Sleeping with the Sacred (Karttika 2012)

It’s said that every time of suffering is a blessing spiritually, and an opportunity to move closer to God. I’ve always found this to be true; I sit closer to Krishna when I’m suffering, and my faith is strengthened from it. One of the greatest blessings of the last month has been the sense of shelter I find when I’m in my room or other sacred space. The act of worship is a reaffirmation of that space and is my small contribution to that relationship, but sacredness exists independently of acts. Sacredness is a natural feature of every atom of this world. It is not created by acts, but certain acts and objects naturally have a higher “sacredness ratio.”

I’ve often experienced that even when I’m feeling really stressed out and not particularly connected in faith that I still go to sleep and wake up with a sense of the sacred. This sense of sweetness and shelter has sometimes moved me to tears when I go to bed after a particularly difficult day/night/week. Last night, my parents sent me to go sleep in the living room because my bedroom window was directly adjacent to some branches on our old tree. Even though I wasn’t sleeping in the presence of my Deities – as I have every night for the past two months – I still felt sheltered. We lost the tree, but I felt affirmed in this most precious gift. I would like to try to remember this gift throughout the day but I’m not sure what shade or variation of it is the one to seek today.

Last night I started singing the Damodarastakam, a shloka of 8 verses honoring Bala Gopal and the makkhan lila that Vaishnavas traditionally sing every night during Karttika. I could barely remember the words and found myself more or less mumbling along to the tape. Last year I fell deeply in love with this prayer, especially shlokas 4 and 5. I’m going to try to parse it a little on this blog – but that will have to wait for another day, as I have to go start to dismember our cherry tree, which is currently residing in a sum total of four backyards.

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