prabhupada_car
prabhupada_ramananda

Above: Damodara receives his first glimpse of Srila Prabhupada as Dr. Rao looks on

... Damodara and Srila Prabhupada looked intently at each other’s eyes for a few moments.

in the lab?” Dr. Rao replied, “It would be my pleasure.” Damodara was struck by his friend’s determination, enthusiasm and sincerity. He said, “I admire your great courage. You must be blessed by Srila Prabhupada.”

They reached the temple in Culver City. Srila Prabhupada was just leaving for his morning walk. He returned from his morning walk after about an hour. He took darshan of the Deities and sat on the Vyasasana. Damodara was standing near the Deities, facing Srila Prabhupada, exactly opposite the Vyasasana. Damodara and Srila Prabhupada looked intently at each other’s eyes for a few moments. Srila Prabhupada started singing – Sri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda. Damodara’s mind was captivated by Srila Prabhupada’s sweet, melodious and intense devotional singing. Immediately after the song, the initiation ceremony commenced. Dr. Rao was initiated and was given the spiritual name, Ramananda Ray Dasa. Srila Prabhupada went to his room after the ceremony.

Ramananda Ray said to Damodara, “Let us go upstairs to Srila Prabhupada’s room and see him.” At this time, Damodara became both eager and enthusiastic to see Srila Prabhupada.

Ramananda Ray had carte blanche for entering Srila Prabhupada’s room. Srila Prabhupada had given the instruction that whenever Ramananda Ray came, he could come to his room. After entering Srila Prabhupada’s room they both sat before him. Ramananda Ray introduced Damodara to Srila Prabhupada informing him that Damodara was from Manipur and was currently working on his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. Srila Prabhupada was extremely happy and remarked, “Manipuri people are descendents of Babhruvahana, the son of Arjuna. They have been Vaishnavas since the time of the Pandava’s and Manipuri kings have established Sri Krishna temples in Vrindavan, Radhakund, Nabadvip, etc.” Srila Prabhupada appreciated the Vaishnava culture of Manipur, especially its devotional music and dance based on Sri Krishna’s pastimes. Srila Prabhupada then asked Damodara, “Being born in a Vaishnava family, why did you come here, crossing the ocean?” Srila Prabhupada added, “You, young scholars and students, have come here to the U.S.A. as beggars to beg scientific knowledge and dollars. But I have not come here to beg. I have come here to give the Americans something very valuable, which they do not have - Bhagavata Culture. Why don’t you do the same as I am doing? Why are you simply taking?

Above: Ramananda Ray introduces Damodara to Srila Prabhupada