In the late afternoon in New Jersey, Srila Prabhupada would often sit downstairs in the garden beside our bungalow. New Jersey is known as the garden state, and the town of Long Branch was certainly testimony to that. There were gardens everywhere, roses were blooming and their fragrance filled the air. On one particular afternoon, Srila Prabhupada was comfortably seated in a chair, and I was sitting on the ground beside him. He was softly chanting japa, enjoying the fresh ocean air, mixed with the fragrance of roses and other flowers. Occasionally he would say something but mostly he would chant softly.
Suddenly beside my sitting place I saw a large brown slug in all its slimy ugliness. Somewhat repulsed I leaned away from the creature. Srila Prabhupada looked at me quizzically and I said: ‘Ugh, look at this’, pointing to the slimy, sliding creature. Srila Prabhupada leaned forward and looked at the slug, his face grew full of love and compassion, and he said to me: ‘Chant to the poor creature’, and so I sat there, chanting Hare Krsna to the slimy, yet benedicted slug for some time until he slithered away. He had incredible compassion even for the most abominable creature. Srila Prabhupada, I can never forget the sound of your voice when you gave me that instruction. In it, your whole mission was encapsulated. ‘Chant to the poor creature’.
Your face looked pained, full of compassion for the poor jiva in that slimy body. You did not see the ugly slug that I saw. You saw the soul covered in suffering, forgetful of Krsna. From that moment my heart opened for all creatures and I glimpsed the depth of your divine compassion. Thank you, Srila Prabhupada for sharing that compassion with me.
– From the 1008 Ways to Remember Srila Prabhupada by Govinda dasi ACBSP
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