Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Eternal Question

The morning of Los Angeles Rathayatra, Mother Kosha Rupa approached me. "Bhakti, would you like to do an hour in the Question and Answer booth?"

I paused for a moment. LA Rathayatra is one of the largest Rathayatras in North America with outreach to thousands of people. The Question and Answer booth at this particular Rathayatra is an intense experience - crowds of people from Venice Beach flow in and out of the tent in waves and questions are asked that spark fires. In previous years, I've usually just passed by, even a little intimidated by the intensity.

But this Bus Tour is an adventure in surrender. So a smile blossomed on my face and I replied, "Yes, Mother Kosha Rupa, I would love to!"

So after the exhilarating parade down Venice Beach in the hot sun, I wove my way through the crazy crowds to the Q&A tent. I was introduced by the host, Akruranath Prabhu.

Then with a deep breath, I slowly sat down in the hot seat... and looked up to the crowd of people who faced me, their heads cocked with curiosity.

"So," I said. "Does anyone have a question?"

A man towards the back raised his hand. Sternness was written all over his face. He called out, "Why is God so great?"

I took a deep, deep breath. I felt the heat rise to my face. People kept gathering, stopping and crowding around the tent amidst the bustling Venice Beach sidewalks, curious to see what this young girl would say to such a question. I called out to my spiritual master and Prabhupad in the silence.

And then I spoke.

As I unraveled words that I didn't even know I had inside of me, the man's stern face slowly, slowly softened. At last I asked him, "Does that answer your question?"

His expression told me more than his words as he nodded, "Yes, yes it does."

That was just the warm-up question.

"Why is it implied in the Bhagavad Gita that women are less intelligent?"

"Is the Hare Krishna chant the only way to develop love of God?"

"Why have you fallen in love with Krishna?"

After one hour passed and I stepped aside for the next speaker, I felt a little woozy and unsteady on my feet, like I had just stepped off of an amusement park ride. Aaahh!! I had just been given license to dive into mysteries of the soul, existence, love, God, creation, and even the controversies of my faith. And at the times when I wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor, I called out to Srila Prabhupad and Radhanath Swami to please guide me. And the words that came out of my mouth were simply not my own.

I have attended countless Rathayatras over the years. And yet this LA Rathayatra, as I walked away from the tent amidst the bustling festival once again, I felt like I had just tumbled into a new world with fresh eyes.

As a friend of mine shared with me a couple days ago, "Life isn't so much about the answers we get but the questions we live in."

Krishna Consciousness is a question I want to live in forever. 


Mahasundari Madhavi dasi said...

Love it! Isn't it the most exhilirating experience to answer questions? It is also a nerve wrecking feeling! When I have been in situations like this, I always pray to Srila Prabhupada to please ensure that I don't look like a fool because I am representing Srila Prabhupada and the movement.. I am a fool anyway but when I am representing the movement, I have to be first class! And I find that Srila Prabhupada REALLY puts the words into your mouth :)! Thanks for sharing!

Mahavisnupriya dd said...

Very beautifully written! I could easily experience through your eyes the emotions, the doubt in your own ability, the scariness of being on the firing line and the hope that you would get through all of this with confidence still in yourself. And you DID! By relying on Srila Prabhupada and Guru, you were perfectly able to surrender completely. I am thinking of Draupadi in the assembly of men and her surrender so utter and complete and PERFECT! Thank you for posting this. Krsna is calling you to something MORE.

Marie Glasheen- Satvatove Institute said...

Thank you Bhakti for sharing. Beautiful living in the question. Now is the time to inquire. It seems that you connected with a Source of responses.

To write is to dare the soul. So write.