Hare Krishna everyone! Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Since I've started pouring my heart out here, I thought that I should write a little about the devotee who taught me and inspired me the most back in the 1990's.
His name is Apurva prabhu, and he is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who was the Temple President in Denver, Colorado when I lived there.
His kindness to me and all the things I learned from him have always stuck with me through the years, even when I was at my lowest points of drug addict degradation in the mid-2000' s. He was like a father to me, and observing the way he handled things with his absolutely wonderful wife, Mother Kamalini, has given me a good model of how to act with my wife now that I have returned to Krishna's shelter.
He is an amazing cook, and all the cooking skills I observed in my close association with him has come into use now that I am a householder who does the cooking. His dishes were always most pleasing to Krishna, and I learned so much in that department from him.
I was just a crazy, drug-addicted hippy who lived on ramen noodles when I met Apurva prabhu. He had infinite patience for me, even though I was a world-class screw up. He helped me learn how to be Krishna Conscious, even though I was not so good at it back then. He encouraged my love of studying Srila Prabhupada's books and my love for chanting japa.
I moved out of the Temple because I was afraid back then to take initiation because I knew it meant that I would never be able to do drugs again. The thought of not getting high anymore truly scared me then, and I resorted to what I had always done best, run away.
I've learned a valuable lesson over the years, and that is that you can't run and hide from yourself. I tried and tried, but in the end I had to break down and surrender. My rebelliousness nearly cost me my life. In 2005, I had a severe multiple drug overdose. I was dead before the ambulance even got me to the local hospital. They brought me back temporarily at the local hospital, but I kept crashing, so they life-flighted me to a hospital an hour away in Pittsburgh. At this hospital they saved me, but I could not breathe on my own and was on a respirator and was in a coma for a week. My poor mother knew that I didn't want to have just my body kept alive, so they shut the respirator off. By Krishna's absolute Grace and mercy on my most undeserving soul, I woke up at that moment and was able to breathe on my own again and everything! It was a miracle, but to show you how deeply I was in the darkness back then, I promptly signed myself out of the hospital and went home and right away took the same drugs that had killed me over a week before that.
I am such a stupid, ungrateful wretch of a human being. I'm having trouble even typing this because of my tears right now. I honestly don't know why Krishna has even allowed me to live this long, let alone bless me with my amazing wife, wonderful life, all you devotees, and my family who I have put through hell for my whole life. I don't deserve any of this.
I kept in touch with with Apurva prabhu for several years after I left the temple, and he continued to be merciful towards me. In 2000 or 2001 (my memory gets fuzzy for the years of the early 2000's because I was using so many psychedelic drugs then) he arranged for me to meet him at the Washington D.C. temple for 2 weeks to help him cater a devotee wedding. I spent two weeks at that temple. It was Dusshera and there was a huge festival. My memory is fuzzy, but I just remember feeling so ecstatic and I chanted 40+ rounds throughout that day.
Even then, I didn't realize what a precious gift I had been given. I came back to Pennsylvania, lost touch with Apurva prabhu and Mother Kamalini, and promptly went off the deep end. I began a run of many years of heavy drug abuse of all kinds. I needed drugs for my then starting to develop chronic pain, and I was taking way too many psychedelic drugs. I began practicing black magick and followed the teachings of an organization called the Temple of Set. I had met a disgruntled ex-member online who provided me with with all of the documents that they only gave to initiates. This was my downfall. This is what led to my above mentioned near death experience.
Anyway, I'm rambling and I realize I've gone far from where I started. Please forgive me. I really truly want to bear my soul to you wonderful devotees so that you can see that, for reasons I don't understand, Krishna is so merciful. Srila Prabhupada was truly a Saint, and many have come after him who carried that torch, even though they started off as lost souls just like I was. I've listened to some truly inspiring lectures recently thanks to this wonderful internet where we can have access to the association of devotees even if we, like myself, are living far from a temple. I think I have been crying with sadness, relief, ecstasy, and realizations more in the past several days than I have ever in my life before.
Please pray for me everyone. Even though I am truly the most unworthy servant, please, please, please let me inspire just one single person with Krishna Consciousness the way I have been inspired by so many wonderful devotees!!!
I love you all! Thank you for putting up with me. I started this blog because I just wanted to let the world know that there is a devotee out there named Apurva prabhu who deserves recognition for teaching and inspiring this wretched soul about the true value of life--sweet, glorious Love for guru, Krishna, family, and all living things. Hare Krishna!