THE FIRST ENCOUNTER
The first time I ever physically saw Gurudeva was at the Devasadan Mandir (Detroit ISKCON temple). That had to have been 1994 or 1995. I was in the temple room alone chanting japa waiting to attend a program with Gurudeva at Radhasundari and Hladini Shakti’s home. I had never met him before. I only heard about this IFAST program from a flyer on the prasadam hall bulletin board. It was late afternoon and I remember the main lights were off in the temple room, so the only illumination was coming from the Deities altar and from the light over Srila Prabhupada’s murti. It was quiet and still. Then all of a sudden the temple room door flung open and in walked Gurudeva. He was alone, but his energy was so intense! The room felt electric and vibrating. I was up near the Deities, so he didn’t see me. He walked over to Srila Prabhupada, paid obeisances and stood in front of him with folded palms for what seemed an eternity. He then quickly darted back out of the temple room. I had this feeling like I had just witnessed this intimate, silent conversation between him and Srila Prabhupada. I just remember sitting there thinking, “My god…that was him! That was Bhakti Tirtha Swami! That’s my Gurudeva!”
FIRST HOME PROGRAM
At the program at Radhasundari and Hladini Shakti prabhus’ home that evening is where I was able to first see and hear from Gurudeva in person. He walked in like a king and surcharged the environment/atmosphere so intensely. He radiated such amazing, transcendental energy. I brought a drawing to give to Gurudeva as a gift. I knew he would be there, because I was previously attending the IFAST programs at their home. At that time I had seen a printed, photocopied booklet with a picture of Gurudeva on the cover wearing his Nehru jacket and hat and a garland, with his hands in a praying position. I felt some connection to him just from seeing that fuzzy, photocopied image. I later asked Radhasundari about this feeling, that if this could be my Guru. She said to keep an open mind to other Gurus and to hear from as many senior devotees as I could and that in time Krishna would reveal to me who my Guru was. At the same time she said there could definitely be a connection with him and that time would tell. But I knew without a doubt in that moment that he was my Gurudeva. So back to that home program where he was speaking, I gave the drawing to Hladini Shakti to give to Gurudeva. He presented it to Gurudeva and I watched from a short distance as he looked at it. Then Hladini Shakti relayed my desire to meet with him for a personal darshan. So we made arrangements to meet the next day.
THE FIRST PERSONAL MEETING
I came to the Devasadan Mandir early in the morning. I remember there was snow everywhere and it was cold out. I walk in through the front entrance of the temple with nervous anticipation. As I walk into the main foyer area I can hear classical music playing from upstairs where the restaurant is. Garuda prabhu is with Gurudeva, traveling with him as his personal servant and secretary. He greets me downstairs and takes me up to the restaurant where Gurudeva is. He first goes in and announces to Gurudeva that I’ve arrived. He comes back out a moment later and says, “You can go in now.” I walk in and pay my obeisances. Gurudeva is sitting at a small table drinking ginger tea. As I sit up he greets me and tells me to sit down with him. I sit in the chair across from him. Garuda brings me a cup of tea. So there we are, Gurudeva and I drinking ginger tea, listening to classical music and Gurudeva begins asking me polite questions, like where do you live, what do you do, do you have family, etc. It’s all a blur now as to what he specifically asked me. I just remember being so nervous and in awe of his presence. The conversation is brief and he ends it by inquiring what time it is. He then says that they invited him to visit the gurukula and he asks me if I have time to come along with him. I reply that I do, so he, Garuda and I all walk over to the trailer that’s being used for the gurukula. There’s a class in session as we walk in. Gurudeva speaks to the students for a bit as Garuda and I stand off to the side. As we’re leaving Gurudeva says to me, “So now you can stay in touch with me by writing me letters every now and then.” I respond that I definitely will. I still have all of those early, printed, hand signed letters from Gurudeva. They mean so much to me. I remember driving home in a blissful state of euphoria and being excited about the future.
