Open in App
Open in App

Srila Prabhupada Stories

Stories shared by Srila Prabhupada during conversations and lectures.

Krishna Hypnotizes His Devotee

Rasagra rasena grhyate vasi kriyate. Krishna vasi kriyate. Vasi kriyate means hypnotized. It is so nice that one becomes hypnotized. Otherwise, why the boys are working so hard? (laughter) They're all qualified. They can earn money outside. In your country sufficient money is paid for work, but they are hypnotized here. (laughter)

So Krishna is so nice. Yes. He's the all-attractive. He hypnotizes His devotee in spite of... Just like the Pandavas. The Pandavas, they were Krishna's friends. Arjuna was friend. All the brother... Arjuna was very intimate friend, but other brothers, four brothers, they were also Krishna's friend. And Kunti, the Pandavas' mother, she happened to be the aunt of Krishna. So they were well, mean, established in relation with Krishna. But as a result, they were banished for twelve years. They lost the game, so they were banished. And their wife, Draupadi, was insulted. They could not insult her, but they tried to insult her. They tried to make her naked in the assembly. And they lost their kingdom, and they were banished for twelve years.

So Narada met Krishna. His devotee, he could speak Krishna with little criticism, "My dear Sir, Krishna, by becoming Your devotee the Pandavas are very happy. They have lost their kingdom. Their wife is insulted. And now they are banished for twelve years. So it is very good thing. (laughter) But the wonderful thing I see, now, in spite of all these inconveniences, they have increased their love for You." So Narada, he is astonished, "What kind of hypnotism you do, I do not know. (laughter) In spite of being placed in so much inconveniences, their love for You has increased." That is the position of Pandavas. This is Krishna consciousness.

Reference: Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.18 - New Vrindaban, June 22, 1969

Krishna Consciousness - The Ultimate Purifier

There is a story how habit is the second nature. There was a thief, and he went to pilgrimage with some other friends. So at night, when other friends were sleeping... Because his habit was to steal at night, so he got up at night and he was taking one body's baggage and tried to pickpocket or take something. But he was thinking, "Oh, I have come to this holy place of pilgrimage. Still, shall I do that, committing theft, my habit? No, no. I shall not do it." So he was taking the bag of one person and was keeping in another place. So in the whole night the poor fellow did like that. But due to his conscience that, "I have come to this holy place. At least, during my stay here, I shall not do this stealing business."

So in the morning, when all other friends got up, everyone said, "Oh, where is my bag? I don't see!" Another man says, "Oh, I don't see my bag." Then somebody says, "Oh, here is your bag!" So there was some row. So they thought, "What is the matter? How it so happened?" Then the thief rose up and told all friends, "My dear gentlemen, I am a thief by occupation, but because I have that habit to steal at night, so I wanted to steal something from your bag, but I thought that, 'I have come to this holy place. I shall not do it.' So I placed, I might have placed one man's bag in another man's place. So excuse me." So this is the habit. He does not want to commit theft, but he has got the habit of doing that. So similarly, here he has decided not to commit theft anymore, but because he's habituated, sometimes he does.

So therefore Krishna says, "In that condition, one who has decided to stop all bad or immoral habits and just to make his progress in Krishna consciousness, even by chance, if he does something which is immoral in the face of the society, that should not be taken account of." Of course, that is by chance. And in the next verse, you'll find, kshipram bhavati dharmatma: "Because he has dovetailed himself in Krishna consciousness, it is sure that he will become a saintly, I mean to say, a pure saint very soon. Very soon."

The example is... Just like the electric fan is going on, and if you put off the switch, you'll see the fan is still going on. But that going on will stop because the switch is already off. Similarly, if one dovetails himself in Krishna consciousness, then automatically he'll become a saintly person. Automatically. Because his switch is made off. Just like the fan, when the switch is made off, the current supply is stopped. Now... There was a force of running. You may see that it is running for few minutes. But it will stop. Similarly, anyone, it doesn't matter what he is, if he puts himself, dovetails himself in Krishna consciousness, then all his material contamination will be washed off. Washed off.

Reference: Bhagavad-gita 4.7-9 - New York, July 18, 1966

Confidence in Krishna

Brahmananda: Brahmana is not to accept any employment.

