Vanity thought #212. Mocking Duty.

I mean my duty is mocking me.

After yesterday’s to and fro arguments about the importance of performing your duty against the importance of protecting the growing seeds of devotion my duty has come out and made big fun of me. I guess now she knows that I can’t say no to her and will dutifully take all the shit she is going to throw at me.

Well, let her mock me all she wants, I got something out of it, too – doing your duty even if it doesn’t come out right feel satisfactory. I wish I got better results but maybe getting satisfaction from screwing things up is an important lesson for me. God knows I have more of them coming, round one wasn’t too bad at all.

Okay, so what happened was that I have to go and visit this government office on the other side of town. It’s not particularly urgent and, personally, I don’t believe anything will come out of it, but I owe it to everyone I know to go and make my case. As an unemployed person I don’t have any excuses anymore, beggars are not choosers, if I refuse to take care of myself I might impress Krishna but as long as I live in a society I have to keep people’s minds at ease, too.

Anyway, I tried to go last Friday, I was hoping to get there just after lunch and combine my trip with some other errands. When I checked opening hours, however, I found out that they are open only until 12, and so I had to rush to make it on time. Whole morning I was chanting my rounds, carefree, and then I had to run.

It was a long trip and I was ten minutes late.

On Monday I invented some excuse and it didn’t go down well, people were starting to lose faith in my sanity and/or sense of basic self-preservation.

On Tuesday I got a reminder message exactly at 9AM to get out of the house. I took it seriously. I had plenty of time when I eventually left and people were following my progress through the city on Latitude in their phones. Everything was going fine.

Then I realized that I was going to pass my old place of work and everyone in that neighborhood knew my car so I decided not to risk it and change my route. I took a “shortcut” through a dense residential area that looks like a bowl of spaghetti on the map. I haven’t driven through there in five years but I knew the general direction and it was going fine, until eventually I got the sucking feeling in my soul, the suspicion that I got lost.

Twenty minutes later and with absolutely no idea which narrow street to take to get to the main road I turned to the help of GPS. I was going in opposite direction, GPS told me. I dutifully turned around and made a few more laps and ended in exactly the same spot, still with no clue where to go.

I had no choice but to admit defeat and send the message out – “I’m lost, I can’t make it on time.” I got sooo much scorn back – “Up to you, it’s your life!”

To elicit a little bit of sympathy I also sent out a message that I didn’t know how to get home either but no sympathy was forthcoming. I was widely condemned and faced with disbelief and derision. If I had a tail it would have been between my legs, or between my rear wheels. The fact that I found the way home in less than a minute didn’t help either.

Three times I tried to get to some damn office and three times I failed. What are my prospects in life now?

Yes, my duty was mocking me, full time.

On the other hand, it wasn’t the first time it was doing so and all I could think about was that this unfortunate series of events must be leading me to some very welcome alternatives.

The first time something like this has happened to me was many many years ago, just a few days before I bought my first books.

At that time I used to hang out at a walking street and listen to all kinds of buskers, and especially Beatles fans. It was a popular area and it was a magnet for all kinds of missionaries. I guess I’ve seen Hare Krishnas doing their kirtans, too, but for the life of me I can’t remember. I do remember lots of Christians, though. They were very keen on talking to people about God and religion and they didn’t have anything to sell, just talk. It was challenging and attractive and I got a name card from one of them.

Eventually I decided to attend their meeting, I was living in the suburbs and relied on mass transport then and so the trip took me half a day. Funny thing happened just as I started off – I got a serious stomach problem. By the time I got within a walking distance from the church I couldn’t hold it anymore, I needed a toilet. The only one open for the public was closed for cleaning so I jumped on the subway and got off at the next stop.

I couldn’t find a toilet anywhere, I ran and ran and ran and there was nothing. I then got on the subway again and went to the previous station, there was one paid toilet I dismissed at first but now I had absolutely no other choice.

Relieved, I set out to find the church. It was in a neighborhood that was very similar to the one I got lost this morning and I just couldn’t find it. I thought I knew the streets but I just kept making wrong turns.

By the time I found it the service was over and people were leaving and there was no one to talk to. I had to return home. In two days time I bought Srimad Bhagavatam and never thought of going to that church again.

My whole life since that episode I believed that Krishna intentionally confused me and my intelligence and also gave me the runs. He didn’t think catholics were suitable for me and I’m eternally thankful to Him for that.

There were a couple of other “unfortunate” events that led me to buying that Bhagavatam. I can easily count at least three crucial junctions that could have set me on the completely wrong tracks, hold on, just remembered the fourth one.

Anyway, my point today is that when I see something messing with my plans in such a persistent way I tend to think of Krishna’s intervention, mockery or not.

For nearly three months now I’ve been waiting for Him to make His move. Actually, it’s probably only my karma and there’s nothing good waiting for me in the foreseeable future but I’ll take any sign of abnormality as Krishna’s intervention.

What will happen this time? Will He send me a devotee? Will He send me TO devotees? Will He facilitate my move to holy places? Will He engage me in service of sankirtana? Whatever it is, I’m patiently waiting.

It is my duty to sit tight, chant my rounds, and pray.

I could probably turn to some ISKCON Ministry or other and beg for help but I don’t feel that would be the right thing to do. I have my life and I’m pretty clear what my duties are, according to my current position, and that’s what I’m going to do. Performing these duties doesn’t present any serious obstacles to my sadhana, not even close to the obstacles I put up myself with my inattentive chanting and my material attachments.

I have no one to blame and I have no reason to ask for any special treatment, in fact, I think all my personal requests will be for my own personal gratification no matter how may excuses and reasons I dress them in.

My external circumstances are perfectly conducive to my spiritual progress at the moment and if it ain’t broken I shouldn’t try to fix it. Trying to improve one’s material situation to, allegedly, serve Krishna better, is a treacherous path that has no end and I will try not to take it if I can.

I welcome all my duties with a doubtful mind but my heart is not heavy at all. I know deep within that I just have to stick through it and everything will be okay in the end.

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