By: Tom McCrary
(This is a portion of a written assignment completed during Yoga Teacher Training. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna represents the divine, Arjuna represents ourselves. Dharma is our path in life. As we move into this season of gratitude and joy, take time to offer thanks to those who have helped you on your path. Enjoy this beautiful piece of writing!)
What was the path that Arjuna took in the Bhagavad Gita towards finding his own personal dharma? Was it straight from point A to point B with Krishna giving advice to Arjuna the first time? It’s laughable thinking that Krishna had to repeat and repeat and repeat over and over again to Arjuna in so many different ways how to search for and know one’s life purpose. I can imagine that with each rendition Arjuna would stand dumbfounded at Krishna and utter, “Huh? What? I don’t get it.”. And so it reminds me of myself as a young child saying to my dad at bedtime, “Can you tell me the story again? Tell the story again”.
I started reflecting upon the seemingly important periods and events in my life where many different people helped guide me towards a path of finding my own life’s purpose. I considered reflecting upon each one of those possible learning points and to describe them in loving prose of how each person would show up, seemingly out of nowhere, and tell me the story again. These times usually started somewhat abruptly and then would end fully and completely. Time felt that it stood still. But had the story sunk in and helped me find that special and unique dharma that is only mine? “Huh? What? Can you tell me the story again?” And so the next Krishna would take it from there and repeat the story again in a slightly different way.
A Little Dog’s Tale
Many years ago I visited an acquaintance’s home during the Christmas season. He was a retired teacher who bred Norfolk Terrier dogs. During the visit, he introduced me to his new brood of several week old puppies. There was one little runt puppy who he thought would be perfect for me as I laughed hesitantly. This tiny little puppy was eager and energetic running around the pen with her larger brothers and sisters. As they played she would get trampled over, but jumped up always excited to keep playing.
As we stood in the snow-covered barn, the breeder retold the story of this young pup. She was the last born of 6 brothers and sisters. She was smaller than the rest and wasn’t expected to live; her skull hadn’t closed like the others yet. For her to survive life she would need a strong skull. Over the first few weeks, the vet and breeders would hold and nurse the little puppy throughout the days and nights. On occasion, they would put her back in the pen with her mother and siblings to ensure she remained a dog and not become too humanized. She was a happy energetic animal full of life. But she was not like her siblings or parents. She was the first to wake in the morning and the last to sleep at night. She kept track of all of the comings and goings of the animals and people in the barn. She also wanted to be in the middle of the action and playfully pounced on all the other dogs in the pen. But somehow she was unique; she was also completely blind. And I was to be her eyes and voice for the next 15 years before I had to euthanize her and watch her soul finally depart this world.
And so our adventure together started which will never end. She was another Krishna and told me the stories over and over when I listened. She shared much about life and love and dedication and being oneself. She had many wondrous adventures in her life from running and digging in the sandy beach to running up steep snow-covered mountainsides. She climbed stairs and hunted squirrels. She would trounce and ambush her brother by pretending to hide around a corner or at the bottom of the stairs. Her brother could never quite figure out that we could see her even though she couldn’t see us. In the end, she could speak to those who listened and could see the love in their hearts. She was named Jingle for the Christmas season in which she arrived in my life plus the sound for her to follow.
For me, Krishna is everywhere in everything. Krishna is everyday people and everyday animals. Krishna is in the mundane if we are ready, willing, and able to listen to the story. As an Arjuna, my dharma is in all things.
“All things bright and beautiful, “If you can’t learn from your daily activities,
All creatures great and small, how are you going to understand the scripture?”
All things wise and wonderful, – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,
The Lord God made them all.” Sri Swami Satchidananda
– Cecil Frances Alexander