Prabhupada: No. He'll die of starvation, he'll not accept any employment. That is brahmanaKshatriya also that, and vaisya also. Only sudra. A vaisya will find out some business. So there is a practical story. One Mr. Nandi, long, long ago, in Calcutta, he went to some friend that, "If you can give me a little capital, I can start some business." So he said, "You are vaisya? Mercantile?" "Yes." "Oh, you are asking money from me? Money's on the street. You can find out." So he said, "I don't find." "You don't find? What is that?" "That, that is a dead mouse." "That is your capital." Just see.

So in those days, plague in Calcutta, plague was going on. So Municipal declaration was any dead mouse brought to the Municipal office, he'll be paid two annas. So he took that dead body of the mouse and took to the Municipal office; he was paid two annas. So he purchased some rotten betel nuts with two annas, and washed it and sold it at four annas or five annas. In this way, again, again, again, that man became so rich man. One of their family member was our godbrother. Nandi family. That Nandi family still, they have got four hundred, five hundred men to eat daily. A big, aristocratic family. And their family's regulation is as soon as one son or daughter is born, five thousand rupees deposited in the bank, and at the time of his marriage, that five thousand rupees with interest, he can take it. Otherwise there is no more share in the capital. And everyone who lives in the family, he gets eating and shelter. This is their... But the original, I mean to say, establisher of this family, Nandi, he started his business with a dead rat, or mouse.

That is actually fact that if one wants to live independently... In Calcutta I have seen, even poor class vaisyas, and in the morning they'll take some dal, bag of dal, and go door to door. Dal is required everywhere. So in morning he makes dal business, and in evening he takes one canister of kerosene oil. So in the evening everyone will require. Still you'll find in India. Nobody was seeking for employment. A little, whatever he has got, selling some ground nuts or that peanuts. Something he's doing. After all, Krishna is giving maintenance to everyone. It is a mistake to think that, "This man is giving me maintenance." No. Sastra says, eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. It is confidence in Krishna that, "Krishna has given me life, Krishna has sent me here. So He'll give me my maintenance. So according to my capacity, let me do something, and through that source, Krishna's maintenance will come." Just like we are maintaining so many people in the Krishna consciousness movement. So what business we are doing? But we are confident that Krishna will send us our maintenance. That confidence is required.

A sudra means he becomes disturbed, "Oh, I have no employment. How shall I eat? Where shall I go? Where shall I live?" He has no faith in Krishna. The brahmana has got full faith, the kshatriya has got little less faith, the vaisya, little less faith, and the sudra has no faith. This is the difference.

Reference: Conversation on Bhagavad-gita 4.13 - Vrindavana, August 5, 1974

Chewing the Chewed

One who does not know what is real happiness, they are seeking happiness in this material world. There is a nice story. A man, a friend, was advised by his friend that, "If you chew sugarcane, oh, it is very nice, sweet." The friend who was advised to chew sugarcane, he had no experience what is sugarcane. So he asked his friend, "Oh, what is the sugarcane?" The friend suggested, "It is just like a bamboo log." So the foolish man began to chew all kinds of bamboo log. Now, how he can get the sweetness of the sugarcane? Similarly, we are trying to have happiness and pleasure, but we are trying to derive happiness, pleasure, eschewing enjoying this material body.

Reference: Bhagavad-gita 6.21-27 - New York, September 14, 1966

Real Progress

First of all technology of the senses, and then, next higher technology is of the mind, which is known as psychology. Thinking, feeling, willing. They are trying to understand how they are working. And above this mind, mental science, there is the science of intelligence. And above the science of intelligence, the background is the soul. Unfortunately, we have got technology for the bodily senses, we have got technology for psychology, but we have neither any technology for intelligence nor for any technology in the science of the soul. The Krishna consciousness movement is the technology of the science of soul.