Here are some random memories based around Gurudeva and his eating habits. One time Gurudeva ate a whole bag of cashews. Another time he asked me to make some popcorn. I had to run down to the temple, as there was no popcorn popper at the Institute house. It was so blissful running down through the woods in the evening, making the popcorn (he wanted salt, butter and nutritional yeast on it) and running it back up the hill and through the woods to the house. I think that was the time he commented how the salt was good for his throat, because his throat was a little sore. There was the time in Mayapur where I found a bunch of pistachio shells in his trashcan and ants had gathered around eating the crumbs. He ate once a day and most times the devotees would cook for him. It was usually healthy preps, like couscous, simple vegetables, salad and maybe bread. One time in New Vrindavan there were a lot of cookies left over from the guru-puja. Every day he and I would eat some. He told me one day to go run some errands. When I came back the plate of cookies was gone, but he had left some pieces for me as his maha. I felt so grateful eating those remnants. I remember how Gurudeva would sometimes lift his glasses up so that they rested on his head as he would read emails while eating. One time he even ate while dictating email messages. He didn’t want to waste one moment. One time, after the incident of me running away from Gita Nagari, he was really caring and kind to me. He was trying to be less intense with me and more aware of my needs. He melted my heart while we were doing his emails by walking out from the kitchen with a piece of apple pie and a fork, which he placed in front of me and said, “This is really good pie. Take a break and try it.” That memory still chokes me up. Just that level of love and personal care that he exhibited to me.
MEMORIES IN INDIA
I had the good fortune of being with Gurudeva in Sri Mayapur Dhama and Sri Vrindavan Dhama in 1997. Here are some random memories from Mayapur: 1) He was feeling thirsty and wanted a coconut. So I went out around the temple grounds and outside the grounds looking for a coconut-walla. I couldn’t find any anywhere! So I instead brought him back sugar cane juice. When I told him there were no coconuts to be found and that all I could find was the cane juice, he made a disgusted face and commented how cane juice is too sweet. But he drank it anyway. After I left the room I was going down these black marble stairs. Somehow I didn’t see the bottom stair and I tripped and slammed by hands and knee onto the hard marble floor. It was a shock! I don’t know if that was a reaction to bringing my Guru the wrong drink. 2) I became ill while in Mayapur and I was missing some of the programs and darshans. Gurudeva relayed a message to Ekavira prabhu for me to “stop playing around and take my medicine.” Within in that message was some kind of blessing, because the next day I felt perfectly fine and healthy! 3) I was in the class Gurudeva gave entitled “Protecting Srila Prabhupada’s House”. It was an intense lecture and after it was finished I was walking out with him back to his room. He was wearing a gigantic garland. I said to him with appreciation, “Gurudeva, that was a very powerful class.” He smiled and said, “I have to be careful how I speak…sometimes I get so fired up!” 4) In the mornings he would fly down the stairs to the temple room. To this day whenever I’m walking down stairs I think of Gurudeva and remember how fast he went down the stairs. I don’t know how he did it. It was like he was gliding, like not even taking steps or lifting his legs. It was really something to witness. I could barely keep up with him. Then we traveled to Vrindavan. There was some plan that I would fly with him to Delhi, but then the plans changed and I ended up going with the rest of the devotees by train. Here are some random Vrindavan memories: 1) After Gurudeva’s vyasa-puja we were in a car traveling back to the ashram where he was staying. Gurudeva was in the front seat and I was in the back seat with the head pujari. They were having some conversation and I was just sitting there quietly. Then there was a moment of silence in the car. All of a sudden Gurudeva turns around and says, “Jayadeva! Here’s your chance to do some Deity seva!” pointing out that I was in the car with the head pujari and could ask for some service. It was amazing to me, because I had never verbally mentioned to Gurudeva that I wanted to do Deity seva in Vrindavan, but that’s how deeply he knew our hearts and desires. 2) We took a trip to Mathura to visit one of the largest, main temples there (I can’t remember the name now). While there we did a small kirtan for the pleasure of the Deities. A small family of Brijbasis was also present, but otherwise the temple room was empty. As we were sitting there performing kirtan a little boy stood up and started dancing ecstatically. Not in a crazy, wild fashion, but in a very deliberate, slow, rhythmic dance. It was completely enchanting. Some elderly, Indian-bodied ladies were smiling and clapping. Gurudeva had a huge grin and was also clapping to encourage this young boy. The dance is hard to explain in words, but he was doing this little step thing, with every step making his hip flick outwards. And with his hands he had one on his hip and the other one in the air, spinning and rotating like a dancing snake. It was amazing. After the kirtan Gurudeva leaned over to me, still smiling and said, “You should learn to dance like THAT in kirtan!”
