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Prabhupada with "Radha and Krishna"

Prabhupada in Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (Radha and Krishna in the background), summer 1968.

Bhurijana: Radhashtami fell on a Sunday during Prabhupada's visit. The devotees planned to go with Prabhupada to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and hold kirtana. Indira Dasi and her sister, Ekayani Dasi, were to be dressed up during the outing as Radha and Krishna. "We should treat them just as we would Radha and Krishna," the temple president told us.

Prabhupada arrived by car while most of the devotees rode the subway. (I wasn't sure how "Radha and Krishna" made their way, but later I found out that they too took the subway.) The overcast sky suddenly cleared as Prabhupada arrived and illuminated the park with his presence. The devotees sat around Prabhupada, and Radha and Krishna sat nearby on a blanket. Prabhupada led the kirtana and the devotees chanted and danced with their hands in the air.

I brought my 35-mm Kowa SLR camera, but I had no film. I was bubbling with anxiety. I really wanted to take pictures, so I left the kirtana to scour the New York streets for a shop open on Sunday that sold film. I ran and ran, finally found the film, and rushed back. I had been gone half an hour and the kirtana was going strong. I snapped some photos. One was included in the original ISKCON Handbook - Prabhupada chanting with Indira and Ekayani behind him dressed as Radha and Krishna - published in 1969 by ISKCON Press.

Prabhupada took part in the entire Radhashtami festival without saying a word about "Radha and Krishna." The devotees even offered them food and accepted their remnants as maha-prasadam. Months later, I heard that Prabhupada said it was not bona fide and that we should not do such things.

Reference: My Glorious Master - Bhurijana Dasa