Vamanajana: My wife and I ran a little store across the street called the Surabhi Store. We would arrange for Srila Prabhupada’s afternoon refreshment of dab (fresh coconut).
The last year that Prabhupada was here in Los Angeles, the GBC came to me and two others and asked if we would like to be Srila Prabhupada’s bodyguards. He thought the three of us should split up the 24-hour watch. About the middle of the second week we were doing this, and my good friend Bhaskara, who was one of the other bodyguards, and I were having lunch, and he said, “Did you notice that Srila Prabhupada does the same thing at the same time every day?” I said, “Yeah, it’s amazing. You can almost set your watch by him.”
Bhaskara said, “Someone gave him a brand new pair of slippers the other day, and he only wears them from his room to the curtains outside the temple room, and then he takes them off. After class, he puts them on, wears them to go upstairs, and takes them off at his door.” I said, “Yeah?” He said, “They’re new, and I looked at them last night and got the model number and the manufacturer’s name and bought another pair exactly like them.” “Well, what are you going to do with them? His feet are not the same size as your feet.” Bhaskara said, “Tomorrow morning when he goes down for class, I am going to exchange them for my slippers, and then he will wear my slippers back upstairs. Then I will exchange them again, and I will have a pair of slippers that Srila Prabhupada wore. He will have only worn them one time, but Srila Prabhupada will have worn my slippers!”
I thought, “Wow, that’s a good idea! Tomorrow I am going to go out and buy a pair of slippers and do the same thing the next day.” The next day we got together at lunch again. I said, “Did you get your slippers?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Where do I buy mine?” He said, “You shouldn’t do it.” I thought, “Yeah, you got your slippers.” He said, “Let me tell you what happened.
Srila Prabhupada put his slippers on in the morning, came downstairs, took them off by the curtain by the temple room, and I exchanged them. After class Srila Prabhupada came out, put on my slippers and wore them upstairs right into his room. He never took them off at the door.” I said, “Really? What did you do?” He said, “I stood there chanting japa thinking, ‘What am I gonna do now?’ I was there about five minutes when a sannyasi came and asked, ‘Is your name Bhaskara?’ ‘Yes.’ The sannyasi said, ‘Srila Prabhupada has a message for you. He thanks you very much for the new slippers. You may keep the old slippers. But most importantly, he said, it’s not nice to play tricks on the spiritual master.’”
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