I began my spiritual development in Boston in the early seventies. I had seen the Maharishi and the Moonies but I wasn’t too impressed. I wondered at that time whether or not I would be cheated by any of the spiritual teachers I might choose and if so, how would I know. I decided that meeting my teacher would have to be a very meaningful experience that would be something that beyond a shadow of a doubt would convince me that he is my teacher. Being from San Diego I came along with the devotees to Los Angeles to see Srila Prabhupada. When Srila Prabhupada came for the evening lecture and he sat down, something swelled up in my heart and tears started coming from my eyes like faucets—not sobbing but tears were coming out. I felt my heart changing and it was something I couldn’t stop. The tears were dripping down my face to my chin and the whole time that Prabhupada was giving the lecture this was happening. I heard later that when there is some emotion released from the heart like that, that this is a spiritual experience. This occurrence that was beyond my control was further confirmation that Srila Prabhupada was my spiritual master.
The whole time that Srila Prabhupada gave class in San Diego, I along with two other devotee women were always in the kitchen cooking. We were crying in the halavah and saying that our service in the kitchen was service in separation. We were trying to console ourselves because we couldn’t be there in class. Then one day after class, when everyone was paying their obeisances, we ran to the kitchen door because that was the way out of the temple and we knew that Srila Prabhupada would come by. As Prabhupada walked down the staircase to the kitchen area, we could see the silk of his dhoti billowing in the air. When he got to the bottom of the stairs he stopped and looked at his books that were on a bookshelf underneath the stairwell. Then he noticed that the three of us were standing at the kitchen door. I felt that Srila Prabhupada knew that there were some devotees that hadn’t made it to the class and he wanted to give us the personal experience of having his association. We offered our obeisances, and I felt like most other devotees that Srila Prabhupada was looking directly at me. He held his hands in pranams with folded his hands to us. It was a humbling moment for me and truly showed Srila Prabhupada’s humility as well.
Srila Prabhupada has always touched me in a very personal way. It’s his personalism that touched me. My memories and remembrances and interactions, even though they may be short interactions, he made them very personal. This was one of the things that attracted me to Srila Prabhupada. And he continues to be personal in my life. He’s never lost. He’s always interacting with me, comforting me and giving me instructions. He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die. Srila Prabhupada is still here.