Our two-year-old son, Arjun, was playing with a piece of kitchen equipment a metal steamer plate with holes each just big enough to insert his finger. He got so involved in his play that before long one of the fingers had gone deep into the plate hole. My wife tried different tactics to pull the finger out but it just wouldn’t come out. We immediately rushed to the hospital. The situation in the hospital for the first few hours was so dramatic that we started feeling tremendous turmoil and seeing our son crying loudly with pain only added more fuel to the fire. Finally, after a long drawn affair, the doctors decided that surgery was the only option. As usual, the doctors gave a caveat in the most inhuman fashion that there was a risk that the finger might be damaged beyond repair. We could only hope for the best and leave it in the “good hands” of the doctors to do the job.
Eventually the surgery was over and the relatively good news arrived that the cuts on the finger were only superficial and would only take a few weeks to heal.
WHAT I LEARNT
It took a dull-headed make-show devotional practitioner like me more than two months to see through the incident and draw some conclusions that I can hopefully learn from and put into practice in my spiritual life. The following significant things happened before, during, and after the incident:
1. On that day, for some reason I put aside the reading of Srimad Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, something that my wife and I had been practicing regularly for the past six months. In fact, such was my audacity that I walked away in the middle of our reading on the pretext that I was getting late to work.
2. My rascaldom did not stop there; I even decided not to honor the prasada that my wife had painstakingly prepared. I did not even pay heed to my wife’s request that I should at least honor the prasada since it is the mercy of the Lord that we are getting everyday.
3. Sure enough, shortly after I arrived in the office, I got the fatefull call. For all the foolishness that I possess, I immediately started to think of different options based on personal endeavor without thinking about and praying to Krsna to help.
4. In the hospital, I was only engaged in talking to doctors about different solutions. Again, I missed an important point that no matter how I endeavor, ultimately everything is in the control of the Supreme Lord, so the only thing we need to do is just be submissive and surrender unto Him.
5. The only time I really thought of Krsna and prayed to Him was when the doctors said that surgery was the only option and they couldn’t guarantee the condition of the finger.
6. It was only by the mercy of the Lord that despite my demoniac behavior, He reduced the impact of the injury. The surgeon himself was surprised by the result; this was the first such surgery he had performed without knowing what the outcome would look like.
I had to go through this experience to realize the glories of hearing Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam and importance of remembering the Lord in all circumstances. In particular, I was moved by a verse (Bhag. 1.5.14) in which Narada Muni instructs Vyasadeva as follows:
“Whatever you desire to describe that is separate in vision from the Lord simply reacts, with different forms, names and results, to agitate the mind as the wind agitates a boat which has no resting place.”
In Bhagavad-gita (5.12), Srila Prabhupada says in his purport – “Realization that there is no existence besides Krsna is the platform of peace and fearlessness.” Because I had forgotten to put this important learning into practice, I was on the platform of fear and agitation.
I sincerely pray to our Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, Lord Krsna and all other Vaisnavas that by their mercy, I can put the scriptural injunctions, and the instructions of Guru Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada into honest practice. (Svayam Prakasa Krsna Dasa)