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I knew it was time for me to leave Oregon

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By Sudama das brahmacary

1968-01-20-09It was a very hot day in Oregon, in August of 1968. I awoke rather early, which for me and the people I was around at that time was somewhat unusual. Usually, coming down from last night’s drugs, everyone would rise sometime after noon. On that day, as on every day, I awoke with a feeling of separation, a searching for, a longing for…

All my friends at that time were also into this feeling of separation, searching for something and someone to say what we all wanted to hear, that would guide us out of material existence, the Maya that we were all living under. Someone to answer the questions in our minds. We were all, I think unhappy; yet we would smile and pretend to one another that everything would work out, that the world would be all right very soon. We didn’t know that there is no happiness in material existence, or that drugs and sex are only temporary, or that our search for complete sense gratification on the material plane would run us, like everyone, further and deeper into the pit of mundane existence. Instead of progressing out of the concept of the body, we all thought that putting drugs inside the body would be the answer to our search. The unfortunate thing is that most of my friends still think and feel that way.

On that early-rising day, I started out for a walk through the woods, mostly to get away from all the nonsense, and also to read. Most of the books that had held my interest during the past three or four years had dealt with Eastern thought, astrology, occultism, Zen, Tibetan and Hatha Yoga, etc. But most of those books that I had come across I could not finish. They were all lacking something.

A friend of mine, who was living on the farm where I was a guest at the time, had his school bus—made into his home—parked nearby in the woods. He had a small library there, and I set out for the bus knowing that it would be deserted just then. I entered the bus and went straight for the bookshelf. Every book on the shelf I had seen before, except for three brown hardbacks entitled “Srimad Bhagwatam,” volumes 1, 2, and 3, by A. C . Bhaktivedanta Swami. There was dust covering the three volumes. I picked them up and dusted them off and started reading the very first page that had print on it:

“All Glory to Sri Guru and Gouranga.”

The language hypnotized me, to say the least, and I couldn’t put the book down. After about two days of reading, I began to feel out of place around my friends. My only thoughts were of those books and that author. I knew that it was time for me to leave Oregon. I started making plans to go to India and search out this Swami Bhaktivedanta.

The day of my departure from Oregon, I asked my friend for the volumes, which he was not reading. At first I was afraid he would refuse me the books, but I thought that if I was meant to read them, they would be mine. I had grown very attached to them. His answer to me was yes: “The books are yours now, take them with you.” I was overjoyed.

I took a plane to Los Angeles to see my family. I told them of my plans to go to India and seek out the Swami. They were all for my happiness and my journey, and gave me as much help as possible. I was to leave in a month. Then I went to San Francisco to make arrangements for my trip.

While reading the first volume I had seen, “Radha Krishna Temple, Vrindaban U. P. ” as the publisher’s address. Now I remembered that there was a Radha Krishna temple in San Francisco, and so I walked to the temple and saw a devotee by the name of Sachisuta Das Brahmachary. I asked him when services were held, and he told me that they had Kirtan in the mornings at 7 a.m., and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. I returned the following Monday morning, to find out with surprise that the same Swami Bhaktivedanta I was planning to go and find would be arriving in about two weeks.

During those next weeks the temple became my home, and all the devotees I felt were my true friends. I surrendered myself to Krishna and to Swamiji, and was welcomed by all the devotees. The Sunday of Swamiji’s arrival came, and when I saw my Spiritual Master, tears came flowing. My tears of ecstasy have not yet stopped, nor will they ever.

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One Response to I knew it was time for me to leave Oregon

  1. Sanat Attavar Reply

    March 12, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I read this article of yours time and again and truly understand what you’d have gone through for i am going through the same thing here in India. I’m 44 and i stumbled upon Srila Prabhupad’s Books when i was 41. Even though i was born in the very land Krishna belonged, it took me 41 years to realize HIM, but then i also kinda understand why it took so long – for HE wanted me to experience everything in life, so that if i ever looked back i’d never say i did not do that or i did not experience it – for the kind of a person i am experiencing / knowing stuff is very important for me and HE ensured i learnt it my way. Yeah at times i do feel i did miss out on many years but then i quickly realize it’s better now than spending another lifetime not knowing HIM at all. I used to Pray to Krishna along with so many other gods, even to Gods of other religion right from the time of my being in my mid teens and as years passed by, would ask for the Right Path to be shown along with the other things I’d have from time to time to ask of the Gods. In my mid thirties I started to visit a Krishna Temple everyday because I lived next to one and that was in the Middle East in Sultanate of Oman. Then i moved back to India and one day happened to be taken to ISKCON Temple by a dear friend of mine and since then i feel i’ve come home. I now have the feeling of having known HIM forever. The future does not scare me for I know HE’ll take care neither does the past trouble me and my present is perfect in HIS awareness. My only Prayer to HIM now, is to be shown the right path and Pray that i’ll be aware of HIM the way I am now, in any future births i may have. It does not really bother me whether I’m born again or not but it does really matter to me that i know HIM as i know HIM now. I feel Blessed and have never felt better ever. I Pray every living being in this Universe gets to know HIM they way HE should be known. Hare Krishna!

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