Giriraj Swami: The Somanis were a very religious and wealthy family of Bombay. The senior Somani at the time was G.D. Somani and he became a Life Member, and gradually the other brothers and then sons and nephews also became Life Members. But they were very devout Hindus, and they were very active in promoting Hinduism in India. And when they met Srila Prabhupada, and practically all the pious and aristocratic Hindus of Bombay and India in general, when they came to know about Srila Prabhupada and the work he had done to spread sanatana-dharma in the West and throughout the world, they were astonished. They felt here is the first time that someone from India has gone abroad and really made an impact on people’s lives, really brought people to sanatana-dharma, to Krishna consciousness, and they wanted to come forward and help. They wanted to be part of the great movement that Srila Prabhupada had started. At the same time, Srila Prabhupada had the idea that the people of India want to imitate the West, they want to imitate the Americans. So Srila Prabhupada had the idea that if the Americans take to Krishna consciousness and then the Indians see it, they will also want to imitate the Americans taking to Krishna consciousness. And actually Srila Prabhupada’s thought worked. People looked again at their own tradition, at their own culture, at their own practices and saw there must be more there than they even thought themselves. Otherwise why would Americans and Europeans who had every chance to enjoy material facilities and sense gratification, why would they be chanting Hare Krishna and dancing, studying Bhagavad-gita and preaching, and then why would they come to India?
So they were thrilled. And sometimes they were so moved when they saw us tears would come to their eyes, they were just so touched. At the end of Srila Prabhupada’s visit, Kailash Seksaria arranged a huge program on the terrace of his house and invited all the elite of Bombay and they came. But the thing that struck all of us was Srila Prabhupada’s humility. Here he was addressing some of the most affluent and aristocratic and influential people of India, and he spoke very briefly. He referred to his disciples and his work in the West, and then he appealed to the ladies and gentlemen present. He spoke the verse from Prabodhananda Saraswati, dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya, “You are very learned and intelligent and pious people. I stand with a straw in my teeth and I beg you, please chant Hare Krishna.” And then he went into the last kirtan.