Now the time had come to embark on this transcendental journey, and around 120 devotees eagerly participated. Many of them were leaders and senior devotees who agreed to leave their cosey homes and set all responsibilities and distractions aside - taking time out to focus on our relationship with Krishna through chanting His holy name.
Life in these modern days is so fast and busy - full of distractions which divert our attention to so many unimportant and unnecessary matters and ultimately waste our valuable time! And our disease is that we think there are so many things in our lives which are much more important than the holy name.
It is sobering to remember that at the moment of death, everything which is now so dear and important to us, will lose all significance and will become entirely unimportant and irrelevant! We will realize that it is all part of this nonsensical stage performance of life in the material world. The only eternal reality is "my relationship with Krishna", which we re-establish through chanting the holy name. This eternal reality is the only thing we will be allowed to keep - everything else will be mercilessly stripped off us. It will be all gone, and we will realize that we have invested so much time and energy into these flickering and non-permanent aspect of life - a waste of time in the ultimate sense. The curtain of this nonsensical stage performance will simply close, and it will all be finished. Thus it is said in SB 11.26.33 that religion is the only wealth of those who are passing away from this world. It is the only true wealth which we are allowed to keep, and which we will take with us into our next existence. An intelligent person who understands this very clearly will mold their life in such a way, that this relationship with Krishna is the foremost thing, and thus the chanting of the holy name has to be moved into the very center of our life. Chanting the holy name requires a certain life style based on very simple principles, which are yet so difficult to apply: taking rest early, so we can rise early. As soon as we take rest after 9pm, it indicates that other things are more important to us than our chanting. The focus is somewhere else. In the same way, if we agree to take heavy meals in the evenings, it again indicates that the chanting is not our most important pivot in life. Enjoying the tongue is more important to us. Srila Prabhupada's recommendation of "simply living - high thinking" has the ultimate goal of chanting the holy name with full attention and absorption. A simple life style gives the necessary peace of mind and reduces all kinds of distractions and mental agitations, so we can chant deeply. Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport to SB 1.8.26, as long as our main aspiration in life is to increase our material satisfaction through economic development and material advancement, we cannot chant the holy name so sincerely. Pride and complacency will easily enter our life, and in such a state of mind it is difficult to turn to Krishna in helplessness.
However - better late than never......
Indeed, we can spend many life times in the material world, taking one birth after another and seemingly chant Hare Krishna. However, unless we mindfully turn towards Krishna longing to re-establish this lost and forgotten relationship with Him, we will not harvest the fruits of pure devotional service.
On the 17th of November I flew off to Kolkata.....
Your servant, Devaki dd