The Dream of an Enchanted Taxi Driver
or How sincere soul can be saved even criticizing God
by HG Bharadvaj
1986. I’m in the centre of Riga, I’m heading for illegal distribution of books – sankirtana – from the suburbs of Yauntsiems.
The flat is under close surveillance with often searches, it’s inconceivable how I managed to get out of it. It was really surprising that after seemingly accidental appearance in 1984 of Nrisimha statue the terms of my arrests never exceeded 2 or 3 weeks though there were reasons for eternal imprisonment. I’ve just been let out from the local Lettish mental asylum just after a month mystically I wasn’t locked for life. That time I was caught in the centre of Riga when I returned from sankirtan, thank God without books.
It was a mystery with these books. God was inconceivably merciful to me.
Now not after a year as it used to be I was again in service, I was in the battle with m invincible prayer. I was a puppet in the hands of someone incomprehensible, someone besides our new guru.
I tried to drive off the thoughts about simple logics and possible consequents of my actions in my country the only name of which frightened people all around the world. I drive away the evil thoughts.
This country with its logics just doesn’t fit into Holy Scriptures and my real life when I pray and serve to Prabhupada and his mission.
Living in Latvia for two years all this time I’ve been waiting for the arrest for distribution of books, and for the Ukrainian KGB as well.
I managed to unbelievably escape from the men from KGB when my flat was closed round with the ambulance to take me back to asylum… I drive away the evil thoughts.
Thus disregarding the common sense and normal logics with its consequences in this Evil Empire, I still try to continue what I promised to Prabhupada, disregarding the sentences, the trials and the assumptions of people who think I’m insane.
Prabhupada’s reality is closer to me and I hope and believe His words, protection and happy life He promised. I continue my service here in Latvia gaining my fruits I confirm Prabhupada’s words: “after dinner you don’t have to ask your neighbours if you are satisfied, satiation comes itself”. Thus I didn’t need the interpretation of Prabhupada’s words or mediators between Him and His words. Prabhupada’s words work directly and without delay.
Both Prabhupada and Vedas are categorical and unequivocal. Prabhupada is always present as a spiritual teacher and his words are “vani” – eternal and identical with the personality of the teacher. I was infinitely happy and grateful to my fate for getting acquainted with victorious Divine philosophy, where one guru’s word is enough to be connected with Him and communicate with His Divine Grace and have eternal protection. The Veda’s axiom tells that guru and his words are identical. Prabhupada used to say “if you need to communicate with me just read my books and answers and knowledge will come to you”. It’s very easy to communicate with God’s ambassadors – it’s enough for the soul to meet with his holy word or book. Thus knowing this divine code and truth again I take books and bring them to people. Having armed myself as usual with prayer and hope for defense from Prabhupada himself I wait for the bus at a bus stop. There are a few books in my bag - a couple of Gitas, five Isopanishadas illegally printed and imported, just stitched and covered by me. The books for which I’d for ever. My 11th bus is late and it’s strange, taking into consideration the Baltic punctuality. Winter, it’s cold and we share the taxi. It wasn’t so expensive – 25 kopeks per each of four. The driver is serious and out-of-this-world, just keeps telling stories. I take no notice, I learn mantras. Suddenly I realize that he’s telling a story about religion “I’ve seen a TV program about sectarians, can’t put it out of my head. They tell stories about them, they are so-and-so, practise witchcraft, enchant the world with mantras. I’ve got interested what kind of people they are that our communist authorities don’t like them so much. If their God really exists He could give me a chance to look at one of these Krishna worshipers. What kind of people they are that our authorities are scared of them so much. What kind of books do they distribute?” He sighed deeply and stopped talking for a moment.
I felt the rush of adrenalin thinking feverishly if it was worthwhile to make use of this short pause and confess to him. I was still far from my supposed destination of distributing books and was still thinking about how to do this when I found myself face to face with an interested person. I found a client right on the spot, sitting at the back seat of a car. Truly, man proposes, God disposes. We make one step towards God and He makes them dozens. God led and protected my service and Prabhupada’s favorite child – distribution of His books.
I could virtually see the words printed in my mind “What to do? Stay on the safe side and remain silent? Forget it or confess and tie myself to God and give the driver the book of Prabhupada?”
One of other passengers might be from security services, for the bag with books the consequences were inevitable as Krishna worshipers were outlawed. It was a great risk – prison at best and at worst I could stay in this anonymous grove in the suburbs of Riga with my books on my chest and my head torn off as it happened with my brother in God in the suburbs of Yerevan.
Somebody from the other world created the theatre of one actor here in the passenger compartment. My mind was strained to the highest degree. It wasn’t even an exam of fate that I had to pass – it was a fact to face to be Krishnaite or not to be. My tranquil intuition prompted me to stake everything as it as clear that it wasn’t I who led this game and cast the roles. It was somebody inconceivable who detained the bus, drove up the taxi and led people to it. I recollected a verse from God’s speech:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bhagavad-Gita, 18.66)
What’s left for me was to give myself into God’s hands and play on. I made use of uninterrupted pause and looking around the compartment with for men inside I laid my cards on the table. I cleared my throat to draw attention and proclaimed from the back seat: “I beg your pardon, but I’m the one you’ve ordered. I’m a Krishnaite, here’s a book for you to get to know more.” I offered him Sri Isopahishad being in the lost what might happen next. If you read Gogol’s “The Inspector General” you know what I allude to. The silent scene after my declaration was very much alike to the classic one.
I still recollect sometimes the sudden braking, deathly silence and a minute stupor of the audience and then hysterical laughter after all. It was a moment of truth, God answered to a soul shut in the passenger compartment of one of millions cars bustling about in one of millions of cities on one of millions of planets in the unbounded space.
It was a strange coincidence that was in my fate, when I first tried to enter upon the path of ahimsa - nonviolence to every form of life. Rihards, an accidental taxi driver led me to the meeting God in 1978 and now in 8 years the chance to meet God was again given to me and again in a Riga taxi.
The driver bought the book and we said good-bye as good friends. Later I never had a chance to meet the driver or other passengers of that taxi. My frequent movings from city to city and escaping security services didn’t let me keep in touch with the driver but I’m pretty sure that both the driver and his passengers will remember that scene in the enchanted taxi where they witnessed how God granted the driver’s wish. So ask and serve God sincerely and He shall reward everyone. God will answer you and display Himself to you this same day NO DOUBT.