First I saw fear and anger in their eyes. Then I saw they were greedy
for food. Now this particular dog wanted only love. The third level –
love- at which this dog approached had the most profound effect on me.
I wondered how this dog didn’t want any food but only love.
I realized this is the way my relationship with Krishna also needs to
evolve. During my initial days in Krishna consciousness, I was
skeptical and challenged every facet of the philosophy. It was as if I
barked at devotees and allowed my atheistic propensities to growl at
Krishna. I was threatened with losing my enjoyment and independence.
Over a period of time, as devotees showed kindness and gave me prasad,
I saw they were friends and want to give me love. I wagged my tail and
was happy chanting and dancing. I often expressed gratitude to
devotees and Krishna.
But the dog reminds me that I need to take my spiritual life to the
next level. Just like I was moved to see him reject everything else
and only seek my love, Krishna too would want me to approach Him
without any material desires. The day I could tell Krishna that I
don’t want any of the material crumbs he throws at me, but only his
pat and loving embrace, He would take my Bhakti practices seriously.
Choosing Krishna over material gifts
History is replete with examples of devotees who chose Krishna’s love
over the material gifts He offered.
Arjuna and Duryodhana approached Krishna for help before the
Mahabharata war. When Arjuna arrived, he saw Krishna was taking rest
and Duryodhana waited nearby for Krishna to wake up. Arjuna quietly
sat at Krishna’s feet, while Duryodhana sat impatiently near Krishna’s
head. When Krishna woke, His eyes first fell upon Arjuna and asked
him how he could serve him. Duryodhana interrupted that he had arrived
first and thus deserved the first offer of help. Krishna insisted that
He saw Arjuna first and moreover, Arjuna was younger and deserved to
be asked first.
Krishna then offered two options: His entire Narayana army would fight
for Arjuna if he wished, or he could instead choose Krishna, who,
however, would not pick up any weapon. After Arjuna made his choice,
the other offer would go to Duryodhana. Without batting an eyelid,
Arjuna preferred Krishna; he didn’t want Krishna’s army but His
friendship, even if that meant Krishna would not fight. Duryodhana
couldn’t believe his eyes. He got exactly what he wanted- Krishna’s
resources. He had no liking for Krishna, the person. Arjuna however
had no desire for Krishna’s material gifts; he preferred the loving
association of Krishna.
Duryodhana represents a typical materialist who sits on God’s ‘head’;
he wants to play God’s role and seeks to exploit nature’s resources
for his own selfish agenda. Arjuna is a devotee who is happy to
situate himself at the Lord’s lotus feet. He waits patiently for the
Lord to bestow mercy and seeks only God’s love.
To be continued…