After being cooped up inside since fall, I am finally sitting in the Krishna Valley garden, in the evening sun. This year’s garden is more beautiful than ever before. Kuñjabihārī put in a phenomenal amount of energy and drafted in quite a few devotees to help. And I had to provide a good chunk of guru-dakṣiṇā as well. But for Rādhā-Śyāma’s pleasure it is well worth the effort and cost. I wish all of Krishna Valley could look, smell, and feel like this.
I start off by describing the garden because the place of service has an important influence on the result of the service, which in this case is writing Vilāpa-kusumāñjalī. The writing is going well. In the morning I sit in the western shade of Gopāla’s Japanese acacia tree, and in the afternoon in the eastern shade. The roses around me are exploding in the warm weather, as are the many other varieties of flowers—honeysuckle, jasmine, and poppies to name a few. It’s a soothing atmosphere, and add to that the new zero-gravity garden-chair, and its beyond description—even by me.
But life’s not all a bed of roses. What a struggle life is, or rather the life at old age. Pains, medication, and ailments add up to a burden that drains one of time and energy, thereby hampering writing and other services. Śrīla Prabhupāda repeatedly writes of the importance of doing sādhana and service while one is young and healthy, because when old age comes, one becomes invalid and handicapped. As always, His Divine Grace is right. My warning to readers: don’t waste time, there is no later. When we are young, we live in the illusion that we control our body. When time knocks, that illusion evaporates into the air. Sadly, we now have to adjust services to Kṛṣṇa, to the demands of the body. It’s a tough pill to swallow. It makes one hanker even more for a spiritual body. So that’s another thing that’s happening with life: fending off the attacks of age.
But at the same time, there is blissful absorption. All morning, up to lunch, is dedicated to writing. I am immersed in Ragunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī’s services in Vraja—currently I’m floating like a lotus in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. It is an extraordinary meditation and study—an access to the spiritual world. But the few hours in the late afternoon which are for services related to this world require a different mindset and energy—an exit from the spiritual world. It’s a real contrast. I feel like I am going round and round in a revolving door between manifest and unmanifest Vraja. Although the services of the latter are part of qualification for the former, going back and forth is sometimes dizzying, always a challenge. But then that’s life. C’est la vie.