I’ve just completed a special “nirjala” (no food or even water) fast since Tuesday evening. This special austerity comes once a year on the Ekadasi day (11th day after the full-moon) falling in this lunar month. My 12-year-old son Nitai insisted on joining me for the fast, despite having school sport yesterday afternoon. He refused to be talked out of it, and he completed the fast with me. Water sure tasted good this morning!
My Guru, Srila Prabhupada (pictured above) would drink quite a bit of water for health and digestion. He would never actually touch the water vessel to his lips, instead slightly tipping the cup and his head, allowing the water to pour into his mouth in a steady stream. His movements and gestures while drinking water were always strikingly aristocratic.
He would make many comments about the subject, often as his disciples and followers sat with him in his room watching him drink water.
Ravindra-svarupa recalls: “One of the first times I was in Srila Prabhupada’s presence I saw him drink water from a lota. It was amazing because I had never seen anything done with such precision. It was a small thing, a tiny gesture, but there was something unique about it. I realized that anyone who could drink a glass of water like that was not an ordinary person.
Later on, as I would have more association with Srila Prabhupada, I would see that happening more and more. He would do something and just do it very carefully. Most people do ordinary things carelessly without thinking about them, yet somehow or other he always acted with full deliberation. It was, I guess, just a side effect of being Krsna conscious.”
One of his many instructions on the subject of water was to never draw his drinking water from a bathroom! One disciple, Pradyumna, asked how it is actually different if the water comes from the bathroom, provided one doesn’t know where the water comes from. Prabhupada replied that it would affect the mind, even if you didn’t know where the water came from, because the bathroom is a contaminated place.