Vrindavan, November 2008

Here, from Vrindavan, it is not easy to bring up the memories of my life. Time here is eternal and it is as if the past never existed. The symphony of birds and the kirtans from the temples carry away my previous lives. I recall that I was born into a family whom for centuries going back many generations were admirals in the Spanish navy. This kind of military disciple had persecuted me for years, but by Krishna’s mercy I could change my destiny and transcend this type of upbringing to find my true self.

My parent’s were always united, creating a pious Catholic family. They were married for more than sixty years. I remember how we would all sing songs together regularly after lunch. We would pray together on special occasions. I grew up with four sisters and one brother, so I was the fifth of six siblings.  My older sisters completely spoiled me with their affection.  I was like a doll in their hands. My mother was always by my side but my father, being a military man, was not happy that I was growing up spoiled for my mother and sisters. My relationship with him was covered by fear, pushing me to feel repressed and act with the propensity to lie.  So, I thought it was better to leave home and start to face the reality of life for myself. At that time it was normal to leave home early.  However, it took many years to reestablish our relationship. It was towards the end of my father’s life that we became friends. This was one of the goals of my life.

 I never was a good student, yet I excelled at those subjects that I found interesting.  I was always rebellious to any kind of education or authority that didn’t have a substantial reason. Yet at the same time I was very sensitive to the suffering of others. I had a creative sense of humor, although externally I often looked grave and serious. I always liked to play and make jokes. My school was ten blocks away from home and on the way my friends & I would play different games, going from one side of the street to the other.  We were playful and happy even if we were going to school. 

At quite a young age I was on my own and started to write songs while studying philosophy in the University and music in the Conservatory. I had a band and we would perform songs with acoustic guitars and flute in pubs and bars at night, some - our own songs and others - popular folk songs of the time.  However it didn’t create a very stable existence.  Sometimes during lunchtime I would play the piano to take my mind off the fact that I had nothing to eat - student life.  Yet, at the same time, I was experiencing a freedom I never had before – for the first time there was no one to answer to and I could live my life in the way I chose.

Despite my newfound freedom, I gradually started to feel that life had no meaning and everyday I was returning home with the sensation that something was not working.  I began to question myself, if I can do whatever I want how come I am feeling this sense of emptiness?  Why did I have this feeling of futility?  If I am intelligent why can’t I be fully satisfied?  It was then I began to search for answers to my questions:  Who am I really?  Is this world real or unreal?  Why am I in the middle of this?  Is someone behind this creation?  I received the answers in a most unexpected way. 

At the end of the seventies it was a time of political transition in Spain from a dictatorship under Franco to the Monarchy and establishment of democracy; during which I had an enormous change of my own.  When I was a teenager I lost all faith in religious values and in the existence of God.  At that time society was going to the left side of the truth. Somehow Krishna, by His causeless mercy, understood my suffering and my sincerity to try to understand the Truth. I had an extraordinary spiritual awakenment by which I personally experienced the existence of God.  I was given a glimpse of the topmost bliss – the nature of the Supreme Lord.  It was a huge revelation for me.  However I wasn’t meant to stay there and had to undergo some difficult tasks.  Suddenly I fell to the hellish planets where ghosts and superstitions rule. I never in my life had experienced such fear. I thought that I was going crazy and even visited psychiatrists, but they didn’t find anything wrong with me.  It was then that I took shelter in the practice of yoga and I could see how God was giving me hints how to overcome this hellish condition.  It was only when I read Bhagavad Gita that I was able to understand the reality that I was living. The seed of Bhakti became planted in my heart. Through the practice of bhakti yoga I became grounded once again.  I adopted a yogic lifestyle and everything began to move in the right direction.

Devotees started to appear wherever I went.  I received a copy of Back to Godhead Magazine, the main publication of the Hare Krishna Movement.   It piqued my interest and inspired me to visit the Hare Krishna temple for the first time.  The memory of that visit is still fresh in my mind.  I was impressed by the purity and sweetness of the atmosphere.  When I stepped out of the temple back into the city it was like crossing over from one world into another.  There was a tangible difference.  While I was there two devotees kindly told me about the devotional farm community of New Vrajamandala, just 90 kilometers outside of Madrid.  A few days later I found my way there.   And so I began to take the first steps of a lifelong journey. In 1981 ISKCON gave me initiation in behalf of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada with the name of Atmarama dasa.  Gradually I understood that the best way to live my life was to be engaged in devotional service to Krishna.

Almost thirty years has past since then.  Looking back I can comprehend how the spiritual process is beyond our imagination.  One must go though it with firm faith in order to understand the intricacies of material entanglement in order to become free from them and come to taste the sweet nectar of Krishna Consciousness.  There have been many profound experiences that have shaped my life and given me deep realizations within my heart.  I would like to gradually meditate upon them and share them with all of you.

Please stay tuned for more to come… 


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prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama
sarvata pracara haibe mora nama
(SriChaitanya-caritamrita Madya-lila 25.264))

“In as many towns and villages as there are on the surface of the earth My Holy Name will be preached.”