The Yellow Strand

A few days back, we were fortunate to have Darshan of Lord Dwarikadeesh in Gujarat. Dwarikapuri is one of the four Dhaams of the Hindus. The Hindus believe that one should visit each of the four Dhaams at least once in life. These are Badrinath in the North, Jagan NathPuri in the East, Rameshwaram in the South and Dwarikapuri in the West.

Standing in front of the beautiful Krishna, in the Sanctum Sanctorum at Dwarika was a very elevating experience. We were lucky to be in the front row when the Aarti was being performed. After the Aarti the priest gave us yellow scarves, which he personally tied around our necks. With utmost reverence, we bowed to the deity and felt blessed to be given this piece of cloth from the temple of the Lord and Master of Dwarika. Here, Krishna is worshipped as a King. Dwarikadheesh literally means King of Dwarika!

Thereafter we went to a restaurant where we had the local cuisine in the form of a KathiawadiThali for dinner. We finished with Puran-poli, a delicious sweet roti stuffed with a mixture of toovar dal and gur; dunked in desi ghee just before serving. All through dinner the yellow scarves, stayed put around our necks as we savoured every delicious mouthful. For some reason, we did not want to take them off. As night fell, we went back to our room at the hotel. I removed my scarf; meticulously folded it and placed it in a pocket of our suitcase. I reached out to take Sanjay’s scarf and placed that too along with mine. As I proceeded to change into my nightwear, I noticed a stray strand of yellow thread on my pullover. Inadvertently l tried to brush it off, but it was stuck to my pullover, so plucked it off and put it into the waste bin next to the dresser.

And then it struck me … till a short while ago, the yellow strand was a part of the yellow scarf that I had so reverentially placed in my suitcase so that I could preserve it. The scarf too was made of hundreds of threads woven together, wasn’t it? So why did the solitary yellow thread not feel sacred to me?

A small voice in me said, “Because it had left the fold … because it had attached itself to the worldly and ephemeral …”

What a profound revelation! Come to think of it, when you are on a spiritual journey, it is always beneficial to be attached to the right kind of people; to be part of a spiritual group. As you pray together, the vibrations created by a group of people praying together, are so potent that perhaps each one has a better chance of being able to reach out to the Lord. Group prayer is very powerful and mutually benefiting. If you break away from the group, you lose the benefit of Satsang! What is Satsang? It is Satya ka Sang… being in the company of the eternal truth … together with people in search of the eternal truth. In the case of the yellow strand it had broken away from the scarf and attached itself to the pullover, resultantly losing its value!

My reverie was interrupted by the sound of rain drops. I peeped out of the window to see that it was starting to drizzle. The pitter-patter of rain drops, is always music to my ears, because I love rain. I pushed the curtain further away, to get a better view of the rain as it came dancing down the rooftops, almost rhythmically. And I thought to myself … every rain drop is on its journey home; each drop is destined to reach the ocean. But the one that falls into the river, finds its way home sooner because it is in the company of so many droplets, each of which is flowing on the same path! Yes! Company does matter! It’s who you hang out with, that determines what kind of things you do! What matters is whether you choose the ephemeral or the eternal …

Man too is like that. The benefits of group devotional singing, social service, spiritual conclaves, yoga, meditation etc. are many. One usually gravitates towards like minded people. And if you gravitate towards a spiritual group, you are doubly blessed. But if you stray away from the group, you too shall meet the same fate, as the yellow strand on my shoulder…

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Originally published at priya.tandonindia.com.

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