VOLUME THREE

  • When we get back to the temple [about 10 pm], Chitsukhananda mentions to Prabhupada that he had recently appeared on Mexico’s most-watched TV show, 24 Horas, and that the host really wants Prabhupada to be on the show while he’s in town, “So which night would be most suitable for Your Divine Grace?” Prabhupada: “How many people watch the show?” Chit: “Twenty to thirty million. Prabhupada: “Then let us go tonight. Why wait?” Chit: “But Prabhupada, it’s so late ...” Prabhupada: “Never mind. Tonight we work. Tomorrow we will sleep.”
  • Next morning, Saturday, June 10, Prabhupada called me into his room. We discussed last night’s program, and then he said, “But one thing, next time we should not go so fast. I was watching. You were going 110.” Busted. (Later, I thought probably this is the fastest Prabhupada has ever traveled in a car, and I knew he kind of liked it ...)
  • These new devotees—most of them far more qualified for spiritual life than I—could go on for hours about a smile they saw on Prabhupada’s face or a single look, one piece of prasad received from his hand, a garland they gave him—even a single blossom they retrieved after he’d stepped on it on his way to the car. And here I am, getting it all! I meditate on this often—how unqualified yet how lucky I am.
  • Over the previous ten days, our seventy-six-year-old Srila Prabhupada has traveled to seven cities in two countries and given twenty-one lectures. He’s appeared on TV and radio programs, initiated dozens of new devotees, touched the hearts of thousands in very deep ways. How fast all this is going. How intense and wonderful it all is: chasing rhinos with the Swami!
  • Shyamasundar: “Nanda Kumar’s very tired. Last night, on the plane from New York, that Charlie Chaplin film kept us up all night. [laughter]” Prabhupada: “Hm. That was nice. [laughter] He is really funny man. [laughs] All his comic play has got some originality, that is the beauty. How he invented! [laughs] As sober man, he will not pay. But as a drunkard, ‘I will pay. You are my lifelong friend. Whatever you want, you take.’” [laughs]…When Prabhupada laughed like that, he got on an unstoppable roll; when his eyes shut tight with hilarity and mouth pulled so wide you thought his face would split, he appeared like a ten- year-old child surrendered to happiness.
  • The full-length French doors are open, and perfume from fresh-mown lawns mingles with some special agarbatti George has found and wants me to try. For a long time we don’t speak, just gaze out at gentle summer rain falling on layers and layers of green—the yellow green of willows, the blue-green of spruce trees, and every shade of emerald. As dusk falls, I describe the past two years traveling with Prabhupada, how amazing he is, what a special blessing it is to be Prabhupada’s secretary. In the semi-dark George’s eyes gleam with understanding as he hears the story of Prabhupada’s beauty and love and superhuman prowess. George discloses his heart: “Hmm, you know, I’m ready to go: ‘Any time, Krishna, just take me away!’ I’ll gladly go.” “No more material fantasies, George?” “Well, maybe a few . . . But I gotta lot of work to do, trying to get a message through.” “Prabhupada really wants to see you. When are you going to come into London to see him?” “Maybe you can bring him out here? I’d love to show him all this.”
  • Prabhupada sits in an armchair in the half light, and there is, yes, a bluish aura around him—around us. Time is suspended in the gloaming, as Prabhupada gives us transcendental vision and takes us with him into the spiritual world…We sit silently for many minutes as the sun winks out—a quick glance at my watch says 9:15—and full dark descends on the room. Prabhupada holds us in a magic spell, and I sense this is a historic moment. Prabhupada has zapped us, convincing George beyond all doubt now. When he finally speaks, George clears his throat then says in husky voice, “I want to buy you an ashram, like this place. I will get my estate agents to start looking tomorrow.”
  • That afternoon, George shows up at Bury Place…Prabhupada beckons George to sit next to him again, and by the time I arrive they’re deep into a discussion about George’s personal life. What should he do? Should he shave his head and don the robes? Wear tilak, give up his music?...“No, no,” Prabhupada says. “You remain as you are. There is no need to change the outer dress. The world knows you like this, you stay like this, make your music. Just like the example is given, when a man decorates his face, he does not feel much enjoyment because he cannot see his own face. But he enjoys his beautiful face when it is reflected on the mirror. In other words, when a living entity renders service to the Lord, the Lord enjoys the situation, and the devotee sees the Lord’s pleasure in the mirror of his heart, and he also feels happy.”
  • Srila Prabhupada has been in Britain nearly five weeks this summer. He loves the English high manners, the intelligence and open-hearted sincerity of these young boys and girls who’ve pushed themselves to the limit to serve Krishna …And one of Prabhupada’s unseen but foremost achievements on this UK trip: he has planted the seeds of half a dozen songs about Krishna in George Harrison’s creative mind.
  • I set up my typewriter and took a deep breath, pondering Prabhupada’s anger. At one point that afternoon in the temple, when I’d timidly asked if we should fetch some fruits, he had yelled at me, “Don’t tell me what to do!” and it still stung. But when I stole back down the stairs and chanced a glance in his direction, Prabhupada was calmly sitting with a few devotees as if nothing had happened. When he saw the troubled look on our faces he said, “It is for your education, not for my sake. A devotee does not become angry when personally offended, but when he sees that the Lord or another devotee is offended, he shows anger.” I realized, yet again, that the master’s anger is not really anger but is a seldom-used, effective tool to help us improve in spiritual life.
  • Once in a while I peek over to see the wedge-shaped top of his head, large in back and tapering forward like the prow of this 747 knifing through space—his short gray sikha in a little curl—looking to see if he might need anything, and my heart goes weak with affection. I’m not exactly his pal, but a close companion in a way, and about as unlikely a match as can be conceived of…I was often smiling, laughing, or trying to suppress a laugh while Prabhupada spoke in a most somber way, as if I could see the humor in truth being forced by a father down the throats of recalcitrant children. I’m happy beyond description.
  • For six days Prabhupada thrilled us, building a palpable connection to our own ancient history. His voice rose from deep silence on that hilltop, above the chirping of crickets and the lowing of cows somewhere in the dusk, and transported us back into time immemorial when the Absolute Truth was revealed to submissive ears…His mobile eyebrows bushy and strangely black. “Krish” like he’s crushing a succulent fruit—“na!” like a thunderclap over the hills, “Krish-na!” like an avalanche in a far ravine.
