Most mornings I walk for a bit whilst doing my meditation chanting on beads. At any given time, I cross paths with a multitude of dog walkers.
This morning as I rounded a corner into one of the nearby wheat fields, a lady coming towards me was almost yanked off her feet as her puppy went wild, yapping and straining on its leash. ‘Sorry! So sorry!’, she shouted above the barking, ‘He’s getting excited – he’s looking for your dog – you don’t see many people out here just walking around without one.’ She tugged him away, still barking and leaping, and I continued on. Looking down at my hand, stretched a little in front of me, holding my chanting beads, I realised that I was on a dog walk too. Only I am the dog, and I’m being walked by my master, who takes the form of divine sound just for my benefit.
Every day I see how I am given a fresh opportunity to understand this. I am not the seer, I am the seen. I am not the enjoyer, I am the enjoyed. I am not the leader, I am the led. This world is a place which encourages us to invert this principle, yet so much frustration comes directly from trying to swim upstream – thinking that we are the masters of our own fortune, youth and success.
There’s a beautiful and well known song along these lines by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, called ‘Sarvasva Tomar’.
1) Now that I have surrendered all I possess, I fall prostrate before Your house. You are the Supreme Lord. Kindly consider me Your household dog.
2) Chain me nearby and maintain me as You will. I shall remain at the doorstep and allow no enemies to enter Your house. I will keep them at the bounds of the moat surrounding Your home.
3) Whatever remnants Your devotees leave behind after honouring Your prasada will be my daily sustenance. I will feast on those remnants with great ecstasy.
4) While sitting up, while lying down, I will constantly meditate on Your lotus feet. Whenever You call, I will immediately run to You and dance in rapture.
5) I will never think of my own maintenance but rather remain transported by a multitude of ecstasies. Bhaktivinoda accepts You as his only support.