“Graceville”, is the suburb that houses the Hare Krishna temple in Brisbane and that’s where I was few days ago. Just got back this morning. It was great to be at sunny Brisbane compared to the cold, wet Melbourne of today. Actually, it did rain twice very heavily in Brisbane but it was fun. I had gone to Brisbane mainly because a close friend of mine and his wife had invited me there for the long weekend holidays and had also expressed an interest to set up a prayer area in their house.
These 2 people are very special to me because of their genuine nice nature. I knew they were very interested in spirituality. So, when they asked me if I could help set up a prayer altar, I took that as a sign and rushed to the place on the condition that I wanted the entire set-up to be a surprise and that they shouldn’t be in the house when I set it up. Mind you, they have no idea about ISKCON, the teachings, the followings etc. So, I was a bit nervous too. Anyways, I told Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupad in a silent prayer that all I would do was introduce my hosts to Them and They would have to handle their Krishna consciousness growth, issues and problems.
I spent a good part of my free time last week searching for the ideal photos that could go on the altar. There were frequent visits to the printers, resizings of the pics, double checking the collections with senior devotees etc.
On 6th June, I spend the whole day in Brisbane looking for the right tables and shelves. Nothing worked out and I was sooooo disappointed. I decided that I needed Pancha-Tattva power and visited the Hare Krishna temple at Graceville. I loved that place. So calm, so quiet, so peaceful, so clean. I told Srila Prabhupad and the Sri Gaura Nitai deities there that I needed their special help in setting up the altar. Also got the chance to have a grand dinner prasadam. Very filling. This was followed by buying a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a bell, incense, incense holder and a cook book. Oh, I forgot..I had the pictures for the altar framed in the city earlier too. One of the sales girl who spent 1 hr selecting the right frames for me said that she knew who Sri Krishna was because it seems that many of her friends were “following Him”.
On the 7th June morning, I set out again in search of the altar tables. A car ride of 40 minutes, a search of 2 hrs, I managed to get a few from an antique store. I spend another 3 hours collecting dining sets, flower vases, flowers etc. By now, it was 5pm and I had an hour to set up the altar area before the hosts got home. I was delighted with the entire arrangement and so pleasantly surprised how vibrant Srila Prabhupad looked in the house through that photo. I kept the altar setup very simple. All it had was Srila Prabhupad, the Pancha Tattva and a beautiful painting of Sri Radha Krishna.
The set-up must have been nice because the hosts ended up crying looking at it. Didn’t know how to handle that one. So, I thought the best way was to start a kirtan. I had a copy of the prayers for them and we had an hour of nice singing. My friend bought out his guitar and began to accompany. It was so beautiful !!!!! I wish I could have cut out a CD and sold it across ISKCON temples. By the way, this was the first public kirtan for me…there were only 3 of us…yet, it was the 1st time I lead a kirtan. Then we read the Bhagavad Gita, cooked some great food, offered them at the altar, some more kirtans and this continued till I left last night.
Before leaving, I told Srila Prabhupad, the Pancha Tattva and Sri Radha Krishna in front of my hosts that I was leaving Them in the care of these new devotees and hoped that they would look after Them all with great care and ethusiasm.
The couple are happy that Sri Krishna has come to their home and have promised me that they will do their best. And thats what we all do in Krishna Consiousness – do our best to serve Sri Radha Krishna and his pure devotees.
WoW ! What an experience.