  • Prabhupada leans back on a cushion—tiny burp—takes a toothpick to his teeth, and calmly asks, “So, what are the affairs in London and Bombay?” Suddenly the frantic events in England and Juhu seem so far away, so miniscule, compared to seeing Prabhupada and what he’s doing here in Vrindaban. After such dread and uncertainty, feeling the ax about to fall, I feel so safe and secure in Prabhupada’s presence.
  • As dawn touches pink the ancient crowns of temples around us, devotees wiping sleep from their eyes, some with wet hair from early ablutions, and maybe a dozen local Vrajbasis huddle under blankets and chadars, Prabhupada taps the microphone, clears his throat, and speaks…Little wisps of vapor emerge from his mouth as the sun slowly illumines his body and, as the air warms, he sheds his wrap. We’re transported back to that splendid morning of creation, when everything was new, sinless, and sparkling with possibility.
  • One afternoon shortly after we arrived in Hyderabad, three of Prabhupada’s army-vet surfer disciples hijacked Mr. Pitti’s classic 1956 Chevy V-8 convertible and took it for a joyride around town! When Prabhupada heard about it he was very upset, dressed us all down, and demanded that we mind our manners.
  • For the next seven weeks we would act out the dramatic but classic struggle between good and evil: ISKCON vs. Nair. We’d be immersed in the insanity of litigation in post-British India, where the transplanted precepts of Blackstone’s law battled the lethargy and corruption of an ancient, old-boy tradition. Nothing had ever gotten under Srila Prabhupada’s skin like this…What will astound me is how quickly Srila Prabhupada perceives the simple logic hidden in the tangled legal issues and counters with his rebuttal; how he forms his argument word by word into a legal brief; how he stands strong before overwhelming forces—a mission impossible—and, as we shall see, rides off victorious into the sunset.
  • His face cracks open in a laugh, eyes opening very wide in surprise. Then he shuts them tight and his cheeks stretch back to impossible limits, and his head bobs up and down in a full belly laugh. His eyes are open again now, moist with delight, as he contemplates the strangeness of our high-speed journey, and he says, between gasps of laughter: “You are just like the, what is that, this goat, tied to my string, and always bumping.” “Yes, Prabhupada, even if you lead me to the slaughterhouse.” “That is the position of guru, to lead you to Krishna, even you do not want to go.”
  • “Lie to some, not to others, that is not a good philosophy. Rather the brahmanas are always truthful, even to their enemies....That art you must develop, not art of lying. Convince them to give by your preaching the Absolute Truth, not by tricking, that is more mature stage of development of Krishna Consciousness.” All paradoxes were resolved within Srila Prabhupada’s consistent theme: Krishna. Every day, at every moment, whatever Prabhupada thought, spoke, or performed was always about Krishna. And Prabhupada’s consistency was at the same time always different, ever fresh, at all times new and surprising.
  • I thought, Prabhupada, you said you’ll always be with me wherever I am. I thought, too, of unlimited horizons, of reaching my fist deep into the earth and, Srila Prabhupada, watching your eyes light up at the gleaming sun-red gems—and buying you a Rolls-Royce, maybe a satellite to broadcast your glories around the world. I’ll get that magnificent house in England, hang chandeliers, bring the queen to you for tea and talks so that you’ll come and live there with me again. And so the die of the next phase of my life was cast…Wounds healing, Saraswati and I headed east. It was time to chase some rhinos on my own.
  • George looked good in his neck beads, his face glowing, unencumbered by mustache and beard. We talked about Piggot’s Manor. George was thrilled, and said, “Yeah, I wanted you Krishnas to have a place like Friar Park, something in the countryside. I promised Prabhupada. You can chant as loud as you like and no one bothers you. And I can come over there, and no one’ll bother me.”
  • Prabhupada said, “Tomorrow we must sell the gold. They [my GBC godbrothers] are objecting. Apart from that, price seems to be staying the same”…Herr Schriber sold our gold at $89.75 a troy ounce, and credited Srila Prabhupada’s new account with $25,967.17, a profit of $2,329.07—nearly 10 percent in just twelve days…His new Swiss Credit Bank checkbook disappeared into his little white case, but often, years later, he would pull it out and show it, saying, “I have got my Switzerland bank account.”
  • Prabhupada looks so good! You can’t take your eyes off him—he’s shirtless and glistening from his morning massage, fresh clay tilak daubed on his arms, chest, and belly, leaning back, his head resting on a pillow and his feet thrust out, ankles crossed, toes pink and scrubbed. Gone was the tension, the overquick response to stimuli. His once-darting eyes are half-closed now, still, content, the rested guru. A buzz of pleasure crawls over my neck and shoulders.
  • After seven years with him—and especially during the past two years being with him nearly every day—I began to see Srila Prabhupada as the action hero in a blockbuster transcendental film. His life, everything around him, was a movie. His activities were extraordinary, almost mythical, and they flowed from scene to scene in perfect transition. He suspended our disbelief, made this play seem so real, as if all of us were cast for our particular roles by a master talent director.
  • This July 9 conversation with David Wynne was just the first of nearly fifty conversations recorded with Srila Prabhupada during his 1973 summer in London…These London conversations together form the most intense body of recorded dialogue during Prabhupada’s years with us…They will demonstrate Prabhupada’s expertise on any subject, his tact, and his ability to match philosophy and wits with anyone. These conversations illustrate, perhaps better than any single period in Prabhupada’s long career, that any person, whether humbly born or highly placed, agreeable or disputatious—whoever talked with Prabhupada left the room comforted, elated, enlightened. These discussions reveal Prabhupada’s humor, his grasp of the absurd, his finesse and total awareness. And always, in every conversation, Srila Prabhupada never forgets Krishna even for a moment.
  • [With historian Arnold Toynbee:] They laugh a lot, these two great historians, enjoying each other’s company. To seize this rare opportunity I ask, “Srila Prabhupada, what is your view of the future—the future of history?” Prabhupada: That is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Governmental power will go to the rascals and thieves, rogues. And their only business will be how to exploit the people. So on one side, by not sufficient rain, there will be scarcity of foodstuff, and on other side, the government will tax like anything…Only Krishna conscious people will be free from all these calamities…That is also stated, that for ten thousand years Krishna consciousness movement will increase…After ten thousand years, the gloomy picture of Kali-yuga will return. Still there is time. Ten thousand years is not a small period.”
