Some of the top searches in Google are - Can science prove God? Any Scientific Evidence of the Existence of Krishna? Does Krishna exist? Is Krishna God?
The greatest benediction Krishna bestowed upon our family is that He demonstrated His causeless mercy to us, through the life of my uncle, which eradicates all our doubts.
We would like to humbly present the events chronologically, as a witness to the mercy, without any mishandling of facts.
I remember it was one of the winters in the 1990s. My father was chasing me to study, to escape him, I quietly sneaked into my uncle's room. He was sitting erect, covered with a shawl. I slowly hid behind him, and he wrapped his left arm around me, handed the chanting beads with his right arm and for the first time in this life, he chanted the mantra in my ears - Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
My paternal uncle - Sri Amiya Kumar Mukherjee, was a Brahmachari (celibate) throughout his life. We used to stay with him in Jamshedpur. Ever since I got hold of my senses, I saw him returning from the office and Chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, reading Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita, Chaitanya Caritamrita, Srimad Bhagavatam. I used to love the paintings of Krishna in Bhagavad Gita especially the one in which mother Yasoda chases little Krisha with a stick. I could relate to the agony when mothers turn heavy on us and used to sympathize with the adorable blue child.
The Vaishnava Monk
Those days, from a nearby Radha Krishna temple (not ISKCON) a Vaishnava monk used to regularly visit our residence. I used to watch my uncle having deep philosophical conversations with him. The monk never used to accept anything eatable from our home, not even water. He was not addicted to anything, not even tea or coffee. We used to call him Maharaj. He was so simple, he hardly used to sit on our chair. He preferred a wooden stool than a luxury chair. Maharaj used to call me Nitai and used to be very affectionate towards me. He always used to rub my hair playfully whenever I used to bow down to him.
With his association, I remember my uncle used to slowly take steps to lead a sattvik life, life in the mode of goodness. Not only did he not eat non-vegetarian food, he never killed a mosquito. He used to instruct me Vishnu resides in every living being and every living being is His part and parcels. He taught me how Vishnu is in every atom, and, narrated me the incident of Lord Narasimha.
Elevation is possible in Krishna Consciousness in the association of pure devotees who can deliver one from delusion.
The New Acquaintance
Slowly the days rolled over to years. I was in high school then. I noticed another saffron-clad person started visiting our home, he wasn't a Vaishnava. I still remember, every time he visited our home, he used to sit putting his leg over our chair, demanded a cup of strong tea while smoking bidi.
A complete opposite to the nature of our saintly Maharaj. He represented spiritual life in an extremely strange way. He didn't believe in any kind of regulations or discipline. The effect of his association was soon visible on my uncle. My uncle also started taking spiritual practice cheaply.
Uncle slowly reduced the association of Saintly Maharaj. He used to spend hours together with this fellow discussing his philosophy. As the days passed I could see uncle gave away Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita to someone else and bought some other publications suggested by his new associate.
He started breaking the regulations. He was now enjoying fish, as he started believing there was no need to become fanatical about diet. He was convinced that diet was for the body and he is a soul, so there is no need to bother about it.
Eventually, they were seen sitting together with tea and discussing Indian politics for hours together. He started donating rice bags along with money to him.
Slowly, uncle became disrespectful towards all Vaishnavas including Maharaj.
When due to false pride, you disrespect exalted Vaishnavas, You become attracted to bad association. That bad association corrupts and destroys your devotion.
Diagnosis of the Illness
It was now 2014, I was already married to Rusha and we had started practicing Krishna Consciousness through ISKCON. We were following the four regulations which are the pillars of any civilized human life - (1) No Non-Vegetarian diet, (2) No Intoxication, (3) No Gambling and (4) No Illicit Relation.
Uncle said "it is good that you have quit smoking and drinking but you shouldn't have left animal protein. There is no connection between our diet and spiritual growth."
