Srila Prabhupada was coming to L.A. Last time he had come, I went with hundreds of devotees to greet him upon his arrival at the airport, and I was looking forward to so again. But, just as the devotees were about to leavefor the airport, one senior devotee asked me to stay back. There were still things that needed to be done, like cleaning and decorating the temple, so I stayed back. I was disappointed but could see that someone had to do the service. I was planning to go out to the curb to greet Srila Prabhupada as he got out of the car, but when Srila Prabhupada arrived, there were still last second things to do, and I wound up having to stay in the temple room. That was Krsna’as blessing in disguise.
When Srila Prabhupada entered the temple followed by hundreds of devotees, I was standing near Sri Rukmini-Dwarakadisa’s altar. Srila Prabhupada greeted Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, took caranamrta, and came before Sri Rukmini Dwarakadisa. Hundreds of chanting devotees huddled as close to Srila Prabhupada as possible. This all took place in what is now the older LA temple room, the one that is now the FATE Museum. It is less than half the size of the current LA temple room, and the kirtan was loud. Nothing else was audible.
Then, some devotees pushed me from behind and I found myself standing right next to Srila Prabhupada. I had to push the devotees behind me back, to keep me from touching Srila Prabhupada. His and my faces were very close. I am short by American standards, and Srila Prabhupada and I were the same height. As Srila Prabhupada stood before Rukmini Dwarakadisa, I could hear him offering his prayers to Krsna. Actually he was not praying but simply SPEAKING, not to, but WITH Krsna. Srila Prabhupada said, “So, I see you are dressed very nicely. Are they dressing you like this every day?” There was a short pause, then Srila Prabhupada said, “Oh, very nice, very good. How is the bhoga? Are they cooking nicely for you?” Pause “Oh, very good. Are you enjoying it?” .. “Oh very nice.” I obviously could not hear Krsna speaking, but, I could hear Srila Prabhupada and I could see that he was not just asking Krsna questions; he was HEARING Krsna’s reply. Due to the loudness of the singing, I don’t think anyone else could hear Srila Prabhupada, but because I had been pushed so close to him and because we were the same height, I could hear him clearly. Even though the Deities in L.A. are Sri Rukmini-Dwarakadisa, Srila Prabhupada addressed them as “Sri Sri Radha-Madhava”.
Srila Prabhupada then went on to greet Jaganath, and I was no longer so close to him. After that, he sat on his vyasasana. The devotees offered guru puja, and Srila Prabhupada gave his arrival address.
During the arrival address, Srila Prabhupada mentioned that he could see that the Deities were being dressed nicely and he could tell the cooking was also nice. He told us that if we remain engaged serving the Deities like this for the rest of our lives, we could go back home, back to Godhead. He asked that we not decrease our service.
He knew the Deity services were going on nicely at that time, because he personally asked Krsna, and Krsna Himself told him.
–Ameyatma Prabhu (ACBSP)