Gopal Agarwal Visits ISKCON Juhu

Gopal Agarwal Visits ISKCON JuhuIn the last week of February 2009, Gopal Agarwal (who resides in USA) along with his son Brij spend a couple of days in Mumbai and one of their first trips in the city of Mumbai was to ISKCON Juhu to take darshan of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari.

On 19 September 1965 when Srila Prabhupada had arrived for the first time in USA and got off Jaladuta steamship at the Brooklyn pier one of his contacts in the new land was Gopal Agarwal, the son of a Mathura businessman who had requested his son to host Prabhupada to America. Gopal Agarwal’s wife Sally, an American citizen, had sponsored Srila Prabhupada to America.

Since Gopal was unable to go to New York to personally receive Prabhupada he arranged for a Travelers Aid representative to meet him and put him on a bus to Pittsburgh. Gopal met Prabhupada in Pittsburgh and thereafter took him to his apartment in Butler. During his visit to Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Temple, Gopal Agarwal fondly spoke of how Prabhupada happily lived on the couch his family offered him in their two bedroom apartment and at his wife Sally’s request he would cook lunch for the entire family. He mentioned “At that time we didn’t realize what a great personality he was. Now hundreds are ready to cook for him but at a certain time he lovingly cooked for us”.

Mr. Agarwal informed that after a few days Prabhupada moved to the nearby YMCA where he would stay at night and visit the Agarwals home during the day. During his stay in Butler, Gopal Agarwal arranged for his friends to come every evening to his apartment and hear spiritual discourse from Prabhupada. He recollects how Prabhupada would remember the names of every guest at the program and would not forget a face.

Gopal Agarwal revealed that occasionally he visits New Vrindavan temple along with his friends and relatives. Brij remarked that he doesn’t have any memories of Prabhupada visiting his house since he was only 6-7 months old then but his mother informed him that he teethed mostly on Prabhupada’s shoes. Gopal Agarwal mentioned that he had never imagined that Prabhupada’s vision to spread the Holy Name would actually take shape and culminate into an international movement that ISKCON is today. He expressed that “I feel fortunate that I could be helpful to Srila Prabhupada in a small way. I’m being honored doing something simple. I’ve not done anything big but it feels great to know Prabhupada”.

Gopal Agarwal and his son Brij were in Mumbai to visit their extended family. Sally Agarwal was to join them for the India trip but couldn’t make it due to health reasons. Incidentally, Gopal Agarwal's grand nephew studies at the Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School located within the complex of ISKCON Juhu.