Srila Prabhupada counters this thought in His Purport in Bhagavad Gita As It Is
sattva-śuddhau dhruvā smṛtiḥ
smṛti-lambhe sarva-granthīnāṁ vipramokṣaḥ.
By performance of yajña one’s eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs one’s very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence finer tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is sanctified one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.
We used to have endless debates but he was firm on his views.
We used to wonder why and how uncle got so much deviated? Every time I tried to ask him this, the conversation used to end with debate and argument. He used to get extremely offensive to Vaishnavas and Acharyas. So we slowly stopped discussing these topics with him.
Instead, we tried to motivate my parents towards Krishna. We quoted verses from Bhagavad Gita where Krishna says the ultimate goal of human life is Krishna Consciousness, verses where Krishna says He is the ultimate source and ultimate destination for everyone, verses where Krishna says Bhakti Yoga is Supreme Yoga, verses where Krishna says surrender onto Him and He will care for us, the verses where it is said no need to fear for Krishna always protects His devotees. My uncle used to interrupt, he used to say "You are quoting the correct verses but the inference isn't correct. We should surrender to the power who is speaking through Krishna."
Then we finally understood, he has been bitten by the Mayavad Serpent, the acquaintance he got friendly with.
When we asked him, having studied so many scriptures all these days, what is the essence according to him, he used to say "Manav Seva is Madhav Seva, we should serve the Daridra Narayan".
We failed in every attempt to make him realize the fallacy of Mayavad Philosophy. We thought, only by bringing Lord in the center of our family, can help us in curing the poisonous effect of Mayavad . So we proposed to build a small altar for Lord. Immediately uncle opposed, "We all are Narayan then why need another altar for Him. Save money and donate to the poor, call Him from within. No need to make external showoff."
Things were becoming extremely difficult for my mother, as she was inclined to practicing Krishna Consciousness. Every time she used to perform Aarti or hear a lecture or read scriptures, uncle would unnecessarily interrupt. He sometimes used to bring his collections of books in order to prove to my mother that she is choosing the wrong path. He also tried to brainwash her saying ISKCON would take all the money from us, she should stop me as well as I would one day renounce everything and become a monk.
I knew my uncle was a very nice soul, who was once devoted to The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. It is just that he has been bitten by a venomous mayavadi serpent, and his non-devotional lifestyle is the symptoms of this poison. I was desperate to help him recover. But I was too young to counsel or preach him effectively. I used to pray helplessly to Krishna.
jīvera nistāra lāgi’ sūtra kaila vyāsa
māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa
Śrīla Vyāsadeva presented the Vedānta philosophy for the deliverance of conditioned souls, but if one hears the commentary of Śaṅkarācārya, everything is spoiled.
Māyāvāda philosophy is extremely dangerous, especially for a devotee. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore strictly forbidden us to associate with Māyāvādī philosophers. Māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa: if one associates with the Māyāvāda philosophy, his devotional life is doomed.
Protection of The Lord
It was 2017, November - the holy month of Karthik. Rusha and I were in Sri Dham Mayapur attending the Annual Yatra by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. We received a call from my parents, informing the severe health condition of my uncle. He was completely bedridden. Doctors had given up. Everyone anticipated him to be departing soon.
Hearing the news, I was shaken up. Somehow it kept striking my mind that my uncle isn't prepared for death yet. The consciousness in which one quits his body determines his next life. Thanks to the Mayavadi preacher, the state of consciousness and lifestyle that my uncle was leading, he would have definitely fallen to some lower species if not to hell.
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.
I discussed this with Rusha. We didn't know what to do. We went to Narasimha Dev, offered Him lamps and intensely prayed to Him. We knew we aren't pure hence requested senior devotees to pray on our behalf. We mentally offered our prayers to our Guru Dev, HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj, requesting Him to offer prayers for the protection of my uncle.
