Thursday, September 11, 2008

a child's devotion

the Parker family was' in sunny Florida, just south of Tampa, while I was trying to take it easy with a broken foot. It had been pretty relaxing here, having been able to make my mom understand the vegetarian thing more,she hadn't had meat since we had been here, so Jai! Life was easy and relaxing here, but the are two things that always make us antsy to go home...we miss Kalachandji and we miss our temple family. Even tho we don't make it to temple every week, we know that it is just down the road.

My kids don't take the separation from Kalachandji very easily. Every day while in Florida we hear, "Can we go see Krishna?" It's almost as if they KNOW that we were not just 20 minutes away from our temple.It's not easy explaining to an almost three year old that the nearest ISKCON temple is 3 hours away and with gas prices the way they are it's not feasible to go. The last time we were here, I found a tiny Hindu temple that had beautiful deities if Lord Krishna, Radha, Rama, Sita and others. Their altar is open and the deities are so close you can touch them. In an attempt to quiet the kids, especially my very vocal daughter, I agreed to take them on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon was the nicest day we had this trip. It was clear and hot, perfect beach weather. I thought about not mentioning the temple to to the kids and hitting the beach, but my little daughter, Padma, spoke up at lunch and said, "Are we going to see Krishna?" I said, "Don't you want to go to the beach?" "No, I wanna see Krishna" I sighed and said, "Ok, later" Padma said, "No mamma, we have to go now before Krishna is nah nee (sleep)" GRRRR.. I told her ok...

My mom came in from her garden and asked my daughter to come pick flowers with her. Padma went out with her gramma and I could hear her little voice asking, "Can I take some flowers to Krishna?" She came back in with a huge armful of marigolds and tiny white flowers, yelling, "Mamma, look what I picked for Krishna!" Ok, I got the message, I was taking her to the temple.

We loaded up the boys into our van and I tried to take her flowers so I could buckle her in the car seat. "No mamma! I am taking the flowers to Krishna!" I tried to reason with her, (yeah, I know, she's almost three) "Let mamma hold the for you so they dont get crushed" "No mamma, I am taking then to Krishna" I didnt want to argue, it was too hot.

Padma fell asleep in the car, her tiny fist in a death grip with those buds, and I could practically see them wilting by the second. By the time we got to the temple they were limp, and I thought, she can't offer those, they are ruined. She woke up as soon as the van engine died, and was ready to go, fresh from her nap, with a bunch of dead flowers. Again, I tried to reason with her (it must have been the heat), "Padma, they are dead, you can't offer dead flowers" I tried to pry them out of her hand and she started to howl, "Nooooooo" I gave up......

We walked into the tiny temple, there were maybe 15 people there, all Indian. They gave us a friendly smile and watched as my little girl laid her dead flowers at Krishna's feet. "There!" she said, "So beautiful!" I was so afraid that we were making offence by offering obviously dead flowers , and I guess it showed on my face. The pujari smiled and pointed to a plaque on the wall, ......" He who offers Me with devotion only a leaf, or a flower, or a fruit, or even a little water, this I accept from that yearning soul, because with a pure heart it was offered with love".......... So there you wasn't the offering itself, it was the devotion in which it was offered. And I couldn't see that because I was too wrapped up in the material illusion of the flowers.
"I am the same to all beings, and My love is ever the same; but those who worship me in devotion, they are in Me and I am in them"
I walked into the tiny temple seeing dead flowers and walked out seeing Krishna in the heart of my daughter.

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