I heard the bell chiming and I knew my spiritual master was calling me. I run into his room and offered my humble obeisances to his lotus feet. He asked me about his clothes, whether they were ready, ironed or not.
“not yet, Srila Prabhupada. Few minutes more.”
He nodded without looking at me.
Then he asks me: “Why do you want to leave Vrindavana?”
He had a serious tone of voice. I knew I was only a step away from being chastized.
“You told me to go, Srila Prabhupada,” I replayed trying to use a for me innatural humble tone of voice. “You told me to go to the west to preach, and that’s why I am preparing to leave.”
My great spiritual master looked at me for just a second and then:
“I told you to go because you desired to go.”
I’d never told him anything, but I knew he could see in my heart. It was true. I desired to go to preach. I was enjoying Vrindavana, I was feeling guilty for all those people who didn’t know Vrindavana and would never know if someone didn’t go to tell them.
I couldn’t say anything else apart from, “yes, Srila Prabhupada. It is true.”
He was looking beyond me. His eyes were so beautiful, so deep. And I thought, “this is my eternal spiritual master. I want to serve him life after life.”
I told him, “then Srila Prabhupada should I stay in Vrindavana or should I go to the west to preach?”
And His Divine Grace told me:
“Are you qualified to preach?”
These words came on me as heavy as a boulder.
“No, Srila Prabhupada. I am not qualified.”
I looked into my heart to understand if I was trying to be humble, or I was just realistic. I saw no humbleness. I was sincere. Actually I was not qualified to go preaching in the West.
Therefore he said:
“Then don’t go. Stay in Vrindavana, serve the Holy Dhama, Radha Syamasundara and the Vaishnavas. When you become qualified, then you go.”
Clear as Yamuna’s crystal water. I got up to go picking up Srila Prabhupada’s clothes and then on thee dorway he stopped me.
“When you’ll become qualified to preach?”
“I don’t know, Srila Prabhupada,” I replaid trying to say the right thing. “By your mercy one day I’ll become qualified.”
And he said with a strong voice: “You’ll never become qualified.”
I was shocked. Was that a curse or what?
And then he slightly smiled and concluded:
“You preach on your spiritual master’s behalf. If you do this, you are already qualified and you can leave tomorrow. If you don’t do that, you’ll never be qualified and better you stay here serving those who preach.”
I got it.
While away from his personal presence, I meditated on my Divine Master and I understood that his mercy was all I could be made of.
PS: this conversation between Srila Prabhupada and me never actually took place. It only happened in my meditation.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada.
Your maybe one day useful servant
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
(today serving as a servant preacher)