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Devotee Stories

Srila Prabhupada Touches People's Hearts
Picture of Srila Prabhupada
Murti of Srila Prabhupada
Mother Leaving Her Body
KGB Speaks Out
Protection on the road: London guide
Do you know Gauranga Mahaprabhu?
How I became a devotee
Rama daso'ham
Protection by Lord Nrsimhadeva
Fools rush in
Indradyumna Swami - Krisna Traveling Monk (how he became a devotee)
How I came to Krishna Consciousness (stories by devotees, a questionnaire)
Helena Dreams About Prabhupada
A Hospice Miracle — Serving Jayananda’s Mother
Pada-sevanam devi dasi & the miracle of Nrsimha worship (more pictures)
BSST disciple returning from Yamapuri (naraka)
Charlie Lame Deer on his conversion to Vaisnavism
A story of the travelling Bhagavatam

Srila Prabhupada Touches People's Hearts

Gauri Das

I want to share two stories about two dearest people in my life.

My first story is about my late mother who, although not a devotee herself, was very fond of Srila Prabhupada. Once she went to see a friend of hers, a lady who happened to be one of the top authorities on literature and linguistics in the country. That lady was also known for her mystic ability to predict future. Almost all of her predictions came true, I have personally experienced it in my life.

So when my mother went to see her friend she showed her a picture of Srila Prabhupada, which she was carrying with her. When her friend saw that picture she immediately asked where my mother have gotten it. She said that Srila Prabhupada has the face of a genius and that his presence is extremely beneficial for the human race. To my mother's amazement, she told her to seek association with that man on the picture without even asking who or what he was.

My mother respected and trusted her a great deal. Soon she was chanting 16 rounds of mahamantra daily. I may have played some small part in that too but she became really determined after hearing that lady's statement.

My mother had severe case of cancer. The doctors gave her maximum few months time. The cancer had spread all over her body and there was no hope at all. But by the mercy of Harinama and Srila Prabhupada she lived almost four years without much pain. When she died her last words were "Little Krsna". She never considered herself a devotee, neither she even admitted believing in God. But she had a lot of faith in her chanting of 16 rounds of mahamantra and a great respect for Srila Prabhupada. She used to say that Harinama was her only hope.

I can't explain what had happened to her. How could she, in her condition, live that long? It was the mercy of pure Vaisnava that kept her alive and away from tremendous pain that cancer is so infamous for.

My second story is about my Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaja. He had a lady disciple who was diagnosed with leukemia and, like my mother was given only a few months by doctors. She came to Guru Maharaja basically to say goodbye and get some final blessings, as she was preparing herself to die.

After seeing her, Guru Maharaja told one of his senior disciples that he knows how she could be cured but he is feeling shy to tell her directly. He said that she should go to Vrindavan and wait for a particular day. On that day, he said, Lord Krsna will be taking bath at Sri Govinda-kund. So that lady should go there on that day at a particular time and take some water from Sri Govinda-kund. Then she'll be completely cured.

This message was delivered to that lady and she did exactly as instructed by Guru Maharaja... She is alive and well today, 12 years after! To doctors' amazement there are no cancer cells in her body. Without a doubt, she was cured by the mercy of pure Devotee of the Lord!

These both situations deal with fatal medical conditions that usually leave no hope for any improvement, let alone complete cure. I am sure that any of you who have medical background will agree with me. These are pure miracles, much of the same nature that we read about in the sastras. Not only in the ancient times saints and sages could perform such miracles, they're also happening today by the grace of elevated Vaisnavas who honor this Earth with their divine presence.

My conclusion is that if such amazing material benefits can be received from pure devotees of the Lord, then we can only guess about the kind of spiritual benefits we can derive from their association! It is said that a chance to meet sad-guru is so rare that it is compared to the same chance as if a neem tree that is growing on a sea-shore would rot and fall into the sea, then go to the middle of the sea and there a giant sea turtle would have its head caught up in this tree's branches. Even if the latter could be imagined, one should remember that neem never grows on a sea shore, that by its special nature neem never rots, and that sea turtles never go as far as the middle of the sea...

