“Swami, How They Love You”
Posted on September 6, 2015
(From Prabhupada Meditations by SDG)
In the late 1960s, one of Srila Prabhupada's arrivals into New York was featured in the New York Daily News. They published several photos of devotees surrounding Swamiji at the airport, offering him garlands and dancing joyfully. The headline was, "Swami, How They Love You." Although it was a pun on the Al Jolson song, "Swanee, How I Love You," the phrase, "Swami, How They Love You" captured the essence. Even the News reporter saw the bhakti.
This was one of the main features of Krsna consciousness in the early years -- devotees loving Swamiji. You can see it in a photo which was included in an early edition of Isopanisad. It shows devotees running down Second Avenue in the middle of the road, barefooted and completely unrestrained. Some of the men are bare-chested, with their japa beads bouncing around their necks. The girls in saris are like the descriptions of the gopis, who were in such a rush that they didn't comb their hair properly or put their earrings on in the right position. Swamiji had just arrived at 26 Second Avenue and these devotees are about a block away, north of the storefront. They're all running south, towards him. Nandakisora is there, Patita Uddharana, Madhusudana's wife and others. Whatever you may say about that photo, you can't say they were unenthusiastic on catching sight of Swamiji.
Some of the young girls became so effusive in praising Prabhupada that he restrained them. They used to scream and sigh during his lectures when he reached over to drink water or if he made a facial expression while describing Lord Nrsimha-deva, or if he did almost anything. So one day Prabhupada told Brahmananda to tell the girls (these were several high school girls, Indira, Ekayani, Kanchanbala and Lilasuka) that they should be more sober in the presence of the spiritual master.
Overflowing affection for Prabhupada wasn't expressed only in emotional displays, but in a willingness to do whatever he asked, and a complete trust in him.