By His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami
(from www. narasimhalila. com/deitypastimes. html)
In London we had another interesting negotiation. By the time I got to London, in September of 1969, Prabhupada was about to get 7 Bury Place. But what is a temple without Deities? Prabhupada instructed us to install Radha Krishna Deities when the temple opened in December, but we didn’t have any Deities, and he didn’t ask for any Deities to be made in India. How are you supposed to find Radha and Krishna in London? We started to ask anyone and everyone. It was like a national alarm, “Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Radha and Krishna please phone such and such number,” and that was the number of Mukunda’s wife, Janaki. Week after week went by. Prabhupada would call us and say, “Where are the Deities?” We said, “We don’t know where Radha and Krishna are.” Prabhupada said, “You have to have Deities.” Finally, miraculously, when we were practically giving up, Janaki got a phone call. Someone said, “We have Radha-Krishna Deities.” Immediately she informed Mukunda, and Mukunda and I went to this man’s house.
The man took us into his study and said, “I have marble Radha Krishna Deities. Would you like to look at them?” Would we like to look at Them? Sure we wanted to look at Them. He took off the cloth, and we offered our obeisances. That was Radha London Isvara. We said, “They’re beautiful, They’re so beautiful.” And They were beautiful. He said, “I’m considering giving Them to your temple.” We said, “Can we bring our spiritual master to see Them?” He said, “Yes, you can do so.” We raced out and immediately called Prabhupada’s apartment near Regents Park. He was resting, so we decided to go there. We went in and told him, “Prabhupada, we found Radha and Krishna.” Prabhupada immediately said, “Take me, I want to see Them.” So, Prabhupada, Mukunda, Shyamasundar, myself and maybe Gurudas went in the temple van. By that time it was the early evening. Prabhupada started to talk with this Indian gentleman in a very friendly way. The man said that these Deities were for some other society, but there was some difficulty, and they could not use the Deities. Prabhupada ignored that point and kept on asking the man, “Where are you from? How are you? How is your wife?” He had the man bring in his wife and children, and Prabhupada blessed everyone. He was talking and talking.
Finally, the man said, “Swamiji, don’t you want to see the Deities?” Prabhupada said, “Yes, we can see the Deities.” It was nonchalant, as if he was not even interested. The man said, “Please, I want to show Them to you.” Prabhupada walked over to Them and said, “Hmm,” turned around, walked back to the sofa and sat down again. The man said, “Swamiji, what do you think? Can you use the Deities?” Prabhupada said, “They look like They may be used.” The man said, “Well, I’m thinking I can give Them to you.” Prabhupada said, “Yes, we could accept Them.” He told us, “Go and see how heavy the Deities are.” Shyamasundar and I went over and I tilted Radharani and said, “Not very heavy,” although She was heavy. Shyamasundar had Krishna. Prabhupada said, “All right, we’ll take Them now.” He said, “Pick Them up.” The man said, “Wait, wait, Swamiji, wait a moment.” Maybe he had an idea of recovering some of the cost. Prabhupada said, “No, no, it’s no problem. These are American boys, they’re very strong.” We carried the Deities out, and the man was protesting, “Swamiji, Swamiji, one minute.” We walked to the van and put Them in. Prabhupada sat in the seat next to the driver’s seat. He said to the man, “I’ll take care of the Deities. We’ll be in touch with you,” and then he said, “OK, let’s drive.” We drove off and when we got around the corner, Prabhupada said, “Stop the car.” We stopped, and Prabhupada said, “Take the cloth off the Deities.” We took the cloth off and, with tears in his eyes, Prabhupada started to sing the prayers from Brahma-Samhita. He said, “Krishna has now appeared in London.”