Memory by Haridasa Thakura Dasa

Posted on April 16, 2011

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I first met Padmalochan Prabhu, or rather I saw him every time he came to take darshan at Krishna Balaram Temple in Vrindavan, 1981. He was wearing just a lungi type of gamsha and he would lean on the ballustrade before the Deities for a while and then he would go. When I joined in the UK in 1976 he was already in India so I never met him at that time.
It was when I went to Mayapura in 2001 that I struck up a friendship with Padmalochan and we had some very nice interactions. I would go to his apartment to see him and one time I went with Kaliyaphani Prabhu to take lunch. Vrindavanlila Devi cooked a very nice lunch and we really enjoyed ourselves.
When one looks at Padmalochana he might appear to be tough looking but he is so sweet when you get to know him. He would take me to the Ganga for bathing and that was very nice. Because I am a very quiet devotee I never get to do anything in the forefront (which I’m glad about) but one day Padmalochan took me in front of all the sannyasis and said that I was taking Prabhupada for darshan of the Deities and circumambulation. That was a very special time for me. Not only that but he did the same thing on Gaura Purnima day and I got to offer arati to Srila Prabhupada outside which to me was quite unusual. I would never put myself forward for that service since I’d be last in line but Padmalochan wanted to make me feel part of the family and I’ll always remember and appreciate him for that.
On another occasion he defended me against a god brother who took exception to the fact that I was sitting on the white plumped sheets laid out for senior devotees, this was before mangala arati. Actually it was Vipramukhya Swami (who I’d known since 1977) who told me that I shouldn’t be sitting there as it was meant for sannyasis. I was sitting there because I can’t sit on the hard floor as my ankles pain me. He tapped me on the shoulder with his danda in his usual officious voice and told me to move, but before I could move (yes, I was going to) Padmalocana came over and told him off, he told him that any god brother could sit there. I enjoyed seeing Vipramukhya being put in his place as I have a dislike of all this I’m better than you stuff. When I came to Mayapur in 2004 Padmalocan ignored me and I was so shy that I didn’t dare ask him why. Anyway, on the last morning of my being there I plucked up the courage during Tulasi puja and said hello and was there anything wrong? All of a sudden he recognised me, gave me a hug and said “I thought you were someone else”. I learned two things from that, don’t get on his wrong side and don’t put off something till another day. Unfortunately, I never saw him again as although he invited me to come over and see him I had to leave for Calcutta virtually straight away. When he was sick I could have gone to Mayapura to see him but I feel such a small person that why would he want to see me? That is how I feel and besides that I do not go and see devotees depart this world. For some reason I prefer to avoid that. Anyway, I will always have fond memories of my association with Padmalochan and I pray that I can one day become as committed to serving Srila Prabhupada’s mission as he. I miss him as I miss all my friends and heroes.
Your servant and friend,
Haridasa Thakura dasa.

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Posted in: Padmalochan