Transcribed by Madhumati Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Chowpatty 2010

We think that we are in control but at one point when it gets very difficult we have to accept whatever the Lord desires.

I was in Iran and we were driving in a bus …well my visa for India was finished – I went to Nepal and at that time Maha Vishnu Swami was the temple president of the Kathmandu temple and he said “We have this bus and it has to be driven to Europe, would you mind going in the bus?”
“Yes I could go, I have done it before, and I know the way. Okay I will be part of the crew.”
Then we were supposed to take some passengers, some young westerners and try to make them into devotees on the way – that was the plan so we did it.

So, when we were in Iran, it was time when the Government had changed, there was a revolutionary army and when we drove through, there was a man with a beard, military uniform and a machine gun standing at the side of the road and he said: “Stop!”
So we stopped, he got on the bus and said we are going to the revolutionary head quarters – we said “Yes sir.”
We came there, there was a huge crowd, all with black cloths and turbans and it looked very uncomfortable and our friend with the machine gun said: “Get off the bus!”

We looked at the machine gun, we looked at the crowd and decided to get off!
We got off the bus and then the people made a path way into an army barracks and as we walked pass the crowd, the people started to hit us on the back and we ran in the courtyard and the solders were waiting for us and they said, “Line up against the wall!”

There my Krishna consciousness was tested, there I was chanting very carefully because they were Muslims and I didn’t want to agitate them.
So, with the mouth sort of closed I chanted but at the same time I didn’t have full faith in the Holy Name because I was slowly, very slowly, but surely going behind my neighbour…. So, I was chanting and going for material security. So, I did not become free from fear for four hours and I was in anxiety.

I was not just relying on Krishna – but one has to simply at one point when one comes in such a situation say: ‘Okay Krishna it is up to you whatever you want, whether I live or die it doesn’t really matter because I know that you are Bhakta Vatsala that you are always protecting your devotees and therefore there is nothing to fear, I know that the destiny of a devotee is always auspicious and that therefore no anxiety no cause for any anxiety because at one point this body has to be given up but then, the destination of a devotees will be a better destination so why worry about giving up the body why make such a issue about it?”
That is the understanding. Because ultimately the fear of death is always emerging again and again. But a devotee must gradually rise above…..

Devotee: what happened in Iran, how you all were released?

Maharaja : Well! We were standing against the wall with the machine guns on us in the hot sun and sweating for several reasons. Then at on point the solders started to take some people out of the line and inside the room ….and then they came for me!
They brought me inside a room were there was a chair, a table and a bright light and I knew what was coming, so as the interrogation started I forgot all my English and I spoke fluent Dutch, “very Dutch from Holland no English!”
I was very Dutch so after a few minutes they said “He is Dutch and he is from Holland”

That was good because they thought we were American spies so being Dutch was helpful, so they didn’t interrogate me but they sent me back ….in the line in front of the machine guns!
There was this German with us and I don’t know why he did it but he ran out of the line towards the solders and kicked a football that was lying in the courtyard and I thought that was it and we are dead now! – but as you can see I survived it.
The soldiers they became totally confused and started screaming and then the officers came from the office and then a big discussion and finally the officers said: “Get out! okay you can go!”

So we got into the bus and we drove away to the west and we came to Tapirs which is the most western part of Iran and there we had two flat tyres and we had to go to a workshop to get it fixed and again big trouble with an angry crowd who wanted to throw stones – that’s what they do in middle east!
It got really bad but somehow or other a soldier came this time and he escorted us out and we got into Turkey early in the morning and we were washing our hands at the side of the street and suddenly all the people started to run in the street and I also started to run in the street!

Then we went into a side lane and we heard a machine gun and bullets were flying everywhere and it turned out that some deserters from the army were living in the mountains and they had come to plunder the city! Lots of fun!
So, that’s the last time I drove through Iran, Turkey and all those countries!
I would do it again if Krishna really would want me to go or if the senior Vaishnavas would want me to, – otherwise I so decided these days that instead of going over land I go by flight….

So, there is the thing that we are relying on Krishna but there is the thing that we are not unnecessarily looking for difficulties and go swimming across a river filled with piranhas or something like that – that’s not Krishna Consciousness.
Krishna Consciousness does not mean that we close your eyes and cross the street, so we must use our brains. So, ten o’clock has come and I think that’s an auspicious time to take a late breakfast, I myself I am hungry and I don’t know about you – we meet again later for the Sunday programme. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!

Transcribed by Madhumati Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Chowpatty 2010

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