Realization on Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day
Janmastami is the only day when devotees see the midnight; else they are always early to bed and early to rise. This Janmastami was early to bed as I was determined to go to the temple to chant my rounds on the auspicious appearance day of Srila Prabhupada.
I got up early and reached the temple. It was absolutely silent as most of the devotees were taking rest after the hectic nirjala Janmastami service. The temple hall was still dark. Pujaris were dressing the Deities in the altar behind closed doors. Because of the silence I could hear the Srila Prabhupada lecture tape that was being played in the altar. There was dim light in the temple hall. I stood before Srila Prabhupada.
I was so excited to reach there on his appearance day. This was probably the first time in the last 15 years that I had reached the temple in the morning on his appearance day. It was a thrilling experience to be alone in the temple hall in front of Srila Prabhupada. I thought it was a golden chance to pray.
Standing before Srila Prabhupada I started praying, “Srila Prabhupada, so many years I am chanting but still I am ‘as it is’, the same lusty, greedy, angry person as I was. Please be merciful to me and bless me with devotion to Krsna. Make me pure so that I can distribute this devotion to others.”
I was still alone in the temple hall. I sat down in front of Srila Prabhupada’s mürti and started chanting intensely. I just thought, “Today is a very auspicious day and Srila Prabhupada may bless me with devotion to Krsna. Then I will preach the message of Godhead everywhere.” As I was thinking so, suddenly there was a bright light in front of my eyes … actually some one had put on the lights.
But that light brought me out of my dreams. I was making big prayers before Srila Prabhupada but what about my endeavors? I desired pure devotion but I was day dreaming while chanting. And then I had the audacity to stand before Srila Prabhupada and say that the holy name had failed to change me in so many years. How seriously was I attempting to hear attentively each word of the mahamantra?
I felt depressed; but again decided to make a new start in my spiritual life.
This is what I learned: Unless one concentrates on each and every syllable of the mahamantra during the chanting of sixteen rounds he has no right to complain that the holy name has failed to change him. Be attentive… give the holy name a chance to change you. Vision without action is a daydream and action without vision is a nightmare. Don’t dream while you pray, rather pray attentively that dreams come true.
Yugavatara Dasa is a lecturer in Anatomy in a medical college in Mumbai. He is a regular contributor to BTG.