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From Fear To Hope

The 68th Prerana held on 27th December had the record high attendance of about 1200 participants. The lecture entitled, ‘From Fear To Hope’ was given by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

On July 11th 2006, 7 blasts in 7 minutes left 209 dead, 700 injured and millions terrorized in Mumbai. A few days later when I was sitting in the Vrindavan forest, a family approached me. The husband had witnessed one of the blasts and the subsequent traumatic scene. He was shaken. The wife with her two little children asked me, “In this world of hatred and cruelty how does bhakti help us cope with it?” I was reminded of a story which His Holiness Sachinandan Maharaj had once narrated.

Hitler killed 12 million people in his concentration camps and most of them were Jews. His Holiness Sachinandan Maharaj’s uncle was also working under Hitler. A friend of the uncle observed something special in the room where the prisoners were kept. On the walls were beautiful drawings of butterflies flying upwards. Inquisitive, he asked a captive Jew as to why they drew such paintings before being sent in to gas chambers.

The man said, “The butterfly has to be wrapped up in a cocoon under painful situations before its beautiful colored wings come out. Then it can freely fly in the sky. Similarly we have the hope that our souls will also be free in the Kingdom of God after we go through these painful experiences inflicted by you upon us. We have faith that at death if we remember the Lord with devotion, we will be free for ever from all sufferings. And without your knowledge you are helping us attain perfection.”

Later the friend told this whole incident to His Holiness Sachinandan Maharaj’s uncle. Hitler had brainwashed his followers that the Jews were sub-human and they were evil inherently. But this incident changed the uncle’s perspective completely. He repented for the rest of his life for the wrongs he had committed.

If we have hope, we have life. It can give us the spirit of joy no matter what the situation. But misplaced hope can be the cause of the greatest fear. If we place our hope in the body and things connected with the body, it will be simply causes of fear.  The process of bhakti is about losing hope were there is no hope and see unlimited hope were there is unlimited hope.

The great devotees of the Lord have unlimited hope in the infinite love of the Supreme Lord. Because Draupadi placed her hope in the protection of the Lord, she was protected. If we take full shelter of the Lord, the Lord gives Himself in full. Hanumanji had hope in every situation and he was looking for service in every situation and so he found it in every situation. Similarly Srila Prabhupada had hope in every situation because he had taken shelter of Krishna’s love. In the beginning days when only two or three people would come for his program, Srila Prabhupada would still be hopeful. Once he wrote to his godbrother expressing his hope, “….they seemed to like the chanting.”

One of the things that is common between Hanumanji and Srila Prabhupada is that both had unlimited hope because of their implicit faith in the order that was given to them and in the holy names.

The program ended with kirtan and prasadam.

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