“If one’s hairs do not stand on end, how can the heart melt? And if the heart does not melt, how can tears of love flow from the eyes? If one does not cry in spiritual happiness, how can one render loving service to the Lord? And without such service, how can the consciousness be purified?”
— Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.14.23
Diary entry dated 11th September 2020:
Exactly three years ago, I moved to Bhaktivedanta Manor, and a new chapter of my life began. Now, that chapter has come to an end. I find it difficult to believe how quickly time has flown – years have passed by like falling autumn leaves, never to return.
The original plan was to leave in mid-March, but then the Manor went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I still could’ve left at that time, but I felt the urge to remain a little longer to help out with services during the lockdown. Somehow or other, “a little longer” became five months!
If I’m honest, those five months were some of the best months of my life. I relished the opportunity to get involved in simple services such as cleaning the temple building, helping to prepare meals for the pleasure of Śrī Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda and Their devotees, serving those meals to the devotees, and washing pots in the kitchen (the latter was my favourite service).
Eventually, though, it became clear to me that I couldn’t delay any longer. On 15th August, three days after the most blissful Janmāṣṭamī festival that I’ve experienced in this lifetime, I left the shelter of the Manor and returned to my family home.
When I saw the picture of Rādhā Gokulānanda that we have on the wall in our living room, it was almost too much for my heart to bear, but in that moment of heartbreak I felt closer to Their Lordships than I’d ever felt when I’d been living in Their house. During the first day or two, my eyes were like rainclouds, but at some point the storm of tears subsided.