August 17

 three monkeys 

 I was expecting to have a peaceful night. Skopje is a small place. But no such luck. I took rest at about 11.30 PM. At 3.00 AM I am woken by some drunken woman yelling and screaming at her mother down on the road outside our three storey apartment. It went on for two hours. I couldn’t shut the window because it was so hot, and I don’t have a fan. So I gave up and got up at 3.30 AM. At least I could get my rounds done early.

After the morning session, one of the devotees Yadavendra Gopa das, who is also a sometime-resident of Mayapur, asked an unusual question. He cited the story in Hayagriva prabhu’s book “Vrindavana Days” where Yamuna dasi hears Srila Prabhupada speaking to a monkey in the monkey’s own language. Yamuna comes in afterwards and Prabhupada advises her not to tell anyone what she had just heard.

Yadavendra Gopa wanted to know what I thought Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual position was and why would he tell Yamuna not to tell anyone else?

My immediate answer was, ‘no comment.’ Unless I could check the story back with Yamuna, I wouldn’t want to say anything about it. It was such an unusual story, who knows if Hayagriva got it right? And it didn’t really jell with my own experience with Prabhupada and monkeys:

[From TD 4] September 7, 1976 – Vrindavana

Prabhupada sat quietly, leaning against the soft cotton bolsters as he relaxed and listened to the rain gently drip off the thatched roof He surveyed the garden — the fragrant chameli jasmin, the malati creepers, the croutons, the gardenia, and the tall and flourishing banana trees. He said that in Bengal, the village people eat off the broad flat leaves of the banana trees. “Very good. Common man in Bengal, Orissa, they’ll take on banana leaves all vegetable preparations. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when he was invited by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, he was taking on banana leaves.”

Then he requested me to serve him his lunch on banana leaves from his garden. “Because there are so many banana leaves, you can utilize it. One leaf is sufficient for four plates at least.”

Caranaravindam said that the monkeys also like the banana leaves, to eat, and especially they like to eat the new shoots in the center of the tree.

Prabhupada shook his head with disapproval. “That is destructive; they do not know. Because they do not get anything, they make mischief. They’re very mischievous. If they do not get any eatables, they will cause mischief.”

Thinking of the groups of monkeys that have become a nuisance in taking up residence on the open verandas of the guest house rooms and inside the domes of the temple until we sealed them up, I laughed and asked, “Do monkeys have any use?”

Prabhupada’s reply surprised me a little. “They have only use — their fat is very good medicine for burns. Some portion is burned, monkey fat is very good medicine.” Then even more surprisingly, “The Chinese eat their brains.”

 They eat their what!!     Not this little dude they don’t!

* * *

September 10  1976 – Vrindavana

Aksaya prabhu and I are engaged in a running battle with the monkeys. They raid Srila Prabhupada’s garden, wrecking the plants — especially chewing down the banana trees — and pass stool and urine everywhere. We have a system where I chase them from the garden and he waits to ambush them on the other side of the wall.

So it was that just after lunch today I ran through Srila Prabhupada’s sitting room carrying a big stick. He looked up with surprise and curiosity. “What is that?”

“The monkeys are in the garden again Prabhupada.”

“Yes, beat them severely with big sticks and then they will stay away,” he said approvingly. He said that the system is to kill one and hang it by the heels in the garden and then no others will come. “Of course, we cannot do that,” he added. “But you can get one dummy and hang that.”

As a result we contacted a local man and a dummy monkey now hangs upside-down from the back porch.”



Of course, as a pure devotee, Krsna could empower Prabhupada to do anything. If He wanted, he could display any kind of mystic perfection. At any rate, I told Yadavendra Gopa that even if the Yamuna story were true, obviously he wouldn’t want it advertised. Otherwise people would be coming just to find out if he could talk to the monkeys, or maybe to the dogs, or the pigs etc. and that’s not Prabhupada’s mission.

Finally I told him that cross-species communication may be achievable to a very limited degree but what would be the purpose of Prabhupada talking with the monkeys? He is already talking with us, all the monkeys in human form. That’s enough.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Footer Line
Home  |  Blog  |  Books  |  Audio  |  Video  |   Photos  |  Links  |  Contact