Physiognomy of a Pure Devotee
By Abhaya Mudra Dasi
There may not be even a single person on the planet who would not somehow react to the powerful presence of Shrila Prabhupada. Some claim that they did not find him attractive (due to their own misguided vision). Others stated that His Divine Grace was the most beautiful living entity they had even seen. Some have even compared his appearance to that of an Egyptian pharaoh. Yet, no matter what people have said about the appearance of Shrila Prabhupada, they always admit he is unique. All who have seen him agree that they have never beheld another person on Earth who resembles him. Shrila Prabhupada had a small build like many powerful military leaders including Napoleon. But Shrila Prabhupada’s facial features draw the most attention—particularly his eyes, the windows to the soul of the pure devotee.
Shrila Prabhupada’s eyes were warm and beautiful, with protruding skin all around them. His brown eyes show warmth and a refined writing ability. The baggy eyes illustrate deep memory and facility to grasp facts. The high distance between the iris and the eyebrows show an explicit ability to grasp shape, color and geometrical variations of abstract as well as manifest phenomenon. His thick and long eyebrows show deep thinking and an enormous capacity to love. The flat cheeks display his facility to move amongst others without being invasive, although the distinct space between the upper lip and the nose shows an impressive and commanding personality. The thick lips confirm his exquisite sense of that which is beautiful and is worthy of attention. Shrila Prabhupada’s thicker upper lip shows simplicity of expression and the ability to condense difficult concepts into a single statement that is easily understood. His bold chin explains his bravery as well as deep compassion for others. The dimple in the middle of Shrila Prabhupada’s chin is the mark of an undisputed leader. When he spoke he used to show mostly his lower teeth. This fact shows the great compassion embedded in his character. Shrila Prabhupada’s broad nose exhibits great particularity in work and his large nostrils shows a man that is outwardly wealthy. His double chip shows a realization of goals achieved in later years. His large ears signify wisdom and a sense of hearing that goes beyond the material world. The unique facial features of Shrila Prabhupada reveal many facets that can be read with great depth. Yet still another attribute is the shape of his revealing the features of his brain, something which we can study freely due to the fact that his head was always shaved.
Phrenology, the study of the shape of the head, is a science that came into its own around the 18th century. The main objective of this science is to examine the size of the brain areas as seen from the surface of the skull. The founder of the modern day phrenology was the German Franz Josef Gall. By studying his classmates at school he discovered that some of the students with protruding eyes had better memories. Phrenology was popularized by Gall’s follower named Johann Spurzheim. Later a Scottish lawyer named George Combe would become the main promoter of phrenology throughout the English speaking world after he was convinced of its merits by viewong a brain dissection performed by Spurzheim. In truth phrenology’s origins can be found in the Vedas and are bundled under the heading Samudrika Shastra. The name for this science comes from a group of rishis who examined the auspicious marks on the transcendental body of Lord Vishnu as he slept upon the Garbhodhak Ocean or samudra. Phrenology provided a great impetus to modern studies of psychology, is seen in this illustration:
Next we see phrenology, as it was understood in the 19th century:
Shrila Prabhupada’s head from all angles reflects the marks of spiritual genius:
We can clearly see great bumps on the area of marked approbativeness and consciousness. Shrila Prabhupada knew exactly what is right and he was always fully conscious. Also note the almost triangular shape of the top of his head showing extreme firmness. Examining his head from the front we can clearly see that the top of the head is wider than the area around the ears. The areas that are appropriated with acquiring things for self-enjoyment and secretiveness are insignificant as compared to the rest of spiritual areas. The bump on the back of his head shows parental love and care of all living entities. As seen in this photo taken while His Divine Grace was taking his daily stroll that his head always points upward. In fact, the cranial region that rules spirituality coincides with the area that Shrila Prabhupada always pointed to the sky. He had his own distinct walk that many tried to emulate. However, it would appear that a person must actually be self-realized in order to hold his head at such a dignified angle.
Beauty exists when there is form and substance. Ordinary people find the faces of dolls to be beautiful even though they are not alive. Shrila Prabhupada’s features were extremely vibrant and and therefore emanated the light of real beauty, eternal life. He was unique in the entire world and his face—as well as his entire appearance—reveals his transcendental and worshipful qualities.