for ISKCON News on Nov. 16, 2011
Shaunaka Rishi Das, the Director of Oxford Center for Hindu Studies offered six prayers that had been broadcast on UK`s BBC Radio 4 on Diwali week. The program slot attracts 4 million listeners. Here is one of his prayers:
Every year I attend a conference which takes place in a beautiful Krishna temple nestled in the Tuscan hills above Florence.
The temple building was once owned by Machiavelli, and now houses a Krishna-centred art collection, a splendid vegetarian restaurant, and grounds that flow through different levels of romantic grandeur.
As part of the conference we spend a day in Florence sight-seeing, and at the end of a hot day walking from cultural icon to artistic masterpiece there is nothing better than an Italian ice cream. But this year our Florentine guide had deserted us. We, an international group, were left to negotiate that old Hindu chestnut, whether the ice cream contained egg or not.
In my enthusiasm to serve my colleagues I began to run from shop to shop asking if the ice cream contained egg. Not being able to speak Italian I pieced together the few words I knew, and found that no one seemed to understand me. Eventually other members of the group caught up with me to find that I was pointing at the ice cream saying “sans uovo”, without egg – unfortunately sans means “without” in French. For Italians I was running into their shop pointing at the ice cream and insisting “Saint Egg”.
This had my colleagues in fits of laughter, especially as we found out that all the ice cream in town was without egg – and the story is still rolled out for fun: the day that Shaunaka beatified an egg.
Dear Lord, as enthused as I am in my convictions, too often I rush into action with a poor fund of knowledge. Sometimes the results are funny but sometimes my ignorance amounts to prejudice, rash judgement, and disturbance. May I take the time to think before I act and to put relationship before conviction.