Dharmadevi and I have found ourselves amid what we call a "rural initiation." This is when city dwellers like us venture into the countryside and get a crash course in the realities of rural living, courtesy of Mother Nature herself. Remember the "Dwapara Yuga Proof" incident a few weeks back, where I got our car marooned on a mound of unyielding dirt?
This time, it was Dharmadevi's turn to encounter a similar situation.
Dharmadevi was at the wheel, navigating our sedan down a gravel driveway. Little did we know that the driveway had just received a double dose of fresh gravel that needed to be leveled, and its surface wasn't safe for a sedan. Unaware of this, we drove down the driveway to drop off something at home and returned about 30 minutes later.
As we tried to leave, our car stood at "gravel center stage." Picture a beached whale – our vehicle was perched center by gravel, and the back tires were tantalizingly off the ground. Instead of riding on waves of bliss, we found ourselves floating on a sea of stone! Note: Opt for those blissful waves – they're much more uplifting!
I swiftly disembarked from the car and ran to get a shovel. As I began to dig out, our neighbor, Andrew, called out from a distance, "Are you stuck?"
Like a cowboy of divine intervention, Andrew appeared, wielding a shovel, ready to help us escape our gravelly trap. Thank you, Andrew! Without his aid, we would still be digging.
For those unfamiliar, lying on the ground and excavating gravel from beneath a car during the summer is quite the workout. Sweat poured, breath grew labored, and our "stuck" situation remained stubbornly intact.
Clearly sensing our need for reinforcements, Divine Mother stopped a passing truck. Out stepped a friendly face – a fellow Ananda member, conveniently driving by just in the nick of time. Thankfully, he joined our digging brigade.
While the two of us sweated away, Andrew embarked on a mission to find a hook that could attach to our front bumper. Eureka! A hook was found, and a rope linked our car to our friend's trusty truck. Snap! On the first try, the rope gave way to the pressure.
Andrew flagged down yet another truck – our neighbor's son. He had a sturdy chain stowed away in his truck. The chain was fastened to our car's bumper, and the other was linked to our friend's truck.
But before our second towing attempt, a pressing question emerged: should we use drive, neutral, or the enigmatic "Transport Mode" described in our driver's manual? We had never used it but finally chose "Transport Mode."
Chain secured, robust truck at the ready, and the good-hearted presence of three kind souls, Divine Mother showered Her grace upon us. In the blink of an eye, we were free.
I couldn't help but smile throughout our gravelly escapade. It served as a vivid reminder of Paramhansa Yogananda's description of the spiritual journey: "First painful, then effortlessly liberating."
After the sweat and preparations, we humbly surrendered and activated "transport mode." Much like our journey to Self-realization, it requires our self-effort. But the yogi must remember that, as Swami Kriyanandea said, "all efforts end in ease." That is, we relax upwards and ultimately surrender ourselves to the infinite through complete self-offering and are saved by divine grace: "Surrender Mode."
So, the next time you tread upon a gravel-strewn path, remember to engage not only "transport mode" but also "surrender mode." Ride free on the currents of divine joy.
Joy to you!