included in this issue is an ad for the Straight Theater.

Most amazing is the centerfold spread - a brilliant, rainbow hued Lord Krishna, advertising Hare Krishna at the Fillmore Auditorium on Monday, June 26, 1967. We can't determine what bands (if any) joined the devotees that night. Perhaps it was a rare solo appearance?

Reference: Facebook post of Gaura Dasa

Installation of Gaura Nitai in Bhaktivedanta Manor, 1973

Vamsi Vadana: This is the Installation of Gaura Nitai in Bhaktivedanta Manor, 1973, and Srila Prabhupada doing arati for Their Lordships.

Reference: Facebook post of Vamsi Vadana Dasa

Most important event of my life

Bhadra Dasi: On the 20th of May, I gathered with my fellow initiates in the temple for our initiation ceremony. For the twenty-four of us, it was our special day. We had all bathed and were in brand new robes, because it was necessary to be completely suci to receive initiation.

Indeed, it's proper to be completely clean whenever in the presence of a maha-bhagavat. I had an orange harinama-chadar around my shoulders, and applied neat, clear tilak. I plaited my hair in two plaits, one at either side, making sure that the part in the middle was completely straight; and put blue ribbons at the ends of each plait.

Receiving initiation from Srila Prabhupada was the most important event of my life and I felt it was necessary to dress up for it. I had made sure that my bead bag was freshly washed and spotless.

Srila Prabhupada was before us on the rich red, pink and gold vyasasana. He spoke for some time about the glories of the holy name, and the offences against it which we were to carefully avoid. Listening intently, we sat on the cool, newly laid marble floor at his feet.

Reference: Facebook post of Bhadra Dasi

Little Saraswati garlanding Srila Prabhupada

Subhadra Dasi: Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan, in the Radha-Damodara Temple courtyard, October-November 1972. The first Kartika festival in Vrindavan. Little Saraswati, daughter of Shyamsundara and Malati, garlanding Srila Prabhupada. It is refreshing and cooling to get to see his moonlike face.

Reference: Facebook post of ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry

Second initiation of Bhurijana Dasa

Bhurijana Dasa: This is my second initiation from Prabhupada in New Vrindavan, 1969. Amid the kirtana and readings, Prabhupada called me to his side and softly intoned the Gayatri mantra into my ear. Then he demonstrated how to count ten mantras on my right hand. "Now you do it.Unsure, tired, inattentive, and frightened, I started counting from one to ten on the creases and tips of my right hand, praying that Krishna would guide me on the correct path from one to ten. Only by His mercy did I succeed.

Reference: My Glorious Master - Bhurijana Dasa

Just make Krishna your son

Damodara Dasa: I considered myself a film maker from 1961 to 1966. In addition to school projects and commercial jobs, I made several experimental shorts. Then I met Srila Prabhupada and my self-concept changed. I became his disciple. So for three years I trained my 8mm "home movie" camera on him.

Vaishnavas in 1967 was my first effort. Photo is at the proprietor of the seaside cabins, an elderly woman, lamented to Prabhupada that she had no children. He said to her, "Just make Krishna your son."

Reference: Damodara Dasa Website

Swamiji, what color are Krishna's eyes?

Govinda Dasi: When we met Swamiji, as he was called then, we had been away from the University for little more than a month. So we were never really "hippies." Almost immediately, we were initiated by him and given the names, Goursundar Dasa and Govinda Dasi.

During my first year of college, I had studied under Thomas Payne, one of the best watercolor artists in America. I had also excelled in life drawing, as I had a flair for drawing the human figure. Between my second and third year of college, I studied art in Europe, in France and Italy, and for a short time in Holland. So I was familiar with the Medieval and Renaissance Schools of art, as well as those of the Dutch Masters, and the art history of Europe, as well as England and America. Yet nothing could have prepared me for the wonderful world of transcendental art that Swamiji, Srila Prabhupada, was about to bring to the realm of mankind.

My first assignment was a huge painting of Radha and Krishna, beside a Surabhi cow, near a desire tree in the Vrindaban background. The painting was four foot by four foot; Swamiji gave me a small book jacket to copy. It was the cover of his Srimad Bhagavatam that he had brought from India. Then he described the details. So only days after meeting His Divine Grace, I was painting daily on this large work, while my husband, Goursundar Dasa, read aloud to me the first three volumes of Swamiji's Srimad Bhagavatam. These three volumes that had traveled with Swamiji from India were the only books we had. Though they sounded like "Indian English," in places, they were wonderfully inspiring; one of my best memories in life is painting and hearing from those early volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam.

However, since I was a new devotee, I often had to ask questions about the work. Swamiji welcomed my questions; he clearly wanted me to paint everything exactly as he described. So I would go to his nearby apartment, where Hayagriva was often present as well, working with Swamiji on the manuscripts of his books. Hayagriva would ask questions about the manuscripts, and I would ask questions about the artwork. Swamiji welcomed our questions; in fact, he encouraged them. Since the book cover he had given me was quite small, I had to ask him about various details.

For example, I had no idea what color to paint Krishna's eyes. So, on one occasion, I went to Swamiji's apartment to ask about this. He was sitting in his rocking chair in the tiny living room, chanting on his japa beads. He welcomed me with a big sunshine smile. After offering my obeisances, I asked, "Swamiji, what color are Krishna's eyes?" For a few long moments, Swamiji was quiet. Then, with a faraway look, as if he were actually gazing at Lord Krishna across the room, he said, with absolute certainty, "Blackish!" I had the distinct feeling that he simply looked into another dimension, one that I could not see, and into Lord Krishna's lotus eyes. This was one of the first of many mystical experiences while working with Srila Prabhupada.

Reference: A Transcendental Art - Govinda Dasi

It was as though His Divine Grace was listening

Patita Uddharana Dasa: At New York's LaGuadia Airport, 1971. That's Pradyumna on the left smiling blissfully. Rupanuga's son Ekendra is next to Prabhupada. I was sitting behind my spiritual master and rapt in prayer. By his countenance it was as though His Divine Grace was listening.

Reference: This is my heart - Patita Uaddharana Dasa