November 5, 1996
By Indradyumna Swami
My chance to “realize these things and become serious about Krsna consciousness” came today. I stared death in the face, and by Krsna’s grace have lived to tell about it. This morning, Gadädhara dasa drove me into Durban for some routine errands. After visiting a shop, I was stepping into the car when a van that had gone out of control rammed into it. My door, which was open, took the full force of the collision and smashed into me, throwing me nearly eight meters away. I didn’t see the van coming, and because I was knocked unconscious, I have little memory of the event.
Gadadhara told me later that he quickly grabbed an umbrella and stood over me, protecting me from the pouring rain. Simultaneously, he tried to keep the driver of the van from escaping, while watching our car so it wouldn’t be stolen. (Durban has recently acquired the title of Most Crime-Plagued City in the World.) Gadädhara grabbed my mobile phone from my torn and blood-stained kurta and managed to call my disciple Sri Näthji dasa and have him send an ambulance.
On the ground, I was having an out-of-body experience. I found myself above the crowd looking down at the scene, including my body. I can remember contemplating whether I should go back into my body or go wherever I was destined to proceed. I decided that I should return to my body, and I suddenly found myself looking at the many faces around me until I lapsed into unconsciousness again.
The next hours were sporadic moments of consciousness, of waking briefly to see the faces of worried devotees, doctors, and nurses. The Durban temple president, Srutakirti dasa, a close friend of mine, had arrived at the scene of the accident and accompanied me to the hospital. Because I was unable to recognize many devotees during my moments of consciousness, I was taken to the neurosurgery ward for a brain scan and x-rays.
But after all was said and done, it appears Lord Nrsimhadeva was kind upon me. My injuries were limited to a severe concussion, torn ligaments and badly bruised and sprained legs and hands. The doctors said I would recover in about six weeks, but I required rest. The prospect of staying in bed for weeks seemed to frighten me more than anything.
Within hours, telephone calls and faxes of sympathy poured in from around the world. I was amazed at how fast news travels in this modern age. Suffering from temporary memory loss as a result of the accident, I sometimes had difficulty knowing who was contacting me, and often had to excuse myself to the party concerned. But when Giriräja Maharaja sent a short fax from Bombay, I had the nurses reply with my response. I was most inspired when he sent yet another fax the next day:
My dear Indradyumna Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for your fax today. During Vyasa-puja in Mauritius, we were appreciating the importance of friendship in Krsna consciousness. Sharing some thoughts with the devotees, I told them what a great friend you had been, how at first I did not want to initiate disciples, but you insisted I do it for the sake of the mission—and then you made phone calls all over the world to get approval of the GBC members. And then I told them of our eating contest at Sriniketana Prabhu’s house, and how at the end we made a pact that we would all go back home, back to Godhead together. (I hope you remember our agreement and not leave me behind.)
We cannot understand the plan of the Lord. Still we feel very sorry about your accident. At the same time, we are very anxious to have your association next month.
We hope you feel better day by day.