As the scorching heat of summer leaves us exhausted, I look up at the clouds early morning. A couple of weeks to go for the monsoon to set in and expectations are on the rise. “Where are the clouds”, the mind demands to know and seeing a group of clouds gather up at the sky, I wonder if they would bring the much needed respite from the terrible Mumbai heat.
The clouds do bring a smile on the face of devotees. The Vedic scriptures explain that Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has a beautiful dark complexion like the fresh monsoon cloud. As we intensely scrutinize the clouds, we can know how Krishna looks, and that thought is refreshing and cooling. Srila Prabhupada writes in his Krishna book that Krishna is the best friend of the clouds because just as when clouds gather up at the sky, they give relief and joy to those suffering from the heat of the summer, similarly remembering the dark cloud complexioned Krishna, gives one succour from the sweltering heat of material existence.
As life’s unrelenting challenges cause us heart burns, remembrance of Krishna cools our hearts. Srila Rupa Goswami has explained that the essence of all devotional activities we perform is to always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna. All the other rules and regulations we practise are meant to bring us to the platform of being able to lovingly remember Krishna at all times.
That requires us to look up to Krishna at all times. In this material world, all living entities look down for shelter. Whether it’s the ants scurrying for few grains or the dogs searching for food or the wild animals in the forests or the crows or even the high flying royal eagles, at the slight chance of food down, they zoom in and pick up their prey. Humans too hurry to their work place, and busy themselves with myriad activities but at the end of it all, they still look down at the gross pleasures of eating, sleeping, sex and defending that this world can offer. Some do talk about lofty spiritual principles, but even when they fly high, they still seek pleasures of this world. They seek to find lasting relationships with people who are fallible and they constantly seek adjustments of their material situations that are as transitory as everything else of this world. Only the rare few choose to look up to the sky of eternity, to see the beautiful Krishna beckoning us to connect to Him.
And if we do choose to connect to Krishna by chanting His sweet Holy Names, or worship of His resplendent deity form or hear His nectarine pastimes, our hearts would be flooded with the cooling shower of nectar, that would offset all the terrible heat of suffering that living in this world brings us.
“In the company of Balarama and the cowherd boys, Lord Krishna is continually vibrating His flute as He herds all the animals of Vraja, even under the full heat of the summer sun. Seeing this, the cloud in the sky has expanded himself out of love. He is rising high and constructing out of his own body, with its multitude of flower-like droplets of water, an umbrella for the sake of his friend.” – Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.16)
“O goddesses of Vraja, when Krishna is enjoying Himself with Balarama on the mountain slopes, playfully wearing a flower garland on the top of His head, He engladdens all with the resonant vibrations of His flute. Thus He delights the entire world. At that time the nearby cloud, afraid of offending a great personality, thunders very gently in accompaniment. The cloud showers flowers onto his dear friend Krishna and shades Him from the sun like an umbrella”. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.35.12-13)