WHAT is a Home State (the Heart Space?) – Part-10

In his pain and suffering Gajendra realized he needed to take his existence to the next level – to that of surrender. He called out to God helplessly and promised he’d offer his entire existence only to serve and please the Lord. He realized that no one could help him in this moment of crisis and that he was all alone in this dangerous world of suffering. The moment his appeal was sincere and heartfelt, the Lord descended on Garuda, His giant eagle carrier, and hurled His Sudarshana disc to cut off the head of the unrelenting crocodile. Gajendra was thus saved and awarded the highest position – service to God

Three Stages of Life

We can view this narration as an example of three phases of our existence in the material world. First, like the king of the elephants, we seek to enjoy pleasures. This stage is called SENSE GRATIFICATION. We discover that sense pleasures bring misery, but we hope to find relief with more pleasure pursuits. The result is an endless, complicated mesh of suffering. This next stage is called STRUGGLE or SUFFERING. We pull and push our way through in this world, paying a heavy price for all the sense gratification we engaged in. We suffer as we struggle, and with no respite in sight we delude ourselves into believing it’s all part of the game called life. But our hearts hanker for unending happiness and relief from all suffering.

After many lifetimes of sense gratification and struggle, finally a battered and bruised living entity, if fortunate, surrenders to God. This is the SURRENDER stage, where in a state of utter helplessness the soul finds shelter in God’s loving embrace.

Before taking to spiritual life, we live a material life centered on our own pleasures – sense gratification – where our mind drags us in different directions. Gajendra led a merry life of enjoyment; we too are oblivious of the harsh realities of this world. Somehow a few of us come to a spiritual path and understand the seriousness of strict practices. Yet the mind, like the crocodile, drags us again into the lake of the material world. We want to get out of the grind of material life, but on our own we are helpless. During this second stage – struggle – we try to control our minds. Previously the mind hauled us around wherever it wanted to go, but now we seek to master it. As Gajendra struggled for centuries, we may endeavour for decades to gain mastery over our mind.

But it is obstinate, and we suffer perpetually. Until, of course, we decide to enter the third stage – surrender –where we allow God to control our minds.

Stage 1: Sense gratification – the mind controls us.

Stage 2: Struggle – we try to control the mind.

Stage 3: Surrender – God takes charge of our mind.

When Gajendra realized he couldn’t get out of suffering by his own methods, he gave up the struggle. This is also what Draupadi did. When she realized that cruel Duhsasana, goaded by his treacherous brother Duryodhana and their wily uncle Shakuni, was determined to disrobe her; when her own husbands were incapable of helping her; when she couldn’t do anything on her own – she gave up the struggle and surrendered completely to Krishna.

To be continued…