Namo om visnu-padayakrsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate dhanurdhara swamin iti namine
Dearest Guru Maharaja,
It is exactly 7 o’clock at night on July 2nd. Tomorrow you will visit our home. On the 4th will be a program which seems to be growing by the minute. I’ve spent the day bhoga shopping with a 3 year old and a 2 year old. I’m so tired, the inside of my face aches. I will probably be up all night preparing for your stay. But I have been thinking about you all day and I know that this is my Vyasa Puja offering. This feeling. This moment. This meditation and service. This love and connection. I have to stop right here and write down my thoughts on the back of this crumbled bhoga list. I have to reach out and grab tight and hold on to this anticipation of your arrival and what it is stirring inside me.
When I came to Krishna consciousness, all of a sudden my material achievements no longer mattered. All I had left were my disqualifications. It was a rather long list. At times it even seemed like the other devotees were reading this list out loud to me with everyone else within earshot.
My services as a new devotee in the Towaco temple included pot washer, floor mopper and toilet scrubber, none of which I did with any prior experience. Morning announcements would often include the head pujari inviting everyone to look around at the temple floor which always, despite my efforts, was abundantly fuzzy with dust bunnies. If the temple room was not cleaned better, I was publicly warned, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai would walk off the altar. Of course, we all knew who would be to blame.
My desire to become humble coupled with my mounting low self esteem quickly morphed into something very unhealthy for my spiritual life: pride in being a fool. From where I was standing, everyone thought I was the greatest idiot. I was determined, toilet brush in hand, to fulfill this prophecy. As the saying goes, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
One day, not too long ago, through your inspiration, I began writing from inside my heart. I wrote about my days at home with my kids. My evenings at the barn with Mother Kaulini. Radha Damodara and cows. Or in other words, my life as it is. I began this exercise knowing very well how miniscule and uninteresting I am but how extraordinary and inspirational Gita Nagari is to the devotees. My desire was to share my experiences of the glories of Gita Nagari and the Dhama’s dearmost servant, Mother Kaulini.
And then, as only Krishna arranges, things began to change.
Relationships with devotees developed and deepened. Appreciation for the devotees swelled in my heart. As reciprocation, my pride in being a fool withered in the face of actively attempting to approach humility. By developing love for the devotees, my love for myself (in relation to Krishna) increased. Simply, I began to feel good about myself for the first time in a decade. Krishna consciousness became a transformative experience of open hearted self expression.
I felt inspiration coming from you as some kind of direction through supersoul manifesting externally as my own impulse to write. And then we spoke about writing. Just a little. But from this short conversation I realized what had occurred to affect such a change in my consciousness and in my heart.
What happened was someone had shown some faith in me. I have no special abilities. I am, essentially, the same person I was 10 years ago when I joined, unable to properly mop a floor or clean a toilet. What I lacked was the empowerment achieved by getting the mercy of an empowered devotee.
After years of wilting in the too strong sun of rules and regulations, finger pointing and fault finding and judgemental Manichean conceptions of good devotee/bad devotee, my self esteem, dessicated and cracked, has been rejuvinated by the wellspring of your association. I cannot even begin to tell you what this means to me.
With true realization of the word “gratitude,”