We had just gotten back to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada, where the Halifax brahmacaris are based while traveling around the province with His Holiness Bhaktimarga Swami. We were in Halifax for the first time in two months to have a Sunday Feast with the devotees and friends of Krishna. When we arrived for the program, there was a young man whom I had met on the street some months back. The day I met him, as he recalled, he was in a particularly good mood and decided to stop and talk with me to see what I was doing and to be a nice stranger. We had a friendly conversation, and he eventually left with a Bhagavad-gita.
So, tonight when we reunited he approached me and asked if I remembered him and our conversation. A lot had happened since we met, and I definitely didn't remember any details, but I tried to remember his name and guessed, "Yeah . . . Andrew, right?" As I said it, I closed my eyes and prayed. Krishna reciprocated and Andrew said, "Yeah! Wow, you've
got a good memory!"
So, the program went on and we listened to Maharaja's kirtans and lecture. Andrew sat with rapt attention and asked Maharaja a nice question and was satisfied by the answer. As we were getting ready to take prasadam, Andrew came up to me and we began to talk. Our conversation lasted almost two hours. He devoured every bit of Krsna conscious philosophy I gave him in the natural flow of our conversation.
He was very open and very favorable. Later I remarked to Gauracandra Prabhu from Toronto that I could never even conceive of praying for such reciprocation while preaching. Obviously, Andrew's enthusiasm is the spark of his previous devotional service getting ready to reignite.
During my conversation with Andrew I cited the Isopanisad in support of the idea that material knowledge and spiritual knowledge must be cultivated simultaneously. I used an analogy I heard from Bhaktimarga Swami -- that a train needs both tracks to go anywhere. Similarly, we need to be spiritual and practical. Andrew soaked it up and relished his ability to understand some spiritual philosophy. I told him I would give him the Isopanisad as a gift, and if he wanted he could make a donation before leaving.
We talked for a while longer amidst a few other devotees who were inspired to hear Andrew express his enthusiasm for Krsna consciousness and his intention to take up spiritual life and chant the maha-mantra more seriously.
When he left, I walked him to the door as he put the Isopanisad in his pocket and walked out. I followed him because our conversation was still going on. It was like I had met a friend from the spiritual world and we had so much to catch up on. It was just really natural that way. As he was preparing to leave for the night, Andrew said, "I'll leave you with one question: Could God create a stone that was too heavy for him to lift?"
Quoting Srila Prabhupada's answer to a similar question, I said, "Yes . . . but then He would lift it!"
Andrew was amazed at this answer and had to pace around the parking lot for a minute or two, putting his mind back together. Then I remembered that Gauracandra Prabhu had a Krsna book on the table. So I ran and got it from him so I could show Andrew the picture of Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill. I explained what I knew about the pastime and he said
he would love to have the Krsna book sometime. He said, "Next Sunday I will bring $20.00."
But because of his sincerity, which I had seen throughout the evening, I said, "I can't let you go home without this book. Is there a bank machine nearby that you can go to? I'll come with you."
Andrew told me he had left his wallet in his car and had me follow him there. I wasn't wearing shoes, and although Andrew was, he took them off "to be like the monk." At the car I reiterated that I was glad he was taking the book because I couldn't let him go without it! He handed me twenty dollars, then another twenty. He said, "Bills are tight, but if you want to get, you've got to give." He was referring to the financial situation of his business (he is only 23 and owns a computer service and web-design company). Then Krishna inspired him to give another twenty dollars. For a total of $60.00, he took a Krsna book and Sri Isopanisad home with him.
He also said that he would be trying this Krsna consciousness out for the next few months because he can see there is something to it. We will be seeing him next week at the Sunday Feast.