Srila Prabhupada Plays With Gopal Agarwal's Son Brij

The annual Butler festival was celebrated this year for the second consecutive time on the 16th, of May. When Srila Prabhupada first arrived in the USA, he stayed here at the home of Mr Gopal Agarwal. Mr Agarwal and his wife, Mrs. Sally Agarwal were the chief guests for the festival. Gopal's father had originally requested his daughter-in-law to sponsor Srila Prabhupada's when he would come to USA, to which she gladly consented. In fact, she described how Gopal's father would often send requests for sponsorship of different people he knew and she would always oblige, but never once did anyone turn up in USA. They thought the same when request came for 69 year old Bhaktivedanta Swami. In her address, she also described how, when a telegram informed her of the arrival Srila Prabhupada , she was taken by surprise. They quickly arranged for a "Travel-Aid" agent to help Prabhupada reach Butler from the Boston harbour. A few days later, a huge consignment of Srila Prabhupada's Srimad-Bhagavatam also followed in huge crates, which Sally stored in her apartment.

The Agarwals arranged for press meetings with Srila Prabhupada and organised small programs in the neighbourhood with their friends etc. Srila Prabhupada also spoke at the local YMCA and at a college on the invitation of one Prof. Larson, who was the chief guest for last year's festival.

Sally reminisced that she didn't know what to expect of an elderly Indian gentleman. The Agarwals had completely taken to an American way of life, and that caused some anxiety to her. "How would the Swami take to it? How shall I behave with him? These were my practical concerns," Sally spoke. "However Swamiji was very nice and adjusting. Never once did he let us feel tha t that we were inconveniencing him." Sally described Srila Prabhupada as a "very kindhearted saint, who had charmed their hearts with his love and gentle behaviour".