It is cow dust time here at Kashi, the time long ago when Lord Krishna would bring the cows home in the evening and the dust from their hooves would be thick in the air. I was thinking how was it that I first fell so much in love with Krishna and that he would be my heart?
When I was 13, my mother and I were shopping at A&S, on Dekalb Avenue in Brooklyn. After a few hours, we headed back to the train station where we saw the Hare Krishna’s on the corner, singing and soliciting with their literature. One of them gave me a small paperback book with teachings and pictures of Krishna. I looked at the book and thought nothing of it.
A few months later, I went to Rockaway Beach with a friend and threw a few books in my bag. One of them was the book about Krishna. While my friend was in the water, I sat down by myself and started repeating the Hare Krisha mantra. I started crying and I couldn’t stop. The mantra touched me on such a deep place inside; I felt so much love for Krishna in that moment. I had never felt anything like that before.
When I met my Guru, Ma Jaya in 1974, I felt that same deep feeling in my heart. In 1975, Ma Jaya went to India with a few of her close students, and when she came home she had gifts for everyone. She had murtis (an image of the divine), malas (sets of beads used in mediation) and other spiritual items.
Ma’s gift to me was life changing. She had acquired a beautiful brass murti of Krishna that she carried all around India with her. She told me do traditional puja to this Krishna, including singing, talking and dressing the murti. Doing the pujas felt so familiar and heart opening to me. It felt as if I had done them many, many times before.
Decades later, I feel the joy of gratitude to Lord Krishna. Wherever I go and whatever I do, my heart is filled with his love.