Monday Morning Greetings #38 – The Absolute Tooth

September 19th, 2016

I have been laying in the dentist chair for almost the last two hours here in Cali, Colombia. Oscar is drilling away. If he hits a nerve, he says, I may require root canal. Not really where I want to be, but I tolerate. What’s the use of studying the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, if you don’t apply it practically in day-to-day life? The drill seems to hit a nerve. I ask for anesthesia. Some thoughts come:

  1. The day before I went to the dentist, I had just finished a five-day course on bhakti here in Shyam Ashram in Colombia. I prepared a lot for the course not wanting to lose the opportunity to give my best to people new to the subject. After finishing the course successfully, I realized that I didn’t have pressing duties or problems to minister to and that I would now be able to just concentrate on chanting and writing, things that I most like to do. I thought to myself, “Finally a rare time where the world has conformed exactly to what I want. I can now really be free to enjoy these last two weeks here.” Bam! Immediately an unexpected trip to the dentist arose. Kṛṣṇa is so kind. Even on those rare occasions when the world finally seems to conform to one’s personal desires, he won’t let his devotee become complacent and fall into the illusion that he or she is the controller. This type of enjoyment is just simply too superficial, filled with the duality of temporality, and distances oneself from the selfless happiness of the soul. The drilling got a little more intense, but I tolerated thinking, “How merciful Kṛṣṇa is that as soon as I thought I was the enjoyer, He gave me a pinch to save me from complacency in this world of birth and death.”
  2. When I came into his office Oscar (my dentist) carefully explained to me the procedure and asked me if that was OK. I told him, “I am a soul surrendered unto you!” I thought to myself that this is what Kṛṣṇa consciousness means, that in every sphere of life, and especially spiritual life, there are people who are authorities in particular subjects. They know more than others, and thus the best way to avail oneself of their knowledge is to surrender to their direction. I don’t know if he was flattering me, but when I saw Oscar the next day he reminded me of what I said and told me, “You are my best patient.”
  3. Oscar was one of my students in the bhakti course, but now I was sitting in the chair helpless and dependent on him. He was sincerely trying to help me and I felt his care and shelter. My affection for him thus increased. I thought this is analogous to our relationship with God. When we realize that we are totally dependent on God and humbly take shelter of him with the faith that whatever he does is best, then bhakti naturally arises in the heart.
  4. If I didn’t get this treatment now, it is likely that I would have had to have serious dental work, or even root canal, in Vṛndāvana. That would obviously have been substantially more inconvenient and painful. These thoughts enabled me to sit, tolerate, and be grateful to Oscar although sitting in his chair was not fun. I thought how this was also analogous to the world. We suffer here, but our suffering is only to make the future better. Thinking like this enables one to be patient and tolerant amidst difficulty.
  5. To the extent that one practices the austerity of a relatively simple life, one will be able to extract oneself from bodily identification, and will be capable of tolerating the pains and pleasures of this world. While Oscar was working away, I saw that spiritual life enabled me to tolerate and extract my self from that pain just a little more than if I carelessly indulged myself in life. I gave myself a little pat on the back, although the pain really was minimal.
  6. The expectation of the pain from the dentist drill and its disturbing shrillness was actually worse than the actual experience of it. I thought this is also like the world in general where the expectations of pain and pleasure are generally more excruciating or pleasurable than the actual experience of it. This is especially true of the sensual and egotistical pleasures of this world.
  7. American cultural imperialism — Frankly, the expertise, equipment, office and care were far above anything I experienced in America. America has good facilities, but it is overrated, especially in health care.
  8. When you are a guru and go to a devotee dentist or doctor make sure to let them know that you are not transcendental to the pains and pleasures of the body so they are more inclined to help you numb the pain and that’s the Absolute Tooth.

 

Dhanurdhara Swami with Oscar

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