So we should appreciate the fact that we have had the opportunity to meet a real sad-guru. So much that we should drop everything "important" we may be doing now and surrender to him right away! What kind of excuses can we use? If such chance is so rare, then how can we justify not surrendering our whole life to that person immediately?

Well, unfortunately, I manage to justify it somehow... But that is another miracle.

Picture of Srila Prabhupada

Radha Raman Das

Once I was collecting in a very small sheep farming town in Western Australia. I knocked on the door of a run down small country style house and a very fragile bodied old lady answered the door. It was quite clear that she was living on her own and looking after herself in the last years of her life. Normally, in that situation, people aren't used to strangers coming to the door in a small town so it struck me that she immediately looked at what I had in my hand, which was a roll of paintings, and said "Oh! Come in." She opened the door wide and took me into her living room and before I could say anything she said "I have to talk to you. It's about the book. Now, if you've come to get the book then I have to talk to you." I told her that I wasn't sure what she was talking about; I was there to sell paintings.

She said, "Aren't you the little fellow who came last year?" I told her that I had never been to this town before. She replied, "Oh! I feel so relieved because I thought that you had come to get your book. There was no way that I was going to let you take the book away."

She took me into her room where she takes rest at night and explained that someone had come last year to sell something and, although she couldn't afford to buy anything, she confided in him that she was having trouble sleeping at night because her husband had died and she was feeling very lonely. The devotee suggested that he give her a book to read before she went to sleep.

She told him that she couldn't read anymore. The devotee told her, "Well, I'm going to give you a book anyway, and even if you can't read it just keep it and it will give you some solace." She showed me on the night stand next to her bed one of the small green paperback Krsna books that used to come in a two volume set gift pack. She said, "I keep this book by my bed. I can't read it because, well, I can't read anything these days but let me show you something."

I had a closer look and could see that the book was actually turned around so that the back side was facing up and on the back cover was a portrait of Srila Prabhupada. It was a very casual photo where Srila Prabhupada was laughing and his teeth were showing. Then she told me, "I'm just so grateful for this book. Even though I can't read it, I just keep it by my bedside because this man's photo gives me so much comfort and that's how I get by."

Murti of Srila Prabhupada


Hare Krishna

I was raised up in the San Diego temple, where I had some pastimes with the Srila Prabhupada murti there. One time when I had just began getting into Krishna consciousness I came to the temple high on LSD. I was sitting, facing the murti of Prabhupada and I felt the karma draining out of my body and into Prabhupada's lotus feet. There was quite some distance between myself and Prabhupada's murti and while this was happening one devotee came walking across the temple room. He almost walked between me and Prabhupada, which would have been the normal thing to do since to go around would have been a big detour for him where he had to go up a set of stairs, across the second story, down the outside stairs, and into the kitchen. Just before crossing directly between myself and Prabhupada this devotee pulled himself up short. He stopped, looked both ways - and made the detour. Something had told him not to cross that line where the karmic flow was happening. Good thing for him, too. Afterwards I was looking at Prabhupada and saw him blink twice. Prabhus, I may have been on LSD at the time, but believe me, I was a *seasoned* LSD veteran. I never had any hallucinations of things that weren't there on LSD, not once. Prabhupada had blinked, no doubt.

Another time not very much later (by this time no more LSD, thankfully) I had arrived at the temple just in time for noon aratik. Kaliya Damana Prabhu was there and we had a spontaneous bhajana / kirtan before the Deities. Afterwards I was looking up at Srila Prabhupada and he was smiling. I mean I could really tell that he was pleased. There was just this ecstatic, pleased, happy feeling coming from him and even though this murti has a particularly stern countenance, there was no doubt - he was smiling like anything.

