Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
Few months back my younger daughter Mahika was in hospital for Malaria treatment. It was the third day in the hospital and doctors were still struggling to find out the exact malaria strain to confirm the necessary medicines. Fever had gone high. Paracetamol and icepacks were the only material solutions at that time on which we were relying. We were very sad and morose due to the slow effect of the measures taken by the doctors. Our beloved god brother HG Govardhan Prabhuji visited the hospital and after initial greetings, first thing he asked me was why Krishna’s photograph is not in the room? Have you recited Narsimha Kavacha? I had no alternative but to look down at my toes. He recited the Narasimha Kavacha there with us and also we chanted few rounds of Japa. That was the eye opener. I immediately rushed home, brought the Prabhupada chanting box, a copy of Bhagavad Gita and a photograph of Krishna. The fever was down within 2 hours and from that day onwards there was no fever. Doctors found the stain on next day morning and started routine dose of quinine. Mahika was fit to leave hospital in next 2 days time. When I shared my experience with HG Devakinandan Prabhuji, his first comment was “This is the power of the association of devotees”.
If we think with a purely material point of view, it is impossible to understand the wonders that the devotee can do to others. In purport of the verse in Srimad Bhagavatam 4.30.34, Srila Prabhupada confirms the importance of association of devotees and enlightens us on behavior of a devotee.
“A pure devotee considers a moment's association with another pure devotee to be far superior to residing in a heavenly planet or merging in the Brahman effulgence. The topmost benediction for those who are living in this material world and are subjected to the repetition of birth and death (transmigration) is association with pure devotees. One should search out such pure devotees and remain with them. That will make one completely happy, even though living within the material world. This Krsna consciousness movement is started for that purpose. A person who is overly affected materially may take advantage of this movement and become intimately associated with it. In this way the confused and frustrated inhabitants of this material world may find the highest happiness in association with devotees.”
During one of the discourses, one Mataji who had been attending programs for few months asked a question. “None of my relatives are Krishna conscious. When I visit them in UK or USA, I have to go out with them. Some times we go to discotheque. I do not eat meat or drink alcohol. I just sit with them and keep on chanting Japa. Is this acceptable? The answer given by the speaker Prabhuji was quite apt. He said "Though you survived due to the power of His Holy Names, it is very dangerous to visit those places. The association is very powerful. You are associating with dangerous qualities. At any weak moment you can fail". He gave the example of a person who spends time with poisonous snakes around him. We do not know when the snake will bite.
During my childhood I remember my mother’s teachings about importance of quality of friends I keep. That time occasionally I felt bad when mother advised me against having friendship with individuals whose behaviors/characters were not good. But now I can understand the reality after hearing from devotees. Devotees are very dear to Krishna. He empowers them with a load of good qualities and mercifully enlightens them to come in association of struggling souls like us. In Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.2, pure devotee Narada Muni guides us:
gṛheṣv avasthito rājan kriyāḥ kurvan yathocitāḥ
vāsudevārpaṇaṁ sākṣād upāsīta mahā-munīn
Narada Muni replied: My dear King, those who stay at home as householders must act to earn their livelihood, and instead of trying to enjoy the results of their work themselves, they should offer these results to Krsna, Vaasudeva. How to satisfy Vaasudeva in this life can be perfectly understood through the association of great devotees of the Lord.
In the purport Srila Prabhupada guides us: "The science of satisfying the Supreme Lord can be learned as described here: sākshād upāsita mahā-munin. The word mahā-munin refers to great saintly persons or devotees. Saintly persons are generally known as munis, or thoughtful philosophers concerned with transcendental subject matters, and mahā-munin refers to those who have not only thoroughly studied the goal of life but who are actually engaged in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. These persons are known as devotees. Unless one associates with devotees, one cannot learn the science of vāsudevārpana, or dedicating one's life to Vaasudeva, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
There should be absolutely no doubt in our mind that without the continuous association of devotees we will just keep on struggling similar to what we do in our material life and end up with “No Real Results”. But if we have association of devotees, we will be showered with His causeless mercy and thus make our devotional service pure.
Let us therefore sincerely pray to the Supreme Lord, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev to bestow Their mercy upon us, so that we always get the association of His devotees.
Thankyou very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Paramanand Krishna das and Laxmi devi dasi
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