Big beads

Sometime in the early 70’s (73 or 74) Prabhupada came to Hawaii, and I also came there from Germany to see him and briefly act as his secretary. The first Sunday Feast he was there, all the fringe devotees who were living in the hills and other islands of Hawaii also came there in big numbers. Many of them brought fruits, flowers and other gifts. One boy brought a huge set of Tulasi japa beads and presented them to Srila Prabhupada.

I had never seen a set of Tulasi beads so large, and have not seen any since then. As soon as I saw them, I am ashamed to admit, I desired to have them. I knew that they were just too big for Prabhupada to take along with him on his travels, and thus he would give them away to some devotee before leaving Hawaii. I felt conflicted within myself, because I really lusted after these beads and was constantly thinking how I could get Srila Prabhupada to give them to me without having to ask him directly. At the same time I knew this was not a very humble Vaishnava attitude, to be desiring something that belongs to the spiritual master, still I was hopelessly in the grip of this conflict in my mind.

Prabhupada hung the beads over his bedstead, and so whenever I came in to see him for dictation or other chores I would see and think of these beads.

Finally the day arrived when Srila prabhupada was to leave Hawaii for his next destination , and fortunately I was in the room helping him pack, all the while thinking of the “BIG BEADS” and who would he give them to.

When everything was packed up, and all were ready to go out the door, at the last instance, after everyone had exited the room, he said to me, “Do you want those beads?” I knew immediately that he knew all along how much I wanted to have these beads, and feeling both ashamed and thrilled, I said “Oh yes, I really wanted these beads,” as if to say, “of course Srila Prabhupada, you knew all along I wanted them, thank you so much.”

Years later, I gave them away to a big, tall African-American devotee named SHAKTI MAN. He seemed to be more fit to their size. He was maybe seven feet tall. I believe he still has these beads to this day. The largest bead on the string was about the size of my fist.

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