I always remember my grandmother sitting on a wooden stool, next to our home altar bent over her diary – writing. She would write every day. She would write early in the morning and then again at the time of sunset. She would light a lamp and incense and then start writing for a few minutes, half an hour or sometimes even longer. Every day her diary would get entries.
What entries? What was she writing? God’s names.
Oops! I should say God’s Name. She only wrote one name, or should I say, one phrase: Sri Rama Jayam, which means, victory to Lord Rama (or Victory to God).
All of us children, who had come to our ancestral home for the summer holidays would huddle around her.
“Why do you write every day, Granny?” We would bug her.
“Listen. Did you eat ice-cream yesterday?” She would ask and check if all the heads, from my teenage eldest cousin to baby Shyam was nodding.
Clearing her throat, she would say, “Okay, so no need for ice-cream today!”
“No, no, no!” “It is summer!” “It is hot!” We would dissent.
Pulling her golden rim glasses back, Granny would ask “What about mangoes?”
“Yum!” “Are there any more?” “Summer means mangoes.” My naughty cousin Arun would run to the store to check if there were any more.
“You still want more today, right?” Granny would smile at all of us.
“Yes, Granny. But they are sweet, and it is hot summer. We want some every day. But with your writing…” Our eldest cousin, Big brother Bharat as we all called him would ask on our behalf.
“God’s name is sweet too. So I like to write every day.”
“Sweet?” Our curious group would remark in unison.
“Do you know children!” With her glasses on her nose again as if in keeping with her serious tone, “When you say God’s name, God comes and sits on your tongue. So you say Krishna and Lord Krishna jumps up and comes to take a seat there.”
I whispered, “Krishna! Krishna!” and imagined my Lord with his magic flute arriving onto my tongue.
“Then,” Granny would add, “When you hear the name with your ears, he jumps in there.”
Oh! I would imagine a little Krishna holding his flute and peacock feather in his hair rushing into my ears. And maybe, just maybe a baby calf follows him too!
“Yes, and when you think of the Lord, his name enters your heart, and you feel His presence there too. It is sweet. Very sweet.”
Arun would be back with mangoes sliced into pieces by our aunt. Each of us would gobble a bit, and Granny would say, “Come, chant some names with me.”
She would call out God’s names gently, and we would respond in unison.
I don’t know, my beloved reader, if it was the mangoes, my Granny’s gentle voice or God jumping into His name — but it was sweet, very sweet.
Sri Krishna Sharanam Mama
108 Day Vow: Day 52