Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Keeping The Darkness Away: Diwali & Govardhana
Diwali, the Festival of Lights is a fitting time for the Hindu New Year. One of the main stories behind this day is the return of Rama to Ayodhya. Rama and the monkey forces had defeated Ravana and his Raksasa hordes. Ravana had superior weapons and superior forces. The monkeys had only crude weapons – trees, rocks and clubs – but they won nevertheless. By the grace of Lord Rama, the monkeys were unstoppable. Having faith in Rama, we also have to be unstoppable in our efforts to serve Rama and glorify Him.
Several weeks later after the victory, Rama, Sita, Laksman and Hanuman boarded a flower airplane which took them back to Ayodhya. The citizens there waited in great anticipation. The city was bedecked with candles shining from every home. After so many long years the people were eager to see their Lord once again. His return would mark a new era for them - RamRaj. And we also must light the candles. Not only in our homes, but in our hearts. To renew our faith in the Lord and, at this time of year, welcome Him back into our lives. But why every year? Indeed, we must welcome Him every day and every moment.
The day after Diwali is Govardhana Lila, and so, the devotees delight in worshiping Sri Rama and Sri Krishna back to back. They are one and the same. Krishna, as a child, growing up in Vrindaban, was very mischievous. One day, Krishna’s father Nanda and the residents there were getting ready to worship King Indra who brought the much needed rain to the land. But in the middle of getting ready for one event, Krishna asked them to make another type of sacrifice – to worship Govardhana Hill instead. Krishna sometimes does that to us. You know what I’m talking about.
There’s a saying attributed to John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” We’ve all experienced this in one way or other. Earlier this month my wife and I were a little concerned since Hurricane Sandy was supposed to brush by us (we had heard about the disruption in New York and New Jersey – and I pray for everyone in that area) And so Sandy came, leaving us without electricity for only four hours. What a relief! That wasn’t so bad (especially since at the beginning of the summer we had no power for eight days).
My wife and I thought that now we could get on with our lives. But even though the power went back on, our house remained without water for four days. For four days we had to fetch water to bathe and clean and cook. Normally, we get water from our own well. Now we were worried that the pump in the well stopped working, or worse yet, that the well caved in (which happened to us before). But Krishna was merciful. It was only a bad pressure tank in the basement, which our plumber fixed in several hours.
Krishna often calls upon us to make some sacrifice. We’re expecting to do one thing, but something happens and we’re forced to do something else. So we could do it begrudgingly and curse our circumstances. Or we could find the strength to say “Thank you Krishna for giving me this opportunity to surrender to Your will.”
These holy-days can give us clues on how to live everyday.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare