Challenged

Today I remembered Srila Prabhupada. Today I felt challenged. Dear Srila Prabhupada, I’m challenged to overcome my weakness. You were unrelentingly attacked from all sides – critical journalists, irate parents, pretentious followers, fault-finding contemporaries and unappreciative officials. A barrage of negativity directed towards a selfless sadhu who only desired the greatest good for everyone. Unfazed…

A Final Lesson

Its 10.30pm. I’m leaving Vrindavana in an hour, going by taxi to Delhi airport. Gathering my thoughts and making my last prayers. There’s a frantic knock on the door. As I open it, a humble but emphatic request shoots through: “please let me feed you!” It’s the middle-aged South Indian devotee who stays across the…

Hall of Fame

Vrindavana is like a hall of fame. Everywhere you turn there are stories, landmarks and temples commemorating the saintly people who lived here. Ironically, they never wanted any fame. In fact, they actively avoided it – unassumingly absorbed in their daily devotion, quietly dedicating every moment of their time to forging a deep spiritual connection….

Discovering Discomfort

Whether it’s the coldest pre-dawn hours of winter, or the staggering heat of May and June, the external conditions here are far from perfect. Along with the climatic attacks, there is noise, pollution, decrepit infrastructure… whatever you do and however you try, Vrindavana inevitably ushers you into some level of austerity. When hardships come, however,…

Open Doors Open Hearts

Vrindavana has an open door policy. Just take a stroll around the village lanes and someone will invite you in for a meal somewhere. It’s happened to me three days in a row so far. In bygone ages, householders would loudly call for any hungry person in the vicinity before taking their own lunch. Such…

Nowhere to Hide

Back in Vrindavana by some good fortune. It’s a relief, an inspiration, but simultaneously a daunting challenge as well. Here there’s no other business, save and except cultivating a deeper spiritual connection. All the space and time in the world and not an excuse in sight. Back in London I can hide behind day-to-day responsibilities,…

As Sure As

Life is like a game of chess – whether you’re the king, queen or pawn, at the end of the game everyone ends up in the box. Unless, of course, you get cremated. Morbid? Depressing? Dark? Though discussions on death are not usually number one on our conversation list, I was invited to the Southbank…