By Acarya dasa
On July 30 the All-India and Maharashtra padayatras, walking in unison, reached Dahiwadi, a village of 2550 residents in the Sangli District of Maharashtra.
It is said in the Bhagavad-gita [7.19]
bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
Finding such a surrendered soul is indeed very rare, but we found rare soul Arjuna Krishna dasa in Dahiwadi, the home of Dwarakadhish dasa (a disciple of Radhanath Maharaja) who practised Krishna consciousness and preached in that area for many years. The local residents had also been encouraged to join Krishna consciousness by Madhuri Mataji, and via these devotees it was the Lord’s arrangement that Arjuna Krishna (at that time Amit, a grade-nine student) became attracted to Krishna conscious life.
Amit started visiting the ISKCON Aravade temple and through the association of devotees became involved in the preaching programmes. Initially his parents were feeling dejected – “Oh, our son has gone mad, he stays in the temple for days” – but his father is a devotee of Lord Vishnu who always wanted his son to be a devotee of Lord Krishna, and by the Lord’s mercy the parents eventually also attended the temple programmes. Soon Amit got initiated by Lokanath Maharaja and is now a brahmacari serving the Maharashtra Padayatra. Arjuna Krishna’s mother, Srimati Radharani devi dasi, has also been initiated by Maharaja, and now everybody in the family chants and Arjuna Krishna’s grandmother serves in the Aravade temple preparing delicious prasadam for the devotees. His father earns a living manufacturing blankets.
This simple family gave Arjuna Krishna to Srila Prabhupada’s mission. All glories to the family. I asked his mother, “How do you feel now your son has left home?” She replied, “Initially I used to feel sad, what will happen as he is my only son and we have just one daughter, who will look after us in old age? So many other questions used to perturb me. But when I read Srila Prabhupada’s books and heard Gurudev’s lectures I felt honoured and proud of my son. We are happy he is serving padayatra, which is the heart of our spiritual master.”
Arjuna Krishna always wanted the All-India Padayatra to come to his village, in fact all prayed to Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar for this to happen, and the Lord fulfilled his desire with a bonus: both padayatras – All-India and Maharashtra – visited Dahiwadi to bless the villagers. The Lord demonstrated how much He loves His devotees and how much He cares for their desires. The villagers arranged a grand welcome for us with rangolis decorating the roads. Matajis were ready with arati plates to worship Their Lordships and accommodation for us and the oxen was arranged. They took good care of us and happily joined us in our programmes.
As we moved through Dahiwadi on evening sankirtan we again saw decorations and lamps everywhere, the occasion profoundly special as the carts of both padayatras and their beautifully decorated oxen passed along the village streets. The residents joined the procession and had darshan of Their Lordships, and as we were leaving for the next destination the following morning everyone implored us to return. They were proud of Arjuna Krishna and thanked him saying, “Because of you we could have darshan of Their Lordships.”