Although we are often encouraged to live in the present and not worry about the future or regret the past, still living in the past is healthy if we enter that space with gratitude.
During the tenth anniversary of ISKCON in 1976, Srila Prabhupada was in New York and when driving from the airport to temple, Srila Prabhupada saw the Brooklyn Bridge from his car window and pointed to the devotees. “I walked here aimlessly with no home and temple and I was all alone then” Srila Prabhupada reminisced, “I used to loiter here and there and went to the shipping company to see when I could return back to India.” Srila Prabhupada then recalled the familiar streets and devotees who frequented his classes. He smiled as he remembered boys who came for his morning talks and those who ate Prasad with the gusto of a youthful appetite – he remembered Straydisha who ate twenty-five chapatis during lunch!
As devotees took Srila Prabhupada on a tour of Manhattan skyscraper that ISKCON now owned, Srila Prabhupada again revisited the past when he had nothing. “I didn’t even have a home to stay, what to speak of temple. And now Krishna has sent so much.” He spontaneously credited Krishna with all success and most importantly he thanked the present team of devotees for their sacrifices and saw them as Krishna’s special emissaries. “When my spiritual master left I was all alone, but now Krishna has sent me so many gurus.” Srila Prabhupada thus considered his own young, enthusiastic disciples as his spiritual masters. He got emotional seeing the beautiful temple and the facilities created, and folded his palms with gratitude, as he spoke, “When I was a young boy, my father loved me very much. He was not a rich man but whatever I wanted, he gave me and by Krishna’s mercy I always got lot of love. Now I am so blessed, Krishna has sent so many fathers in all of you who love me and serve Krishna so nicely.” Srila Prabhupada, in his genuine mood of thankfulness saw his own young, sincere disciples as his gurus and fathers, and he expressed his dependence on their kindness.
To be continued…