Seeing The Real Vrndavana
by Hayagriva Dasa
excerpted from Back To Godhead Magazine
Oct 1, 2006 Volume-03 Number-31 (Indian)
Learning from Srila Prabhupada how to see beyond the material coverings to perceive the real dhama
I bend down to get through the door and enter a small, sparsely furnished room. Suddenly, I’m face to face with Srila Prabhupada. He’s sitting on the floor behind a low desk piled with books and papers.
“Jai!” he says. “Our Hayagriva has arrived.”
I pay dandabat obeisances by prostrating myself and touching his feet with my right hand. Then I place my hand to my forehead. To remember the spiritual master’s lotus feet is to remember Krsna. The effect is as cooling as sandalwood.
“nama om visnu-padaya krsna presthilya bhu-tale srimate bhaktivedanta- svamin iti namine,” I say, offering respects. Then I sit before him, and he smiles.
Although seventy-six, Prabhupada seems as ageless as ever. His head is freshly shaved, and the aroma of mustard- seed oil tells me that he has just received a massage. His complexion is radiant, his eyes clear, his face full and healthy. This is the face that attracted me that day when I was walking down New York’s Houston Street and first met him, the face that brought so many young seekers to that little storefront temple on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. For us, his face embodies all the attractive qualities of devotion, for it’s a pure, truthful, and compassionate face. It is both happy and grave. It is magnanimous, gentle, and forgiving. It is also determined and self-controlled, and, above all, most learned and intelligent. It’s a face not afraid to love and give all in love for Krsna.
Indeed, Prabhupada’s face conjures all those virtues that lead to love of Krsna. It’s not an ordinary man’s face. It transports an entire spiritual fact, the Vedic culture, an atmosphere of bhakti . I first began realizing his potency just by Jlooking at his face. Whenever I’m Kr,na conscious, it makes me joyful. Whenever I’m not, I’m afraid to look at it; it accuses me, makes me ashamed without uttering a word. What power there is in the spiritual master’s face! What magne tism! What volumes of wisdom! ‘
“I’m glad you invited me here, Srila Prabhupada,” I say.