In life, incidents that act as a catalyst for introspection and inquiry about the purpose of life happen to individuals by the inconceivable mercy of the Supreme Lord.

Below: Damodara with Dr. Rao

succeeding nights meditating on the flickering nature of this material world. In life, incidents that act as a catalyst for introspection and inquiry about the purpose of life happen to individuals by the inconceivable mercy of the Supreme Lord. In this regard Srila Prabhupada states, “...it is a special reasoning power to inquire ‘Why am I suffering’? This is special reasoning. ...Bhagavad-gita says, out of many thousands, someone may develop this reasoning power... When there is some impetus to awaken this reasoning power, it is called brahma jijnasa.” This is confirmed in the first verse of the Vedanta Sutra, which asserts that this human form of life is meant for asking the questions of what is the Absolute Truth and how to solve the problems of suffering.

Hearing the sad news of his mother’s passing, Damodara’s friend, Dr. Ravindra Pratap Rao, came to see him. Dr. Rao suggested that they go for a drive. They drove along the Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach and upon arrival began to take a walk. While walking along the coast they saw some ISKCON devotees chanting Harinam Sankirtan. Out of curiosity, they followed the devotees to find out their destination. One of the devotees noticed them following the Sankirtan party and stopped to invite Damodara and Dr. Rao to the local

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ISKCON temple in Laguna Canyon. The devotee explained to them that everyday they were performing chanting of Lord Krishna’s Holy Names and partaking in delicious sanctified food offered to Lord Krishna. He asked them to visit the temple and join them in the singing, dancing and feasting programs.

The following day, Dr. Rao went to the temple alone and on his return reported to Damodara that the devotees were wonderful and everything in the temple was pleasant. Everyday Dr. Rao urged Damodara to accompany him to the temple. Damodara, citing his academic pressure, declined each time. One day Dr. Rao told him that he had learned that Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, was staying in Los Angeles and he said, “Let us go and see Srila Prabhupada in Los Angeles tomorrow.” However, Damodara refused, saying that he was extremely busy in his academic work and could not go with him. Nevertheless, Damodara encouraged Dr. Rao and requested him to report about the visit. Dr. Rao drove to Los Angeles and when he reached the temple, because he was a stranger, he was not allowed to see Srila Prabhupada. Dr. Rao told Damodara, “I was extremely disappointed. I decided to wait in my car and

“Let us go and see Srila Prabhupada in Los Angeles tomorrow.”

Dr. Ravindra Rao