The Greatest Good Fortune

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to you.

Lately, I have been reflecting on my good fortune in meeting your divine grace. Sastra tells us we have been languishing in material existence for countless millennia. I made a rough calculation for how long we in this present age have been around and found it pretty scary. We learn from the Bhagavatam that we jivas are injected into the creation at the beginning of Brahma’s life. He is now in his fifty-first year and just one of his days is 1000 divya yugas, or cycles of the four ages. His night is the same. There are 360 days in each of his years, so 50 times that, which is 18,000, times 4.32 million (one divya yuga) times two and here we are, 150 trillion years later, assuming that this is our first creation, which is by no means certain. That is an awful lot of stubbornness, of determinedly trying to satisfy the insatiable senses.

It does not bear thinking about all the different species we have passed through, utterly forgetful of our divine nature. You have opened our eyes to the ghastly reality of this world. Just recently I have seen a centipede writhing about in the earth with dozens of ants biting it all over its body, a fox with a bug-eyed rabbit hanging from its mouth, a hawk swooping down to catch a sparrow in its talons, a mouse frozen in terror as a cat batted it about for the sheer fun of it. That’s just a small snippet of the delights the material energy has on offer. We have been all those tormented creatures and millions more, and we have the samskaras to prove it, no doubt a large part of the reason we are here today worshipping your lotus feet.

Now we are in Bharata varsha, karma bhumi, the junction where we decide our next destination in the great phantasmagoria of material existence. Here too the miseries are meted out very nicely by Maya. Especially in this dark and dismal age, when Durga shows us the full glories of her house of horrors. War, disease, hunger, all kinds of anxiety, and finally death, of our loved ones and then ourselves.

These are the hard truths you have shown us, Srila Prabhupada. As you pointed out, so-called material happiness is really nothing more than a momentary respite from the pain. Even if we somehow make it to some heavenly region, that too will end, and we will soon find ourselves again grappling with the implacable monster of material misery.

How fortunate then that we found you and have heard your urgent, heartfelt plea to us not to waste any more time futilely chasing the mirage of worldly happiness. Your powerful messages cannot be ignored. Out of your boundless compassion and kindness, you gave us your books, exhorting us to read them daily, to study them systematically, from ‘different angles’, threadbare, deeply discussing them among ourselves. We cannot afford to neglect this instruction. Your books are our passport to freedom, to the real joy and love we seek. But we must hear from them continually. How quickly we forget the truths you are telling us when we stop hearing from you. Maya steps in to cover what little intelligence we have; slaps us down again and we fall back into complete illusion, thinking that some material adjustment will resolve our endless dilemmas. Politics, sociology, philanthropy, economic development and a whole slew of so-called solutions entice us, all of them simply entangling us further in suffering. Captured by these vain notions, we speak all sorts of nonsense, which you compared to the croaking of frogs, which does nothing more than call the snake of death closer.

Thank God you came, Srila Prabhupada, and smashed our madness. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude. If you had not come here to rescue us, I would certainly have soon been once more associating with my old friends, the fierce custodians of hell, again suffering the horrifying results of my ignorance.

But, by your fathomless grace, I am standing here to offer my heartfelt thanks and my prayers that you allow me to remain at your feet. I have no clue how I became so fortunate. Mulishly attached to my senses, I have zero qualifications and cannot offer anything of value in return. Dear Srila Prabhupada, please give me a taste and attraction for hearing the divine messages inculcated throughout your books. Free me from my insane belief that I can ever find happiness through the medium of my material senses. I have faith that if I go on hearing from you and try my best to share your brilliantly illuminating words with others, then something will eventually change in me. The great gordian knot of my worldly attachment will slacken and some good sense will dawn. Until then, I can only beg that you be patient and continue to bestow your causeless mercy.

I remain your ever indebted servant.

Krishna dharma das