H. H. Lokanath Swami Maharaja Offerings to H.G. Srinathji Prabhu

Dear Devotees,
Hare Krishna

Please accept my blessings.
All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

For my upcoming book about Srila Prabhupada in Bombay, we conducted a personal interview with Srinathji Prabhu. In the interview with Srinathji Prabhu, he described his very first encounter with the Hare Krishna devotees.

As an offering to HG Srinathji Prabhu, I would like to share his excerpt from the upcoming book.


It was around March 71, that Srila Prabhupada had come with over 20 of his senior most disciples to the house of Mr N D Desai, a big industrialist, son of a Member of Parliament and a follower of Cinmaya mission. Because of the Cross Maidan Pandal most Bombayites had heard of Srila Prabhupada. Using the opportunity, Prabhupada visited several well known people’s homes making them life members and to see how they could be engaged in Krsna’s service.

Srinathji: My father and I always came home for lunch. I was shocked to see these European and American boys and girls, singing, jumping and dancing in my garden wearing dhotis, saris and tilaka. My very first impression was, ‘What will the neighbours think?’ I was about to be initiated into the original Sankara sampradaya and right then Prabhupada had come into our life and today he was right inside our house. So I had kept aloof from all this, because I had read in the papers that they might be CIA, and so on. So, here I saw Prabhupada for the first time and watched him closely in action.

Even though Mr Desai was influenced by Mayavada, he could not avoid being impressed by Srila Prabhupada’s demeanor and moods which he describes:

He had a shining lustre. Because of his orange sannyasi clothes he looked like a very bright orange type of personality. He was very clean shaven, very neat and clean. Everything was in the correct place and he seemed to be very particular about everything. All the devotees, even though they sang and danced in ecstasy, when they sat down all the boys were on one side and all the girls on the other side, in a very neat way. They were not haphazard at all.

Then it was prasada time. However, Mr Desai could not appreciate the devotees prasada honouring spirit. When the devotees sang the sarira avidya jal prayers and unreservedly gobbled up so much prasada, it left Mr Desai mildly irritated. He compared these devotees to the Mayavadis and as far as he was concerned, these devotees had failed hopelessly. Brahma satyaà jagan mithyam – the only reality is the brahman, which translates to the meaning that all else in this world is false. Sounds and forms including tastes, are all false. In this way, when Mayavadi’s taste food, they consider this to be maya, whereas for devotees the taste of food offered to Krsna is non-different from Krsna. That prasada is Krsna, and hence it is relished.

Soon Srila Prabhupada expertly went into business mood.

Upon hearing that Mr Desai’s father was familiar with the Bhagavad-gita and loved Prabhupada’s books, Prabhupada gave him every book he had – the Krishna book, his first set of MacMillian Bhagavad-gita, teachings of Lord Caitanya, Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu and two books or booklets of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srila Prabhupada’s glorification of his disciples became the impetus for the next bombshell. Prabhupada explained that these boys and girls rise early in the morning, chant a minimum of 16 rounds daily and only eat vegetarian prasada. These Westerners had given up smoking and even drinking tea. After hearing the praise of the disciples Mr Desai was waiting for another bombshell.

Srinathji: So I was thinking, ‘Why is Prabhupada talking so much? There must be some hidden agenda coming up soon.’ Prabhupada knew that my father was treasurer of the Congress party. And sure enough, Prabhupada said, ‘I need visas for all my disciples’. First thing, please realize they are not CIA. You must see that in parliament they stop the inquiry against my pupils and me. My father said that he had a friend who was the minister in charge and he would talk to him and definitely do something.

The third bombshell wiped Mr Desai off his feet. Prabhupada wanted American born Jayapataka who was in his early twenties to be given Indian citizenship.

Prabhupada: I want you to adopt him. There is a procedure for making a foreigner an Indian citizen. You have to stand guarantee.

Srinathji: I thought Prabhupada was either nuts, because I was in the opposite camp, or he is terribly bold, to ask a member of parliament to give a guarantee for someone who we didn’t even know, and that too a foreigner. So my father looked at Jayapataka and he liked him and he said, ‘Yes, I will help him.’ I still have Maharaja’s letter when he became an Indian citizen, thanking my father.

With the last bombshell, Prabhupada signed up my father as ISKCON life member number thirty-nine.

Prabhupada: I have this scheme of making life members, I have so many centres all over the world. You can stay there and have prasada everywhere, but you only have to pay 1111 rupees. To my great shock, my father said, ‘I will just get the money.’ So I went after him to his room and I said, ‘We discussed that you won’t make any more commitments. My father was determined. “No, I think I must help them.” So, Prabhupada got the Rs.1111 and my father became one of the first life member no. thirty-nine.

As a direct result of Prabhupada’s mercy, instead of becoming a disciple of Mayavadi guru, Mr N D Desai became a life member, ardent follower and staunch supporter and eventually Srinathji Dasa, an ISKCON initiated disciple.

Your well wisher,
HH Lokanath Swami


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