  • I savored the perfect somnambulant summer afternoons when Prabhupada sat on his saffron shawl on the vast lawn in front of the Manor, chanting japa as Srutakirti softly read to him from Caitanya-caritamrita. Sometimes I sat with them, quiet, listening to the ancient words, humming bees, faint quack and rustle of ducks on the lake, rattle of grass being mowed beyond the hedges. Men worked bare-shouldered in gardens around us, and across the lawns you could see splashes of bright saris as girls giggled and picked roses for garlands. Prabhupada has named this place New Gokula.
  • Prabhupada is in a joking mood, so I say, “Srila Prabhupada, you looked just like Lord Shiva today, sitting on your new throne.” The sides of his smile begin to tremble. He chuckles, and softly we begin to chuckle with him. Then he laughs aloud, pointing at me, “You ...” but he can’t say more he is laughing so hard. Then he rolls back on his elbows, raises his face in the air and laughs until tears flow from his tight-shut eyes—and we join him, near-convulsing on the floor in helpless mirth. “You, yes, you have made. It is like Lord Shiva—but that is the power of king, he should show power, and that the people will accept. Throne is very nice. English king, it is proper for me.”
  • “Hare Krishna!” says Pete Ham, lead singer and guitarist for Badfinger, as he breezes into the Manor parking lot and climbs out of his van…From the stage it must have looked like a cozy English summer evening lawn party. A dozen elegant, small round tables covered in white cloth—and jeez, candelabras—and matching wrought-iron chairs. We’ve rented fancy crockery, linen napkins, champagne glasses, and devotees in white aprons and black vests scurry from table to table: “A glass o’ the bubbly, then, sir? Will that be red or white?” as they pour from bottles of expensive sparkling grape juice…I keep glancing up to Prabhupada’s room to see his glowing silhouette, wondering what he thinks of our outrageous efforts to spread Krishna’s name and fame. Hey, it’s happening. We’ll deal with the fallout later—but right now it feels pretty good to hear the Hare Krishna mantra broadcast for miles in every direction.
  • Prabhupada leaves for India, the Swiss computer watch still dangling from his wrist. This past nine weeks has been the highest point, the perfection, of my years with Srila Prabhupada. Dancing with Prabhupada from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square; relaxing with the lord of the Manor on his English estate; delighting in his conversations with George Harrison, Arnold Toynbee, and Rubeigh Minney; watching our Vedic king expound from that outrageous throne ... It just couldn’t have been any better.
  • I look across shadowed lawns as early October sun gilds gabled slate roofs and fluted chimneys and slides down the storybook outer walls of Bhaktivedanta Manor, lighting the mullioned windows to rooms upstairs where you so recently played with us. I remember the unusual beauty of your face and mouth, the flowing ease and subtle lines of cheeks and crinkles wrapping around and punctuating another perfect mood, your dancing eyes, now somber, unmoving in thought, now wide and full of mischief. I recall the soft golden flesh of your shoulder and the surprising hard tissues beneath it, the flow of blue veins under forearms, behind knees—how they throbbed with a cool, even pulse as you lounged in the sun and roared with power when you danced all day. Watching you shave always had me in stitches—the wide intent eyes and grimaces as you swiveled the mirror to see that your tilak was straight or to check on a possible loose tooth. I remember how you dressed yourself slowly, keenly observing each cloth before choosing, then tied and tucked your dhoti with care. Nor can I forget quick pink fingers at your buttonholes, and how sometimes you leaned forward for me to close the one at the neck.
  • It’s all so vast! What is this endless cosmic manifestation of spacetime? Does it have a purpose? Does it mean anything? How do I fit into spacetime—me, this tiny being? Am I a blade of grass to bloom and wither in one season?... Enter A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (we call him Swamiji) in the particular solar cycle of earth named 1967. Enter the wise man from the ancient East, librarian for this huge collection of all knowledge he calls the Vedas. He reads us these books (“Just you try to follow”), teaches us the language to read them ourselves, introduces our inquiring minds to the Author Himself (“He is Krishna, the Supreme Personality”), and explains to our full satisfaction the “mysterious force that sways the constellations.”
  • Your bedroom-slippered feet glide by, inches from my head bowed to the floor, trailing mustard and sandalwood and roses, and I rise to see your lustrous face, laughing and victorious or dark with purpose, eyes grave and hooded—your eyes slit tight in some deep thought or blooming wide like a child seeing its first elephant. This is what we had of you at the first: a face so beautiful, so full of every kind of strength and compassion and confidence and softness. So like a giant you were in our midst, then tiny and surrendered as a child in our arms, a form so ever new in its expressions we couldn’t pull our eyes away.
  • Oh, please forgive me, Prabhupada, if sometimes I sailed into your room unbowed or jokingly said your tilak’s a mess or laughed when you tried to be serious. If sometimes my deep-seated veneration was overshadowed by a burst of impulsive candor when you asked, “What do you think, Shyamasundar?” I always tried to remember that familiarity breeds contempt and that I am nothing compared to your magnificence, but you loved laughter and adventure, same as me, and you had a mission, you loved to risk, and we fell into step, side by side.
  • Srila Prabhupada was totally fearless in every circumstance—on the tossing deck of a cargo ship across the rough Atlantic; wandering the mean streets of lower Manhattan with only pennies in his pocket; hanging out with the drug-addled crazies of 1960s America; rubbing shoulders with lords and ladies, bums, rock stars, philosophers, and kings; dropping behind the Iron Curtain under fire to plant real peace; invading India with twenty untested soldiers to change his nation’s destiny; roaring out Krishna’s name on every continent, staring down adversity. He was relaxed and laughing in the face of all danger, free from perplexity and hesitation, fixed in the moment no matter the gales and thunder and raised swords around him. After Prabhupada, the decades of my measured time are just a filling in, an enduring of the days until we meet again and, together, storm the walls that dare to hem us in.
  • Optimism is my primary emotion these days as I scan the planet and worldly affairs and weigh your accomplishments to date and picture how the future must unfold…At last your ISKCON has emerged to the sun above all others, a mighty oak standing alone to nourish and guide the world. Prabhupada, you brought the dying spark of sanatana-dharma to this dried out husk of Kali-yuga, and created a wonderful, unstoppable forest fire in high winds. As the disenchantment and futility of material striving increase in this difficult age, the more intelligent in human society will certainly see Krishna consciousness as the only source of pure truth left. With so much momentum, your mission cannot fail.
