Sadhu sanga: Hanging out with Hare Krishna devotees!

Today, I went to this place my friends go to every week for a discourse or lecture on Krishna Conscious topics. Everyone’s been trying to get me to go there for ages. So I went today, and, BELIEVE ME, it was incredible. I don’t care if people call me stupid or too religious, and say that I’m wasting my time, wasting my life, running after things that haven’t been “proven”… I really couldn’t care less. The feeling Krishna gave me today is more than enough to banish every negative atom around. Seriously.

The Lecture

The lecture was brilliant. It wasn’t really structured per se, since the lecturer was in a rather free-thinking sort of mood. So it was just like a free-flow discussion. Here are quick points from the lecture for those who are interested 🙂

  • Fasting: It really helps improve health, the lecturer said. I wasn’t aware that Hare Krishna devotees fast for 36 hours. It’s called nirjal, I think, if I’m not mistaken. He also said that we need to have confidence in fasting. We won’t know what we are capable of, confident of, until we try it ourselves.
  • Book distribution: Devotees around the world struggle so much to spread this precious knowledge. They get beaten, mocked, jailed… They have to take care of legal issues as well. It seems in London, it’s not allowed to sell books (or goods) on the streets without permission. So the Hare Krishnas would need to get a certificate stating that they are selling books and other paraphernalia for charity. “Devotees go through all of this. Just to sell Prabhupada’s books. And we don’t even read those very same books,” the lecturer said. So true, don’t you think? He told us that book distribution is tough. It isn’t easy. But the main question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we convinced of Who we are doing this for? We need to get our focus right. And I completely agree. This is relevant in all situations, not just book distribution. EVERYTHING should be done in dedication to Krishna. From what the lecturer said, the joy of book distribution is simply amazing. He said it would be very fascinating to see how Krishna influences people book distributers approach to either love you or hate you. And you’ll taste this yourself if you read some stories online about book distributions.
  • Harinaam Sankirtana: This is usually being dressed in traditional devotee clothing, with tilakas, and singing Hare Krishna mantra in the streets in a group. “When we are in sankirtan, we are proclaiming that who we are is not important.” We’re in this for Krishna.
  • Our identity: We are often afraid of showing that we are Hare Krishnas. We don’t wear tilak. We chant using little “clickers” and not our actual japa-malas. We don’t dress in devotee clothing. We’re afraid of the judgment that might come our way. So we adopt a material identity. Our true identity lies in worshipping Krishna. There was a discussion about how bothered we are with our material identity once we know our true identity, as devotees of the Lord. Students in the class said that it is like a drama. We act like we are in the material world. We may do material things. But within our hearts, we know and are conscious of our true identity. He narrated the story of the monkey on the back of a crocodile. This crocodile once told a monkey to come over to his house since his wife wanted to cook a meal for him. So the monkey climbed onto the back of the crocodile who swam across to the other end. Midway, the crocodile said, “Ah, my wife would like to taste your heart!” The monkey then thought for a bit, and suddenly let out a little laugh and said, “Oh dear, I left my heart in the tree I was sitting in!” And that is how he escaped. The moral of the story was, “Deal with the materialistic world, but don’t give them your heart.”

The Kirtan

AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING!! This one guy played the mrdanga sooooo well! I was amazed! I don’t know the names of the bhajans but it was just amazing. It was Jaya Jaya Goura Chander, also known as Gaura Aarti (IT’S AMAZING! GOOGLE IT!) and the singing and the music, the kartalas, the mrdanga, the clapping, the dancing… oh it was amazing. It was blissful, so serene! I felt amazing. I felt like, yes, this is it, this is where I want to be for the rest of my life. And I wanted to dance, I wanted to raise my arms and just scream out the song and just DANCE! I’ve heard of how in churches God leads people to dance during worship sessions. Like people just feel inclined to dance as a form of praise and I wondered if people outside churches (Christianity that is) and I felt it today! By the mercy of Krishna. A girl was saying earlier, during the lecture, how Krishna Consciousness brings guaranteed happiness. The lecturer asked her, “What is your guarantee?” He was playing Devil’s Advocate. Then she said, “Prabhu, the sense of peace you get in the middle of a kirtan… nothing beats it.” And she was so freaking right! I’ve attended kirtans before. The first kirtan left me feeling incredible and today was equally amazing. I saw the lecturer with his arms around the other boys and they were dancing and singing. Prabhu had his eyes closed. And I loved watching them. Midway I realized I was smiling a little! I didn’t even know how! I guess happiness within from hearing the Lord’s names huh 🙂 Later we sang Nrshinga Pranaam. Oh, I’m getting goosebumps just remembering the kirtan. It was amazing. I can’t wait to go again. I wish I could go everyday! I’m a shy little girl though. I have so many questions but I’m so afraid to ask! Today while walking to the metro station to go home, I realized that just a few days ago, I prayed to Krishna to help me increase my attraction and love for Him, for the Holy Name. And today was just what I needed. And the devotees there were just wonderful. They were so nice and so friendly. They came up to me and asked me if I was new and if I liked the program. And I was just amazed because I never expected them to talk to me. I never thought they would care or bother to make me feel comfortable. But they were just wonderful! I met 2 devotees later, on the way to the metro station. I smiled, and said, “Hare Krishna” in greeting and one of the devotees folded his palms. Just wonderful. I am so grateful. So thrilled!

Something bad happened when I was walking home though. There were these 3 guys on the escalator, above me, on the way out of the metro station. I was going to wait to let other people stand in front of me but I decided against it. They looked like boys who meant trouble. On the escalator, they kept turning back and looking at me, staring at me, sizing me up. I felt like such a show piece. They kept saying, “Excuse me, excuse me.” Maybe it wasn’t directed at me but I lent a deaf ear anyway. I protected myself the only way I know how, with the Holy Name. I exited the station, on my guard, and saw all the security policemen standing outside, waiting for their shift to end. I felt better, knowing that the police were around. Divine intervention? Something to make me feel at ease? A simple co-incidence? Perhaps. But one thing is for sure. The Holy Name is powerful. And it will give us all the protection we need. Yessir.

Anyway, I need to go chant now, so I’ll be off!

Until next time 😉

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