There were only 5 or 6 of us there during those first months and we sat down three times a day and had to eat opulent rich food every meal. I mean, they only cooked for the Deities and there was enough for the devotees to just eat Maha. This might sound to some like the spiritual kingdom, but after a while we started getting intoxicated from all the sugar and ghee. Everything was so opulent and rich.
We were all getting so attached to the taste sensations after a while and sometimes we even felt giddy and would roll on the floor laughing and goofing off. Between meals, we started to experience difficulties in our regulative, devotional lives, which one might expect from such young, inexperienced bhaktas eating so opulently. After some time I started feeling quite silly after meals and started to worry about my spiritual well being.
So I wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada and explained the whole situation to him. I told him that if he would just tell me how to eat, then I would just follow his orders and everything would be fine again. I thought it would be just that easy.
Well, it wasn’t. Srila Prabhupada wrote me back and said, “first decide how much you can eat. Then eat only half of that. then fill your belly one quarter full of water and leave the rest for air. This will make for good digestion. This will please me very much.” When I have told devotees about this letter over the years many would say, “So you’re the one who got that letter.”
So here I had it–Prabhupada’s instructions in black and white. All I had to do was follow them just like all the other instructions. Or so I thought. Actually, I had the worst time following those instructions. I was accustomed to just following his instructions and chanted my rounds, avoided carefully the forbidden activities, etc., and all was fine. But I just couldn’t control my eating. Everything I was feeling, all the passion I brought with me from my crazy life, was dovetailed into the prasadam yajna.
Now I had a big dilemma. I couldn’t just hold back my wild horses because prasadam was saving me. But also I couldn’t ignore the fact that Srila Prabhupada had told me to eat half. What was I going to do? I was really stuck in duality! Soon I got news that Rupanuga was heading to New York to see Srila Prabhupada and had stopped in Detroit to take a break in his journey. When I found this out I took off immediately for Detroit. When I got there, Rupanuga allowed me to stow away in the back of the van that was taking him. I needed to see Srila Prabhupada real bad. I needed to get off the mental platform.
So off I went to New York to see Srila Prabhupada. But after all the trouble getting to New York City, they would not let me in to see him because I was a nobody (then too). Not to be outdone, I came up with a great plan. I would write Srila Prabhupada a letter, seal it, and slip it under his door. What could his over protective servants do about that? Then I would just depend on Krsna’s mercy!