Saturday, June 23, 2012

Don’t Just Leave Me Alone

Lord Krishna“Mother Yashoda was agitated by Krishna's restless misbehavior. Her house was full of sweetmeats. Why then should the restless boy eat dirt in a solitary place?” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.8.34 Purport)

To help in concentration, the studious worker prefers to be left alone. “I’m working on something right now, so I don’t want any distractions. I need to focus. If you bother me with this problem or that, I will lose my momentum, and it will be difficult to start back up again after having diverted my attention elsewhere. If I can continue on the task for a few straight hours, everything can get done; otherwise things will be left half-finished, and that will not be good.” For the sweethearts who keep the vision of the darling of Vrindavana in their minds in spite of their outside obligations, not only are they not left alone, they are given constant problems that will further enhance that remembrance. The nuisances are created by the famous butter-thief Himself for both His own pleasure and the delight of the affected parties.

Though the housewife is technically not considered to be employed in a full-time job, she actually holds the most responsible position. She receives no pay and she is on call twenty-four hours a day. There is no time that she clocks in or out, and she is the support system if anything should go wrong. In IT infrastructures, the servers and network connections must remain on during critical operation hours. If you have an application like an e-commerce website, you’re getting traffic at all hours of the day, including the morning, when most people aren’t working and are instead at home resting up for the hard day of work ahead.

But what if the website goes down? What if one of the databases suddenly becomes full or a backup job fails that causes the transaction log to fill up? What if one of the internet service providers has a failure in the middle of the night that causes your site to go down? What if someone decided to apply patches to the operating systems overnight, causing the servers to reboot? These and many other issues can arise at any time, and to deal with them there are alert systems in place. Depending on the level of support you are required to supply, you could be awoken at any hour in the night to come in and fix the emergency situation as quickly as possible.

Along similar lines, the good mother takes care of the house and the children throughout the day, making sure that everyone is happy. The husband is the biggest child, as he has specific likes and dislikes and requires things to be done a certain way. Unlike the younger child, he is more complex in his dealings, as he may not always be forthright with his sentiments. The experienced wife learns the moods of her husband and adjusts accordingly, almost learning to play him like a fiddle, playfully speaking of course.

The younger children are a little easier to get a handle on psychologically, but their uninhibited attitude makes emergency situations a frequent occurrence. At any time, the child can have an accident, start crying, or demand attention. But the housewife has so much else to do. She has to clean clothes, cook meals, keep the house neat and in order, and also welcome guests. What would a home be if you couldn’t be hospitable to the guests who visit? In the Vedic tradition, hospitality is stipulated as being part of dharma, or religiosity.

Mother Yashoda and KrishnaFor one particular mother a long time ago, the daily obligations were many. She lived in a farm community named Vrindavana, and there were no modern amenities to speed up her routine work. She had to take care of her husband, Nanda Maharaja, the king of the small community. She had many cows in her possession as well, and they required protection. She had to take the milk produced by them and turn it into various products like yogurt, cream and butter.

But attention was required most for her young child Krishna, who was a bundle of joy but also naughty and clever. His vision was precious, having a blackish complexion and a smile to curb anyone’s pride. The people of Vrindavana loved Krishna, and without motive. They were so happy to have Him as a resident. It was a close-knit community, so Yashoda’s delight used to roam around freely, going from house to house to spread His effulgence. He would also tend to the young calves with His brother Balarama and the other cowherd boys in Vrindavana.

So it seems like mother Yashoda should have been free to do her work, no? Just feed the husband and children, and the rest of the time take care of her household obligations? Krishna would play with His friends during the day, so this was sort of like sending Him off to school. She would pack His lunch for Him, and the boys would eat together, sometimes playing a pass-around game, where one boy would take another’s lunch and try to keep him from getting it.

“While passing through the forest, one boy stole another boy's lunch package and passed it to a third. And when the boy whose lunch package was stolen came to know of it, he tried to take it back. But one threw it to another boy. This sportive playing went on amongst the boys as childhood pastimes.”  (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 12)

Though Krishna would play outside quite frequently, mother Yashoda’s day was not free of interruptions. This young child was the enemy of King Kamsa of the neighboring town of Mathura. On the day of his sister’s wedding, a prophecy was made that the king would die at the hands of his sister’s eighth child. Kamsa didn’t take any chances, imprisoning Devaki and her new husband Vasudeva and then killing each of her first seven children. But the eighth one slipped away, as Krishna can never be caught unless He agrees to it.

Vasudeva taking Krishna to VrindavanaVasudeva transferred Krishna to Gokula Vrindavana after He emerged from Devaki’s womb, but Kamsa later on found out about the boy’s birth and location. He sent demon after demon to the sacred town to try to kill the baby. Should have been easy work, no? This was no ordinary child, however. Where there is beauty, fame and splendor, there is usually strength as well. Never mind the childhood form, Krishna had no trouble defeating these wicked characters.

While Krishna was actually safe the whole time, these attacks meant that Yashoda was in constant worry, wondering how her young child was able to escape trouble. When not worrying about His safety from enemy attack, Yashoda was concerned by the fact that Krishna kept going into the homes of neighbors and stealing their butter. The neighboring cowherd women would lodge complaints against her son, but when seeing His enchanting smile, they forgot all about their anger. They then asked Yashoda not to punish Him.

As if these distractions weren’t enough, one day Balarama and the other boys came to the mother and said that Krishna had eaten dirt. One more thing to worry about for the mother, who could not catch a break. She had so much work to do, and Krishna kept interrupting her. Why was He eating dirt? That is not a good thing at all. He should have known better.

Ah, but this distraction would give Yashoda a vision so mesmerizing that her love for her son would only increase as a result. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and to delight His devotees He sometimes distracts them from their outside work. To maintain the body is not very difficult, though in the modern society hinged upon stiff competition and the race for technological advancement, just earning a living to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head is difficult. Nevertheless, there is more to life than just eating and sleeping. We have an existence for a reason, and it’s not to earn money, play video games, drink beer, or sit around and do nothing.

The purpose to the existence is to feel pleasure, the transcendental variety. As Krishna is the reservoir of pleasure, He best supplies the needed ananda to the living entity. The stipulation is that one must be desirous of tasting that transcendental nectar. Even then, so many other distractions can arise, as the daily obligations require much time and effort to be diverted. But when there is determination to appreciate and love Krishna, the grand coordinator personally intervenes to show His presence. Mother Yashoda was benefitted by these regular distractions, for she got to see and think of her beloved son even more. Thanks to the sacred Shrimad Bhagavatam and the Vaishnava saints who explain the real meanings behind the many verses to sincere listeners, that same bundle of joy can distract us daily with His sweet pastimes.

In Closing:

To finish task you must work very hard,

Limited distractions help to go extra yard.

 

From diversions your momentum will drop,

Difficult to start again after a full stop.

 

But when motivation for divine love is pure,

Know that distractions to come for sure.

 

Except they will always be to the benefit of you,

Interruption welcome from child with beautiful hue.

 

Responsibility for many tasks Yashoda did own,

But her naughty son Krishna not to leave her alone.

 

Loving mother deserved to feel supreme delight,

So Krishna to show His smiling face always so bright.

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