The next day we were not sure about continuing with the yatra or get a train ticket home. I remember, it was early morning, we were on Pada Yatra to Mahaprabhu's birthplace. We were all chanting the holy name on our way. Every devotee was smiling and enjoying, while we two were tensed. Soon my phone rang - call from home. We were expecting to hear a piece of bad news. But to our utter surprise parents said uncle was now able to sit up and was able to talk.
“garjantam garjayantam nija-bhuja-patalam sphotayantam hatantam
dipyantam tapayantam divi bhuvi ditijam kshepayantam kshipantam
krandantam roshayantam dishi dishi satatam samharantam bharantam
vikshantam purnayantam kara-nikara-shatair divya-simham namami |”
‘Lord Narasimha roars loudly and causes others to roar. With His multitudes of arms He tears the demons asunder and kills them in this way. He is always seeking out and tormenting the demoniac descendants of Diti, both on this earth planet and in the higher planets, and He throws them down and scatters them. He cries with great anger as He destroys the demons in all directions, yet with His unlimited hands He sustains, protects, and nourishes the cosmic manifestation. I offer my respectful obeisances to the Lord, who has assumed the form of a transcendental lion.’
In a matter of a week, he was back to normal life, walking around. This episode made our faith firm on Krishna, statements of scriptures, our path and teachings and guidance of Acharyas through ISKCON.
Somehow it had drawn us extremely closer to Narasimha Dev. Also, my mother was convinced that she hasn't chosen the wrong path.
During this phase, my mother shared very striking news. Till the time my uncle was weak, he was humble. However, as soon as he became fit, he was back to what he was.
This is exactly the situation with everyone. When we are fit and healthy, we think we are going to live forever, thus neglect the highest goal of life which is Krishna Consciousness.
Day after day, hour after hour, countless people die, yet the living believes they will live forever
Again in the year 2018, he suffered a similar health crisis, when doctors gave up. My father who was an atheist till this time suddenly requested me to offer a Narasimha Dev Puja for uncle. I saw a ray of hope in my father too. I again requested devotees to pray for uncle. I personally prayed to Lord, I also prayed, may my whole family become a devotee. This time I kind of forced my father to chant the holy names of Lord. He started chanting too.
Lord again mercifully answered our prayers. In a few day's time, my uncle was fit and fine. However, again both my father and uncle resumed their previous life - the life of an atheist non-devotee. Father gave up chanting.
Seeing the short time left, my mother, Rusha and I tried to convince uncle all the more to return back to Krishna Consciousness. We tried every means, it didn't work. He was still convinced in the Mayavad philosophy. He used to watch the TV serials on those fake godmen, guru, babas and swamis, claiming themselves or their guru as incarnations.
The Last Chapter
2019, uncle had turned extremely frail. In mid-2019, he got admitted to the hospital as he was facing a serious urinal problem. Doctors treated him with everything they could and later discharged him incurable. Towards the end quarter of 2019, he was again admitted with breathing trouble. Doctors diagnosed him with cancer and discharged him in a week's time. Uncle wasn't the same as earlier. He was completely bedridden and extremely weak. He needed someone to help him even for turning sides. The situation was so grave that this time everyone understood its time. Both my parents were tirelessly serving him.
Rusha also went to my parents to serve there. I had to stay back at Kolkata for attending office. Like last time, my father again asked me to offer a Narasimha Dev puja. Although he was in my prayers always, however, this time I was finding it difficult to pray again to the Lord. I felt like using Him for my own selfish purpose. I felt as if my family has been betraying Him. It was as if pray, get result and then forget. There was no sense of gratitude.
This is the general selfish mentality of almost every non-devotees. They treat the Lord as if having a business deal with Him.
... So those who are going to religious life, making God as their servant, they will be failure. You must approach God as master. You should become servant. The so-called religionist, they accept God as their order-supplier servant: "I must pray to God." Whenever there is some inconvenience, "I must pray," or "I must... " Not "must." "At that time I shall pray, and then I shall finish that prayer, and God must supply. If God does not supply, then there is no God." This is the general attitude.
