I remember sitting on the banks of the river Ganga. Up, above me, I looked in to a cloudless sky and saw a soaring hawk. Its feathers of brown, gold, and red seemed illuminated by the sun and it was circling lower and lower and lower, till it was just a few feet above my head.
I looked up at this hawk and saw its yellow eyes gazing into the river, intently looking for something. Suddenly, the hawk violently dived head-first into the river. There was a skirmish and splashing. The hawk was under water and emerged a few seconds later with a flapping fish in its claws. The fish was struggling for its life as the hawk flew far into the forest, out of sight.
That fish was just swimming along like any other day; with friends and family, looking for food, having fun and swishing around. It didn’t expect anything traumatic to happen. Suddenly however, it was ripped right out of its reality, away from everything it identified with. It came face-to-face with death. Isn’t that a potential situation for everyone? We just go about our lives like any other day and the hawk of fate strikes – there’s a calamity in the family, a traumatic experience, disease, or death itself.
At the time, I was thinking that the lesson is that we should not be complacent. We should take the spiritual opportunities we have in our life very, very seriously. One of the greatest enemies of a spiritualist is procrastination. We get into the groove of our lives and put the most important things off for another day, oblivious to the fact that this yellow-eyed hawk of fate may come for us at any moment.
But there was also another lesson; if that fish swam deeper, the hawk could not have caught it. In the same way, if we go deeper into our spiritual practices, deeper into our meditation, transport our minds to that deeper place within our heart where there is real fulfillment; then whatever situation may come upon us in this world, won’t really affect us.[ death ] [ hawk ] [ radhanath-swami ] [ spirituality ]