Dhanurdhara Swami February 19th, 2001
Bhaktivedanta Hospital – Bombay
A surgeon’s life is very hectic. He may be called upon for an emergency operation at any hour of the day, sometimes even in the middle of the night. I therefore appreciate that Krishna Prema visits me daily to deal with a few minor complications from the surgery.
During his visits we mostly speak krishna-katha and today we spoke for several hours. I heard that Krishna Prema has made many of his patients Krishna conscious. I don’t remember the number, but I seem to remember the number at either thirty or eighty. I was curious how he is was able to introduce so many people to Krishna consciousness, most of them now chanting sixteen rounds, and asked him how he does it.
He explained that although he doesn’t overtly try to convert his patients to Krishna consciousness, several factors cause the patients to inquire about devotional service. He wears tilak. The patients are impressed with the hospital and the character and spirituality of the doctors. The doctor-patient relationship is naturally one of respect. In addition, I observe that he is a very personable, approachable, and is a good communicator.
I like the concept of introducing people to Krishna consciousness by showing how our philosophy is practically demonstrated through our character and work in the world. I see this type of outreach as the future of Krishna consciousness, especially in America, although attractive centers of Krishna consciousness to invite people to are also important. I’ve already seen many examples of this, where people who would ordinarily never meet devotees are introduced to Krishna consciousness by becoming attracted to the character of a devotee at work. One example stands out in my mind.
Kunja-Kisori was a secretary at a fairly large advertising corporation in New York City. She was competent, well-liked, and did not hide that she was a devotee. She was therefore able to invite me to her office on a Friday afternoon and inform the staff there that her guru was coming. It was an informal dress-down day at the office, but still, I was surprised to see that over 40 people left their offices to meet me by her desk. I visited many other offices in her firm as well. At one office, I was given a bouquet of flowers. At another office, a respectable looking middle-aged man with a full crop of gray hair suddenly appeared at our door, handed me a banana, and with a smile on his face totally surprised me by saying, ?Have some some prasadam! There was even one computer print out on one office door that read ?WELCOME HARE KRISHNA!?
If there were a Krishna conscious center in Manhattan at the time I would have invited her whole office, and certainly many would have come. I was, however, able to arrange a dinner program at a friend?s apartment on the Upper West Side, but unfortunately, by apartment rules, only fifteen guests could be hosted. When I was organizing the program with Kunja-Kisori, she had to be very thoughtful on whom to invite because there were more people interested then we could accommodate. It was a successful program. Fifteen people came, including the production manager and senior writer, and I became convinced that this approach to introducing Krishna consciousness was very effective.