  • O Prabhupada! Sometimes I’ve stayed this trail with you, glued to your lotus heels. Other times I wandered off, far off, and lost you in thick entanglements and concrete jungles. Sometimes we have camped and slept in adjoining beds. Some mornings I awake and find you gone, and I am desolate. But somehow here I am again, tucked into your slipstream and rocketing along at your usual lightning pace. Out here, Srila Prabhupada, out here now, I’m far past the point of no return—out of the pandemonium. How silent and sure it has all become out here, beside you, my sole anchor, guide, and friend.

VOLUME TWO: INDIA/AROUND THE WORLD

  • On the afternoon of October 2, not many noticed the tiny, two-propeller DC-3 with BASCO markings slowly steer its way through barricades and wreckage on the runway at Cairo International, dwarfed by giant jets from almost every nation, to park in front of the multitiered transit terminal. Few remarked the small gaggle of Hare Krishna devotees that stumbled from the fuselage to emerge in unfamiliar heat, escorted by khaki-clad men armed with Kalashnikovs to a shaded compound in front of the terminal. When these strange people began clanging cymbals, clapping hands, and singing and dancing around, their guards began to pay attention. What in Allah’s name was going on? Within minutes, dozens of soldiers and policemen surrounded the robed dervishes, and hundreds of stranded passengers ran to the airport’s balconies to witness the first wave of the World Sankirtan Party – eleven souls oblivious to war and politics on a journey to the East to meet their spiritual master.
  • Prabhupada. Always keeping things in perspective and enabling us to see the world through his eyes of rare wisdom, spoiling forever our impulse to gratify the body’s senses. Next he tells us that in earlier times, the maharajas would keep elephants as a symbol of their great wealth. “And above all precious elephants, the white elephant was supreme. When a maharaja happened to find an English wife, they used to say he was keeping a ‘white elephant.’ Now you American boys and girls, you are my white elephants. Everyone is seeing my dancing white elephants.” We roar with laughter – but the name sticks: Prabhupada’s dancing white elephants.  
  • We were mesmerized as Prabhupada spoke on those golden mornings over the raucous cawing of crows outside, coo-cooing of pigeons in the courtyard. Changing expressions moved across his golden face, like the play of cumulus and sunlight over a varied landscape. One moment he was from our world and the next from a world we couldn’t penetrate, the self-contained knower of everything. Then suddenly he’s tossing a ball to you in a friendly game of verbal catch – maybe a fastball to see if you can catch it. He might break from describing Krishna’s vast cosmic design to real concern for your upset stomach: “Just try little bicarbonate soda, one spoonful in water.” None of us had ever seen such depth of personality.  
  • As we near the river, yogis appear, lining the path and doing tricks. “What! Malati, d’you see that?”  There’s a boy-man lying on a wooden plank with a dozen foot-long spikes penetrating his torso, his eyes focused on eternity. The wounds are long-healed – must be something he’s done most of his life. There’re more of them – it’s a gathering of men on spikes. Their handlers stare at us and we stare back at them, trying to unravel in our minds this testament to sacrifice and the power that’s supposed to come from it. Is it worth it? Do these guys get anything more than a meager living for the incredible pain they’ve undergone? This yogi stuff is no longer a fairytale, son…We see other yogis buried in the sand with only an arm showing, their fingernails a foot long and curling around their wrists. There are levitators, a row of cross-legged men seated above the ground. One guy’s almost two feet up! Wait a minute. We glance at Prabhupada. He marches past, looking the other way, like, “Come on, lads, let’s go to the beach.”
  • We began to see Prabhupada as a great saint here in his homeland, relaxed, the true spiritual father of India, taking his place on the balcony to address flushed and excited devotee crowds like the Pope at St. Peter’s, his forehead plastered with sandalwood paste, the rooms and halls behind him suffused with the aroma of gardenias and tuberoses. Prabhupada was loving it – and we were loving him more each second. To see our father, our best friend, our master, so well treated, so revered by a whole city – it made us dizzy with new realizations. Prabhupada was a saint! The word for saint in Sanskrit comes from the root sat, “one who knows and abides by the truth.” Prabhupada was being venerated for his virtue and knowledge, as a living example of the truth. And seeing these angelic citizens of Surat, we realized, too, what the world might be like if everyone became a devotee of Krishna.  
  • I could see he was a little skeptical, but he encouraged me, told me to “chase the rhinoceros,” and I was more determined than ever. I could sense that some devotees considered my big plans just another of “Shyamasundar’s wild schemes.” I also sensed that most of the devotees just wanted to stay in Prabhupada’s company and travel with him around India. I did too, of course – personal association with our spiritual master was blissful – but I had experienced an even higher bliss when Prabhupada looked into my eyes after I’d done some big service – once I’d captured a rhino – and said, “You have done very well.” There was no bliss higher than this. Prabhupada himself had set that example; just see all the impossible rhinos he had bagged for his own spiritual master! From my experiences in San Francisco and London – the Mantra Rock Dance concert, the Ratha-yatra festivals, Bury Place, the Beatles (“My Sweet Lord” right now the #1 song in the world) – I knew that the sky was the limit and anything could be done. I had already realized the super-most bliss of seeing Krishna’s hand removing obstacles to service so “impossible” that He must personally interfere. I wanted to show Prabhupada off to a bigger audience, the movers and shakers of India, and these people lived and worked in Bombay.  
  • In June 1971 the world was divided into two opposing ideologies, capitalism and communism. The Western bloc of capitalist nations was separated from the Eastern bloc of communists by a geographic line drawn north-south through Europe called the Iron Curtain. It was a Cold War. Both sides were hesitant to risk all-out nuclear holocaust, so they fought instead small hot wars in places like Korea and Vietnam, where the two blocs, led by the United States and Russia, struggled by proxy for world domination. The entire planet lived in fear that some incident would break the stalemate and unleash nuclear winter across our globe…Through this perfect historical window stepped His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, determined to spread his ancient message of peace to both camps. Prabhupada arrived in Russia on June 20, 1971, and the short time he spent there could rightly be called five days that changed the world.
