Between life and death, I struggle with emptiness. It weighs heavy on my heart. This emptiness is not a vacuum; on the contrary it’s replete with loneliness and foreignness that I experience incessantly in this world. The vague memory of love from untraceable time, and the lack of love from time immemorial have put me in this dire situation. These lines from Emily Dickinson’s poem describe my internal expanse so much better that I ever will be capable of:
You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.
I don’t mean to underrate the rare treats of joy and friendships that give me surprise visits and bid goodbye as surprisingly. They fuel my consciousness to play my role, to pay debts of the past, to create new bondages, and to pave way for freedom.
Amidst this cycle of hope and hopelessness, I ponder over the path that alone can raise my consciousness to the infinite realm beyond which no mind can travel, no heart can rejoice. I’ve been limping on this road. I can’t feel its beauty and bliss.
I’m stuck between foreignness and friendliness. This world is foreign to me. On the road to infinite bliss is the air of friendliness. But I can’t breathe that air. Something prevents me from seeking pleasure in this world, and the same something stops me from taking a good run on the road to infinite bliss. This something has been persisting furiously in my nature. It seems to be stalking me life after life. My attempts to fight it are feeble. And, it’s not in me to cajole this unconquerable force.
Surrender unto Me, You say to Me, Krishna. So, I ask You, plead to You, beg of You to infuse me with the force that will make me surrender to You. Because if You don’t, I won’t.
Krishna, it’s painful to be in limbo. It’s lonely here. It scares me every moment. I feel unloved. I feel incapable of loving. What do you know of these feelings? These emotions can’t even touch You. You’ve made them for lost souls like me.
I was about to stop here. But, as if to collect my fallen spirit and to reassure me, this line from Srimad Bhagavatam hummed itself to me, “padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām.”
samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām
For those who have accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murāri, the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof-print. Their goal is paraṁ padam, Vaikuṇṭha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger at every step.
A divine reminder!