Posted on Facebook, by Indradyumna Swami Maharaj, on Wednesday
Yesterday, while doing Vrindavan parikrama with a number of devotees, I noticed a sadhu sitting on the side of the road begging alms. It was unusual because he didn’t appear to be in want of anything. He looked bright and healthy, and his clothes were neatly pressed. He was immaculately clean. His upper chest was decorated with many sets of beautiful old wooden beads of all different shapes and sizes. Later in the day I sent my disciple, Narottam das Thakur das, back to give the sadhu a donation.
Narottam first took the sadhus photo. When he engaged in discussion with him he was surprised to find out that the holy man was actually the head of a Matha ( temple ) in Vrindavan and had many disciples. But one day a year, the sadhu explained, he left it all behind and came down to the parikrama path to beg alms. When Narottam asked him why, he replied “To remain humble.”
The sadhu then inquired about Narottam’s devotional life and was himself impressed to hear about ISKCON and how Srila Prabhupada had spread Krsna consciousness all over the world. When Narottam explained how he was assisting me in my preaching in Poland and other countries, the sadhu closed his eyes for a long time in meditation, and when he finally opened them he took off a set of beads from around his chest.
“Please give these to your spiritual master,” he said.
Narottam was stunned.
“My mother put these around my neck when I was 5-years old,” the sadhu continued, “and I haven’t taken them off since.”
Narottom was speechless.
A minute later the sadhu said, “Tell me more about how Westerners are becoming Krsna bhaktas.”
As Narottam told him how ISKCON devotees were distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books all over the world the sadhu continued to listen with his eyes closed. Narottam went on to tell him about our Festival of India in Poland, where 750,000 people attend each year. After awhile the holy man opened his eyes again and took off yet another set of beads, slightly larger than the first, and said, “Present these to your spiritual master as well – and give him my blessings. These beads were given to me by my guru when I was eleven. I’m 70 years old now. I’ve worn them most of my life.” Then with a smile he concluded, “And many, many people have asked for them.”
Then he went back to his begging.
Narottam respectively paid his obeisances and left.
That evening Narottam presented the beads to me as I was putting my deities to sleep. I was stunned by their beauty. The wood was a darkesh color and polished due to being worn for so many years. They had a slight scent of sandalwood oil. As I put them around my neck, I felt a special potency surge throughout my entire body. I wore the beads to bed that night, and the next day I felt especially enlivened in my services by the mercy of that kind hearted sadhu.
All glories to Sri Vrindavan Dhama! All glories to all the devotees of Lord!
“O handsome, fragrant tamala desire tree, blooming in Vrindavana forest and embraced by the madhavi vine of the goddess ruling this forest, O tree the shade of whose glories protects the world from a host of burning sufferings, what wonderful fruits do the people find at Your lotus feet?” [ Srila Rupa Goswami, Utkalika-vallari, verse 66 ]