Recently, the leaders discovered an opportunity to apply for big grants from India, and they received large amounts of funds for the construction of a guest house and student hostel on the Sylhet temple property. In this way, the facilities for the large numbers of devotees are gradually increasing.
The devotees had arranged various programs for me: a SB class, a student program, an evening program on Srila Prabhupada being the Founder Acharya, and a weekend seminar on death, with the ultimate way to prepare for this final exam: the chanting of the holy name.
Our fear of death indicates how fragile this relationship with Krishna is at present. We have been maintaining this habit of ignoring Krishna for many life times. Just by joining ISKCON and wearing tilak and neck beads, this forgotten relationship will not automatically be re-awakened. It requires conscious effort. Once we are firmly connected with the Lord, we will proportionally become free from our fear of death. We will joyfully meet this glorious moment to finally join Him in His abode.....
In S.B.11.7.6., we receive valuable instructions: "Now you should completely give up all attachment to your personal friends and relatives and fix your mind on Me. Thus being always conscious of Me, you should observe all things with equal vision and wander throughout the earth."
In other words: ultimately we have to give up all attachments - even to our
friends and family members! Our relationship with Krishna has to become our all-in-all. In BG 8.5. Krishna also states that we have to remember Him ALONE - not Him and our husband/wife, children, grand-children, cat or dog. No, it is Krishna ALONE!
"Srila Visvanath Cakravati Thakur comments: (…)Those great souls who have surrendered unto Me are always equipped with transcendental knowledge and detachment from the material world. Sometimes, being busy in their devotional service, they may appear to forget Me. However, a pure devotee who has achieved the platform of love for Me will always be protected by such sincere devotion. Even if such a devotee should suddenly give up his life while neglecting to fix his mind intensely on Me, such a devotee's loving feelings are so powerful that they afford him all protection. Even if there is a temporary moment of forgetfulness, such devotion will bring the devotee to My lotus feet, which are beyond the vision of ordinary, materialistic persons. Uddhava is My pure devotee. Knowledge of Me and detachment from this world have again been aroused in him because he can never give up My association."
Again, it is a matter of relationship: our loving feelings for the Lord have to be so powerful within our heart, that Krishna as a response will protect us. After all: He is a person and reciprocates with His devotee!
The chanting of the holy name is the main and foremost process to re-awaken this lost and forgotten relationship with Him. However, simply repeating the words in a mechanical way - as a dry duty, just to finish our rounds and get them out of the way - will not do anything for our relationship with Krishna. Such chanting is almost useless. We can chant in such mood for many life times, without cultivating bhakti in our heart. And unfortunately, many of us are chanting in such mood - as a mechanical, dry ritual; just to somehow follow our initiation vows of chanting 16 rounds.
The secret is to chant while mindfully turning towards Krishna, appealing to Him with a deep and genuine longing in our heart - longing for this loving relationship, and longing to serve. Only such chanting which is filled with longing will develop our relationship with Him. Chanting without even being mindful of Krishna's presence can be compared to an empty medicine capsule. It is empty - no medicine inside! Thus no effect!
Sometimes we see devotees using a clicker/counter instead of tulasi beads. Such chanting is the safest way to cultivate inattentive chanting. If we cannot chant on beads, it is the wrong time for chanting. When chanting on a counter, we don't even have to finish one round. We can chant one mantra now, and another mantra after half an hour - with the left hand, or right hand. It doesn't even matter. What a terrible habit of chanting! Best to perform a yajna by throwing our clicker into the closest river, so we will never ever use it again. Clicker-chanting gives us empty medicine capsules - for sure.....! It is futile.
It is very simple and logical: if we turn towards Krishna and long for a relationship while chanting our japa every day, during two hours - surely something will happen within this relationship, and eventually it will become tangible reality in our life!
On the 19th of November I flew off to Chittagong.....
Your servant, Devaki dd