But again, I knew I had no one else to take shelter of other than Krishna. I knew this is the most critical phase of life for my uncle.
So I prayed with all my sincerity, but this time, I prayed not for his recovery, I prayed may he get the gift of devotion, may he get the blessing of Krishna Consciousness, may he become a devotee. I requested every devotee I knew to pray for my uncle's bhakti. All I desired was that he should die a death of a devotee so that at the end moment he quits his body in Krishna Consciousness.
The Downpour of Mercy
Fearing that my uncle would quit his body any moment, Rusha and my mother used to sing Kirtan near his ears. Intention was so that atleast through these Kirtan, may he remember Lord, atleast for once.
Slowly my uncle was regaining back his external consciousness. He was able to talk, hear and understand. Rusha, who was already taking care of him, now seeing an opportunity started to have a short discussion with him on spiritual topics.
One day she took Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is, and randomly took out slokas and asked uncle the meaning of the verses. Initially, he was reluctant to speak anything about Krishna or Gita. He used to accuse Krishna of every pain or trauma that he was undergoing. He hated the voice of Srila Prabhupada chanting Maha Mantra that we used to play in his room.
But my mother and Rusha were not the ones to give up. They took some or the other reasons to read out Bhagavad Gita in front of uncle.
One day my uncle, called upon Rusha and asked her to read Gita. Rusha asked which chapter should she read, he said chapter 12 - Devotional Service or Bhakti.
The patient bitten by the venomous mayavadi serpent was now recovering slowly. He was showing the symptoms of life - Krishna Bhakti !!!
Rusha read the verses along with the purports of Srila Prabhupada. On each purport, my uncle used to exclaim - Correct!!! It is Correct!!! and used to ask her to repeat the lines again and again. These were the same lines that he couldn't understand a few years back and so he got rid of Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita. Today he is realising and relishing them.
This continued for almost two weeks.
One morning, he asked my mother to bring him his old beads, he wanted to chant!!! Then he also asked to increase the volume of Srila Prabhupada's recording.
On being asked, why did he want to chant Krishna's name when He is giving all pain, uncle replied - "Krishna is not making me suffer. I am suffering due to my own Karma. Krishna is mercifully curing me of all the Karma so that I may return to my eternal home, Back to Him"
Hare Krishna !!!
Slowly uncle was now able to stand on his feet, and, taking baby steps and was able to walk.
Seeing my uncle recover, my parents asked Rusha to return back to Kolkata.
It was on 20 December 2019, my parents suddenly called us to go home as early as possible as uncle's health was deteriorating.
We were ready to board the train early morning on 21st December when my parents called and informed me that he has left his body.
I had no complaints. All that I had asked from Krishna, He has mercifully bestowed it upon us. I silently prayed for my uncle.
Just then a thought gripped me.
Death is the end for the body, but for the soul, it is the start of a new journey.
Today's culture is extremely corrupted by modernization. Hardly anyone is interested in understanding the soul. The rituals are performed for the sake of performing. People are so selfishly preoccupied in their personal material life, they choose to take shortcuts. Apart from this, in our society, there is an infamous ritual of eating flesh after 13th day. This is against the injunctions of bonafide scriptures. It is for the pleasure of the survivors but the soul who has departed gains a huge Karmic reaction. Shraddha ceremonies are performed to reduce the karmas of the departed soul, not to dump new severe karma.
I immediately called my parents and informed all rituals will be performed by me and we will strictly follow the guidelines of scriptures. Thankfully they agreed.
But I wasn't sure how to go ahead. There are hardly any qualified priests left on our planet.
Moreover, I was worried about what if my relatives didn't agree.
"Surrender Unto Me"
There was no other option but to surrender on to Krishna. I kept praying, all I am going to do is for my uncle, I prayed to help me in performing my duties in the best possible way.
