Vanity thought #1746. Tin soldiers

I’m still puzzled by appearance of cancer in my life, it doesn’t make any sense yet. At first I thought that it was a clean way to take me out and, hopefully, back home, but it doesn’t look like Lord’s plan at the moment. Barred some unexpected lab results I’m recovering rather well instead of dying, so what does it all mean? I have no clue.

Maybe it’s just karma acting up, but it affects lots ff other people for no apparent reason as well. They don’t seem to have deserved it. Or maybe it’s a prelude some new beginning in my life but so far there are no sighs of it, I’m just back to my usual everyday drudgery. Why did we spend so much money on my treatment? It wold have been far cheaper for me to just die. If they second round of chemo doesn’t stop this cancer then we won’t have resources to fight further as it would then become a clearly a losing battle and it would consume all our savings very fast with very little gain even in the best case scenario .

Ultimately, however, it’s not my puzzle to solve. The lack of cl clarity in Lord’s purpose is common for conditioned beings, there’s nothing to be surprised about here. It’s much better to forget these futile efforts and concentrate on what can we do for the Lord instead.

One night in hospital I was pondering this exact question from many different angles and it always comes back to one very simple truth – we are nothing but little, expendable soldiers in Lord Caitanya’s army, everything else is just fluff. We aren’t even particularly brave or reliable and we shirk our battle duties all the time, but we still don’t have any other identities. He took us in and it’s all that ultimately matters.

It’s like in that Steadfast Tin Soldier children story – those soldiers were cast from molten spoon to become and army but they never actually thought any battles. They just reminded people that there are real armies out there and real soldiers and real battles bu this was just a toy set without any particular use. The hero there spent the whole story chasing some girl instead – reminds you of anything? He then got thrown into the fire for no particular reason and melted again. No in the shape of a gun or a shield or a flag but in the shape of a heart – because of his love interest in paper ballerina who got burned with him. What kind of solider was that? Is this what he was supposed to fight for? And yet he WAS a soldier, however useless, and that was his only worth. Actually, he was only a model of a soldier and that was the only value he had.

We are the same, we are not really helping and, by the look of things, many of us spend their energy on fighting among ourselves instead of helping Lord Caitanya, but we have no other identities but his little, worthless, forgetful servants. Nothing will ever rob us of that whatever happens – life, death, cancer, fame, glory etc. etc.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur had plenty of health problems and no access to modern medicine. Sometimes his idea of treatment was to move to another city where the climate was different. Sometimes he used ghee masks to treat his migraines – not much of a treatment either. All the while he was preaching and writing so these were obstacles on the path to otherwise a clear goal but in my case the goal remains elusive. What am I taking on these difficulties for? All I can remember is Lord Brahma’s verse from tenth canto where he said that those who tolerate their karma without complaints deserve liberation, which becomes their rightful claim. Inspiring but still rather limited.

Sanatana Gosvami’s case was probably better and maybe that’s why it’s in Caitanya Caritamrita.He picked up a nasty skin infection while traveling to Puri and when he arrived there he avoided main streets so that he couldn’t accidentally contaminate servants of Lord Jagannath. He was so aggrieved by his situation that he decided to commit suicide on the day of Ratha Yatra by jumping under the ratha’s wheels.

Lord Caitanya’s reaction was truly remarkable there, we should never ever forget his reasoning, even is said in jest. He reminded Sanatana Gosvami that he had surrendered his body and soul to Him already so it wasn’t Sanatana Gosvami’s body to kill anymore. Whether healthy or diseased, the Lord had His own plans on it and Hewasn’t obliged to share them with Sanatana Gosvami (even though He eventually did). These plans didn’t materialize right away either, the Lord was playing a long game there. I reckon it took years for these plans even to begin to manifest.

As for the disease – one embrace from the Lord cured it on the spot, nothing to really worry about.

As I was contemplating all these things in the middle of the night, in a half dream state, I imagined Lord Caitanya placing his feet on my head and shortly after that I visualized a small, mischievous looking black entity exiting my body and then, shortly afterwards, some black liquid being sucked out of my veins. I do not put much trust in such mental concoctions but until the evidence shows otherwise the reality seems to conform with this particular one so I’m not ready to simply dismiss it.

From seeing other people fight with their cancer I know that the second bout is the scariest, just when they thought they were in the clear. Whatever bravery they had when they first started their treatments was gone and that was left is primal, animalistic fear of death. I might get hit with that one, too. It would blow against my hopeful state but at least I am mentally prepared. Who knows Lord’s plans? Certainly not me.

One very important thing to learn, though, is overcoming this fear of death. Our service to the Lord is much more important than that. Like real soldiers we shouldn’t be concerned with dying, only with fulfilling our role in a battle. If we are in a real fight, in a real war, like the ones fought in the last century, then death should fade away by itself. If we forget our role in Lord Caitanya’s army then, of course, we’ll become fearful. I hope the Lord shows enough mercy to elevate me above this mundane consciousness when my time comes.

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