I notice with dismay that an apple tree my daughter and I planted seven years ago as well dead for no apparent reasonas my dear Montmorency sour cherry tree that my friends and I feast from each summer aren’t leafing out this spring. It was a mild winter, so it wasn’t the cold that killed them.

I’m discouraged. Why buy trees, chip holes for them into the rocklike soil, plant, fertilize, water, and prune them only to have them die for no apparent reason? I’d rather lie in the sun reading the Bhagavad-gita.

That reasoning wilts before my wise, pious friend Patricia. Now nearing 60, she’s successfully battled serious cancer and today has the buoyancy and brightness of a youth. Unhesitatingly she tells me, “Try again or try something else.” Her simple words lift me from my defeat. She’s right. Two trees died but ten lived. Why not see that?

Humans are not meant to give up—on trees, problems, people, or ourselves. In consistently, optimistically trying to bring health and spirituality into the world and its occupants, we gain the same for ourselves.

I can try again. And then I can read that book in the sun. And when I do read, the Gita’s words will enter my heart – the heart of a budding optimist – and resonate there, as they would never do for a cynic.

6 thoughts on “Resilience

  1. Dear Vishaka,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on life and Gita. I am a distant observer and do read your musings. I think, people like you live wonderful life. Material advancement and quest for more and more material acquisitions has made us all forget who we are. Self knowledge remains the highest knowledge. But we do not even have the time to think who we are. Sri Krishna taught us the everything we ought to know through Bhagavad Gita. But to read and understand Gita, one needs to live a simple life- life of Rishis of old. A researcher does the best when he\she has the least (e.g., when as a graduate student or post doc). When one has more than one needs, you get lost in wealth (and the need to protect your wealth) and everything else is lost. I come from a remote village in India and live in USA, but always know the best life is the simple life with basic comforts that will allow you to think deep and reflect in self and life.


    • Dear Prasad,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. My family and I are grateful for the life we have in Saranagati Village, a spiritually-oriented countryside community. Ours is a simple life, but it has the advantages of being relatively stress-free (a true opulence!) and, more importantly, congenial to spiritual progress. All the families here have made the Gita’s teachings the center of their lives and of our village life — and that’s something extraordinary. Yet, at the same time, it is possible to make spiritual progress by applying the Gita’s teachings to one’s life wherever one is and whatever one is doing. That’s part of the immense glory of the Gita.

      All the best to you and yours.

  2. Your post is timely, as I read the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, who observes:
    “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (RSV)

    I first read the Gita as a young man, and now that I’m retired, I find myself drawn to its wisdom once again. So much for my understanding or lack of it. I am curious re Lord Krishna, so keep writing and I’ll keep reading.
    pax, Bob W.

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