Promila Chitkara

When we sincerely try to tune in with Krishna consciousness, Krishna orchestrates incidents that guide us on our devotional journey. Each devotional journey is unique, and so are these spiritual incidents. The Supreme intelligent Krishna speaks to us in the language and symbols each of us understands the best. Krishna is a personal God, so His lila with each of us is also personal.

I can’t say when Krishna prepared the plan for my devotional journey. It is now being revealed to me in phases. Events take place one by one, and with each event I feel closer to Krishna than I was before. Some time toward the end of 2010 I received what I thought was my first message from Krishna, but I couldn’t understand it. A few months later, the message was sent more clearly and loudly, through two different people.

You must be curious what the message was. You must be even more curious why I’m so sure the message came from Krishna. Let me explain.

For a very long time I’ve been interested in the sciences of divination, like astrology, numerology, the I Ching, Tarot, and so on. It’s natural for me to notice the particular events, words, and numbers that repeatedly cross my path. Some time in 2010 the owner of a cosmetic shop who didn’t know about my interests in mysticism asked me about the significance of the number sixty-six. That number kept popping up in her life, ever since her husband had been hospitalized, up until she traveled to Haridwar to deposit his ashes in Ganges.

Each number has a different meaning and message for each soul, based on what that soul is seeking and what Krishna has planned for him or her. At the time I no longer had an active interest in divination, so I advised her to consult a numerologist. I never saw her again, due to my relocation to Dwarka, New Delhi. But one day I would like to visit her and tell her how her question changed my life.

From May to June 2011, I too started to see the number sixty-six and far too often! I saw it on registration plates, on T-shirts, even on a pair of jeans my nephew wanted to buy. On two occasions I stopped him from buying them, but later he bought a T-shirt with the number sixty-six on the pocket. He even told his mother about my aversion actually, fear of the number. What you resist persists!

It was October of 2011 when the message began to reveal itself, and Krishna decided to bestow His mercy. In September I felt a strong desire to visit the respected astrologer, and my spiritual guide, K. N. Rao. My intention was not to request an astrology reading but to seek his blessings. He gave me an appointment for the first week of October. I was happy to see him again after a gap of three years, but I am even happier now, knowing why Krishna planned that meeting. At that time Rao advised me to read, every day for two months, chapter twelve of the Bhagavad-gita. When I was about to take his leave, he said something that I now remember more than any other part of our conversation. “You are intellectual,” he said, “but you should take the path of bhakti or your life will become difficult.”

That same day I started my daily reading of the Bhagavad-gita, chapter twelve. On a Saturday night, when I’d finished my daily reading, I thought to check another translation of the Gita. When I opened Geoffrey Parrinder’s translation, I found myself looking at a random page. At the top of the page was Sloka 18.66.
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.
I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.”
My fear evaporated.

Krishna sent me another message the very next day. I was window shopping in Connaught Place when at a book stand I noticed Robert E. Svoboda’s “Aghora III: The Law of Karma.” I bought the book and brought it home. I started reading it later that night. During my reading session that night I found the following excerpt. In it, Svoboda refers to the very same Gita verse: “He [Krishna] advises Arjuna to waive his attachment to all potential results of every karma and to focus on Him only: ‘Abandon all other duties, and come to me alone for refuge. Be not sorrowful, for I shall give you liberation from all sins.’” (page 35)

A week before this, an ex-colleague had visited me in the office. We were meeting again after not having seen each other for twelve years. Although we had exchanged phone numbers about two years prior when we’d bumped into each other in the lobby of the Radisson in Noida, we hadn’t been able to get together until that October. During our meeting I told my ex-colleague about my spiritual inclinations, and he told me about his own. He spoke about the Gita and how it had changed his life.

On hearing this, I told him how, only a few days before, I had started reading the twelfth chapter of the Gita every night. In response, my ex-colleague told me that he loved the “last verse” of the Gita, in which Krishna asks Arjuna to let go of everything and just come to Him. He didn’t specify that he was talking about verse 18.66, the same verse I would encounter a few weeks later. This occurred to me only some time later, while I was narrating this series of incidents to a friend.

A year later, in October of 2012, I read in The Speaking Tree supplement something that seemed to me to be a message directly from Lord Hari. On that day, October 7, in Bejan Daruwalla’s sun-sign predictions for Leo, there was this sentence: “Bhakti, or devotion, is your shortcut to God or salvation. Otherwise, you will have to take the long and painful route. The choice is yours.” Honestly, I am not into “sunsign” astrology, finding it skin-deep when compared with proper Vedic astrology. Therefore, I rarely read these columns. But on that day, I feel, Krishna prompted me to read it. I had received this same advice from K. N. Rao exactly one year before!

Later that same day, I read on a poster near my home that ISKCON would be celebrating Vishv Harinam Diwas in Sector 13, Dwarka, New Delhi. “Does ISKCON have a temple in Dwarka?” I thought. Excitedly, I visited ISKCON Dwarka’s land on that festival day and found that the temple work had already begun. How merciful Krishna is! I began to think that maybe the temple was the reason I had moved to Dwarka in 2011. At that time I also learned about the “Sunday Love Feast” programs that were held once a week at the same location.

In November 2012 I made my first visit to the Sunday Love Feast at Dwarka ISKCON, and since then I have been a regular visitor. Actually, now I am a devotee! In the last several months my life has changed completely. I have found the spiritual direction I have long desired for my life. All in all, my spiritual quest is ten years old. Before finding Krishna Consciousness, I took a stab at learning astrology, tarot, past life regression, Pranic healing, quantum healing, crystal healing, Surdharshan Kriya, and many other things, but I couldn’t find the answers, peace, joy, and assurance I had been looking for. Before Krishna and His devotees put me on the devotional path, intellectual knowledge was leaving me starved for mystical experiences. But when the so-called spiritual experiences could no longer satiate me, I developed an acute case of “intellectual anorexia.” Dependence on the intellect was making me frustrated and unhappy, and that’s when Krishna intervened.

By the devotees’ mercy and Krishna’s grace, I chant sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day. Since I have been part of the ISKCON family, I read only those scriptures translated by Srila Prabhupada. Honestly, I have no desire to read anything else. I am so happy to be on the freeway of devotion, speeding toward my ultimate destination! I already feel I am an eternal member of the family of Krishna Consciousness. No words can convey my gratitude to Srila Prabhupada and the other devotees without whose mercy I would remain lost in the world of maya. Like Srila Prabhupada says, I have been able to “Chant Hare Krishna and be happy.”