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Volume 3 Chapter 38
May 31 - June 3, 2001

Diary of a Traveling Preacher

For many months, due to my busy schedule, my disciples have been worshipping my Laksmi-Nrsimha Deity. Here on the tour they placed Them on the altar in our temple room while upstairs, in my room, I have been doing puja to a few of my salagrams. However, after a dream I had last night, I brought Their Lordships back to my room.

I hesitate to share the dream, because Srila Prabhupada 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]

In a letter to a young disciple, Srila Prabhupada states, however, that the Lord may sometimes appear in dreams even to one not so advanced, as myself:

"So far your dreams are concerned, it is very nice that you are thinking about Krsna consciousness even while sleeping. Krsna is so nice that we want to remember Him even more than twenty-four hours daily . . . Lord Jagannatha is very kind, and He can also appear in mind in His own form, so why not in your dream?" [Letter to Bhaktin Linda - February 19, 1970]

I dreamt I was chanting my rounds in a small house in Vrindavan, when a devotee approached me excitedly with a letter. Not wanting to be distracted unless it was urgent, I asked him from whom the letter came. Looking at me with a smile on his face, he replied, "It's from from Laksmi-Nrsimha!"

I immediately took the letter and gazed at the beautiful Sanskrit-like handwriting on the cover. It said: "To Indradyumna Swami." On the back, in the same ornate lettering, was written, "From Laksmi-Nrsimha."
I thought, "My gosh. My Deities have written me a letter!"

With great care and attention I tried to open the envelope, but was unable to do so. Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaja was present and said to me, "You'll have to take it to a sadhu who can help you."

So I walked into the Vrindavan forest where several sadhus were sitting, and respectfully asked one if he would help me open the letter. In a sober mood, he took the envelope and easily opened it. Impatient, I asked, "Your Holiness, what does it say?"

Looking up at me he replied, "They want you to worship Them." 

All the devotees on the tour are grateful that Laksmi-Nrsimha 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 capital to hire the professional security team that now guards each of our programs. Half the amount of laksmi required to keep the security team with us until mid August, when our festivals end, has been raised. Yesterday at istagosthi, when I informed the members of the tour how help is coming in, one boy, his head still swathed in bandages, raised his hand and said in appreciation, "Now I know what Srila Prabhupada meant when he said 'your love for me will be tested by how you cooperate amongst yourselves.' "

Yesterday, the biggest newspaper in the region ran a front-page article on the attack with a picture of the 12-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 and offer us words of sympathy. Yesterday on harinama in Loch, a motorcycle gang slowed down as they approached us on the road. I thought, "Oh no, here we go again," when suddenly all the gang members simultaneously gave us the thumbs-up signal and started yelling, "Bravo Krishna! Bravo Krishna!"

During the last 10 days, time has flown by due to the intensity of events. Yesterday morning, as I sat chanting my rounds, I had the realization that despite the fact that I was busily engaged in full-time devotional service these past days, my remembrance of the Lord was flickering. I lamented, feeling far from the goal of being able to remember Krsna constantly.
sa hanis tan mahacchidram
sa mohah sa ca vibhramah
yan muhurtamksanam vapi
vasudevam na cintayet

"If even a moment's remembrance of Vasudeva is missed, that is the greatest loss, that is the greatest illusion, and that is the greatest anomaly." [Visnu Purna]

I prayed to come to the stage of being able to remember Krsna at every step in life, either in happiness or distress. As if in response to my prayer, later that day on the Internet I chanced upon the poem of a little girl dying of cancer in a New York hospital. The essence of her poem was that we should take time to be conscious of the nice things around us and not be oblivious to them as life races 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 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 Narottam das Thakur: "O Lord Hari! I have spent my life uselessly. Although I have obtained a rare human birth, I have refused to worship Radha and Krsna, and in this way I have knowingly drunk poison." [ Prarthana ]

After discovering the girl's poem, I chanced upon my own notes from my stay in Vrindavan last Kartika. In those pages I was appreciating the calm and peaceful atmosphere of the holy dhama, so conducive to study and learning. There I wrote of Vrindavan's temples, sadhus and sacred cows. How far away that all seems from the battlefield I'm on now - but I know that desiring to live in Vrindavan and preaching in the terrible cities of Kali-yuga are intricately connected. To attain eternal residence in Sri Vrindavan Dhama one has to get the blessings of the Lord, and preaching, as difficult and dangerous as it can be, is an important factor in that calculation.

". . . 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 Krsna consciousness, and it is difficult. . . Now, we can imagine how merciful Krsna 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." [Bhagavad-gita 11.55, purport]

Surely, despite all opposition, if we continue preaching our budding desire to one day reside in Vrindavan will mature, and by the mercy of Lord Caitanya we'll gradually become qualified to enter that eternal abode.

yatha yatha gaura padaravinde
vindeta bhaktim krta punya rasih
tatha tathotsarpati hrdy akasmad
radha padambhoja sudhambu rasih

"To the degree that we surrender to Lord Caitanya's service, to that degree we acquire qualification for the service of Radharani's lotus feet in Vrindavan." [Prabodhananda Sarasvati]