I was on the phone relaying a message from Gurudeva to another disciple. Gurudeva wasn’t very happy with the person. I don’t remember the details of the conversation or why he was upset, but he wanted me to relay something that I thought was really intense and I felt uncomfortable saying it to this god sibling. So I somehow changed the message to make it a little less harsh sounding. Gurudeva quickly cut me off annoyed and said, “That’s not what I said! I said _________! Tell them I said ________!” I could tell that he was upset that I had changed what he said. He wanted me to repeat his message and to be direct.
New York Ratha Yatra. Gurudeva needed to use the restroom, but there were no outdoor portable restrooms on the parade route. So he, our god brother Agni and I ran off the route and into a large mall type building. We were moving fast, because Gurudeva didn’t want to get too far behind the parade. So we were weaving in and out and around customers. I think Agni was holding Gurudeva’s large, flat drum. We were all drenched in sweat. We followed the signs to the restrooms, but they were upstairs on another level, so we had to take an elevator. I remember being packed in the elevator with other people and there was a super awkward silence. That elevator seemed to take forever to go up one level! Gurudeva handed me his sannyasa cloth and bead bag and ran into the restroom. Then he came back out quickly and we again darted our way back to the elevator and back through the crowds of customers to the main entrance. There’s really no message in this memory! Haha. It was just nice being with Gurudeva, even in these seemingly mundane events.
Once in Detroit we were leaving a home program. It was a small and intimate program and Gurudeva lead an ecstatic kirtan in which everyone ended up standing up and dancing, even the older Prabhupada disciples that were normally more reserved and would never dance in kirtan. I was in the car with him and I believe Sri Nandanandana was driving him back to his house where he was staying. I said to Gurudeva, “You’re a very special servant of Krishna, Gurudeva!” He smiled and quickly replied, “We’re ALL special servants of Krishna!”
Once also in Detroit he was staying at the home of Jagat-purusa prabhu (technically I think it was a house that Jagat-purusa prabhu was home sitting for). During our stay there (I was staying in a separate room and was there for any of Gurudeva’s needs) I had asked him, “Gurudeva, it’s said that Srila Prabhupada is a shaktyavesa avatar, so does that mean he always appears after Lord Caitanya…” Gurudeva quickly cut me off and said with an intense tone, “Srila Prabhupada is a nitya-siddha and can appear whenever and wherever he wishes!” I was caught off guard with the intensity of Gurudeva’s reply. It was like he was irritated with my neophyte understanding of his beloved Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada. I’ll never forget that moment.
Once driving from the Gita Nagari temple back to the Institute house I was sitting in the back seat and I asked Gurudeva about chanting with inattentiveness. I was questioning the value of chanting inattentive japa versus not chanting at all. Gurudeva told me it was better to chant then to not chant and to pray to have the attentiveness and to make the effort to try and focus on the sound of the Holy Name.
Evening routines at Gita-nagari. These were very sweet times. After a day of answering e-mails and Deity seva I would come back to the Institute house in the evenings to massage Gurudeva’s knees and feet. I would unroll this rectangular piece of 1-inch thick foam that he kept rolled up in his closet, lay it on the floor and place a twin-size sheet over it. That was his “bed”. I don’t remember there being a pillow, but I imagine there must have been one. He would lay on his back to fall asleep, but I honestly don’t think he ever really fully fell asleep. We would sometimes turn on a CD. Sometimes it would be a “new age” kind of instrumental music with synths and relaxing sounds. At one point he would put on Karnamrta dasi’s CD every night. While the music played I would massage beginning with his knees. He would often mention how his knees were sore. Then I would move to his feet. He would tell me to be careful with the foot with the large growth, as he said it was tender. When he found out my father was a massage therapist and knew something about reflexology and that he had taught me a little about it, he asked me to press on certain points that would be bothering him. For example, there was a time when he was having bladder issues, so he would ask me to focus on that point on his foot that correlated with his bladder (according to reflexology). Or if he were having a headache he would ask me to focus on that point on his foot. (One time he asked me to massage his head before he laid down for rest due to some chronic headache.) Sometimes as I would be massaging and placing pressure on certain points he would say, “Wait…right there…what is that spot? (meaning what did it relate to in the body according to reflexology). That spot there is a little tender.” There was never any indication of when to stop the massage. I never heard him fall into any sleep, like with snoring or changes in breathing pattern. I would just take my time with the massage and when it seemed he was relaxed I would move the bottle of massage oil or lotion and quietly stand up and tip-toe out of the room, quietly closing the door behind me. I would sometimes have to get up at 3:30am to get ready to wake Sri Sri Radha-Damodara and I didn’t have an alarm clock. So I would go downstairs and lay on the bare floor on my back (without a blanket or pillow) and leave the lights on so that I wouldn’t fall asleep too deeply. I would usually just fall into a light sleep for 4-5 hours. One time Gurudeva noticed that I was leaving the light on (which in retrospect I don’t know how he knew the light was on, since I was downstairs. I never heard him get up or heard him walking around upstairs) and he questioned why I was doing this. I explained that I didn’t want to oversleep so I would sleep with the light on. He didn’t really say anything in response, just kind of a sound of acknowledgement like, “Huh.” I really miss that intimate seva the most. Even though it was so intense (because I would always be so exhausted) it was very blissful. I think that’s why he once said to me that even though I was so stuck on the mental platform during my service, that one day I would look back on it with extreme gratitude. Nothing could be truer.
