A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada changed the world. When he comes to America from India in 1965, few Westerns knew the deep spiritual truths behind ancient Vedic culture and civilization. Within a decade most humans on the planet had heard the Hare Krishna mantra.
Shyamsunder das(Sam Speerstra) was one of Bhaktivedanta Swami's earliest disciples, helping him shape the Krishna Consciousness movement in the Haight –Ashbury district of San Francisco, in London, and then, as the Swami's personal secretary, he traveled with Prabhupada in India, Russia and all over the globe. "Chasing Rhinos With The Swami" is the intimate account of Prabhupada's amazing adventures, describing in loving detail the seven years Shyamasundar spent at the side of the perfect person. Nothing was impossible for Srila Prabhupada, and he instilled this idea in the hearts of his first disciples: Go for the rhinos!
I was born in the body of Samuel Speerstra, in Salem, Oregon, in May 1942. From early childhood I thrived on adventure and risk. After graduating from Reed College in 1965, I met Bhaktivedanta Swami in San Francisco in January 1967 and became his disciple, renamed Shyamasunder das. The Swami wed we me to my girlfriend, Melanic (Malati Devi dasi) in a smoke –filled storefront in Haight –Ashbury we called the Radha –Krishna temple. And the adventure began.
In 1968, to please Swamiji, Malati and I travelled with four other devotees to London. There, we witnessed firsthand Krishna's magic display. We befriended the Beatles and, courtesy of Apple Records, Spread the Hare Krishna mantra around the world. In October 1970, the Swami –now affectionately called "Prabhupada" –took twenty of his Western disciples to India and together, we barnstormed the country. In June 1971, Prabhupada accepted me as his personal secretary. For years I was by Prabhupada's side, day and night in Europe, the US, Africa, Asia, Australia, and even behind Brezhnev's Iron Curtain. I never saw him sleep, and I never saw him make an error of any kind. How did I get this lucky –to observe close up the life of the perfect person?
Srila Prabhpada, the Magic Man himself!
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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