Visakha Devi Dasi: As we became known around Bombay, Prabhupada and our group were often invited to life members’ homes for kirtana, a discourse, and a feast. My culture shock from being in India had mostly worn off by this time, but these programs became another sort of culture shock, as I knew nothing about wealthy Indians’ opulence. The homes we visited were hidden from street view and usually palatial. Inside, while docile and efficient house-keepers scuttled in the background, our host and hostess treated us like princes and princesses. Also present were the host and hostess’ children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents, and friends.
I'd think of my own nuclear family and how I hardly ever saw my few cousins and had never even met some of my aunts and uncles as they were spread across continents. But more marvelous than the sheer number of family members was their attitude. With genuine concern, they attended to our every need. I simultaneously felt awed by their wealth and subservient mood, privileged to be present, undeserving, and, by comparison, uncultured. I'd never learned how to make guests feel truly welcomed. And I began to understand why the family bond in India was generally so much stronger than in the West.
At these gatherings, Prabhupada, polite, relaxed and friendly, sometimes asked the hosts their opinion on various matters and explained philosophical points to them. When we were served dinner, Prabhupada would caution us not to take more than we could eat, even though our hosts inevitably tried to give us more. Once, as he left the room after the meal, he noticed the plate next to mine had leftovers on it and quietly asked me, “Whose plate is this?” Before I could answer he continued, “Why hasn't she finished? We do not waste Krishna prasadam!” It wasn’t my plate, but I was still chastened. Waste displeased him. I would not waste.