I was scheduled to give a two-day seminar over the weekend, with a morning and afternoon session on both days. The first day we dedicated to the topic of death, and the second day to the chanting of the holy name. I had discovered this to be an effective way of building up a seminar: the topic of death is awakening us to the fact that sooner or later we would all have to face this final challenge - something which we are so expert in sweeping under the carpet and pretending that it will never happen to us....! Once we understand more deeply what exactly is happening in this moment, and how we can indeed prepare ourselves for it, we feel a stronger urgency to take up the process of Krsna consciousness sincerely and establish our relationship with the Lord, which mainly happens through chanting His holy name. We become more conscious of the time factor - how we only have a certain amount of time left in this body. We realize how every moment is so valuable and should be used in a meaningful way in Krsna consciousness....!
One of my favorite quotes in this regard is S.B.10.20.37: "The fish swimming in the increasingly shallow water did not at all understand that the water was diminishing, just as foolish family men cannot see how the time they have left to live is diminishing with every passing day. PURPORT: After the rainy season the water gradually goes down, but stupid fish do not understand this; thus they are often stranded on the lakeshores and riverbanks. Similarly, those infatuated with family life do not understand that the remainder of their life is constantly decreasing; thus they fail to perfect their Krsna consciousness and are stranded in the cycle of birth and death."
In Bangladesh we can often see the children and young fellows trying to catch the 'stupid fish' which get stranded in the mud when the floods go down after the raining season. And this analogy always comes to my mind, remembering our position in this material world....
I was amazed how well the seminar was attended - even on Thursday morning, when many people are usually working. Around 180 nice devotees assembled and eagerly participated in all the four sessions, hearing attentively and asking relevant questions. Not so many traveling preachers visit here, and devotees seemed to be very thirsty for association.
I returned to Dhaka with the intention to visit Narayan Ganj regularly.
After spending a few days in Dhaka and giving several programs and morning classes I flew on to Sylhet - one of the main yatras in Bangladesh.
In the evening we conducted a seminar for grhasthas on Krsna conscious family life, and devotees had made a cake which I was distributing to all the participants. It was the first time that I conducted such grhastha program - certainly a great idea! In this part of the world we sometimes tend to neglect the grhasthas a little, giving so much more importance to the students and brahmacaris.
We also had a program with around 50 brahmacaris, discussing SB.4.8.34 which describes how envy manifests towards seniors, equals and juniors. A great discussion which stimulated introspection and internal work! Devotees concluded the question-answer session with comments like "Mataji, please come more often and help us to overcome our envy in our hearts....."
The matajis also requested a special program, which was well attended by around 70 sincere ladies. We churned the topic of "Are Men and Women Equal?", which gave us insights into the most important roles we women are playing within human society. The contribution women are meant to offer is of such great importance, and if it is misunderstood and neglected, the entire society can easily go to hell. Such is the power of the feminine energy.....
On the 4th of December I flew off to Mumbai....
Your servant, Devaki dd