After a month in India, my spiritual vacation is coming to a close. Vrindavana is beautiful, endearing, and we wish we could stay longer and longer. Living here for even a few weeks makes the rest of the world seem like a distant reality. It’s a place where spirituality is naturally woven into the fabric of daily life. Admittedly, however, there were times when I didn’t feel so holy in these sacred surroundings. I wished every day to be a magical experience and amazing revelation, but some days just weren’t. Yet the soul-searching, introspection and awareness of my spiritual deficiencies on those days was rewarding in its own way. As with every spiritual trip, I’m sure I’ll only fully appreciate the extent of these divine gifts once I leave and reflect back on the experience. I hope these sacred impressions will remain etched within the heart, nourishing my enthusiasm for many years to come.
Srila Prabhupada called Vrindavana his home. He lived here for many years in a humble temple which he identified as the “hub of the wheel of the spiritual world”. It’s hard to imagine how, from a remote village so seemingly disconnected from the urban matrix, he singlehandedly masterminded a spiritual revolution which continues to impact mainstream society today. In 1965, he left India as an ambassador of Vrindavana, intent on inviting the whole world back to this most special place. He wanted everyone to experience the magic of Krishna. His unforgettable sacrifice is an unending source of inspiration, and thus we can only hope to do something to assist the realisation of his dream.
This time has been humbling, but simultaneously encouraging. I’m feeling fallen but hopeful. I am becoming more aware of my obstacles, but the ultimate goal is slowly capturing my imagination. I’ve spoken to, observed and heard about the saints, now I’m challenged to renounce my pride, develop that spotless character and follow in their footsteps. I’ve heard hours of insightful lectures and read pages of profound philosophy, now I’m challenged to develop the simplicity and unpretentiousness required to realise that transcendental information. Gratitude for my elders, who performed unthinkable austerities to give us access to such spiritual treasures, has risen to new heights. Now I’m challenged to ‘up the game’ and sacrifice my own easy life to reciprocate with them.
I hope I’ll be granted entrance here again. I hope I’ll come back with a better character. I hope I’ll have some useful report for Srila Prabhupada next time, who may well ask – “what did you do to remind the world about Vrindavana, the eternal home of Krishna?”