I had just gotten out of high school when I met Keshava, Karandhar’s brother. I started chanting sixteen rounds and then I was actually able to read and understand the Bhagavad-gita. It answered all my questions and I just felt that I had to find out if there was anyone who was living this Bhagavad-gita. We drove to Los Angeles to see Prabhupada specifically because he was getting ready to come back from Fiji and Hawaii. One day we greeted Prabhupada as he came down from his quarters to go on his morning walk. All of a sudden Brahmananda Maharaj came running out of the temple in anxiety as he realized he missed riding along with Prabhupada. After looking all around for Prabhupada and not seeing him, Brahmananda looked over at me and Keshava standing by my little Ford Cortina station wagon and asked, “Is this your car?” I said, “Yes, it is.” He said, “Let’s go.” [laughs] We all jumped in and immediately Brahmananda said, “Don’t stop at the lights! Just hurry up. We’ve got to catch up to Prabhupada.” After running many stop lights, we finally arrived at the beach where Srila Prabhupada and the other devotees were walking. Prior to our arriving, Prabhupada asked several times, “Where is Brahmananda?” (I heard that portion of the walk from the archives.) So Brahmananda came running up and Prabhupada said, “So? You’re late today.” Brahmananda said, “Well, you left a little early today.” Everybody said, “Yes, Srila Prabhupada, you left ten minutes early today.” Prabhupada responded, “No, your watch is slow.” [laughs] Prabhupada exhibited his humor and quick wit besides his concern and love for Brahmananda.
One morning in Mayapur, I was chanting my rounds before mangala-arati. I was circumambulating the temple and chanting quite loudly. As I walked around the corner near Prabhupada’s room, Hari Sauri prabhu came over to the balcony and said, “Prabhu!” I said, “Huh?” He said, “You are chanting too loudly and it is disturbing Prabhupada’s translations.” I was devastated because I didn’t go there to offend Prabhupada. I thought to myself, “Why did I have to chant so loudly there?” [laughs] After mangala-arati that day Bhavananda Maharaj (swami at that time), who was one of the temple managers, made an announcement about how we should behave in the dhama. He said, “There are some devotees holding hands in front of the temple and there should not be any intimate contact in the dhama. And somebody else was chanting so loudly that he was disturbing Prabhupada’s translations.” So now my offense became public, which put me in total anxiety. Once class began I stood in the back of all the devotees because I didn’t want to fall asleep during Prabhupada’s class. Srila Prabhupada gave a beautiful Bhagavatam class on the Seventh Canto about Prahlad Maharaj and the whole purport was about the Holy Name. After class Prabhupada looked around the room, and when he got to my eyes, his glance went right into my eyes. I felt like he could see everything within my heart and he cleansed completely all the anxiety out of my consciousness. There was so much potency in his glance that I felt purified. Also, his final words have stuck with me over all these years. He said, “Do not think that this chanting is a material sound vibration. It is purnam, complete and spiritual.” I felt totally satisfied and appreciated his kindness that there was no real offense on my part.
The purity was just so deep and so inconceivable in Prabhupada’s character that it simply begged inspiration in me. It was instantaneous spiritual realization being with Prabhupada. In the enthusiastic kirtans, particularly in Mayapur, Prabhupada encouraged everybody, and sometimes he would move his finger and make everybody dance. I also got a tremendous amount of spiritual realization being there in front of Prabhupada just chanting. I felt like I wasn’t the body, and I felt like I was just floating and dancing through the room with no material body at all. It wasn’t like an adrenaline rush, but it was Prabhupada’s potency just blasting me out of maya and giving me some kind of real spiritual perception of myself. Right after I took second initiation, I had a similar experience. I worshiped Gaura-Nitai on our bus, and after offering mangala-arati, I would sit down to chant my rounds and pray to Prabhupada. All of a sudden everything just disappeared except me sitting there. I felt like I was in a chamber with the Holy Name, which gave me so much internal inspiration.