Another time at the Sunday feast we had been asked to take a pledge to distribute BTG subscriptions. I knew that I should take this up but I was holding back. I looked over at Prabhupada and saw that he was - not angry, exactly - but not happy for sure. He was very very stern and grave and he wanted me to do this - but I didn't.

Once there was a senior sannyasi lecturing in the morning. It might have been Vipramukhya Maharaja. During the question period afterwards he remarked that our murti of Prabhupada was very stern looking. I piped up, saying "He smiles sometimes, Maharaja." The Swami ignored my statement and went on. A few minutes later he said something else about the murti's sternness and I said again "I'm telling you Maharaja, he smiles sometimes." This time, Drutakarma Prabhu (of Bhaktivedanta Institute) who is one of the smartest devotees in our movement, also chimed in, saying, in his quiet yet subtly influential way, "Yes, he does." This time the Swami took note.

There were also other times Prabhupada was disgusted with me for doing nonsense and whacked me on the head with his danda, times he helped me, times he was ignoring me. I'm convinced - if he desires, Prabhupada is fully present in his murti form.


Srila Prabhupada a jeho murti

Hare Krsna. Vyrostl jsem v chramu v San Diegu, kde jsem mel jiste zazitky s murti Srily Prabhupady.

Jednou, kdyz jsem se prave zacal vice zajimat o vedomi Krsny, prisel jsem do chramu pod vlivem LSD. Sedel jsem celem k Prabhupadovu murti a citil jsem, jak z meho tela vyteka karma a vnika do Prabhupadovych lotosovych nohou. Mezi mnou a Prabhupadovym murti byla dost velka vzdalenost a kdyz se to delo, jeden oddany prechazel chramovou mistnost. Temer prosel mezi mnou a Prabhupadou, coz by bylo normalni, jelikoz jit okolo by pro neho byla velka zachazka - musel by jit po schodech nahoru, pres prvni poschodi, po schodech dolu a do kuchyne. Prave nez prosel primo mezi mnou a Prabhupadou, nahle se zastavil. Zustal stat, podival se obema smery - a zvolil cestu okolo. Neco mu reklo, aby neprerusil tu linii, kde dochazelo k toku karmy. Nastesti pro nej. Potom jsem se podival na Prabhupadu a videl, jak dvakrat mrknul. (Mozna jsem byl tehdy na LSD, ale verte mi, byl jsem zkusenym veteranem LSD a nikdy jsem nemel zadne halucinace, ani jednou. Prabhupada mrkl, o tom nebylo pochyb.)

Po nejakem case (tehdy uz jsem zadne LSD nastesti nebral) jsem prisel do chramu prave v dobe poledniho arati. Byl tam Kaliya Damana Prabhu a zacali jsme spontanni bhajan/kirtan pred Bozstvy. Pote jsem se podival na Srilu Prabhupadu a on se usmival. Opravdu bylo zrejme, ze ho to tesi. Vyzaroval z nej ten extaticky, stastny pocit, a prestoze toto murti ma zvlaste prisny vyraz, nebylo pochyb o tom, ze se velmi usmival.

Jindy jsme byli behem nedelniho programu pozadani, abychom prijali zavazky rozdavat predplatne casopisu BTG. Vedel jsem, ze bych se toho mel ujmout, ale vahal jsem. Pohledl jsem na Prabhupadu a videl, ze byl - ne primo rozzlobeny, ale urcite ne stastny. Hledel velmi prisne a vazne a chtel, abych to udelal, ale ja ho zklamal.