We’re out walking on the main road near Gita Nagari farm. We’re on a japa walk. It’s sweet and amazing being alone with him at this time. It’s just he and I walking and chanting on our japa beads. We walk over to an old abandoned covered bridge. Gurudeva inspects it, still continuing to chant his japa. He turns to me and says he needs to relieve his bladder and then begins looking for a place to urinate. There’s a small opening of open field that runs up to a wall of trees, bushes and foliage. Gurudeva hands me his japa bead bag and walks over to the line of trees and passes urine. He then looks around where to wipe his hands. There’s a tree that’s over hanging a bit with large leaves. Gurudeva plucks a couple leaves from the tree and rubs them over his hands, then tosses them into the bushes. He takes his bead bag back and begins chanting japa again. As we’re walking down the road again an elderly couple is coming towards us. Gurudeva takes his hand out of his bead bag and tells me to do the same. As they get closer he gives them a big smile and says hello. They exchange pleasantries as we keep walking by. Gurudeva then puts his hand back in his bead bag and continues chanting. I then realize he did this so as not to scare or disturb this couple. He didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable or nervous. He was always so constantly aware of other people’s energies.
MORE RANDOM MEMORIES
I’m driving Gurudeva from Gita Nagari to Pittsburgh and then New Vrindavan. We’re using my god brother’s older car. It’s the kind of car that doesn’t really instill confidence in its reliability, but it’s the only car available for the trip. Half way into the trip the car start sputtering and shaking. I pull over to the side of the road and open the hood. There is now white smoke coming out of the engine and the car won’t start up again. I feel so terrible as Gurudeva has to endure this. I can’t remember how we eventually called a tow truck (this was before everyone on the planet had a cell phone). So we get into the tow truck and drive to a local car repair shop. Apparently the car needs a new alternator. Of course being a brahmacari I don’t have any money or credit cards or anything. Fortunately Gurudeva has cash with him. So he had to pay with his own money to get this car fixed! It was insane. I felt so bad. As we were sitting in the shop waiting for the car to be fixed I apologized to Gurudeva and said we would pay him back. He smiled and laughed and said something like, “You better be paying me back!” Even though I was in a ridiculous amount of anxiety, Gurudeva seemed completely unfazed by the whole experience.
Once on the way back to Gita Nagari from Lewistown (I think we went to Walmart for some reason) it was just Gurudeva and I in the car. Since I had this time with him alone I figured I would ask him a personal question that I was very curious about. I knew Gurudeva was very psychically attuned and sensitive to subtle phenomenon, so I assumed he was probably aware of his past lives and his previous relationship with Srila Prabhupada. So I mustered up the courage and asked, “Gurudeva…I was wondering…do you remember your previous relationship with Srila Prabhupada in a past life?” He was quiet for a moment and then simply replied, “Uhh…to some extent.” Then he was silent. The silence was intense and deafening. I could feel by his energy and mood that I had just asked an extremely inappropriate and personal question, one that I was not qualified to know the answer to. I sat there in the silence feeling like an idiot and I never again asked him about it.
