Krsnavesa: When I was only fifteen years old, some devotees told me, "Just come and join the temple." Other devotees said, "We'll take you to New York or somewhere." Others said, "It might not be such a good idea." I was a bit confused, and someone suggested, "Why don't you write to Srila Prabhupada and ask him?" So I did.

In my letter I told Prabhupada that I was not happy because I felt my parents were an obstacle to my becoming Krishna consciousness. I told him that I wanted to run away from home, but I was underage. After I sent the letter off things got really bad at home. I didn't know if I'd get a reply from Prabhupada. I couldn't wait, so I impulsively decided to run away. I wasn't very experienced and didn't think what the outcome would be.

Since I was so materially attached, I wanted to take some of my material belongings with me to the temple. I packed a box full of things, including my tape recorder, and at three o'clock in the morning I snuck down the stairs with a big cardboard box on my shoulder. My parents knew something was up. My father heard the stairs creaking. He opened his bedroom door and started furiously chasing me down the stairs. I turned around and threw my huge cardboard box on the staircase between him and me. When I threw it, the start button on the tape recorder was depressed and a tape of Srila Prabhupada chanting the Hare Krishna mantra started playing loudly. Prabhupada was chanting really fast, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."

It became dramatic, and as I ran I felt like Prabhupada was speeding me on. Somehow or other the front door was not locked, so I got out. It was pitch black. I didn't have any of my material possessions, not even any money. I just had the clothes on my back. Somehow I managed to get to the London temple and throw myself on the mercy of the devotees. They helped me. I felt Prabhupada's presence there.

The unfortunate thing was that after I'd been in the temple for three months, by this time I was in Germany, I got a reply from Srila Prabhupada. In his reply, as you might imagine, Srila Prabhupada told me not to run away from home. He said, "There is no material impediment to Krishna consciousness. Just like Prahlad Maharaj who had a demoniac father who abused him, but that did not stop Prahlad from being a pure devotee. Stay at home, finish school, and then you'll have so many skills that you can use in Krishna's service."

When I got that letter, I felt crushed. I felt like I'd blown it big time. I was embarrassed and ashamed. My false ego was such that I couldn't take an instruction from my spiritual master in the right spirit. Devotees should know about that letter so that others can benefit from Prabhupada's instructions, even though I didn't. But Krishna must have had some hand in everything that happened, and things turned out for the best. If I hadn't joined the temple when I did, perhaps Srila Prabhupada wouldn't have initiated me.