Sep 102023

My Story and Ode to Srila Prabhupada

Born into dense illusion, one of countless conditioned souls;
doomed to endless births and deaths while playing different roles.

My life a hell that made no sense, trying drugs I took my chances;
searching faces on streets and buses, hoping to find someone with answers.

Religion as I knew it seemed a total farce,
and the diet of dead animals weighed heavy on my heart.

So, trapped, I studied different books, became an avid reader:
Leary, Huxley, Buddhism, a short little Bhagavad-gita.

Though small and insignificant, I searched for knowledge true.
If there was a kindly God, I begged for but a clue.

The summer of ’69 found my younger brother and me in Boston.
Along with other seekers, we’d go to Harvard Square quite often.

One special day before us danced a group in orange bed sheets.
Intrigued, we watched, chanted along, and were given some “simply wonderful” little round white sweets!

Who were these people? What’d they find? What did their mantra mean?
Swarup and Manmohini soon became two new additions to Prabhupada’s spiritual team!

Now the how and why this Prabhupada came is quite a blessed miracle.
He melted hearts and changed the lives of even us very cynical.

He understood our sorry plight with Godless lives so vacant,
and pure devotees of his kind can never be complacent.

And so he came from far abroad and risked his life to save us.
He taught us how to speak, eat, dance, and even renamed us!

He cut through our illusions using knowledge like a sword,
explaining that as spirit souls we’re meant to love and serve the Lord!

Embodiment of compassion and of the purest selfless love,
it seemed his every movement was choreographed from above!

All moves had grace and purpose, never wasting precious time,
engaging every single soul in Lord Chaitanya’s line.

The Prabhupada cookies, Prabhupada medicine, Prabhupada hat and two step were all so charming and unique.
And those cookies that he handed out were sweetest of the sweet!

For twelve amazing years he walked and talked and lived right in our midst.
Who could have ever fathomed a benediction such as this?!

All desperate searches ended as our lives began anew.
Our love for him propelled us to do things we’d never before do.

With his beaming smile in class one day Brahmananda said some humorous facts.
He proudly said that in the beginning we were like Prabhupada’s guinea pigs, or better still, laboratory rats!

Soon told to wed the temple cook, someone I didn’t favor,
I’d share the glory of opening new temples and so I didn’t waver.

Right afterwards, I called my mom to tell her I was now a married woman.
When asked his “real” name, I said, “Hold on—I have to find and ask him.”

“You married him,” she shouted, “and you don’t even know his name?
This time you’ve really done it. You’ve gone totally insane!”

Irate, she slammed the phone down hard (an act that wasn’t new),
but actually this time I kind of saw her point of view.

There was no doubt about it: crazy was the truth.
Crazy to please my glorious master, crazy with gratitude.

Crazy with happiness to understand all facets of this life,
to have and to hold the holy names, which counteract all strife.

Thrilled to play an active role in Prabhupada’s great mission,
armed with his books that reveal all that is real, far beyond our limited vision!

So, yeah, I’d dance in the streets wearing sheets and marry a guy I didn’t know!
It’s the least I could do for my beloved guru, for this Prabhupada we all loved so.

I’ll proudly state for the record, my fervent plea is that
I again obtain the rare boon, though spoken in jest, to be among those compared to a Prabhupada Guinea pig or a laboratory rat.

Thank you, Srila Prabhupada. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All glories to you, Srila Prabhupada!

Manmohini dasi

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