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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Christmas 2017: Karma Yoga in Sri Ramakrishna's Room, Part Two

By Vivek

Lesson learnt: Spilling water in a holy place of pilgrimage may make a priest angry 
As I was counting my blessings, devotees continued to file into the small room to pay their respects, to sit a while, but only to be reminded by the temple priest to not stay too long. Sometime after, as I got up to throw out a bit of trash that a devotee had dropped, my water bottle fell open and water splashed across the floor and onto the sarees of some devotees, who needless to say, cried out in alarm. However, I was a tad more concerned about the mess I had caused in Sri Ramakrishna's room, probably as a result of my clumsiness (which was strange, since I am obsessive compulsive about tightening water bottle lids … among other things). And whether I had unwittingly desecrated the sacred room. And about the temple priest glaring at me in visible disgust.

Divine Grace/Guidance: A Karma Yoga opportunity dawns: A glaring priest can't make me cry over spilt water
However alarm quickly changed into enthusiasm as an opportunity to do devoted service to Sri Ramakrishna presented itself. I quickly asked for a cloth to clean up the spill. This was reluctantly fetched from behind a usually closed door that I could peek into and I think (unsure) was the Holy Mother’s Nahabat, which I had unsuccessfully looked for earlier. I spent the next few minutes on all fours thoroughly and happily cleaning up the floor, never having imagined in my life I would be given an opportunity  to do ‘seva’ to Sri Ramakrishna in this manner. I stopped only when I was told to … having mopped more of the floor than had been wettened. I  thought in passing of asking the priest if I could do the whole room, but feared being kicked out.

The fruit of Karma Yoga and Divine Grace gratefully received
I must've done a good job, since the priest never once told me to leave my corner until temple closing time later that afternoon around 1:30 p.m. Thankfully and surprisingly, I found my shoes where I had left them with abandon. I was home at Belur Math 45 minutes later, feeling guided, blessed and contented. I had a smile and an unceasing prayer of thanks on my lips for many hours later that day.

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