Morning walk conversations

Tuesday, 27 April 1976

A thick fog hung over the road as Srila Prabhupada's car arrived at the Park Road entrance to the Auckland Domain. Prabhupada left the car park and started walking briskly, his small band of disciples huddled close behind him like little ducklings. The party passed a picturesque pond and traversed the tar-sealed walkway towards the main area of the gardens. The road sloped gently upwards, past large, lush overhanging trees, past an ornate gazebo, flowerbeds, glass houses full of seedlings and rolling lawns.

Prabhupada's entourage entered the lawn area and approached a small lake. On a pedestal nearby stood a diminutive bronze statue of a Viking warrior on horseback, blowing a horn. Yasomatinandana asked whether the Vikings were ksatriyas.

"No," Prabhupada replied. "Ksatriyas fought on religious principles. They were noble warriors, not murderers."

Yasomatinandana also inquired about modern soldiers. Did they go to the heavenly planets when they died on the battlefield?

Prabhupada shook his head. "They are simply demons fighting other demons for economic reasons. How can they go to heaven? They go to hell, both sides."

The party walked on, past lemon-scented gums and beech trees, into a large green dew-moist lawn behind the ponds. Prabhupada stopped. He appeared like the commander-in-chief of an army, about to launch a major offensive. He pointed his cane, and asked gravely, "What is the name of this tree?" Although Yasomatinandana and Tusta Krsna were both vying for Prabhupada's recognition and approval, neither could answer.

The morning sun appeared weakly through the mist. Prabhupada's party re-entered the roadway, veering right, heading towards the huge Auckland Institute and Museum. As they passed the grand old edifice, Prabhupada remarked, "This is a nice building."

"Yes, Srila Prabhupada," Yasomatinandana blurted, "we're going to get it for a temple." The remark was so preposterous that Prabhupada chose to ignore it. Further along the road were some conservatories that opened into a courtyard with wisteria-covered trellises.

"Srila Prabhupada, there are lotus flowers growing in here," someone said. "Would you like to see them?"

Prabhupada, without stopping, turned and said nonchalantly, "No, I saw them last time."

Prabhupada had not visited the Auckland Domain in more than three years. Some devotees made a quick calculation. Since then, Prabhupada had been on close to a thousand morning walks, yet he remembered clearly that he'd seen the lotus pond before. His comment struck them as amazing.

Srila Prabhupada's party returned to the car park. The sun was brightly shining and the air was beginning to warm. They returned to the temple to greet the Deities.

- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu

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