Trying to remember the Lord under the pressures of daily life.
IT's WEDNESDAY evening at 6:30, and I'm just getting in from yet another long day at the university. I had three lessons today, two group meetings, one presentation, and a midterm. I didn't sleep a wink last night, and I still have to chant twelve rounds and somehow manage to get some sleep.
I enter my study to unload my belongings, and I see it. Right there on the corner of my desk. I try to walk the other way, but the force is too strong, as it is everyday. It's calling me, once again: my agenda.
Reluctantly, I open it to today's date to find:
• Study for finance midterm tomorrow @ 1:00
• Apply for marketing position
• Finish accounting assignment
• Prepare for accounting group meeting tomorrow @ 3:00
The words blur as tears well up in my eyes. How in the world am I supposed to get all of this done, chant, and get some sleep? Where should I start?
I often ask myself how I can possibly advance spiritually while bombarded with all these material pressures. On numerous occasions my mind is on my next assignment or meeting rather than on spiritual subjects, such as Krsna's pastimes or the lecture given at the temple last Sunday.
"I just don't have time to do my rounds today," I say to myself.
I close my eyes and remember last week's lecture: "Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has a quota for our happiness. Although we must not neglect our daily duties in the context of our material lives, we must not forget that the reason for everything we have, do, and think is Krsna. The result of our work is predetermined, and over-endeavoring for material happiness can only take us away from spiritual advancement."
The Most Important Things First
With this in mind, I decide the first thing I need to do is chant. Although the material demands that surround me are intense and plentiful, they should never be satisfied at the expense of my daily spiritual routine. Spiritual life is not something we can put on hold for more convenient times. We must chant and progress spiritually to rediscover our eternal relationship with Krsna as His servant.
The very notion of a relationship implies reciprocity. The best friendships are unconditional, and the most important and best friend we have is Krsna Himself. After all the things Krsna has blessed me with, I think, I cannot neglect my rounds out of convenience. After all, my so-called successes and failures all belong to Him. It is because of Him that I am a student. It is He who allowed me to get an education, and it is He who gives me knowledge.
Then I realize that all of my so-called stress is temporary; it is all bodily related. I have to get an "A." I have to get a job.
But I am not this body; I am the soul. All of the results for which I endeavor are temporary, material. Although I cannot ignore the material pressures that surround me, I cannot allow them to rule my consciousness. Thoughts of Krsna should rule my consciousness.
A Fresh Perspective
I look again at my agenda and see things a little differently:
• Study for finance midterm tomorrow @ 1:00—For Krsna
• Apply for marketing position—For Krsna
• Finish accounting assignment—For Krsna
• Prepare for accounting group meeting tomorrow @ 3:00—For Krsna
Suddenly it all makes sense. After I've chanted my rounds, I should study hard and do the best I can to get that job in which I can make some money to donate to the temple and serve Krsna better. Above all else, I shouldn't stress; Krsna will take care of me if I take care of Him.
My tears turn into determination. I have a newfound energy, and I feel much lighter, even though it will be 8:00 by the time I finish my rounds, and I will still have so much to do. But it's OK, because whatever Krsna wants is what will happen. And I want what Krsna wants.
Rashi Singh ended up graduating with an honors degree in marketing from the Schulich School of Business at York University. She lives in Toronto, Canada.