Friday, May 4, 2007

He's Still Here.

In the chill and dark morning, Rupa, Nama and I rushed about the guest house, groggily gulping down oatmeal and mumbling tilak mantras. We dashed out the door and made it in time to sing some morning bhajans while the people of the program began to gather.

At last, Indradyumna Swami joined us. Last night after I had picked up the mridanga, I had been so absorbed in playing it that I hadn’t fully appreciated Maharaj's special melody for Jaya Radha Madhava. And so now as he began to sing, tingles swept across my skin.

During breakfast, Rupa, Nama, and I discussed youth in Alachua and ISKCON. In the quiet mid-morning, we laughed and practically shouted out our jokes. Maharaj was still sitting where he was for class, chanting his japa intently with eyes closed. Suddenly he snapped them open and commanded the three of us.

“There is time for this later. Come, chant japa with me,”

Hushed immediately, we fetched our japa bags sheepishly. We settled around Maharaj, but then he commanded again, “Face me.”

We faced him. And in the current and wave of chanting, with Maharaj as my anchor, I tasted each syllable of the maha-mantra for the first time in months. I meditated deeper and deeper, as if drinking deeper and deeper.

When Maharaj rose to finally take some breakfast, the others dispersed. But I stayed, transfixed.

He’s still here, I murmured to myself. My hair stood on end. Even though he’s gone… I’m going to keep chanting.

My mind turned to my own guru, Radhanath Swami, and how most of my life he’s not there. 

Suddenly I made the connection that Radhanath Swami is my inspiration, my map, my compass… but I must captain my own ship. I must rise to the challenge; take responsibility for my spiritual life.

My guru is there in my heart, asking me - commanding me - to chant. That is how he will always be there, sitting across from me, inspiring me to go deeper and to never stop chanting the holy name.

1 comment:

Vineet Chander said...

Haribol Bhakti-lata! This whole series is amazing, but this entry in particular is so beautiful. You effortlessly capture the magic that hovers around Indradyumna Swami and bring us right into the heart of it.

Thank you for sharing your gifts of singing and writing with the world. Never stop!

How's the japa going?

ys & godbrother,

To write is to dare the soul. So write.