A wonderful family gives up a strange old practice
after learning the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita.
December 2007. I was distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books near a police chowky, outside Kurla railway station, a Mumbai suburb. A lady in her early fifties and her young son waited patiently till I finished my discussion with another customer and then approached me. “We would like to purchase thirty Bhagavad-gitas,” the lady said. I asked her where she wanted the books to be delivered. “I need to discuss this with my husband,” she replied. We exchanged phone numbers and they left, assuring me that they will contact me soon.
Many days passed but there was no call from them. Then one day, my office phone rang. I immediately recognized her voice. She told me to deliver thirty Hindi Gitas to their house and collect the cash. I just could not wait. I called up one of the devotees staying in Kurla and requested him to deliver the books to their house.
VISITING AN AMAZING FAMILY
On 31 December she called me again and asked me if she could get 20 more Gitas. I rushed to their place with the books wondering what they were going to do with so many of them. When I reached their house, the entire family—father, mother, two sons and their elderly grandmother—were at home. They gave me a warm welcome and thanked me for getting the books.
I asked them my query. “Recently my mother passed away,” said Mrs. Mehta. “In her memory we will distribute these books free of cost to friends and poor people.” I deeply appreciated their family values.
Mrs. Mehta isa housewife, and her husband, Mr. J K Mehta, after taking VRS, isnow taking care of their family farm in their native place. Both sons, the elder Sandeep and younger Sachin, are diploma holders in pharmacy. Sandeep then did an MBA and was currently working in a large BPO and Sachin with a big oil company. I asked Sandeep, “Excuse me, but you are so qualified, so why are you working with a BPO?”
His explanation amazed me.
“Our grandmother is 84 years old and completely bed-ridden,” he said. “I purposely took up a job so that when Sachin goes to office in the morning I can stay back to take care of grandma. Similarly, Sachin stays at home in the evening to take care of her throughout the night.”
I could see how both of them had practically sacrificed all the things they could have enjoyed in youth, just to take care of their elderly grandmother.
I spoke about the activities of our temple and gave them some gifts. Sachin took me to the room where his grandmother was sleeping. She was weak, surviving only on liquid, but seemed to derive her strength from the tremendous love and care given by the family members. “Grandmother is a great devotee of Lord Rama and Krishna,” said Sachin. “When fit, she would daily read from Ramayana and Bhagavad-gita and sing melodious bhajanas.” She smiled at me.
On the way back I thought, “How can I help this wonderful family, especially the grandmother?” I got an idea.
After a few days, I called them. “Can we come and do kirtana for your grandmother?” They were jubilant and eager to receive us. I went with two more devotees and after a short kirtana spoke about the glories of Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Then I gave them a Prabhupada radio, which non-stop plays Srila Prabhupada’s kirtanas. Sachin took us to grandmother. Eager to meet us, she held my hand and with tears in her eyes, blessed me again and again. It was heart-melting.
While we sat there, Sandeep and Sachin told me an incredible story about their family. There was a tradition in their family that some of the family members have always desired to come back as a son or daughter in the family line. When Sandeep was just two years old, he gave the exact description of their house in Pakistan and told his name in his previous life. At this age, children hardly speak, but Sandeep spoke perfectly in Punjabi. He did not speak or remember those words again. However, his parents and some of the family members witnessed this incident.
Then Sachin told me the most shocking thing. He said that his grandmother wanted to come back as his daughter, and all of them were happy to receive her due to their affection and love for each other.
I thought for a moment. Our intention to go to their house was to give Krishna consciousness and remind the soul, not to come back to this material world. I immediately opened the Bhagavad-gita and explained how this material world is full of miseries and one should not aspire to come back but desire to go back to the eternal supreme abode of Lord Krishna, simply by remembering the Lord at the time of death.
They just latched to the idea. From that day, Srila Prabhupda’s kirtana was going on continuously in their house. Sachin started reading Bhagavad-gita loudly for his grandmother.
One evening as we were celebrating Govardhana-puja at a devotee’s house, I got a call from Sachin. He was sobbing uncontrollably. I guessed the situation—just few moments back, his grandmother had left her body.
I immediately announced this news to all the devotees and we dedicated the kirtana and one round of japa for the departed soul. Our program was over by 9.30 pm. Then we decided to visit Sachin. I had the waters of Radha-kunda, Shyama-kunda, Yamuna and Ganges at home. The only thing missing was a maha-garland. Meanwhile, we waited for our daughter who had gone with a devotee family to Juhu for a picnic. She soon arrived and got into our car. Suddenly, the car was filled with the fragrance of roses. She had received the garland of Srila Prabhupada from Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari temple. We brought the garland to grandmother, a symbol of mercy from Srila Prabhupada to this departed devotee soul.
Sachin told me that as Grandma was about to leave the body, he kept her head on his lap and started chanting Hare Krishna mantra loudly and was constantly praying to Krishna to take her back to the spiritual world.
Today the entire Mehta family is grateful to Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Sachin now attends weekly satsanga program and chants 12 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day.