(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 25 May 2013, Simhachalam, Germany)
When I came to Krsna consciousness, those were the days when there was only the deep end. Swimming pools have the parts for the toddlers where they can paddle around and then a deep end. Well, when I joined, there was only the deep end and the motto was, ‘Sink or swim.’
Many sank actually but they were not real devotees. It was intense because I remember at 5.30 on one morning, after a few days in the temple, I was called into the office of the temple president and asked if I wanted to go to on sankir… what?
I was not sure but he said, “Yeah, you will like it. You get to travel. Hurry up, pack your bag.” I did and five minutes later, the car drove off, I was in the car and my mind was like a rubber band. Where are we going?
The next moment, I found myself in a Dutch-German border town. Because I happen to speak German, they thought it was perfect, so they sent me there. I stood there in front of the big shopping place and just out of nowhere, the mother of my girlfriend stood in front of me!
She was not suppose to, it was not part of the script because she did not live in that city. It was so unexpected; I was so shocked. I was shaved-up, had a beanie and a funny nylon jacket which was black and yellow; and it looked like a wasp!
I felt my identity had just recently been destroyed with these clothes. My false ego had been seriously attacked. I felt like I was an extra-terrestrial at that point. Suddenly, she was there and it was such a shock that when she said, “What are you doing here?”
I just said, “Excuse me lady, I have never met you in my life.” It was a terrible a thing to say but worse is that once you have said it, you cannot go back! So I was stuck and had to go on with it. She was just saying, “Come on, I cannot believe it that you do not want to know.” I said, “No, are you really mistaking me for someone?” So, it was my first day on book distribution and I was mentally broken.
The second day was not much better. On the second day, we, the new bhaktas had the good fortune that early in the morning, we could load the van in minus fifteen (temperature) which we did and then as a reward, we could sit on the boxes of books, in the back. There was a partition and the brahmanas were sitting in the front. There was heating and also 7up and cashews. In the back, it was minus fifteen and we were like a little envious – cashews and 7up!
Anyway, when we got to the spot, the devotees had stolen a shopping cart from the supermarket to move the books around. So someone said, “Can you please give the shopping cart.” So, I gave the shopping cart and he pulled it out of my finger, and just then my finger got caught in the thing and it hurt like hell. It was really cold so it hurt more. So I came out of the van blowing on my finger. And this devotee goes, “What is wrong?”
(Me)“My finger got stuck.”
(Him) “Prabhu, you are not the body.”
Well, that woked me up. It helped; I felt better. At that stage, the cold did not face me so much. They sent me out with this new devotee who had only three words, “Jai, nectar and bliss.” At that moment, I was just not in the mood for it. I was really fried. I just looked at him and I was thinking of something mean that I could say to him. I saw he was not wearing gloves so I said, “You know it is minus fifteen and you are not wearing gloves, your hands are going to freeze.”
Then he said, “Prabhu, I am not the body.” And I thought, “My God, first a fanatic and now a lunatic.”
So, I had some difficulties at that time to fully adjust to the situation within that ‘sink or swim’ environment. Maybe I was sinking. Anyway, somehow or other, Krsna saved me.