It’s finally starting to warm up here, though early mornings and late nights are painfully cold. I’m still bundling up for Mangal Arati — multiple sweaters and hoodies, chaddar, thick socks, sometimes even my jacket. When it’s really bad, it feels like the cold is finding its way into my bones. There is no escape.
This afternoon I was out in the noonday sun wearing only a dhoti and chaddar— it went from toasty to warm to hot. And this evening when I was taking a bath I noticed that my shoulder and back were covered with a bright pink burn.
It’s remarkable how much of my time here in Mayapur is spent either thinking about, preparing for, or responding to the weather. I’ve probably dedicated more energy and consciousness to it than anything else here. I wonder: in my unrelenting obsession with fighting cold with warmth or seeking shade from the unforgiving sun, how much of the Dhama have I missed?
In the Bhagavad Gita (2.14) Lord Krishna uses the fluctuations of the weather — the heat of summer and the cold of winter — as an analogy for the flickering, subjective, cyclical dualities of happiness and distress or success and failure in the material world. “A wise person,” he advises, “learns to tolerate them without becoming disturbed.” I’ve read the verse and memorized it. I’ve read commentaries on it by different scholars, and even lectured on it.
And yet here I am, thousands of miles from home and in one of the most sacred places in the universe, humbled to discover just how far I am from even the most basic symptoms of wisdom.