Even for Cutting a Mango, One Requires a Guru …
Giriraj Swami: Srila Prabhupada’s disciple Amogha came to India from Australia and did service in Juhu for some time. Later, he narrated one incident with Prabhupada that especially struck him:
“Prabhupada would go on the roof in the evening and give darshan. One evening I went up and there were five or ten devotees and a few Indian guests, including a famous movie star and his wife. Somebody brought mangoes for Prabhupada, and then at one point he told a devotee to cut a mango and distribute it as prasada. So a brahmacari got a knife and started slicing the mango, and it was dripping—the juice was going all over—and it was a mess. So the movie star’s wife indicated, ‘Give it to me.’ And Prabhupada said, ‘Let her do it.’ So she took it and cut it very neatly into two halves, then she turned each half and cut the mango into cubes, in a crisscross manner, and then she popped it out, and you could easily pick those cubes off the peel. Prabhupada laughed when she did it so expertly and neatly, and then he said, ‘Just see, even for cutting a mango, one requires a guru.’ ”
Later, I heard the recorded conversation. “Bring one knife,” Prabhupada began. Then, seeing that devotee struggling, he said, “You cannot cut it?”
“The knife is not very sharp,” the devotee replied.
“That is not the way to cut it,” one of the guests advised. “Slice it into two pieces.”
“Yes,” Prabhupada agreed. “You do not know how to cut. One who knows, let him cut.” Then Prabhupada quoted from the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12), “Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet”—“To learn the science one must certainly approach a spiritual master.” And the guests and devotees laughed.
“Everything requires a guru,” Prabhupada continued. “Otherwise he remains a fool, rascal, that’s all. In every item you require a guru. And to understand Krishna, or God, everyone thinks they are independent. Just see the foolishness. Yata mata tata patha. ‘Ah, you consider about God in your own way. It doesn’t require any guru.’ This foolishness is going on. For cutting a mango one requires a guru, and to understand Krishna, he doesn’t require a guru. This foolishness is going on. And Krishna says,
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti tad jnanam
[“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”] Krishna says you have to understand like this. But everyone is thinking, ‘Why shall I go to guru?’ ”
Seeing the expertly cut mango, Prabhupada said, “Just see how she has cut. It requires a guru.” The devotees and guests laughed, and Prabhupada told the brahmacari to distribute the prasada, one piece to everyone.
Prabhupada saw everything in the light of Krishna consciousness, and he shared his vision with others—to their great delight.