Reflections from an Isolated Aspiring Devotee
It has been some weeks now since my return to Malta island from the beautiful and nourishing company of my blessed God-brothers and God-sisters in Italy on the auspicious occasion of the visit of Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj. It is so easy to lose sight of the treasure of Krishna Consciousness in the absence of the special association of the sadhu and the bhaktas.
Today I lost my sight in a most significant way, which I can only read as a blessing now, although not at first. A severe infection in my left eye meant that I spent hours on end in darkness as I lay helpless waiting for the doctor to come and save me from my suffering. It is a real eye-opener, excuse the pun, to realise how little one can do when one is forced into blindness: No work, cannot read or write, minimum movement, and even the simplest things we tend to take for granted are suddenly complicated. Even as I type this my eyes are closed, as I had learnt the skill to type by heart… so it is my good fortune to hopefully do a service by sharing this experience which I think might be of inspiration to others too.
For a few hours until the doctor came and throughout a later visit to hospital, I wallowed in self-pity, overcome by a feeling of helplessness and upset by the pain. Then in a calmer moment when I was comforted that at least my ailment was being treated, I remembered the minidisks that Mahananda Prabhu had recorded for me as a spiritual gift when I was serving in Nabadwip: a collection of lectures by Srila Gurudeva and some spoken books of the Math. Why had I never listened to them? How could I not have found the time when I could find it for so many other mundane activities? In the comfort of treatment for my material blindness, I found a greater comfort in waking up from my spiritual slumber through the inspiring words of our Srila Gurudeva Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj.
The first lecture began by Srila Gurudeva pointing out that in the dictionary, a cloudy day is what would be defined as a bad day by normal standards. However in the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that a day without Krishna-katha is what can be considered a truly bad day. Suddenly the self-pity was replaced by a feeling that good fortune in disguise had befallen me, in order to show me what true blindness was. How much worse is it to have material eyes to see and remain in darkness about the beauty of Krishna Consciousness by the absence of service to Guru and Vaishnava; not to wake up to the golden opportunity of Mahaprabhu’s great mercy? This material blindness may appear to make us helpless, but spiritual blindness makes the whole of existence futile.
Guru and Krishna work in mysterious ways. My temporary blindness to the light of this world is a small price to pay for the reminder of the everlasting light that permeates all that is manifest and unmanifest, and of which I hope, by the grace of Srila Gurudev, that one day I may catch a glimpse.
~Malini Devi Dasi
Malta, 29 June 2006