Prabhupada Memories

Published on December 24th, 2018 | by srutakirti-dasa | Full size image


Cobras in Srila Prabhupada’s Quarters

As I walked past the first toilet stall a huge six feet long cobra quickly slithered past me into the stall. Terrified I raced out of the bathroom as fast as my shaking body could take me. I was not sure what kind of snake it was. I didn’t want to create a big scene and interrupt Srila Prabhupada’s darshan…

October 1974, Mayapura, India;
Camp: ISKCON Candrodaya Mandir

During the month of October (Kartik) Srila Prabhupada benedicted the devotees in Mayapur with his association. It was an especially pleasant time of year in India. Srila Prabhupada’s and his entourage stayed on the side of the Mandir furthest from the road, up on the second floor. Srila Prabhupada’s quarters consisted of two rooms and his entourage stayed in another two. There was a large bathroom facility at each end of the building. In each bathroom were four shower stalls and four toilet stalls.

One late afternoon Srila Prabhupada was giving darsana in his sitting room. I did some clean up work in Srila Prabhupada’s bathroom after His Divine Grace’s shower. The entire bathroom facility was exclusively used by His Divine Grace for the duration of his visit. As I walked past the first toilet stall a huge six feet long cobra quickly slithered past me into the stall. Terrified I raced out of the bathroom as fast as my shaking body could take me. I was not sure what kind of snake it was. I didn’t want to create a big scene and interrupt Srila Prabhupada’s darshan. In spite of my inhibition, Krsna ordained that the first devotee I happened upon was Bhavananda Maharaja. My heart racing I said, “Bhavananda, Bhavananda, there’s a snake in Prabhupada’s bathroom. It went right by my feet and just missed me!”

Of course, my plan to keep calm and not create a disturbance was obviously not what Krsna wanted so He engaged Bhavananda Maharaja in the drama. Bhavananda loudly burst into Srila Prabhupada’s sitting room, arms flailing he dramatically exclaimed, “OOOHHH! Prabhupada! There is a snake in your bathroom! We need help! Let’s call Rasaparayana!” Rasaparayana was the big, strong temple Ksatriya. “Come on, let’s call Rasaparayana!” Bhavananda yelled as we ran out of Srila Prabhupada’s quarters.

We effectively terminated the tranquil darshan. Srila Prabhupada and his disciples left the room moving out onto the wrap around verandah. A couple of devotees went into the bathroom to search for the serpent while the others stayed out on the porch. Srila Prabhupada quietly chanted japa, walking back and forth on the verandah undisturbed.

Bhavananda started speculating, “It must have been left by someone from the Gaudiya Math, otherwise how could the serpent get up to the second floor.” Others agreed, saying it wasn’t possible for a snake to appear on an upper floor without being planted. Some theorized perhaps it was a communist plot. Since I was a visitor to this sacred Mayapur Dhama I wasn’t knowledgeable of the local political scene. I concluded that the serpent just happened to appear in Srila Prabhupada’s bathroom.

Rasaparayana stalked about with knife in hand trying to find the snake. He informed us, “They travel in pairs, so if there is one, then it’s mate is probably nearby.” Finally he saw part of the huge serpent’s body sticking out of the plumbing work in one of the toilet stalls. He reported the good news to the devotees out on the verandah. With great excitement Bhavananda and others began chanting, “Kill it! Kill it!” Srila Prabhupada remained outside still chanting softly on his beads. He didn’t give any instructions on this dilemma. Rasaparayana chopped the cobra’s body in two with his sharp knife. With determined resolution he said, “We’ll keep looking. There must be another one.” The devotees began to realize that the snakes probably came up through the plumbing. It wasn’t a communist plot after all. Several anxious minutes passed searching for the other intruder. Rasaparayana finally spotted the mate in the network of pipes behind the toilets. Once discovered, it quickly slithered down the pipes, escaping, never to be seen again, hopefully.

