Stories shared by Srila Prabhupada during conversations and lectures.
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
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
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
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.
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
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