(Sripad Bhaktivedanta Padmanabha Maharaja had a short stopover in Malaysia. Below is an excerpt of Maharaji's Hari-Katha on 9th April 2016.)
In 1996, when Srila Gurudeva first started to travel around the world, Srila Gurudeva was humbly requested by devotees to visit a very wealthy doctor’s house living in the
United States of America.
|Sripad BV Padmanabha Maharaja|
This doctor is Indian born and he had left
India for almost
30 over years and has been living in the States. His house was overlooking the
ocean and was incredibly huge.
When we arrived at his house, we rang his doorbell for 3 or more times. We were wondering what was going on. Here we are with our spiritual master and there was nobody to receive Srila Gurudeva in a proper manner befitting a maha-bhagavat.
Finally the door opened and it was the doctor’s wife. She wore a pair of jeans and T-shirt at that time. She welcomed Srila Gurudeva and the devotees into the house. Srila Gurudeva sat down on the sofa and the rest of us on the floor. Right up till now, there was still no sign of the doctor.
After some time, the doctor’s son came downstairs wearing a sweat-shirt with the words “USC” and a pair of jeans. What happened next shocked all of us. The son actually held out his hand for a hand-shake to Srila Gurudeva and sat next to Srila Gurudeva! We were appalled! Srila Gurudeva, being the personification of complete mercy, talked to the son and had His Divine Hands around the boy who was about 20 over years old.
After all this, there was still no sign of the doctor. We did our kirtan and Srila Gurudeva started to talk. Then we saw the doctor come down and he took his seat at the back of the living room and listened intently at Srila Gurudeva’s Hari-Katha. This was what Srila Gurudeva said.
“Once there was an extremely wealthy king. He was engrossed in his material welfare and had no time for anything spiritual.
In the same kingdom, lived a Brahmin Vaishnava who was good at astrology. The Brahmin checked the king’s astrology and found that the king had only a few days to live. He felt strongly to warn the king of this.
When he came to the gates of the palace, he told the guards that he had urgent matters with the king. The guards forbade him to see the king and told him to leave.
“But I must see the King!” said the Brahmin.
“Why? What is it that you must say? If you have no business, you better get going,” said the guards.
“Please, according to my astrology reading, the King has only a few days to live. I must warn him of this!” pleaded the Brahmin.
Just as the Brahmin said these words, the Queen’s palanquin was passing by. When she heard the Brahmin, she stopped the palanquin and called the Brahmin over.
“What is this that I am hearing? I can have you beheaded!” said the Queen quite angrily and anxious at the same time.
The Brahmin said, “My dear Queen. What I am saying is the truth. The King has only a few days to live. If you don’t believe me, you may put me in jail or have me beheaded. My astrological calculations are perfectly correct.”
When the Queen saw that the Brahmin showed no fear, she immediately took him to see her husband, the King.
The Brahmin told the King of his astrological calculations. He said, “O my dear King. There is no need to worry. You will go to heaven and enjoy many many things in heaven. But there is a problem.”
“What is it?” asked the King getting anxious.
“In heaven there is a problem,” said the Brahmin. “The problem is, there will be mosquitoes to disturb you. But don’t worry there are mosquito nets in Heaven. The only predicament with the mosquito nets, they have some holes. But there are some strings that you could use to sew them. The biggest problem is, there are no needles in Heaven to sew them!”
“No needles in Heaven!” cried the King.
“Yes,” said the Brahmin. “You can take the needles from your palace and go there to Heaven!”
“Take needles from here to go to Heaven! How is it possible? When I am dead, how is it possible to take anything from here??” the King asked.
The Brahmin said, “Now, my dear King, now, you understand.”
Srila Gurudeva concluded that no matter how much we collect here, we will not be able to take a single thing with us.
After listening to Srila Gurudeva, the doctor told Srila Gurudeva that he appreciated the Hari Katha very much. He remembered his childhood in
growing up in a very wealthy family. And there was a temple in the courtyard of
his huge house. The doctor used to go there to worship. After he came to the
States, he forgot all of it and got embroiled in his family and work.
The purport of the story is, just like the Brahmin Vaishnava who was very merciful in reminding the King of his limited days on earth and no matter how much wealth one may have, one will not be able to take it upon death. Srila Gurudeva was also showing His immense mercy towards that doctor. This is the nature of sadhus.