Mail duties

In the year 1976 I was traveling with Srila Prabhupada as his secretary, and we arrived in Chandighar, north of New Delhi. After settling in at our new location, I went through the correspondence of Prabhupada, sealed up all the envelopes and stamped them.

Prabhupada had taught us to use a small dish of water, dipping our finger in it and using this method to seal the envelopes and seal the stamps. He said licking the envelope and stamp with our tongue was muchi, or unclean, as opposed to suchi, or clean.

I had just finished addressing and sealing all the correspondence, and I had put away the small dish of water, when I noticed that one envelope remained unsealed. It was an irritation, because I knew that I should follow the procedure given to me by Prabhupada, but I wanted to be done with the day’s work, and I thought it too much trouble to get water and all to seal up and stamp the envelope.

I decided to take the shortcut, to lick the envelope and stamp just this one time. So just as I was sticking out my tongue to lick the envelope, knowing full well it was a No No, Srila Prabhupada opened the door, saw me in the act, and immediately pointed his finger at me, as if to say “Ah, what is this? Did I not tell you this is muchi?”

Prabhupada did not say anything to me. His pointing the finger and looking at me with disapproval was enough to get his point across.

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