Dhanurdhara Swami February 22nd, 2001
Bhaktivedanta Hospital – Bombay
There are some Vaishnavas from India in the next room. They have been here for some time, but I was too ill to pay much attention to them. I’m feeling a bit better today and I start to take more notice. They are obviously not new converts to Vaishnavism. Converts may adopt the accouterments of the tradition, but still, the culture of one’s upbringing, in the form of certain behavior, mannerisms, speech, and even one’s mode of Vaishnava dress?such as colored kurtas and designer bead bags?often expose the adopted nature of one’s faith. I am not commenting on the status of devotion of those converted to Vaishnavism, because bhakti is independent, and the depth of commitment required to buck the religion of one’s birth often makes one very staunch in his practices. However, my point is that the dress, mannerisms, and expressions of my humble neighbors here in the hospital indicate the inborn nature of their faith and it naturally attracts me.
I made a point to speak to them today and was pleasantly surprised to find out they were not only Vaishnavas, but brijabasis from Varsana. They reside at the ashram at the base of mor kutir, where our kirtan party visited less than a month ago, only to be overwhelmed by the simplicity and purity of the local residents. Even more surprising was that they were the son and daughter of Babulal Ramji?the revered saint whose disappearance festival we visited that day by fate!
I spend some time with them and I am instinctively drawn to the simple devotion and character. They are leaving today. I lament that I didn’t get more of their association.