Take Care of Yourself
He was hungry. His nose was to the ground. He lives under a trailor, so we were told by the manager of the local confectionery. He is beautiful, noted our return party from Montreal. He roams the wooded area nearby, preying (not 'praying' with an 'a') in order to sustain himself. He seems to do that, look after himself.
He's also furry and red and has this glamourous bushy tail at his behind. He's a fox and although foxes may tend toward shyness this guy could almost be our domestic friend.
Our traveling party stopped in the hamlet of Grafton for a refuel when we spotted him. His whole body, designed to be quiet, light on the feet and fast - left an impression as he scoured the parking lot moving this way and that. Looking for morsels or almost anything, animated or inanimate, was his mandate.
On the theme of looking out for yourself, I couldn't help reiterating this point to a dear friend from Montreal, a friend whom I was compelled to visit in the Old Vic Hospital. He received a heart attack at 3 AM, the result of too much exertion over the busy weekend.
Gokulananda, a fine French Canadian devotee, is in his early sixties. Almost four decades before he was like a mentor to me when I first became a monk in Toronto. I looked down at my bed-ridden friend and implored him to look after himself. It was not an uncommon mantra that I delivered to him, being in the circumstance that he was.
"Slow down! Watch what you eat! Avoid the cholesterol stuff! Look after yourself! Slow down! Please!"
We discussed that the body is its own guru. It tells what you can take and not take. Then, Gokul reminded me of the incident of our guru, Srila Prabhupada who suffered from his physical setback. The doctor told Prabhupada's disciples, "He prays too much."
It was not what they wanted to hear from the doctor. In fact, they thought the remark was rude, insensitive.
As Gokul was retelling the story, he spoke as if he was Prabhupada himself, "No," he corrected the devotees, "the doctor is right." From then on our guru went on his daily walks.