The End of Your Life as You Know It

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By Naveen Radha Dasi

“When Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krishna strikes a note on His flute upon entering Vrindavana, all the clouds stop moving. Tumburu, the topmost master of the Gandharvas, is struck with wonder. Sanat, Sanandana, and the other sons born from the mind of Brahma break their deep meditation. Brhama, the creator himself, becomes spellbound. Bali Maharaja, residing in Sutala-loka, becomes agitated by the various types of desires sprouting in his heart. The head of Sheshanaga which is holding the Earth starts to spin. In this way, the venu-nada pervades all the three worlds, thereby creating an upheaval throughout the entire universe.”

–Rupa Goswami, Vidagdha-madhava

The End of Your Life as You Know It

In short, expect disturbances. God will drop into your life like a ton of bricks.

Inviting the Beloved into your life is nothing short of world-shattering. If you give Him an inch, He’ll take a mile. He won’t accept just a little corner of your heart, even if you set it up nicely with tea and cushions. He wants the whole thing.

But, respecting your free will, He’ll let you play around in separation for as long as you like. He is supremely patient, among other “supremely”s, and He knows He’s got you on the hook. One taste and there’s no going back.

If you’ve had that taste already (and if you’ve come so far as to ask the question, certainly you have), He’s marked you as one of His own and He’ll come to reclaim you as soon as you’re ready—as soon as you want it enough.

God’s Best Card Trick

Sheshanaga—the cosmic serpent who supports the universes on his hoods. His thousand hoods proclaim Krishna’s glories but never find an end to them.

There is a dynamic quality to the devotee’s love even as the object of devotion remains fixed, forever and always as He is. A dynamic quality and also hopelessness—how can you ever contain the ocean within your tiny cup?

How could He—that supreme beauty, that infinity, that light to end all lights—care at all for me, insignificant little nothing that I am?

But here’s the twist, the miracle, the sublime magic trick. At this point, if you’ve come sincerely to this end of the road, you’ve got Him in the palm of your hand.

“Of course, God must love me. Look how special I am!” This attitude gets a pass from the Lord. Taking a look, He might say, “This one’s not ready yet. Let them stay on the tree and ripen for a little longer.”

And you might indeed be special in your small human way. You might become very successful, very accomplished, and very wonderful indeed in your small human way. But you will not know God.

Or instead, you become dust.

You let any hope of material satisfaction crumble. Lightning strikes your church and shatters the windows and blows the roof right off so wind whistles through the pews and rain pools on the naked floor. No more candles; the fire of God illuminates your broken walls.

It’s real love only once you’ve dashed your heart against the rocks. When you have tasted despair and relished its bitterness on your tongue; when you have fallen away from life and death alike; when Heaven and Hell have nothing to offer you.

When you cry because you would give Him everything but you have nothing to give—that’s when He comes for you.

If you can swim, He’ll let you swim, but He’ll never let you drown. His mercy—uncaused and undeserved, transcending all law of cause and effect—descends into the material realm and raises you from the depths.

And now for the sleight of hand—your moment at last! Once He comes for you, you’ve caught Him. He is yours. He lives in your heart. Although He is all-attractive, He cannot resist the love of His devotees, which draws His gaze like a bright flower attracts a bee.

The Unlikely Choice

A love affair with God is the end of your life as you know it. Maybe not all at once; its momentum will maintain things for a while.

Just don’t expect balance, normalcy, or anything short of the highest highs and lowest lows of your life.

The Beloved does respect your free will. You choose how close you want to come, how you want to love Him, or if you would rather take some space for now.

But if you do make the unlikely choice, the one that turns you aside from the currents of material existence, your whole life is on the line.

It’s not as dire as that might sound—only that your material life and spiritual life aren’t equal pieces to arrange in a nice, stable house of cards. If you treat spirituality as just another part of your material life, you will get only the material benefits of your practice. A little inner calm, some healing, a little clarity, a dash of insight; good, but limited.

What if you try it the other way around?

Remember, you are a spiritual being before anything else.

Put your spiritual life first, and everything else falls into place. Your mundane life unfolds just as it needs for your evolution. You won’t avoid the suffering, but it won’t touch you in the same way. Pain, even deep pain, is a blessing because it opens your heart. The only thing that really stings is when you do something that separates you from Truth, and the more open you are, the sharper you feel it.But even this brings you closer eventually. Separation fans the flames of love. There is no higher grace than the ache in your soul that reminds you of the Beloved, so welcome after eons of wandering in forgetfulness, like breathing for the first time.

“When Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krishna strikes a note on His flute upon entering Vrindavana, all the clouds stop moving. Tumburu, the topmost master of the Gandharvas, is struck with wonder. Sanat, Sanandana, and the other sons born from the mind of Brahma break their deep meditation. Brhama, the creator himself, becomes spellbound. Bali Maharaja, residing in Sutala-loka, becomes agitated by the various types of desires sprouting in his heart. The head of Sheshanaga which is holding the Earth starts to spin. In this way, the venu-nada pervades all the three worlds, thereby creating an upheaval throughout the entire universe.”

–Rupa Goswami, Vidagdha-madhava

Naveen Radha Dasi is a Hridaya Yoga teacher and a frequent contributor to our blog. You can read all of her posts here.

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