I offer my humble obeisances at the Lotus feet of Srila Gurudev 🙏 Hare Krishna..Dandavat pranam to all the Vaishanavs and Vaishnavis..
It's been just 3 years that I had started to go to Iskcon temple in Mumbai and hear hari katha. In due course of time, I realized the need for a spiritual master to progress in Bhakti. I religiously started praying to Srimati Radha Rani, as guided by my elder brother. I never knew there existed anything else, Gaudiya or any other parampara, other than Iskcon. But I had heard that only Krishna can reveal who your Guru can be. I had never heard about Srila Gurudev until my brother, Radhagovinda Dasa whose children are diksa disciples of Gurudev, insisted that I take shelter of Gurudev before it's too late. I was skeptical that even if I wish to be His disciple, would He accept me??
Then with the help of my brother and Sanatana prabhu, it was arranged that my family and I would meet Gurudev in Faridabad and things would proceed further. We reached there on 1st June 2017. As we entered Gurudev's room, I saw Him for the first time, sitting calmly on His bed. He smiled as SundarGopal prabhu introduced us. Oh! I can never forget that child-like, heart melting smile. I just thanked Radharani. As we sat hoping that Gurudev might say some hari katha, He popped a question, "Why do you want to take Harinam?" For a moment I went blank, but my husband answered with some help from SundarGopal prabhu. The next day Gurudev gave us Harinam. He gave His blessings by giving prasad from His hands. I was too humbled and thankful to Gurudev for accepting my husband , child and me as His disciples. Even though we were there for 3 days, we were not able to associate with Gurudev most of the time, as He was not feeling too well.
Then again with Radharani's mercy, we were able to meet Gurudev in Puri in June, during the ratha yatra. When we, my husband and I, offered our obeisances He simply looked at us as to who we were. When my prabhuji informed that we had recently taken Harinam from Him, he smiled broadly and said, "Oh yes, I keep forgetting who is who because of my old age." The 3 days that we were in Puri, we heard hari katha from Gurudev in the evenings. He had sai, your coming to Puri during ratha yatra is successful not by pulling ropes of the Lord's ratha, but by being in the association of sadhus and hearing hari katha from them. I felt too blessed.
Back at home, we watched videos, on YouTube, of Srila Gurudev giving hari katha and this is how I tried to connect with Him. Even though He always mentioned that you'll progress only by doing vaishnav seva, I couldn't apprehend it well. But when I read Volcanic Energy, only then did I understand what pleased Gurudev. He had lived by His example.
When we came to know that He may enter Nitya lila as His health wasn't so good, due to our ill fate we couldn't reach Faridabad for His darshan before He physically disappeared from our vision. I pray at Gurudev's Lotus feet to please bless and guide me to make my this human life useful by keeping unflinching faith in and serving Hari, Guru and Vaishanavs.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. An aspiring servant, Sudevi dasi. (Savitri Chaprala)