The first time I saw Srila Prabhupada was at the San Francisco airport. I had joined the movement but actually I joined a van. I was 17 years old and living in Ann Arbor, Michigan when I saw a van full of devotees pull up at a gas station. I knew there was a big Moody Blues concert going to happen down the street, so I told my friend, "I'm going to get a ride with them." He said, "I'm not riding with those guys." So I ran over to the van just thinking, "I'm going to get a ride to this concert". I said, "You guys going to the concert?" They said, "Yeah, get in." I got in the van and Mrgendra handed me a Gita, a Nectar of Devotion and a Bhagavatam. He piled me up and said, "Give a donation." I happened to have ninety bucks in my pocket so I pulled out a twenty and gave it to him. They were all in dhotis and wearing tilak and when we got to the concert we had a kirtan in the van for maybe 15 to 20 minutes. After the kirtan they all put on plain clothes and wigs. They said, "We're going to distribute this incense and these books at this concert. Would you like to help us?" I said, "OK, sure." So they gave me a big pile of incense and some little books and we're standing there giving people incense and saying, "Give a donation for Bangladesh." My friends were coming up going, "What the hell? What are you doing?" Anyway, I was giving out books and incense and people were giving donations, and I had a ticket to the concert and I sold it. After everybody went in the concert the devotees said, "Well, we're going to the temple. You want to come with?" I said, "Okay", because for some reason I was attracted to this.

The temple in Detroit was about 50 miles away from Ann Arbor and when we got there, Govardhan came down to greet us. I was a macrobiotic at the time, eating brown rice and miso soup. But when I got there, Govardhan handed me a maha plate. On that maha plate were puris with powdered sugar, halavah, gulabjamins and hot milk. He said, "Here!" I hadn't eaten anything like that for about a year, and when I saw it, it was like, "Wow!" I ate the whole plate and then we went to bed. They said, "We're going to wake you up early, so don't be surprised." It seemed like I just lay down and the next thing I knew they were clanging kartals in the brahmachari ashram which was in the basement of the temple. I went to mangal arati and they wrapped me in a dhoti and put some tilak on my head.

Afterwards I said, "Can you take me back to Ann Arbor today?" Prabhanu, who was the party leader said, "Sure, we can take you back." On the way to Ann Arbor he said, "You want to stop and distribute a few more books before we get there?" So we stopped and we did Bhagavad-gitas. We went to a Pier One store and the manager said we could do it. I couldn't believe it. He said, "Sure". We put cases of Bhagavad-gitas right in the foyer of his store. There were two doors and he let us stand there for hours and sell Bhagavad-gitas. By the time the day was over, Mrgendra said, "You still want to go back to Ann Arbor?" I said "Ah, let's just go to the temple." I did that for maybe four days. Finally we were driving around doing sankirtan the fourth day and Prabhanu said, "You don't mind if we don't go to Ann Arbor, do you?" I said, "No, I don't care." So we went to Cleveland, which was the temple they were from. So I joined and just never left. That was what happened to me.

After a while, because Mrgendra was into traveling sankirtan, we went to the Expo in Spokane and convinced our temple president that afterwards we could go to the Ratha-yatra in San Francisco to see Srila Prabhupada. That's the first time I saw him.

Divyanga dasa

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare