Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare



Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Mood of Sri Guru

Sometimes it is so hard to see the good in others. We almost always contemplate how others have wronged us in many ways. The truth is we may have wronged them too. Perhaps not in this life but many, many life times ago. It's just that we don't seem to recall about such things. What goes around, comes around. It's karma. Whether we like it or not.
How is it different for those who have come under the guidance of a bona-fide spiritual master? He protects and guides us from within. Whatever karma we may have to suffer, the pain is somewhat eased due to His mercy. So instead of calling it karma, we must look at it as mercy. For without such pain and suffering, we will not be able to go deep within our self and seek solace.
What do we do when we, the spiritual aspirants are faced with such situations? Constant prayer at the lotus feet of Srila Gurudeva will help alleviate whatever pain we may be going through. He will show us the path to enlightenment.
We must really try hard to see the good in others and see the bad in ourselves.
Sripad Vallabhi Kanta prabhu had an interesting conversation with Sripad Bhakti Saran Damodara Maharaja quite recently. Below is the excerpt:
(Maharaja): "During my guru-maharaja, Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja's time, we used to go to him and complain about so and so devotee who is doing somethings wrong in the math.
My guru-maharaja would only chastise us for complaining about that devotee. He would hardly chastise the person who is doing wrong.
(Vallabhi Kanta prabhu): Why is that?
(Maharaja): My guru-maharaja used to say that his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur could forgive. Why can't he do the same. He used to weep. And that would put a deep dent in our hearts.
My guru-maharaja knows how the devotee who is doing all that nonsense needs guidance. If Gurudeva withdraws his mercy, then where and what would happen to that soul. So guru-maharaja would work on that devotee from within."
The more chastisement we get from our Gurudeva, means we are getting very close to Him.
(I am praying at the lotus feet of my Srila Gurudeva that I maybe able to see the good in others and the bad in me. Only then will I be able to capture the mood of my Gurudeva)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Of The Possessed And The Saved

This incident happened to me a long time ago. Each time I tell this story, it only reinforces my faith in the maha-mantra. When it happened I have not met my Srila Gurudeva. Even then the maha-mantra can protect and save you.
Read on:
I once had a colleague who was a pretty good dresser. She's also quite a looker as she gets all the attention from the boys in the office.
One fine afternoon, I was sitting right opposite her cracking my head as I was suffering from writer's block. She (let's call her Sherry) started to shiver. My initial reaction was the air-conditioning was too cold. Besides, everyone was almost down with the flu at that time.
Soon my other colleagues scooted her off to a room adjoining to our main writers' room. The poor girl was really sick, I thought. I continued doing whatever work since there were others looking after her at that moment.
All of a sudden, my colleagues started running out of the room. Their faces looking quite blank. I tried to stop them to find out what was the matter. None answered me. It was as though I did not exist.
I then ventured to the back room. I saw Sherry lying down and crying.
"Why did they have to do that. Leaving her alone. Poor girl!"
I was like really DUH??!!
I asked Sherry whether she wanted a blanket or a hot drink. She was shaking now.
She simply said, "I am feeling really, really cold."
I then bent down to check on her temperature. That's when she cried out, "Help me! Help me! It's coming inside me! Help!!!!!!"
It just struck me that she was possessed! Her face started to twist and she snarled at me. Sherry or whatever that was laughed hysterically.
At that moment, (being a real scaredy cat that I am), I kept reciting the maha-mantra.
I pushed her down commanding the thing to shut up and get out of that body.
Giving a haunted laugh, "Sherry" started to push me over. My back was facing an open window in that room. Luckily, that thing wasn't strong enough or else I would have been pushed out of the window and would not live to tell this story today.
It was a battle between the possessed and the sane.
While all this drama was going on, not once did I forget to chant my maha-mantra.
After some time Sherry started to calm down. Crying she said she wanted to go home. I ran out of the room to look for help.
By now my boss had called her family. Soon they arrived and took her home.
Months later Sherry came back to work. A much calmer person.
So what saved me that day? Nothing but the maha-mantra. Never every stop chanting no matter what.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Desperate Book Distributor

Yesterday was Wesak Day. My god sister Lalita didi and I decided to distribute our Srila Gurudeva’s books outside the Buddhist Temple in Brickfields. Lalita didi wanted to go there after lunch. So we met up about 2:30 p.m. The heat was intense. Beads of perspiration were trickling down my face. To make matters worse, I forgot my sun-hat!

When we arrived here, Lalita didi wanted to go inside the temple premises to check things out. I said I will wait for her outside near a stall with a big shady umbrella. Many people passed by me. Some did not even bother to look. I tried really hard to distribute. The heat was getting to me.

I was thinking to myself: “What am I doing? Am I able to distribute here?”

The gentleman who was manning his sweets-stall asked me to come closer towards his shady umbrella. Out of desperation I said: “I will, if you take a book from me.”

The man smiled. And I was like: “O Krsna, Gurudeva, how am I to do this?!”

After about 20 minutes, the man came up to me and asked my name. I then handed out our preaching centre’s address. We exchanged names and what do you know, he bought a book!!

By this time, Lalita didi came out and we thought we will wait at the junction towards the temple. It was much cooler there as the road was lined up with some nice shady trees.

As we were walking I spotted a familiar face at one the many make-shift stalls selling all kinds of everything. The individual was another “missing-in-action” devotee. I called out to this person. Startled, the devotee returned a wide, warm smile. While talking, other book distributors from the centre joined us.

Now my spirits were high. Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja, Krsna Kanta Brahmacari, Prem Ras Prabhu, Jaya Govinda Prabhu and Ramesh Prabhu were very happy to see us both.

Somehow after that my distribution techniques changed. I would shove our centre’s address to whomever I met. And then place a book in their hands. This would be followed by a small amount of donation.

I also learnt one very valuable lesson during my book distribution. These books are transcendental personalities. They would decide on whose hands They wished to go.

A case in point. It was almost 5:00 p.m. I was thinking of making one last hit before calling it off. Besides Lalita didi wanted to head home and so did the rest of the party of book distributors. I walked up and down the sweltering heat. I managed to give out the invitation to our centre but not one person wanted to give even RM1.00 for a book of considerable thickness. I tried to appeal to them by saying 3 books for RM10.00 or even RM5.00, but no one wanted it.

I thought to myself that I have to call it quits. I headed where the rest of the party was and started packing my stuff.

And what do you know. A young lady rushes to me and gushed, “Are you Hare Krsnas?” I want the Mahabharata. It’s for my friend.”

I was taken aback and told her I don’t have those but I have the ‘Essence of Bhagavad-gita’ and others. She looked at them and bought 2 books right away!

Book distribution really opens up a new understanding about Them. That They are the masters and we are the servants taking Them around. They decide on whom They wish to shower Their causeless mercy.

As for a desperate book distributor like me, well, in trying to help others, I’m actually helping myself.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Being Persistent

Preaching and bringing in new people to chant is not an easy task. We have to be persistent. Srila Gurudeva often says, "Preaching is really for the preacher himself/herself. The more we preach, the more realisation we can acquire."

There's this university student, Priya, whom I got in touch with 2 years ago by one god-sister. Since my god-sister, Malati, who resides in India cannot always be in constant preaching contact, she therefore forwarded Priya's e-mail and contact number to me.

Many times I had invited Priya for programmes at our preaching centre, which she will politely decline. This is because she lives very far away and she don't own a car, as yet. She is a student after all. Besides, her mother do not approve of her going out after dusk. To this I usually advised her to listen to her mother.

Just 4 days ago I decided to have a lunch house programme this Sunday. So I text ed message Priya and to my surprise she confirmed her coming through e-mail.

My initial reaction was, perhaps she's being really polite as I had invited her many times. Anyway, I shall wait and see. Everything is in Sri Guru & Krsna's hand.

Lo and Behold! Not only did Priya came on time, she also brought along her friend, Akeela.

After the initial "getting to know you" I started off the programme with mangala caranam and then with the song "Gurudeva Krpa Bindu Diya." Soon we were joined by another god-brother and his children.

One god-brother who was "missing-in-action" for a long time, decided to join us at this function as well. He said house programmes are more convenient for him to attend as it does not clash with his work commitments.
Right after that Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja (our guest speaker) and Krsna Kanta Brahmacari walked in. We proceeded with our kirtan followed by arati and then class by Maharaja. Before the class started, Maharaja asked us what is most important to most of us. My husband said 'money,' just to generate an interest in the students.
Below is a short excerpt of the class.

Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja explaining the importance of chanting to the 2 university students.

"There is nothing wrong in us earning money as it is needed in our daily lives. We are not against money. But don't forget God, Krsna. For without Him, nothing is possible. He gives us everything. We must use our time to worship Him always."

Then he turned to the 2 university girls.

"Both of you are students, right? We are not saying you must give up your studies. Do your duty and study well. Get good results. But try to chant always. At least allocate 20 minutes from your daily activities to chant. The more you chant, the more intelligence you will beget. You will also have good rememberance. This is a fact. Try this for 6 months. You will notice a change within you.

I will tell you a story. There was once a lady who always comes to the temple. She was a really busy lady with children and other duties to take care off. I always requested her to chant at least 2 rounds daily. I told her this every time we met. Then one day she said she will chant 2 rounds a day.

After some time, she herself was telling everyone she met to chant 2 rounds a day. Soon she became a joke of sorts as everyone spoke of her as the one who requests everybody to chant 2 rounds!
I asked her husband whether she is still doing her daily duties or is there any problem at all. Her husband said she was very well indeed. In fact her life seem to be better than before.

Therefore, always be in good association. You should constantly be in touch with mataji (maharaja referring to me). If you are not in touch then you will think this is a one time programme and you will forget. Ask questions also. Do your duty but always chant."

Right after the class, we served prasadam. There were more surprises in store. I brought out 3 small books and asked the girls whether they were interested in purchasing them. Priya bought them immediately. After about 5 minutes, Akeela also wanted it. Then Priya asked for chanting beads followed by Akeela. Later Priya bought a beautiful picture of Sri Radha Krsna.

Listening intently to Hari-Katha

Sri Guru and Krsna does wonderful, mystical pastimes. Really we are not the doers. We just have to do our duty and not expect anything. Everything is in Sri Guru and Krsna's hand. And most importantly in the power of the maha-mantra.
And what did I learn today --- be persistent.


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