Jednou mel ranni lekci jeden sannyasi. Mozna to byl Vipramukhya Maharaja. Po lekci, behem kladeni otazek, poznamenal, ze nase Prabhupadovo murti vyhlizi velmi prisne. Podotkl jsem: "Obcas se usmiva, Maharajo." Swami ignoroval mou poznamku a pokracoval. Po nekolika minutach rekl neco jineho o prisnem vzhledu murti a ja jsem opet podotkl: "Rikam vam, Maharajo, on se obcas usmiva." Tentokrat se Drutakarma Prabhu (z Bhaktivedantova Institutu), jeden z nejinteligentnejsich oddanych v nasem hnuti, take pripojil a svym klidnym, ale presto lehce duraznym zpusobem, rekl: "Ano, usmiva se." Teto poznamky si Svami vsiml.

Byly doby, kdy mnou byl Prabhupada znechucen, nebot jsem delal hlouposti, 'a mlatil me po hlave svou dandou', doby, kdy mi pomahal, i doby, kdy me ignoroval. Jsem presvedcen o tom, ze kdyz chce, Prabhupada je plne pritomen ve svem murti.

Mother Leaving Her Body

Indradyumna Swami

Srila Prabhupada writes that no one is our "mother or father," but rather "everyone in the universe is equal." In other words, all of us are equal as brothers and sisters, due to the fact that we have one common father, God. A devotee of the Lord takes every opportunity to remind all conditioned souls of this fact. Therefore, although a devotee may renounce the idea that he is part of a particular family, society or nation, he is not at all adverse to helping even his own "mother and father" in Krsna consciousness. In fact, simply having a devotee in one's family benefits that family immensely. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati once said:

"When a great saint, a pure devotee, appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for a hundred generations each are elevated. When a devotee of middle stature (madhyam bhagavat) appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for fourteen generations each are elevated. When a neophyte devotee appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for three generations each are elevated." (Srila Prabhupader Upadesamrta - Quotes of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati)

Personally, I tried my best to help my own mother in spiritual life. Unfortunately, throughout most her life she never showed the slightest interest in religion. I once asked her if she believed in God, and she replied, "Something may be out there." Whenever I visited her we would often debate the existence of the soul, life after death, karma, etc. Throughout the years I continued cultivating that little "something" in her heart by sending her Srila Prabhupada's books, which invariably ended up in a pile at the back of her garage collecting grease and dust.

A few years ago she telephoned me late one night. It was an unusual hour to call, and I was surprised to hear from her. She began the conversation by asking if I would take her to Vrindavan, India! I was shocked. I thought, "Mother wants to go to Vrindavan, to the land of Krsna's birth! What is this? How does she even know what Vrindavan is?"

But she insisted and wanted to know when we could go. Although I was intrigued at the prospect of taking my mother to Vrindavan, because it was late (and I was very tired), I told her I'd call her back early the next morning and we could discuss the matter in detail. I woke up refreshed the next day, and after my shower excitedly dialed her phone number. My brother answered.

I said, "Pete, can I speak to Mom?"

There was a prolonged silence, and I sensed something was wrong. Finally, his voice choked with emotion, he replied, "Mom passed away last night."

I was stunned. I couldn't believe it. Once again, the reality of death was staring me in the face.

I said to my brother, "What happened? I talked to Mom only last night!"

He said, "I know. She's been battling cancer for six months. She didn't want to tell you."

Collecting myself, I said, "Cancer! Did she say anything at the end?"

"Yes, she did," he replied. "She said, 'Don't lament for me! I'm not this body. I'm eternal spirit soul. I'll never die. I'm going to Krsna!' With those words on her lips, she passed away."

I was stunned. My mother, the intellectual who never went to church, who never inquired about God (who debated His very existence), was "going to Krsna!" I couldn't believe she had said such a thing.

I said to my brother, "But how is it possible Mom said those things at death?"

He replied, "When Mom learned she had cancer and was going to die, a strange transformation came over her. She became restless and unsettled. She began asking about you, wanting to know where you were and what you were doing. She had an intense desire to meet with you, to speak with you. But when I suggested calling you she'd always say, 'No, don't bother him now. We'll contact him later.'

