By His Holiness Satsvarupa Goswami
People ask, What is Srila Prabhupāda’s day like? Srila Prabhupāda rises about 1:30 a.m. Sometimes around 2 or 3 a.m. I awaken and hear him dictating. Once one man in Bombay said to Srila Prabhupāda, “Today I rose at 2:30!”—to which Srila Prabhupāda replied, “I rose at 1:30!” In Hyderabad Gargamuni Svāmī said to me, “What other sādhu in India gets up at 1:30 to write books?” It is great proof of his authenticity. In Bombay we set up a small house of mosquito netting for him to work in. He opens the big volume of Bengali Caitanya-caritāmrta, and with a small desk lamp lit, he begins translating the synonyms one by one, clicking the dictaphone button as he pauses briefly for his thoughts.
The translation work usually goes on for two or three hours, sometimes less. From around 3 to 5 he sits and chants Hare Krishna on his beads. Srila Prabhupāda chants beads almost silently, although the motion of the beads can sometimes be heard in the next room, and sometimes “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.”
His regular morning walk begins just before the sun comes up. In India, Srila Prabhupāda says, clothing is artificial; India is so warm. In other countries sometimes he has to bundle up in big coats and a hat. He wears a pair of shoes that he saves only for the morning walks. As Krishna is known to appear in yellowish garments with a peacock feather in His hair, our spiritual master wears saffron, with a wrapper around his shoulders or over his head, and walks with his cane, followed by his devotees. In the Krishna book it says that a devotee is like a waterfall—sometimes he speaks, and sometimes he is silent. I asked what this means, and Srila Prabhupāda said that the devotee speaks at his will; he is not obliged to speak. Devotees are eager to accompany Srila Prabhupāda on his walks. Sometimes he speaks the whole time. He walks long, usually about an hour and a half. If it rains he says, “Today we will take our walk sitting down,” and we ride in the car.
[An excerpt from the article Secretary to a Pure Devotee, Back to Godhead #68, 1974]