Chapter Thirty-Eight


M a y 3 1 – J u n e  3 ,  2 0 0 1


Due to my busy schedule, my disciples have been worshipping my Lakñmé-Nåsiàha Deity for months. Here while on tour they have placed Them on the altar in our temple room. When I do my private morning püjä, I worship my çiläs. But last night I had a dream, so I decided to bring Their Lordships back to my room.

I hesitate to share this dream, because Çréla Prabhupäda has warned that only very advanced devotees can take instructions from the Lord in dreams:

“ . . . one must be a very elevated devotee in order to be able to speak with the Supreme Lord. Sometimes the Lord informs the devotee through dreams. These exchanges between the Deity and the devotee are not understandable by atheists, but actually the devotee enjoys them. (Teachings of Lord Caitanya) However, in a letter to a young disciple, Çréla Prabhupäda states that the Lord may sometimes appear in dreams even to one not so advanced, such as myself. “So far your dreams are concerned, it is very nice that you are thinking about Kåñëa consciousness even while sleeping. Kåñëa is so nice that we want to remember Him even more than twenty-four hours daily . . . Lord Jagannätha is very kind, and He can also appear in mind in His own form, so why not in your dream?” (Letter to Bhaktin Linda, 1970)

That understood, here is my dream:

I dreamt that I was chanting my rounds in a small house in Våndävana when a devotee excitedly approached me with a letter. Not wanting to be distracted by something that was probably not urgent, I asked him who the letter was from. Smiling, he said, “It’s from Lakñmé-Nåsiàha!”

I immediately took the letter and gazed at the beautiful, Sanskritlike handwriting on the envelope: “To Indradyumna Swami.” On the back, in the same ornate hand, was written, “From Lakñmé-Nåsiàha.” I thought, “My gosh, my Deities have written me a letter!”

With great care I tried to open the envelope, but I couldn’t. Bhakti Bhåìga Govinda Mahäräja was with me then. He said, “You’ll have to take it to a sädhu who can help you.”

I walked into the Våndävana forest. Several sädhus were sitting nearby, so I respectfully asked one of them to help me open the letter. He took the envelope soberly and easily opened it. I was less patient: “Your Holiness, what does it say?”

“They want you to worship Them.”

The devotees on the tour are grateful that Lakñmé-Nåsiàha protected them from serious injury the night our festival was attacked. They are also grateful to the many devotees around the world who responded to our plea for funds to hire the professional security team. We have already raised half the amount required to keep the security team with us until mid-August, when Woodstock will signal the end of our summer festival season. Yesterday at an iñöa-goñöhi when I informed the tour devotees how help is pouring in, one boy, his head still swathed in bandages, raised his hand and said with appreciation, “Now I know what Çréla Prabhupäda meant when he said, ‘Your love for me will be tested by how you cooperate among yourselves.’ ”

Yesterday, the biggest newspaper in the region ran a front-page article on the attack with a picture of the twelve-year-old girl who was injured. In big, bold letters it said, “DISGRACE!” and described the incident as religious intolerance. As a result, public response has been extremely favorable. Everywhere we go, people come forward to offer sympathy. Yesterday during our harinäma in Lodz, a motorcycle gang slowed down as they approached us on the road. I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” Suddenly, all the gang members simultaneously gave us the thumbs-up sign and yelled, “Bravo Kåñëa! Bravo Kåñëa!”

Time has moved quickly over these last ten days. It’s been intense. As I sat chanting my rounds yesterday morning, I realized that despite my full-time engagement in devotional service, I had not been remembering the Lord constantly. I feel far from the goal of being able to remember Kåñëa constantly.

sa hänis tan mahac chidraà

sa mohaù sa ca vibhramaù

yan-muhürtaà kñaëaà väpi

väsudevaà na cintayet

“If even a moment’s remembrance of Väsudeva is missed, that is the greatest loss, that is the greatest illusion, and that is the greatest anomaly.”

—Viñëu Puräëa

I pray to come to the stage of being able to remember Kåñëa at every step in life, whether in happiness or distress. As if in response to this prayer, I received a message over the Internet containing the poem of a young girl dying of cancer in a New York hospital. The essence of her poem is that we should take time to be conscious of the nice things around us and not be oblivious to them; our lives are racing by. Although her sentiments deal with the material world, I read into her poem my own desire to remember the Lord and become fully conscious of Him at every moment.

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids

On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain

Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day

On the fly?

When you ask, “How are you?”

Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done

Do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores

Running through your head?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,

“We’ll do it tomorrow”

And in your haste

Not seen his sorrow?

Ever lost touch

Let a good friendship die,

’Cause you never had time

To call and say, “Hi”?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere

You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day

It is like an unopened gift . . .

Thrown away.

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower.

Hear the music

Before the song is over.

For devotees of the Lord, the “music” is contained in the enlightening words of great saints like Çréla Narottama däsa Öhäkura: “O Lord Hari! I have spent my life uselessly. Although I have obtained a rare human birth, I have refused to worship Rädhä and Kåñëa, and in this way I have knowingly drunk poison.” (Prärthanä)

After discovering the girl’s poem, I chanced upon my own notes from my stay in Våndävana last Kärttika. In those pages I was appreciating the calm and peaceful atmosphere of the holy dhäma, so conducive to study and learning. There I wrote of Våndävana’s temples, sädhus, and sacred cows. How far away that all seems from the battlefield on which I now find myself, but I know that desiring to live in Våndävana and preaching in the terrible cities of Kali-yuga are intricately connected. To attain eternal residence in Çré Våndävana-dhäma one has to receive the Lord’s blessings. Preaching, as difficult and dangerous as it can be, is an important way to attain those blessings.

Çréla Prabhupäda writes in his purport to Bhagavad-gétä 11.55, “. . . There are many examples in history of devotees of the Lord who risked their lives for the spreading of God consciousness. . . . Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Kåñëa consciousness, and it is difficult. . . . Now, we can imagine how merciful Kåñëa is to those engaged in His service, risking everything for Him. Therefore it is certain that such persons must reach the supreme planet after leaving the body.”

Surely despite all opposition, if we continue to preach, our budding desire to one day reside in Våndävana will mature, and by Lord Caitanya’s mercy we will gradually become qualified to enter the eternal abode.

yathä yathä gaura padäravinde

vindeta bhaktià kåta punya räçiù

tathä tathotsarpati hådy akasmäd

rädhä padämbhoja sudhambu räçiù

“To the degree that we surrender to Lord Caitanya’s service, to that degree we acquire qualification for the service to Rädhäräëé’s lotus feet in Våndävana.” —Prabodhänanda Sarasvaté