Saturday, February 23, 2008


I sit here in the "Business Lounge" of a very classy, expensive hotel in Tampa for an Honors conference and it's quite late. Yet yesterday I experienced something that I immediately wanted to share on this blog.

So we were driving down here in a fancy SUV (four of us) and as the other girls engaged in conversation, I realized I wanted to be quiet and have my own space. So I put in my earphones and flipped to a lecture by Radhanath Swami in England. Now, I find this amazing that a class that he had given six or seven years ago, in another country across the ocean, was suddenly present, right there, in the car, driving along I-75. Feeling exhausted from the week, I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes.

And I was there. The lecture seemed to take place right when the curtains opened for Sayana Arati (the late evening darshan). A muted conch blew and a softened bell rang in the background. I imagined that all was dark outside and only the light from the altar illuminated Maharaj on the vyasasan and sincere, listening faces of the devotees. Maharaj was so relaxed, the devotees present so receptive. I envisioned myself sitting amongst them, watching Maharaj's expression as he told a joke or related a crucial element of Krishna consciousness - chanting. I laughed when everyone else laughed, and I got serious when I felt the mood shift in the silence.

After awhile, I opened my eyes to see clouds sliding by.

Since being here at this conference, I feel so like... well, how sometimes in our philosophy that the material world is like the reflection in a lake: distorted, unreal, and upside-down. The reality are the trees on the banks - the spiritual world. I feel like I'm in a bit of a fake, distorted world, and relating with this conference, all the students here want to make an impact on it... maybe by causing a couple ripples in the lake. But how long - ultimately - do those ripples last? What is true, lasting knowledge?

Although I wasn't physically present when Maharaj spoke his class in London, in every sense of the word... I was there. Forget the SUV... I was in the presence of Radha Gokulananda, Radhanath Swami, and the sincere devotees present.

What was the real experience - the car, or the class?

1 comment:

madhavi said...

i have had that experience so many times too! Especially when I am listening to a lecture while traveling, when my journey gets over, its takes me a while to realize where I was. When you hear the words of pure souls speaking about great things, time stops literally. Its a very powerful force. Wonderful thoughts expressed again Bhakti :-) !

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