April 13, 1973 ISKCON Los Angeles (New Dvaraka)
Walking behind Srila Prabhupada as he leaves an airplane and enters a terminal building to be met by his disciples is always one of the most amazing experiences. As he left the plane today and entered the corridor, we could hear devotees chanting, the sound growing louder and louder. And Prabhupada's smile grew larger as he approached his loving disciples.
Today there were several hundred devotees in the airport. They were oblivious to everyone and everything going on around them, except for their glorious spiritual master. I have no qualification to describe the feelings of my Godbrothers and Godsisters, as I have never been fortunate enough to have such strong loving emotion for Prabhupada.
The loving reciprocation between Srila Prabhupada and his disciples is easiest to see in these airport receptions. Fortunate observers in the airport today could see that devotees were feeling transcendental bliss. For several minutes it seemed that no one's feet touched the ground. Torrents of ecstatic tears flowed freely from everyone, except for one fallen soul me.
We arrived in Srila Prabhupada's quarters at about noon, and I at once prepared for his massage. During the massage my mind was disturbed. I could not free myself from the pain of thinking that everyone had such love for their guru except for me. I was a cheater, an impostor. I finally got the courage to speak while massaging Prabhupada's back. That way I didn't have to speak face to face.
"Srila Prabhupada," I said, "all your disciples have so much love for you. I feel so bad because I lack this intense love. When I'm with you at the airport, I can see everyone dancing, chanting, and crying. I have so much association with you, yet I don't feel this overwhelming love like they do."
I hoped he would say something to relieve my mind. He stayed silent. Tormented, I finished the massage and went back to my room to finish preparing his lunch.
After he'd chanted the Gayatri mantra, he called me into his room. As I entered, I offered obeisances and looked up with much concern because he had a serious look on his face.
"So, do you like serving me?" he asked.
"Oh, yes Srila Prabhupada," I replied, "I like serving you very much."
"Then that is love," he said. "Everyone can do so many things singing, dancing, jumping up and down. But you are actually doing something. Isn't that love?"
"I guess so, Srila Prabhupada," I said.
"So you just do your service," he said.
"That is all that is necessary. This is what love means to do service."
Excerpt from a work in progress by Srutakirti Dasa