|| Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
We often hear people speak about the sport of the Lord, or His leelas. People attribute this past time to many reasons namely: for the pleasure of His devotees; to teach mankind and others; and even suggest removing evil and freeing the world from the clasps of tyranny. Although reading these divine plays exalts the consciousness to the most sublime boundaries of our existence; in actual fact I believe it to be a wakeup call to abandon our frivolous ambitions and subject ourselves to intense introspection and evaluation of our core purpose.
Our abnegation for the nectar of eternal truths often thought off as fruitless clichés with no relevance in our time, finds us often grasping at straws at some of the artless situations that confront us. In all our sophistication and readiness, the Lord often finds a way to bruise our ego to indicate to us that there is a supreme cause that forms the backdrop of this world stage.
Friday’s weather report of high temperatures on Saturday slid past unattended - as we consider ourselves ready to combat nature with our creativity and genius. Super cool air-conditioning, cinema quality home entertainment and a fridge stocked with eats provides a utopian resort from the harsh and adverse weather conditions.
An almost 18 hour power outage held central and northern Tongaat hostage subjecting them to the realities and evanescence that comforts are. Facebook, BBM and other social media were inundated with furious protests as many were left irresolute on how to proceed without the assistance of the fancy aids they have become so attached to and dependent upon. We always utilise all the resources at hand to ensure we make the best and sound financial investments, yet to our detriment, pay little heed and attention to our spiritual life and future.
Every saint and scripture has eulogised the techniques of being ‘Master of our own destiny’ - ultimately being one with Brahman that is free from all bondages and action, resting on the ocean of eternal bliss. Yet many incidents and small lessons by the merciful Lord expose how we are slaves to our own creation. History has shown us that slaves were never happy and never progressed until they freed themselves from the fetters of their masters.
Utilising these best practice methods as used by Rishis to great success evinces potential divinity within us, as proclaimed by Swami Vivekananda - unleashing torrents of bhakti, that it even places us in a position to arrest the Lord.
|Mother Yashoda trying to tie the Lord|
The Bhagavatam relates how one day, whilst Mother Yashoda was busy engaging in her household duties and churning the curds, she was approached by baby Krishna full of hunger. He instantly abducted her attention from her activity and solicited her milk to appease His hunger. Whilst affectionately feeding Him with an abundance of love, She noticed that the milk kept on the fire for boiling was overflowing. She immediately left the child on the floor and ran to its attention.
Angry at this, Krishna’s eyes became red and hands trembling He used a stone roller and broke the churning pot letting go of all its contents. After taking down the boiling pot, Mother Yashoda returned only to find spilled curd and the broken pot. It was without any doubt She reasoned that it was Her son’s work. The boy was not to be seen anywhere. He soon caught Her eye, eating and playing with butter stolen from the store. As She approached Him from behind with a stick in Her hand, He took off with great haste. She intensely followed Him (Him whom even a Yogi’s mind well prepared by practice and austerity fails to do - as mentioned by Vyasa). After much effort, He was finally caught , but upon looking at His terror-stricken-eyes, His mother caste off the stick releasing the intent to beat Him, but decided to tie Him to the husking mortar instead. Our revered Vyasa further explains: ‘He who is neither inside nor outside, who was neither before nor after, who is the universe Himself, the unmanifest Supreme, sporting as a human the master of all senses, Him the Gopi taking as Her child tried to fasten to the mortar’.
In trying to fasten the guilty Krishna to the mortar, Yashoda Maiya found that the string in Her hand was short by two inches to complete the round. She attached another string to it and that to was short by two inches. This continued until all the string in Her house was exhausted, but was still short of two inches to complete the round. All the Gopis standing and watching began to laugh at Yashoda’s predicament and She also burst into laughter in utter astonishment. Finally seeing His mother perspiring, with hair disheveled and exhausted, the Lord felt pity for Her and allowed Him to be tied up out of kindness for Her.
This heartrending and melting incident sheds light upon the core purpose of our birth. Like when the mother was feeding her child, and left him to attend to the boiling pot, we also have left the Lord to attend to our duties on earth. Due to this separation, the Lord plays wonderful sports to remind us of our goal and draw our attention back to Him (breaking the pot). Living in this world busy with our earthly activities, we have failed to arrest His full love and attention by two inches. I was contemplating on this idea and through the grace of Sri Ramakrishna arrived upon an insight.
In the midst of the deadliest silence you will notice the heart beat (duk-duk) two distinct sounds, which represents the two inches. The heart which through this two beats supplies oxygenated blood to all parts of the body allowing us to live. That heart beat is the power of God. However we have used this power given to this body to embark on activities that deviate from the path of releasing the effervescence of bhakti that is within (lust, hatred, greed, anger, envy etc). When we start to use these two heart beats for good - through our actions, words and thoughts - the Lord will allow Himself to be bound to our lives out of mercy and love for a pure devotee. With the Lord attached by your side, can there be any problems for you?
The Brahmani in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna explains to Master: "My son, everyone in this world is mad. Some are mad for money, some for creature comforts, some for name and fame; and you are mad for God." She assured Him that He was passing through the almost unknown spiritual experience described in the scriptures as mahabhava - the most exalted rapture of divine love. She told Him that this extreme exaltation had been described as manifesting itself through nineteen physical symptoms: including the shedding of tears, a tremor of the body, perspiration, and a burning sensation. She declared the scriptures had recorded only two instances of this experience, namely, those of Sri Radha and Sri Chaitanya. We have thus witnessed how through this mad love for God, the Divine Mother Herself manifested before the Master.
May we also develop this love for God, which brings Him within arm’s length of our lives, is my sincere prayer.
With love and prayers always
Bhagavatam - Translated by Swami Tapasyananda
Pic courtesy of internet