Once a young man visited Transylvania, the home of the legendary Count Dracula. To spend the night he visited a lonely guest house in the Romanian forest. Tired, he went to bed, only to experience a night of unforgettable horror.
It was around midnight when the young man heard the scream of the vampire outside. A little later he heard the steps of a grown man walking over the squeaking floor wood outside his room. When suddenly the door sprang open, he looked into a pair of red eyes that stared bloodthirstily into his face. Moments later he felt one vein of his neck being sliced by sharp teeth. First he could not move out of fear. Then he finally jumped out of his bed and fell on the floor, only to look into the concerned face of his host, who had switched on the light.
“Young man, what are you doing? Calm yourself! Everything is all right,” said the big-bodied guest house lady. All the young man could do was stammer “Dracula, Dracula, Dracula is here. He is out to get me.”
“There is no Dracula here,” answered the lady calmly.
“But the scream...”
“That was our goat that finally gave birth to her young one.”
“What about the steps. I heard the wood squeaking.”
“That was the wood that moved due to the cold temperature.”
“But the door and those eyes staring at me and finally...look at my vein. The demon had started to suck my blood.”
The lady only laughed. “That was a gust of wind that opened your door. And because you behaved so wildly our cat, which sleeps at the end of this bed, must have awakened and out of fear jumped at you and scratched your neck. It is not a problem. Please calm down.”
Later, the owner of the guest house found a book on his night table called Dracula: The Blood-Sucking Vampire.
When we are overwhelmed by maya, we have similar misperceptions. We identify with something that is not, and on the basis of this misidentification, so many problems arise.
Absorption in Krishna is quite natural. Only when the mind is covered by foreign material energy does thinking of Krishna appear to be forced or unnatural. But actually, it is the most natural thing to be absorbed in thoughts of the Lord.
Srila Prabhupada writes:
For iron to be attracted by a magnet is natural. Similarly, it is natural for all the living entities to be attracted toward Krishna, and therefore the Lord’s real name is Krishna, meaning He who attracts everyone and everything. The typical examples of such attraction are found in Vrindavan, where everything and everyone is attracted by Krishna. The elderly persons like Nanda Maharaja and Yasodadevi, the friends like Sridhama, Sudama, and the other cowherd boys, the gopis like Srimati Radharani and Her associates, and even the birds, beasts, cows, and calves are attracted. The flowers and fruits in the gardens are attracted, the waves of the Yamuna are attracted, and the land, sky, trees, plants, animals, and all other living beings are attracted by Krishna. This is the natural situation of everything in Vrindavan. (Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.5.14 purport)
One may ask, “Really? If it is so natural to think of Krishna, why don’t the thoughts of Him come naturally into the mind? Why is so much practice required?” The reason is, we have become unnatural.
Consider Srila Prabhupada’s example of the iron that is naturally attracted to the magnet. This attraction, however, only works if the iron is not covered by rust. Rusty iron cannot respond to the pulling force of the magnet. The rust first needs to be removed. In the same way, we have to become free from the unnatural elements that have manifest as a covering over our hearts. And for that, diligent spiritual practice is required.