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January 18, 1973 : Bombay

Yamuna: On January 18, Srila Prabhupada again engaged in a teasing pastime with me on the drive to his morning walk. Srila Prabhupada sat in the car with Mr. Mahadevia, two other invited Indian gentlemen and Tamal Krishna Goswami. We were all crowded in one of those small Ambassador cars, and I was the only woman. So it was like Srila Prabhupada was speaking just to men - as though no women were present. So the story of Lord Chaitanya stopping kirtana at the home of Srivas Thakur because he sensed a woman present was brought up.

By now, I was used to these exchanges, understanding on the one hand that there is some difference, yet having personal experience that Srila Prabhupada overlooked this and accepted the devotional service of any aspiring servitor - always seeing to the welfare of the soul, regardless of the body he or she inhabited. So Srila Prabhupada and the men were speaking and joking in Hindi in this crowded car, with me crowded in there with them. Then, just as they were getting out of the car, he spoke about the terrible politics in India and again quoted the Chanakya Pandit shloka that a politician or woman cannot be trusted. Everyone was laughing in a very jovial way and then, all of a sudden, Srila Prabhupada turned around, looked at me and said, "What do you think, Yamuna?" "Of course, I totally agree," I replied. "A woman's nature is discussed in so many places in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. She has many things that she must try to consciously conquer in this lifetime to go back to Godhead. It is the truth." I was also laughing.

But then Srila Prabhupada again became a little serious and said, "But you - you are not a woman. You are cent percent a devotee," and then the laughing stopped. Srila Prabhupada and I had a close relationship over the years, and I was present several times when he teased me in this way. He would always look over at me to check my reaction to his statements, and this was another such time.

Reference: Yamuna Devi - A Life of Unalloyed Devotion