Chapter 89: On the Eve of Becoming Prabhupāda's Servant

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 89
On the Eve of Becoming Prabhupāda's Servant

September 7, 1972, ISKCON New Vrindavan,
On the Eve of Becoming Śrīla Prabhupāda's Personal Servant

Śrīla Prabhupāda had been in New Vrindavan for a week and all I saw was the inside of the Bahulaban kitchen. I was extremely envious of my godbrothers and godsisters who had been going up the hill to see Śrīla Prabhupāda and hearing him speak every day. I was cooking for a few hundred devotees from 3:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. They all came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda during the annual Janmāṣṭamī festival. Since I didn't have time to chant my rounds, I was distressed. While visiting Los Angeles, I had grown attached to having Śrīla Prabhupāda's personal association and reading Kṛṣṇa Book in his garden. Now, my self-pity was mounting.

Around 9:00 p.m. I was lamenting my misfortune when Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja came into the kitchen with a huge smile on his face.

"Guess what?" he said. "You are going to be Prabhupāda's personal servant. You'll be leaving tomorrow morning with him to go to Pittsburgh."

I was speechless, ecstatic and very nervous. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to be mental about it. I was ecstatically exhausted.

At 6:00 a.m., Kīrtanānanda Swami brought me to Madhuban which was a small, one-story farmhouse where Śrīla Prabhupāda was staying. I was still in a state of shock. We walked into the small sitting room and I offered my obeisances.

"This is Śrutakīrti, Śrīla Prabhupāda," Kīrtanānanda said. "He cooks very nicely.""That's very good," Śrīla Prabhupāda said smiling.

"But, he doesn't know how to massage," Kīrtanānanda continued.

"That's all right," Śrīla Prabhupāda said. "Anybody can massage. It is very easy."

Then, Śrīla Prabhupāda picked up a lota on the floor by his desk and said in a deep voice, "OK. Come with me."

He went out the back door of the farmhouse and walked to the edge of the pavement. He stopped there for a moment and turned to me.

"All right, wait here," he instructed.

Śrīla Prabhupāda walked about another 50 feet into a wooded area. After a few minutes he returned to the edge of the pavement where I stood according to his instructions. As he walked by me he handed me the lota and said, "All right. Wash this with some dirt and water." He then walked back into the farmhouse.

It was wonderful how he dealt with me that morning. There was no "chit-chat," no "please" or "thank you." He immediately let me know that my position was to be his menial servant, assisting him in whatever way he wanted and taking care of his bodily necessities. I was in complete bliss knowing what my service was. I didn't have the ability to do anything that required intelligence, so for me, this service was ideal. I had been given the most wonderful service of taking care of the transcendental body of the servitor of God.

This was the first day of my life. For the first time I could understand what my body and mind were meant for. Unfortunately, due to my youthful restlessness and inability to sincerely take to the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I lost my service after a few short years. Now, with great regret, I am begging the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa to please give this fool another chance to serve my spiritual father.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, without you, I feel very lost and alone. I do not know what to do with myself. It is very painful. When I don't think of you, my beloved spiritual master, there is no reason to live. When I remember you, Śrīla Prabhupāda, there is much pain knowing I have wasted my life in useless sense gratification. Śrīla Prabhupāda, I could have been with you, cleaning your lota.