Srila Prabhupada Accepted me as His Disciple.
Deena Bandhu Das: His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada gave me initiation in the old La Cienaga Temple in LA on the fourth day of the dark half of the month of Magh, which was 25th January, 1970. I remember it was one of the last ceremonies where Srila Prabhupada did everything. He chanted on the beads, did the yajna, and gave the lecture. After this time, Srila Prabhupada would chant on the beads in his room and someone else did the fire sacrifice.
This time Srila Prabhupda came down off his Vyasanana, sat on a cushion in front of the yajna kunda and chanted on the beads in front of everyone. There was about 10 of us, so it took a long time. At the end of each round, he then asked the regs, and how many rounds to the person who handed him the beads. When he got to me, I remember, those old natural wood beads from Tandy Leather Co. (didn’t have Tulasi in those days, we strung our own) looking like a string of pearls in his lotus hands! Then he asked me the regs and I rattled off, “16 rounds. No meat eating, no illicit sex, no gambling….” My mind just went blank and I couldn’t think…I froze. Somewhere behind me, some brahmacarini was whispering over and over, no drugs! “Oh, and no intoxication.” He said, “Yes, no LSD!” and broke out into one of those smiles where a thousand suns rise in the sky, completely delighted with his own sense of humor. Then he handed me the beads, and said, “So your name is Dina Bandhu, friend of the humble.” I didn’t quite hear and he must have seen it in my face, so he repeated it and added, “Is it alright?” with a big smile.
There must have been 10 of us, so it took along time, it was the Sunday Feast and I had invited my mother, who left because it was going on so long. Anyway she got darshan of the Pure Devotee of the Lord! Citralekha dasi was there, Jayatirtha (who was very envious that I had a sikha longer than his!) maybe Dayanidhi, Sahadeva Dasi…gettin old can’t remember now!
He gave the lecture, right there sitting with us on a cushion in front of the yajna. He quoted the verse, suci hoi, muci hoi yadi krsna tyage, muci hoi suci hoi, yadi krsna bhaje. Even if one is a brahmana, but has no Krishna Consciousness, or has given up Krishna Consciousness, he immediately becomes a muci, cobbler dealing in skins, lowest down. But even if one is muci, if he takes to Krishna Consciousness, he immediately becomes suci. Suci means clean, a brahmana, highest. “So take advantage this Bengali verse and worship Krishna and become purified!”
Then he prepared the yajna sprinkling all the colored rice flour and doing the yajna. He did everything. In later years, he would chant on the beads in his room and they would bring them to the yajna, and someone else did the yajna and all. As far as I know this was the last time he did everything.
Then he went up on the Vyasasana and led an ecstatic kirtan and we were all jumping up and down. Now Bhavananda was the one who made me a devotee so he had given me this very shiny polyester/dacron orange dhoti (no Loi Bazaar dhotis in those days!). Well it was very slick and I felt it start to slip!! I just grabbed it with one hand and I was there leaping in the air in front of Prabhupada with just one hand in the air!
Then we all went to take the feast and there was a small room on the side of the La Cienaga temple where Srila Prabhupada went to honor the feast. While we were eating and I was sitting on cloud nine thinking about my new name, suddenly someone announced that Prabhupada is leaving. We left our plates unfinished and ran outside. Now what we used to do was line both sides of the walkway on our knees. Srila Prabhupad would walk down the walkway and touch everyone with his finger sticking from his bead bag. We were all kneeling there waiting like little puppy dogs for his divine touch on our heads. Well he touched almost everyone…he would skip one here and there. I remember Jayatirtha was so upset, he got in line twice and was missed both times! Then Prabhupada got in the car and left. In the old La Cienaga temple there was no place for him to stay so he stayed at a rented house nearby.
His Divine Grace Srila Abhaya Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ki jaya!!!