There is a nice story. You'll appreciate it. In India, especially in Bengal, there are many rivers. The land is full of rivers. Because it is on the bank of the Bay of Bengal, all rivers are falling. Especially the East Bengal, is full of rivers. One student of technology was going home, and he was on the boat. So the student was asking the boatman, "Do you know what are the stars?" The boatman said, "Sir, we are ordinary boatman. What do we know about these stars?" "Oh. Then your fifty percent of life is wasted, useless." Then he was asking, "Do you know what are these trees? Do you know any science of botany?" He said, "Sir, we are ordinary laborer. What do we know about botany?" "Oh. Then seventy-five percent of your life is useless." In this way the student of technology was asking the boatman, "Do you know this? Do you know that?" And he said that, "I am ordinary man. What do I know all these things?" Then all of a sudden there was a black cloud, and there was storm, and the river began to be inflated, and the boatman said, "My dear sir, do you know swimming?" "Oh," he said, "no." Then he said, "Then your cent per cent knowledge is spoiled. Now you have to go down to the river. Your life is finished." In this way they dropped in the river, and the technological student, because he did not know how to swim, so the storm and the waves grabbed him.

The idea is that we are making progress, certainly, in technology, in economics, in so many other departments of human necessities. But Bhagavad-gita says that real problem of this world, or real problem of our life, it is said in the Bhagavad-gita, janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-doshanudarsanam [Bg 13.9]. If you are intelligent enough, then you should see the real problem is birth, death, old age and disease. Janma means birth, and mrityu means death. Janma-mrityu-jara. Jara means old age, and vyadhi means disease. So actual material problem is this, janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi. We have forgotten that, "In the abdomen of my mother, how precarious condition I was living in." Of course, we can know from the description of medical science or any other science how the child is packed up there and how much suffering is there. The worms bite the child and he cannot express; he suffers the suffering. Similarly, the mother eats something, and the pungent taste also gives him suffering. So these descriptions are there in the sastras, in the scriptures and authentic Vedic literature, how the child suffers within the abdomen of his mother.

So these are the sufferings of birth. At least, one child has to remain in that air-packed condition at least for ten months. Now just imagine if you are put into that air-packed condition for three minutes now, you will immediately die. But actually, we had that experience to remain in the mother's womb in that air-packed condition for ten months. So suffering was there, but because the child was incapable of expressing, or his consciousness was not so elevated, he could not cry, but the suffering was there. Similarly, at the time of death there is suffering. Old man, just like us, we have got so many complaints, bodily complaints. Because now everything, the anatomical or physiological condition, is deteriorating. The stomach is not digesting foodstuff so nicely as when I was young I could digest. So the sufferings are there. Similarly, disease. Who wants disease? So modern technology, they have advanced undoubtedly, but there is no remedy for, I mean to say, to stop birth, death, old age and disease. This is real problem. But because these problems cannot be solved by the modern scientific advancement of knowledge, they have practically set aside or neglected because they cannot solve it.

Reference: Lecture to Technology Students [M.I.T.] - Boston, May 8, 1968

Krishna Bears Witness

I'll cite one story. It is a very interesting story. If you go to India, you'll find one nice temple in Orissa. It is called the temple of "Witness Gopala,Sakshi-Gopala, Witness Gopala. This Gopala was situated in a temple at Vrindavana. Now, two brahmanas, one young and one old, they went to visit Vrindavana, the place of pilgrimage. Because at that time there was no railway, the journey was very hardship. The old man felt very obliged, and he began to say to the young man, "My dear boy, you have done so much nice service to me. I am obliged to you. So I must return that service. I must give you some reward." So the young man said, "Oh, my dear sir, you are old man. You are just like my father. So it is my duty to serve you, to give you all comforts. I don't require any reward." Formerly, the boys were so gentle. And still, there are many boys like that. So the old man also thought that, "No, I am obliged to you. I must reward you." So he promised that, "I shall get you married with my youngest daughter."

Now, the old man was very rich man, and the young man was not rich. He was poor, although he was brahmana, learned. So he said that, "You are promising. You don't promise this, because your kinsmen, your family men, will not agree. I am poor man, and you are rich man. You are aristocratic. So it will be not, this marriage will not take place. Don't promise in that way before the Deity. It is not good, because Deity is there." But he was firm faith that, "Krishna is hearing," because the talks were going on in the temple. "So it will not be fulfilled." "No." The old man became still more persistent, "No, my daughter I shall offer you. Who can forbid me?"