"One morning I went out to the garage to empty the garbage, and I found her going through all those books you had sent her during the past 25 years. She looked up at me and asked me to carry them into the house. That afternoon she carefully dusted them off. For the last five months she just sat in her rocking chair reading those books. Sometimes she'd underline a certain passage or quote that had particular relevance or importance to her. She also contacted your tape ministry in London and ordered all your lecture tapes. She'd listen to them on her headphones, rocking back and forth in her armchair looking at your picture which she kept on the table nearby. She must have listened to at least three a day!

"Gradually her condition deteriorated, but she wasn't afraid. I think there was something in those books that made her fearless. Then last night she sensed she was going to die. She told me to call you. Her last request was that you take her to a place called Vrindavan."

I put the phone down and cried - not out of mundane sentiment or attachment, but in appreciation that my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, had extended his mercy to my mother and delivered her from material existence.

I went home for the memorial service and arranged her estate. Just before I was leaving to return to Europe, my brother and sister approached me and asked what they should do with her ashes. Remembering my last conversation with her, I smiled and took the ashes with me. Several weeks later one of my disciples placed them in the sacred waters of the Yamuna River in Vrindavan, India. I had fulfilled my mother's last request to me, a request that I pray will also be on my lips the day I leave this mortal frame!

"May the land of Sri Vrindavan where Subala and the other wonderful cowherd boys, who are all dear friends of Sri Krsna, play, where Lalita and the other splendidly beautiful young gopis, who are all filled with love for Srimati Radharani, enjoy transcendental bliss, and where Sri Sri Radha-Krsna thirst to enjoy wonderful transcendental amorous pastimes day and night, become manifest in my heart." (Vrindavan Mahimamrta, Introduction, Text 15)

KGB Speaks Out

Karma-jna Das

I was working in the Soviet army. I spend quite some years also in the Afghanistan war. It was so nasty experience that I wanted to orient myself to more peaceful sphere. So I joined the Moscow Institute that trains KGB staff. Of course it is not publicly known to be in that function. I chose the justice line, for to become some spy in the foreign countries did not apply to my mind either.

Once I had a discussion with one of my friends. He was a son of a highly placed KGB man. His father was namely a captain for a boat that was 'exporting goods'. Actually they were transporting weapons and doing things similar to that. My friend's father was for example involved in bringing weapons to Vietnam and also participated in the conflicts in Egypt and in Greece. But his son was typical too talkative boy.

So we were discussing once about religious movements. My friend told that his father embarked on one occasion at some Western harbor. He went to visit the Soviet embassy near the harbor to do some visa-things. He was away only half an hour. But when he came back, few members from the crew showed him some "indian books". And he became so furious. More books were found. Altogether 27 or 28 books. They were falling from everywhere. They were placed on the doorways, in the shelves. In the cabins. One was under the captain's bridge on the deck. My friend related how his father commented afterwards to him, being very irritated: "I really chastised all the men. I'm hardly away from the boat for one moment - and immediately the whole boat becomes totally flooded and 'radioactive' from those books. That lazy guard fall asleep somewhere. I yelled at him that everyone should know that our enemy is watching and is always ready!"

In due course I started to prepare my diploma. It was about narcomania. But there was no public statistics about that. Everything was secret, in the Moscow KGB library. So I complained about this to my tutor. That man was also a big shot in KGB. So he gave me access to secondary level of confidential department in the library. I was namely fascinated by occultism and thought that now I have my chance to read all the forbidden literature. And indeed - there was tons and tons of stuff, right from the beginning of tsar's time.

I became friends with the fellow who was in charge of the library. Really a fanatic communist. He at one point showed me different religious departments in the library. Islam had own room. Christianity it's own. And also Buddhism. And also ISKCON! A whole department just about us. The man showed various life stories that were collected about different ISKCON gurus. There was a videofilm about famous "Riga evening", where Harikesa Maharaja was caught. Even some KGB man managed to film how ISKCON devotee was beaten up on the street in Pakistan. He said: "These Krsna fanatics are so crazy... look! They just beat him up but this fellow just continues to say his mantra. These people are so dangerous. They are so determined. And their books... don't touch them! So many of our agents have burned themselves."

