Hare Krsna Devotees,
Plesae accept my humble obeisances.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Please read the each and every words... You will get inspiration...
Volume 5, Chapter 27
September 12 – 24, 2004, Russian Federation.
"My Chest Swells Up With Pride"
On the way out, one of my disciples, Ragalekha dasi, approached me. She is a woman in her late 40s, and I remembered her as a faithful disciple who always made it a point to come to my programs when I visited Russia. So when she asked me to visit her apartment to see her Govardhan Sila, I agreed.
The next day, I went there with Jananivasa. I had several other appointments that afternoon, so I was in a hurry. “We’ll have to make this quick,” I told Jananivasa. But I was soon to be reminded that a spiritual master must never be so busy that he cannot take the time to reciprocate with and acknowledge a disciple’s loving service.
Ragalekha’s apartment was just one room in an old building in the center of the city. As I walked in, I was struck by the spiritual atmosphere. There were few possessions – a chair, an old wooden bookshelf, an altar for her Deity – but the mood was rich with devotion. Her Govardhan-Sila, named Lala, was sitting on a little cushion, beautifully decorated with flowers and simple ornaments. A variety of sweets were on a plate before Him.
Ragalekha, dressed in an old sari, sat shyly in the corner. The whole situation reminded me of a small, bhajan kutir in Vrindavan.
“Do you live here alone?” I asked her. “I’m a guest here,” she said looking downwards. “This is Lala’s home.” “Oh I see,” I said. “That’s a nice realization,” I thought. Then I looked anxiously at my watch. My next appointment was in 30 minutes.
“Well what do you do each day?” I asked.”I distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books,” she said. “Do you do anything else?” I asked. “No,” she said. “That’s the instruction you gave me 13 years ago.”
I stopped looking at my watch. I could hardly believe my ears. “You’ve been distributing books for 13 years?” I asked. Jananivasa spoke up. “Srila Gurudeva,” he said, “all the devotees in Yekaterinburg know that Ragalekha’s been going out eight hours a day, six days a week, for thirteen years, distributing books, except when she’s sick.”
Ragalekha was looking at Lala. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked her. “She’s too shy and humble,” said Jananivasa.
I felt tears coming into my eyes. I sat there looking at her. “Thirteen years,” I thought, “every day on the streets of Yekaterinburg, distributing my spiritual master’s books. What austerities this woman must have endured!”
I suddenly thought of the previous day and how I had complained to Jananivasa about the inconvenience on the flight. I felt ashamed of myself. “She’s well known among the people in this city,” Jananivasa continued. You can just imagine, so many years on the street, in the heat, the rain, the wind, and the snow. She’s out there when it’s 20 below zero.” My tears started running down my face.
“And she doesn’t keep a ruble for herself,” he continued. “I’ve heard she keeps all the profit for you.”
Ragalekha reached under the altar, took out an old worn-out envelope, and shyly handed it to me. I opened it and saw US dollars inside. I handed it to Jananivasa.
Jananivasa took the money out of the envelope. His eyes started turning red and moist. “There’s 1,500 dollars here,” he said in a quivering voice. “It’s the equivalent of two years of wages for a working man in this country.”
I looked around at the chair and the simple bookshelf and into the small kitchen. Inside there was an old stove – and one pot. “She only has that one sari she’s wearing,” Jananivasa said. “I’ve never seen her dressed in anything else.”
I handed the laksmi back to Ragalekha. “Here,” I said. “You use this money for buying a ticket to India this fall. I will be taking devotees on parikrama in Vrindavan for the month of Kartika. I want you to join us.”
Her body tensed up. “No, Srila Gurudeva!” she said and pushed the envelope back. “Please! The people who gave that money will get much more benefit if it’s used in your service than mine. Think of their welfare.” I was speechless.
“Who is this woman?” I thought. “Living so simply, serving the sankirtan mission of Lord Caitanya faithfully for so many years, desiring no fame or recognition, and showing such concern for the conditioned souls!” I thought of something Tamal Krishna Goswami had once written.
“Although some of us begin as gurus for our disciples, it seems that these disciples are sometimes more fortunate than we are … Actually many of them are elevated personalities.”
[from Vraja Lila]
“Srila Gurudeva,” said Jananivasa, “this morning she admitted to me that she took a break from her book distribution for the first time since you gave her that instruction 13 years ago. For two weeks she repaired her apartment, hoping you would visit.
“She had also taken the advice of the security guards at the open market where she often distributes. For years, those big burly men used to throw her out of the market whenever they caught her distributing books. Finally they relented. They began to appreciate her determination and purity. Two weeks ago one of them said, ‘Please take a break. You’re here every single day. We’re afraid you’ll get worn down and influenced by the bad character of those around you. Please!
“She took it that the Lord was speaking through them, and she took the time off. Gurudeva, we, your disciples, will arrange for her ticket to India. Don’t worry. Already devotess here in Yekaterinburg have arranged things so she doesn’t have to pay for the books she takes. They even pay the BBT for the books she distributes. When necessary they also help pay her rent, electricity, and water. She lives in another world. She just distributes books day in and day out and spends a little on the worship of her Govardhan Sila. She puts the rest of the money under the altar for you.
By now, the tears were pouring from my eyes. Ragalekha came forward, with folded hands and tears in her own eyes.”Srila Gurudeva,” she said, “please bless me that I may distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books until the day I die and that I will always be a faithful follower of you and my Lala.”
She started to pay full dandavats on the floor. Since women don’t generally pay full dandavats, Jananivasa reached forward to stop her. I caught his hand. “There’s no harm,” I said. “This woman is transcendental.”
As Jananivasa and I walked out of the apartment, Ragalekha was packing her book bag. I turned to Jananivasa. “It was worth it,” I said. “Meeting her was worth all the austerities, inconveniences, and dangers I’ll ever encounter in your country.”
I thought about the words of Srila Prabhupada. “These news are giving me new life … In my horoscope just done, they have described although this is a critical period, if I pass through, I will live 100 years. Then I shall surely come to visit your farm … The project is very nice. When I hear this report my chest swells up, being so proud of my disciples’ achievements.”
[Srila Prabhupada commenting on Tulasi das’s service, quoted by Srila Prabhupada’s secretary, Tamal Krsna Goswami, in a letter to Ramesvara dasa, August 22, 1977)