How I came to Krishna consiousness
It was year 1995 when I had started my first clinic in Kalyan. In the initial period of practice any doctor has lot of free time. Since begning I am a book-lover, & wanted to read something. Then I discovered that there is a copy of Bhagavad-gita in the house. My father had received it in Dadar, during free book distribution by someone. It was lying in the house “As it is” since 2-3 years. My father referred it occasionally as he was giving ‘Kirtan’ examinations. I don’t know why but I felt B.G. is our dharmagranth. I should at least know that what is there in it. So let me read this since I had lot of time then. Sitting in my newly established clinic, waiting for the patients, I started reading B.G. Slowly I started getting absorbed in it. I was going slow but in detail. I was very much impressed by it. My family since generations was non-vegetarian. But after reading I started feeling bad about it. I decided to cut down on it in steps. I was extremely fond of non-veg. I could never imagine ‘a Sunday without chicken’ But by Krishna’s mercy & Prabhupad’s blessings I left chicken. My mother was very upset at this, as her daughter was not following healthy diet pattern according to her. But I continued for 6-8 months. I was 25 years of age that time. My parents were trying hard since 2-3 years to find a proper groom for me. Somehow it was not clicking without any specific problem. Meanwhile I went on reading B.G. , When I reached till 7th or 8th chapter, my marriage got fixed. People may laugh at it but I attributed this also to my reading of B.G. As a typical Maharastrian fly, Ganesh-bhakti was in our genes. I was not the exception. To the extent that when my parents had taken me about a year back to one of the astrologer, On entering I saw a big picture of Krishna & Arjuna on ratha before Kurukshetra war, I prayed in mind that this person should not tell me do any devotional activity which is for Krishna even though he is believing in Krishna. Whatever It is I will do only for ‘Ganesha’. But reading of B.G. slowly started changing my fixed mind set. Yes from that time I started liking Krishna. I started developing faith in Krishna. Till the time my marriage got fixed ,place of Ganesha was completely replaced by Krishna in my mind. It is the custom that first marriage invitation card is offered to the lord in temple. I was not having courage to go against my family to tell that “I want to give first card to lord Krishna, & no one else.” So without anybody’s knowledge in the house I took one invitation card ,wrote name of Krishna on it & offered it to him in house only. That card I kept inside my locker so that nobody should come to know about it.
Krishna had entered my heart already but there was no association, no conducive atmosphere. I had not visited any ISKCON temple. My whole faith was in very much primitive & liquid phase. When I went with my to be husband & in laws first time for marriage shopping, they all ordered chicken. I was in very much awkward position, as everybody was new. I had not declared that time that I don’t take ‘chicken’. I was not smart enough to avoid it tactfully. So I started eating it again unwillingly. My mother was happy.
About a year passed after marriage. I was trying to adjust in new family, among new people.But somehow I stopped reading B.G.I had read 9 chapters till than. I slipped into Ganesh-bhakti again due to influence of my new fly. Krishna became dormant. That was the biggest misfortune of my life. I faced lot difficulties & interpersonal problems during that new phase after marriage. But still I didn’t remember Krishna. Irony of the situation was we were staying 15 min walking distance from Chowpaty temple, but as we were not knowing, we never visited there in our 3 years stay in Girgaon. As the time passed My son was born. When he was 2 month old we got a biggest jolt- “He was diagnosed as having hole in heart & had to be operated for that.” I was in a big shock. When He was 1.5 year we had to shift to Hyderabad as my husband was transferred there. After going there first time I had to manage whole house & a small kid in a atmosphere where people ,atmosphere everything was new. It was difficult to communicate with most of the people there due to language problem. 2 months after going there we decided to operate upon our son. As that was the correct time as per medical advice. Surgery was done in Chennai, in October 1998 under the expert team of world famous Doctor- Dr.Cherion. Myself my husband & my brother we went to Chennai along with my son. My parents were going to join 4 days later. But for the convenience of doctors surgery got prepend by 2 days. So when my parents who were to reach before surgery, were in train at the time of surgery. I must have done thousands of namajapa BUT of ‘Ganesha’ during surgery. I had to pass through lot of emotional trauma before surgery ,in pre –operative period, but I kept my balance feeling that we have to pass through this , if we have to get him cured. As a policy , of that missionary hospital one of the ‘Father’ came to meet us previous night of surgery.He tried to explain potential dangers of whole situation. How life & death is in hands of superpower. But I was not in the mood to listen to that. I didn’t want to listen to any negative thought. Surgery went on smoothly next day. Post-operatively he was in ICU. Many parents like us used to wait in a waiting lounge. There people used to admire our son as he was very beautiful. 16 hours after operation situation changed, his BP started going down. Doctors again took him to operation theater, opened him , tried to stimulate the heart directly. But when it was not showing much desired results , we were informed- that’ case is not in there hand. ‘We can see him once as he was extremely critical.’ That was 4.30am .I started calling out for Ganesha so intensely, which I had never done before. BUT IT WAS MY BIGGEST MISFORTUNE , THAT ONCE ALSO I DIDN’T REMEMBER ‘KRISHNA’ WHOM I HAD STARTED LIKING BEFORE MARRIAGE. At 9.30 am my son left the body. Post that we had to undergo lot of procedures, & permission to shift the body from Chennai to Mumbai. My parents were to reach at 11.00pm to Chennai. There were no mobile phones to inform them about actuality. So my Younger brother waited in Chennai for them, & my husband ,myself along with body of our son we flew to Mumbai in the evening. After reaching to Mumbai again we had to undergo many permission sessions as the body was coming from other state. My parents & brother were to reach Mumbai earliest by 9.00am next day, It was 8.30 pm previous night . So instead of keeping the body so long in home , we kept in Nair Hospitals mortuary.
