By Sri Chaitanya Chandra Dasa

A decision at the scene of an auto accident leads to a small reward and a life-changing purchase.

One day during my student years at MIT Pune (Maharashtra Institute of Technology), I was strolling on the streets of Kothrud at dusk. I was superficially observing shops, restaurants, people, and vehicles, but my mind was absorbed in other thoughts. From my childhood I had always deliberated on subjects like the mind, consciousness, suffering, and death. After I became at student at the engineering college, my thoughts on these topics intensified. I used to think, Why am I suffering? Was there any time when I was not suffering? What is the purpose of the universe? How long will the universe continue to exist? Is there any way to get out?

The Accident

While walking on the road that evening, I was again delving into thoughts of suffering, disease, and death. Is there any way out of the miseries of life? Is anyone free from suffering? What is ultimate goal of life? Suddenly I heard loud bang! There had been a car accident, and people gathered around. When I went near, I saw two young girls lying on the ground in a pool of blood. I pushed myself nearer out of curiosity. One girl was half conscious, and the other unconscious. Despite seeing the girls’ precarious condition, nobody was ready to go near and help. People stopped an auto rickshaw passing by. Seeing the tangle, the driver understood the seriousness of the situation and was reluctant to get involved. But people quickly loaded the two girls into his rickshaw.

Now who will go with them? They saw me, another young person, and urged me to go. I was caught in a dilemma. I thought, I might have to face the police and get caught up in their investigation. A series of quandaries flashed through my mind. I was about to refuse, but suddenly a voice from within commanded me to help. So I relented.

I told the rickshaw driver to take to us to nearby Krishna Hospital. The unconscious girl’s head was on my lap, her blood drenching my clothes. Her sister was crying bitterly, and I was trying to solace her, though I myself was in shock and dismay.

At the hospital the girls were taken inside to the emergency ward. I got the phone number of their parents and called them. Their mother answered, but I asked for the father, feeling more comfortable to speak to him on such a delicate matter. I informed him of the situation and urged him to reach the hospital as soon as possible. Then I left.

Meeting Again

After a week I called the father again. He earnestly requested me to visit their house and gave me the address. When I went to there the next day, I saw the two girls sitting with their parents. They were twins! I hadn’t realized it before. The parents thanked me a lot. I asked the girls what exactly had happened during the accident, but they couldn’t recall anything. The parents gave me an envelope as a token of gratitude. When I came back I found a hundred rupees in it. Because of my religious family background, I understood that I should use the money in God’s service; otherwise I might get the karma of the donor.

My First Bhagavad-gita

I had a friend who used to go to the ISKCON temple, so I asked him to get a copy of Bhagavad-gita for me. He boughtBhagavad-gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – for exactly a hundred rupees. After I read this Bhagavad-gita, a paradigm shift occurred: I became serious about spiritual life. The unanswered questions I’d had for many years about suffering, the universe, the mind, and death were answered beyond expectation.

I understood from Bhagavad-gita that this world is like a hospital. We are admitted here because we have the disease of forgetfulness of God. In the Bhagavad-gita (8.15) Krishna describes this ephemeral world:

mam upetya punar janma
duhkhalayam ashashvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah
samsiddhim paramam gatah

“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.” If we want to get free from suffering, we have to get out of this hospital. We cannot expect a peaceful stay as long as we are in the hospital.

To get cured from the disease of material existence we have to serve the Lord with love and devotion. And the best way to do this in the current age is by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

There is another world, called the spiritual world, where we originally belong. When we purify ourselves by chanting the holy names of Lord, we will soon attain the spiritual world, where there is no misery but only unlimited bliss in close association with God. Once we go there, we never return to this miserable world, as Lord Krishna describes:

na tad bhasayate suryo
na shashanko na pavakah
yad gatva na nivartante
tad dhama paramaṃ mama

“That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.” (Gita 15.6)

I had been searching for such a world since my childhood. After a few more years of education and then a job, I joined the ISKCON Pune temple full time. Later I understood who had inspired me from within to board the auto rickshaw after the accident and help the girls.

ishvarah sarva-bhutanam
hrid-deshe ’rjuna tishthati
bhramayan sarva-bhutani
yantrarudhani mayaya

“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.” (Gita 18.61)

I admitted the girls into Krishna Hospital, but they admitted me into the Krishna temple. For the twins it was an accident, but for me it was not an accident, but Krishna’s wonderful arrangement. Krishna is so kind that even if we have a slight desire to know the answers, He arranges circumstances inconceivably to help us find the answers. When one is serious about finding the truths of life, the Lord from within guides in miraculous ways.