Calcutta, India — Monday, May 9th

Exemplary behavior

This morning we hear a tremendous crash! on the corrugated iron roof of the carport outside the window of Srila Gurudeva's veranda. We all momentarily start at the sound, then smile when we identify it: it is the sound of the beginning of the mango season.

A huge mango has fallen from one of the neighbor's trees that lean over the Math wall. Gopal Prabhu climbs onto the roof to retrieve this first mango of the season and show it to Srila Gurudeva: it is bigger than both my fists put together. So many mangoes will fall on the roof throughout the summer that we will not even hear them any more.

How fortunate those mango trees are!

When a soul flagrantly abuses its free will and causes distress to the environment and to others, it is sometimes necessary to arrest its freedom of movement and incarcerate it in an inanimate body such as a tree. Once the soul has "served its time" for its previous karmic crimes, it will be released and allowed to move about freely again.

The trees imprisoned in the yard next door are "model prisoners." They have "learned their lesson" and try to get "time off for good behavior," to mitigate their sentence, by leaning over the wall, bowing to Srila Gurudeva, and humbly offering their luscious fruit for his pleasure.

The soul confined for former wrongs
Should try to rise again.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself instructs us to follow the example of the humble tree (taror api sahisnuna), which is so tolerant that even if somebody tries to chop it down, it still continues to do good by providing its killer with fruit, shade, and fuel.

I envy those mango trees next door. I wish I had that kind of service attitude in the face of such adversity. They never grumble, and despite their deplorable plight, they try to serve Guru and Vaishnava to the best of their ability. And they don't even live in the temple!

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Layout by iMonk — May 9th, 2005.