(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 15 January 2015, Soho Temple, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 10.77.33-37)
I like to tell this story. I was in the Czech Summer Camp one year and it was prasadam time. So the devotees went into the prasadam hall and I was expecting to hear, “Sarira avidya-jal…” but instead, I heard, “Namaste Narasimhaya…” The wrong song! What was going on, so I went to have a look.
There was this man lying on the floor, flapping and totally grey… and, you know, he was clearly on the edge and there were three hundred devotees chanting Hare Krsna for him. The temple president called the emergency number and a helicopter came flying in. These men in red overalls came out of the helicopter and tried to revive the man with electric shock but three hundred devotees were chanting and praying, “Let him die!” because what better way to go than with three hundred chanting devotees! They could have revived him and put him in a hospital on some respirator and he may have lived a few days longer until somebody pulled the plug but instead, it was better to let him die in the middle of the kirtan which was his best chance.
We started to ask around, “Who was he?” One devotee knew and said that he was someone who had always bought books. He had bought many books over the years, including the Bhagavatam, and recently he had finished reading the Bhagavatam. The devotee had invited him to Summer Camp and that was the first day that he had ever chanted japa and walked around Tulasi… and then, he just collapsed during prasadam! It was all so auspicious. When the corpse was being taken away, everybody was saying, “Jaya… Haribol…” The mood was not heavy because we had appreciated that somehow or other, this man had made an eternal connection in his life!