Deck-mates—Tiny Construction Instruments try to Remember Krishna

Karnamrita Das

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)

I have had a busy week, and haven't been able to complete the last part of the "True Independence..." series. However, during my busy week, I gradually put together the following poem, documenting some of my thoughts during construction of a deck. After the short poem I share some thoughts about my writing. I am still in awe of the writing process, and I come up with a few new intentions behind my blogs.

Accomplishing even the smallest task
requires assistant facilities and prerequisites
both seen and unseen, past karma, current desires
like so many subtle pillars giving support—
the Gita teaches there are five factors of action
each component essential for accomplishment
and only one is the actual endeavor!—
this requires philosophical and spiritual thought
since today, endeavor and luck are thought supreme—
keeping this in mind my son and I build a deck
praying to remember Krishna and offer the work to Him.

Before the deck
Time is one factor of action demonstrated by
my son’s layoff from work, giving him the time,
available money bought the materials
others cut the trees, and cured and shaped the wood
minerals mined to make metals fashioned into tools
machines and fasteners were used at every step
drills, screws, bolts, nails, saws, vehicles, and our body,
oil, gas, electricity, and sweat powered them all
transporting the materials to the store
delivering them the miles to our country door.
During construction
Life’s most essential ingredient is God
who pervades all things, and is everything
like the sun, sun-rays, and sun Deity
as God maintains, sustains, and is the Universe
individual soul’s animate matter
continuing its purposeful existence by karma
fueled by desires to enjoy, matter provides bodies
Universal laws give facilities within limitations
ordained by God with our tiny independence
yet special care is given to the Godly
or those who want to serve and not exploit—
we pray to be counted as Krishna’s devotees!
Haridas Thakur with his sunflower efffulgence
After a week of 100 degree weather
torrential rains come and go
and we work between the storms
feeling purposeful, yet insignificant
experiencing the roaring, crashing
force of thundershower’s power
which also flows through our veins
keeps our heart beating, and eyes seeing
enabling our mind to plan
(and wonder about God’s greatness)
our arms to carry loads/ hands to grasp tools,
from the decks foundation up: growing energy
each step builds on the previous
until the deck is completed and usable
appearing as if always there and permanent
teaching us how everything is manifested.
Everything is energy
As we complete the day’s work
we clean up as darkness falls
the final storm of the day approaches
coming closer and louder each moment
bringing everything to a stop, we run inside
as our attention goes upward at the spectacle:
lightning and thunder simultaneous at times
shaking the house with huge explosions
trees wildly move in celestial dance
raindrops surround sound like machine guns—
whether we live or die, may we take His shelter
knowing we exist and breathe only by Krishna’s mercy
praying to do our duties for Him, accepting life events
remembering His lila, and presence in our experiences
adding the holy name to our throats and hearts
our only independence, and joy, is to depend on Krishna.
Radha Gopinatha, the Deck MastersThe finished project

When I think of what I hope to accomplish by writing I look at what I pray for everyday: Many times a day I pray that I can be empowered to speak, teach, write, and heal in a way that is encouraging to the devotees, and that gives them hope in the possible, in the process of Krishna consciousness, in their own divine potential, and that by serving and trying to love Krishna there is only gain. Life is short, but long enough to accomplish making progress in loving Krishna and in serving Him and His devotees. It doesn't matter what one's position is, how disqualified or lacking one may feel--none of that matters. We only have to do our best to chant the holy name, create good association to share Krishna consciousness, and offer our life, home, time, and family to Krishna, knowing that practice makes perfect. My hope and prayer is that whoever reads what I write will be inspired to make spiritual progress and to help others to do the same, seeing their life as purposeful and meant for their highest good. The more devotees that live in this way by practicing kindness and loving dealings, the more others will be helped. We all need help, and one way to be helped is to help others in some way--ideally spiritually, but in any way that can make a difference. By the grace of our teachers (gurus) and God (Krishna) all things are possible!