A freak accident reveals lessons for a lifetime.
As I stood half asleep waiting for my train early one morning, my chanting beads practically slipped out of my fingers as I heard the blood-curdling shriek from the railway platform behind me.
I turned around to see a lady standing at the doorway of a compartment wildly waving her hands and crying while the wheels of the train slowly gathered speed. People swarmed to a spot, eagerly waiting for the train to move out of the platform, while some were shouting to pull the chain and stop the train.
What had happened was this: The lady and her teenage daughter had arrived late and were trying to board the train as it had just started to pull out. The daughter helped her mother on and as she was trying to board, her feet slipped off the steps, and to the horror of the on-lookers, she disappeared in the space between the train and the edge of the platform. As the mother turned back, she saw what had happened and went wild with fear, shock, and pain.
Luckily someone pulled the chain. As the train stopped, the mother jumped out and ran towards the spot, wailing and calling her daughter's name in desperation. The crowd parted to make way for the helpless mother. Then emerged from the crowd, the daughter, casually brushing dust from her clothes as if nothing had happened.
The mother, shocked in disbelief at the miracle, embraced her daughter and kissed her again and again, holding her tight as if ro make sure it was not a dream.
A few minutes later my train arrived. As I sat in the compartment, I started pondering over the unusual incident. Two thoughts sprung to my mind. Firstly, that we take for granted whatever possessions we have. But we only begin to really appreciate their value when we almost lose them. Secondly, I remembered how baby Krsna fell out of Vasudeva's basket as he carried Him across the flooded Yamuna, at night, to Nanda Maharaja's residence. Krsna did this to please His devotee Yamuna Devi, and give her His mercy and association, while increasing Vasudeva's intense love for Him.
Putting two and two together, I realized that we shouldn't take our Krsna consciousness for granted lest Krsna has to arrange that we lose it and then gain it again when we are desperate for it. And, while that may be a few seconds for Krsna, it could be thousands of lifetimes for us. We can't afford to risk it. Let us resolve on this Janmastami to appreciate the rare gift of Krsna consciousness that we have received by Srila Prabhupada's mercy and practice it seriously and sincerely and not become complacent.
Radha Gopinatha Dasa has a master's degree in speech pathology and audiology. He is member of the temple presidential board at ISKCON Chowpatty.