So in this way, when they came back, one day the old man proposed to his eldest son that, "Your youngest sister should be married with that boy. That I have promised." Oh, the eldest son of that old man become very angry, "Oh, how you have selected that boy to be husband of my sister? He's unfit. He's poor man. He's not so educated. Oh, this cannot take place." He did not agree. Then the mother of the girl, she came to the old man, "Oh, if you get my daughter married with that boy, then I shall commit suicide." Now the old man is perplexed.

Then, one day, the boy was anxious that, "The old man promised before the Deity. Now he is not coming." So one day he came to his house, "Well, my dear sir, you promised before the Lord, Krishna, and you are not fulfilling your promise? How is that?" The old man was silent, because he was praying to Krishna that, "I am now perplexed. If I persist in offering this daughter to this boy, now there will be great trouble in my family." So he was silent. So, in the meantime, the eldest son came out and he began to quarrel with, "Oh, you, you plundered my father in the place of pilgrimage. You gave him some LSD or something, [laughter] intoxication. You took all the money from my father. Now you say that he has promised to offer you my youngest sister. You fool!" He began to say like that.

Then all the neighboring gentlemen, they, "Oh, what is the trouble? Here there is so much howling." "Do you think, sir, that this boy is fit for my sister? We are aristocratic family and this and that...," so on. So the young man could understand the old man is still agreeable, but his sons and family members, as he suggested, they are not agreeable. So he explained the whole thing before all the gentlemen who came, that, "This is the fact. Now, he promised. Now, for the sake of his son and wife, he cannot fulfill his promise. This was a promise before the Lord." In the meantime, the old man's eldest son - he was atheist - he voluntarily says, "Well, if your God comes and gives witness, then I shall offer my sister to you."

But he was confident that God will come. He said, "Yes. I shall ask God. I shall ask Krishna to come and give witness." Now, before all gentlemen this was done. Then the young man said, "All right, let us now come to agreement that I shall call Krishna from Vrindavana to give witness in this matter, and when He comes, you'll have to." All the other gentlemen, they also persisted. So there was some agreement. So this boy went again to Vrindavana to his Gopala, and he prayed that, "Sir, You have to go with me." He was so staunch devotee, just like talking with friend. He did not think that He's a statue, it is image. He knew God. That was his conviction. So God said, "How do you think that a statue can go with you? I am a statue. I cannot go." Then this boy replied, "Well, if a statue can speak, He can go also." [laughter] Then Krishna said, "All right, I shall go with you."

Then there was some arrangement that, "You will not see Me, but I will go with you. I'll go with you, and you hear, you'll hear the sound of My nupura." A nupura is an instrument which is fixed up in the leg of Krishna. It sounds like "ching, ching, ching, ching," just like that. So He was going with him, and daily he was offering some foodstuff, taking alms from the village. In this way he was coming, but when he came in the precincts of the village, of his own village, he could not hear the sound of the nupura. So he saw back, "Oh, where is Krishna?" He saw that statue there, the statue standing. So he informed all the villagers that Lord has come to be witness. It is about some thousands years before, this thing happened. People were convinced, "Yes. Such a big statue, this boy could not bring." So they believed, and there was a temple constructed by the king of that country.

And still that temple is there, and it is named, the Lord is named, as Sakshi-Gopala. Sakshi-Gopala. Gopala is the name of Krishna's boyhood. So because He came to give witness in that controversy, so that temple is still there. So the whole idea is the statue. Because God is everywhere. So He's also in statue. God is everywhere. How can you say that He's not in statue? He's also in statue. So it is my devotion, it is my qualification, that I can induce that statue to speak with me. Just like the same way - if I am electrician, then I can fit any electrical instrument or machine or light from the electric energy which is all over - similarly, God's energy, He is present everywhere...

Reference: Bhagavad-gita 9.4-7 - New York, November 18, 1966

A Devotee Has Equal Vision

When you take the animal to the slaughterhouse for killing, he cries. Why? Because he's feeling pain. He knows that, "I'm going to be killed." So there is soul. Soul is there. You don't think that soul is not there. Soul is there. Therefore, a Krishna conscious person who has realized God, he is samah sarveshu bhuteshu, he's equal to all living entities. He'll feel pain even for cutting a tree. He'll feel pain, he'll feel pain even he traverses over an ant.