  • George Harrison said, “Shyamsundar! Hare Krishna! Hey, what a great surprise. It’s really good to see you.” “Well, Prabhupada just happened to be passing through New York. He’s over at the Brooklyn temple, and I –” Chris O’Dell waves from across the room. “Hare Krishna, Chris! How’re ya doin’! Anyway, George, I heard you were in town. What’s this all about?” “We’re puttin’ on a charity concert. It was Ravi’s idea. For the Bangladesh refugees. You know, they’ve been hit by cyclones, war. They’re in real bad shape over there. We’ve got Madison Square Garden booked for August 1. Two shows. Will you be around?” “Yeah, we’re heading over to London on the second.” “Great, I’ll get you a seat.”… Madison Square Garden, August 1, 1971, Concert for Bangla Desh, 2 p.m. matinee show: George walked onstage, and after twenty thousand fans gave him a five-minute standing ovation, he looked down at Bhavananda and me in our front-row-center seats, grinned, and greeted us with a soft “Hare Krishna.” What followed was one of the great rock music spectacles of our time.
  • And that was the joy and the lightness: the laughter in all of this. Prabhupada just tickled my funny bone with so many things he said and did. I found myself cracking up in his conversations with others, and even in his lectures. Sometimes, together, we acted almost like the American TV duo, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon — Ed laughed at nearly everything Johnny said. Srila Prabhupada often gave me that sideways glance, raising his eyebrows, indicating, “You like the show, eh? Am I doing all right?” I was like Prabhupada’s audience meter; when I’d send him a laugh, he’d up the energy and lay you out in the aisles. And then he’d come in with the kicker: “So long I am here, let us try something tangible, not simply fairytale proposals.” I ask, “Srila Prabhupada, what is laughter?” He says, “It is the difference between what you expect and what really happens.” “Well, then, Prabhupada, why do you always make me laugh?” “Perhaps you expect too much from me.”  
  • George was still in America putting together the film of the Bangla Desh Concert. He had asked me to check on Eric Clapton as soon as I got back to England, to “give him a little Krishna love,” deeply worried about Eric’s addiction to hard drugs. So on August 10 I asked Prabhupada for an afternoon off and took the bus out to Eric’s estate, Hurtwood Edge, in Surrey, about forty miles southwest of London…when suddenly, through the front door clattered Ginger Baker and two of Eric’s other musician friends. Eric came downstairs — not really glad to see me — but he greeted me with a soft “Hare Krishna.” Before long they’d set up instruments and amps and were jamming. They played one song that moved me very much, and from the words Eric sang it might have been called “Sunshine of Your Love.”       “Wow, Eric,” I said, “that’s a beautiful song!”       “What? You’ve never heard it before?!” They laughed and joked that they were meeting the only person on the planet who’d never heard their song.  
  • But as we jaywalked across Ngong Forest Road and threaded our way through the Kibera slum toward Kamukunji Park to conduct the first public sankirtan in Africa, even stalwart Brahmananda looked scared. Me — I was shaking like a leaf! Just yesterday I had seen a guy in a breechcloth walking down the street with a zebra hide over his shoulder, fresh blood running down his back. This was a savage country, only recently seized back from the British by the murderous Mau Mau. In the 1960s, Jomo Kenyatta had launched his successful campaign to oust the Brits from this same Kamukunji Park, and here we were, heading for the very Freedom Tree under which he had rallied his people to revolt. Would this work?...There were seven of us: Brahmananda, Bhavananda, Naranarayan, Jagannivas, Chayavana, Aravinda, and me — seven white men acting out under the very symbol of the black man’s freedom from white rule. Oh boy.
  • All over Calcutta, radical Bengalis were trying to instigate the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It was the perfect time and place to discuss Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Tse-tung. Shyamasundar: “So Karl Marx made a manifesto called the Communist Manifesto, which lists ten points for social reform. The first one is the abolition of private property — all property becomes public.” Prabhupada: “The whole tendency of the individual spirit soul is that I want profit from my activity. He may propose all these nice things according to his philosophy, but he cannot change the mind of the people. Therefore all such proposals will be futile. Simply waste of time, that’s all.”  
  • The largest and perhaps most entangled government bureaucracy in the world is ruled from New Delhi, with more than six hundred million lives in these officials’ hands. Early on the morning of November 10, 1971, we flew Indian Airlines from Calcutta to Delhi, arriving at Palam Airport at 8:30 a.m. to a VIP reception on the tarmac beside the parked plane. Sri Hans Raj Gupta, mayor of New Delhi, along with a dozen government bigwigs, met Prabhupada as he stepped off the gangway…Bhaktivedanta Swami had lived off and on in Delhi for almost ten years during the late ’50s and early ’60s. It was here that he had struggled alone to print and distribute his Back To Godhead magazine and three-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto One. In those days he often walked across Delhi because he didn’t have the half-rupee for bus fare. Now, six years later, he was returning in triumph as India’s spiritual ambassador to the world.  
  • In Vrindaban, Srila Prabhupada is more relaxed and intimate than I have ever seen him: greeting and preaching (maybe bragging a bit) to old friends in his quarters or on the street, during meals and massages — yak, yak, yak in the pleasant winter sun. He is so elegant, graceful, friendly, carefree, wise, practical, and self-confident during this exhibition to his extended family in Vrindaban. What a contrast to Delhi, where he was the politician-king. Here, he is the old friend, the favorite uncle, the patriarch, the worshipable village elder. We have never seen this side of him, but we quickly understand it: Vrindaban dwellers are grounded in magic, they are accustomed to the miraculous, and they see Prabhupada and his disciples as the recurrence of an ancient sacred pastime…We chant and dance down Vrindaban’s ancient streets, barely wide enough for a bicycle rickshaw — ching ching! — as we step aside to avoid open sewers. Krishna’s name is echoed by the time-darkened walls. Haribol! shout the shopkeepers and pilgrims we meet. We see majestic temples packed between brick-and-stucco homes, walled compounds, arcades and verandas, pavilions and alcoves. Iron bars or carved stone screens protect windows from marauding, pink-faced macaque monkeys. A maze of plumbing runs down the sides of buildings and tangles of wire top every utility pole, where electricity pirates grab their volts. (One power company worker tells us that only about 60 percent of electricity in Vrindaban is actually paid for.) Everything seems run-down, deteriorated. Parts of town look almost abandoned. But from this day forward, Srila Prabhupada and his pack of angels begin to breathe new life into the holy precincts of Vrindaban.