Speaking of asking questions I was not qualified to ask, also at Gita Nagari, I once asked him about a topic he would sometimes bring up in classes. He would sometimes say that there were higher entities that were at Gita Nagari. I didn’t know if he meant demigods or what, so one day while I was serving him at the Institute House I asked, “Gurudeva, you know how you always mention there are higher beings in the environment here…I was curious…who are those beings?” He replied very vaguely with, “Uhh, just like there are higher beings and lower beings. Like there are ants, but there are also beings that are higher. Like that.” I had another one of those I-probably-shouldn’t-have-asked-that-question moments and just stayed quiet without pursuing more details.
One time while living in the Detroit temple I was going to make a painting of the Panca-tattva (which for some reason I started but never actually finished), but I had this idea to show Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with a shaved head. I asked Gurudeva if that would be bonafide to which he responded with a question, “How is He normally depicted in the paintings?” I replied, “With hair.” He then said, “Then that’s how you should show Him.”
Once while serving him in Detroit I was so exhausted that I went to the room I was staying in to chant some japa while waiting for his prasadam to be delivered by another devotee. I sat down on the end of the bed chanting. Then I laid back and thought I would close my eyes for a moment. The next thing I know I hear Gurudeva’s voice saying, “Haribol! Haribol! Bhakta Jason! Haribol! I think the prasadam is here.” I jumped off the bed and instinctually dropped into obeisances. After he walked out I wiped the drool off of my chin. I was so disoriented and confused. It was so embarrassing. It was this same visit when in the morning that he was leaving I was sitting in that same room chanting japa in the dark. He came into the room and opened up the curtains to let the morning sun come shining in. It was very symbolic. He then stayed in the room and paced back and forth chanting japa with me.
One time I asked him if he was consciously aware of appearing in his disciples’ dreams. (This was probably another one of those questions I shouldn’t have been asking!) He was polite and replied, “Uh, sometimes that’s there.”
Once while staying in Maryland I had to drive Gurudeva to the bank. I sat in the car while he went inside to do what he needed to do. When he came back there was some conversation that made me wonder when his birthday was. (I actually knew, but in that moment for whatever reason I couldn’t recall it.) I asked, “Gurudeva, when is your actual birthday?” Oh my. What a dumb question on so many levels! Gurudeva was even shocked and replied sharply, “You don’t know your own Guru’s birthday?!” I was taken aback and couldn’t speak. Seeing my floundering he quickly replied with disbelief, “February 25th, 1950.” I felt like such an idiot and after he said it I was like, “Wait…I knew that…why did I ask that?!” I guess Krishna thought it was funny.
I remember once while Gurudeva was dictating an email message to some of his god brothers that he was very concerned for their health. He was lovingly encouraging them to take care of their physical bodies and to not always push themselves so hard with excessive traveling, lack of sleep and lack of nourishment. He then said to me to the side that so many of the leaders were falling ill from pushing themselves too hard and how it was important to find a balance. In retrospect it’s interesting to note his genuine concern for others, yet he never took his own health into consideration.
Once while at Gita Nagari he wanted to go outside to write some of his Beggar entries. So he asked me to bring a rocking chair out to the swing set that was outside on the Institute lawn. I remember it was super awkward and difficult to maneuver the large rocking chair up the ladder and into the small space at the top of the swing set. It had a little roof over top of it. I went back inside and told Gurudeva it was set up. He went out there with his notebook and pen. I remember looking out of his window from inside and I could see him sitting out there in the chair. It was such a sweet moment for some inexplicable reason watching him quietly writing out there. It’s these kind of small, little memories that really make me miss his physical presence.
PLEASE KRISHNA'S SENSES
Gurudeva used to have me print out his emails so that he could read them before dictating replies. This would create many challenges if we were traveling or if the printer broke, etc. One time I mentioned he could just read the emails on the computer screen, but he replied that he didn’t like doing it that way and that it strained his eyes. So anyway, at the end of dictating emails he would have a stack of printed emails. He would give them back to me to reuse by printing on the back of the paper. Once both sides had been printed on he would just tell me to throw them out. On one occasion he handed me the stack of emails and I took them with me like usual. Then I headed downstairs at the Institute House to connect the laptop computer to the dial-up Internet. As I was sending the emails I noticed a hand written note, in pen, on one of the printed emails. It was at the top of the paper and said “Please Krishna’s senses. Do not mind my personal distress.” I don’t know if Gurudeva wrote that as a reminder of what he was going to say in an email reply, if he was writing that for himself or if he wrote that with the intention of me seeing it. In any case I took it as a personal message. I carefully cut the top of that paper off before discarding the papers. Many years later I had that hand-written note framed along with a photo of Gurudeva and I. The importance of that message still resonates with me to this very day: advancement in Krishna Consciousness is all based upon the degree of our selflessness.
