Anecdotes of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
In Māyāpur, especially at the time of the international festivals, different disciples would take the service to guard Śrīla Prabhupāda’s door. Their function was mostly to screen potential visitors so that Śrīla Prabhupāda was not constantly interrupted. The guard would also go and fetch anything that Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted.
One time, while Mahābuddhi dāsa was guarding Prabhupāda’s door, Śrīla Prabhupāda called him in and asked for the juice of a fresh dob (coconut), but even while Prabhupāda was talking, his sister, Bhavatarinī, suddenly entered his room. Prabhupāda’s sister, known as Piśimā (or “aunt”) to Prabhupāda’s disciples, had free entrance to see Prabhupāda whenever she wanted. Besides, no one could really restrain her if she wanted to see Prabhupāda, to talk with him, or to cook for him.
As Piśimā sat down in the room, Mahābuddhi got up to carry out Prabhupāda’s desire for the fresh dob, but Prabhupāda spoke sternly, “Sit down.” Mahābuddhi sat down again.
Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke with his sister in Bengali, for about twenty minutes while Mahābuddhi waited, chanting silently on his beads. The talk between Prabhupāda and his sister was enthusiastic until towards the end when Prabhupāda became somewhat reprimanding. Finally Bhavatarinī offered her respects to her exalted brother and left the room. Prabhupāda stood up, and Mahābuddhi started to leave to carry out his interrupted errand.
As if to explain his action, Prabhupāda quoted a verse:mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā nāviviktāsano bhavet balavān indriya-grāmo vidvāmsam api karsati
“Never stay alone with a woman,” said Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda also described that his spiritual master was very strict in following the rule of not being alone with a woman. One time, one of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s disciples, a Dr. Kapoor, accompanied by his very young wife, was seeing Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura. During the discussion, the young wife said to her husband’s guru, “I would like to ask you something in private.” Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī replied, “I cannot see you in private. Whatever it is you can ask me here.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda commented that at the time Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī said this, he was old enough to be the young girl’s great-grandfather, yet he strictly applied this rule to set an example. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s great disciple, Śrīla Prabhupāda, did the same.
[An excerpt from Prabhupada Nectar written by Satsvarupa das Gosvami, Chapter 35]