PORT DICKSON, MALAYSIA – During the first day of the Damodara programme, Rasika prabhu from Iskcon KL received a call from one of the listeners of Minnal FM talk show. This caller was from Jelebu, Kuala Klawang town in Negri Sembilan. His name is Velayutham. He is a chemical engineer who studied in Japan and owns his own shampoo, soap and metal stain removing chemical factory in this town. He has been running this business for a few years, supplying his products to east coast and FELDA schemes.
One night as he was driving back home after delivering his stock of products, he was listening to the Damodara Festival Program on the Minnal FM talk show. He immediately pulled his car to the side of the road and listened ardently. The talk excited him and without wasting time, he called the contact number given in the talk show. He was directed to Rasika prabhu.
He requested for a similar programme to be carried out in his home. Rasika prabhu contacted me at Port Dickson and gave his number to follow-up. I called Mr. Velayutham and made arrangement to meet up with him. I asked Hari Govinda prabhu in Seremban to assist me. So we both drove up to Kuala Klawang and met Mr. Velu and introduce ourselves. He introduced himself and his family to us. He has a wife and two boys. After a short conversation Mr. Velu started pouring out his miserable life. His business was good at the very beginning and at later part it was declining very badly. Due to giving his products to his clients in credit he lost a hefty sum of money. He became a bad debtor. He couldn’t repay his loan for his two vans and ran out of funds to even to buy the raw materials for his production. He was very desperate, very down and everything seemed lost in his life.
He was in the verge of committing suicide together with his family. Some Muslim friends within his community approached him to help him in millions of dollars to help his business but on one condition that his whole family embrace Islam. He refused it. Hoping for a turning point in life he even approached many mediums to find a solution to his problems but none worked out. He became very tense and stopped believing in divine help. He even stopped praying. As he was sharing his bitter experience, HG Hari Govinda prabhu pacified him by sharing his own struggle and how finally he accepted Sri Krishna way of peaceful life. Hari Govinda prabhu also shared his view on vegetarianism and how it helps to relinquish our bad karma and curtails our sins.
Sharing about ISKCON to Mr. Velu for more than three hours and giving him the hints on how our Society will be able to help him to overcome his current miserable condition of life, he immediately decided to become a devotee and enquired further on the process. We spent another over an hour to explain to him all the requirements and the protocols to become a devotee of Sri Krishna. The whole family agreed wholeheartedly. I asked his son whether he is prepared to become a vegetarian. The young boy without a tinge of doubt told us that his father’s decision is his decision. I was really carried away by his answer.
Hari Govinda prabhu guided him on all the necessary changes need to be done, from food to setting up the altars. Deepavali was just around the corner, they had also prepared their Deepavali cookies with eggs. Mr. Velu enquired about the non-vegetarian cookies. Hari Govinda prabhu told him to give it away and not to eat it as they have decided to become devotees. Mr. Velu immediately agreed to the instruction. He was willing to discard the non-vegetarian cookies and make fresh vegetarian cookies although his income was only enough to make ends meet. He said he had decided to become a devotee and nothing will forbid him from deviating from the regulative principles. I was amazed and I could not believe that there are such desperate souls hankering for our intervention.
Since then, we maintained our contact with him every other day. On the 23rd October 2008, we had our Damodara programme at Mr. Velu’s home with his family, Hari Govinda prabhu’s family, Perumal prabhu’s family and some youths from Port Dickson centre. Mr. Velu was very happy judging from the gleam in his face. After the singing the Damodarastaka, the matajis served sumptuous prasadam and all of us enjoyed it to our hearts content. Later the matajis gave some hints to Mr. Velu’s wife on how to prepare vegetarian dishes.
Hari Govinda prabhu then invited Mr. Velu and family to the Seremban Centre for weekend programme since his house is nearer to Seremban. Unfortunately, during the weekend his car broke down somewhere near the jungle area at Felda scheme near Kuantan. It happened just after he has decided to become a devotee some days ago. He was stranded in the middle of the jungle with no food. He met a security guard on Patrol at that time and asked for his help to get some vegetarian food. The guard told him that there is no vegetarian food available around the area. So he decided to eat bread and sleep in the car the whole night.
It was interesting to see how his faith was tested by the Lord. When questioned about this bad experience, he said he had already surrendered to the Lord and allowed Lord Sri Krishna to guide him through. The following week he visited the Seremban Centre and was very excited and shared his experience with us.
What I have realised is that there are so many souls out there with similar miseries hankering for such help but we are not aware of it. If any one of you has come across any individual within our vicinity who is miserable and need our assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. It’s up to us to help those suffering souls and put them on track back to Godhead.