APRIL 1973, ISKCON LOS ANGELES, NEW DWARKA
While at the temple in Los Angeles, when the weather permitted, Srila Prabhupada would take his massage outside in his garden. He described his garden in New Dwarka as his favorite place in the world, because there were so many Tulasi plants in it. It was Vrindavan.
“The morning sun gives you energy and the afternoon sun takes it away,” His Divine Grace told me. He would sit with his back to the sun, benefitting from the energizing rays it gave. On this sunny, Spring day, he was happy to have his massage in his favorite place. Walking down the stairs from his quarters, both in our gamchas, I opened the gate and we arrived at this most transcendental abode. I spread the straw mat on the grass for His Divine Grace to sit on. Armed with a bottle of Mysore sandalwood oil and mustard oil I was prepared to begin my favorite service, rubbing his body, beginning with his head and ending with his transcendental toes.
Srila Prabhupada sat cross-legged in front of me as I began rubbing his head with sandalwood oil. After about 20 minutes I put some mustard oil in the palm of my right hand and began to rub his back vigorously. After 10 minutes of pressing, a back a kitten, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, crawled under the garden gate. This fuzzy feline was so small it had to hop through the grass to get to its desired destination. The kitty was drawn to His Divine Grace like iron to a magnet.
Upon reaching the Savior of the Whole Word, this kitty began to prance back and forth, rubbing itself along the base of Prabhupada’s back. After offering its respects in this way three times it stopped and began to lick my merciful Guru with its tiny, sandpaper-like tongue. While all of this was going on I continued to massage my glorious master. It was just another opportunity to see the mercy freely given by Srila Prabhupada.
“That’s enough, you can take him out now.” he said nonchalantly after being rubbed and licked by this most fortunate four legged feline. Immediately, I grabbed this not so crazy kitten and carefully placed him over the six foot high privacy wall. I returned to my spot on the lawn and continued to rub Prabhupada’s back. Nothing surprised me anymore.
This determined little creature immediately appeared under the gate and this time, sprinted towards Srila Prabhupada, vaulting over the grasses that were before it. Three times he came in. Each time I grabbed him and dropped him over the fence, each time with a little less gentleness.
I was determined to find a permanent solution. I noticed some bricks that were edging the garden. I took four of them and placed them along the bottom of the gate so the kitten could no longer sneak in to get another taste of His Divine Grace. Being thwarted, he sat outside the gate crying for that Divine association.
“Meeeoooowwwww” it cried. Howling, the kitten lamented his misfortune. The sobbing went for a few minutes. Finally, it stopped. I never saw the kitten again, even though I gave Prabhupada his massage in the same place for the next week. Srila Prabhupada never mentioned what took place that day and I never asked him about it. I could understand his mercy was unlimited and that he had come to give all living entities the opportunity to make progress in spiritual life, no matter what body they were in.
I learned something from that day. I should be that eager for the association of the pure devotee.
A moment’s association with a pure devotee can change the life of even a small animal. The kitten was obviously attracted by the transcendental nature of Prabhupada. He was eager to bathe in that nectar no matter what obstacles were placed before him. I pray someday to be so determined to fight for the association of Srila Prabhuapda, the only safe place in this material world.