I took my mobile and started reading the responsibilities that are expected out of me. I found an extremely powerful statement of Srila Prabhupada defining Putra (son) -
Putra means Pun-namno narakad yasmat trayate iti putra. Pu-tra. Pu means pun-namno narakat. There is a hell which is called put. So from that hellish condition, one who delivers, trayate iti tra, therefore he is called putra. This is... Every Sanskrit word has got meaning, root meaning. Putra. Putra-piṇḍa-prayojanam. Putra is required. Why? After death, if by chance the father does not get ordinary life or goes to the hellish condition of life, the son will deliver. Therefore sraddha ceremony. There is sraddha... What is that sraddha ceremony? Sraddha ceremony means to offer foodstuff to Viṣṇu, and with the prasadam, to the forefathers or father it is offered so that by eating prasadam, if he is in ghost life or in hellish life, he'll be delivered. This is called sraddha.
In Iskcon Desire Tree, I found an article explaining the journey of the soul as described in Garuda Puran. I could understand the importance of the rituals that are followed after someone's death.
When we reached home, everyone was waiting for our arrival. We learned from my mother, my uncle had his beads next to him when he left his body. So it seems, either he had chanted or at least attempted to chant before death. Either way, he was Krishna Conscious before death.
We went for the crematorium ground, and I performed the final rites. The ritual of putting a flame to my uncle's mouth burnt the relation with his body.
As taught and guided by senior devotees, I chanted Hare Krishna Mahamantra loudly, near the burning yard, for the entire duration while the body was burning. I wish I had a devotee association who could accompany me in chanting or sing Kirtan.
Krishna helped me realize that now was the time to perform the real service for the departed soul who had a limited time left.
While going back home, I was praying to Krishna for arranging a qualified priest. I didn't want some random person reciting some mantra. Krishna by His causeless mercy arranged a Vaishnava Priest which was very unlikely. We were extremely delighted by it.
He opened the panjika and said - uncle left his body without any dosha. Hare Krishna!!! Rusha and I understood all the rules and regulations that had to be followed. We called our Shiksha guru and other senior devotees and sought their guidance.
Everything was going perfectly, but still, we found something lacking. We realized we were not having Krishna in the event. We didn't know what to do. Suddenly it flashed to us about The One Single Family Srila Prabhupada made for us - ISKCON.
We immediately contacted the Jamshedpur ISKCON Temple and requested the devotees to help us by performing a small Kirtan at our home. We were telling them the mercy of Narasimha Dev on my uncle, hearing which they suggested performing an Aarti along with reciting the 108 Names of Narasimha Dev and performing Tulsi Daan to the Lord. Since it was the month of Gita Jayanti (month during which Krishna actually spoke Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna), we also shared our desire to donate Bhagavad Gita on behalf of my uncle.
We had invited all the neighbors and relatives to our home for the evening.
The devotees arrived, performed the kirtan, Sandhya Aarti, Tulasi Aarti, recited 108 names of Narasimha Dev, performed congregational chanting with everyone who had attended. The entire atmosphere had become purely ecstatic.
Seeing the merciful support of Krishna, we dared to desire another impossible task - feeding Krishna Prasad to the shraddha invitees. Krishna arranged a vegetarian cook and we came up with a purely vegetarian menu - without onion and garlic. The only task remaining was to offer the food to the Lord.
The next day we had the shraddha ceremony. The ritual was performed with Narayan Shila. Vishnu was worshiped and offered food. The ceremony ended with Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
We also distributed Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is to our relatives, neighbors, and everyone who attended shraddha, on behalf of my uncle.
Krishna managed us through this day gracefully.
However, the last day was a bit critical for us. This is the day when people eat flesh, against scriptural guidance. Since the first day, there were already topics on bringing flesh, which were being discussed by my relatives. The argument given to my father was, my uncle used to love fish so this event will make my uncle happy.
