Today, during my walk at the pre-dawn hours, I saw a security guard of an ATM centre hurl choicest abuses at a rag picker. They were almost on blows; the guard was dishevelled and looked sleepy, while the rag picker was dirty and looked mean. Both were certainly mentally disturbed and I gauged this by the way they screamed and swore in foul language. I felt a fear enter my heart; I hastily went the other way and found myself disturbed.
A little later I reflected why I felt so uneasy and nervous while a few minutes before I witnessed the brawl, I was upbeat. I realized I had participated in the morning prayers enthusiastically and left for my walk feeling very nourished and happy. The mode of goodness that prevails during the early hours added to my cheerful mood. Then suddenly this incident dragged me into a negative energy field; I was now overcome with fearand worry, and my mind raced through similar, disturbing incidents. I was miserable.
I then recalled I am a preacher of Krishna Consciousness; I serve others by helping them experience inner peace and contentment. Here was a classic case of a duo that needed help. But could I really help them now as I was myself in an emotionally turbulent situation? I felt helpless and weak.
I sat on the beach, and paused; I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly.
Although materially there’s nothing much I could do to help either myself or this pair become peaceful- I doubt if either of them would have allowed me to serve them in the first place- spiritually I thought of a solution and immediately felt peaceful.
I offered a silent prayer and wished them peace. Instantly I felt a positive energy release from my consciousness; I suddenly found the fear vanish from my heart, and also found the beach where I usually walk and that’s filled with the city muck,a beautiful place and worth frequenting more often.
Often an external stimulus would almost immediately affect me negatively; some other sincere spiritualists too have confessed this emotional disturbance due to external provocations. I then wondered why those who are striving to serve others selflessly must feel miserable themselves.
This happens because devotees want to be compassionate to others but in the process purchase others’ anxiety, and handling so much negativity makes them stressed eventually. However if we avoid taking care of others then we lead a very selfish life.
The only sustainable solution for this is to be internally connected to Krishna, and detached from everything and everybody else. If we live in the space of connection to Krishna through loving remembrance of the Lord, we can do the needful to help others in a workable way. Otherwise when we face calamities, failures or setbacks in our services, we’d take it personally and get frustrated. It’s therefore important that we do what we can to help others but consistently work on our Krishna connection. Then when we feel helpless as I felt today morning, we’d soon find the peaceful alternative.
We need to serve others, only then we feel real fulfilment. However there is a limitation on how much and what we can do for others. The spirit may be strong but the flesh is indeed weak. At such times, it’s only the resolve to help that really matters. And that’s made stronger only by deeply linking to the person who can truly make a difference to the lives of all people of this world. Krishna alone can heal the world. And as His instruments we can sincerely give others the Holy Names, Krishna prasadam, and the wonderful Krishna conscious philosophy. And of course, all this done with little human kindness would satisfy our souls immensely.
The author is a celibate teacher at ISKCON ashram at Chowpatty, Mumbai