Dust to Dust

The holy River Ganga, descending from the transcendent realm and flowing through modern-day India, is a divine haven. I recently journeyed there to disperse the ashes of two spiritual luminaries; a final farewell to these outstanding souls who molded my life and touched my heart. It was a day of mixed emotions – a combination of sorrow and deep inspiration, disappointment but satisfaction, simultaneous feelings of separation and meeting as well. Spiritual relationships are unique, incorporating multifarious dimensions of emotion in paradoxical ways. No one word could sum it up. These individuals successfully penetrated my steel-framed heart – I felt conquered by their love.

I’ve always shied away from relationships. In my youth I read a book by one monastic who explained his cherished aspiration: to die without anyone knowing and anyone shedding a tear – crazy as it sounds, the idea of ‘social death’ and total aloofness was super appealing to me! On my journey, however, the sweetness of Krishna Consciousness began challenging my perceptions. At every step I noticed the emphasis on deep, heartfelt exchange. More than freedom from attachment, the goal was to become a slave of love. My ‘inner-impersonalist’ was exposed, and I awoke to the realisation that relationships were the key to thriving in my spiritual journey – the kindness, encouragement, and selfless exchange of love is our spiritual heartbeat. Without that we’re living but dead.

The ashes dissolved into the flowing water, but the bond of friendship was still alive. What will ultimately remain? A stream of reflections flooded my mind. When time runs out, I won’t carry my prayer beads with me, but I will take the genuine taste I have for chanting the name of God. I won’t carry my library with me, but I will take the genuine realisation I’ve awakened within my heart from all that reading. I won’t carry any positions or titles with me, but I will take the genuine service attitude I’ve developed. Our associates won’t travel with us, but the heartfelt bonds based on selfless service will never be severed. On the bankside of the Ganga I identified the daily question I need to ask myself – what did I do today to invest in my eternal assets?