What did you think the first time you saw Hare Krsna devotee?
I felt like I had reached a "HIGHLY ACTIVE SPIRITUAL PLACE". I was at a festival and all the devotees were dancing ecstatically. I wanted to join them but felt a bit shy. But although I was not dancing physically, my mind was dancing to the Hare Krsna tune. I always had the desire to read the Bhagavad-gita, and I wanted an English copy. One of my friends told me that I would be able to get one at ISKCON – Juhu Temple. That was almost three years ago. I read the introduction on the same day and immediately gave up meat eating.
It was 1972 – the last phase of the Vietnam war, and the beginning of martial arts mania. My favorite TV show was Kung Fu, starring David Carradine with his saffron robes and wise philosophical teachings. I was a police officer in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Vietnam veteran. The last thing I expected to see on my tour of duty was a saffron-clad devotee distributing Srila Prabhupada's books. My first thought upon seeing him was, "Here is a Kung Fu master like David Carradine." But then I noticed he wasn't beating up anyone-rather he seemed to be peddling a large armful of magazines and books. After an intense investigation, I was so impressed by this devotee and the Back to Godhead magazine and Krsna books he was selling, I later quit the department and became a full -time book distributor at the Atlanta temple.
(Radhakanta Dasa, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)
It was recently that the causeless mercy of the Lord gave me the chance to visit Mathura and Vrndavana. I had read in the Bhagavad-gita about the attributes of a true devotee, but, never before had I seen a land as Vraja where every single soul is deeply immersed in the devotional service of the Lord.
The very first thing that enraptured me was the pleasant way people exchange greetings upon meeting each other. Unlike the meaningless salutations – good morning/evening that we have adopted from the West, the inhabitanrs of Vraja prefer to say 'RadheRadhe' or 'Haribol'_ Even the rickshaw pullers making the ir way through the traffic laden streets say 'Radhe-Radhe' rather than honk at passers- by. What immense politeness and devotion!
As I reached ISKCON Vrndavana, the many devotees were melodiously chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. as I chanted with them, tears incessantly rolled down my eyes. I felt transported to a state, the description of which is beyond words. The sound vibration truly had a mystical effect. Blessed are the holy soil and inhabitants of Vraja, because of whom the true spirit of devotion is still alive in this Kaliyuga.
(Sumit Dhamija, Bhadurgarh, Haryana)
I was on my way to a recording session in New York City. All of a sudden, a Martian in orange clothes appeared out of nowhere. He spun around, handed me a card, and then vanished from sight. The recording session that followed was a nightmare and a complete disaster. On the way home I was so miserable that all I could do was follow the instructions on the bottom of the card: "Chant this mantra and your life will be sublime." I chanted all the way home, and when I got there the first thing I said to my girlfriend was, "We've got to stop having sex and become spiritual." She threw me out of the house, yelling and screaming. That day was the begining of my surrender to Krsna. Approximately a year later I joined the temple in New York.
(Nirantara Dasa, Torrance, California, USA)
In December 2004 I visited ISKCON temple for the first time and was introduced to a lady devotee by a friend. I was startled to learn that she was only around 20 years old and her attire – so simple and elegant, her speech – soft , subtle but effective, her ideas – contemporary yet spiritually steady, and her nature – warm and welcoming. But there was something more than this that seemed to beautify her. I tried to distinguish that one facet and it wasn't difficult. It was the tilaka which flawless ly stretched over her forehead vertically. As we exchanged ideas further, I discov ered the significance of the bead bag that hung around her neck. The bead bag wore the portrait of a very loving expression of Sri Krsna. A two-minute conversation with this wonderful devotee was enough to stir up my thoughts and bring me to the temple again and again.
(Rashi Parikh ,Mumbai)