  • About an hour after the Madras Mail chugged out of Bombay’s Victoria Station — and after fifteen or twenty devotees cleared Prabhupada’s first-class AC sleeper cabin to find their own seats in second-class coach — the conductor appeared and punched our tickets. The door’s slammed and latched against the noisy corridor, and I’m suddenly a little shy and awkward to be alone with Prabhupada for this long journey in such cramped quarters…A far-off moan from the locomotive breaks my slumber. The light is out and I scoot over to peer over the edge of my bed, down to Prabhupada’s bunk, expecting to see him sleeping. I’ve never seen him actually asleep — this may be a first. He’s on his side in the starlight, legs drawn up, and just then his right eye opens and stares into mine above, with no expression on his face, as if to say, “Thought you’d catch me sleeping, huh?”
  • We had experienced so many exciting adventures with Prabhupada, dashing from place to place in such rapid order — now it feels like a holiday, a vacation from crowded cities, reclined at Prabhupada’s feet while he sprawls in his easy chair on the front porch [in Vishakhapatnam] and laughs and kids with his buddies, watching hummingbirds and seagulls play, noon sun shimmering on a chartreuse sea… Each morning, Prabhupada leads his throng of merry pranksters along the beach while we pick up shells and skip flat rocks. He tells us of Lord Chaitanya, how much He loved this coast, how the Lord and His devotees would swim and play in this sea in great jubilation. Nanda Kumar asks Prabhupada, “Isn’t this really just sense gratification, this playing around in the ocean?” Prabhupada replies, “The sun is there — Krishna is the light of the sun. Ocean is there — Krishna is the taste of water. You are surrounded by Krishna. How can you forget Krishna? He is all around you.”  
  • While workmen are busy finishing the pandal, Prabhupada leads the Mayapur organizers out into the field behind the pandal. He paces off the four corners of a huge, four-story residence-guesthouse, the first building he wants to erect here. He instructs devotees to pile clods of dirt to mark each corner. Then Prabhupada shows them where to dig a pit, about fifteen feet deep and five feet square just outside the pandal entrance. This is where he will lay the cornerstone…Each morning, Prabhupada walks around the property, pointing to adjacent fields and saying stuff like, “The temple should go here — bigger than Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s in London,” or “Apartments for five hundred men should go over there,” or “Here you should dig a big lake.” He’s expanding on his dream for Mayapur…[Mayapur didn’t look like much then, but from these humble beginnings a mighty temple grew. Now, forty-six years later, I have lived to see a million pilgrims a year flock to ISKCON’s Mayapur complex, spread out over seven hundred acres, and as we speak, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium rises 370 feet over all — and, yes, it’s higher than St. Paul’s.]  
  • Just ten days earlier, Prabhupada had conducted the first movement of his India Temple Symphony — the Mayapur Sonata — in allegro, to a full house in the middle of a rice paddy in rural Bengal. Now he would dig deeper into his theme and calmly conduct the second movement in a slower tempo, in adagio, on an empty plain on the outskirts of Vrindaban…[In Vrindaban] there were three major tasks to accomplish: (1) to sign the deed for the Raman Reti property; (2) to sign documents granting Prabhupada his rooms at the Radha-Damodar temple in perpetuity; and (3) to organize a cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new temple on the Raman Reti land. Prabhupada was scarcely settled in his room when the various characters in the sitcom began to arrive, one by one, from central casting. Quiet on the set! Action! SCENE ONE Interior. Room Three.  
  • I think about everything that’s been happening. In less than one month Srila Prabhupada has done the impossible: he’s laid the cornerstones for his main three temples in India, despite all odds: Naxalite bandits, floods, cold, heat, lack of money, envious opponents, unsupportive godbrothers, caste goswamis, a communist-leaning central government under martial law with strict rationing of construction materials, our shaky legal standing, and a handful of young but worn-out devotees. The lands we have acquired are so old, with so many contending proprietors, and so large and in such vital locations — to even think of owning these properties is almost surreal. We are recent arrivals on Indian soil, with very little organization or social standing. And yet despite these obstacles, Prabhupada’s unrelenting desire to please Krishna has somehow prevailed. He did it! Seeing all this from the inside — typing his letters, making phone calls, huddled with him in late-night strategy sessions — I am in awe. This is Superman beyond anything yet, and he is just getting started.
  • Prabhupada just wouldn’t stop talking. Since we had left the Bombay airport on Friday evening, March 31, 1972, more than twenty-four hours earlier, he hadn’t slowed down a bit. Now he’s sitting late at night in an upstairs room in a borrowed white terrace house at 26 Renny Street in the Paddington district of Sydney, Australia, talking with Pradyumna, Nanda Kumar, and me, and with his ISKCON Australia leaders Upendra and Mohanananda, about every subject under the crescent moon, including the flowers in a vase on his desk… It’s getting so late, after midnight now, officially April 2, and Prabhupada hasn’t rested in about two days. His elbows are propped on a low table-desk, head in his hands in a sort of reverie. Prabhupada appears to tower over us, his stature magnified by the greatness of his words, his control over every situation, his fearless intensity, and his gigantic spirit. Our point of view begins at his feet, looking up as if he’s way over our heads. His movements are so graceful, light, and expressive, yet heavy with meaning. He is guru, heavy. He seems so dominant, so huge in our eyes, yet I just saw the details in his passport as we passed through Australian customs: Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami, whose father is listed as “Late Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj Prabhupada” and whose visible distinguishing mark is “Vishnu tilaka on forehead.” He is just 1 m 60 cm (5 feet 3 inches) tall and maybe soaking wet he weighs 120 pounds. He’s in that special zone now, wired but tired yet kind of drifting. “Where was I? Oh, yes.” He’s in bliss and wants to keep talking. Now he gets a snack attack.  
  • The [Cistercian] monks eat it up, seeing that our faith and practices are so similar to theirs, even down to the shaved heads and exotic robes. There is a feeling of instant brotherhood, cross-institutional familiarity. Prabhupada is the dynamic authority, delivering the gospel in a way they understand…We follow with kirtan, which quickly moves from the sublime to the boisterous as the monks push their chairs away and clap and dance with us, some laughing with glee despite themselves, their innocent faces glistening with holy rapture. Ba-boom- BOOM! Kirtan ends, the monks bow down while Prabhupada recites Sanskrit prayers, then rise as one, somewhat stunned. (I’m thinking, “See, it’s the same thing, but we have more fun!”)  
  • China! To be with my Indian swami in China was like the realization of a childhood fantasy. Of course, in April 1972 no one could really go to China; Mainland China was a closed Communist country. The British colony of Hong Kong was as close as you could get, but it was still China, the mysterious dragon lair of Fu Manchu…As we walk along, many thoughts pass through my head, like “Are his feet cold in those open-toed slippers?” and “His toenails, they look like pearls.” Sandalwood fragrance wafts in his wake, and Prabhupada looks purposeful, chin high, as he chants quietly, his tongue playing with a loose lower front tooth. He looks spiffy this morning, and pumped to be in Hong Kong.
