The photo of Srila Prabhupada eating Sugar cane was taken in the first preaching center in Hawaii in an area named Kaaawa in March of 1969. It was Srila Prabhupada’s first visit to Hawaii and Govinda Dasi had arranged many preaching programs. We had borrowed Vamanadadev’s car and driven Srila Prabhupada into town(Honolulu) to KPOI radio station where Srila Prabhupada was going to be interviewed and talk about the chanting of Hare Krsna. Goursundar drove and Govinda dasi sat in the back seat behind Srila Prabhupada. Mahaparush and I also sat in the back seat. When we reached the radio station Goursundar took Mahaparush to do some Bhoga shopping. Govinda dasi and I went into the radio station with Srila Prabhupada to do the interview.
The radio personality was very kind and respectful of Srila Prabhupada and after about 45 minutes of questions and answers, Srila Prabhupada was asked to chant which he did. Srila Prabhupada started to chant. Govinda dasi and I were sitting at His Lotus Feet. We thought that He was just going to chant and we would listen. Much to our surprise, after Srila Prabhupada, finished the first mantra we did not chant and He looked down on us and said, Chant which we did. Very sweet to say the least
After the program we drove back to Kaaawa via Haleiwa. On the way, there were big sugar cane fields and Srila Prabhupada told us to pull over and pick some of the tallest sugar cane. When we got back to the preaching center Srila Prabhupada showed us how to break the sugar cane into sections and take the hard outer portion off. Srila Prabhupada went to His room and changed His cloth and sat in the chair you see in the photo. What you don’t see in the photo is the devotees sitting at Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet chewing on the sugar cane. Also what you don’t see is Srila Prabhupada taking the chewed sugar cane out of his mouth and tossing it on the floor and watching us scramble for this maha straight from Srila Prabhupada mouth.
Needless to say, Srila Prabhupada enjoyed watching us scramble after the already chewed sugar cane. It was so very sweet and we told Srila Prabhupada that He had told us that material life is like trying to suck sweetness from already chewed sugar cane. Due to the sweetness of this pastime with sugar cane and Srila Prabhupada in this very intimate setting, Srila Prabhupada just laughed at us and with us. Those were wonderful days. Jai Srila Prabhupada.” ~ Balabadra das / William Dove