Early this morning I was excited to be able to offer some sugarcane to Krishna. In India, sugarcane is abundantly available, and especially children and youthful persons with strong teeth enjoy chewing the sugarcane and tasting the sweet juice from the sugarcane.
It is quite the miracle, one can reflect on this, how is it that God has made it that a hard stick-like plant growing in the ground can be filled with delicious sweet juice.
In Canada sugarcane is rare, and Aruna Keshavi had managed to procure some. And to offer to Krishna, I was cutting it. There were two knives, one was like a saw, serrated edges, and he other had a straight edge to peel the hard bamboo-like exterior to expose the sweetness.
It happened in a flash. The knife with the serrated edge slipped and my right index finger came in its way. Deep cut. I will spare you the gory details but it was quite bad. The wound has now dried up but it throbs as I type this out.
Immediately I started chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. At first in pain and in fear, but then as realization dawned, then in appreciation, gratitude, and finally in ecstasy. Aruna Keshavi found me ecstatic when she came down, and she did not know that a cut had sparked this ecstasy.
I reflected how it was that one little cut produced so much pain but only because I inhabited this body. A dead body feels no pain. To feel pain is a sign of life. I am alive.
I reflected how the same knife could be an instrument of loving devotional service, a source of pain, an interruption of service, a dangerous weapon or an instrument of mercy. Time, Place, and Circumstance, intent and consciousness made all the difference.
I reflected how much pain we cause those living entities on a daily basis. The ones we breathe in and kill, the ones we accidentally ingest, the ones we step on, the ones we regard as pests… the ones we eat too. I cannot imagine how anyone can think that any living entity can be “painlessly killed”, even if following the Kosher process or the Halal process. It is idiocy to think that any living entity can be peacefully killed. We should strive to minimize the pain of course, but only take as much as needed to keep body and soul together. Not one extra grain of rice. And only in an act of sacrifice to God. Of course, God is no bloodthirsty demon, so God accepts no fish or flesh.
I reflected that the knife could have cut off my finger entirely. It was a big knife, and I was using a lot of force But my finger still works. I am typing with it right now. So I knew that some big calamity had been averted by Krishna. Krishna took a mountain-load my my karma, and gave me a token, little cut instead, just to remind me of His immense mercy.
In Vedic tradition, especially Bhakti (Tradition of Loving Devotional Service to God), the index finger represents the false ego, false pride… index fingers are used to point fingers at others. When we chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on our meditation beads, we chant with our right hand we leave the index finger outside the bead bag. We chant with the thumb and middle fingers on the beads. So this cut represented a cut to my false ego, which I need and will gladly take any day. My false ego is what keeps the subtle and not-so-subtle traces of atheism still present in my heart. With no false ego, I would be a pure devotee of Krishna!
One day will surely come when I will need to leave this body. I am attached to this body and everything connected to it. Best to remember that I am a tenant in this apartment, and I don’t exactly how long my lease is for. I am passing through. But that is a subject for another post.
I could still chant Hare Krishna. I could complete my entire morning service, without any significant problems. In fact, when I was deeply engrossed in my meditation I could not even feel the pain. So, it was a fact that my consciousness determined whether I felt material pain or spiritual bliss. And I became aware of this. Above all, it was confirmation that I am not this body.
So, I am very deeply grateful for this. It was indeed a “cut from above”.
There have been many other such situations, and each time, I ended up with an ecstatic experience, by the mercy of Sri Krishna.
So I am today praying Queen Kunti’s prayer. She said…
विपद: सन्तु ता: शश्वत्तत्र तत्र जगद्गुरो ।
भवतो दर्शनं यत्स्यादपुनर्भवदर्शनम् ॥ २५ ॥
vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād apunar bhava-darśanam
I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/8/25/
I am Krishna’s dog. Krishna can kick me or starve me. Krishna can keep me or kill me. Krishna can do whatever He likes with me. I pray to remain. I am happy to be “Das”. Please bless me that I may remain servant of the servant of God.
…mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ
…He alone, and no one else, is the worshipable Lord of My heart.Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Krishna can give me a pat on my back, or a kick on my backside. In all circumstances Krishna is my Supreme Well Wisher and Best Friend, and I pray never to forget.
भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् ।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ॥ २९ ॥
bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/29/
5 thoughts on “A cut from above”
Hare Krishna Mahabhagavat Prabhuji,
All glories, all glories, all glories to Guru and Gauranga!
Nice to read the contents that you have shared in this, thank you so much for the enlightenment with conscious that we can relate and feel the presence of Krsna in every walk of our life. I am currently, a Bhakti Sastri student and your shared contents are so much deep meaning that adds my better understanding of the philosophy.
Your insignificant Das, Prabhudev
Dear Prabhudeva Prabhu,
Hare Krishna! Thank you. You and your incredibly sweet and pious family (including your wonderful father) have always been a source of great inspiration and encouragement for me. I am grateful to you all. Please also formally join the family as soon as possible through initiation, and we can go on one adventure after another eternally together, we have so many souls to serve! 🙂 your servant, Mahabhagavat Das
Thank you prabhu for sharing this. Much gratitude to you.
I have this question , you wrote –
“only take as much as needed to keep body and soul together. Not one extra grain of rice. ”
there might be some people who have kshatriya inclination and need to fight and defend the society from enemy. Or those who work hard to make a living for example riksha-pullers in india or labourers etc. So , when you say to eat just to keep body and soul together , can we safely infer that we only take as much as needed to keep our varnashram dharma moving ? Am I right ?
Dear Nikhil, Hare Krishna! Thank you! Yes, the elephant needs hundreds of kilos of food, and the ant is fully served by one tiny grain… so there is no hard-and-fast rule on exact quantity… each person needs to adjust according to their own needs, but note “needs”, because the wants of the body are unlimited. Great saints like Srila Raghunath Das Goswami were known to be very very frugal. I have seen people get by with a lot and some needing a lot to stay fit for service… it is a very personal thing. I pray that this helps to clarify!