By Kruti Beesam
I am Kruti Beesam. I work as a proofreader for a reputed software firm company in Hyderabad. I have Cerebral Palsy, which confines me to a wheelchair and makes me dependent on physical assistance even for my basic day-to-day needs. At the age of 13 years my disability gave me an opportunity to meet Dr. Laxma Reddy, a physio at a clinic in Hyderabad. Later, due to my condition, he agreed to pay home visits.
Dr Laxma was a simple person who knew his job well and was very friendly with his patients. With his help, my condition improved to an extent. With time, I started observing some changes in Dr Reddy. He started speaking more and more about God. To him, Krishna is the only God. One day, he came in saffron robes and told us that he had joined the Hare Krishna movement and left physiotherapy for good.
I could not understand how a person could leave everything behind and simply live to serve God. I had only seen that in movies. Dr Laxma was now Rama Lakshman das.
He shifted to a place called Mayapur in West Bengal, a holy place greatly revered by the followers of the Chaitanya tradition from which the modern Hare Krishna movement originated.
Rama Lakshman Prabhu now visited us whenever he came to our city and helped us to understand a little bit about the Bhagavad-Gita. My confusion about his decision slowly turned to admiration, and I found myself wanting to lead a life similar to that which he had opted for.
My limitations don’t allow me to do everything that I’d like to but I hope I will be able to do so someday.
In school, I dreaded maths. My mom tried various methods to improve my performance in the subject. Rama Lakshman Prabhu promised that he would take me to Mayapur if I passed the exam with a good score.
The promise of such an incentive motivated me to put all my efforts into the upcoming exam.
To my great delight, I passed! My family and I consider it nothing less than a miracle that I got through the exam. He saved me from failing into arrears that could have brought my confidence down.
But due to the difficulties associated with travelling and various other reasons, we didn’t get a chance to visit any place for years.
Eight years later, when we finally got an opportunity to go to Mayapur, I had an overwhelming experience. It is a beautiful place where the purity of nature is well-preserved. It was as if I was reading a beautiful description in a book or watching a good movie –the greenery, the cows, and the simplicity of the place are things that we cannot find in the din and bustle of cities like Hyderabad.
In Mayapur, I witnessed the perfect implementation of the concept of simple living and high thinking. We stayed there only for three days but had the opportunity to participate in the karthika festival, which was so wonderful that it was nothing like anything I had ever seen.When I saw the Deities in the temple for the first time, I had tears in my eyes. I wondered if I was the only one in that state of mind. Later, I was told that a friend who had accompanied us also had the same experience. She said that it was as if the Lord had appeared there just to allow us to have a glimpse of Him. I used to think that this is an experience of people who completely dedicate their lives to Krishna; but I after the tear-inducing profound experience my friend and I have had, I think that any devotee who sees the Lord with a pure heart also experiences similar feelings.
I had already started feeling the magic of Mayapur. I saw that people from different faiths had come together to celebrate Krishna. It is amazing to see how Sri Sri Radha Madhava attracts and inspires people from every part of the world to come to Mayapur and take shelter at Their lotus feet. Two pious souls who have been so attracted are Indulekha mataji and Vishnurata prabhu. They are from Russia and Indonesia respectively and are now living in Sridham Mayapur. Along with Rama Lakshman prabhu, they took us around to many places and narrated pastimes of the Lord associated with each place. Among other places, I also had the opportunity to visit and offer my prayers to the holy Ganges. It is said that the river washes away all our sins. I felt the purity of the river when I went there. I had only seen the Ganges on TV. I never thought that I would be touching the holy water. This has been possible because of all the people who came with me. I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart. As a part of preserving and promoting Indian culture, both Vishnurata prabhu and Indulekha mataji were dressed traditionally. And they willingly performed the rituals of the traditional Hindu society. For instance, Indulekha mataji insisted on serving us all lunch before sitting down herself to eat. None of them would eat without making an offering to the Lord first. It was strange to see people from different corners of the world reminding us of the customs and traditions that we have forgotten.
I also met Chaitanya, who was also a devotee of the Lord like so many others in Mayapur. But there’s something special about him. What makes him special is his enthusiasm to celebrate life despite his disability. His unshakable faith in Krishna surprised me. As we spoke, he motivated me to chant more rounds of the Hare Krishna maha mantra and gave me a couple of books that can further inspire me. It was amazing to realize the fact that God has blessed these people by allowing them to live in Mayapur and offer their services to Him. It felt like I was in a different world altogether. Neither the travel fatigue nor the humid weather could affect me while I meditated on the Lord in that beautiful heaven called Sri Dham Mayapur. I hope I get another chance to have that experience of beauty.