Prabhupada, the Renaissance Man

A recent Facebook exchange: —

John Lennon and Yoko Ono have a “Bed-In” with the Hare Krsnas, as a matter of fact notice that John Lennon is reading Back to Godhead magazine. Please read the comments below, because Hansadutta prabhu tells his story of how he spent a week preaching to John Lennon and how very receptive he was, except, of course, his wife, Yoko was very controlling, and interfered.

In this photo: Rukmini devi dasi, Melvani the Muslim, Jayapataka das bramacari, Baradvaja das, Himawati-Hana Kalbert, Himavati devi dasi, Yoko Ono, Sripati das, John Lennon, Hansadutta Das, Dayal Nitai das

Arundhati Sherbow: Wild!
November 6, 2009 at 3:58pm

Karnamrita Das: That Indian man was in Berkeley when I joined in Feb. 1970. I see Bardharaj and Hansadutta and maybe Pushkara and Chitsukananda?
November 23, 2009 at 9:39am

Mahattama Rahla: Chitsukananda yes! And Pushkara, very handsome then…
December 13, 2009 at 7:56pm

Bhumi Devi Dasi: are you saying that Puskar is not handsome now? 😉 by the way I don’t think that is Puskar, at least it doesn’t looks as if it is to me. . . .
December 13, 2009 at 8:15pm

Mahattama Rahla: you might be right….he will tell…us for sure.
December 13, 2009 at 8:25pm

Eva Sanderson: That looks like Sripati, former husband of Urvasi, next to Baradvaja, on the other side of the potted plant.
December 13, 2009 at 8:41pm

Hansadutta Das: Pushkara was not in Montreal. The old man is MELVANI, he was a Mohammedan. He liked Krishna. I brought him to Berkeley at some point. I think he had no family, He was very sweet, he liked Prabhupada and the devotees. The devotee with the drum is Dayal Nitai, French Canadian, Sripati is at his feet and behind Melvani is Jayapataka das Brahmacari, next to him is Himavati, and Lennon is reading a Back to Godhead.

Dhananjaya told me years later in Vrindaban: John Lennon went to the Bahamas after this incident, met George harrison there, boated around for a week chanting Hare Krishna day and night, and subsequently George went back to London, met Shyamasundar, Dhananjaya, Prabhupada, and Prabhupada stayed at John’s Tittenhurst estaste for about three months. George, through the influence of Dhananjaya, wound up donating the manor to Prabhupada.

[At the Montreal bed-in] I had spent about a week daily preaching to John Lennon. On the last day, I sang him a few of my songs on his guitar, then I told him,” You are famous, intelligent, rich, and nice looking — all gifts of Krishna, so please give some contribution to help the temple in Montreal. He began to balk, hem and haw. I said, “Don’t give me that bullshit, just give something.” He finally said, “Here, take my guitar.” I said, “Look, I don’t have time to be selling guitars; I am a devotee, just give some contribution.” Ultimately his wife, Yoka Ono, entered the room and started talking trash. I just let it go, and that was the last I saw of him.

We were there the night he did “Give peace a chance.” Timothy Leary, the Smothers Brothers and a host of other celebrities were there. There’s more, but some other time…
Tue at 7:13pm

Hrimati Dasi: Selling his guitar would have brought a fortune, especially now…
Tue at 10:16pm

Hansadutta Das: At the time, as devotees, we were not impressed with John Lennon. He was simply another person in MAYA whom we preached to, even though we knew he was famous, and if he was favorable, that would go a long way to pushing on Prabhupada’s movement. In fact he called me “The pusher” because of my relentless determination to preach to him. Yoko had a rude habit of interrupting my stream with a lot of foul language and rude comments. John understood Krishna consciousness, but the influence of Yoko Ono did not help him to accept it.

As for his guitar, well, in those days we did not see us keeping it for thirty years or so, thinking we will get millions of dollars for it. It might have fetched more than an ordinary guitar would in 1968-1969, but not more than he could give in cash. Anyway, he was intelligent, but had a BAD wife, so he never embraced Prabhupada in the way George did. Krishna took him away untimely. It’s too bad. Even Prabhupada stayed for some months at his Tittenhurst estate. However, when Prabhupada saw the poster or picture of him and Yoko naked on his wall, Prabhupada said, “This is a sign of insanity, we must leave here immediately.” I was told the next day the devotees, or at least Prabhupada, left Tittenhurst, and the next day, or shortly thereafter, all the trees that lined a certain road were blown over and crashed to the ground. The day before Prabhupada walked that same road or path, touching each tree with his cane as he passed it. Trivikrama Swami told this story to me. So he is the source. I was not personally witness to this sequence of events.
Tue at 10:54pm

