Govinda dasi: Shortly after Prabhupada sent Gaurasundar and me to Hawaii in 1969, I had to go out and get a job so we could open a temple. After many interviews I landed a prestigious and well-paying job as an executive secretary. I really focused on this job, working for the vice president of the firm and at the same time getting up at 4:30 a.m. and chanting all my rounds. We had been in Hawaii less than two months and now on the job for a week and a half when I received a telegram from Prabhupada. It stated that he would arrive in Hawaii in a few days. My first thought was that I had to quit my job. There was no one to take care of him. I had just been with him for over a year, cooking, doing the housework, being his secretary and what not, and now I had to drop my job and go back to the role that I had before, and one that I never wanted to leave. However, I was very upset because I felt that he was coming too soon. Being on the job for such a short time, all we had were two wretched aluminum pots. I was accustomed to giving Prabhupada the best of Alta Dena milk, the nicest of everything. We had nothing.

When we picked Prabhupada up at the airport in our funky old orange Ford truck, I would not speak to him. Gaurasundar was driving and Srila Prabhupada was in the middle. I was livid. Hard to believe, I know. I was so upset. I thought, “How could he do this?” I wasn’t ready. I was polite but not particularly welcoming. My mood was I wasn’t ready and his arrival was premature. And Prabhupada knew because he always read my mind. This was a mystic opulence of Srila Prabhupada’s.

Once he wrote me a letter from India, “I know your mind.” He told me that because the spiritual master is with Krishna at all times, Krishna is in the heart of all living entities and according to what Krishna wants him to know, he can keep up with his disciples in that way. He said that if you think of him, he will think of you. In other words, he can’t be limited. He can’t be limited like an ordinary person. If the yogis had siddhis (mystic opulences), what to speak of a mahabhagavata like Srila Prabhupada.

After about a day and a half everything clicked back to our usual schedule. Prabhupada would get up in the early morning and translate. I would fix the breakfast and then he would go for his walk at the beach park. Even though I was upset, life went on and his schedule never missed a beat. It was also our custom that in the evening Gaurasundar and I would sit and chant japa in front of the deities. One particular evening I was sitting right by the altar with Prabhupada’s Radha-Krishna deities and Prabhupada was way in the back corner of the fairly large room. I knew my consciousness was still not quite right and Prabhupada knew it too. As I was sitting there chanting japa and looking at his deities, all of a sudden a huge wave of realization came over me, a feeling of bhakti, of love, of wanting to serve, of divine love. It just washed over me and flooded my consciousness.

With tears pouring down my face I realized I had lost the essence of bhakti. Although I was chanting all the rounds and following all the principles, I had lost the feeling. You can be doing the external stuff and lose the connection. I then realized it was because I had started thinking I was the doer. I was starting to think, “You’ve got to work hard to succeed in this world.” I felt I am the doer and this is a philosophy that’s promulgated throughout our society: it’s all about you, and you’ve got to do it. This had actually poisoned my consciousness. Krishna had left my consciousness without my even knowing it. And all of these realizations were flooding my mind and my heart, and all of a sudden I realized also this is why Srila Prabhupada came to Hawaii. He was fishing me out again. Because he could see from Los Angeles, where he was, he could see what was happening so he came to save me.

In the meantime, Prabhupada is way in the back of the room behind me and of course he can’t see my face. I slowly turned my head around to look at him and he was looking at me very intensely. He didn’t say a word but he just nodded his head as if he had read my mind and was confirming my realizations. That’s all. Not a word was ever spoken. That’s a divine transmission. That’s what an acharya can do. He can enter into your mind and your heart and completely rewire you. That’s the most incredibly mystic experience I ever had with Srila Prabhupada.