Speaker: HG Shyamasundar prabhu
Source: Expert at everything
Expert at everything. That was Prabhupada. Shyamasundar: Once we were in Mayapur. We had an old—I think it was a 1948 Hudson or some old, big car. And I was driving. We had left the main road. If you have been on the main road you know how bad it is. You can imagine how bad this secondary road was like. We were going to visit Lalit Prasad, who was Bhaktisiddhanta’s living brother, who was a very old man then. We didn’t know the road, and we didn’t know the way very well. We knew that it was up that road somewhere. And we drove halfway up or so, and we came to a place where there was a cement bridge over a big gully. But the monsoon run-off had washed the bank away on both sides of three or four feet, as I recall. This may be an exaggeration, but it was some distance, maybe three feet. And we could see up and down this canal that there was no other way for the automobile to cross, and we still had five or six kilometers to go. So Prabhupada studied the situation. He didn’t even get out of the car. He just studied the situation a little bit. Brahmananda and some of the other big guys sat in the back. He said, “You boys get out. Shyamasundar, you back up, and get going very fast, and we will make it.” [Laughs.] I got back about fifty feet or so and just gunned that old tank. And off we went. Waaaow! We flew over that first gap, screaming across this cement bridge. Waaaow! It looked like a Steve McQueen great escape movie. And the boys walked down around and got back in and off we went. [Laughs.] He was expert at everything.
He also used to know everything about engineering. He used to make drawings. In fact, this may not be well known how early the Mayapur project was actually started. Right after Tamal or somebody got that first little, tiny parcel of land in Mayapur, Prabhupada planned the whole thing out one day in London at Bury Place. He sketched it all out, the temples and the buildings. And he called and asked me if there were any English devotees that were architects or knew anything. There was one, Ranchor, and Nara-Narayan was there, the builder. So he had them come up, and he submitted this idea. He said, “We have only a few days until I must leave. I want you to work on a plan for a huge complex for Mayapur.” And that’s all he thought about for days. This must have been 1971 or ‘72. And we would walk in the park in Russell Square every morning then, and he would point to different buildings, and he would ask Ranchor and Nara-Narayan questions. You knew he knew the answers already, but he was testing their ability. Expert at everything. That was Prabhupada.