382. A guest’s ceremony

On Saturday (yesterday) at the temple, an Australian couple came to conduct a ceremony for a mother of theirs, who passed away. They were so friendly and patient with the devotees, sitting through the whole ceremony with great sincerity. It seemed to be their first. I wanted to ask them what their motivation/inspiration was for choosing the Hare Krishna temple for this personal event in their life. One never knows how we have touched people’s hearts. An interesting part of the ceremony was when the lady asked if a pet doll could be placed next to the mother’s photo. I couldn’t hear what was being said but must have been an item dear to the passed away mother.

Anyways, the small and quiet function ended with photos, a box of wonderful milk sweets and a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita. They seemed so content just with their own initiative to organise their ceremony,  the care given to them by the devotees, the Deities and the gifts. It’s so important that we take care of guests to our temple and also be with them through the various phases they go through.

 

 

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379. Who will take care of them?

Yesterday, after the Bhagavtam class, Abhishek prabhu was approached by an elderly Indian gentleman.

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Abhishek prabhu (in white) listens patiently to the elderly guest (29.04.17) @ Sydney Hare Krishna temple.

He was well-dressed, had a smiling face, respectful and later declared to us that he was from Bengal, a diplomat during his working years and was now retired. Visiting his son in Sydney, he was out and about when he happened to see the temple complex. Curious, he had stepped in and eventually stayed for the Bhagavatam class. He could speak fluent Chinese too!

Anyway, it was nice to see his interest but as an elderly person, he obviously had a slight inclination towards correcting the youngsters. So, he began to quiz & debate with Abhishek prabhu (and myself too). Abhishek prabhu, for his young age, happens to be well-versed in spiritual literatures. His answers to the gentleman was cut and right – no diplomacy from him. His sharp answers actually subdued the man who now respected him more.

As we shared the breakfast table, munching on our elaborate feast (cabbage subji, carrot halva, kofta balls, coconut chutney, crispy jalebi, salad, upma and a pea curry), his attention turned to an incoming tray of hot samosas! “Is that samosa?“, he asked like a little child. Before we could answer, he picked his plate and hurried towards the server. Grabbing a piece topped by a generous amount of tamarind chutney, he sat back on his seat again. As his eyes twinkled over his conquest, I quickly ran over and got me a piece too. Abhishek was avoiding anything deeply fried although he was munching away on that crispy jalebi pieces! Hypocrisy, i say!

As the man relished his samosa, he asked, “Are you both living at the temple?“. We replied that we weren’t but the Brahmacaris (renunciant students) were. He looked at us with concern and asked, “You mean they have no house of  their own, no job also?“. Abhishek prabhu explained that as brahmacaris, they had no outside work or financial assets, were devoted to the temple full-time and were under the care of the temple management. The man’s fatherly instincts were raised, “But how is that possible? How can someone live without any work and no money – how will they get food and clothes? What if he wants to buy a tooth-brush?! Who will give?“, he asked with great concern.

I thought that was funny and chuckled. Who will get their tooth-brush? I told him that just like there are people for whom material assets are important for their security, there were those who were completely attached to devotional service of the Lord. In that service, they are completely dependant on Him for all their needs, sustenance and protection. I told him that it’s hard for people like us to understand or live such a lifestyle but those who had made the jump were happy. I told him that temple took care of  their food, clothing and shelter besides engaging them in a wide variety of devotional work. He seemed surprised but content that they were being looked after. He eventually finished his meals, bid us farewell, promising to return again next weekend too.

Many things passed by mind after the incident:

  1. Life of brahmacaris: how sacrifice, austerity, simplicity and unselfish devotional service is so pure, healthy and powerful.
  2. Goal in life during old age: Instead of spending time visiting children here and there, attached to one’s past work life & achievements, it’s important that one takes up full-time devotional life also after retirement.
  3. My fortune of being a part of a devotee network early on in life: The earlier one takes the risk and associates with a spiritual group, the better.
  4. Importance of regular study: Watching Abhishek prabhu answer the questions from a shastric angle was so wonderful to watch. It inspired me to study regularly, contemplate more and apply the learnings in one’s life.

So, that was a great Saturday morning well spent, i thought.

372. Time moves

It’s amazing to observe the invisible hand of time, taking you closer and closer to your next life destination without you even realising it. Every Monday, I think back and wonder where the weekend went. When I hit Friday, I look back and wonder where the week went. Before you know it, your entire life has finished. If one lives a life of week days and weekends doing mundane chores, it’s surely fruitless. One must remember everyday that time + material nature is in full control of our day-to-day existence. They make us do stuff and we think we are the doers. To make each day an investment, look for opportunities to pray, worship, remember and serve God. Only in this case, can one not feel guilty of losing time through their fingers.

371. Being Thankful

Perhaps casually, perhaps loosely, perhaps as a habit, perhaps everyday, we say 2 words – Thank you – words that can be so life changing. In most cases, our utterance of thanks happens when we have received something we want. But to be thankful to a person or a situation, when it’s completely unfavourable to one’s life is a difficult thing to do. In such situations, we often blame others, or our fate or worse, God. The ancient scriptures of the East requires that every human being understand that we get what we deserve. It’s only a reaction that has manifested due to a past action. The action could be from this lifetime or a previous one. The devotees of Lord Krishna however, accept any challenging situation as a blessing from Him. They do not distinguish between what is good, bad or ugly. This comes from their heart’s full acceptance that they have somehow or another secured an opportunity to remember and worship the Lord. Everything else is just a temporary distraction. If the whole world thought this way, will there ever be hatred, crime, war and anxiety?

 

366. Milk

This is what I saw in a refrigerator few days ago – milk in 3 types! Extra Lite, Low Fat Lite and Full Cream!

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But i want none of those and want the “Nectarean Milk” which Srila Prabhupad is talking about below.

Milk is compared to nectar, which one can drink to become immortal. Of course, simply drinking milk will not make one immortal, but it can increase the duration of one’s life. In modern civilization, men do not think milk to be important, and therefore they do not live very long. Although in this age men can live up to one hundred years, their duration of life is reduced because they do not drink large quantities of milk. This is a sign of Kali-yuga. In Kali-yuga, instead of drinking milk, people prefer “to slaughter an animal and eat its flesh. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His instructions of Bhagavad-gītā, advises go-rakṣya, which means cow protection. The cow should be protected, milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one’s life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is essential to get food grains and water by digging the earth, it is also essential to give protection to the cows and take nectarean milk from their milk bags.”

Excerpt From: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. “Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 08.06.12.

356. Kirtan, the way.

I was a little agitated an hour ago. Something didn’t go the way i want. And when you are in that mood, your relationship with others isn’t really positive. And i hate that feeling when i realise i could have been better. The guilt kills you. Anyways, i was lucky to come in the association of devotees who had a kirtan night on. The holy name will fix my problems and me. Thats for sure.

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354. Kalu Yala

This is Kalu Yala:

Kalu Yala is a beautiful valley from downtown Panama City. The founders are planning to create an eco-valley with proper township. The place looks beautiful. I believe every town/city of the world needs to be built into beautiful forests and valleys without destroying the natural habitat. Humans should live amongst nature and not away from it.

Check out their website for more info.