We were already sitting behind our coffee-table... but this KGB fellow was just speaking about ISKCON and was becoming more and more agitated. And I couldn't figure out why. This man bit his teeth together and shook his finger in disgust: "Those hooligans! They are such HOOLIGANS! They are shaking the whole basis of our system. So clever! Those people are so sharp! Everywhere they sneak in with their books. We check the boats that come from the Germany for example. And Scandinavia. The books are found in a most incredible places - from the cupboards in cabins, even some were lying in the kitchen on the cook's recipe-shelf. We even opened the ventilation-system and THERE were these damn books and brochures! What a damn American brain is behind all this? Hooligans! We are not able to figure out what to do..."

Then this man proceeded to explain that the biggest problem for KGB was that most people refused to give the books away. They usually hid them. Once they got to know that one KGB security man on one cargo managed to find two books. But when they went to him to inquire about them, he denied that he had any books. One man went to sleep in his cabin, locked the door, and in the morning he woke up and saw a Bhagavad-Gita on his table! Probably some devotee had opened the window from the street-level cabin during midnight. But for a KGB all these things was such a puzzle! They were so disturbed and fearful of the activities of ISKCON. They thought that "there must be going on some high-level intelligence in planning of these actions". Of course I became quite curious. So I took Srila Prabhupada's Gita from there, against all the warnings. And indeed! It totally smashed all of my ideas for life. Within a very short period I became a devotee and went to join the Begovaya temple in Moscow!

But before that one day I was sitting together with my teacher in his room. He had spent over ten years abroad where he was engaged in his "confidential service". Afterwards he settled down in Moscow in a more convenient engagement. That's what most of KGB men used to do at some point.

We were discussing about this and that. Then one of my fellow students did enter the room. He sat down, and for a while he and my teacher talked. I noticed, that the student had some book with him; but more than this I did not bother to think. I took it as some studying material.

After a short time the student excused himself and left the room. I was about to continue our conversation, when my teacher made a smile and inquired from me, whether I noticed which book the fellow student had with him. I said no.

"It was a book from Hare Krishnas." Then the teacher proceeded to tell how he had sometimes observed devotees while he still was serving in the West. I knew only something about devotees at that time. So I asked what are these people actually about. My teacher seemed to be quite indifferent to Krishna consciousness; but he definitely showed some appreciation for certain qualities of devotees: "Hare Krishna are very smart people. Really smart. Sometimes they are quite all-penetrating - like water going in holes. There is practically speaking no place that they cannot sell their items. But such fanatics they are. And they have their music-sessions on the streets often. Joyous people... probably they don't have so much problems. I have looked through some of their books. It's nothing for me, that I can say. But something mystical there must be in those books. Some of our men became really into these books. We had once one agent in the West, for example..."

Then the man related quite a special story. He did not mention where it took place. Neither he mentioned any names. And I knew the subtle etiquette that if someone tells you things like that, you don't ask any questions. But just for the sake of convenience of readers we can name the central figure of the story "Leonid".

My teacher had never met Leonid. He himself got the story from the KGB man who had been assisting Leonid. So one time Leonid was on the way to meet certain contact person. And those meetings were always strictly timed. A slight discrepancy and you were supposed to be dismissed. Leonid's assistant was walking nearby; his duty was to make sure, that nobody followed Leonid.

Everything seemed to proceed according to the plan. But then the men noticed that there was some fight on the street. Two devotees were attacked by some group of "big rowdies" (we call them of course by much more suitable name: demons). And it was not just some innocent teasing. They really were beating severely two young devotees. There was a heavy rule for agents that they should never get involved in anything, specifically to avoid unnecessary contact with the police.