Night was terrible. I was not understanding ‘How will I face body of my son???’ In that intense agonizing phase Krishna showered his mercy on me. I picked up ‘The Bhagavad-gita’ again. I could get a small book , which had only shlokas & its meanings. From early in the morning around 4.30am I started reading . Again I got absorbed in that. Till 9.30am when my sons body was brought to home I had read again 9 -10 chapters. Believe me or not but due to Krishnas causeless mercy I could face the whole thing , without a drop of tear. I was trying to pacify my parents, husband, mother-in-law. That all courage with knowledge came from words of Krishna-‘Bhagavad-gita.’
After this journey really started. Myself& my husband we went back to Hyderabad. I had not started working then. There was a big vacuum in my life without my son & whole day was empty. During that period I read complete Bhagavad-gita by Shrila Prabhupada in detail. I read almost all small books of Shrila Prabhupada. I read ‘Dyaneshwari’ & listened to many kirtans from ‘warkari’ group. I started reading ‘Back To Godhead ‘ very religiously. Still there was no association. 2-3 times we had visited ISKCON temple in Hyderabad. We had left non-veg completely, since the death of our son. My husband had turned completely against any god. Frame of ‘Ganapati’ in our alter which we used to worship daily, I left it in one of the temple. Slowly the place was replaced by frame of ‘Shri Shri Radha-Rasbihariji’. I used to read one chapter of B.G. daily , which I continued for 5-6 years till I started doing 16 rounds of ‘japa’.Whenever we used to visit Mumbai we used to visit ISKCON Juhu temple for darshan, & used to buy some books. I used to finish reading those books till next visit & then used to buy some other books. This continued for 4 years. Till then also I was not knowing About Shri Shri Radha Gopinath temple which was so near to our house. Our daughter ‘Vaishnavi’ was born 1.5 yr. after my sons death. When she was 3 years old we shifted from Hyderabad to Gurgaon near Delhi.
3-4 months after settling in Gurgaon , I wrote a letter to editor of Back To Godhead. Since long time I was very much impressed by teachings in ISKCON by reading books. I was very geniunly feeling that all this knowledge should be taught to children from very early age. The letter was regarding request & inquiry about that. One day when I was sitting in my clinic , I got a call from H.G.MadanGopal Prabhuji from Chowpaty temple. It was about the letter ,& he then suggested that I should write to him directly whenever I want, regarding any spiritual querries’ was extremely excited that someone from ISKCON had called me. I didn’t realize that time ‘That was the real beginning of our spiritual life’ as we had got the ‘Association’. He called us intermittently. He searched for preaching activities in Gurgaon, gave us those phone numbers, advised to visit those devotees. Then we visited House of H.G. Achuathari Prabhu & H.G.Anirudhpriya Mataji in Gurgaon. They informed us that every Sunday B..G. class is held in devotees house. They invited us for that. During the same period we attended Jagganath Rath yatra in Gurgaon.We liked it very much. Slowly we started attending classes once a month which gradually increased to every Sunday. & a stage came where without ‘Sunday class’ there was no meaning to Sunday. H.G. MadanGopal Prabhuji was in touch, used to kindly inquire about our spiritual progress. I had written lot of queries about readings which I had done in past, hoping that some day I will find someone to understand those. I used to write big letters to H.G. MadanGopal Prabhuji about those doubts. He also patiently used to explain all things in letters. That helped me to progress as the blocks in my mind were removed about various things. My nature is ‘ Not to accept anything blindly unless I understand the need & importance of anything properly.’ Became asset to me in spiritual progress. In that period when I was new in this divine world, I have taken lot of time of many senior devotees to understand things in detail. ‘Why & How’ of various things. I am grateful to all of them today.
Once 7-8 devotees from Chowpatty temple had come to Gurgaon for preaching. I got the seva of making arrangements for their stay. They honored prasad in our house one night. I discussed with them ‘Why & How’ of leaving some vegetarian items like onion & garlic in diet. They explained in detail. After that me & my husband decided to follow that in house for one month as experiment. We were not sure we will be able to prepare & enjoy food like that as in my lifetime I had never seen tasty vegetable prepared without onion. But by Krishna’s mercy & Prabhupada’s blessings that milestone in spiritual life we passed comfortably. Slowly we could get rid of tea & coffee also. By then we had also started chanting few rounds. But that time I could never even dream that one day I will be able to chant 16 round daily.
But regular association, involvement in different sevas, ‘hearing’ of various lectures which I was very much fond of, helped us. By Inspiration from senior devotees ,I felt yes , at least we can aim of becoming 16 rounder. It so happened that my husband H.G. Madhavhari Prabhu who started chanting much later than me , started doing 16 rounds before me. So for me it became a competition. I Also worked on it & started doing 16 rounds. Gradually after 3-4 year. most mercifully we were accepted as disciple by our beloved Guru Maharaj H.H.Lokanath Swami Maharaj & the journey is still continuing, exploring the ways to improve & evolve our self as a better devotees.
Our coming into Krishna consciousness had very gradual & Insidious beginning. But now it feels very nice ‘to be a part of Shrila Prabhupadas big family.’ Krishna consciousness is a touchstone which can change anybody’s life from a fallen & sinful state to a golden existence of ‘purity, faith & loving devotion to Shri Shri Radha & Krishna’. I pray to dust of all vaishnava’s feet that “Let the mercy of Shrila Prabhupada flow on us forever. May we get the capacity by mercy of Srimati Radharani & Krishna to carry out our role as a tiny insignificant soldier in Prabhupada’s big spiritual army.”