There is a story that one hunter, he was killing in the forest all kinds of animals, and he was killing them half. So they were suffering too much severe pain. So Narada Muni was going in that way. He saw that these animals have been half killed, and they are so much suffering. Who is doing that? So he searched out the hunter. He requested, "Sir, you are killing the animals. Why don't you kill them all at a time? Why you are killing half? They are suffering. You'll have to suffer in that way." The hunter did not know that killing animals is sinful and he has to suffer again. So he said, "Sir, I am trained like this by my father. This is my profession. I do not know what is sin. But this is the first time I am hearing from you that killing this animal, especially in this way, is very much sinful."

So because he saw a saintly person, he got his sense. He asked him that, "How I can get rid of this sinful life?" So Narada Muni suggested that, "I shall give you the way how you can become free from this sinful life." So he made him a disciple and asked him to chant this Hare Krishna mantra and sit down on the bank of the Ganges, and the hunter said, "Sir, where shall I get my food?" Narada Muni said, "I'll send you, don't bother. I'll send you food." So the village people, when they understood that the hunter has become a saintly person, so everyone used to come and see him. Somebody was bringing some rice, somebody wheat, somebody some sweets, some fruits, some flower. So huge quantity of foodstuff was coming. So in this way, he became a perfect saintly Vaishnava.

Later on, when Narada Muni came to see him, he was coming to receive the spiritual master, jumping over the road. So when the hunter, now he became Vaishnava, Narada Muni and his friend Parvata Muni asked, "Why you are jumping?" He said, "Sir, there are so many ants, so I was trying to save their life." The same hunter who was killing animals one time half-dead and was enjoying, is no more interested to kill even an ant. This is called saintly life. Samah sarveshu bhuteshu. Samah, equal to all living entities. Not that simply protection should be given to the human being.

Reference: Bhagavad-gita 18.41 - Stockholm, September 7, 1973

Simply Wonderful

Prabhupada: After all, we have to accept authority. So why not best authority, Krishna? Then your life becomes successful. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna. Any question?

Nanda-kisora: What happens to a person if we just give him out on the street one Simply Wonderful or some prasadam, one piece of prasadam?

Prabhupada: That is wonderful, simply wonderful. [laughter] He has not tasted such wonderful sweet in his life. Therefore you give him wonderful, and because he's eating that wonderful sweet, one day he'll come to your temple and become wonderful.

Devotees: Jaya!

Prabhupada: Therefore it is simply wonderful. So go on distributing this Simply Wonderful. Your philosophy is simply wonderful. Your prasadam is simply wonderful. You are simply wonderful. And your Krishna is simply wonderful. The whole process of simply wonderful. And He acts wonderfully, and it is acting wonderfully. Who can deny it?

Kirtanananda: Prabhupada is simply wonderful.

Prabhupada: That's all right. You can become... Everyone. Hmm. All right, have kirtana.

Reference: Lecture - New York, July 20, 1971

The Story of Dhruva

In this connection there is a story of a little boy, about five years old, named Dhruva, who belonged to a royal family. In the course of time his father, the king, tired of his mother and deposed her as his queen. He then took another woman as queen, and she became stepmother to the boy. She was very envious of him, and one day, as Dhruva was sitting on the father's knee, she insulted him. "Oh you cannot sit on the lap of your father," she said, "because you are not born of me." She dragged Dhruva from his father's lap and the boy became very angry. He was the son of a kshatriya, and kshatriyas are notorious for their quick tempers. Dhruva took this to be a great insult, and he went to his mother who had been deposed.

"Dear Mother," he said, "my stepmother has insulted me by dragging me from my father's lap."

"Dear son," the mother replied, "what can I do? I am helpless, and your father no longer cares for me."

"Well, how can I take revenge?" the boy asked.

"My dear boy, you are helpless. Only if God helps you can you take revenge."

"Oh, where is God?" Dhruva asked enthusiastically.

"I understand so many sages go to the jungle and forest to see God," the mother replied. "They undergo great penances and austerities in order to find God there."

