(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 January 2015, Simhachalam, Germany, Caitanya Caritamrta Antya 7.16)
The process of Krsna consciousness works by the association of vaisnavas. We are simply the recipients of their mercy. So many vaisnavas have played a significant part in my life as well. In Vrindavan, the devotees were very kind and merciful to me and they wanted me to stay. They immediately put me in devotional dress, shaved my head and they said, ‘Dance!’ But I said, ‘I cannot just dance! I can only dance when I feel like dancing!’
‘No, you have to dance because it says in the “Nectar of Devotion” that you have to dance.’
So this is interesting, as I could not dance if it did not come from the heart because at that time, I did not understand the power of dancing itself. I thought dancing is an expression of happiness but I did not know that dancing is the way to get to the happiness! So, it made me think – it broadened my horizons.
There was one sannyasi, Yasodanandana Swami, who was worshiping his Silas. In those days, I did not know anything about Silas – I just saw that he had those unusual forms of the Lord and others did not. But I could see that it was something mystical, something powerful! That sannyasi was very expert in chanting verses, he knew many verses from scriptures and he was nicely quoting and explaining them. I could see that he had made a sacrifice, that learning was not just coming automatically, but that he had made a sacrifice and I realized that I would also have to make the sacrifice to learn.
Later, I had to leave Vrindavan and I returned to the temple in Amsterdam. There were different personalities living there. One devotee was an accomplished writer and he had written many books. He said that he had three levels of books – under books, middle books and upper books. Upper books were shastra, under books were about material life and all its entanglements, and the middle books were about getting out of material life onto the spiritual path. In his upper books, he had put tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. He did the Dutch translation of the Uddhava-gita; he was a translator of Srila Prabhupada’s books and also much more, but I did not immediately realize it at the time, although he always seemed like a deep thinker. Many people in the world had faith in him as the books he published have reached so many souls. He was an influential person whose thoughtfulness was outstanding!
One of his middle books was Drunken Elephants and in that book, he describes the ISKCON of the eighties. There, he also describes a guru named Aisvarya Maharaj who was living in great opulence and how in the midst of all that, Krsna was simply forgotten. He described that in a very deep and sharp way, because what is the use of a writer if he does not write about the truth? Such a person is just a magician, as a real writer must write about the truth. I could see in him that he was a true writer and that, although he had joined the Hare Krsna movement, he kept his own integrity. His personal conscience – that inner voice, that inner compass in all of us that tells us what is right and what is wrong – remained intact. I appreciated that in him and that enforced my own conviction that I still had to carry on being a thinker, and not just switch off my brain upon joining the Hare Krsna movement.