Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to you! Some 26 years ago in Detroit I had the rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to touch your lotus feet. I carefully snuck your slippers out from under your vyasasana and went to the door and waited for you to exit. As you stepped into your slippers I placed my fingertips so that the soles of your lotus feet would pass over them. Settling back after this, I felt that my life was now successful. I had touched your lotus feet.
Years later I reflect on that moment. While this was certainly nothing ordinary……..is this the sum of my success? To only touch your lotus feet? Should I not be more concerned about serving you as well? Have I reached my success in my service to you? I examine myself and must frankly admit that I am embarrassed to admit I have not. In my case such admittance is no mere exercise in humility…..it is a factual statement of my shortcomings as a disciple. When I examine all my god brothers, your many dear servants, I ask myself, why not me? It is to easy for me to answer this though. In the years of my devotional service and the years since your departure from our external vision, I have allowed laziness and inattentiveness to become my companions in my service. I have embraced them and made them comfortable with me. As a result they have brought their friends and associates along. These are lust, greed, desire, duplicity and dishonestly. While keeping such company I have also maintained pride, prestige and desire for honor and praise. Is there a more lamentable condition for me?
Nonetheless, this is a part of your glory. The fact that you have taken many such lowly persons as myself and by your mercy, by your instruction, and by your guidance you have elevated all of us to the path of devotional service. We hear that devotional service is both the means and the ends. By serving guru and Krsna we attain the goal of ……..serving guru and Krsna! In this same light we can again reposition ourselves on the path you have given us by following that very path you have given us. Read daily your books! Chant daily our rounds! Worship the deity daily! Keep the daily association of your devotees! These are the items we need to adhere to. But we cannot stop there. We must avoid excessive contact with the material moods of nature. This poses a difficult scenario for those of us in household and business life. Here again, by carefully following your guidelines and instructions this impasse can also be easily crossed over. One need not despair your departure as you have carefully given clear guidance in your Bhaktivedanta purports, and the hours of recorded lectures and conversations. In this way even a fallen devotee who is only attempting to render devotional service can achieve success by your mercy.
It is sometimes put forth that the offering on Vyasapuja should only be focused on your glories and activities. Yet I see these descriptions of your ability to deliver such a person as me as an example of your glories. Even without much personal association you have imbibed in me the desire to serve Krsna, the desire to serve you, the desire to purify my life and advance back to home, back to Godhead. Maybe then when I see you again I will be able to touch those lotus feet once again. This desire keeps me engaged in your service.
I beg to remain,