Leonid, however, stopped and looked at the scene. Suddenly he rushed forward and attacked the fellows, who were harassing the devotees. His assistant was shocked. "What is this? This is forbidden! We are in a hurry for a meeting... and here he is just clashing with these guys." Leonid quite quickly managed to make a mush out of those fellows. I was not told too many details about the ghastly scene; but I know what our trained people are able to do - teeth are flying, heads are smashing against the wall, blood...

Any case, the situation was already over. Leonid was in a hurry. But devotees were following him. They wanted that Leonid will take a book. Finally, just to get rid of the boys, he took one and threw some money to them. He got on time to his meeting. His assistant inquired later on, why he partook in a fight. It was totally against the rules. Leonid had answered that he could not stand look at those young fellows being beaten like that. And there was something inside him, he said, that impelled him to act...

Two months later Leonid informed his assistant that somebody was after him. KGB men have this intuition. He was very depressed and frustrated. His assistant replied that he himself haven't noticed anything special. But Leonid was continuously disturbed. The assistant described: "One day we were in our villa. I did my cooking in the kitchen. Then I went to the corridor. There was a glass door leading to the TV room. And I saw Leonid on his knees in front of sofa. And he had that Hare Krishna book placed on the sofa. His palms were folded together and he was murmuring something his eyes tightly closed. I thought, "My goodness! What's happening? Has he gone mad? Or is there some microphone within the book, and he is reporting? They never instructed us to do like that! Maybe the opposite party has already got him to work for them? Or... maybe he does in this way in a case that 'they' could come and would find him like that... thinking he's Krishnaite. He was murmuring some help... that he cannot take this any longer..."

"I contacted Moscow and said that now he's getting crazy. Interests in Krishnaism. And that I think that soon they might catch him. But Moscow replied that this is true. They already knew from at least six different sources that local security was following him. I got the order to immediately leave Leonid and go."

"However, almost six months went. They asked from Moscow, what's happening with our Leonid. I said that I don't know. There was even nothing in the newspapers. Maybe they did not capture him. I was instructed to check the situation. But I could not find Leonid in the house. For two months I tried to locate him. I made friends with the neighbors. It took another three months to gradually hear about him. The neighbors told that Leonid had changed suddenly. He still visited them occasionally but did not accept alcohol anymore. He also criticized that they were offering him meat. He had accepted only apple. Once police came to his house and went away. Leonid explained that they were after somebody who had stolen a car and looked like him. Then they realized the mistake. I think there must have been something else going on. Perhaps they came after him and saw he is into Krishnaism... I don't know. The last thing the neighbors knew that one day he shaved his head. And soon after that nobody have ever heard about him..."

This was all that my teacher had heard from Leonid's assistant. Of course, as devotees we might guess what had happened. Krishna obviously reciprocated with the KGB agent after his helpful act for the sake of the devotees. And Srila Prabhupada's books took care of the rest. Probably he is now somewhere happily engaged in Krishna's service. (This story is also here.)

On a related note... an excerpt from Manidhara P.'s blog:
Recently, I met one of the Russian matajis who pioneered Krsna Consciousness in that wasteland filled with devotees. As we know, the first generation of devotees in Russia faced the most severe type of prosecution, as chanting of the Holy Name was instantly defined by the local demons as some sort of mental disease. Consequently, ALL Russian bhaktas were, after heavy interrogation, locked into mental institutions and „treated" with severe types of medication. (In the USA, criminals were hired to kidnap devotees and „deprogram" them.) During this time, even this lady was seized by the KGB and interrogated. She finally asked the KGB officer why he and his institution perceive her, a simply chanting elderly lady, as such a big threat. In private, the officer gave up his interrogation methods for a moment and became honest. He said:
"It is not you we are concerned with. Do you remember how, some years ago, your publishing department had an information booth at the international book fair organised in St. Petersburg? It was there that your books were introduced into Russia, and it was there that they were freely purchased by the visiting professors of the university. As these books became study material for the academic community, soon a syndrom appeared, which was alarming. To be a professor at a university required membership in the Communist party. But soon, one after another, the professors started to quit their membership and distance themselves from the communist doctrines. It took us a while to find out why they do so, but finally we linked them all to your books, which they studied so eagerly. So it is your books that are the real threat to us, not you."
It is for this reason that Srila Prabhupada made book distribution the foremost activity for his preachers and those who are eager to create the basis of Krsna Consciousness on which later generations of devotees can stand.

