A time when this deity has helped you.
This is not the only instance of Indra’s help, nor the most extraordinary, but it’s one that I remember with fondness – especially because I – not surprisingly – behaved like a grouchy idiot.
If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I reside in Canada, but was born and raised in the southern United States. I’ve been in Canada for four years now, and the area where I live has extremely harsh winters, considered horrific even by northern standards. Considering that my hometown only has two seasons – “summer” and “a couple of days requiring a light jacket” – I’ve had trouble adjusting to the barren, dark cold that descends over this city during its yearly deep freeze. In my first two years, that “trouble” came with frequent respiratory illnesses; I’d never had problems with colds before, and these were miserable, lingering bouts.
One day I was moping around, feeling very sorry for myself because I had a sore throat that seemed to portend another flu. I’m at my wit’s end, I thought in whiny exasperation. I should buy stock in NyQuil, at this rate. I’ve tried over-the-counter medications and doctors’ visits, self-care and home remedies and I don’t know what the hell else to do!
What popped into my mind next was humorous in its over-the-top entitlement, delivered with the pompous, detached air of a noble requesting a servant to fetch something; it seemed ridiculous enough to be a jest.
I Would Like Some Tea.
You could hear the capital letters. Indra had never requested anything of me before, ever, but the feeling was the same tone that I recognised as “Him.” My reaction was a bit surprised.
That was indeed the request.
Well, I wasn’t going to argue; this was before I’d researched and written the “Offerings” series, and God knew I had trouble enough figuring out what to gift Him. So I went to the kitchen and began poking through the tea blends in the cupboard.
None of these. Something from your hands.
My hands? Well, then it’ll taste terrible. I can’t cook.
I..don’t know what You’d like…?
Cumin, coriander, honey, ginger. Anything else you choose.
But that sounds dreadful. Cumin? In tea?
I chewed on this for a moment, the irksome realisation that I would need to drag my pendingly-sick self down to the market because Somebody Wanted Curried Tea For Some Unfathomable Reason. Still, the first tea recipe I found using those ingredients actually looked pleasant and wholesome, the beverage touted as a healing one, and the author had included lots of pictures to show just how it should look. And never mind that I had a thousand things to do already that day—
You’re not too busy, are you? It wasn’t actually a question.
Of course not. FINE. I will try to adopt the proper attitude of devotion and delight, that I’ve been granted the tremendous honour of serving my patron God when I’m GETTING SICK AGAIN.
The sarcasm went completely unacknowledged; the reply was placidly smug. Excellent.
Off I went. It was cold outside. I was grumpy. Hey, I try to be a good devotee – and most of the time, I really suck at it. I picked up a bag of good cumin seed, then coriander, then went in search of ginger— A large piece, mind.
The implication was that I wouldn’t be doing this just today. Since my first (grumpy and did I mention I was SICK) thought was along the lines of are you f-ing kidding me, I decided to keep it to myself and instead grubbed up a big knob of gingerroot.
Then I returned home, cooked tea by the recipe, and poured it into a tall ceramic cup. Despite my orneriness, I did my best to quiet my mind, make the beverage with love, and offer it with prayers and reverence. Then I stood up, aiming a little parting shot because sometimes I just don’t know when to shut up. Happy?
Drink now, while it’s still hot.
The silence was enough of a DUH.
All of it?
When there was again a loud, glaring non-answer, I took the cup and poured its contents into a mug, then drank it. It was surprisingly non-terrible.
Good. Do that for the next ten days.
And before I could whinge any further, the sense of Him was gone.
Now, if you’ve read this blog, read about Indra up until now, you can likely guess what was going on. But I was run-down and tired and got a week into my eleven-day “assignment” before realising, wait a minute, this tea has healing ingredients…and I didn’t get sick after all, did I?
The reply was amused. You should Trust Me.
That seems a poor idea. You trick people.
I wake those who sleep.
Indra is a Poet-Seer, but when His help is truly needed, when I really feel laid low and have lost heart to even keep trying – and I was very unhappy, despite my joking above – He is a fighter, a commander. Even His words seem to change to reflect this: efficient orders with the bare minimum of expression, and letting me prattle on since my whining won’t really change anything. He is action, and so His assistance is strong, motivated, and practical; rather than sympathise with sore feelings, He moves me to get myself moving, and to do what I must so that the reasons for grief will no longer exist. Interestingly – and perhaps, not surprisingly – I haven’t had a cold since that time.
But Lord Indra won’t do for me what I can do for myself, and tomorrow I’ll talk about His refusal to “help” – or, rather, when the “help” I request is not what I should actually receive.
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