This afternoon we had a surprise visit from M. Kaulini. She wanted to dip her feet in the baby pool and have some lasagna. We don’t get many visitors and having Mother Kaulini drop by unexpectedly was a refreshing change of pace.
The kids hammed it up for her in the pool. We sat and talked, chanted, and laughed. When I moved here Mother Kaulini said she would be over all the time but the reality is that she is just so busy. However, Italian prasadam seems to be the great enticer. I’ve had the most success on the days when pizza or lasagna were on Gaura Nitai’s altar. That is not surprising since the woman has eaten rice, dal and sabji practically every day for the past 30+ years.
I brought up the morning’s conversation, sharing with her my appreciations.
“Well,” she added, “I just got an email from [so and so] Maharaja and guess how he started it? ‘Namo namah.’ So…”
That seemed to settle the issue for Mother Kaulini, erasing all fiery sentiments from the barn. You see, Mother Kaulini is just so great because she loves Prabhupada and the devotees so much. She has so much respect for her godbrothers and godsisters. She defers all honor and arguments to others. She does not want to be right. She only wants Krishna to be loved.
“So what are you saying?” I asked. “You’re not backtracking from this morning are you?”
She just smiled at me in a rather mischevious way.
“But you can’t! I posted a blog entry about it!”
Mother Kaulini, laughing, put her hand to her head and let out a famous “Oh no!”.
“Well, I was just being too fanatical. The main thing is that we maintain the culture but these little things are just details…”
“But how will we maintain the culture if we change it?” Now I was being mischevious. I wanted to see how she would respond.
She said that she’d have to think about it. I went to get the lasagna.
After prasadam she said, “In fear and concern we shouldn’t lose what Prabhupada has given us.”
“Can I quote you on that? Wait, say it again so that I remember.”
Madhumati and I finished Mother Kaulini’s remnants as we swung on the cedar swing. I was still awed by the fact that her earlier passion had now transformed into a retraction. Humility, tolerance, compassion, free of false prestige–all these words readily describe Mother Kaulini. A lesser soul would not have backed down.