Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.
Two years back, during the Dwarka temple opening ceremony on Dec 6th, 2003, we had the good fortune of hearing a beautiful pastime of Srila Prabhupada through HG Ambarish Prabhu (Alfred Ford). I came across the same incident while reading Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita recently which I would like to share here with you.
The incident is about how Srila Prabhupada cleverly acquired a costly mansion in Detroit for a cheap deal by his sharp intelligence.
When the devotees were looking for a suitable place in the town for a temple, one of the devotees was showing the photos of a huge mansion of the late auto industry millionaire Lawrence Fisher. Srila Prabhupada was interested to buy it and hence they went with the real estate agent to see the building. Prabhupada liked the mansion very much and confided with his disciples that each room is worth the entire price.
After the tour, they all sat down to fix the final price.
"So, we are beggars," he began. He was serious, and yet he spoke with an air of humour. Ambarisha and Upendra hid their faces in embarrassment. "We have no money," Prabhupada continued boldly. "Therefore, we are asking you, please give us this building."
The owner glanced incredulously at his real estate agent and then laughed nervously. "It's out of the question," he said. "I can't do that."
The agent was also taken aback and upset. "He can't do that," she whispered.
"I can't give it to you," explained the owner, "because I have taken a loss in maintaining this property. So I have to make my money back. This property represents a major part of my income."
"Then," said Prabhupada, "how much do you want?"
"Well," the man replied, "I have to get at least $350,000."
None of the devotees dared say anything. Prabhupada thought for a moment and then said, "We will give you $300,000 cash."
"I'll have to think about it," the man replied. The real estate agent got to her feet, saying that a transaction like this is usually not done straight to the owner. But Prabhupada ignored her and spoke with the owner about how lovely the mansion was. Then the owner came the next day to Srila Prabhupada and said that he accepted the offer.
Afterward, Srila Prabhupada openly showed his blissfulness about the purchase. "Just see," he said, "I didn't have one penny, and yet I offered him $300,000 cash. And now Krsna has provided the money."
As Prabhupada had told the estate owner, "I am a sannyasi. I have no money." And after collecting $300,000 from his disciples, he still had no money. Within a few days he left for Toronto, taking nothing for himself. Everything was Krishna's, to be used in Krishna's service.
The startling fact in the above incident is that Srila Prabhupada was seeing Krishna in everything and used everything in His service. And for that he dare to take any risk. Ultimately even after doing so much he was completely detached from everything! That is still more astonishing! Practically the whole of his lifetime he revealed to us these symptoms of pure bhakti again and again. If not for the appearance of such Mahatmas like him, bhakti would have remained a superficial concept instead of being a practical way of life.
Dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyam vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam - Let us remember and sing the praises of such a glorious spiritual master and offer our humble obeisances three times a day at his lotus feet!
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das.
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