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Memories of Tamal Krishna Maharaja

Hari Bolo! Jai!
Although I was on a different bus then the one Brahma Dasa described, I not only had the opportunity to travel and preach from one of the Radha Damodara Buses, but had it not been for that program I would have never become a devotee.
At that time I was in my senior year studying Industrial Design at the University Of Kansas and I just finished reading the recently published McMillan version of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is. I was immediately convinced that to become a Vaishnava was the highest purpose of human life however I was entangled in the messy lair of keeping my parents happy by finishing college. But I was Miserable. Every day when I went to class I knew it was all a big silly illusion and a waste of my time and intelligence. I started a Hare Krishna club and sold BTG’s on campus. I would see the photos of the Bus party in the Back To Godhead advertisement that Brahma spoke about and dream about what it would be like… but that was just a dream. All my feeble personal efforts just didn’t provide me with the nectar that my soul was crying out and hankering for.
I wanted association and I wanted to become a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. But How? I was in the middle of Kansas and the closest temple was St. Louis, which was over 300 miles away! Denver was even much further! I had only been to the temple on a few rare occasions and I just didn’t know what to do. I finally came to a stage where all I could do was pray very strongly that somehow, despite all the odds against it, that Krishna would please somehow get me out of this entangling mess! I would think… “Sure… how could that possibly happen?” Yet I prayed on sincerely. I simply could not do it by myself and I knew it. I would pray. “Krishna I am Yours… come get me!” Yet I could not phantom with my rational mind how that could possibly happen so my material mind, which was enamored by the illusion, was somewhat content that despite the prayers of my heart it would never happen. Quitting college on my own and seeking out a temple was just too much to even imagine. I had no idea which temple to go to or how I would be received and I wasn’t going to take the risk of dropping out of school in my senior year to find out that I wouldn’t be accepted after I did something as radical as that. All I could do was keep dragging along and pray for the deliverance that I could never imagine would ever happen!
Then one day in October 1975, I got a phone call from a devotee called Budhara Das. He was the lead contact for Sudama & Drystadyumna’s bus. They had come down from Chicago, and he had picked up my phone number from the St. Louis temple which I had visited six months earlier during my last spring break. The fact that the temple could still find my phone number was just the first of several miracles that all came together like clockwork. There were so many statistically impossible things that actually came together for my seemingly impossible dream to come true that whenever I have even the slightest doubt about the very real capacity for Krishna to intervene in my life I recall how I became a devotee and it all immediately vanishes. I am not elaborating on all those amazing sequential coincidences and keeping this story brief as a courtesy to the reader.
I was told that not just one devotee… but a WHOLE BUS of devotees was going to come to University of Kansas to do Kirtan and hold speaking engagements for a week. I simply could not believe what I was hearing! Because I had started a Hare Krishna club I could book several engagements for the bus party which included a Television Interview on Sunflower Cable Vision between Drystadyumna Swami an the KU Professor of philosophy Alphonso Verdu I took a photo during that live interview and it eventually ended up in Back to Godhead Magazine “Questions and Answers” #12-06-1977. (Their discussion can also be found in the Veda Base)
I knew this was the answer to my prayers although my rational mind kept resisting admitting it. Wow… what was happening! I was imprisoned by my own mind and concepts of mundane responsibility and yet the most impossible thing that I never expected could ever happen was playing out right in front of me in vivid living color! It was as if Krishna had sent his personal army of specially trained marine devotees to go behind enemy lines and break me out of being a captive soldier in maya’s prisoner of war camp! It was just so dramatic and obvious that even my rational mind had to admit that if I did not immediately quit school and go with the devotees, that I knew He had personally sent to rescue me, I would never have the chance again to become a disciple of His Divine Grace. It was as obvious as the sun in the sky. It was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time! Within two weeks I had dropped out of school, sold everything I owned, cut off my long hippie hair and donned the saffron cloth and tilok. Whew… what a rescue!
I never regretted that decision. I knew I could always go back to school to finish my degree, which I eventually did, but I also knew that was a moment in time that would not come again. Within two years after I got initiated Srila Prabhupada moved on to serve Krishna in some other capacity and the era of opportunity to become his immediate disciple had ended.
So I actually owe that tremendous mystical experience to the efforts of Tamal Krishna Goswami. Had he not started the Radha Damodara Bus program, I would have never been liberated from a very mundane life of designing toasters, pencil sharpeners and garden hoses etc. The answer to my prayers was a mirical in every respect. Who would have thought that in the middle of the country… nowhere close to any temple or Vaishnava, I could have been found like that. Had it not been for that dramatic rescue… I would have never become a devotee and my life would have been one wasted mishap and anxioty after another.
Thank you Tamal Krishna Goswami, .. and Thank you Brahma for reminding me of how fortunate I was because of his efforts and all the other Radha Damodara devotees such as yourself that made it possible for my impossible dream to come true and become one of Krishna’s active “Marine Core” devotees.

Hare Krishna!
mayesvara dasa
md @ jagannatha.com

Comment Posted By mayesvara dasa On 25.08.2006 @ 17:41

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