Tell us about a time you found out after the fact that you’d been mistaken and you had to eat a serving of humble pie.
It was a winter morning in Vrindavan ashram where I used to serve as a priest in the temple after having ran away from home. I was given responsibility to serve Radha-Krishna temple and the main Jagannath temple was being served by head priest Shri Hare Krishna ji who was there since many years. He belonged to Nepal originally and his mother had expired when he was quite young. His father married to another woman and he never received the parental love and affection. He left home at a young age and went to many places of pilgrim finally settling in Vrindavana about 7 years ago. He used to get a small sum to serve in the temple and was very talkative being a Gemini. His step-brother who was in army came at once inquiring about her and took him back to Nepal to meet his family or what was left of it. He used to talk about them with a glimmer in his eyes. He was very critical of people around and sometimes used to lecture me on small things being a senior in the trade.
On some occasions he saved me from trouble. Since I went to Vrindavan intoxicated in divine love and detached from worldly duties to take renunciation, I never took anything more than what was needed for my survival. I was only given the duty of serving in the temple but I started volunteering for serving food everyday. I also used to do some small clerical or literary jobs for the trust as and when possible. Sometimes many pilgrims and visitors used to come and serving them food, then attending satsang(holy company) used to make me sleep very late. I used to put alarm to clock I was given by a senior monk. It used to work but sometimes it used to get jammed all of a sudden. I used to put alarm for 2:50 AM in the morning. Once it did not ring and I heard the voice of head priest calling my name-I got started and alarmed I woke up and switched the light on in the room. Looking at the clock I saw it was already 4:00 AM, the time to open the temple! I felt horrible and I prepared very fast for the worship and rushed back to temple after head priest had already chimed the bells. I felt very ashamed of not having woken up on time to attend the duty.
This event and couple others like this created an anxiety in me. Then I became extra vigilant. I used to take a nap in noon or after morning service. Sometimes I used to sleep 2 hours in the day as I could not get more than 3 hours of sleep on most nights. One such morning as I was sleeping, something woke me up. It was not alarm. I was dreaming about blue baby Krishna stealing my pooris and I was looking for him. I felt as if I was late for the morning prasadam ceremony! I looked at clock and it showed 10:45 AM to me. I rushed to the temple, took thali, spoons, bowls and clothes necessary and headed to the kitchen where prasadam was kept. Arranging prasadam well in various bowls and thali I brought it back to the temple thinking that it was the time to serve lord soon as he was hungry. I was thinking why head priest had not shown up by then in the Jagannath temple by then. I kept waiting for his instruction for bell but it didn’t happen so I went ahead and closed the temple doors and served the food for lord humbly. After which I closed the doors again as I moved out from the side door. Since cats often used to eat their share out of lord’s plate, we had to be extra careful.
Now chanting hare-krishna mahamantra on my fingers I was standing outside waiting for lord to finish his meals. We used to wait 20-25 minutes usually after which doors were opened again for the visitors and devotees. I was wondering why the head priest hadn’t showed up even after so much time had passed. I rushed to his room which was connected to the temple via a passage which went through kitchen. I called him with respect. He replied. I asked if he was not late for serving lord with bhog. He told that it was only 10 o’clock and there was an hour to go! Oh my God! The earth shattered beneath my feet. What had I done? I rushed back to the temple, quickly did the ritual and moved thali away from lord. But lord had already taken food. I will feed him again when head priest does. What can I do? The main concern was that I deprived visitors and devotees from seeing lord when I shouldn’t have. I quickly gave him his flute to play as he was smiling at my naivete and mocking me and opened the doors. Now it’s good that head priest has not observed my carelessness. I was such a humble pie!