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Friday, October 19, 2012

Memory of my father: Grace beyond limits

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, our Spiritual Master

Today is the first anniversary of my father's passing. This is a precious picture for us, as it's the only one we have which shows my father, Keith, with our beloved Gurudev, Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. It was the last time he ever met Maharajji before his full blown decline into fronto-temporal dementia, a neurodegenerative brain disease. This picture was taken in 2005, at Radha Madhav Dham, USA. (That is my father's head in the bottom left corner!).

Even though, in the course of his decline, he forgot who Shree Maharajji and Radha Krishna and everyone and everything was, he would wander around our town singing "Shree Radhey Radhey Radhey... Bharore man nishi din dhyan Radhey!" (O my mind, always remember Radhey day and night!"). It is a line from a pad by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, the only words he knew or remembered. Many people in our town (Galway, Ireland) knew those words, because he would wander into their houses and sing it for them. He barely knew what he was singing in the end, but he would get emotional. When he still had some awareness, he would wander up to random strangers and say "Have you heard of Radha? She is the most beautiful person in the universe!" and then start singing "Radhey Radhey Shree Radhey Radhey Bharore man nishi din dhyan Radhey!" No one minded though.

In his last few days, we sat with him, and had continuous chantings in Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's voice playing for him, and the spiritual vibrations which filled the atmosphere in our home were beyond belief. Even in his last few hours he would burst out laughing without any reason, and doctors couldn't understand why he was not in pain. He had just been diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer a week earlier, which led to severe pneumonia. It was nothing but Shree Maharajji's Grace, on him, and on us... because that is my main memory of him. Family and friends who came to our house were amazed by the atmosphere. Most of them didn't know anything about our spiritual path. Although I don't know the philosophy of how or why, I felt that my father was receiving a special Grace towards the end, that was overflowing into the surroundings. The combination of the chanting, the flowers, the pictures of Radha Krishna and Shree Maharajji and the candles added to the ambiance. The entire episode was a profound experience in my life, and it was proof beyond-bounds that even if the devotee looses his ability to remember his spiritual master, the spiritual master never ever lets go of that devotee. Until the very end, "Radhey" name was in his sub-consciousness and the grace of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj was in his heart. My faith in the Divinity of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj has no limit or conditions now.

Along time after his initial diagnosis of fronto-temporal dementia, when he even forgot "Radhey Radhey" - or so we thought - my mother ran into my room and called me to come quickly. He was crying out "Radhey! Radhey!" in his sleep.

His inspiration in my youth played a large part in my coming onto the path of Raganuga Bhakti under the guidance of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. He had been practicing all kinds of meditation techniques since his early 20s, but in 1992, through unique circumstances, he bumped into an old meditation friend who had been a devotee of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj for a few years prior. My father got very angry when his friend told him about his spiritual path because he was determined to cling onto his existing mantra meditation practices. The friend gave him a book. Within a few weeks, my father and mother were also devotees! Years later, he often used to reminisce that he felt "something" in his heart after only a few weeks of listening to the chantings and doing Radha Krishna devotion, that he had never ever felt during his entire 20-something year of doing mantra meditations. There was a softening of the heart. From that point onward he never failed to do his daily sadhana. Nothing in this world, neither work, nor social distractions nor wild horses would prevent him from doing his sadhana every morning and evening. He was very staunch indeed, and I can't say it didn't pay off...

Everyone is born into a particular place and circumstances for a reason. I am just lucky to have the vivid footprints of Radha Krishna devotion and visible Grace of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj throughout my life. The life and circumstances of one's father can have a huge impact on the development of an individual. I am fortunate to have had one who was full of dedication for Radha Krishna, and the Grace of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.

2 comments:

Chris,Adelaide,South Aust. said...

Thank you so much for sharing this intense part of your family's life together. Such an amazing, wonderful experience you have passed on to your readers. Jai Shri Radhe!

Kathleen Williams said...

David, thanks for reposting this every year. It brings tears to my eyes each time. What special Grace, how fortunate he, you, and all of us who have had the Grace of Shree MJ are.