It’s been a while since I really considered posting here. My wife and I’ve been moving, and Lord Ganesha, for a while, dammed the river of words that had until recently flowed forth on this blog. I blame it on Lord Ganesha, you see, because it was He Who lifted my writer’s block last year to get this thing kick-started, if you don’t already know.
Anyway, credit where credit is due. But I digress.
I intended to go to a recent Shani Pradosham to hopefully remove some negativity which I saw increasing in my life. For one reason or another it did not work out for me to attend that night. Shani is directly related to the planet Saturn, and to Saturday. Though I am really not much for astrology, recent events and the fact that tonight brought us another Shani Pradosham made it imperative that I attend.
Not for me.
I went on behalf of a friend who has hit a rough patch in her life, and is struggling with the outcomes of some past decisions.
One of the main things I will always remember from my Catholic upbringing was the Biblical teaching to “remove the plank from your own eye” before trying to help others. But in this case I did not feel that really followed. I think it is always a good idea to puja/pradosham on behalf of others regardless of what you are going through. Who’s with me?
Oddly, the impetus which made me aware of Shanidev to begin with was a post I wrote on this blog involving a dead bird I’d seen. A crow. After which I was advised by a reader that this might have something to do with Shani, and a struggle coming to a close in my life. Odd, because tonight as I approached the temple I looked down at the sidewalk in front of me and I saw another dead bird before me. This time it looked like an almost-fully-formed bird whose egg had maybe fallen out of the nest? Because it had no feathers, and it was very small. It made me very uncomfortable to see it there on the sidewalk. I looked around until I found a leaf which I slid underneath the small body, and removed it into the grass. I don’t know what that did, but I found myself sickened at the idea of the corpse being trampled underneath the shoes of someone going to worship.
….well….on that note….
This was the first very Shaivite ceremony I’d been to at my temple – ‘Twas actually a Shiva Abhishekam. Having recently come to terms with my Smarta side, I felt a great deal of devotion tonight, even openly singing the song eluded to in the title of this post. But keeping my friend’s image in my mind tonight in the hopes that the negative/painful effects might be lifted from future results of actions, as the Shani Prasodam is said to do, the Vaisnav in me couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d just read earlier tonight in the “Life of Krishna” by Vanamali. There was a story in it about Radha being so blissed out about Krishna that when Rukmini offered her hot milk she drank it without concern for the warnings she’d received from Rukmini about burning herself. She drank it, yet was not scalded. When Rukmini went to check on Lord Krishna, she found that His throat had been burned by this incident. The purport of this story as told by Vanamali is that as a devotee Radha remained untouched by the world while Krishna bore the burden of the hot milk.
There are two differences, however:
1. I don’t think the story goes, for instance, that Shani takes on and bears our pains as Krishna did here. They are just removed from the unfolding scenario, it seems.
2. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a reference to Krishna bringing us misfortune, as Shani is wont to do. Krishna conducted playful tests with people in order to help them see truth for themselves. That was about it.
But I will say that these games, lilas, of life can be quite painful to those who are in the midst of strong attachment, or fully enmeshed in duality. And since Krishna was fully removed from the wheel of suffering, he did not actually suffer the effects of that hot milk, I don’t think. Not in the same what that I just did when I burnt my own tongue. He was merely playing the role. So really, he was just removing the experience of pain from a devotee, just as Shani is said to do.
Please know this is not a post written by man who leans toward Vaisnavism trying to show how everything leads back to Krishna. Rather it is a post which might suggest that all paths lean toward, and on, each other.