Bhakta George 'The Snakeman'

Here in New Govardhana our presiding deities are Their Beautiful Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Govardhandhari, Krishna-Balarama and Gaura-Nitai. As a community we try to please them with our offerings of devotion and nearly everyone here feels as if they have a personal relationship with Them through service. Sometimes Their reciprocation is clearly demonstrated for all of us to see and thus increase our faith and love. Here is a little story that shows Their love for one devotee in our community.

Bhakta George has been a devotee of Krishna for most of his life. He was amongst the devotees in the 70's when Srila Prabhupada visited Australia and served as a bodyguard. There were some unfortunate incidents of hostility at some of our programs during this era in Australia, so George was advised by Madhudvisa Prabhu (who was then GBC) to keep his hair and plain clothes and accompany Srila Prabhupada when he went out in public. If you look at photos of Srila Prabhupada from this time of Ratha-yatra festivals and other public events you will often see Bhakta George's strong ksatriya presence in the background.

George Prabhu drove from nearly an hour away to see the deities and wash the pots after the Sunday Feast. He had timed it so that he would have Their darsan just before the curtain closed and Their Lordships were put to rest. When he came into the temple room he found that the curtains had closed fifteen minutes early. This made him so upset that, despite his rugged nature, he began to cry. You see, he was booked in for surgery today and he wanted to see the deities before he went. He really wanted just to have a moment with Them before he drove all the way back home and got ready to go into the hospital.

So George had to drive home upset. I guess we can image what it must have felt like to have a heavy heart filled with separation from Their Lordships.

George's service for all of the people who live in this area of Australia (devotees and non-devotees alike) is to capture poisonous snakes and pythons when they make threatening public appearances. He works on a donation basis as most folks can appreciate that there aren't many people willing to do this job. With 50 species of poisonous snakes in the area, several of which are on the top 10 list of deadly snakes, there is plenty of demand for his services.

About 2:30 in the afternoon Tamara Mataji sighted a huge Eastern Brown snake crossing the prasadam area and heading towards the temple. She informed Ajita Prabhu who called Bhakta Ian and, after a difficult struggle, they both managed to pin the snake to the ground as it attempted to escape under the bhoga room. Eastern Browns are the second most venomous snake in the world behind the Inland Tapian. One strike from the Eastern Brown contains enough venom to kill several human adults. For a snake this dangerous there was only one person they could call ... George the Snakeman. The video below is a live account of George's feat of bravery:

So if you are following this story you can see clearly that our wonderful Lordships called back their devotee George to the temple the next day. Its amazing for us to see how personal and real Sri Sri Radha-Govardhanadhari, Krishna Balarama and Gaura-Nitai are with us.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.68), the Lord says:

sadhavo hridayam mahyam
sadhunam hridayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api

"The devotees are always in My heart, and I am always in the hearts of the devotees. The devotee does not know anything beyond Me, and I also cannot forget the devotee. There is a very intimate relationship between Me and the pure devotees. Pure devotees in full knowledge are never out of spiritual touch, and therefore they are very much dear to Me."