Last nite my son woke up screaming. I mean SCREAMING! It took at least an hour for him to settle down. My husband and I concluded that he must have been attacked by ghosts because he only started to calm down when I called out “Krsna. Mukunda. Nsringhadeva.” Then I chanted Krsna Krsna Krsna Krsna Krsna Krsna Krsna He, Krnsa Krsna Krsna Krsna Krsna Krsna pahi mam. Rama Raghava Rama Raghava Rama Raghava raksa mam.” He finally calmed down and also seemed to wake up and be congnizent of his surroundings. At this time he said he was very cold. (This morning he did not remember any of it).
This, of course, caused my daughter to sleep restlessly. I had to hold on to them throughout the nite so they would sleep.
All this was happening while my alarm clock was set to 2am. I was planning to be at the temple at 3 to watch learn from M. Kartamisa the procedure for waking the Deities. I need like to have at least an hour to get ready because with the 2 kids, I never know what obtacles will present themselves.
Needless to say, when 2am came, I was not enthusiastic to get up. I went into my husband’s room and said that there is no way this was going to work with the kids being so disturbed. What was wrong with me, anyway? I should just be a mom and stay home with my kids, in bed, in maya. Why did I volunteer to do this, anyway?
Well, I knew the answer to that one. I needed some engagement. I was looking into going to school for something….any degree that would lead to an occupation (nurse, teacher, diagnostic medical sonographer) all required full time attendance. The only option was law school and since I really have no intention of ever working as a lawyer, that would be an inappropriate and expensive hobby. At the same time, I was lamenting that the Krishna Conscious culture/community was not more vibrant and engaging. When I attended a disciples’ meeting, some devotees were talking about how the temple devotees need more help. So, I thought my problem was solved.
I picked morning service because that was always my favorite part of the day while living in the temple. Also, the day time is so passionate and we are always so busy and unregulated that it would be impractical for my home life to do, say, the noon offering and aroti.
But at 2 am the noon offering and aroti was looking pretty good.
My husband, my saintly husband, said, “you have to go.” I was surprised. He volunteered to get into bed with the kids. When Madhumati saw my husband coming she cried, “no, I want mama!!!” but thankfully she settled down before I even got into the shower.
Before leaving for the temple, I chanted one round. It was a pretty bogus round. I chanted it standing in our almost completed kitchen, admiring the surroundings.
When I got to the temple the doors were locked and Mother Kartamisa was not there yet. I walked around to the kitchen to see if anyone was inside. It was empty so I proceeded to pace and chant under the slanted moon, in the crisp valley air. I was so struck by my chanting. Not that my meditation was so intense but that my syllables, alone under the moonlight, were so clear and immediate. Usually my japa is slurred, barely audible. Usually my mind is so busy I do not even hear the mantra.
The potency of chanting on the dhama during the brahma-muhurta was overwhelming. This feeling then led me to think, later that morning, how I have developed such bad habits as a grhasta. This is not to say that my habits were ever so great, but instead of improving I am cutting corners, regressing and just degrading myself.
Really, if one can stay unmarried, one should. Grhasta asrama is a difficult place to make advancement. The old school devotees were fortunate in the sense that they exectued grhasta asrama in an asrama setting and therefore, it is my opinion, regulation and good habits were easier to maintain.
I spoke about this to my husband and he agrees. Due to the hectic pace of family life, he sees himself doing things he would never have done while a brahmacari, like putting his japa down on surface that is used for sitting.
My worry is that these bad habits will just become my normative practice. My husband pointed out that right now life is just so crazy with the little kids, but my point is 12 years from now when everyone is big, am I going to say…you know, I should attend mangala aroti and chant in the temple room and read at least an hour a day and…. I hope. I hope I am not like, well this is how I have been doing things so let me keep doing them that way.
Anyway, it was nice getting M. Kartamisa’s association. She has been serving Radha Damodara for 12 years now. She is very quick about everything and I don’t even know where the towels are kept. It is difficult because this was only my second time going in the morning (the other being about a month ago to dress the Gopis). I do think, though, that if I had more devotion than the oppulence of memory would just come along with the territory. I did get to make the Gopis’ garlands and bring burfi home for my family. Mmmmm.
I thought I would be doing the aroti also, but I was dismissed to be the kirtan. To my great happiness, Hari Chakra Prabhu was there. Mangal aroti attendance was rather large today, Hari Chakra, M. Kaulini and myself.
Thank you Sri Sri Radha Damodara for extendingYyour merciful glance my way. Thank you for putting me in the association of Your steady servants.