The Secret That Keeps Me Going at 83
Last night I read a great article by Jon Morrow, the famous blogger: “7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face”
Now I haven’t had the hard punches that Jon Morrow has had (he is paralyzed from the neck down), but everyone does get knocked around a bit in this world, and now I have to deal with the coughs and creaky bones and sleepless nights of old age. If you think that’s nothing, well, just wait.
But I’m still going. So I thought I would add my own secret for survival to the discussion.
And what’s my secret? It’s Krishna.
“Hey, wait a minute,” you say. “Krishna’s no secret. Everyone’s heard of him. You guys are always out on the street chanting and dancing and giving away those little cakes. How can you say Krishna’s a secret?”
Finding the Hidden Knowledge
Well, Krishna ought to know. In the Bhagavad Gita he calls this knowledge the most secret of secrets. And I found out in my own life that it really is so.
How? Because someone had to tell it to me. I had heard of Krishna and read a version of the Bhagavad Gita, but not until my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, let me take Krishna into my life could I see the secret as I watched my world change.
It was a secret because I had to see for myself the beauty of Krishna’s form, feel the pleasure of chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra, and taste the sweetness of the singing and dancing.
So now I’ll tell you more about the secret, and you can see whether you want to get into it too.
First, relax. You don’t have to cut off your hair, put on strange clothes, or make a public spectacle of yourself on the street. Like you, I was self-conscious about these things, but then I started reading the Bhagavad Gita, this time as translated and explained by Prabhupada.
Stomping on Darwin
Finally, I had to admit deep in my heart that everything I had learned about science and cosmology was wrong.
I felt my chest swell out in conquest as I hurled down the dark glasses of Darwinian cosmology and stomped them to bits. Then I put on the clear lenses of the Bhagavad Gita and saw for the first time the peaceful sky and everything in it including myself.
Still, I had to deal with this world, and sometimes the world pushed me down. But when times were at their worst, I learned something intimate about the secret.
I learned that Krishna is my constant companion. He has never deserted me. Whenever my life turned upside-down and my friends became my enemies and I thought I would never come out sane, Krishna always pulled me up.
Sometimes he came in the form of a new deity (we never call it a statue) or a picture or a devotee’s remark, but Krishna always found a way to open my eyes.
Listening In on Nature’s Secrets
And more secrets came as I picked up my Bhagavad Gita, secrets that I had never noticed before though they were right before my eyes. At last I see good weather and bad weather simply as movements of nature with no effect on my being, and I see happiness and distress as no more than the ups and downs of life.
What’s more, Krishna’s secret keeps me in touch with nature, even from my 20th-floor quarantine in this concrete-and-glass desert they call a city.
The prayers at sunrise, noon, and sunset keep me in tune with the movement of the sun. The special days in the month let me follow the moon as it travels through the zodiac. And the once-a-year festivals show me where I am heading as I orbit the sun along with the earth I stand on.
The Most Exclusive of secrets
And Krishna has a secret I had never seen or heard of in any other spiritual path. Although Krishna is God, the Supreme Lord, the creator and ruler of all the universes, …
He plays with his devotees as if he were one of us.
He is a naughty little boy stealing butter and passing it out to the monkeys, thus inspiring motherly love in the heart of Yasoda Devi, who sees him as her son.
He herds the cows and plays in the forest as a friend of the other boys. And he thrills the hearts of the village girls as a handsome teenager.
But the most exclusive secret of all? He comes into this world 4,500 years afterwards as Lord Chaitanya to enjoy the life his devotees enjoy.
And don’t we all want to enjoy life?
Jon Morrow, who inspired me to write this article though we’ve never met, says that what pushes him on to enjoy life is his revulsion at the thought of inactivity.
For many others, it’s the desire to make money.
Walking the Long Road
For me, though, it’s the Bhagavad Gita, especially with the hope that I may someday meet Krishna face to face. It’s a long road, I know, but an enchanted one. The farther I walk, the more spring in my step, the lighter my body, the headier the gardenia-scented breeze. The road goes on forever, and the companions are the best. They all know the secret.
Now is it any wonder that I love my life every day?
Eternally touching my head to the floor at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada,
~Umapati Swami, March 28, 2020
The Hare Krishna mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the teacher who brought Krishna Consciousness from India to the West and then to the rest of the world. He is the founder of the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement as well as the author and compiler of many works of Vedic knowledge. He left this world in 1977.
One of the first American devotees of the Hare Krishna Movement, he became Srila Prabhupada’s disciple in 1966. Since then, he has preached Krishna Consciousness in many countries and is the author of “My Days with Prabhupada,” available from Amazon. Now 84 years old, he has started this blog to share what he has learned.
© Umapati Swami 2021
Scriptural passages © Bhaktivedanta Book Trust