By Jaya Kesava das
Once again after a long year of travel beginning with Vrindavan, then two months with the Krishna Youth Bus Tour and then two months in Halifax, Canada with three other young bramacaris daring to enter the preaching world, I found myself back in Tennessee welcomed by their Lordships Sri Sri Nitai Gauracandra and their Servants Rama Vigraha Das and Murli Priya dasi. Earlier in the year I had visited with a few friends who expressed interest in sustainable living and so had been invited by me to the Tennessee farm and give some input for future development. This time I returned with not just two friends, but two young men, for starters, wanting to dedicate some time and learn about Krishna Consciousness.
I had taken a risk- one that would hopefully please Krsna and revive the preaching spirit I grew up around some years ago. Having been inspired by tried and true preachers in our movement, I also desired to try a hand in the âmaking devoteesâ business. Pretty good so far, but now Iâll need an ideal place to train up these new devotees and from there spread out like wild fire. Murari Sevakaâs 269 acres lie far behind the busy cities and towns of Tennessee , and yet is easily accessible to Chattanooga , Nashville , Atlanta , Huntsville and Memphis , all major cities within One to Four hourâs drive. The valley is a lush meadow flanked by trees on top of both eastern and western hills. The Southeast side is very fertile with about twenty or more acres of open land for planting if the right crew was to come along. To encourage me even more, I had received a letter about the harvest of the vegetables planted earlier in the year when I visited- a little piece of heaven right before the busy Bus Tour travels. I even helped build a deer fence to keep the vegetables safe and not repeat last yearsâ episode of growing delicious food for deer, groundhogs and rabbits.. Unfortunately, the Groundhogs were unstoppable in digging deep and stealing the Cabbage and Broccoli.
My plan to conquer the world was being manifest right before me; well taken care of Deities, two dedicated devotees willing to support my preaching spirit and even agreeing to transform the Guesthouse into a bramacari asram; fresh organic vegetables; ten or more Persimmon trees, open space to wander, with a daily discovery of other gifts such as black walnuts and hickory nuts; Two apple trees that gave 7 huge boxes of apples with more on the trees; a flowing river three miles away; and most of all, plenty of time to concentrate on giving others what was given to me ten years ago- an amazing experience in Krishna Consciousness. The chips were falling just where they needed to. Then another addition to the new army- Brahamcarinis, ladies who want to join the farm and learn about Krsna and young gurukulis who volunteer their time to come down and teach mrdanga lessons.
âBut Krsna isnât so easy to getâ, I think. âWhat will be the tests for this endeavorâ? The more one goes after Krsna, the harder the illusory energy fights to recapture. So I decide to keep up a good Sadhana and be as best of an instrument as I can as well as a good example for the new bhaktas.
On Monday the 10th of November I journeyed to the Nashville International Airport to pick up yet another boy I had convinced, even paying his plane ticket, to come to the farm and learn. From his excitement expressed through his emails, I was sure that Krsna was smilingly sending more people to assist my little mission. He was a no show at the airport and has not been heard from since. Well, there goes two-hundred pounds of blood and a few extra in Dollars down the drain, but we must continue regardless. The result is up to Krsna, just to the service. On the way back from the Airport we pass a truck in flames reaching high up in the sky and I mention to the devotee sitting next to me how Srila Prabhupada has saved us from a similar fire, and so we have to endeavor to save others as well. I then begin to softly sing the Samsara prayers and for a moment I had the strangest vision: the guest cabin was burning and I also saw part of a letter I wrote to my mentor and Guru about the fire, explaining that no one was hurt. âWow that would be far outâ, I thought, âbut Krsna wouldnât let that happen; especially after all these young people are coming forward to learn about their relationship with himâ. Plus, if that happens, super soul would be the coolest person I know in this material world.
We arrived back at the farm around mid-night and everything is fine- relief, super soul was just showing me that there is danger at every step, no need to worry. Entering the parking lot proved to be a different reality. As I parked the car and looked over my left shoulder, the Guest Cabin bursts into flames…!
Where would my bhaktas stay now Krsna? Oh no! Everything we had in there is gone! Passports, clothes, books, (my favorite Prabhupada sloka book), All left is what we had on. Sannyasis had recently started to visit Murari; Bramacaris, Grhastas, Non-devotee guests; where will they stay now? Should I call off the other four guests coming?
The fire is believed to have been caused when an electrical mishap misshaped, but Krsna was indeed testing- and saving us from that tragedy. It was midnight, had we not been in Nashville , we would have all been sound asleep in wonderland in that cabin. The next day seemed to go on normally with a 21 year old student doing a report on ISKCON for his last year of Religious studies. We hit it off on a good note, and he plans to come once a week until his paper is done. Through the week I received a few emails from otherâs I have met who would like to learn more about Krsna Consciousness, and would like to visit the farm. I invited them and over the winter Iâll be busy teaching and learning more about the ways of Krsna, the Supreme Independent Personality of Godhead. Another Cabin is available to house the Boys, but girls require more, and I hope to provide better facility for them.
I can only hope that a few inspired souls would feel kind enough to help rebuild a nicer facility that can house more young people I meet on my little excursions. You are also encouraged to send some devotional Clothes, (dhotis, kurtas, chaddars, saris, gopi skirts, etc), or Blankets or whatever for the new bhaktas and bhaktines to use. New or in good shape is preferable as I would really like to take good care of these young devotees who are venturing into a new realm and rekindling their lost relationship with Krsna. For myself, Krsna has taken everything but I will feel truly fortunate when he places his lotus feet on my head and binds me not with the ropes of Varuna, but with his love.
Jaya Kesava das
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