It makes me very happy to talk about when Gurudeva, Srila Govinda Maharaj, was there at the Ashram in Brazil. Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj came to visit us at our Ashram in September 1998.
The first miracle for me, which I heard from Sripad Tapasvi Maharaj (at that time he was known as Bhuvana Mohan Prabhu), occurred when he was driving Srila Govinda Maharaj in his car from the airport to the Ashram. I was driving a different vehicle that carried all the luggage.
After leaving the main road, the small country road wound through many mountains covered with forests. There was a place on the road that you could see a panoramic view of the mountains, a valley and a river at the bottom of the valley. This was where the Ashram was located. There were many trees and a dense forest and not too many people lived in this area. Bhuvana Mohan Prabhu stopped the car so Srila Govinda Maharaj could see the beautiful view where the Ashram was situated.
Srila Govinda Maharaj looked out across the forests and the mountains and was silent for a little while. Returning from his meditative state, he told Bhuvana Mohan Prabhu that all of nature, all the living entities in that environment, the trees, the birds, the animals, everything, they were all praying to him to receive Krishna Consciousness. They were all feeling the necessity and the desire to get Krishna Consciousness. Srila Govinda Maharaj could hear their prayers and understand their hearts. Srila Govinda Maharaj later explained that as a radio has a receiver that can capture the sound waves, so Lord Krishna had given him some special ability to perceive these things.
That was the first miracle!
I noticed that the whole environment had changed. So many auspicious signs manifested. Like what happened to my parents, who had no real interest in Krishna Consciousness. When Srila Govinda Maharaj came up to the gate of our property, I saw my mother jumping with happiness, and my mother was not a young women. My mother was jumping and yelling “Glories to Gurudeva, glories to Gurudeva.” She had previously met many devotees and sannyasis and never acted like this. She was like a mad woman! What had come over her?
Upon Gurudeva’s arrival, my father immediately went to Srila Govinda Maharaj in his room to greet him. Srila Govinda Maharaj is always so very affectionate. He embraced my father and my father broke down in tears. My father is a very macho man, like Chuck Norris or John Wayne, and he would never cry. But he was crying just like a baby! My father fell in love immediately with Srila Govinda Maharaj. Gurudeva’s affection melted his heart!
That was the second Miracle!
Even the local people started coming to the Ashram for spiritual pilgrimage. They were mostly Christians who didn’t have any interest in what we were doing. But suddenly they wanted to see Srila Govinda Maharaj. They wanted to come and visit with us. It was really a strong and powerful sensation.
I remember there was this intense feeling at the time. I had the impression that we were all part of Mahaprabhu’s Pastimes. We were living there at the Ashram, Srila Govinda Maharaj was there, Srila Govinda Maharaj’s Deity of Mahaprabhu was there. The whole environment was spiritual. It was amazing to all of us.
And here is the story of the third miracle…
One day I was taking prasadam with my friend Nagendra Prabhu who is a disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj. He’s a really nice man with some Japanese lineage. He is always straightforward and honest in his dealings with others. He reminds me of all the good qualities of a samurai. We had a good friendship. He was there with his wife and two sons. The boys were always getting into trouble, like all young boys do.
While we were taking prasadam, their mother was cooking in another room and the elder boy went to his mother and told her: “Mommy, Mommy come and see Singha.” That was the name of the younger boy. She told him: “No, not now I’m busy, don’t disturb me now. I’ll come later.” Then a few minutes later the boy came back again: “Mommy come and see Singha.” This went on for at least 15 minutes. Finally he says to his mother: “Come see Singha; he is swimming.” Then immediately their mother knew something was wrong since Singha did not know how to swim. She dropped everything and went running. What she next saw was the worst sight any parent can see. Her heart sank with fear. Her young boy was lying at the bottom of a small pond and not moving. The water was very clear and she could see him lying there motionless, which she now realized must have been for well over 15 minutes.
We were in another room still taking prasadam and someone came to the room and frantically said, “Nagendra come at once, your son has drowned!” We ran as fast as we could. By that time they had removed the boy from the pond and he was on the floor of the office. We were frozen in shock! I could immediately see that the boy was dead. There was no life in his eyes, his lips had already turned blue and grey and he was completely lifeless. I had previously seen a few people dead and there was no doubt for me that his life was gone.
Everyone was in shock! Many devotees came to see what was happening and at that time Ananya Bhakti Devi came. She is a dentist and has medical training, so she knew what to do for first aid. We were down in the office so we didn’t know what was happening with Srila Govinda Maharaj. He was in his quarters up in another building. Rohini Shakti Devi started chanting loudly the Mahamantra and soon all the devotees were chanting: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare! Then Ananya Bhakti Devi took charge. She instructed Nagendra Prabhu to massage his heart and she would breathe into his mouth. In this way she administered CPR to the boy.
By this time someone had gone to Srila Govinda Maharaj to tell him what was happening. They said: “Gurudeva, Gurudeva a young boy has drowned, he is dead!” Srila Govinda Maharaj became very quiet, his eyes changed in a very mystical way that looked like he was no longer there in his body. They could see that Srila Govinda Maharaj had gone to a higher plane. In his meditation, Srila Govinda Maharaj started praying to Lord Krishna: “They made this festival for me, to host me, to host all these guests. Why are you doing this? They have given everything to you – this Ashram, everything they own, their hearts – everything! What should I say to them now? Please, please give the boy back.”
We were down with the boy and so we could not see what was happening with Srila Govinda Maharaj. At the same time that Srila Govinda Maharaj was praying, they continued to perform CPR. Suddenly the boy started coughing up water! He was unconscious but he let out a cry. A collective wave of relief flowed through the group of devotees. Jaya, Jaya Gurudeva!
We immediately took a car and drove him to a hospital. But the first hospital refused to admit him! They thought that this boy was going to die and they could not help him. We frantically drove to another hospital that was almost two hours away. There they put a tube through his mouth and pumped the rest of the water out of him. The boy rested and was breathing well. Then within two days, the boy was kicking the nurses and doctors and anxious to get out of that place!
There was never any brain damage to the boy, which is common when the brain is deprived of oxygen even for a few minutes, what to speak of over 15 minutes. The boy grew up to be a very sweet young man. He didn’t have any ill effects except now he is naturally afraid of water!
Srila Govinda Maharaj being genuinely a very humble Vaishnava, never took any credit for saving the boy. Instead he gave all credit to Ananya Bhakti Devi. But Ananya Bhakti says that Srila Govinda Maharaj saved the boy! She says it was Gurudeva’s mercy and prayers that saved him. And Srila Govinda Maharaj would say, “No, no you saved the boy, you are a doctor and you saved the boy.” In this way everyone was very happy and relieved and the festival continued.