As we naturally cultivate our relationship, rasa, with Lord Krishna, so too does each each and every disciple have a special rasa with his or her spiritual master. Many devotees can easily understand the mood of awe and reverence, experiencing Prabhupada's humor and wit. Many times we related through humor, since neither of us could let a good joke passby. Prabhupada was accepting and open-minded to all, yet he could make each person feel special and wanted. Even if I had just seen him an hour before, he welcomed me as if we hadn't seen each other for a year. Sometimes he would even ask me for advice. Then, after coming to a solution together, our Jagat Guru of the Universe, would humbly ask me, "Is that alright?" Sometimes Prabhupada would confide in me in a soft voice, and would reveal my inner thoughts, while he allowed our elbows to touch. I drank in the fragrance of saffron, sandalwood, mustard oil, and champa flowers that signified his presence. He cared for me whan I was sick, as I cared for him when he was ill. His divine lotus hands even bandaged my wounded foot one night in Vrindavan.
To Prabhupada, the best instruction was by example.
Sometimes he taught by being aloof, and sometimes with understanding and compassion. On more than one occasion my mentor taught me a hard lesson (in ISKCON jargon, by "giving me the sauce"), which I took as great mercy, a rough caress. On learning, Prabhupada taught: "If learned the hard way, it will be remembered well; if learned too easily, it is easily forgotten."
He mercifully granted me so much personal time with him, and sometimes, if I stayed away too long, he would call for me. When I had typhoid fever in Vrindavan, he demanded a report on my progess from wherever he was traveling.
We walked side by side, slept in the same train compartment, held hands, stepped carefully into a dark basement and shuffled along groping the wall together till we found the door.
We laughed and cried together. We sang and danced together. I ate maha maha prasadam, touched by His Divine Grace's lips, which he had slid onto my plate with golden lotus fingers.
We held up a collapsing altar together, rode richshaws, cars, trains, boats, planes, and walked seven or more steps together side by side.
Srila Prabhupada was the center, core and zenith of all his students' lives. We wanted to please him and make his path easy and comfortable. We brought him dictaphones, pens and watches; we cooked special dishes like shukta, we made garlands and knitted sweaters -- all to please our Guru Maharaj. When he came to visit us, we gravitated toward him like flowers toward the sun.
(By His Example, Chapter 1)