~by Rukmini Walker-
To listen to Rukmini narrate this post in an audio format, please click on the “play” button below:
There’s a story about a loyal Japanese soldier who was still posted, poised and ready to attack any intruder on a remote island in the Philippines, some thirty years after the end of World War II.
A young Japanese adventurer somehow found him there. He tried to convince him that the war had ended long ago. He had done his duty to his country, and he could now go home. But the loyal soldier refused to accept his word on the matter. He was so dedicated to the cause of his country. He said he would only accept what he said if he heard it from his commanding officer himself.
Somehow, that senior officer was still alive, and the young man brought him there to convince the soldier of the truth, that the war was indeed over. But they needed some way to validate his service, to celebrate him and bring him home as a hero. Although after wartime, he’d been killing anyone who came upon him up there in his outpost. He needed to now be rehabilitated and given a new service.
I’ve been thinking that I also have my own loyal soldiers within me. That knee-jerk default inner voice that rears up when I hear something I don’t like. That negative, defensive or offensive voice, the inner judge, jury and executioner… The one who places a judgement before I can even ponder what I really desire, or believe, or might wish to reply.
Who are your loyal soldiers? Are there old hankerings, lamentations, or judgements that no longer serve you well? An old lingering desire or relationship that now exists only in your mind? Can we thank them for their dedicated service and now say goodbye? Can their loyalty be reengaged in ways that better serve us today?
Srila Prabhupada calls them fallible soldiers. My body, mind, relatives, money, beauty, or education – all are fallible soldiers. None of them can actually save me in my final moments of death.
My dear loyal and fallible soldiers! Please just call out the name of Krsna, in these moments of life and at death!
Thakur Bhaktivinode implores us:
So push thy onward march, O soul,
Against an evil deed,
That stands with soldiers Hate and Lust-
A hero be indeed.
Maintain thy post in spirit world
As firmly as you can,
Let never matter push thee down-
O stand heroic man!
O Saragrahi Vaisnava* soul,
Thou art an angel fair,
Lead, lead me on to Vrndavan,
And spirit’s power declare.
There rests my soul from matter free
Upon my Lover’s arms-
Eternal peace and spirit’s love
Are all my chanting’s charms.
*A Saragrahi Vaisnava is a devotee of the Lord who always seeks the essence of love and wisdom within all things.