We (my mother, Rusha and myself) didn't want any bloodshed. My father was in an awkward situation. He didn't want to offend our relatives.
Again we had no one other than Govinda. We all prayed to Him for He is the ultimate controller.
To our surprise, the next morning, suddenly my relatives called my father and they themselves said -"you are performing the rituals in a pure Vaishnava way, we do not want to hamper it. We can have a non-vegetarian diet at our home. No need to bring any flesh in this house."
Internally we were extremely relieved and couldn't thank Krishna enough for turning the situation around.
Thus in every part of the ritual, Krishna helped us in every step. Krishna is the greatest mystic who can do wonders. Not even a single blade of grass can move without His will.
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa mahā-bāho
tvam eko dahyamānānām
apavargo 'si saṁsṛteḥ
"Arjuna said: O my Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, You are the almighty Personality of Godhead. There is no limit to Your different energies. Therefore only You are competent to instill fearlessness in the hearts of Your devotee. Everyone in the flames of material miseries can find the path of liberation in You only."
We do not know how many flaws we had during the execution of our duties, but, one thing we all are sure of is - wherever my Uncle is today, he is under the protection of Krishna.
From the episode of my uncle, we have learned many great lessons.
- Krishna is Ocean of Mercy - Karunasindhu
- Krishna - is The Supreme Personality of Godhead and hence Only He can save us from any calamity.
- Krishna takes care of every need of His devotee, even his last rites. Hence instead of depending upon material objects - money, family, relatives, society, we must depend solely upon Krishna.
- Even if someone gets deviated from the path of Krishna Consciousness and forgets Him, Krishna never forgets or leaves His devotees.
- Association shapes our consciousness. We must voluntarily hanker for the association of devotees of the Lord.
- We get Krishna's mercy when our life is guarded by devotees and nourished by their prayers.
- Mayavad is the deadliest terrorist in the land of spirituality. We must be extremely careful and avoid them / their philosophy.
- Krishna Consciousness is a time-proven science and is experienceable if received through a bonafide Sampradaya
- We must keep on endeavoring, but keeping in mind that no one else can plan and orchestrate it better than Krishna. Hence surrender unto Him.
- A Vaishnava (devotee) is our true well-wisher because only he understands the science of Soul and Soul's relation with God
- The only asset that we can accumulate in this material world is the mercy of Krishna and His Devotees.
- Have unflinching faith upon Krishna.
[Srila Prabhupada’s lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.37 – March 15, 1976, Mayapur]
- As described in the below verse, there is no loss in the path of Krishna Consciousness, rather it saves us from the greatest fear.
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
- We simply need to surrender onto Krishna (by following His instructions) as suggested below, and He shall deliver us. We need not fear.
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
- Art of dying as a human is to be Krishna Conscious at the time of death. The consciousness (or state of mind) one is during dying, determines his next life. Failure of human birth is if one falls down to animal life.
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.
Before ending this article, I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude towards my office management for granting me leave, my office team-mates for supporting during my leave, neighbors, and relatives for their support, my brother- Anupam and his good wife, Tandrima, who were tirelessly supporting us in spite of their hectic professional life, my aunts for their guidance, my wife, Rusha for being my strength and for her service, my parents for demonstrating how to selflessly serve / take care of someone and for tolerating me and all my demands and to surrender to Krishna without any question, all the devotees who have sincerely prayed for my uncle, HG Vallabh Chaitanya Prabhu, HG Sri Govind Ghosh Prabhu, HG Chaitanya Madhav Prabhu, HG Kanai Nathshala Prabhu (our Shiksha Gurus) for guiding us in every phase of our life, HG Tushtha Gopal Prabhu and his team of devotees from Jamshedpur ISKCON for their unending support, our beloved Guru Maharaj- HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj for His mercy and shelter, Srila Prabhupada for descending and creating a genuine family for us in the form of ISKCON, and finally All Merciful Sri Krishna for orchestrating everything and for staying by our side always.