Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Unexpected Guru

The bench in front of Turlington Hall

This afternoon on a break between classes, I sat down on the big circular bench in front of Turlington to eat some pretzels. Just around the curve of the bench, I saw a young man absorbed in a small black book with gold on the edges of the paper. I felt washed with curiosity.

For several minutes, I debated whether I should begin a conversation. The young man closed his book and sat back to gaze at the sky with a ponderous tone. Finally I thought, What do I have to lose?

So I picked up my backpack and sat 3 or 4 feet away from him. "Excuse me," I said. "May I ask a personal question?"

He turned his gentle brown eyes to me. "Yes," he said.

"Why do you read the Bible?"

The young man's balance and grasp of the Bible and Christianity was like clear, clean water. And yet he maintained that he still has many questions, like "Why would God allow suffering in the world?" "Is there any second chance at salvation?" "Why are we here?" I believe that Krishna Consciousness answers those questions, but I never replied.

I simply inquired. I simply listened.

I never brought up my religion, or that my views of love and faith come from Krishna consciousness. Even when he asked me if I was interested in reading the Bible, I kept out any mention of the scriptures follow. I inquired purely as a seeker.

I'm not sure how long we sat there beneath the giant oak tree in the midst of the whorls of students all rushing to their business. Time seemed to suspend in the presence of such a timeless conversation.

But the most timeless moment came when the young man said, "The Bible describes a standard, and I strive to live by that standard every day. But... I fail. Every day, I fail. And yet God loves me anyway. To me... that is how God becomes more and more beautiful, every day."

We were silent for several moments. Then he asked me, "What are your thoughts on all this?"

I collected my thoughts and said, "It almost brings tears to my eyes..." and then tears stung my eyes, "... that we are so undeserving, but God loves us anyway. That if we surrender, the Lord can become more and more beautiful every day." I wiped away my tears.

The young man asked, "What is your name?"

"Bhakti," I replied.


"Yes. It means 'devotion'." I said. "What is your name?"

"Cory. I don't know its meaning, though." He smiled.

"Thank you for sharing, Cory," and with that I packed up my things and we said goodbye.

That may be the last time I ever speak with or even see Cory again.

Of course I did not agree with a lot of the Christian philosophy we discussed. But I did not ask questions to find out what I disagreed on. I asked questions to seek the essence, to inquire into the beauty of his faith.

And I truly feel that I found it, I found a drop of essence.

I just did a Google search on the meaning of the name Cory, and it means "God's peace." So thank you, Cory. Today you gave me a sense of peace that God is present in every faith. Today you were my guru.


Related Posts:
A Glorious Encounter: In Mexico, there is a mystical place called Agua Azul where a series of waterfalls cascade down a mountain. Once a year, the Bus Tour visits for one glorious day...
Politics of Inspiration: Narayan Maharaj is coming to Alachua next week...

1 comment:

Muddy B said...

Cory = God's Peace

To write is to dare the soul. So write.