When devotees started to miss attending mangal arati, Srila Prabhupada got concerned. Generally a devotee used to heat water for him, and he would take bath later in the day, but just to set an example for us, one morning he took a freezing cold bucket of water from the pump and bathed in the cold. He may have gotten a little sick from that, but he did it. When we saw Prabhupada taking a cold bath, how could we stay in our sleeping bags? He was compassionate and sympathetic, but at the same time he wanted to elevate us. And he would push us.
Giriraj Swami: Srila Prabhupada never asked us to do anything that he wasn’t ready to do himself. Whatever austerities he asked us to accept, he accepted more. When we went to Kumbha Mela in 1971, we were living in tents, and it was freezing cold. Srila Prabhupada was right there with us in the next tent. His tent was a little bigger, because he would receive people and preach. It was so cold we could see our breath in the air, and in the mornings I wouldn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag.