Saved from the Clutches of Maya

Hare KrishnaBy Danavira Goswami

In college my motto was “Success,” and my main ambition was simply to enjoy life. My grandfather had confided once to me that “Money is God.” I wasn’t sure about that, but neither was I sure about God. I evolved to agnosticism. One warm Friday evening, June 9 1970, as I strolled through the campus village, I heard someone call my name. I looked around and didn’t see anyone I knew. Continuing on my way, I heard someone call again. I focused on the only possible source of the sound a saffron-robed, shaven-headed, bespectacled man about my age standing alone between a restaurant and a cinema. Somewhat startled, I answered, “Yes?” to which he replied, “Don’t you recognise me?” Straining to get a closer look, I realised who it was. “Beard! Beard, is that you?” I cried. “It’s me,” he said reassuringly. Bob Searight was his real name; Beard was the nickname he’d caught during his volleyball career at UCLA for sporting an extraordinary long black beard. I had just completed my third year, and he had graduated the year before in engineering. His way of life had been awfully similar to mine; in fact, I had last seen him six months before at the beach with two girlfriends. “What in the world happened to you?” I asked. “I joined the Hare Krishna movement three months ago,” he said. “My God, I don’t believe it!” I responded candidly.