I went to Punjabi Bagh temple and reached around 9 am to meet HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj and follow his desire to meet Mukul Prabhu.
When I reached the temple Maharaj was giving the lecture with the emphasis on Book distribution and that marathon had started and we all need to pull ourselves to meet the target for this year. It was the same message has last year and yet every word felt charged up with a transcendental potency. The temple was completely packed inside and outside too devotees covered almost all the verandah. I was surprised that a very comfortable sitting place was vacant and as I sat down I realised why no one else was sitting there. There was no view of Maharaj from there ! That’s why this space was empty. As I looked around for a better area to sit I realised that devotees had already taken up most of the places from where Maharaj could be seen and heard. I looked around for a second and then thought that instead of moving around and disturbing everyone in the process let me sit at this place only and hear with concentration.
Here is the shot from my phone from where I was sitting in the temple, I was sitting on the raised platform behind these folding glass door. I will share now why I took this picture.
1. My first realsiation : As I sat listing to Maharaj I realised that my concentration was almost 100%, near perfect. I realised that it was so because I knew I can’t see Maharaj and hence I tuned my concentration to full so that I don’t miss a single word. In fact after few minutes it was as if I am seeing him through my ears. I can’t explain it but I saw no difference in whether I could see Maharaj or not. I realised the importance of Shravanam or listening with concentration and that if I listen with concentration then I could be with the speaker irrespective of whether the speaker is front of me or not.
2. Second realisation : Twenty five minutes into the lecture another magic happened. I could see suddenly see Maharaj through the glass. Why I could not see Maharaj earlier was due to angle of the glass and reflections of devotees sitting outside. Now suddenly due to some change in angle of the devotees or sunlight or some other reason I could see Maharaj clearly with no one between us. I rubbed my eyes thinking am I imagining him but the image stayed, I was so very happy to see him, as if I have won some jackpot just by seeing him or I am seeing him from the first time or someone who is very far suddenly comes so near. His visual went away after 10-15 seconds and it was back to reflections of devotees in the glass. I was agitated, I missed seeing him so directly in front of me. I tried to see him again but no matter how frustrated I felt or how much I shifted my sitting posture and stance or try to squint my eyes I could not see him. His vision was gone. I had no other option but to go back again to listening to Maharaj with rapt attention but now with a added bonus of this unique experience of having see him through the glass. It was different then when I was seeing him before I could see him. He was there and yet not there, a unique feeling which I can’t describe due to my poor vocabulary.
I later realised that this is how, of course on an altogether different level, Narad ji would have felt when he first saw Lord Krishna and then how he would have felt as Lord went away from Narad ji’s vision (SB 1.6.19). I could never understand this feeling when I read this verse almost an year back but today I could experience it ! Of course my level of realisation and taste is too small yet I know this unique feeling now.
All glories to the never ending mercy of HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj.
Later I took darshan of Maharaj and introduced Mukul Prabhu to him as the person who introduced me to Krishna Consciousness. Maharaj commented that he should have given my example during the class today that how by just getting copy of Bhagavad Gita changed my life. He then turned to Mukul and told him that he wanted to meet him and thank him and then he said he is thankful to him to give a copy of Bhagavad Gita to me.
I had assumed that Maharaj wanted to meet Mukul Prabhu to probably push him for book distribution or engage him in some other service as I had told Maharaj how he is a financial expert and also a very good devotee who has turned almost all his clients into devotees. But Maharaj just said thank you to him. At first I thought, that’s it ! nothing else ? No instructions or request ? After ten seconds I was completely bowled over by Maharaj’s humble attitude in desiring to thank an unknown person who changed an unknown materialist’s person life.
From the bottom of my heart I wish I can cry at Maharaj’s lotus feet and rub my eyes at the soil under his shoes so that I can get 0.0001% of his humbleness and simplicity of heart. I met HG Karuna Prabhu outside the temple for few minutes and shared with him that how I feel as if slapped again and again as I see what is the benchmark senior devotees like Maharaj set for us. I pray that whenever I think I have now become humbled I should remember Maharaj.
I pray and hope that some day I am able to serve Maharaj in a capacity which he likes. I am head over heels in love with Maharaj.
All glories to the ever merciful and softhearted Gaudia Vaishanavas.
All glories to the wonderful Krishna Balram temple where I get so many realisations.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.