I decided to visit an ISKCON temple. The only one I knew was in East of Kailash, Sri Sri Radha Parthasarthi temple. I visited the temple around early evening. It was surprisingly clean and well maintained temple. I visited, looked at the beautiful deities, sat there for some time. I didn’t know what exactly to do. But I liked being there. After I came back a thought/ voice started chasing me from inside. The voice said now that I have visited the temple what would I be ready to give up. I ignored it for some days, thinking that my mind is playing games with me. But it won’t go. To my own surprise, and horror at that time, I myself started dwelling on what could I leave. There were two things to chose from non veg and liquor. I did my own calculation and thought that meat would be a better and easier thing to give up as I could not imagine my life without a drink. Easier said than done, I didn’t use to eat any vegetables at home. And what would I eat when I go out ? Shahi paneer !! But within days I started losing taste in meat. I didn’t want to commit leaving till i was sure I would not come back to eating it.
I still remember the last day I ate meat. We had an office lunch for new year eve in one of the restaurants in Janak Puri. It was a buffet system with many types of meat coming to our table. I first opted for vegetarian menu to the surprise of everyone, I made some lame excuse. While everyone was eating I thought let me try one piece at least. I picked it up, took a bite and could not finish it. I felt as if I am eating raw flesh of some dead animal. I never ate meat again.
My chanting on fingers and reading Bhagavad Gita continued. During one of my meetings I told Mukul that East of Kailash was too far away. He told me that there is another ISKCON temple in Punjabi Bagh, not as big as East of Kailash, still I could go once and see. Again one of the late afternoons I visited the temple. It was very small compared to the almost majestic temple at East of Kailash. It was in a posh residential colony, neat and clean, and for the first time ever I took darshan of Sri Jagannath, Baldeva and Subhadra Maharani. I will narrate their story in a separate blog some day.
I don’t exactly remember whether it was another earlier trip to temple at East of Kailash or the first one at Punjabi Bagh that the strange voice came back to ask me to leave another thing. What was left, just my drinks. I avoided this voice a bit longer. Something strange happened, I would start my drink but it started tasting so horrible that I could not finish it. Even a pint of beer I could not finish and had to throw the rest. I left drinking or rather drinking left me for good.
Then another wonderful thing happened. Mukul took me to Vrindavana. I immediately felt at ease after entering the temple, from the rear side entrance and I still use this entrance only. Oh ! What a beautiful temple, it was welcoming, had such wonderful aura, and so beautiful deities. I was at home and in love. This time no voice needed to prod me , I requested Mukul to please help me buy me a bead bag and Tulsi mala. I was already doing 16 rounds on my fingers so starting on beads proved to be easier. I was hooked on to chanting from that day onwards.
Every time I visit an ISKCON temple I feel bliss. It feels as if I have come to my home not my home rather my paternal grandfather’s home. I know someone is waiting for me there, always looking forward to see me.
HG Mukul Prabhu ki jaya
Sri Sri Radha Parthasarthi temple ki jaya
Sri Sri Radha Radhika Raman, Krishna Balram Temple ki Jaya
Jaya Gaura Nitai, Gaura Nitai, Gaura Nitai, Jaya Gaura Nitai
Jaya Krishna Balram, Krishna Balram, Krishna Balram, Jaya Krishna Balram
Jaya Radha Shyamsundar, Radha Shyamsundar, Radhey Radhey.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya.