1st February 2014, Gurgaon.
I was talking to a senior devotee friend over phone. Prabhuji is a very level-headed and learned devotee. The trigger of our discussion was an impromptu warm hug I received from Prabhuji during my last visit to his home. After I said good-bye to him and had moved out his house walking towards the elevator, he came out of the front door and asked `Prabhuji, at least give me a hug.’ I was taken aback. I am a bit of a dry and reserved person, so for the first few micro seconds I thought my ears have heard something wrong, may be Prabhuji wanted to say something else and uttered these words by mistake, or he is just pulling my leg. But I saw his face and outstretched arms and I knew he mean it. I walked back and hugged him and suddenly found myself enveloped with love and affection, I was overwhelmed. Later, that too over an SMS, I thanked Prabhuji for his gesture.
He, then, shared how he had learned this from HH Bhakti Charu Swami maharaj. Guru Maharaj instructed him that we must walk an extra mile for people whom we love, similar to how we do it in the material world, the only difference being that in the spiritual world we do not expect anything back and hence it is a pure feeling. The whole narration was very inspiring for me. I requested Prabhuji to please share his particular experience with Guru Maharaj on my blog. At first he declined politely saying that just because he shared something in private with me does not mean that he is ready to share it every one but two days later Prabhuji agreed but on the condition that I will not share his name. So here it goes, in Prabhuji’s own words:
Hare Krishna and Dandavat Pranam to everyone.
There are so many learnings when you speak and listen to MahaBhagvats. There is so much learning. I will try to capture the essence of my discussion with HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj few years (3-4 years ago).
Though usually I am quiet an extrovert and flamboyant person but somehow I am very introvert and shy person when it comes to spiritual life. The reason I feel is that it touches my heart and one can share heartful feelings only with very few selected ones. Usually when a sanniyasi comes, I am all busy preparing and doing rounds. On this particular day, everybody started goading me that I should start a kirtan and welcome Maharaj. It took some cajoling for me to finally agree and make my mind ready to do kirtan. Like my usual self, I closed my eyes and started kirtan with one of the tunes of Sri Prahalad Das. I lost the moment of time and was totally immersed into it….Didn’t realize when Guru Maharaj came and was just singing as if nobody exists. When after some time I felt nobody is singing after me, I realized something missing and I opened my eyes to see Maharaj’s beatific smiling face.
I immediately knelt down offering my dandavats. I felt stupid , a fool and absolutely downcast of not being even aware of Guru Maharaj coming. I asked for his forgiveness. He just took my hand and kind of dragged me (like father does lovingly to son) and then surprisingly hugged me. I was speechless. I felt absolutely serene as if I am in my father’s arms. When you are in father’s secured arms, you don’t want to leave him. I wanted this time to stop. I didn’t want other devotees prying eyes gawking at me, making me conscious. I just wanted to be with him. It was like “Jaadu ki jhappi” for me, making me feel elated and it was like I will do anything for Him if I get this hug again. Maharaj then just whispered “very nice” and I then disengaged and said “I just wanted to be there pointing at his heart”. He patted me and beckoned me in the room. He said, “Do any thing but with all your heart. If you feel genuinely for someone, do something that you would not do ordinarily for anyone else. Express this special feeling.” He then said, “I have nothing else to give but love and I express it by tight warm hug. ” And then he thought and said see how mothers give a tight hug to its child without hurting him. I suddenly realised he is teaching me something so profound: “How to express love. To those whom you genuinely love.” It breaks barriers, it makes you soft. Being a father myself, I could relate to what he was trying to say but still I was inhibited to express to anyone but my own kids as if Love was their right only.
I suddenly felt very comfortable and then he said, “I liked how you were singing but this is not kirtana; this is solo performance.” I was embarrassed and told him since I used to perform this is the only way I know. And he said, when leading kirtan, whilst I should be immersed in Lord’s name (as that inspire devotees) however at the same time I need to be alert whether followers are attentive or not and should change the music if devotes struggle as we are doing kirtan for them and not only for ourselves. I asked if he could clarify. He said, A mother may be cooking the prasadam but is aware all the time what her baby is doing; similarly whilst you should be immersed in holy name but aware of your surroundings so that you are not caught off-guard like this and everybody heartily laughed but it was a huge learning for me.
I then asked him, if I wanted to bhajans, can I do something different that allays feelings towards Lord. He then said in Kaliyuga Mother-child relationship is most pure so one should compare its purity with this relationship first. Mother is so selfless. Is your love so selfless. To understand Krishna Radha prema is very difficult. Why to get into something that we may not even understand. He said Bhajans should be soulful, crying to seek help like Sri Krishna Chaitanya daya karo more….begging lord / Guru for help…prayer in kirtan is very powerful….Or glorify the lord…Lord did so many things and just keep praising and u would start truly believing which may sound unbelievable initially. If u really want to do rasa then you could sing Yashoda and Kanha songs as Matajis would be able to relate a lot and help them. Then he said, You should sing with heart with Love – not sing but sing with love….I suddenly felt what powerful statements – warm hug to someone you love and sing with Love – This is what Krishna teaches – Love everyone and Love God..
I have been trying to follow these instructions diligently to the best of my understanding.
Many dandavats to Guru Maharaj….
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj ki jai
Srila Prabhupad ki Jai
I am very thankful to Prabhuji for sharing his inner feelings with us. It shows how our spiritual journey, though solo, could be filled with so much love, not only towards Krishna but also towards everyone around us. That this journey is not a dry journey, it is a journey filled with happiness and bliss. Krishna Consciousness is all about being happy and spreading that happiness around. I remember a famous quote by Guru Maharaj
Krishna Consciousness spreads wisdom and Knowledge. The main force because of which this movement is spreading is love.
I would like to request all the readers to kindly come forward and share your own experience/realisations of unexpected love received in our spiritual journey and help everyone by increasing their faith in the words of our Guru and previous Acharayas. Please mail your experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org, it can published under your name or as anonymous, whatever is convenient to you.
All glories to the Vaishnava devotees.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.