Every year a group of yoga students from America go to the gardens of a flower grower in Vrindavan (India), who produces large amounts of flowers for the garlands and decorations in the many temples there. This year, however, the gardens did not have much to show. Weather and other factors had wiped out the crop and the gardener, already poor by our standards, was even poorer. As they sat with him he was jovial, telling them stories of Krishna and his temple experiences.
‘How can you be so happy after so much loss?” they asked him.
“That part of my life is a struggle, and this year will be hard,” he said. “But my relationship with Krishna has nothing to do with that. That’s always joyful.”
Here, I thought, is wisdom in action. Rather than making God a part of his life (and struggle) he was choosing to be a part of God’s life. In other words, as we move along in the world, dealing with the ups and downs, we often lean on God, pray for help, find Him in our little universe, and even complain when we don’t think He is doing his part (i.e., fulfilling our desires).
There is nothing wrong with this, and it’s better than not acknowledging His existence at all. Krishna is happy to help and be involved, as he was with Arjuna in the Gita’s battlefield.
Yet as students of the science of bhakti yoga we learn that the true goal is to get to know Krishna who exists beyond our mundane life. If Krishna is a person, then He has a life, a place, and all kinds of relationships. The gardener gives us a clue. Instead of pulling God into our own little life, why not set that aside for a while, and start looking into God’s life?
Talking time everyday to be in a relationship that has nothing to do with the karma of the world, nothing to do with who we are in this body, nothing to do with the present context of our life – that’s what the gardener was doing. Yes, I lost everything this year, he said, but not Krishna. He is always there. And that’s my joy.
Let that be our joy too.