I was born in Aravade, a small village in the Indian state of Maharashtra in India. After I graduated from high school, my family sent me to Bombay to study chemistry in college. But my college career was not to be. In the year 1971, in late March, something happened to prevent me from following the program my family had so carefully laid out for me. For the first time, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was touring India with his foreign disciples.
They had arrived in Bombay just before I had, and now they were going to have a pandal (a spiritual festival) program at Cross Maidan. The devotees publicized the pandal very widely, in both newspapers and on billboards. In the advertisements, Srila Prabhupada’s disciples were described as American, Canadian, European, African and Japanese Sadhus (saintly devotees).
This was unprecedented. Previously, whenever the word sadhu had been applied to someone, it was understood that the person was Indian. There could be no other consideration. But these advertisements were talking about sadhus from all over the world.
This was indeed a novelty for every Bombayite, and it especially fascinated me. Intrigued, I went to the Hare Krsna Festival, which was quite well organized. The Hare Krsna sadhus were the biggest attraction for me. I appreciated their singing, dancing, walking and talking. In fact I liked everything about them, and I attended the function practically every evening. I would simply watch and listen.
Though I knew English, I wasn’t fluent, and speaking with foreigners was too difficult for me. I purchased a few magazines and a few booklets with the little money I had. Srila Prabhupada spoke every evening. He discussed many issues relating to Krsna consciousness and made many points. But the point that had the greatest impact on me, and which attracted me to him and his society more than anything else, was the simple point that if you serve Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you simultaneously serve everyone and everything else.