Memory by Shanti Parayana Prabhu

Posted on September 16, 2010

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When I first met Padmalochan, he was one of the shoppers for the Krishna Balarama Temple and I went with him a few times in the end of the ’70’s on shopping trips. He knew his way around and was an asset to the mandir. He had a good eye, could converse with them, and was not intimidated either. Later, when I visited in the latter half of the 1980’s, I again met him there though I was again not there long so cannot say I knew him well.

I do have one incident from then to share with you as it represents his character as I remember it. It really is
just a small, small drop in a very, very big bucket. I was visiting with my friend from Hawaii and was going to have to return in a couple of short days and wanted to visit Varshana. While there we met an old devotee we knew who used to also be in Hawaii years ago and he was to be our guide but somehow or other, the morning we were to go he wasn’t ready and I got into an argument with him about something. Just then Padmalocan walks by so we tried to get him involved or maybe take us to Varshana. He was somewhat aloof in his usual way and instead, he just chastised us for wanting to “leave” Vrindavan as it was the annual day devotees celebrated the arrival of Lord Caitanya into Vrindavana. So he was very conscious like that. He pointed out that there was a new temple being dedicated and the devotees had been invited. We didn’t know anything about it but took his advice and attended. It was Narayana Maharaja’s grand opening of the Rupa Sanatana Mandir. We arrived very later and the temple room was packed. There was no place to sit so they sat us behind the sanyassis dignitaries rather than in front of them with the rest of the crowd. We didn’t really know what was going on and just did as we were asked. When the speaking ended, those leading devotees turned around – now facing us – to inaugurate darshana and puja. As it turned out the altar was right behind us and we had a front row seat to the Deities. Prabhupada’s Godbrother, Puri Maharaja, did puja. After being in the West for so long were it can be difficult to get people to come to the temple, it was very purifying to experience the great enthusiasm of the crowd. The crowd rushed the altar and we were swayed back and forth and after getting more than our fair share of mercy, managed to squeeze ourselves to the side to allow others a closer look. Afterward, they served a feast and finally we left. It was no easy task to get out the door – the temple was totally packed in every direction. And on the way out we were amazed to see that the narrow pathway was also packed with a long line of people waiting to get in. So we got this “front row seat” mercy only because of Padmalocan’s focus on Krishna and his willingness to share with others. Externally it came out as a chastisement, but it was just instructional for our benefit with no ill will given and none taken.

He was the first devotee I met who used a walking cane like Prabhupada, but he was very dignified so even though we were not very elderly back then it somehow seemed okay.

I know that is not very much, but I send it to you with appreciation of him. All glories to Padmalocana Prabhu!

Your Servant,
Shanti Parayana dasa

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