There are bad days too

Beyond the good lessons and rhetoric of motivational speakers and gurus, the reality of personal struggle remains. As long as lessons are to be learned, nature has her way of teaching us. Sadly most of the deepest lessons happen in our moments of adversity, and that's just how it is. In such rights of passage, it is the life example of genuine teachers that come to aid us. Swami Srila Prabhupada was one such saint who suffered tremendous personal challenge on his unannounced arrival in New York 1965. The following is a conciliation of my own personal challenge in the light of his great example, written on his birthday.  

There are bad days too.
Among the good, among the highs,
despite the truth, despite the lies.
There are bad days too.
But then thoughts of you,
come to me and see me through.

There are problems too.
But when they begin to drown me,
thoughts of you come to surround me.
There are problems too.
But then thoughts of you, crossing an ocean, sickness, severe discomfort, surviving near death, come to me and see me through.
There are bad situations too.
And when my complaints become too many,
I remember you without a penny.
There are bad situations too.
But then I see room 307, no toilet, no shower, dark and dismal. And there you are handing Mr. Robert your books with a smile on your face like you were handing him the world.
And in that thought, things start looking up.
There is catastrophe too.
And when I feel so bad, can’t face another day,
there is an image of you, I see you running away.
Yes, There is catastrophe too.
Down four flights of stairs you ran, to save your life from a drug crazed man.
Again to be homeless in the Bowery
In this thought of you I survive catastrophe too.
There are difficulties too.
And when I feel so alone, again I think of you.
I remember you alone.
There are difficulties too.
You walked alone, winter’s day, on the Lower East Side.
Swami hat, heavy coat and cane in hand.
So grave and so alone, a stranger in a far away place.
That picture of you, alone, comes to me and sees me through.
The journey to happiness is not the bed of roses that charlatans might make us believe.
You gave us truth. You gave us the path.
And in your example you taught us to deal with each and every challenge, so much so, that by one thought of you, we all survive the bad days too.

“Here I am now sitting in New York, the world’s greatest city, such a magnificent city, but my heart is always hankering after that Vrindavan. I shall be very happy to return to my Vrindavan, that sacred place. But then, “Why are you here?” Now, because it is my duty. I have brought some message for you people. Because I have been ordered by my superior, my spiritual master: “Whatever you have learned, you should go to the Western countries, and you must distribute this knowledge.” So in spite of all my difficulties, all my inconveniences, I am here. Because I am obligated by duty.” Srila Prabhupada

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