It is Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, a great day to do service for Srila Prabhupada.I was alone at Lepoglava, the devotees could not accompany me.
Even though I arrived 15 minutes before the beginning of the program, I waited a long time for the guard to come to take me to where the program was to be held. Like last time, the guard could not find the key to a door. The program was delayed another 20 minutes
Seven anxious inmates were waiting for me and showed no approval for my being late. The guard left, insisting I was not allowed more than one hour.
Two of the inmates got up very shortly and excused themselves, saying that they had a doctor’s appointment. I invited them for the next program and said “Hare Krishna”. One of the inmates quickly responded: Hare Krishna!
I kindly asked the inmates to join in with the bhajans as a rhythm section. I gave a pair of karatals to one inmate who was trying to keep the rhythm. Since he was not very successful , the guard rushed into the room observing what was going on. The karatals found their way into the hands of another inmate, who gave them to a third, who was able to hold the rhythm with some success.
I started the lecture with the story of a wealthy merchant who had four wives. The merchant became terminally ill, he then asked his wives which one of them would go with him when he died. Each of the four wives represented something. The fourth wife, whom the king loved most, represents the body we need to leave behind once we die. The third wife represents our possessions, wealth and position. The second wife represents our family and friends who can stay with us, up to the grave. The first wife, whom the king neglected the most, although she was the most faithful to him, represents Krsna. It is Krsna, whom we neglect the most and nourish the least. The inmates were listening to the story with great interest, without blinking an eye.
I spoke about the material creation and the material elements which build up the material world, about our body, gross and subtle. I spoke of a higher, spiritual energy of the Lord and of the lower, material energy. We should nourish our soul with the Holy Name. It should be in contact with the Lord. This is what will keep us alive and happy.
The guard entered the room once again, asking us to bring the program to an end. But I protested, saying that we had not started on time, which made the inmates smile with content.
I ended the lecture with a couple of words on Krsna’s Appearance Day, which was celebrated a day earlier worldwide, and about Srila Prabhupada, our Founder Acarya, whose Appearance was on this day.
There were questions. I remember two of them:
– You also need material things in life, like an apartment or a house, money also. How can that be compatible with spirituality?
– What kind of meditation do you do?
I closed the program with announcing our next program at which His Holiness Candramauli Swami would be present, and one of the inmates added that he is a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada.
All of us at the program received so much mercy from Srila Prabhupada. I can still remember that mercy in the form of the gift of speech. Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
Your servant Dharma-vatsalah das