Vraja Bihari Das

Adjustments in Jail The jail authorities inflicted on Mr. Singh a combination of miseries, ranging from breaking stones and cleaning public toilets, to mental torture to elicit confessions that suited their interests. In the jail of the material world, we face the miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease, as well as troubles caused by nature, other living beings, and our own body and mind. In the prison of the material world we make desperate adjustments to forget the unfailing harassment by the material energy. Karamjit Singh’s conversion to Islam was his desperate attempt to please his captors. That saved his life but didn’t give him freedom. Similarly the living entity takes on different designations and possessions to be happy in this world. We identify ourselves with our external designations: Indian, American, wealthy, beautiful, and so on. Despite the external change of his religious faith, Mr. Singh wasn’t happy. Similarly the living entity feels incomplete despite many adjustments on the bodily platform. A fish out of water can’t be satisfied with the best iPod, succulent cakes, or designer outfits. He’s desperate to be back in water. Likewise, exciting relationships, attractive cinemas, and promising careers may lure the living entity trapped in the human body, but the heart always hankers for more than what the body can offer. The living entity’s “water” is the spiritual world, where he renders uninterrupted service to his beloved, Lord Krishna. This loving service to Krishna and His devotees is the most natural position of freedom for the soul. Srila Prabhupada writes, “When a living entity gives up this material embodiment and enters into the spiritual world, he revives his spiritual body, and in his spiritual body he can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. He can hear and speak to Him face to face, and he can understand the Supreme Personality as He is.” (Bhagavad-gita 15.7, Purport) Freedom Within the Prison Karamjit Singh was enticed with false hopes of freedom. He cried alone, remembering his loving family and friends, hoping against hope for freedom. He found relief and happiness only on returning home. A devotee practicing Krishna consciousness, however, needn’t wait to go back to the spiritual world to gain freedom and relief from suffering. Even within this world, remembering Krishna through the daily chanting of His holy names gives the experience of the spiritual world, and the freedom that comes with it. The joy of this spiritual path transcends bodily miseries and happiness. Looking back at that traumatic phase of his life, Karamjit Singh is glad it’s over. “I wish to forget the whole episode as if it were a bad dream.” Our nightmare in this world ends when we connect to Krishna and His devotees. A devotee regrets his decision to leave Krishna. Yet he’s happy to be reconnected and gratefully grabs on to the process of Krishna consciousness and associates with Krishna’s loving devotees. The practices of chanting Krishna’s names, dancing in joy, hearing Krishna’s pastimes, and feasting on Krishna’s prasadam create Goloka Vrindavana even within the fortress of the material world. Krishna Is Waiting When I met with the children of our congregation the following Sunday, I related to them the Singh story. Kiran was quick to catch the resemblance. “But for us it’s not just thirty-five years,” he said. “We’ve been away for ages. It’s time we get back home. Krishna is waiting, isn’t He?” Yes indeed. Krishna is waiting for all of us.]]>

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