Mountains have something mystical. Being surrounded by the beauty of the Swiss Alps, one feels really struck with wonder and a mood of humility is awakened — in front of the Lord’s manifestation, one naturally feels small. Hiking with H.H. Sacinandana Swami and 50 Gurukulis from around the world here in the Swiss Mountains was a really wonderful experience. All glories to Manorama Prabhu, who has been organizing such tours for young devotees for over 24 years!
I felt honored when I was asked to join the tour during their stay in Switzerland and became even more excited when I heard about the participation of H.H. Sacinandana Swami and my chance to serve Maharaja by picking him up from the airport.
Krishna is really merciful, I thought to myself. I really wanted to attend Maharaja's Holy Name retreat based on his new book, `The Living Name` and now I got a chance to do so! Little did I know that Krishna had plans for me during this retreat.
Once we arrived, I soon realized that I was not meant to `enjoy` the retreat but to get an opportunity to serve — not only Maharaja but whomever would need a ride! It so happened, that the support van and its driver, who usually are an important part of the tour team, were left behind since the car needed to be repaired. Therefore, the only car available was my rented red Citroën City Car and the only driver was more or less myself. Whether someone had to see a doctor, or in fact, a hospital, or whether the bus driver had to be brought to his bed and breakfast room or the kitchen team needed some more bhoga, I was called to drive. I ended up driving over 1,000 kilometers within the few days mostly up and down the hills of the Bernese Oberland.
Naturally, I was a bit irritated by the situation in the beginning, because in this way I did not really get much from the seminar, but fortunately Krishna was kind enough to remind me of my identity — I am a servant, dasa-dasanudas, the servant of the servants, of the servants. There is nothing better in the three worlds than Vaishnava seva. And I understood if Krishna wants me to be engaged in this way then that's perfect. He obviously knew already about the broken car and wanted to use me as an instrument to support the devotees.
It was a great experience to again realize that if we remain attached to our own plans (like wanting to attend the seminar) we get frustrated, but as soon as we tune in with Krishna’s will (in this case to serve as a driver) life becomes blissful.
To open ourselves to the Lord’s will and agree to be just an instrument in His hands is what we really need to learn in spiritual life. Krishna had advised Arjuna in the same way: „I have already made all the arrangements, you, Arjuna, just be an instrument!“ (1) And our Acaryas have expressed their surrender through their prayers: „The soul living in this body has given up the false ego attached to the word `I`, for today the spiritual sense of being Yours has entered his heart. Oh, Lord, Your desire is my desire. From this day forward Bhaktivinoda has completely forgotten his own desires.“ (2)
Of course, in my case, I did not really forget about my one desire, but at least I was able to put them aside and tune in with Krishna's will. And by doing so, I became satisfied with my driving service and also got the desired Sadhu Sanga that I was hankering for. Not only during the hiking in the mountains, but also while preforming my driving seva. More about that in my next blog.
1 - Bhagavad Gita 11.33
2 - Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Saranagati, Atma nivedana Song 4