The other day my wife Seva Kunja dasi was having her non-devotee dad over. Before I left for school I was about to do Bala Gopala’s puja and she asked,
“How could I explain who Gopala is to a non-devotee?”
Very confidently I replied (right in front of Gopala),
“I wouldn’t bother trying to explain. Best to just avoid the subject altogether and just give your dad some prasadam or put some of Gopala’s bathing water in his drink.”
“Well, what if my dad asks about Gopala?”, she asked.
“Even then I would try to avoid the subject really. Mabye just say ‘That’s not really public information’ or something to that effect and change the subject.”
So Gopala is hearing all of this.
Later on I was in school in the computer lab trying to pass the time there by browsing Jaya Tirtha Caran Prabhu’s very wonderful website on Saligrams. I was looking at all of the beautiful Saligrams there and really tasting nectar to the point where I was a bit oblivious to my surroundings. Then my professor came looking over my shoulder and curiously asked “What’s that you are looking at?”
I was a little jarred out of my absorption in the beauty of the Saligram site so I didn’t quite have time to think of a clever reply.
At the time I was on the page listing the New Zealand sevaks and I asked, “Are you sure you want to know?”
“Yes. That looks interesting”, was her reply.
So I clicked on Gopala’s link and gave her a proper darsana.
She seemed a bit taken back by His beauty as well and asked for some explanation.
“What is that?”
“‘Who is that?’ would be more accurate”, I responded “That’s Sri Bala Gopala.”
“Where is He from? Is this from India or Indionesia?”, she asked as she scanned the text beneath His photo.
“He is from the river Gandaki but now He lives in our lounge room.”
She was particularly noticing the words ‘Bala Gopala’ so I gave her some explanation …
“‘Bala’ means ‘little’ and ‘Gopala’ means ‘friend of the cows’ – so ‘Little Friend of the Cows’ is what that means. Its actually another name for Krishna who takes the form of this blackish stone to accept our devotion.”
She seemed a little fascinated so I got to preach to her a little bit.
She left the short conversation a little perplexed but appreciative it seemed.
Funny how Gopala arranged that for me. I guess I should be thinking ‘Who am I to decide who can and can’t know who Gopala is? Really its my duty to try to explain who Gopala is to everyone. If I were a real devotee this would be done out of affection for Him and not even just dutifully.’