Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Story of a Vow

Around five years ago, on a warm summer night in Alachua, Dattatreya, Jaya Radhe, and I sat in a circle with Bhagavad Gitas in our laps.

"So, if we're going to do this Bhagavad Gita study group, I say we have a vow in order," I declared.

"Vow?" Jaya said.

"Yeah." I put my hand in the center of our circle. "You guys in?"

Jaya slowly placed her hand on top of mine.

"I'm in," Datta said, and he placed his hand on Jaya's.

"So," I intoned. "We must vow to read, study, and complete the entire Bhagavad Gita, together."

"Agreed." Jaya said.

"Agreed." Datta said.

We looked around the circle and grinned at each other. Then I shouted, "Srila Prabhupada, ki - "

"JAI!" And our hands flew to the sky.

One night a week, we meet in one of our living rooms to read the ancient Bhagavad Gita and Srila Prabhupad's timeless words. We discuss, we debate, and we confront our issues of faith with gruelling honesty. Each one of us contribute something unique, each of us with a dynamic and perspective that balances the discussion.

But life has drawn the three of us down paths into unknown worlds, paths that have lead away from Alachua, away from each other, sometimes for months and months at a time. We all have been turned upside down, twisted inside out, and had our heart put through the washing machine a couple times.

But always, after our sojourns into the world, our paths return to the confluence of one of our living rooms on a Monday night, and to the words of the Bhagavad Gita and Srila Prabhupad.  

At the time we made our fateful vow, we all thought it would take us a year, maybe two to complete the Bhagavad Gita.

Five years later, and we're on Chapter Five. 

We've stopped trying to calculate when we'll finish, because we've all realized that there is no finish line. Through each other's association, the words of the Gita have leapt from the pages and have irrevocably changed each of our lives.   

Man, we had no idea what we were getting into when we put our hands into that circle. 

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