What did you think the first time you saw a Hare Krsna devotee?

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

ISKCON devotees … ah! Each time I see them singing Lord's glories I feel ecstatic. I saw the devotees for the first time when I was around nine years old … a few devotees visited my school. Until then Krsna was the cutest little naughty boy whom I was in love with. I knew Mirabai's story and was very inspired. When I saw the devotees I thought they are some relatives of her's – they were so much in love with Krsna . But more than the devotees what attracted me were the books they were carrying with Krsna's pictures on the cover. I wanted to purchase all of those. Before leaving, one of the devotees said, "Whenever you see devotees like us anywhere, instead of saying hello please greet them with 'HARE KRSNA'." 
These words became etched on my mind forever and I still believe somewhere these same words sowed the seeds of Krsna consciousness in me . 
(Sheetal Arora, Indore) 
The first time I saw Hare Krsna devotee was about 12 years before, and it was my own brother. He had become a Hare Krsna devotee while he was studying in I.I.T Mumbai. 
By God's grace I was God conscious since I was young, but I was confused. Out of all the gods and demigods, who should I completely surrender to? I had many doubts which I wanted to clear up. 
I was not initially convinced when my brother started telling me about ISKCON and the Hare Krsna movement, but when he started answering my questions I was completely satisfied . I felt like the light of knowledge was lifting the darkness around me. 
At that moment I understood that the only person I could completely surrender to was none other than The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna. I am really very thankful to the Lord for helping me choose the correct path through His devotee to go 
('Back to Godhead '.,Mrs.Sangeetha Karankar, Pune-400041) 
The first time I saw the Hare Krsna devotees I wondered how these apparently similar looking folks have such angelic qualities with an effulgent glow on their faces. They look unreservedly happy all the time! 
These questions sprung to my mind when I attended a Sunday program in Indore, Madhya Pradesh , on the forceful request of my brother who was celebrating his birthday with Hare Krsnas that day. 
Now, no words can describe how wonderfully that visit has changed my life . These people not only exhibited exemplary qualities as devotees of the Lord but they left a deep impression on my heart. 
Gradually their association pulled me from the darkest well of illusion of material happiness and exposed me to the very effective and powerful holy names of the Lord and as a gift from the Lord through them, today I am practicing devotional service with my devotee husband. 
(Ayushi Randhar) 
The first Hare Krsna devotee I saw in my life came with BIG HORNS on its head – it was a bull ! The location was the Balaji temple in my native town of Solapur, a district of Maharashtra famous for manufacturing of chadders & towels. In the compound of the same Balaji Temple, I saw a white bodied devotee for the first time in my life. They all came along with one special bullock cart carrying two beautiful Deities of Gaur Nitai. They were the Padayatra group. 
I saw that the devotee had his hand covered by a cloth. "May be some accident or injury while travelling in India," I thought. By this time I completed the daily quot a of circumambulations of Hanumanji, Navgraha Vigraha, and the main altar of Sri Balaji and Laksmi. Now I was free to do some interpretation of this devotee. I saw there were two separate lines on his forehead . It was somewhat usual but most unusual thing was may be he forgot to see mirror – some extra candan had come down on the nose. One of them smiled at me with folded hands saying "Hare Krsna," I was very scared to talk with them because at that time I didn't know spoken English language. 
I was in 8th standard then. I was very enthusiastic to share my experience with my friends. First they didn't believe it. But I described it in such way that at the end they said, "Well we also want to see such people." One of the friends came to the temple next morning and he saw the devotees. We were the first to broadcast this message to all of our friends. 
(Gadadhar Pandit Dasa) 
The first devotee I met was my classmate named Ankush. I was having a tough time and I was passing through a lot of miseries and sorrows but whenever I saw Ankush , he was always happy, cool, and calm. Notension at all. It looked like he had given his life's rope to someone. And the most interesting thing was that he was always on the top in the class. Then I compared mine and his life and was totally shocked. I approached him and asked for friendship, as I saw he was a very simple boy, away from bad activities and was involved in practicing Krsna conciousness. I asked him the reason for his happiness and his answer was chanting, dancing, and feasting. He invited me to visit ISKCON. 
The next day when I was there I danced a lot to the kirtana of the holy name of Krsna i.e . "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare". He told me to chant some rounds daily. And you know what? After practicing Krsna Conciousness I too was in the similar state as my friend. Then I came to know that we must just surrender ourselves to The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krsna . Whatever you do, do it for Him and see your life change. Because mine has changed. 
(Akhilesh , B.Tech., Jhansi, M.P.)