  • On May 4, we returned to the Dai Nippon offices [in Tokyo], where Prabhupada finalized arrangements for the printing of the Indian BTG and some books in Hindi. After his meeting, Prabhupada sat patiently for an hour while a young Dai Nippon dentist fitted him with a pair of solid gold teeth, cleverly bridged to the remaining front teeth in his lower jaw. Prabhupada looked in the mirror and said, “Oh, this looks very nice,” then reached out and pulled the anxious dentist to his chest, hugged him, and messed up his hair. Emerging from the dentist’s office, Srila Prabhupada flashed his glamorous new grin, ready for his trip to celebrity-conscious America.  
  • On May 6 we took an early flight from Tokyo to Honolulu. Srila Prabhupada was in high spirits after his recent victories: three huge temples underway in India, two in Australia, New Zealand, now a strong foothold in Japan…He said, “On this Hawaii island how many beautiful things, flowers, trees, and fruits — it is like a heavenly planet. The climate is milder and there is much fresh air from the ocean and sunshine, and the scenery position is also very beautiful. There is also strong inclination for spiritual birth, and many yogis take their birth in Hawaii”… There was a gorgeous flowering frangipani tree (plumeria) in the yard, and after his morning class Prabhupada would doff his clothes and relax on a mat spread on the lawn beneath this fragrant tree, wrapped in a simple loincloth for his daily massage…O Prabhupada, how beautiful you are: the golden-limbed young man sporting in flowered gardens, joking, declaiming on every subject from butterflies to Brahmaloka, your eyes half-closed in rest and inner satisfaction. Never have I seen you so beautiful. This is what it must be like in the spiritual sky in Krishna’s place called Goloka Vrindavan — sheer heaven…Or sitting in his rocking chair, chanting japa for hours — each word snaps so clear and distinct — while a gentle breeze plays with his kurta, his senses alert to frangipani perfume and a few soft raindrops, seeing Krishna in every movement of bamboo rustling at the fence, in the play of wind across the emerald carpet of grass at his feet, in the sibilate susurrus of the insistent Pacific rolling back and forth on white coral sands.  
  • Being with Prabhupada was like being in an endless movie. One moment you were part of an epic adventure-thriller like Ben- Hur or Where Eagles Dare, and the next moment you were in a newsreel, a documentary, or an evocative travelogue. You went from sidesplitting comedy to deep tragedy in a few frames of time. The contents of letters written to Prabhupada ranged from juicy high drama to dry field reports; from soap-operatic Dear Abbeys to heavenly expressions of love. Prabhupada was the producer-director for an ever-changing kaleidoscope of actors and scripts, and Los Angeles was his home base of choice. The weather was perfect here year round, and what is done in L.A. today, the whole world does tomorrow. From the Culver City temple it was just a few short blocks to the main gates of MGM Studios, where The Wizard of Oz was filmed and where “Gunsmoke” and “Jeopardy!” beamed out each week to millions of homes…Over the following days, Prabhupada delivers a consistent series of lectures, a powerful exposition of this most essential of all Vedic knowledge, ready-made for TV. With all the flowers, devotee glee, and children coming forward for sweets from Prabhupada’s hand, it is a remarkable piece of transcendental show business.  
  • From mid-1966 to mid-1970, in just four years’ time, Bhaktivedanta Swami built his International Society for Krishna Consciousness into a major spiritual force in North America and Europe. On August 2, 1970, Srila Prabhupada flew from Los Angeles to Tokyo to commence his first round-the-world preaching tour, returning to L.A. in late June 1971, having planted the seeds for ISKCON in Japan, India, Russia, Malaysia, and Australia. For his second round-the-world tour, Prabhupada left Los Angeles on July 16, 1971, and now, in late May of 1972, after his heroic success in London, Nairobi, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Japan, Srila Prabhupada is back in L.A., revving up for his third round-the-world adventure…Armed with fresh cassette tapes, I jump in the front seat of Prabhupada’s car as we race to LAX for our flight to Mexico City—chasing another rhino with the Swami.  

VOLUME ONE : SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON

  • “We’re elated, and start making preparations, like getting visas and shots. Gurudas buys a slide projector. We’re allowed one suitcase each, so we pack a few clothes (no pants—dhotis only), kartals, a toothbrush, a couple of books. Malati insists we bring her giant “Prabhupada’s World Sankirtan London” banner, so we roll that up and stuff it into a suitcase. On the way to Brussels it finally sinks in: We’re on our way to India! To meet Prabhupada!”
    We’re on our way to India!
  • Blood flew from its four-inch fangs as the feeding jaguar roared, just feet from my startled face. I wheeled and ran with my Venezuelan guide crashing through thick jungle certain the enraged 300-pound beast would be on us in a moment. “Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” I yelled from fear-filled lungs, not stopping till we’d scrambled to the highest point in a tree-tangled windfall. We threw off our packs and back-to- sweat-soaked- back we sat on a single green log, trembling with effort and dread while hours passed and the big cat shrieked and coughed, broke branches, and circled unseen around us, furious that we’d interrupted its fresh kill. Downwind, we could smell its rancid breath and gore-soaked coat. Low skies opened and rain poured on our huddled forms.I whipped my battered shot-gun back and forth at the slightest sound, down to my last 000-buckshot shell. The Indian had three cane arrows. He dipped their tips into the small clay pot of poison tied at his waist, nocked his long bow, and laid two arrows beside us on the log. As night fell, we awaited our uncertain fate…
    From Prologue
  • Then Mike Grant, at twenty-four, not much expression on his face, says he has a spiritual master. “Yeah, I got initiated by the Swami, big ceremony with like a campfire in the middle of the room– and he gave me a new name.”Mike seemed so different. But what was it? I handed him a joint, showing off (see, even out there in the wilderness …), and he said no thanks, appreciating the offer, but “We took a vow to the Swami. No more intoxicants.”InTOXicants? A little grass?Mike Grant, my Reed College hero: in his black beret and shades, tickling the ivories at 2 a.m. in that dark coffeehouse on Stark Street in Portland, who turned this innocent farm boy from Salem on to Lenny Bruce and John Coltrane – my hero, with a new name like Moo-koonda? – telling me, “Yeah, you got to meet this guy, the Swami.”