At once Dhruva went to the forest and began asking the tiger and the elephant, "Oh, are you God? Are you God?" In this way he was questioning all the animals. Seeing that Dhruva was very much inquisitive, Sri Krishna sent Narada Muni to see about the situation. Narada quickly went to the forest and found Dhruva. "My dear boy," Narada said, "you belong to the royal family. You cannot suffer all this penance and austerity. Please return to your home. Your mother and father are very much anxious for you." "Please don't try to divert me in that way," the boy said. "If you know something about God, or if you know how I can see God, please tell me. Otherwise go away and don't disturb me."

When Narada saw that Dhruva was so determined, he initiated him as a disciple and gave him the mantra, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Dhruva chanted this mantra and became perfect, and God came before him. "My dear Dhruva, what do you want? You can take from Me whatever you want." "My dear Lord," the boy replied, "I was undergoing such severe penances simply for my father's kingdom and land, but now I have seen You. Even the great sages and saints cannot see You. What is my profit? I left my home to find merely some scraps of glass and rubbish, and instead I have found a very valuable diamond. Now I am satisfied. I have no need to ask anything of You."

Thus even though one may be poverty-stricken or in distress, if he goes to God with the same determination as Dhruva, intent on seeing God and taking His benediction, and if he happens to see God, he will no longer want anything material. He comes to understand the foolishness of material possessions, and he puts the illusion aside for the real thing. When one becomes situated in Krishna consciousness, like Dhruva Maharaja, he becomes fully satisfied and doesn't want anything.

Reference: On the Way to Krishna

Transcendental Competition to Serve

There is a nice story about Sanatana Gosvami, of whom we are now studying. Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami, two brothers, they went to Vrindavana for devotional service. Rupa Gosvami, especially, he was always engaged in writing books. And when he was hungry, he went to some householder, "Give me a piece of bread." They were leaders. All the Vrindavana inhabitants, they took... Even their household quarrels, they used to represent, "Swamiji, this is our position. Please settle up." So whatever decision he would give to the villagers, they will accept. Their court was Swamiji, Rupa Gosvami. So he was so lovable.

So one day Rupa Gosvami was thinking that, "If I could get some, I mean to say, commodities for cooking, then I would have invited Sanatana Gosvami to take some prasadam." He thought like that. And after, say, one hour, one young girl came with sufficient quantity of rice, flour, ghee and vegetables, so many things, "Babaji, please accept these commodities. There is some ceremony at our house. So My mother has sent you all these things." "Oh, very good." He was thinking that, "If I could get some commodities and I could prepare something and invite Sanatana Gosvami." So the things were there.

So Rupa Gosvami inquired, "Where do You live? Oh, You are very nice girl. Where do You live?" "Oh, I live in this village. You do not know?" "No, I have never seen You. All right. Thank You very much." Then She went away. And invited Sanatana Gosvami, "My dear brother, please come and take your prasadam here. I have got some food." "All right." So Sanatana Gosvami came during prasadam time, and Rupa Gosvami has prepared so many nice dishes. They were also expert in cooking, expert. You know, all devotees, they are expert. That is his qualification.

So then Sanatana Gosvami was inquiring, "Where did you get all these things, so nice things, you have prepared in this jungle? How did you get?" So he narrated the story, "Yes, in the morning I thought that, 'If somebody sends me something...' So by Krishna's grace, somebody, a nice girl, a very beautiful girl, and She brought all these things." "Who?" He began to state about the girl's beauty.

Then Sanatana Gosvami said, "Oh, I have never seen such beautiful girl. How...?" "Yes, I have also never seen." "Ohhh. Then She must be Radharani. She must be Radha. You have taken service from Radharani? Ohhh. You have murdered me. We don't want to take any service from Krishna, and He has taken the opportunity, sent us... We want to simply give our service, not any exchange. Oh, you have done a great mistake. Radharani has taken this opportunity." So he began to cry that, "We have taken service from Krishna. We have given Her trouble." This is pure devotee. They were very sorry that, "Krishna was troubled to send me all these goods."

So this is the process. Krishna is also finding always opportunity, "How to serve My pure devotee?" And pure devotee's so clever that he won't accept any service from Krishna.

Reference: Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 20.118-119 - New York, November 23, 1966