Letter to Shrila Prabhupada for Vyasapuja 2020
Dearest Shrila Prabhupada,
Please accept my most respectful obeisances at Your lotus feet.
Nama om vishnu padaya krishna preshthaya bhu-tale, shrimate bhaktivedanta swami iti namine.
Namaste sarasvate deve gaura vani pracharine, nirvishesha shunyavadi pashchatya desha tarine.
Om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana shalakaya, chakshur unmiltam yena tasmai shri gurave namaha.
Delhi, 44 years ago, that blessed day on which I met You for the first time and, by the Grace of God, You provided me with Your first darshan; the first conversation You had with me and that I still vividly recall. You said:
“People are unhappy. They suffer because they have waged a war on Nature.”
After a short pause, with a serious gaze, You asked me: “do you believe in God?”.
Absorbed in reflection following that statement You had just made, I was startled by Your question and responded with a nod.
You proceeded and, with a solemn expression, you calmly explained that this cruel attack on Nature would give way to a global catastrophe, one whose consequences would mainly impact the human race that had provoked it.
Your facial expression, Your voice and Your gaze were full of intense compassion. I welcomed Your teachings as a unique, immeasurable gift. I cherished and cultivated them within my memory and they have illuminated my life in every way.
I am writing You as the coronavirus-covid 19 pandemic unfolds and people, confined to their homes since a month now, live in anguish and fear for themselves and their loved ones. After more than seventy years, Italy, a country that thought it had achieved solid levels of development and wellbeing in a permanent way, is unexpectedly forced to face the precarious state of its achievements in various areas such as civil rights, healthcare, social services and independence in regard to food security. It only took a virus to shake this fragile socioeconomic foundation built upon a distorted vision of reality. This distortion is essentially due to having adopted an egotistical way of being, one that is materialistic and nihilistic towards life: a vision similar to a predator in relation to its prey. Modern man, in the name of science and economic progress, treats Nature and all of its beings with predatory violence.
In the name of science, for the purpose of scientism, he has created a greedy economic system with no consideration for life and all of its beings, acting with the arrogance of a mad demiurge (Asura), placing himself in the position of God with a sense of superiority towards everyone and everything. He is dragging humanity towards its most disastrous demise: its dehumanization and the progressive destruction of biodiversity on the planet.
All that You spoke to me about that day, did indeed happen, and now the human race is suffering the terrible consequences.
You also said and wrote more than once: without religion, science becomes inhumane, without science, religion becomes sentimentalism.
You then continued discoursing and asked me to be part of the solution. You asked me to become a Krishna devotee, to chant His Sacred Name, to study the Bhagava-gita and to serve Him by speaking of Him to everyone I would meet.
Within my power and with enthusiasm and faith, I accepted Your invitation. From that blessed day on which I met You, through Yours and Krishna’s mercy, I was able to transform my life thanks to your teachings.
Miraculously and with immense gratitude, until today, I hold in my heart the immeasurable spiritual gift You’ve given me and strive to share it with as many people as possible even amidst the tragic circumstances in which we all find ourselves now.
Deeply aware of how much I am in Your debt and wanting to demonstrate my immense gratitude, I ask You to please continue to illuminate me, inspire me and always grant me new opportunities to serve You, Shri Krishna, the world and all of its beings.
Without your blessings, I could but only cry without any hope of truly Living.
With my heart, brimming with devotion,
Your grateful servant,
Matsya Avatar das