That echoes something Gurudeva wrote in my copy of Spiritual Warrior 2 in which he wrote to me: “Lust constantly attacks us on the gross and subtle levels. We will constantly be defeated unless we become truly selfless. Yours in the struggle for unconditional love, Swami Krishnapada”.
THE LAST DARSHAN
After Gurudeva found out he had cancer and had his leg amputated he was staying at Gita Nagari. I had left Gita Nagari in 2002 and moved back to Michigan. In 2004 I met my wife and moved to New Jersey. I knew that his time on this planet was drawing to a close, so I wanted to see him and have his physical association one last time. I think it was late 2004 or early 2005 when I drove from New Jersey to Gita Nagari to see him. There were a lot of devotees coming to see him and the Institute House was buzzing with activity. I remember waiting for my turn to go into his room to speak with him. They were letting devotees go in as small groups. I don’t remember who was in the room with me. (I remember there was a mataji there, because when we left the room she expressed to me feeling humbled by witnessing the sweetness of my exchange with Gurudeva.) I’m sitting there on the floor and just listening quietly as Gurudeva was speaking to the other devotees. Finally there is some opportunity to speak, so I say, “Gurudeva…I just wanted to apologize to you for all of my offenses and for not being able to surrender to you completely.” He had a big grin and replied, “I want to apologize to YOU for being so hard on you!” I was caught off guard with the power of his humility and in turn I felt extremely humbled. I replied, “No, no Gurudeva! You have no reason to apologize! I was just too selfish to accept your full love and mercy.” At this point in the memory I don’t remember what his response was. It has blurred with the passing of time. All I remember vividly was the energy of love and compassion and humility radiating from his being as he sat on the couch in his room. I think he wrapped up the darshan and said there were more devotees waiting. I paid obeisances and that’s the last time I physically saw him.
The next time I saw Gurudeva he had already left behind his mortal form. I remember getting the automated phone call that he was in the final stages of leaving his body. My wife and I jumped in the car and started driving to Gita Nagari from New Jersey, which was about a 3-hour drive. As we were passing through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania my cell phone rang again. It was the message that he had left his body. I felt like an empty shell. I was stunned and sitting in the passenger seat quietly. I felt sadness that I wasn’t there. It was only afterwards when I saw the photos of the state he was in that I realized Krishna had protected me from seeing him like that. If I had walked in and saw him in that condition (after the last time seeing him he was vibrant and smiling and sitting on his couch) I probably would have lost it emotionally and just been a disturbance. I remember walking down the hill in the procession that carried his body to the temple. I remember standing in front of his body in the temple room and just starring at his face and being filled with so many emotions. Mother Vrajalila was there next to me and handed me a maha incense stick. I didn’t cry at the time, but now, even all of this time later, thinking too intensely about Gurudeva and his departure can send me into fits of uncontrollable crying and sobbing. I miss him so much. And there were so many more experiences I wanted to share with him. Sometimes I feel so lost without him and I pray to Krishna to somehow bring me back into contact with him. There is so much solace in the association of my god family. I pray to Gurudeva to never leave me and that in the next life I can be reunited with him.
There is so much more that could be said and so many more memories that could be mined from my mind if I continued reflecting on Gurudeva and my experiences with him. But for now I will leave this here. I could even spend so much time discussing my correspondences with him and the things he told me in letters and emails, but it would be overwhelming for everyone (for me in writing and for the devotees in reading!). There are also the things from dreams, but those are generally quite personal in meaning and I don’t feel like sharing everything. I also have purposely left things out of these memories that were of a personal nature. But I hope and pray that the memories I have shared above are enlivening for the disciples of Srila Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja. Perhaps in the future I will share even more for the pleasure of the devotees. I pray to all of you that have read this to please forgive me for any offenses and to please not think I have shared these memories for my own ego-boosting purposes. I have only written these things to keep Gurudeva’s presence alive in my own heart and hopefully in your hearts as well. All glories to Srila Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja! All glories to the disciples and well-wishers of Gurudeva! All glories to His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Srila Prabhupada! All glories to the assembly of Vaishnavas! All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga! All glories to Sri Nityananda Prabhu! Jai Nitai Jai Nitai Jai Nitai!