Under the hill
And so it happens. Life meets us with various storms of intensity - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here are five lessons on how to respond to the challenges of being alive in this material world. It’s from Krishna Book and the story of the Lifting of Govardhan Hill (link here)
Not a day goes by without feeling some pain within ourselves or being impacted by the experiences of others. Like bad weather, difficulties will show up. Instead of trying to be invincible we should set realistic expectations. Birth, death, disease and old age are the four basic miseries of life. Then add to that failure, envy, anger and a plethora of emotions that create pain for ourselves and others. Know the ones that are close to you and recognise them when they show up. Hello there, pain. Not good to see you but here you are and let me learn and grow from you.
We avoid suffering by seeking relief. That’s normal and human. Pain is an indication of dis-ease - things out of balance, things not right. We can’t function if our distress is too great, so we have to address it. It might be as simple as a good night's sleep or as complicated as trauma and deep grief that takes many levels and layers of support.
When the category off-the-charts storm hit Vrindavan the villagers called out, “Krishna! Help!” That was their shelter and Krisha responded. He will help us too as we navigate trying to understand and heal our pain. He is the first shelter and the root of our journey to wholeness on all levels.
When the crisis happened in Vrindavan, Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill and all the Vrajavasis sheltered beneath it. While there, they expressed gratitude and found silver linings. They could have started complaining - Why did we listen to Krishna? I told you it was a bad idea! My life is ruined! It’s all Nanda Maharaja’s fault!
It seems to be a quality of Kaliyuga to find fault, to blame someone, to prove oneself right and others wrong. There are many contributing factors to any difficult situation or unexpected consequence of our choice. Best not to look back too much, but to extend trust and empathy to those involved, while working towards making things better.
While under the Hill, the Vrajavasis were trying to help Krishna hold up the Hill. The cowherd men were raising their sticks, his Mother was trying to feed him worrying that He will get weak, and others were chanting mantras. Of course, Krishna didn’t need their help! And yet He welcomed their efforts as an expression of their loving feelings. We too can offer to help or receive help in times of pain or crisis, praying to Krishna to guide our hand and our heart. Look around and see opportunities. Ask others, ‘what is most needed at this time?’. And do it with love.
When the storm was over and it was time to place the Hill back, nobody wanted to leave! They had spent the week with their beloved Krishna, and loved Him more because of it. When we take shelter in the right way and with the right person this is what happens. Our love grows.
A crisis can force our hand, remind us of what’s important, and push us to express our vulnerability to call out to Krishna. We don’t exactly say, ‘Bring on the rain’, but we know it will come and we can remember the best shelter when it does.