I joined a new Hare Krishna class this past Wednesday. It’s a Bhakti Vriksha class and each week, they teach one verse from the Bhagavad Gita and we study it in depth, and have a discussion about it. It’s really a fun class and it would be especially useful to understand the verses I don’t fully comprehend. The teacher there and the rest of the devotees were very very nice to me. They were so warm and welcoming. They were just wonderful devotees who were so inspiring. We first sang the Damodar Aarti, and then one of the devotees explained Chapter 12. Guys, I swear to you, Krishna is alive. During the group japa session, I was dazing and I was not concentrating. I was chanting rather inattentively and my faith wavered.
Why was I bothering with chanting, why couldn’t I just pray normally? Krishna, are you real? Are you the True God of this Universe? Is this the True religion of the world? Or is it another religion? All these questions were running through my mind. After the japa, one of the devotees began to show us slides he made explaining Chapter 12: Devotional Service. That chapter starts with a question:
“Arjuna inquired: Which is considered to be more perfect, those who are properly engaged in Your devotional service, or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?”
Arjuna asked the question I had just asked Krishna a few minutes ago. Most other religions are monotheistic and worship God in His impersonal form. And I was comparing other religions with Krishna Consciousness, and asking Krishna if this movement is filled with truth, and what if another religion was true and real, instead. Arjuna was asking the same question. And Krishna answered him and thus He answered me, through that thorough explanation of Chapter 12. By “chance” (actually, divine intervention), Chapter 12 was one of the topics that day, my first class, and my doubts were lifted, just like Arjuna’s doubts were lifted on the battlefield 5000 years ago. At the end of the class, I told the teacher about this interesting reciprocation that Krishna so mercifully bestowed upon me. Prabhu then told me about an incident where Krishna had reciprocated with him. It was during a festival celebration and there was a kirtan going on, with pictures of the Lord in His different forms were projected onto the wall, one by one. Then the crowd began to sing ‘Jaya Jagganath’ and Prabhu sang along, but he thought to himself, “Where is Jagganath?! I cannot see Lord Jagganath! Where is He?!” and just then a picture of Lord Jagannath was projected on the wall! Haribol! What a wonderful reciprocation!
I then told Prabhu about another experience I had. I also openly told him that my faith is very weak and I look for a lot of stories of miracles to make me feel like yes, miracles DO happen in Krishna Consciousness. I haven’t heard many of them which makes me wonder if they exist or not. And while they have happened to me and I have experienced them first-hand, somehow it’s never enough, sadly. I understand it’s very materialistic and shallow, but I can’t help it, especially when I keep hearing about so many miracles happening in other religions and they experience such dramatic, life-changing ones. Like someone getting healed of a critical illness. I told all of this to Prabhu and so, he told me about a miracle. He told me that in Bahrain, there was a devotee who was pregnant. The doctor found that she also had a tumor and while the baby was growing, so was the tumor. The doctor advised her to have an abortion otherwise it would prove to be fatal, but she did not want to. So she consulted her guru maharaj (I think Jayapataka Swami) and he instructed them to recite a prayer very faithfully and in devotion everyday. The prayer was from Scripture, said when Parikshit Maharaj was in the womb of his mother and Krishna saved him from death from Ashvattham’s bramharastra. So the devotee recited those few verses everyday with strong determination and faith. Soon, the doctors saw that now, as the baby was the growing, the tumor was shrinking. The doctor was baffled and the devotee had a healthy delivery, by the mercy of the Lord.
Another Prabhu also mentioned that he recently heard of someone healed of an illness as well, but he could not recollect the entire story. Either way, just knowing that such instances happen and that Krishna is healing and looking after His devotees just strengthens my faith immensely.
Yesterday, I was feeling terrible about myself and the mistakes that I keep making. I apologized to Krishna, like I have a million times before, for the same mistakes. That night, I read a very nice poem by a devotee blogger, ‘In Love With Krishna’, that mirrored my feelings exactly! It was just spot on. I was simply amazed that another devotee was feeling the exact same thing I was, and Krishna had given me something I could relate to 100%! I could apologize to Krishna but I wasn’t even convincing myself with those apologies anymore. While I could apologize as much as I wanted, I should just surrender unto Krishna and let Him take charge of the entire situation. ‘In Love With Krishna’ re-enforced this in her poem, which only made it more significant, and made the way out of this mess a whole lot clearer. On her blog, I narrated an incident that had occurred to me some time ago. I’ll just copy paste it here:
“Once I needed a cab and I was feeling downright awful because of myself. What I asked for later was quite silly, but I needed a sign. So I needed a cab and I thought if I get one immediately as I reach the main road, on MY side of the road (it was a 2-way road), I would understand that Krishna has forgiven me.
But there was no cab on my side of the road. There was one on the opposite side and my friends called it and it turned and the taxi stopped right in front of us. At that time, I realized Krishna’s mercy knows no bounds. There are always taxis on that road, and there is always a huge line of taxis on the same road, but that day, when it was right there when we arrived, and he u-turned and stopped in front of us, I realized Krishna was giving me the sign I asked for. Just before that day, I read an article about a woman who was going to pass away and devotees had come to sing the Hare Krishna mantra to/with/for her. The writer mentioned that the Holy Name had come to the dying woman, re-enforcing something that the writer saw in a dream. And that day, I felt like Krishna was coming to get me, He was there for me, and He had forgiven me. The taxi took a little u-turn and came to me, and it made me think that Krishna would come to get us, if we ever drown.”
I also had a dream last night, which is a rather usual type of dream. I dreamed that I was in a sea and it was a dark and scary night. I had to go from under a tree which was so low and its branches were almost touching the water. I was terribly, terribly frightened. I just called out to Krishna again and again to save and protect me and I passed from under the tree with no harm done to me. Soon enough I woke up. I have many dreams where I call out to Krishna to save me, and even in my dreams He protects me. Last night when I logged onto the Facebook, there were many articles about Krishna. One that caught my attention was, “Supersoul never leaves you”. That just spoke to me. It made me realized Krishna had forgiven me yet again, though I was completely undeserving.
Krishna is magnanimous and He is far more forgiving than we believe Him to be. We just need to surrender to His will, and try hard to learn from our mistakes and avoid making the same mistakes again and again. If some of you are looking for His forgiveness, I would like to ask all of you to go before Krishna in all humility and submission, and ask Him for it. You can ask Gaura-Nitai, who are the embodiment of mercy and forgiveness. You can ask Radharani who is our mother. Just ask for it. Pray for it. They will not deny you of their forgiveness because they are all-loving. My own experience has taught me that even when I make the same mistakes again and again, without learning much from it, Krishna still forgives me. I don’t mean to encourage anyone to commit the same mistakes again and again, thinking that Krishna will forgive us, no matter what. We must definitely try to avoid making mistakes to our best ability, we should learn and not make the same mistakes again and again, we should seek Krishna’s blessings always, and when we apologize we should be completely sincere. Krishna and His love must not be taken for granted. Krishna is forgiving but when we abuse that, we are at the risk of offending Krishna greatly, and causing pain to the Lord who loves us. So ask the Lord for His mercy. He always showers His mercy on anyone and everyone, just like the rays of the sun reach everyone, without discrimination. Our Lord does not discriminate. Do some service for Him and He will never forget it. Call out to Him and He will definitely come lift you out of the storm you might be in. Prayer. Simply prayer.
Readers, if you have any stories or personal experiences you would like to share, please go ahead! I’d love to hear them!