Monday, December 10, 2012

'Lord Krishna is a modern God'

From his childhood, Yadunath Mahodayshri has been extolling the virtues of the jovial deity with a flute in his hands 

Photo by Mithun Vinod 

By Shevlin Sebastian

In London, Kathy Smith was feeling depressed. She had just separated from her husband of twenty years. She wanted to kill herself. A phone call came. A worried friend suggested that she attend a talk on Lord Krishna by a Hindu preacher, Yadunath Mahodayshri. So she went. Unfortunately, for her, the talk was in Gujarati. She could not understand a word. Nevertheless, she stayed the whole day, and returned for the next two days.

At the end of the programme, she came up to Yadunathji, with tears streaming down her face. “On the first day when I listened to the bhajans I experienced a force that made me come again and again,” she said. “Krishna has prevented me from committing suicide.”

Later Kathy became a follower of Lord Krishna. “When you connect with Krishna, you will feel that He is there for you,” says Yadunathji, while on a recent visit to Kochi. “He will always show you the right path. But to listen to Him, you must set aside your ego and keep your mind silent.”

Yadunathji is the 17th descendant of Mahaprabhuji, the founder of the Ahmedabad-based Jagadguru Shrimad Vallabhacharya Pith. “My family have been preachers for 500 years,” he says. At his home, Yadunathji imbibed the atmosphere of spirituality, bhajans, and talks. “I grew up listening to the sermons of my father, Vrajeshkumarji,” says Yadunathji. “Thousands of Vaishnav devotees would come from all over the world to our home for advice and counselling. Later, they would tell my father that their lives have improved. So I felt inspired to do the same thing.”

Astonishingly, Yadhunathji, 37, gave his first speech when he was only five years old. And the family tradition continues. His son, who is seven, gave his first discourse recently.

Today, Yadunathji travels all over the world giving lectures. During the summer months of July-September, he is usually in Europe and America.  

When asked why he only talks about Lord Krishna and not the others, Yadunathji says, “Every God is holding a weapon in his hand, while Krishna is the only one who is holding a flute. He is a dancing God. He is trying to say you should enjoy every moment of your life.”

Unfortunately, most people are not enjoying every moment.. And Yadunathji has an explanation for that. “Happiness, peace, and joy are feelings,” he says. “So you cannot get them by chasing materialistic things. For enduring joy, you have to go within.”

One way is through meditation. “Spend some time with yourself,” he says. “All the time we are rushing about, here and there. As a result we forget our divine nature and feel unhappy and tense all the time.”

What is a great attraction for Yadunathji is that Krishna is a modern God. “Before the Kurukshetra war against the Kauravas, Arjuna was going through a depression,” says Yadunathji. “Many people in this fast-paced world of ours are facing the same situation. So the advice which Krishna gave Arjuna is relevant to us today also.”

Interestingly, the audience reaction is different in India and the West. In India, people are used to reading the scriptures, and have a deep faith in the Bhagwad Gita. But, abroad, they don't have much information about Lord Krishna and Hinduism. The children are studying in Western schools and colleges. “They are confused about their faith and don't have a proper grounding,” says Yadunathji. “So, they prefer talks based on reason and logic.”

And Yadunathji does that. For example, he has stated that English naturalist Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has already been mentioned in the Scriptures. “Contrary to what we think, more and more people are attracted to Lord Krishna and are coming closer to him,” says Yadunathji. 

(The New Indian Express, Sunday Magazine, South India, and New Delhi) 

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