Yashma Bakshi:  My school was quite near the temple, about 10 minutes, so I had GCSE all levels at that time, at 16. I used to get dropped off early because I had to study, and then I used to come to the temple for seven o’clock Prabhupada puja. So every day I used to go to the temple as many days Prabhupada was there. So then I used to see Prabhupada sitting on the vyasasan, and we used to throw flowers. And then I used to be dancing and leaping up in the sky, and Prabhupada smiled at me. I wasn’t shy or anything like stay at the back, I was just there in the front. So then once Prabhupada threw a flower at me also, it was a really close bond.

Then there was a big program, a very huge program, and so many Indian people were there in the outdoor. They had the marquee and all. I went with my friends so we were right at the back. Then I wanted to stay but they wanted to get back. So many people, but I wanted to pay obeisances. So I went right at the back near Prabhupada’s vyasasan. So Prabhupada was looking ahead, I had some flowers I had picked from the garden, and then I was thinking, “Shall I just leave them on the side?” Prabhupada didn’t turn, so I was feeling a little hurt that I wanted for him to acknowledge that I have come. But still Prabhupada was looking in the front, and they were getting late. So I said, “OK, I’ll just leave them on the armrest and go.” So as I was about to just leave them, Prabhupada immediately turned, he looked at me, smiled and took the flowers from my hand. So it was really nice.

Then one other time, me and my brother, we used to go, prasadam room was there and then you had to go see Prabhupada’s room. So we would just go and sit there, and then the other devotees they’d say, “Oh, Prabhupada is very busy, you can’t see him.” But we’d just keep sitting. And then when the door used to open and Prabhupada used to see us sitting, he used to call us, “Come, come,” like that. So we used to go, pay obeisances, then Prabhupada used to give us prasadam. So it was very, very nice.

Once I remember particularly I went to see Prabhupada when he was leaving and I said, “Prabhupada-ji, please bless me with your personal service.” Then Prabhupada-ji said, “Sadi ke bad,” that after marriage. And I said, “Sadi ke? Why does one have to get married?” Then Prabhupada said, “For asra, for shelter.” And I said, “But why can’t I have your shelter? Because I would like to render some personal service to you.” Then Prabhupada kept quiet. Then I said, “Why can’t I have your shelter?” It was like daughter-father, very close bond, it was just very natural. I wasn’t feeling like I shouldn’t say this. I just said, “Why not? Why can’t I have your shelter?” in Hindi. “Apka asra hi hai?” That’s what I said, “Don’t I have your shelter?” Then he just kept quiet. Then I asked him again, and then he said, “Han hai,” “Yes, you have.” Then I paid my obeisances, and that’s the last time I saw Prabhupada. But it was so nice. I can never forget. It happened so many years ago, I can still relate to it like it happened yesterday. Small, small things, but they keep you going in this material world. I have so much strength in life because of these small associations with Prabhu.

 

Compiled by Mahavishnu Dasa

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