True devotion knows no barriers, and reinforcing this fact is 62-year-old William Spencer, a native of California, USA, who is often spotted outside the MG Road Metro station chanting “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna”. Many a times he has been shooed away by the security guards, but that has only made his conviction stronger.
“The guards make me exit the Metro premises, i.e. the stairs, where I usually stand. But they can’t do anything once I am on the footpath,” said Spencer, who is better known by his other moniker, Bhakt Avatar Das.
A divorcee with three children, Spencer was first introduced to meditation way back in 1971. “I have always been in a spiritual environment. My father is a very religious man and so is my mother,” he said.
Although Spencer resides at Vrindavan Iskcon near Mathura, he, along with his friends, keeps spreading the spiritual word by chanting outside Metro stations in Delhi and Gurgaon.Early into his career, Spencer fixed his purpose in life to spiritually elevating people of the world by making them conscious of their existence. Hence, he took the decision of earning a living out of it. Spencer first began teaching meditation in Newcastle, England, after which he set up his own meditation centre in California called the Transcendental Meditation Centre, where he taught for 12 years.
But anyone devoted to meditation can’t avoid treading the spiritual lanes of India for long and Spencer landed here in January 2001.
“Since 1980, I have been seeing myself in India. The people of India are losing their Vedic culture and trying to ape the West. This is not a good a thing. I want to set an example here,” he said.
There was also another reason that prodded Spencer to come to India. “I came here for my son, because I wanted to give him a good environment to learn. Iskcon was the best place as it allowed him to explore his inclination towards music,” said the proud father of the 26-year-old, who is married to a fellow Iskcon devotee.
Spencer said that it is a must to be a God-lover and not a God-fearer. “Fear has been a reason for worship, but we need to be more spiritual and encouraging. There is a need for spontaneous service and not service out of fear or duty,” signed off Spencer as he went back to praising his Lord.