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December 1, 2011

Sri Radha Govinda in ISKCON Brooklyn, NY

I was at a program with Maharaja at his disciple’s home in New Rochelle, NY. As usual the kirtans (devotional singing and dancing) were ecstatic! After the kirtans, Maharaja gave a heart-touching lecture on what really happens in ISKCON’s GBC (Governing Body Commission) meetings and provided us a brief glimpse of the services performed by the society’s leaders, behind the scenes, not just for the present devotees but, for future devotees, as well. He read out a beautiful compilation of Srila Prabhupada's quotes on 'Co-operation'. Hearing him speak, I was inspired by the complete faith and conviction Maharaja had in the words of his spiritual master and in the process of Krishna consciousness. After the lecture, Maharaja performed the evening worship attended by devotees who filled the room.

While the lecture was about to end, I was quietly and slowly trying to get Maharaja's dinner prasadam ready. So, here I was in the kitchen, all lost in a new place, very slowly removing the boxes in which a devotee had packed fruits for Maharaja. I was very nervous and was frantically looking for Maharaja’s plate, when Maharaja himself took a plate from an adjacent shelf and began transferring the fruits from the boxes to the plate.

Maharaja then quietly took his plate, entered an adjacent room, and sat on the floor all alone and honored prasadam while absorbed in the loud kirtans and watching a little child dance with jubilation in front of him.

For me, who typically likes to be handed prasadam and likes to have company while eating, it was an eye-opener to see Maharaja with simple humility serving his own plate despite having so many disciples in the room who were ready to engage in any service.