A Momentous Meeting
with Srila Prabhupada

drop cap In 1969, Damodara was a student at the University of California, Irvine, doing his Ph.D. research in Physical Organic Chemistry. One day, the secretary of the chemistry department handed a telegram from India to Damodara informing him that his mother had passed away. He had not seen her for more than four years and was unaware that his mother was suffering from any ill health, so the news was unexpected. He wanted to return to India in order to perform her shraddha or funeral ceremony, but he had no money for his flight to India. However, he managed to borrow some funds from the University and made arrangements to leave for India. Just before leaving, he received a


letter from his uncle, Sri Kerani Singh, advising him not to return to India for the shraddha ceremony. His uncle wrote, “Being a Vaishnava, you should lament neither for the living nor for the dead.” His uncle reminded Damodara that the body is temporary but the soul is eternal. Sooner or later there will be a time for everyone to leave this temporary body, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita. He instructed Damodara not to waste any time worrying about the temporary body, but to concentrate on his studies and return to India after graduation and that he would arrange for the shraddha ceremony. So, Damodara cancelled his ticket to India but at the same time began to lose interest in his studies. He spent the