Thursday, July 29

Motherhood is near to divinity (or so they say)

Have you ever felt torn between work and prayer?

Should I do my dharma or my devotional practice?

My new lover recently introduced me to an ancient story that shed a new light on one of my deepest dilemmas.

This story is from the Vishnu Purana:
"Once Narada who always chants 'Narayana' wanted to be sure from the Lord himself that he is the number one disciple. Hence he asked: 'Lord Vishnu, who is your best and dearest disciple'?
'Come Narad, I will show you'. Vishnu took Narad to a small village on earth where a farmer was living. The Lord asked Narad to watch what the farmer was doing for a day. The farmer remembered the Lord thrice in a day - immediately after waking up, before lunch and before going to bed. Mahavishnu said the farmer is his dearest disciple.
Surprised, Narad said, Lord, I have been chanting your name always and this farmer thought of you only thrice a day. In reply, Mahavishnu took Narad to a nearby hill. He put a pot full of oil on the head of Narad and told him to go around the hill once but the oil should not be spilled. With great difficulty Narad went around the hill and was in front of the Lord after accomplishing the job allotted to him.
 Then Mahavishnu asked Narad, while going round the hill how many times did you chant my name? Not even once, replied Narad honestly.
Now that is the difference between you and the farmer. Your duty is to chant my name only. When I gave you something else to do, you forgot me. While farming was the duty allotted to the farmer. Even during his strenuous job he remembers me thrice in a day. That is why I said he is my dearest disciple.
Ashamed, Narad bowed before the Lord and sought his forgiveness.
(Souce: Posted on the Open forum Central Chronical by jiv Nair)

On a personal note, this story shed a new light on my experience of postpartum depression.

After many months of blissful pregnancy where my only job was to be in communion with the growing spirit within me, taking care of a new human being felt like the lord had handed me a pot asked me to walk around without spilling a drop. I was devastated by my inability to maintain Her presence. The awesome responsibility of motherhood often felt like a distraction to my devotion.

The healing gift within this metaphor is that I remember that God hasn't gone anywhere. My attention may be fully focused on my son and family, but as long as I manage to stop, pray and listen few times throughout the day, my deep devotion flows through. Here's the prayer that is in my heart, right now:

Dear God/Goddess and all that is,
Gratitude for this life, and the miracle of  birthing another through me. Please help to see beyond the duality of service vs. sadhana in motherhood. Clearly my work as a mom is deeply devotional, but something about potty training and tripping on plastic toys, maintains a convincing illusion that the mundane is still somehow separate from the sacred. I know many women who treat their children as their spiritual gurus, God, forgive me for envying them.
As a Tantra teacher I've been blessed to experience the divinity in every client that comes to my temple. Please help me accept all parts of parenting which, like my Tantra practice, truly is Gods work.
In your service,
Kamala Devi


Al Polito said...

That is a wonderful, beautiful reflection. I appreciate the depth of your devotion, Kamala!

Carla G. said...

Thank you for sharing your insight Kamala. This is often a challenge for me too, even as the children get older!