It is unusual to spring into action after an arduously long trip in the air but it seems to be happening for so many colleagues who have come from far and wide. And for me, well, I felt great, sitting down in ISKCON Mumbai’s banquet hall surrounded by such great souls. The care shown by devotees operating the place helped to make everything so stress free. I would not be perked up for the morning session had it not been for the four bramacharis (monks) who came at me the previous night for massage with excellent oil, the main ingredient being cow’s urine. “Four of you? That’s an over kill, isn’t it”, I asked. My slang didn’t exactly resonate with them yet they waggled their heads in the typical accommodating Indian style and proceeded to their task. Indeed I felt like the scare crow in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ who was being re-stuffed before seeing the wizard himself.
I had been given the honour on the previous night to lead the chanting session as part of the opening ceremony to inaugurate our annual meetings. Then I was asked to lead this morning the charming chant in honour of Krishna as a baby Damodara. After this morning’s class spoken by god brother Jayapataka Swami, an American born senior member of ISKCON, who two years ago in Mumbai suffered a serious stroke, I raised my hand during the question and answer session.
This senior monk physically went through hell so I was compelled to ask “How do you do it Maharaj? The ordeal you went through two years ago and your mind is clear your intelligence and memory sharp, How do you account for that?”
Jayapataka answered by saying “Blessings from all the devotees”. He skillfully avoided taking any credit and then started tooting any praises he could find in me as he was explaining his last trip to Canada and Toronto my home base. This is what a true monk will do, shift the attention away from himself and throw back to you.
This he did despite the speech defect he now contends with. He certainly demonstrated a saint hood by this technique. There is always something to learn.