Alone but not lonely

“I couldn’t understand the difference between friends and enemies. My friend was shocked to hear that I was moving go the Bowery, but although I passed through many dangers, I never thought that “This is danger.” Everywhere I thought, “This is my home.”

-Srila Prabhupada in a conversation

Prabhupada-arrival-in-usa-by-aladutaToday is the 48th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in USA. As I was offering prayers, a nice realization filled my heart; Srila Prabhupada was alone but not lonely.

As I have crossed my 40th year in this body, I have begun to hear, understand and appreciate the problems of ‘mid-life’crises amongst people in general. Many in their middle ages start feeling lonely and wonder if they have taken right decisions in life. They begin to question their decision, made over two decades ago, of having chosen a particular career or profession, or a particular spouse, and they wonder if life would have been happier had they made a different choice.

As a preacher/counsellor, I meet many who are disappointed in life and desperately need emotional healing. Most emotional problems in life originate in feeling a lack of deep, fulfilling relationship and a desperate want for a loving companion.

Even in our temple which is over flooded with thousands of devotees, it’s possible to feel lonely; I know a few devotees who have felt lonely at some point of time in life. Besides, I myself when I stay at Borivalli for a few days in a week to write my articles, or when I travel for my preaching services, I feel lonely and am desperate to come back to temple. My three day stay outside temple is very challenging and after the second day, I am literally choked up, and desperate to run back to the temple.

Contrast this reality of ‘loneliness’ amidst the burgeoning population everywhere in this world, with what SrilaPrabhupada had to encounter in his life of preaching.

Even before he arrived in the USA he was all alone; but never lonely. Being deeply united with Krishna and meditating on his spiritual master’s instructions, he single handedly preached, braving the extreme weather in Delhi; once he even collapsed on the ground due to a heavy sun stroke. He struggled all alone, and faced repeated setbacks in India.

Then, he attempted something unprecedented; he decided to go to USA and preach the message of Lord ChaitanyaMahaprabhu. He left not just Vrindavan, but the land of India. There were no devotees then in USA, and the weather much harsher than Delhi. He had absolutely no help. But he had Krishna, and although repeated disappointments confronted him, he wasn’t dissuaded. As he himself wrote to TirthaMaharaj, in response to a letter, “It is not very encouraging, still I’m not a man to be disappointed.”

Today I was reflecting that Srila Prabhupada made a big sacrifice of leaving Seva Kunja, Vrindavan, to carry out the order of his spiritual master.

In one lecture in New York during his initial days, Srila Prabhupada said,

“Here I am now sitting in New York, the world’s greatest city, such a magnificent city, but my heart is always hankering after that Vrindavan. I shall be very happy to return to my Vrindavan, that sacred place. But then, “Why are you here?” Now, because it is my duty. I have brought some message for you people. Because I have been ordered by my superior, my spiritual master: “Whatever you have learned, you should go to the Western countries, and you must distribute this knowledge.” So in spite of all my difficulties, all my inconveniences, I am here. Because I am obligated by duty.

Meditating on Srila Prabhupada’s sacrifice let me at least leave some silly, material distractions of my life for service to his mission. I know it’s easier said than done, but Krishna sees the intention more than anything else. Let me meditate today on how I can also please Srila Prabhupada in his service to his spiritual master, by not complaining about how devotees don’t understand me. Let me rise above the petty squabbles in life, and focus on making some sacrifice to please guru and Krishna.

Thank you Srila Prabhupada for giving us the precious gift of Krishna consciousness.

Comments (2)

  1. One question always haunts me is why all spiritual leaders have their Ashrams/Temples/religious places all over the world(including ISKON)like Sri Sri,Brahma Kumari, Baba Ramdev, etc. etc. when there is so much un-awareness,poverty etc. etc. in our motherland India. Why they all spend so much of money in building up their temples etc. as so much of huge fund can very well be utilised for the 30% of our poor Indians and the religious leaders’ talent can be used by preaching among the masses in villages of our poor country instead of their going all over the world. Why why why? I just do not understand this. In this article also Srila Prabhupada wrote that he went to USA as per orders of his superiors but his heart was at Vrindavan. I once read that there are about more than 150 centres of Brahmakumaris all over the world. I dont understand why why? Why not more such centres in India .. in the remotest villages of India.

    • With lots of regards thank you prabhuji for the reply.But my concern for all religious leaders is – something is required to spread the knowledge of spirituality to the remotest villages( I hail from a small village ) by all the religious leaders – yes there is one such preaching by one group of Swadhyay people in my village. When I go to my village next I will certainly
      preach about ISKCON. Also my concern again as mentioned in my mail is about huge funds spent in other countries (other than ISKCON)which can very well be diverted to our poor India. I very well know that we are all helpless in this matter as nothing can be done – but this is just my concern and can be of many millions of Indians. Prabhuji in this bizarre world we(I) find very very very few people desiring to know about GOD(spirituality). I just wish to express my views from my day-to-day experience…I am a member of one club of senior citizens (run by one philanthropist) just near my residence – where I go daily just to meet Sr.citizen friends but I hardly find any spiritually inclined person (there is only one such person whom I have requested several times to atleast come once with me to attend your lecture – but even he also(although he is a spiritually inclined) does not heed to my request. Prabhuji pl do not get bored of my long essay(my daughter just tells me not write such essays to Prabhuji as u may not be having so much of time to read such things). In my retired job(I was a Sr BM in LIC) I was required to send many letters/e-mails etc. to parties/customers and hence just can not write anything in short as I am in the habit of expressing my self fully about the things and hence such a long comment. Pl forgive me if I have taken your valuable for reading this. Henceforward my comments, if any, will be very very short.

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