Wednesday, August 7, 2013

VII: 30

Chapter 7, Verse 30

"They know me on Earth as in Heaven.
In the fire of worship at the hour of death,
Their whole consciousness
Is made one with mine."

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

When the mind is saturated with the consciousness of God, there is no rupture in consciousness at the time of death.  My Grandmother sowed the seed of this awareness in me while I was still a child.  Every morning she went to our ancestral temple to worship Lord Shiva.  On returning home, she always placed a flower from the temple behind my ear with this simple blessing...

"May you be like Markandeya."

In the Hindu scriptures, Markandeya is an illumined teenager whose parents had prayed for a son who would be completely devoted to Lord Shiva.  Their prayer was granted, but with the sad condition that the boy would die on his sixteenth birthday.  As a baby, Markandeya's first words were "Shiva, Shiva," and his love for the Lord grew daily until it filled his consciousness.

The day of his sixteenth birthday dawned.  His parents, overcome with grief, came to him and told him that Yama, the King of Death, would claim him that day.  When he heard this, Markandeya sat down in deep meditation and became united with Shiva, who is known as the Conqueror of Death.  When Yama appeared to claim his own, from the depths of Markandeya's meditation Lord Shiva appeared.  Placing one hand on Markandeya's head in infinite love, Lord Shiva addressed Yama...

"Haven't you learned that anyone who takes refuge at my feet has gone beyond your power?

Markandeya has become immortal through my grace."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Self-realized Yogis who can merge their souls at will in God and who are free from material desires do not ordinarily feel, at the approach of death, any physical or mental agony.  Finding their Karmic terms in the bodily prison over, they gladly make an exit.  They do not again return to this world, unless so directed by God, for they have learned all the lessons that this Earth has to teach.

[I am a long way from Self-realization which can be understood from one angle as the constant remembrance of God.  I forget so often, which shows me how much work there is to do, but in the last verse of chapter seven, a common thread is returned to by Krishna.  The moment of death affords an opportunity "to finish the job."

The catch is that if we have not made a practice of remembering God (or however you prefer to think of the Spirit which at once moves through and is the foundation of all things) during the lifetime, at the moment of death we will be thinking of something else, and what that something else will be will be our strongest attachment.  Then, so the Hindu sages say, after a certain amount of time, we will take on flesh again to work out this strongest attachment and other residual attachments until the final release is experienced.

When our strongest attachment is to God, at the moment of death, there will be no imminent return to this world, unless "so directed by God."

Krishna is an ideal, a model and a hope for so many seeking souls.  From his actions and teachings when he was among us in flesh, we learn how to act and how to perceive in the Light of the Divine.  Stories of Krishna instruct and inspire us to walk in the Light.

From The Mahabharata by Kamala Subramanian:

Krishna, the incarnation of the Lord, asked the gods to be born as the five sons of Pandu in the world to help him in his work: the destruction of evil and the establishment of Dharma.  Indra (Arjuna), Vayu (Bheema), Dharma (Yudhishthira), and the Ashwini twins (Nakula and Sahadev) walked on the Earth for a time.  The Earth was cleansed of the poisons which were choking her.  The Earth was made pure because these gods walked on her.  The seed of Dharma was planted in the soil and watered by the blood of the noblest of men.

The purpose of their birth had been served.  It was time for them to return to Heaven once more.  The Pandavas were absorbed into the gods who were their fathers.  The world is indeed richer for the few years of glory when Krishna was here.  The story of the lives of the Pandavas has become immortal.  So long as the world lives, so long as the Sun and the Moon move in their orbits, so long as there is a spark of goodness in the hearts of human beings, the story of Krishna and the Pandavas will be passed down through the communities of people.

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