Protection on the road: the London guide

bh. Jan

Some years ago one Czech lady devotee went to UK to serve in Bhaktivedanta Manor. She was supposed to go first to our Soho Street Govinda's but was somehow afraid how she will get there, with no one to pick her up. Outside the station she asked a group of people how to get there. One lady said she's going that way, took her on a bus, kept showing her London sights as they went, and brought her right into Govinda's. There was a lady devotee receptionist sitting with mahaprasadam packages on her table. The Czech devotee turned to her to get a package for the lady guide but when she turned back to her in a matter of seconds, she was gone. She ran outside and to the main street but couldn't find her. Was she Yogamaya? 8)

a somehow similar incident

Do you know Gauranga Mahaprabhu?

Two Czech devotees who were part of Padayatra India team in 90's once visited a South Indian Visnu temple. As some others, it didn't allow entrance to non-Hindus so they took darsan from the temple's door. One of them then paid dandavats and prayed on the ground while the other stood praying next to him.
There was a group of local brahmanas who started to make jokes and laugh at the devotee paying dandavats in a sense that he's not qualified to enter and so on.
The other devotee, out of a sudden inspiration, asked them: "Do you know Gauranga Mahaprabhu?"
They stopped laughing and said: "Sure, He was a great personality," etc.
The other devotee said: "So he is a devotee of Gauranga Mahaprabhu and if you laugh at him, it's like laughing at Gauranga Mahaprabhu."
The brahmanas became speechless. The first devotee stood up and both quickly left, just to make sure nothing undesirable happens.

How I became a devotee

It was a Christmas Eve night, 24. December 1982. I was a 21 years old karmi girl. Few months before I bought Bhagavad gita in the bookstore and read it. That very night on 24. Dec. 1982 I was walking with my mother (later she became Bahlika devi dasi) about midnight toward our home and we were talking about my future. I told my mother that I have found all answers in Bhagavad gita, that I truly believe it and that I am going to consider Krsna consciousness as my religion trought the whole life, but I decided to NOT surrender in this very life time. My mother was satisfied by my plans and we entered our home. We went to sleep around 2'o clock in the morning. One hour later, about 3'o clock, I heard a male voice calling me by my name “Dina, Dina…” I woke up and sat on my bed, breathless. By the left side of my bed a man in saffron robes was standing. He had a big shawl over his shoulders. Then he told me: “You did this in your previous life. This is a lifetime you have to surrender!” At 4:15 that very night I packed my things, left my home, parents, friends, everything, my whole life, and joined the nearest temple. I came just for mangala arati. Then in the temple room I recognized Srila Prabhupada [who appeared in my home] on pictures. It was 30 years ago and till today I had few more darshans with His Divine Grace. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, our eternal spiritual master! Yours humbly in the service of Srila Prabhupada, Daivi Shakti devi dasi

Rama daso'ham

Tosan Krisna from Moravia was on a train to Prague (June 30, 2023), to visit Ratha yatra (July 2, 2023). He thought that he'd like to have some spiritual experience from this visit. When he was exiting the Prague Main Station, a homeless guy approached him and offered him to get a gulp from his bottle of alcohol. When Tosan refused, the guy said: "Rama daso'ham" ("I'm the servant of Rama"). Tosan was obviously perplexed. How many homeless folks happen to know Sanskrit? I told him that it was probably Hanuman who spoke thru that guy. 8)

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