While at the temple in Los Angeles, when the weather permitted, Srila Prabhupada would take his massage outside in his garden. He described his garden in New Dwarka as his favorite place in the world, because there were so many Tulasi plants there. It was Vrindavan.
"The morning sun gives you energy and the afternoon sun takes it away," His Divine Grace told me. He would sit with his back to the sun, benefitting from the energizing rays it gave. On this particular sunny, springlike day he was happy to have his massage in his favorite place.
Walking down the stairs from his sitting room, both in our gamshas, we went out the back door. I opened the gate and we arrived at this most transcendental abode. I spread the straw mat on the grass for His Divine Grace to sit on. Armed with a bottle of Mysore sandalwood oil and mustard oil I was prepared to begin my favorite service. I began rubbing his body. It began by rubbing his head and would end with the delightful task of tugging at his transcendental toes.
Srila Prabhupada sat cross-legged. I sat directly behind him. I placed my palms, glistening with sandalwood oil on his head. I began rubbing his head with my hands back and forth briskly. He once told me we use sandalwood oil on the head because it is cooling and we want to keep a cool head.
After about 20 minutes I poured a spoonful of mustard oil in the palm of my right hand and began to rub his back vigorously. After 10 minutes of pressing on his back a small miracle happened. A kitten, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, crawled under the garden gate. This fuzzy feline was so small it had to hop through the grass to get to its desired destination. The kitty was drawn to His Divine Grace like metal to a magnet.
Upon reaching the Savior of the Whole Word this ball of fur began to prance back and forth in the grasses, rubbing itself along the base of Prabhupada's back. After offering its respects in this way three times it stopped and began to lick my merciful Guru with its tiny, sandpaper-like tongue.
While all of this was going on I continued to massage my glorious master, completely oblivious to the oddity happening before my eyes. I did my service without interruption. I suppose, since Prabhupada didn't immediately express dissatisfaction of what I understood to be a muchi critter, it wasn't all that horrible after all.
"That's enough, you can take him out now." he said nonchalantly after being rubbed and licked by this most fortunate four legged feline. Immediately, I grabbed this not so crazy kitten and carefully placed him over the six foot high privacy wall. I quickly returned to my spot on the lawn and continued to rub Prabhupada's back.
This determined little creature immediately appeared under the gate and sprinted towards Prabhupada, vaulting over the grasses that were before it. Three times he entered the garden. Each time I grabbed him and dropped him over the fence, each time with less gentleness.
I was determined to find a permanent solution. I noticed some bricks that were edging the garden. I took four of them and placed them along the bottom of the gate so the kitten could no longer sneak in to get another taste of His Divine Grace. Being thwarted, he sat outside the gate crying for that Divine association.
"Meeeoooowwwww! Meeeeeooowwwwwwwwww" it whined. Howling, the kitten lamented his misfortune. The sobbing went on for another 10 minutes. Finally it stopped. I never saw the kitten again, even though I gave Prabhupada his massage in the same place for the next week.
Srila Prabhupada never mentioned what took place that day nor did I ask him about it. I could understand the mercy of the pure devotee was unlimited. He had come to give all living entities the opportunity to make progress in spiritual life, no matter what body one had.
I pray someday to be as determined as that kitten to overcome all perceived obstacles in my path. I pray to be fixed in clinging to the lotus toes of Srila Prabhupada. The only safe place in this material world.