A year ago, I started planning (and dreaming) for a Masteral Degree in Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines. While browsing their site, I saw this advertisement about an Indian Festival called the Ratha Yatra Festival. I have an unexplained penchant for India since God knows when so I called Jogs and asked her to come in the festival with me.
During the festival, people were chanting HARE KRISHNA (the Mahamantra) for a couple of hours. It’s a foreign concept for me as I was born and raised as a Christian. But one thing I observed is that I enjoyed it and actually chanted Hare Krishna even after the festival. I have said to myself that I want to learn more. I want to know what this Hare Krishna Movement is all about. But it never happened last year.
Last week, while we traveled in Manila for the Chinese New Year, we went to this hidden Buddhist temple in Divisoria. At the entrance, I saw a tall Indian Guy wearing clothes similar to that of the Hare Krishna Devotees last year in the festival. He was carrying this donation box for a certain feeding program. I am a social person so I greeted him “HARE KRISHNA” and he answered with a “Hare Krishna” ,a smile and a bit of confusion. He’s probably thinking “A Buddhist who greeted me Hare Krishna” or “A Christian in a Buddhist Temple greeting me Hare Krishna”. I asked myself the same thing “A Hare Krishna devotee in a Buddhist temple”. Well I have to say that this interfaith thing is beautiful.
After lighting some incense, I went back outside to meet the Hare Krishna Devotee and talked to him. (Yes, I really do talk to strangers).
“Hare Krishna”, I greeted him again and dropped a P20 in the box.
“How did you know about the Hare Krishnas?”, he asked. I explained the whole story I mentioned earlier.
“Do you have the Bhagavad Gita? I have been searching for the book last week. I saw one online, but I’m not a fan of ebooks”, I asked.
“I have one here. Actually this is the last copy. I just brought 3 Bhagavad Gitas with me”
“Wow. How much for this?”
“It’s up to you.” and he smiled at me.
I dropped another P100 in the box. That time I was completely broke. Then he gave me his calling card.
“So your name is Vraja Kisora Das. I assume this is your spiritual name.”
“Yes it is. You really know a lot about us huh?”
“I’ve been reading a lot lately about faith. I consider myself as a seeker”
“Can I have your number?”, he asked.
“Sure”, I said.
After a couple of minutes. He texted me:
You see how Lord Krsna reciprocated with you. You have been sincerely been looking for a Bhagavad Gita and Krsna arranged for your meeting with me.. So please take advantage of it and take it up more seriously and I am sure Krsna has a lot more similar surprises for you in store.
Like last year, I told myself again..”I want to learn more.”
To be continued…