~by Rukmini Walker
Dear Srila Prabhupada, My Eternal Master, My Eternal Father,
nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
On that day in 1968, in Montreal, we ran quickly down the street, barefoot, from the bowling alley temple on Park Street, to the tiny apartment a few blocks away, where you stayed on West Prince Arthur Street, near McGill University.
Sharp gravel on the driveway pricked our feet as we ran to your door, as though they were sins, anarthas, or obstacles in the heart needing to be destroyed before seeing you for the first time.
I can’t deny that when I first saw you, I saw an effulgent shining- radiating from you, lighting the room all around you. Like the saints and angels in ancient paintings there you were, before us all in that room.
Immanent, and transcendent, deeper than an ocean, yet joyful as well.
You were delighted to see your dear ones – Mukunda and Janaki; Gurudas and Yamuna; and Shyamasundar and Malati, with new baby Saraswati in tow.
After pleasing you in service in San Francisco, they were now on their way to London to please you more. They had come to Montreal to seek your blessings before embarking on their new adventure in your service.
Like a particle of dust blown in with a windstorm of their devotion, I’d come with them. They offered me to you. A tiny grain of sand lifted up from the suffering ocean of this world, and placed at your lotus feet.
Yamuna Devi said, “This is Wendy. She is only sixteen years old, and she wants to become your disciple”.
You looked at me so tenderly, so compassionately, and said, “But where are your parents?” As though you were feeling their pain, feeling the pain of our whole culture in upheaval.
With the foolish arrogance of a teenager, I said, “My parents and I get along better when we’re not together.”
You immediately looked away, and I felt the sting of my pride that caused you distain. Even today, I wince remembering how my conceit caused you to look away in that moment.
Then the mercy of your gaze fell on Malati and baby Saraswati. And you said, “I dreamt of that child last night! Yes, that very child!”
Were you seeing your future playful pastimes with her that so charmed the crowds in India, and anyone who witnessed them? Were you perhaps recognizing an old friend from a previous life?
When will I bring you joy each day in simple love like an innocent child, free from false pride? When will I grow up, and offer you mature and selfless love every day, every hour, and every minute of my life?
I have no realization of pure devotion. I only know that you saved me from a fate worse than I can imagine. Fifty-three years later, once again, I ask you to please accept me. This time, I pray for genuine humility, simplicity, and maturity as I beg you to kindly engage me in your eternal loving service.
Your eternal daughter,
Rukmini devi dasi