I was in a small satsang this morning at our temple in Potomac, Maryland with Ananda, our community president, Giri, our resident wise man, Kim, our kirtan angel, and Adrianna, our Russian friend.
Giri was quoting from a story he’d read once by Dostoyevsky. He didn’t remember the name of it. It was back in the fog of his past life’s tomes.
In the story, a man had been sentenced to execution. As he traveled by horse-drawn carriage to the guillotine (or was it a hanging?), time seemed to slow, as he saw at the distant horizon the place of his death, many blocks ahead of him on the road.
In the almost frozen last framed moments of his life, he was present to each sensation, mindful that each would be his last the call of a bird, the creaking wheels of the carriage, the mood of the sky…
Is being mindful in the moment enough? Is there a place of permanence and solace beyond this moment? In the moments of my conscious life, and in the last moments of my life, where will I rest my shelter-seeking heart?
The Gita is not vague or impersonal in its prescriptions for our ultimate maladies:
For those who see Me everywhere and see everything in Me, I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to Me… (Bhagavad Gita 6.30) And whoever, at the end of life, quits her body remembering Me alone at once attains my nature. Of this there is no doubt. (Bhagavad Gita 8.5)