What is the best Krsna conscious lesson you have learned from someone?
I LEARNT THE BEST Krsna conscious lesson in a lecture by Satyavati Devi Dasi during the 9th Cetana festival for girls in ISKCON Pune. She told a story of three merchants travelling for business. It was a moonless night and they reached a place full of stones when a celestial voice spoke to them: “Collect as many stones as you can. If you won’t do so it will please you now, but later you will lament.” The merchants considering all possibilities finally carried small stones with them as they were already carrying heavy luggage. The next morning upon opening their bags, they found stones of sapphire, emerald, gold, diamond, ruby and so on. They were overjoyed. But, then they lamented for carrying only small stones because of fear of becoming getting burdened. Similar is our case as devotees. Chanting 16 rounds, hearing, dancing, book distribution, etc., may appear as burden to us right now but we will realize their importance later when precious time would have slipped out of our hands.
(Payal Kasat Solapur, Maharashtra)
I AM A SCHOOL TEACHER. Years ago when I taught in Leicester, England, I was tidying my classroom at the end of the day. The door was open, and suddenly a female blackbird flew in noisily, immediately followed by a male blackbird. The female flew towards a closed window, swerved at the last moment, and then flew out of the classroom door. The male was going so fast that he didn’t see the window and didn’t swerve in time. He hit the glass and dropped dead, his neck broken. I was stunned by this event and thought, “The male bird was so intent on sex that he didn’t see death approaching.” I resolved to become more determined in my pursuit of Krsna consciousness and to chant better rounds, because, as the blackbird taught me, death can come to claim us at any moment. And when it does, we must be able to think of Krsna.
(Krsna Bhajana Dasa Alachua, Florida, USA)
I AM INSPIRED BY THE story where a son of a devotee is asked to offer bhoga to the Lord. The boy out of his ignorance and innocence calls out for Krsna to come and eat, thinking that the Lord eats just like he does. Eventually he begins to cry pitiably begging Krsna to come. Krsna is moved by his innocence, and He sits and starts eating. But the priest and the devotees could not believe that Krsna was eating at the request of the young child. This is a different bhava that is exhibited by a kid who has no idea of the scriptures or rituals. He merely calls the Lord sincerely from the depths of his soul. The kid was actually giving orders to Krsna, but Krsna was pleased with him as He must have recognised this scolding and ordering as a form of devotional request.
(Dr. Ramesh Kumaran Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu)
SINCE I STARTED VISITING the Hare Krsna temple, I have been keeping a small online blog about my spiritual questions, musings, experiences, and difficulties. I use it to try and connect with other devotees to learn from them. I constantly struggle with breaking free from maya, and it has been a great tool in helping me work things out and getting advice and suggested readings from other devotees. One of my nondevotee friends is very interested in my progress and asked if she could read about it. I saw no problem with this and added her to my blog. She doesn’t understand all of it, but she does respect it, as she has also been trying to be more spiritual in her own life.
One night I was depressed because I was alone. There was no one around to talk to or be with. Feeling very sad and distressed, I suddenly had the instinct to write a post to my spiritual blog about how I was feeling.
My friend posted this one sentence in response: “You are not alone; Krsna is with you.”
To this day I don’t know if she was joking, being sarcastic, or really meant for me to realize that. But since that day, whenever I feel lonely or sad I try to remember this fact, thanks to her.
(Stephanie Freitas Brooklyn, New York, USA)
WHY AM I BORN AS A human being? What is the use and sanctity of this birth? Why am I not born as a tree or a plant or a worm or an animal? Any person who ponders over these questions will realise the philosophy of the cycle of birth and death. One who is irretrievably lost in material enjoyments and fails to attain spiritual knowledge is allowed to suffer the rigours and pains of the cycle. But, one who becomes conscious that the human form is precious, and revives his relation with the Lord through unflinching and selfless devotional service coveting to lie forever at His lotus feet as a speck of dirt, is bound to endear himself to the Lord and reach His abode in one life or the other.
Therefore, the avoidance of rebirth is one of the best Krsna conscious lessons I have learned at the inimitable and supreme religious edifice of ISKCON.
(R.M. Manoharan Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
In the year 2000, my Guru Maharaja, His Holiness Lokanath Swami, was holding a seven day Srimad Bhagavatam katha in Nagpur, India. As the last day fell on Janmastami, the organizers had a little boy dressed as Krsna come onto the stage. My Guru Maharaja immediately bowed down and placed the little boy’s hands on his head.
What we saw was a little boy dressed as Krsna, but Guru Maharaja saw only Krsna. This incident really made an impact on my mind. I pray that the day will come when I too can always see Krsna.
(Krsna Kumari Dasi Sydney, Australia)
ONE FATEFUL MORNING, while my husband and I were out of town, our daughter Jyoti was caught in a terrible accident and received third degree burns. As she lay in the burn ward at a government hospital, I ran back and forth, taking care of her with little help. I had to manage all her dressings and bring her prasadam instead of the awful hospital food. The only solace was the occasional visits of devotees who came to see Jyoti.
When time permitted, I read The Nectar of Devotion to her, but strangely, the nurses would object to it. Soon I began hiding it under Jyoti’s pillow as soon as I heard them coming. A month passed in this way, and the absence of a devotional atmosphere became unbearable. But when I asked the doctor when they would discharge Jyoti, he answered gravely, “These wounds don’t heal fast, and negligence would be fatal. The patient will have to stay for at least one more month.”
Devastated, I longed for darsana of the Deities, and for temple programs, which I missed dearly. I began to lose hope.
Finally, our counselor, Braja Dasi, saw my anguish and asked, “Do you not pray to your spiritual master for mercy?”
Her words struck me. Immediately, I sat down, and through my tears, prayed fervently to my spiritual master Radhanatha Swami that I wanted to get out of this hospital and spend more time in devotional service.
The next day, to my surprise, the doctor informed me that Jyoti had been discharged.
(Kausalya Dasi Mumbai)
It is rather amazing to recall how at the fag end of my life of 68 years, I visited His Holiness Indradyumna Swamiji along with my youngest son. It was October of 2002 in Vrndavana dhama. Until that moment I was totally ignorant of the Krsna consciousness movement, though my son and daughter had become life members from ISKCON Chennai. Swamiji questioned me about my zeal to join the ISKCON and to adapt sincerely all regulative principles viz. sravanam, chanting 16 rounds, reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita, visiting holy dhamas like Mayapur, Puri, Dvaraka etc., and performing devotional services. I totally surrendered to all his wishes. I spent 15 days with him visiting all the glorious places of Krsna’s pastimes around Vrndavana.
Finally I was given initiation in November 2004 at the advanced age of 70. The main inspiration emanated from my Gurudeva who is a visible servant of Lord Krsna in this Kali yuga.
(Syamasundara Dasa, Pondicherry)