After everyone settled down, we went back into Srila Prabhupada’s sitting room. He said, “Sometimes, these snakes mission is to kill a certain person. They will not stop until they succeed. Particularly at the end of the snake’s life, sometimes, the snake grows wings. He has a particular person that he is to kill. The snake will kill that person and then it goes off to die.” I remember a few times in Mayapura in the quiet of the evening, Srila Prabhupada would point out a sound, “Hear that sound. That is the snakebird. It has a special sound.” All the devotees present would become very quiet for a time in hopes of hearing it again. I became a little frightened wondering if I was next.

That evening in Srila Prabhupada’s bedroom I gently massaged his legs. The room was quiet and dark. He began chuckling and, “So, what shall I do if I am here and the snake comes. Only one snake has been killed. Perhaps the other will come and get me tonight.” He seemed to enjoy the remembrance of everyone’s anxiety during the day. I understood from his tone that he was not at all concerned about the snake. I encouraged his discussion by saying, “I don’t know Srila Prabhupada.” He replied, “Well, we are not afraid of snakebite. We’ll not worry about it. If it comes, it comes. We will just chant Hare Krsna.” I finished massaging my beloved spiritual master. He peacefully took rest, his fearless mind fixed on the Supreme Lord. Conversely, I went back to my room anxiously wondering where the other snake was.

Srila Prabhupada, you are my hero. You are the fearless pure devotee of the Lord. Once on a morning walk in Mayapura when everyone was discussing their fearful concerns about nuclear war you said, “If the bomb comes we will look up in the sky and say, ‘Here comes Krsna.'” Please, benedict me with unflinching faith in you so that I have no fear within this material world. I want to be able to chant the Holy Names as the snakebird flies preparing to inflict it’s final bite.

– From the Srila Prabhupada Uvaca by HG Srutakirti Dasa

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8 Responses to Cobras in Srila Prabhupada’s Quarters

  1. Sacn says:

    Hare krsna Madhudvisa prabhu, One Nonvenomous snake entered in my house and hided in the motor,I took a large stick and went after it,I was highly bewildered wheter to kill it or not,as it was nonvenomous and harmless snake . It came to my house due to heavy rain.But fearing It may enter inside the house ,i killed it.Is it O.k to kill Non venomous Snakes which enter our house,I am feeling very sorry on killing this harmless snake.

    • Hare Krishna Sacn

      If you don’t know then of course it could be poisionous and you can kill. But if you know it is not poisionous then there is no need to kill, even if it is poisionous and it is not bothering anyone there is no need to kill.

      So it is common sense only. If you killed the snake you can’t do anything about that now. So there is no point feeling bad about it. Just chant Hare Krishna and in the future if you know a snake is harmless then there is no need to kill it.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  2. anonymous says:

    When can we kill snake or cobras? Like in this case it was directly in the bathroom of Srila Prabhupada and hence was proper to kill it. But many times we wander around in forest or foliage and we encounter a snake or cobra or some other poisonous serpant. Also many of our temples are having farm lands where we encounter snakes in the area of our ashram or living quarters. Should we kill them or just allow them to go away to distant place?

    • Hare Krishna

      Snake is aggressor. Snake is envious, snake will bite when there is no benefit for the snake from biting. So snake can be killed if it is creating danger.

      But not that we go out into the forest and try to kill all the snakes.

      Everyone has the right to live. So you have to use common sense in this regard.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. John says:

    If you kill and animal (one of Krishna’s children) you will become an animal in your next life and be killed by the animal you killed, isn’t so?

    • Hare Krishna John

      Karma is a very complex thing so we can not say exactly what will happen. But the principle is that if you commit some violence against another living entity, like killing an animal as you mention, then both you and that animal will be forced to take birth again and this time he will get the chance to kill you.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  4. Santhosh Yadav says:

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

  5. Pramoda Maharana says:

    Hari Bol !!!

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