Thursday, October 24, 2013

Worry Surgery

I lean in and place a bracelet around the wrist of Murlidhar, the deity of the Lord here in Manhattan. Trays filled with mirrored cloth and glittering jewelry surround me. The morning is quiet. Even the sounds from the street below are muted.

I reach for Radharani's garland and place it around Her neck. Too long. I take it off, tie it to make it a little shorter. Still too long. I take it off and tie it again.

Now I can barely fit it over Her head. When it finally goes over, the garland is so small that it looks like some strange flower necklace. Radharani looks a little miffed.

"Oh no," I mutter. My face flushes. I shimmy the garland back over Radharani's head, murmuring my apologies.

I rush back to the pujari room and get out a pair of scissors. Maybe I can cut the string, retie it at a longer length... but the flowers are delicate and keep slipping off, the garland is getting shorter and shorter. The thread is slippery and the knots are not staying.

I'm starting to sweat. I feel like I'm in the midst of a surgery gone awry.

My friend Ghanashyam, who is offering worship to the smaller deities this morning, comes into the altar room loaded down with several trays.

"Ghanashyam," I say with a note of panic. "Radharani's garland... I tied it too short, and now I don't know what to do,"

Ever equipoised, Ghanashyam puts down his trays and says, "Oh really?"

"Yes," I say. We both peer down at the garland and discuss a plan of action. "This is garland surgery," I say.

Ghanashyam is working on the garland and then says quietly, "Scissors,"

I get the scissors and hand them to him, grinning, "Scalpel,"

We both laugh.

But even with Ghanashyam's attempts, the garland still seems to not be working right.

"Go do what you need to do," Ghanashyam says. "I'll handle this,"

"Okay," I say, relieved. Radha Murlidhar still need so much more in Their dressing today.

I rush back to the altar. Only fifteen minutes left to make Murlidhar's turban and finish dressing. The clock is ticking. At this point, I realize that Radha Murlidhar are dressing Themselves. There is no way that I could be doing this.

I head back to the altar room, where Ghanashyam holds up the garland, "It's okay now,"

"Really?" my eyes widen. The garland is perfect. "How?"

"I called in the reinforcements - Murali Gopal. He fixed it. Don't know how, but here it is,"

Relief rushes through me. "Thank you," I say reverentially. We both head to the altar, and Ghanashyam hands the garland to me to place around Radharani's neck.

"I'm nervous, why don't you do it," I say.

"Go ahead, it'll be fine."

I gingerly take the garland and gently place it around Radharani.

"Great," Ghanshyam says.

"Thank you," I say again. I continue with dressing. My hands seem to move on their own accord, tying Krishna's turban, placing Radharani's crown, tying up sashes and veils. Ghanashyam and I clean up everything and when I look at the clock to blow the conch shell, it's 8:30 - smack on time. I am in shock.

I blow the conch. Open the curtains.

When I offer the small arati to Radha Murlidhar, I observe how They're dressed from an artistic stance. Although I see so many areas that could be improved, for some reason They simply look perfect. I surrender to how the imperfection is Their perfection.

Back in the pujari room, Ghanashyam remarks to me, "That was a close call with that garland,"

"My God, I know," I reply.

"You were totally in anxiety," He laughs. "Even I began to get in anxiety."

"Amazing." I say. "You know, I've been experiencing so much worry lately about my life, it's almost ghostly. Just constantly plagued with anxiety about where I'm going to live, what I'm going to do. But this... this was worry for Krishna. Strangely enough, I found it almost almost liberating. Like, whew, I can breathe now. I feel clean. Does that make sense?"

"Yes," Ghanashyam replies. "Actually, a pujari is in the parental mood, to take care of Krishna and to worry for Him. Our worry for Him can actually be purifying,"

Ever since that morning of dressing Radha Murlidhar and worrying about God, the worry about my own life seems to have dissolved away. Trust remains.

Seems like Krishna did surgery on my worry.

1 comment:

Maulin said...

hare krishna! when you surrender to the Lord, He will take care of everything!!!

To write is to dare the soul. So write.