New version available here: vedabase.io

Chapter 104: Return to Prabhupāda's Service after Marriage

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 104
Return to Prabhupāda's Service after Marriage

July 24, 1974, ISKCON New Vrindavan

In early January, my wife and I left New Dwaraka and went to Caracas, Venezuela. It was a wonderful experience for me. My wife and I were the only initiated Brahmans in the temple and were able to do most of the Deity worship. I gave many classes which usually turned into "Prabhupāda nectar"classes. My classes had to be translated because I could not speak Spanish and most of the devotees were non-English speaking. After being in Caracas for a few months, the temple administration changed, so I decided to leave.

We went to my hometown of Philadelphia and lived at my mother's house for a few months while I earned money to pay her back for our airline tickets. While I was there, Kuladri Dāsa telephoned from New Vrindavan and asked me to go there with my wife. I finally agreed and arrived in New Vrindavan in the beginning of July.

Being a householder in New Vrindavan was different from the brahmacārī life I had previously experienced. I had my own room and wasn't doing nearly as much service as I had done two years earlier. Still, I experienced a discontent for farm life, as I had traveled the world over and experienced devotional service at temples on every continent.

Fortunately, good news arrived. Śrīla Prabhupāda was coming to stay for Janmāṣṭamī week from July 18 until July 24. When I left Śrīla Prabhupāda in December of 1973, Satsvarūpa Mahārāja had become his personal servant. Satsvarūpa Mahārāja personally served Śrīla Prabhupāda for more than seven months until His Divine Grace left New Dwaraka on July 15, 1974. When Śrīla Prabhupāda arrived in New Vrindavan, Brahmānanda Mahārāja was traveling with him as his secretary, but he did not have a personal servant. I eagerly accepted the opportunity of cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda and massaging him while he stayed in New Vrindavan. Once again, my life had meaning.

The day before Śrīla Prabhupāda was to leave New Vrindavan, Brahmānanda Mahārāja asked if I wanted to resume my duties as Śrīla Prabhupāda's servant. The difficulty was His Divine Grace was returning to India. It was a difficult choice. The attraction was to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda. The aversion was living in India for six months, a place where my health had always been poor. My other choice was to remain with my wife who was six months pregnant . I would also remain working on the farm in New Vrindavan. I agonized over the decision, but decided to go with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Brahmānanda Mahārāja asked Śrīla Prabhupāda if he wanted me to once again be his personal servant.

"Yes, that's all right," Śrīla Prabhupāda said.

Śrīla Prabhupāda never asked me what I had been doing during for the last seven months. He never asked anything about my wife. He didn't tell me I had finally come to my senses. He didn't say he missed me or that it was difficult without me. He said volumes to me by not saying anything at all.

Śrīla Prabhupāda's opulence of renunciation and austerity were evidenced by his acceptance of whatever Kṛṣṇa provided or didn't provide. If His Divine Grace had a servant or not, it didn't matter. He never asked anything for himself. Śrīla Prabhupāda once said that an attached person pretends to be detached, but a detached individual acts in a considerate, loving manner. I saw Śrīla Prabhupāda demonstrate this in his daily life. Śrīla Prabhupāda treated all of us so lovingly, although he was completely detached.

I began performing my duties as Śrīla Prabhupāda's servant as if I had never stopped. He was, and will always be, my master, and I, his eternal servant. It is an eternally sweet relationship. I understood that Śrīla Prabhupāda was allowing me to perform devotional service by his causeless mercy. My only qualification was the desire to serve him. I pray to continue to serve him as if I have never left, even though I am always fallen.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, you are an unconditionally loving personality. That is why Lord Caitanya picked you to distribute the Holy Name throughout the world, without regard for caste, creed, color, or gender. You are the most liberal avatar of all.