Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Trump-all Answer

Chandramukhi (photo by Indradyumna Swami)

One afternoon, several of us on the young-girls tour, Kishori Yatra, were swimming in a lake, laughing and fooling around. Then Chandramukhi, the youngest girl on the whole Yatra, swam up to me. She's five.

"Hey Bhakti," her eyes were wide. "Which one do you like better, the sun or the moon?"

I was utterly unarmed. Usually I'm the one asking the hypothetical questions.

I studied her for a moment and a slow smile crept up my face. "Why... the sun."

"Why?" she persisted.

And so I gave her my reasons - the sun is bright, steady, and helps us all to grow. "Which one do you like better?" I asked.

"The moon," she said instantly. I smiled to think that maybe she liked the moon because her name means 'the maiden with the moon-face'.

She told me her reason with a grin and then swam off, and I just stood there, more unarmed by her reason even than her question.

Later that evening, the whole Kishori Yatra sat on the beach around a campfire under an almost-full moon. We had a weird talent show, we sang some songs, and then... we asked hypothetical questions. Everyone threw around gross and crazy questions that had us all laughing.

Then I called out, "Well, which one do you prefer, the sun or the moon?"

Everyone had their answer - the sun because it's cheery, the moon because you can look at it... some answers were scientific, some were just based on feeling.

Finally I said, "You see, Chandramukhi asked me this question earlier today." I looked at Chandramukhi across the campfire. "You want to tell everyone what your answer was?"

She shook her head.


She shook her head again, and I knew she'd never say it. She's a shy girl.

"Go ahead," Yamuna, her mother, said. "Just say it, Bhakti,"

"Yeah, we all want to know!" some girls chorused.

"Well," I began. "She said that she loves the moon more... because Krishna and the gopis dance under the moon for the rasa dance."

Sighs and "wow"s chased around the campfire circle. Some of us glanced up at the moon, which shone down on us in silver shadows.

"That answer trumps all," one girl sighed.

I couldn't agree more.

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