Paramhansa in the Hills (Chapter 18)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 18

Paramhansa in the Hills

When we arrive at the foot of Aghasura Road, the devotees are waiting beside the powerwagon. The air is vibrant with the humming of bees and fragrant with the sweet aroma of white locust flowers.

The devotees offer obeisances as soon as the Lincoln turns down the driveway. They fall face down on the grass and gravel.

“Oh, there are many waiting here,” Prabhupada says, stepping out of the car. “Jai Sri Krishna!”

Little Dwarkadish, six years old, timidly obeys his mother and garlands Prabhupada with gardenias and red roses.

“Oh, thank you, Mr. D.D.D.,” Prabhupada says. “D.D.D.” is his nickname for Dwarkadish-das, who has just arrived with his mother from the Los Angeles temple. Present also are other recent arrivals: John and Susan, students from Ohio University, where Prabhupada lectured; Patita-pavana and Uddhava, two brothers from New York; Rupanuga and his five-year-old son Ekendra; and Nara-narayana, the carpenter who’s been helping Vamandev repair the farmhouse.

“So, where do we go from here?” Prabhupada asks.

“It’s two miles up that road, Prabhupada,” Ranandhir says, pointing at the muddy Aghasura winding its way down the creek through locust and maple.

“And we go in this?” Prabhupada asks, looking at the old powerwagon.

“It’s as strong as a tank, Prabhupada, “ Kirtanananda says, getting inside and starting it. The engine roars and smokes as he revs it up.

“Why not walk?” Prabhupada suggests.

We protest that the two-mile trek would be too hard on Prabhupada. Driving the power-wagon over Mr. Thompson’s property is quicker and easier.

Paramananda calls me aside to inform me that he couldn’t contact Mr. Thompson.

“He wasn’t in last night or this morning,” he says. “I guess it’s all right to drive over. He’s never refused.”

“Well, it’s an emergency,” I say.

Purushottam and Devananda load Prabhupada’s luggage in the back of the powerwagon. Prabhupada curiously asks about the vehicle’s model as he gets in. To cushion the jolts, we’ve placed clean pillows over the bare springs of the seat. Shama-dasi has even garlanded the dashboard.

Once Prabhupada is securely seated, Kirtanananda starts driving up the gravel road to Mr. Thompson’s farm. The powerwagon shudders and lurches forward. Hrishikesh, Paramananda, Ranandhir and I jump in back. The other devotees run behind in a hurried procession.

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