By: Vraja Bihari Das

Continued from Vedic Culture in Russia Part -2  Beware of Lust!!

Miracle of Tulasidevi

How the cultural factors help us practise devotional service is evident from the example of Arunalocana Prabhu. Arunalocana Prabhu is a thirty year old well built Russian, who spent some time in America to make it big in life. His mother had earlier inadvertently kept some Tulasi plants at home. Initially she thought they were just some ordinary plants but slowly she realized the spiritual potency of this variety of plants. Amongst the hordes of plants she had at home, she found herself getting attracted to Tulasi more than the others.  Slowly she began exclusive service to Tulasi, and found a special kind of serenity filling her life. Meanwhile her son too got affected by her new found enthusiasm for Tulasi and assisted his mother in her service. His days were numbered. 

A few days later after performing this ajnata sukriti, unknowingly rendering devotional service, he met devotees distributing books. He bought them, soon read the literature, and his life changed. His mother too was affected. He joined the temple, with no objection from his parents. Meanwhile he discovered that the plants he was so fervently serving was none other than Tulasi, and now he increased his service and worship to her. Also his family made a spectacular discovery. Tulasi plants grow nowhere else in the city where he comes from; the cold is too much for them to grow. He observed Tulasi devi reciprocating with his mother’s devotion by growing luxuriantly at their own house while all over the country it was a great struggle to grow them. In fact at the Eurolova temple, they keep a photograph of Tulasi on the altar, next to the deities. Arunalocana requested his mother to give the plant to the temple for the devotees would render better service to her. She reluctantly agreed, and later confessed that a special kind of spiritual vibration was gone from their home when Tulasi devi left them.

In India we have Tulasi devi growing everywhere and we may even neglect her presence or many Indians may commit offenses by using her leaves for enriching their taste of the tea. The Vaishnava acharyas knew what they were saying when they created so many cultural factors for practising devotional service. Rupa goswami has given us sixty four items of devotional service and the list includes, worshipping Tulasi, respecting the Banyan tree, circumambulating the temple, walking to holy places, etc. These factors are not some sporadic and meaningless rituals; rather each of these items if properly executed, brings us closer to Krishna and awakens our dormant love for Him.

Arunalocana’s realization is serving Tulasi devi lit in him the spark of desire to serve. And by serving her, he developed more service attitude. Today he is the guest reception at Eurolova, and during our stay he attended to all our needs and was par excellence in his service. Now I know from where this proficiency and desire to please other devotees has come in him.

As I congratulated his good fortune, he was silent; he insisted that his great fortune would be the day he could visit India and smear the dust of the holy places on his forehead and hear from the devotees there. He also repeatedly confessed that he is too sinful to go back to Godhead in this lifetime. He feels he needs to take birth in India and maybe next life he could attain perfection. I know I am condemned if I believed him that Indians are better than Russians or I can actually benefit him spiritually. It’s he who with this simple devotional service is a recipient of Krishna’s mercy.

Of course he is philosophically aware that by Lord Gaura Nitai’s mercy his life is perfect as he has got a chance to serve Them here in Moscow. However his humility and sincerity compels him to cultivate a healthy desire to visit tirtha dhams and serve devotees.  His eagerness to come to India is million times stronger than his earlier desire and now many Indians’ desire to go to America to make it big.

To be Continued…Potency of Indian temples

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