Three days into the movement as a new bhakta I saw a lot of people running hither and thither. There was a lot of commotion and everyone was saying “Prabhupada” this and “Prabhupada” that. I heard one person saying, “Prabhupada’s coming.” I looked at the devotee and said, “Who is Prabhupada?” The devotee told me, “Prabhupada is that personality who has come to deliver you from the material world.” Right about that time all of us new bhaktas got shipped up to San Francisco on the back of a flatbed truck. I remember thinking as we were traveling on the truck, “Join the Hare Krishnas and see the world!” I’d never previously been out of Los Angeles my entire life. I join the Hare Krishnas and the next thing I know I’m going to the famous city of San Francisco. The next morning about three or four hundred of us devotees were packed tight in the Berkeley temple. We were all chanting our japa waiting for Prabhupada to enter the temple room. All of a sudden from the corner of the room, the curtain opened. Prabhupada stepped out and the first thing I could tell was that this person was not from this world. Like Jesus Christ said, “I’m in this world but not of it.” When Prabhupada came out from that curtain, and I’m not exaggerating, it was like the sun had entered the room. The room filled with light when Prabhupada walked in. That was another reason I knew that Prabhupada wasn’t an ordinary person because there was an effulgence that came with him. He was enveloped in it. I was so struck with wonderment that I fell to my knees and started crying like a baby. I just knew that he was that personality that had come to deliver me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Srila Prabhupada walked through the devotees as they made a pathway for him. I could see he was very small materially speaking, but he was, as one woman recounted years ago, “oceanic”. He was that powerful. Srila Prabhupada got up on the vyasasana and as he put on his kartals and wrapped them very purposely around each finger, he began to chant, “Jaya Radha- Madhava kunja behari...” By this time, the entire atmosphere of that room was completely surcharged with spiritual energy. I was in the spiritual world. This was my first experience with Srila Prabhupada.
In Los Angeles Prabhupada walked through the middle of the temple room to the front of the altar and waited for the deity doors to open. When they opened, Srila Prabhupada offered prostrated obeisances to each set of deities and then went and got on his vyasasana for guru puja and class. What struck me was that during guru puja, the devotee was singing “Sri guru charana padma…” and for about half of the kirtan we were pretty much just rocking back and forth doing the “swami step”. At one point, however, Prabhupada looked out at the room and he gestured with one hand in a continual motion as if he was asking someone to get up. When he did that the whole temple room became ecstatic. Every devotee jumped up in the air dancing madly and wildly. I thought to myself, “How powerful is this personality that with one little, tiny motion of his palm, the whole temple room goes nuts. (laughs)
If anyone observes videos of Srila Prabhupada, like on YouTube or movies like the “Acharya”, they will see that he was the embodiment of devotion. Even on a socalled mundane level sitting at his desk he would have a specific place for his pen. When he picked up his pen, you knew it was for Krishna. Every movement, every word, every glance was all divinely inspired. It was completely directed by Krishna and you could totally experience that just by observing. Anyone, I think even a materialist, if they see footage of Srila Prabhupada, his movements are not those of any ordinary man of this world; they’re divine. To see someone whose every single word, every breath, every movement, every glance, everything was for Krishna, leaves a powerful impression on the mind.