A direct hit
Four days after receiving and responding to Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj's "The Future Is Now" email which so electrified me, I received this follow-up email:
Date: December 5th, 2002
Subject: A direct hit
Dear Lalita Charan Prabhu,
My dandabat pranam.
I am somewhat astonished by the sentiments expressed in your email. I feel that your thinking is perfect, and will become even more perfect. All systems go! Remember, we do not know when we will get this opportunity again.
Bhakti Sudhir Goswami
This was my response:
Date: December 6th, 2002
Subject: Re: A direct hit
After reading your comment, I re-read my original email, and it was my turn to become astonished — did I write that? Amazing!
How is it possible? Then I recalled that once, in 1985, while describing the Bhagavad Gita verse 2:29 during a morning lecture at the temple on Thirteenth Street, you explained the second line,
ascaryavad vadati tathaiva canyah
as (paraphrased from my notes): "When one becomes inspired and begins to speak about the plane of the soul, he becomes filled with wonder, surprised and amazed that so many wonderful things are coming out of his mouth."
If you had not used the expression, "The future is now!" in the subject line of your email, I would have probably just waited until you returned from India, but for some reason, the phrase electrified me — it was like an epiphany. It gave me a stark glimpse of my own mortality (I'm going to be fifty next May!).
My present engagement is so nasty! In the first chapter of The Golden Staircase, Srila Guru Maharaj says:
On the whole, we must honestly admit that our condition is nasty. Our true selves are good, but our present situation is very nasty. Somehow we must get out of the intoxication of these nasty things, because to hanker after and obtain and mix closely with and relish these nasty things is improper for the soul.... But if we can come to the plane of the soul — even the lowest conception of what is the real inner self — that will help us, and there will be a revolutionary change in our lives.
I have tried for so long, by my own strength, to "get out of maya," but it is impossible (mama maya duratyaya). Of course, it is also very easy: mam eva ye prapadyante! But O! how the false ego resists! I need help from above...
I see, very clearly, that by your grace I have a very brief window of opportunity to surrender, not to some Mirabai-esque Krishna of my imagination, but by establishing a real connection with Sri Guru and Vaishnava.
You gave me a chance once before to help you with your service, but I blew it. I am determined not to let that happen again. By your mercy, that adhoksaja plane came down to briefly touch me: I am the soul! Who knows how long I can maintain this consciousness? I must come to you as soon as I can, to protect myself from myself (atmaiva ripur atmanah).
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