Throughout the morning walk all I could think about was how to maneuver myself to the front to say something because I felt I’d never get the opportunity again. On this walk, a devotee was asking Prabhupada intimate questions about Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. Prabhupada briefly answered his questions and then continued chanting japa. This devotee would persist in asking more questions. Prabhupada didn’t exhibit anger about the questions, but it wasn’t an enlivening and powerful discussion. Srila Prabhupada was not absorbed in it. That morning the walk wasn’t very long. When we turned around to return I became nervous because I had little time left to say something to Srila Prabhupada and I tried to develop enough courage to do it. Finally I thought, “I’ve got to do this. I cannot hesitate.” I zigzagged through the crowd of sannyasis. Doing that excited me, but I was fearful of offending Prabhupada and fearful of saying something insignificant. I yelled out, “Srila Prabhupada!” It was so startling that Prabhupada and all the devotees stopped in the middle of the street. They thought it was some crazy guy. Everyone looked at me. Out of complete anxiety I started saying, “Srila Prabhupada, we want to please you. We’re distributing books at O’Hare Airport,” and I told him the statistics of how many books we distributed and how we were doing it. I said everything I could say and repeatedly said, “We just want to please you, Srila Prabhupada.” Srila Prabhupada looked at me throughout the whole thing, which took a matter of seconds, but it meant minutes to me—my throat became choked up and my mouth became dry. At one point all I could hear was my heart beating fast. And then I was finished. I stood there before Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada could see I was excited and he was merciful, kind, peaceful and calming. He said, “Thank you.” Then what shocked me was that Prabhupada, with his calm demeanor, wonderfully encouraged me by turning to all the devotees and saying, “Just see, this is my real devotee,” referring to the book distributors. At the time I was overwhelmed with emotions, but later I thought about what happened and I felt that this was my life instruction from Srila Prabhupada. I felt that it was something that Srila Prabhupada was telling me and it meant everything. Even now, so many years later, I consider that to be the most important event in my life in Krishna consciousness.
I appreciate Prabhupada’s strength—Prabhupada never gave up fighting for Krishna. One of my fondest thoughts is when Prabhupada was in New York at the time the anti-cult movement was prominent and giving us lots of trouble. Prabhupada said, “I want to fight for Krishna with my last breath.” That statement was very significant and important to me. No matter what the circumstances Prabhupada would never give up. He was a warrior for Krishna. Whatever it took, it didn’t matter. He would do anything for Krishna. He exhibited this strength on the Jaladuta before he came to America and he exhibited it in New York in the early days. Most people would have turned back, given up, but Prabhupada had a vision of so many temples, so many devotees. I personally appreciate Srila Prabhupada for his undaunting devotion and strength to the instruction of his spiritual master and, of course, to Krishna.