Swamiji Is Here!
The 26 Second Avenue devotees are excited and ecstatic when Swamiji is in their midst. Their love for what he brings to their lives and the charisma of his presence makes them smile and dance. He is the most important celebrity to them, more than the president of the United States or any popular entertainer. This response to Prabhupada by the devotees creates scenes which seem fanatical to outsiders. Why should these young people be so much attracted to this “old man”? But the outsiders who wander into the storefront don’t understand. Swamiji is bringing Krishna, the Supreme Lord, to the devotees. He is Krishna’s direct representative. They want to surround him in love, retain his transcendental words and cherish a visual image of his holy form. They want to make eye contact with him, to catch his attention and if possible, his smile. Hearing Swamiji’s voice or seeing his form is great solace and important inspiration. The devotees do not overdo their enthusiasm for being near Swamiji. He deserves every bit of it.
Later, Prabhupada would sometimes express transcendental annoyance at being photographed so much and recorded by multiple tape recorders. However, he considered the recording of his lectures important enough to do it himself with his own reel-to-reel tape recorder in 1966. The crowds of eager devotees pressing to be near him may have seemed amusing or overdone to an outsider, but the devotees were right in their guru-bhakti, and it never went in vain.[ meditations ]