BREAKING NEWS: Rasagulla Prabhu confirmed for Sadhu Sanga

Govinda Caran Das Mon, May 13, 2019 at 2:23 AM
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Over the last few weeks, the Sadhu Sanga Team was inundated with emails, texts, phone calls, FedEx Overnight, and even some devotees stopping by our homes. All for one reason: to invite Rasagulla Prabhu to Sadhu Sanga. As the Sadhu Sanga Team is heads down making the final arrangements for the festival, we hadn’t checked Facebook in a while. We later learnt that Rasagulla Prabhu is just a 5-year old brahmacari who recently went viral in ISKCON social media following the discovery of his being a child prodigy, well versed in our scriptures, already running his own school to train other kids in Krsna consciousness right from an young age and making a huge impact in attendance at ISKCON Temples. Rasagulla Prabhu attributes all his accomplishments simply due to his exclusive faith in prasadam - both from his previous life and in this life. Due to the mounting pressure, Rasika Siromani dasi had to fly in yesterday to meet Prabhu in person and personally invite him for Sadhu Sanga. Following is an in-depth interview of this exchange shared for your pleasure.

Rasika: Hare Krsna Rasagulla Prabhu, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Rasagulla Prabhu: Hare Krsna Rasika Mataji. Dandavats. Jaya Srila Prabhupada. You must be tired after a long flight. Hope my student Gulab Jamuna dasi served you nice prasadam.

Rasika: Yes Prabhu. She did. I ate a lot. I heard you are a prasadam aficionado and how everything you say or do has something related to prasadam. I just saw it in action in your school from the way everyone served the prasadam.

Rasagulla Prabhu: Yes, just as Srila Prabhupada famously said “no one in a ten mile radius of an ISKCON Temple goes hungry”, our mission is no one should leave our school without putting on a circumference of at least ten pounds.

Rasika: Hmm. I’ve to be careful then :-) I heard your ideas for revitalizing our Temples became so viral recently and made you so famous. Can you please tell me more about it ?

Rasagulla Prabhu: A few months back I had been to the Sunday Feast at one of our Temples and found that the attendance had declined considerably. I made a slight change in the schedule and the attendance immediately doubled the next week and gradually grew tenfold in a few weeks! A couple other temples tried the same strategy and they also saw such unprecedented success. And then it became viral.

Rasika: Wow, that’s amazing to hear. I wonder how a slight change in schedule has so much effect. What was that change Prabhu ?

Rasagulla Prabhu: It’s simple. Instead of serving prasadam at the end, I switched it to the beginning. That’s it. You know, how most people plan to come towards the prasadam time, right ? So I figured if we start the program with the feast, then they’ll come early and feel awkward to leave without attending the program. Once they give themselves a chance to hear our message, they naturally feel inspired and become enlivened in their Krsna consciousness and bring more people each week.

Rasika: That’s brilliant strategy Prabhu. How did you come up with this idea ?

Rasagulla Prabhu: It’s all mercy and empowerment. Yasya prasadat bhagavat prasado. And of course, I do my part (raising his chanting bag up in the air), which is to chant my 16 rounds everyday where I pray to receive such empowerment.

Rasika: That’s great Prabhu. (pointing at the chanting bag) Prabhu, looks like the counting beads have fallen off from your chanting bag…

Rasagulla Prabhu: No, I never had them to begin with. Wonder how I keep track of my rounds ? Well, I start off with a bowl of 16 rasagullas every morning and eat one before each round. If there are no more rasagullas left in the bowl, then I know I’m done with my chanting. It really works and helps me remember how sweet the holy name really is, despite the fact that it appears bitter to us due to our jaundiced state. By the way, that’s also how I received my nick name as Rasagulla Das.

Rasika: That’s far out, Prabhu! Your sense control is amazing, as not everyone can resist the temptation to eat them all at once! I am reminded of the ātma-vaśyair vidheyātmā verse...

Rasagulla Prabhu: Glad you brought up that verse. That and the following verse, prasāde sarva-duḥkhānāṁ hānir asyopajāyate are the only two verses of the Bhagavad Gita that we teach at our school. Because I feel there’s nothing else to obtain except mercy, or prasadam.

Rasika: Yes, your faith in prasadam is amazing Prabhu. I also heard you have an excellent memory and are reputed for remembering the name and qualities of all your school students even though you have many of them.

Rasagulla Prabhu: Just as some people are good with names or numbers, I’m good with remembering things related to prasadam. So every student that joins our school gets a new school name to help me remember them along with their qualities. For example, Gulab Jamuna dasi whom you already met got that name because of her attachment to River Jamuna. That boy over there - whom you may easily mistake to be a couch potato - always remembers Lord Caitanya’s pastimes in his heart, so he’s named Aloo Gauranga Das. The one who will serve you a Mexican dinner tonight is Taco dasi, as I never managed to find a way to correct her singing of the last line of prasadam prayers as “prema taco caitanya nitai”.

Rasika: Prabhu, I’m very impressed with your creativity. By the way, I came here to invite you for Sadhu Sanga Retreat on the request of several devotees.

Rasagulla Prabhu: Thank you. But I’m sorry I have to decline. I don’t accept invitations to any event that’s not connected to prasadam distribution.

Rasika: Prabhu, we serve 9 meals of prasadam for all the 2000 devotees that attend. We have the excellent chefs from Kalachandjis restaurant in ISKCON Dallas lead the cooking. Having being trained by His Holiness Tamal Krsna Maharaja, they are some of the best cooks in our movement. Helped by a few other cooks and hundreds of volunteers, they enthusiastically make several preparations from international cuisine. So honoring prasadam together is a big part of the experience of the retreat, apart from the chanting of the holy names, which of course, is the main agenda. You may kindly check our schedule.

Rasagulla Prabhu: (after glancing through the schedule) Alright. I decided to come. You know why ? Because your retreat begins and ends with prasadam. So I take it as an auspicious sign. There’s one condition though, for me to come: You shouldn’t sell or charge for prasadam, because that diminishes the sweetness of loving exchanges which Srila Rupa Goswami recommends in the bhunkte bhojayate verse.

Rasika: Great, thank you Prabhu. Our retreat is a zero-sum game. Our registration mainly covers the rent for the retreat center, accommodation, transportation of the kirtaniyas, etc. With respect to prasadam, devotees sponsor from their heart as an expression of their love for other devotees. It is only by their generosity we are able to afford the retreat at such a low cost for everyone, give free registration to Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and use Gita Nagari’s ahimsa products for some of the preparations.

Rasagulla Prabhu: That’s good to hear. To complete the exchange, do you have some sort of return gift for them too ?

Rasika: Of course, Prabhu. We have sporty water-resistant hooded jacket for men and youth, and a classy fleece blazer for women:

Since you are coming, we’d like to request you to hand it out to the sponsors at check-in.

Rasagulla Prabhu: Of course, I’d be honored to do that service. Also, as an added gift from my side, I’ll also try to bring my rasagullas to empower them.

Rasika: Thank you Prabhu. That’s so nice of you. Ok, I’ll have to rush back to my other services now. I’ll be missing your school atmosphere which reminds me of the spiritual world where every word is a song, every step a dance and …

Rasagulla Prabhu: … everyone is prasadam - for Krsna to taste! Hare Krishna.