OXFORD STREET, LONDON, 1995-
The Gorakhpur publication of Srimad Bhagavatham was quite a large and heavy book.
"It's only a 2-week trip, don't carry such a heavy book. You already have a Veena and this book is going to increase the baggage weight." My husband's advice made sense.
I started reading Srimad Bhagavatham a week ago with a determination to read it everyday. I didn't want to break the pattern at any cost even if it meant carrying the huge book with me to London.
"But how can I stop reading? I'll try to read at least one page everyday during the trip."
In the end my husband somehow managed to convince me to leave the scripture behind.
I left Chennai with a sense of guilt for not taking Srimad Bhagavatham with me.
On one of the free days during my stay I visited the famous Oxford Street in London.
Even the grandeur of Oxford Street could not ease my depression. All the same, I was awestruck by the brightly lit richness of one of the world's busiest streets.
The incongruity of associating Lord Krishna with foreign people, places or things never ceased to fascinate me. Looking around I felt overawed that Lord Krishna created Oxford street.., Manhattan..., the exotic Paris...., the lovely English countryside...., my favorite Beatles...., Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan..., T.M.Thyagarajan...., Voleti....., Srirangam Gopalarathnam......, Michael Jackson....., the divine Carnatic music....., the divine harmony of western music...., the exotic perfumes..., attars of the Middle East....., the divine jasmine flowers of Madurai...., the mysterious beauties of Egypt..., the bold beauty of Afganisthan....(I believe Afganisthan to be a part of Mahabharatham!!)..., it was an endless list.
Pensive, I raised my head to look at the tall skyscrapers and found the molten gold beauty of a full moon staring at me from a clear night sky.
That day was Pournami. Moon which is exalted in Lord Krishna's star Rohini was in full form. Trying to visualize His face in the moon I removed my footwear on the crowded Oxford Street. Crinkling my eyes shut and with folded palms I felt weighed down by a sense of deep regret for not bringing the Srimad Bhagavatham book along with me to London. I prayed fervently within myself, " Oh why ever didn't I bring the Srimad Bhagavatham book along with me? Today is such an auspicious day and I have failed to read the scripture on such a day as this!! My God, please, please forgive me!!!" I was engrossed in my misery.
"Namastey Ma'm!!" A British accented male voice greeted me. Startled I opened my eyes to find an ISKCON devotee of British nationality standing in front of me. His arms were stretched out and he held a thick book in his open palms!
Shocked and in utter disbelief I saw that it was a book of Srimad Bhagavatham!! My eyes dilated in shock I quickly looked up at him.
In pale saffron robes, tulsi beads adorning his neck and wrists, the Srichurnam on his forehead shining moistly in the dazzling lights of Oxford Street and eyes twinkling with warmth he asked me cheerfully, " Hare Rame Hare Krishna!! I have this last copy of Srimad Bhagavatham, I would be very happy to give it to you!"
Finding my voice amidst my excited heartbeats at the miracle that was taking place, I answered eagerly, "Of course...of course I will take the book. Thank you....thank you so much!! Please tell me, how much to pay?"
P.S- The book given by the ISKCON devotee was one of the 10 volume set and not the volume I was reading. Whatever, it was SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM manifesting in the middle of Oxford Street and a divine miracle that happened in my life. Lord Krishna answers in Kaliyuga and He resides in SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM.