(Dandavats.com) – Living Heroes
By Rukmini Devi Dasi
“Shoot him,” said the man with the crowbar. Kshudhi felt the cold metal against his skull and chanted Hare Krishna like never before. His nimble nineteenyear old body was tucked under the bed. The other four men with guns hesitated. They attacked the house knowing that a Johannesburg vegetable merchant had kept cash there, but were they ready to kill for it?
Less than two years before, Kshudhi had purchased a copy of Teachings of Lord Chaitanya from a book store in Los Angeles. The book introduced him to bhakti, the means of approaching God selflessly. One day, he sat on his favourite ‘meditation rock’ and called out to God, asking Him to please show him how he could serve Him. He opened his eyes and in front of him stood a Hare Krishna devotee. Kshudhi had never seen one before. The devotee had instinctively wandered off from his harinam group to Kshudhi. That was how Kshudhi’s bhakti journey began. In the early 1970s, Krishna consciousness under the direction of its founder, Srila Prabhupada, was making its debut around the western world at breakneck speed. Every devotee wanted to be a part of the action. In that spirit, Kshudhi, together with Rishi Kumar Swami (who was twenty years old), had set out for South Africa hoping to share Srila Prabhupada’s message.
And now, just days into their mission, they were facing death. Were it not for their bold hostess who locked the thieves in and shouted for help, the dream of ISKCON South Africa could have come to an abrupt halt. But even in danger, Kshudhi felt Krishna’s presence and protection; he was part of a divine master plan.