Catching a Big Fish

18th Jul 2003
Kalacakra Krsna das

Hare Krishna Dear Vaishnavas,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

I got this very nice anecdote forwarded by HG Murli Prabhu that proved the strength of the Holy name. It is not a 500 year old story, but occurred just in the recent times.

All we have to do is just chant the holy names.

harer nama harer nama hare namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

Holy name is our ONLY shelter in this fallen age of Kali.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das.

Catching a Big Fish

Tucked away in a small, cold corner of Northern Europe, just 50 miles south of Finland (homeland of Santa Claus), the country of Estonia is home to a very special Hare Krishna temple. Conveniently located in the downtown area of this capital by the sea, Tallinn, the center is the perfect base for spreading the mercy of Lord Gauranga. Built in this cold and distant land by the combined efforts of local devotees with the help of our international community, this ISKCON center is proudly named the Temple of the Holy Name (Sri Sri Harinam Mandir).

For the local devotees, "Temple of the Holy Name" means more absorption in chanting with deep, insightful meditation. And with equal depth, as part of the daily sadhana, devotees and guests are invited to join the louder Harinam sankirtan parade every evening.

Here in this small country of 1.4 million, all stories of preaching are amazing stories of Krishna's mercy...

Early one Sunday morning, a burly man with a large mustache walked into our temple. It was his first time in a temple, and the devotees were anxious to meet him. One of the devotees approached him. "How can I serve you?" the devotee asked.

The man, unaccustomed to the devotees' dress, the strong fragrance of spices coming from the kitchen, and the incense on the altar, was a bit shocked. He looked like a tough but simple village fellow, and he was.

He introduced himself as Tom, a fisherman from one of the small islands. He would visit our city once or twice a year, but this was a special visit. He had come out of curiosity. We asked him what he was curious about.

His answer put us in ecstasy. "Well, I want to know the meaning of this song Hare Krishna," he said, "and I want to know who this Krishna is."

He had never seen devotees nor had he read any books, but he said that every morning a group of fisherman on his island would go out to sea singing, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare." He had asked the other fishermen what this song meant, but none of them knew.

Then the oldest and wisest of the fishermen spoke to him. "Son," the old fisherman said, "go to the city. There should be a temple of Krishna there, and they will know what this song means. We just sing it because it sounds good."

So our friend Tom, with a simple heart, came to the temple, eager to learn about Krishna and His Name. He bought a set of Srila Prabhupada 's books that day. He also took a set of beads and promised to give it a try. We told him that sometimes Krishna comes as a fish, a great fish. We said that one needs to become a very expert fisherman to catch this fish and that by chanting this song, Hare Krishna, it is possible. Tom said he would return if he had any questions.

A week later, we received an angry call from Tom. "I am in trouble," he said. "My life is ruined, and it is somehow connected to this song you taught me."

We asked what had happened.

"Well you see," Tom replied, "I am a fisherman, and I need to drink alcohol. In this village it is just what we do. We fish and then we go drinking. But since I've been chanting this song of Krishna, I just cannot stop. I have lost all taste for drinking. I called my doctor, and he said that this is great news. A local psychic told me that he does not see any evil spirits in me. When I forced myself to drink it just all came out. My stomach wouldn't hold it. Please tell me what I should do. How can I live without booze? I've been drinking for thirty-four years, from the time I was fifteen. How can I relax, take the stress out? I am coming to the temple today, and you'd better give me some answers."

We told Tom to continue his chanting, and to quit worrying about drinking, since this was really a blessing. Now, at the age of 49, Tom is the only sober fisherman on his island. He happily chants Hare Krishna on beads while he fishes. And while he reads Srila Prabhupada 's books, he tries to figure out whether he has been cursed or blessed.

The end.