Chapter 115: Kṛṣṇa Saves Me; Prabhupāda said I Would Have Died
Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 115
Kṛṣṇa Saves Me; Prabhupāda said I Would Have Died
I feel as if I am always surrounded by what is called a "bubble of illusion." The bubble is present to the degree I am not Kṛṣṇa conscious. As Śrīla Prabhupāda's personal servant, however, I was surrounded by a "bubble of protection." It was a wonderful benefit that automatically came when in the proximity of the pure devotee. Being Śrīla Prabhupāda's servant, I was well provided for. I didn't have to worry about meals, or where to take rest. My passport, visas and airline tickets seemed to manifest themselves. I traveled around the world five times, but never worried about an airplane accident. After all, I sat beside the Lord of the Universe's purest devotee.
It was an enviable position and unfortunately one I gave up voluntarily. I was now in Hawaii and one of the grhasthas living outside the temple and struggling to be a "fired-up" devotee. Śrīla Prabhupāda was sympathetic. I knew this because once in Vrindavan, Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke about the grhasta ashram saying, "It is a great dilemma. We cannot pay them to live in the temple, but neither can they work outside."
One day while grocery shopping with devotee friends, the loss of my "bubble of protection" cost me dearly. We were in a car accident. Hamsavatar and two godsisters, one with a small child, were driving home from the store. I was sitting in the front passenger seat when a car went through a red light and slammed into our driver's door. It turned into a four-car collision with everyone in the other three cars going through their windshields. My door flew open and out went both Hamsavatar and me. I landed on my tail bone. The two matajis and the child remained in the car as it spun around and almost ran me over. I was taken to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. My back was the source of great pain for months to follow.
Because I had been in the hospital that night, I did not give Śrīla Prabhupāda his evening massage. The next day Paramahāmsa Mahārāja located me and said, "Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted to know where you were last night." I told him my tale of woe. He went back to Śrīla Prabhupāda and explained my situation. My compassionate spiritual master said, "Oh! Call him here."
In a great deal of pain, I made my way to Śrīla Prabhupāda's room and slowly offered my obeisances. With a strained look on my face I sat up before my effulgent master.
"What has happened?" he asked in a gentle voice. "I heard you were in a car accident."
I told him the details of the accident as he attentively listened.
"Accha!" he said. "If it wasn't for Kṛṣṇa's mercy, you would be dead."
"Yes, it was very frightening," I said, with a forced smile.
Over the next few days I had the good fortune of being in Śrīla Prabhupāda's room on different occasions. Each time I was there with other devotees Śrīla Prabhupāda brought the conversation around to me. Very dramatically he said, "Śrutakīrti, he was in a very serious accident. If not for the mercy of Kṛṣṇa he would have died."
After hearing this for the third time it finally sank into my thick skull. If not for the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda and Kṛṣṇa I would have died. I was young and careless and death was the least of my concerns. If it was, I would have never left the lotus feet of my Gurudeva. He kept driving it home. Finally, I understood and realized that Śrīla Prabhupāda was speaking the absolute truth. It was the most wonderful experience to have my compassionate Guru reaffirming how Kṛṣṇa saved me. I pray to increase my understanding and faith in every word His Divine Grace has said and every action he has performed.
During this visit to Hawaii, Śrīla Prabhupāda was translating the fifth canto of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He related the story of my accident in the following way:
"When the living entity is lost in the forest of the material world, in the struggle for existence, his first business is to find a bona fide guru who is always engaged at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. After all, if he is at all eager to be relieved of the struggle for existence, he must find a bona fide guru and take instructions at his lotus feet. In this way he can get out of the struggle.
Since the material world is compared herein to a forest, it may be argued that in Kali-yuga modern civilization is mainly situated in the cities. A great city, however, is like a great forest. Actually, city life is more dangerous than life in the forest. If one enters an unknown city without friend or shelter, living in that city is more difficult than living in a forest. There are many big cities all over the surface of the globe, and wherever one looks he sees the struggle for existence going on twenty-four hours a day. People rush about in cars going seventy and eighty miles an hour, constantly coming and going, and this sets the scene of the great struggle for existence. One has to rise early in the morning and travel in that car at breakneck speed. There is always the danger of an accident, and one has to take great care. In his automobile, the living entity is full of anxieties, and his struggle is not at all auspicious." Copyright BBT 1975
My dear Śrīla Prabhupāda, the years have quickly passed. Many precarious situations have come across my path. Still, I plunder along not totally realizing that, "If not for Kṛṣṇa's mercy I would have died." Please give me the intelligence to comprehend the urgency of my surrendering to you. When death arrives, I want my mind's eye fixed on your lotus feet. I do not want to be tossed about by the material energy. It is much too painful.