(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 September 2014, Pretoria, South Africa, House Program)
There are many stories to tell of Brahmananda. In the early days, Brahmananda became Prabhupada’s trusted representative. His nature was that he was completely surrendered to Prabhupada’s desire. Whatever Prabhupada would say, he would do it. I think if any quality is outstanding in his character, it is loyalty. He is the most loyal servant you can imagine, completely loyal to Prabhupada. Whatever Prabhupada said, “Okay, that is what we are going to do, whatever it is.” That is not so easy and that is not so often found in anyone. That is why Brahmananda got this unique position of being so close to Prabhupada.
In fact, of all the devotees in the early days, Brahmananda was the leader. Prabhupada chose him as the leader. When they were saying that we should select a treasurer, we should select a secretary and a president, then Brahmananda said, “Satsvarupa would make a good secretary.” Gargamuni, his nickname was Garga-money, so he was the obvious person for the treasurer. Prabhupada said, “You should be the president.” That was it and from that day on, Brahmananda was in charge of everything and it was quite amazing.
First of all, Prabhupada had this Bhagavad-gita manuscript which he wanted published. It was very difficult to do so but he told Brahmananda, “Just get it published.” Easier said than done, you know. Get it published? How? Well anyway, there was one man who worked for the Macmillan publishing company who had put in an order through the mail. So, Brahmananda decided to do some follow up and go there hoping to get some connection but it turned out the man was just working in the accounts department and had nothing to do with publishing. So, it did not look good at all.
Just then, the chief editor came into the office of the accountant and Brahmananda saw this opportunity. He said to the man, “Here, I have a Bhagavad-gita by A.C. Bhakivedanta Swami Prabhupada and I would like to offer the manuscript to you for publication.”
The man said, “A Bhagavad-gita? A Bhagavad-gita!? We just finished a series of spiritual topics and we need a Bhagavad-gita to complete it! I will take it.”
That was it! Macmillan, a big company, was publishing Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita. That was Brahmananda. Prabhupada was very eager to carry on with book publication.
Eventually they got to Japan and got some cheap prices. The Krsna book was meant to be printed there. Brahmananda was negotiating with the printers and telling them how to do and so on… But it was not ready when Brahmananda had to leave, he had go back, catch his flight. Although they promised it would be ready, it was not ready. So he was very disappointed and he knew that Prabhupada would be really disappointed. As he was going up the steps of the plane, suddenly this limousine, this large limousine just pulled up onto the tarmac and drove right up to the plane and all the executives of Dai Nippon printing company came out. Brahmananda saw all these people he had been working with and he went down the staircase. They just brought out this box and they gave it to him.
Brahmananda went on the plane and he just ripped open the box and took out a silver copy of the Krsna book and the man next to him asked, “What is that?”
He said, “That is a book, it is about Krsna. It is published by my spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and it is been sponsored by George Harrison.”
The man said, “How much is it?”
The man said, “Okay, I will take it.” (laughing). He bought the book!
So when Brahamanda came to America, he felt a little bit embarrassed to give Prabhupada this box that was ripped open and Prabhupada said, “How many books are there?”
He said, “Twenty-four, Srila Prabhupada. There were twenty-five but now there are twenty-four.”
Prabhupada said, “Oh.”
He said, “Yes, I sold one book on the plane.”
Prabhupada said, “That is very nice.” Then Prabhupada had a copy in his hands and said, “All these other ones can be sold also.” He looked at his copy and he said, “This one can be sold also.”
They were all sold and Prabhupada was very, very pleased. So Brahmananda was a very close and intimate representative of Srila Prabhupada and practically like his son in so many ways, so close.