Thursday, January 10, 2013

Checkered Floors

As I sat in my temple room trying to focus as I chanted, I was transported to my trip to Vrindavan two years ago....

It had been a wonderful day, a festive day but the floor of the Krishna-Balarama temple was covered in flower petals and anything else that flew in through the doors. The temple room was vacated so a group of young boys could clean the mess up. My mom and I wanted to chant as the rest of the family went out to shop for a bit. We timidly walked into the main hall and sat on the edge of the checkered floor. The boys were hosing down the floor and moving all the dirt towards the drainage area with a large sweeper. In between, laughter would break out as one hosed the other but they continued diligently. There was a soft harmonium being played as a devotee did his mid-day shift leading kirtan at the front of the hall. He was in his own little world, singing with all of his heart for Krishna. In this atmosphere of motion but reserved from all the commotion that is the material world, we chanted. We continued to chant for over an hour without a word to each other, for fear that this enchanted state would be broken. There was such stillness in the air that instead of building panic, it brought calm.

We finally decided to leave and find the rest of the family. As soon as we stepped out of the temple hall, we were bombarded by harsh reality. It ached to walk outside. My mom and I looked at each other and there was an immediate sense that we had both felt something different in the temple hall. It remains as one of my favourite moments in Vrindavan.

As I remembered this scene today, I felt completely immersed in that same still air and the overwhelming feeling of cool checkered floor beneath me.

At Kusum Sarovar, morning of Govardhana Parikrama

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