    Moo-koonda?
  • Motioning me to scoot over and sit beside him behind the low table – his grace, his fragrance, which I later learn is sandalwood – he slips his glasses from a little case, takes his pen from another case and – brushing my arm with his shoulder, the soft rustle of cotton, and jolts of electricity shoot through my neck and I am overwhelmed with well-being.“Now, in keeping books there are always two sides, income and debit” (debt? dabit? What did he say?), and he slashes a bold line down the middle of the page and writes INCOME above one column and EXPENSES above the other. Under “Income” he jots down Sales, Donations, and Fees – fees? – and under “Expenses” he writes Rent, Food, and Flowers. His script is flowery and bold. Minutes (feels like hours) pass as I reel with comfort, his voice a gentle murmur in my ear.Then: “So, what is your understanding of the purpose of life?” What! Did he just say ...? “Well, er, to become one with God?” “Yessss. God is one, yes, but you are also one. So there are two. You and God. What is that relationship, you have to understand. Gradually you will come to understand. Now, this is the important thing: bookkeeping. So you come every morning and sit down here and I will show you ..."
    God is one
  • Whenever you came to the Swami’s door, your heart was in your throat. (This feeling never left me, even after a thousand trips to that door.) There was a heightened sense that something marvelous was about to occur, a tingling in the blood. You never knew what to expect, just that it would be a wonderful surprise, whatever happened. He’d be sitting behind his little table or in his rocker clicking his beads, dressed in saffron, maybe with a white sweater, sunlight through the south-facing window shining on his freshly-oiled head and his face a radiant gold, emerging from some deep bliss – and he would welcome you no matter what hour of day or night. Dropping the doll in his outstretched hand I said, “Swamiji, we found this in a shop. It’s from India. Can you tell us what it is?” This startled look comes over the Swami’s face. He leaps from his rocker and places the doll on his metal trunk and falls down on the floor before it, beckoning “Down, down!” to Mukunda and me, who are trying to make sense of this. We bow down beside him. And then he starts praying in Sanskrit, saying, jagannatha swami nayana patha game bhave tu me over and over. Flushed and beaming, the Swami rises and asks me, “From where you have got this doll?” “Malati found it.” “Then tell her to come here, immediately.”
    Jagganath Appears
  • Finally, one by one, Paul, John, and Ringo each stick their head out of one of the doors and then bolt for the exit, not pausing to speak to anyone. A few minutes later, George pokes his head out too, and those famous, intense, dark eyes scan the room and alight on me. Before anyone can react, George shoots out the door, crosses the room, and comes straight at me, grinning. “Hare Krishna! Where have you been? I've been waiting to meet you!” I love his accent. George is dressed in a loose, flowered shirt with ruffled neckline, and I’m in my dark-blue Nehru jacket, too tight at the collar, with drops of indigo dye running in the sweat down my back. George sits down and we start yakking a mile a minute, as if we’re old friends meeting after a long time. Most people in the room are stunned, and some come over to gawk silently while we shoot the breeze. Others continue to mill around, drinks in hand, trying to look cool. Rather than nervous, I feel marvelously fluent, chosen, and wonderfully happy.
    Meeting George
  • The timing is perfect. The Swami’s movement has a strong foothold in Britain; Krishna’s name is being heard daily – over the radio, on the telly, in newspapers, and in periodicals – by millions of people throughout the land. Swamiji landed in the UK to greet his old disciples and meet his many new ones, and to deliver his most powerful interview yet to the world press – then be whisked off in a Rolls-Royce with a liveried driver to one of the poshest mansions in England, the guest of one of the most famous people in the world. Prabhupad’s five-story temple in the heart of London is under lavish construction, and money is flowing in. We’ve never seen the Swami looking so good. His beauty dazzles our eyes. And we’re struck by how gracefully he has settled into these radical new surroundings, as if only moments had passed since we’d last met. We are overwhelmed with relief and the sense that we’ve done the right thing, a job well done, and a conviction that Krishna is real and actively helping us, that right now we are the most special people in creation and that right here is better than heaven – waves of pleasure flow through our bodies. How glorious is our spiritual master.
    Prabhupad Arrives in Britain
  • George is such an amazing guy. His intelligence and sensitivity hit you immediately. He’s always right there. He sizes you up in a second, so keen are his perceptions, and his response to you will be immediate but simple, unsophisticated. I don’t know if being the receiver of millions of peoples’ adoration has anything to do with it, but George exudes a special magnetism and confidence. He’s as much at home with the Queen as he is chatting with Devadatta about hibiscus. When he hears something true, that’s it, he accepts it and fits it into the jigsaw-puzzle cosmology he has constructed, bit by bit, to understand how the universe works. Imagine what it must be like to have been separated in adolescence from a middle-class life, then isolated in a bubble and shot to the very peak of fame, wealth, power, and beauty for the rest of your days. He’s on the most powerful magical mystery tour that anyone could imagine. George has deeply examined, “Why me, Lord?” He understands the concepts of karma, rebirth, and using this lifespan to understand what it’s all about – and the importance of spreading such knowledge to others – because he has realized what he has understood.
    Why me, Lord
  • From the tower I watched late-spring cumulus make shadow plays across the rolling, checkerboard Chiltern Hills and dreamed of another rhino chase with Prabhupad, over the far horizon. What was I doing? Why was I at Friar Park? Why wasn’t I out with the other devotees spreading Krishna consciousness like I should be? I reasoned that I was there to be the part-time spiritual companion to one of the world’s great rock stars, working in the man’s garden. But was that important? One morning at about 6 a.m., I’m eating some porridge and a Mercedes sedan roars up and parks outside the kitchen door. George, Billy Preston, and Klaus Voorman clump in, boisterous and full of energy from an all-night recording session for All Things Must Pass. Billy immediately sits down at the organ in the kitchen and thumps out this wild gospel melody. George and Klaus grab guitars and plug them into the little amps. They sing, “My Sweet Lord, oooh My Lord, Halle-lu-ya, Halle-lu-ya.” George breaks in with,“Ha-re Krish-na, Ha-re Krish-na!” Pretty soon we’re all dancing around and singing at the top of our lungs, the rising sun bathing us in rosy golden light. “This one’s gonna be on the new album,” George says. I realize yes, it’s important to stay here at Friar Park.
    My Sweet Lord