I was in a hurry to get to a meeting at Federation Square at 8pm. It was 7pm and I had a good 45 mins of taxi ride to get there from where I was. Enough time to complete my chanting rounds. So, I get in the taxi and off we go. I pulled out my bead bag, put my hands in and just told the taxi driver, “I am so sorry but I have to complete my chanting so I wont be able to talk to you but if you are lost dont hesitate to ask”. The driver looked absolutely surprised. He turned off the radio, turned off the air-con and put his mobile on silent! And said, “Oh..not a problem mate”. And I started my chanting of the remaining rounds. Once we got to Federation Square, it was 7:50pm and I was in a hurry to get to my appointment. I just about got ready to open the door to run away after paying….
The taxi driver asked, “I am sorry about asking…..but which country are you from?”
Me : “India”
Taxi driver : “And what religion?”
Me : “Hmm…hindu” (without thinking)
Taxi Driver : “Oh so…you have to say those words that you just did…like everyday….in the evening?”
Me : “I have to do 16 rounds of this 108 beads…preferably every morning…just before sunrise..or I try to finish it before sunset” (sunsets at 9pm here)
Taxi Driver : “Oh…….”
Me : “Ok….see ya mate…I gotta go”
And with that I stepped out, put my bead bag into my jacket and ran to cross the street. Just then, the taxi driver passed waving at me.
Thats when I realized my mistake. I had all the time in the world before I got out to mention about Krishna or ISKCON Temple or about the mantra…so many things. And all I could say was that I was a hindu doing 16 rounds. It didn’t even strike me that perhaps this driver was looking for some guidance on God and spirituality. I could have helped him and many more through him. I felt miserable. The entire evening I spent thinking about this. Its 1am now and I still can’t get it out of my head. I hope I get a second chance. I have learnt a nice lesson that we should never miss an opportunity to talk about Krishna. Everyone should be given the chance to know about Him without any prejudice or personal obstacles.