Hrimati Dasi: Wow, that’s amazing! Even trees can bow to Srila Prabhupada… and we have to become more humble than trees… we got a long way to go…
Yesterday at 12:22am

Dandadhrk Dasa: That Tree Story is amazing. Most confidential knowledge. I begin to like Facebook.
5 hours ago

Bhumi Devi Dasi: Jai Dandadhrk prabhu, Yes, if you hold on, you will find much nectar up here, although I agree with you, that this story is pretty amazing. As far as Facebook is concerned, we must be like the swan — take the nectar, leave the poison. There’s more to be had, too!
4 hours ago

Hansadutta Das: I missed Chitsukananda being there, sitting below me and to the slight left of Dayal Nitai’s drum. I also forgot to mention that it was Chitsukananda Prabhu that I sent to the hotel to try to get us (the devotees ) in to see John Lennon. Obviously he was more than successful. We were there every day and sometimes at night. Sometimes we were on television, chanting with the Kartamashi murti in front view. Sometimes, when there were riots in Berkeley California, we were in telephonic radio interview with the riot scene. They asked John Lennon if he had some advice. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders as if to say “What do I say?” I said, “Tell them to chant Hare Krishna.” So he told the interviewer, “Chant Hare Krishna.”

Supposedly some devotee Jeffery Guilianno, author of a number of Beatle books, has footage and photos of all this Hare Krishna devotee interaction with the famous John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He once promised to send me a CD of his material so I could show my children, but it never happened. This person was also formerly known as “Ronald McDonald ” in some promotional ploy to promote McDonalds Hamburger franchise. This was before he came in touch with Prabhupada and the devotees. I don’t know where he is. It was some years ago that I had connection or communication with him.

When we went to Berkeley in spring-summer of 1969, Bob Dylan came to San Francisco for a concert appearance. He was in his Born-again-Christian period. I thought perhaps we could meet with him as we did with Lennon, so I again deputed Chitsukananda Prabhu, who has an infectious, winning aura of positive Krishna conscious energy about him (besides being a fabulous kirtan dancer — he is of Cuban descent). Chitsukananda told me he managed to meet or corner the elusive and mysterious Bob Dylan in the elevator of his hotel and proposed a meeting with the “Krishna devotees.” Dylan simply replied, “No, I’m not into that anymore.” I know that at some point in his early career he used to come to the L.A. temple, left a diamond ring on the altar of the deities, and apparently gave some ($300.00?) donation to Prabhupada for books. I do know he traveled accross the USA with a girl named Shena and a boy whose name I do not remember. Supposedly, he even wrote a few songs with reference to Krishna. But these are things I cannot verify. It was a long time ago.

At any rate we can see Prabhupada touched so many historic and influentual souls, some more some less.

I have often heard, “Prabhupada came at a unique time, the sixties, when people were open, and had it not been for this ‘the times they are a changing’ atmosphere, he probably would not have been so successful.”

I personally do not see that Prabhupada was simply another avant garde personality who got an advantage from the times of change. I see that Srila Prabhupada actually was the change — EYE OF THE HURRICANE that we call the SIXTIES. The fact is that all the change and revolution people were looking for at the time was PURELY and PERFECTLY PERSONIFIED IN SRILA PRABHUPADA’S personal (ACHARYA ) behavior, and living example, his lectures, darshans, morning walks, prototype ashrams, farm communities, temple buildings, publication and uniquely illustrated Vedic literatures, his music (sankirtan,) his constant traveling and guidance of his worldwide expansion with personal letters (7,000 letters in 10 years time), prasadam… We can go on and on and not exhaust his glorious transcendental dynamics. Srila Prabhupada was not PART OF THE SIXTIES; the sixties were a minuscule part of him. The sixties were a flash of lightening in the momentary thunderstorm of the material sky. Prabhupada was — and is — the ever-present blazing sun that remains as brilliant today, tomorrow and a thousand and more years from now when no one will even remember what the sixties and all the madness of the sixties were.

Prabhupada has ushered in a renaissance of the worldwide vedic culture that has been lost and plundered for some thousands of years. Srila Prabhupada was, is and always will be “THE RENAISSANCE MAN”, THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD.

A documentary movie with the above-mentioned theme should be made, employing the best of Hollywood talents, sparing no expense to bring a film of accurate historical facts, personalities (Allen Ginsburg, George Harrison, John Lennon, Indira Ghandi, etc…), surviving disciples’ testimonials, art works, music recordings, humor, gravity, philosophy, entertainment and promotional campaign, to establish this documentary film as a historic, entertaining and completely spiritual film to become a worldwide block buster, academy award-winning film sensation.

Yadubara Prabhu, where are you? We talked of this once before, in Cloverdale. Remember?

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