In front of Srila Prabhupada there is a golden
drinking lota and next to that a gold casket with his tooth in it.
August 15th, 1976.
Srila Prabhupad rang his buzzer early this morning. I entered his room, offered my obeisances, looked up - and got a shock. Srila Prabhupad was smiling - revealing a gap where his tooth should have been.
With mixed dismay and surprise I asked, "Srila Prabhupad, what happened to your tooth?"
Without saying anything, Srila Prabhupad reached down and pulled open the drawer of his desk. The tooth was lying inside. During the night it had either fallen out, or Srila Prabhupad had pulled it out. He had simply put it in the drawer and then gone on with his work. I was both amazed and concerned - another tooth gone and Srila Prabhupada had not said a word.
But then as I sat before him, another thought flashed through my mind. In Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita I recalled how because Maharaj Prataaparudra was unable to personally associate with Lord Chaitanya he obtained a piece of the Lord's clothing which he worshipped as if it were Lord Chaitanya Himself. It occurred to me that at some point in the future my personal service to Srila Prabhupada would stop. However, if I had the tooth, I could worship it instead and get the same benefit.
But I was torn. I knew full well the spiritual master is never to be asked for anything. Yet at the same time I realized that within a second or two he would close the drawer and the tooth would disappear into the bowels of the desk.
I made a snap decision and hoped I wasn't being offensive. "Ahm, Srila Prabhupad? Do you think that I could have that tooth?"
Srila Prabhupad didn't say a word. Reaching into the drawer he picked up the tooth and, with a smile, dropped it into my hand.
Ecstasy! With relief and excitement surging through me, I offered my obeisances and returned to my room, eager to give it a closer inspection.
The tooth, a lower canine, is astonishing: a huge cavity has eaten away more than half the side at the point where the tooth entered the gum. Bits of prasadam (spices and the like) are lodged inside, as if some squirrel had stored them away for a rainy day. How many more of his teeth must be in the same condition I can only speculate; and how he is able to tolerate such a condition in inconceivable.
I have carefully put the tooth in a bag with other pieces of his paraphernalia. When the right time comes I shall worship it and thus keep up my direct service to His Divine Grace's transcendental body
(Hari Sauri dasa. 1996. A Transcendental Diary. Bombay. From pages 123-125.)
Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet imprints
taken on March 12th 1977 in mustard oil on his own letterhead
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