THE AIR IS CRISP. Alone, I climb a stile and step into a field. My boots crunch on the hard, frosty ground. The trees are still today. Even the ponies are still, save jets of smokey breath. Dawn covers the cold horizon with its glow. My heart feels warm as my chanting reverberates deep inside me. A cock crows, a dog answers in the distance. A pheasant, disturbed by my presence, flies noisily from his roost on a branch. I focus my mind on the holy name and continue to chant.
On the way home I pick up a large log for my woodpile. Its weight takes my breath away. I walk unsteadily through the trees and across the field. When I reach the stile, I move my log from one shoulder to another. A delicious sense of relief flows through my strained muscles. A few steps later, as the log's weight begins to oppress my other shoulder, I remember an analogy Narada Muni once gave about a man who tried to relieve himself of a burden by moving it from his head to his shoulder. I consider how that burden represents the trouble we all go through in the material world. That trouble, like the pain of my log, is self-inflicted. Instead of laying down our burdens, we conditioned souls carry them from one body to another as we wander from universe to universe.
And here I am, again embodied in some corner of the cosmos. I have my log, my wood stove, my wife, my children, my bricks, my land. How conscious am I that these will all slip away like sand?
Fortunately, Narada's wise, kindly presence reminds me who I actually am, what is really mine, and what my potential is. By his incessant traveling for Krsna, he arrests the aimless traveling of such souls as you and me so we can return home at last.
Thinkers advise us to connect with each other and with ourselves. But we still die disconnected in this darkling plane of dreams and plans.
Narada Muni, however, can connect us to Lord Krsna. That's his special power, his service, and his joy. After all, he's Krsna's, and Krsna is his to give away.
We can connect with people who have a few scraps of Krsna's potencies and can give us a few baubles. Or we can connect with those who can connect us eternally with the source of all existence, Lord Krsna Himself.
And me with my log and my dreams … When, oh, when will I lay down all my burdens for good and dance in the Lord's dance party?
Rohininandana Dasa lives in southern England with his wife and their three children. Write to him in care of BTG.