A few months prior to my trip here to Mysore, I received a shocking e-mail message from my good friend Matt informing me that our mutual friend Krishna had suddenly died from a heart attack. Krishna was younger than myself and full of life. It was nearly unthinkable that I would never see him ever again. I have known Krishna for many years. He was one of the first Indians that I met and befriended on my first trip to India in 1995. From the beginning I was drawn to his huge heart and incredible warmth. He would always go out of his way to help me out in any capacity, small or big. He had a very special affinity for the foreign yoga students coming to visit Mysore and befriended many of them.
As a tailor by trade, Krishna also had a special knack for knowing what kinds of clothes the yoga students wanted and built a good business out of catering to them. Krishna was tremendously influenced by his associations with so many Westerners. I have had some questions over the years about just how positive this influence was on his life.
I do know that my own life was tremendously enriched by his presence. On each of my trips to Mysore (8 trips over the past 10 years), I spent a copious amount of time in his company. He always had kind and generous words for me. There is something very special about someone who is always there for you. Whenever I had a moment, especially when I was feeling blue in any way, I would drop by his shop for some sweet conversation and a cup of tea. Through the years, he made many clothes for me, arranged many travel and personal details and just was there to help me in any way that I needed it. His place in my life when I was in Mysore was integral. As I've said, I never really ever imagined that he would not be there for me.
When it all comes down to it, it is our closest friends and family, the ones who are nearest and dearest to our hearts, that make up the essential fabric of our lives and who we are. Far too often, we lose sight of this truth, placing our priorities on aspects and areas of our lives which are extremely transient and temporal. In order to live a truly good life, it is crucial that we remember what is essential to the highest aspects of our Selves. I am constantly looking for ways not to take those closest to my heart for granted. I am always looking for ways and gestures to acknowlege and honor their place in my life. Very little is worse than realizing that you have lost sight of what truly matters in your life. I believe that the greatest sins that we can commit are the disrespect and disregard of those aspects and people in our lives which bring us the most joy and the most fulfillment. Correspondingly, there is no greater blessing than the conscious and active honor that we express towards the most special and beloved people in our lives (which should definitely include our own Self as well!).