Many Valentine’s days ago I was very focused on Lord Rama as my face of God. I had read the Ramayana, the story of the incarnation of the god Vishnu as the benevolent ideal king of Ayodhya, the ideal brother to Lakshmana and the ideal husband to Sita.
I was chanting Sri Ram Jai Ram every chance I got – every morning, every evening, every day in my car as I drove the 40 minutes to and from work, as I brushed my teeth and got dressed, as I went out on errands… Sri Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram. Once I got so into declaring the Victory of God as the Jai Ram chant sped up that I got a speeding ticket, as I inadvertently sped up automotively, as well. But I was in such bliss and love for God that I smiled up at the very nice officer with such overwhelming appreciation for his beautiful soul as he gave me my vehicular citation. He smiled back at me and thanked me for being so kind. And I thanked him for my ticket and drove off, my bliss completely unphased.
I had pictures of Rama with his blue skin and his bow and arrow everywhere. One of my favorites was a picture of him looking at Sita with steadfast and complete love. I would imagine myself as the Beloved of Rama, the true and devoted wife of God and I was in love with Rama heart and soul!
I was working at a holistic spa as a massage therapist along with my friend and fellow God devotee who was a head-over-heels gopi for Krishna. The two of us used to pretend like she was “dating” Krishna and I was “dating” Rama and we’d leave each other messages on the phone message pad saying things like “Shanti, Krishna called and wondered if you and Rama wanted to double date tonight for dinner, he can pick us up in his chariot after work.” The other massage therapist had no idea what we were talking about and did not realize that we were both “dating” Gods with blue skin, two different incarnations of Vishnu. We were both silly and giddy in love.
So, for my Valentine’s Day prayer that year I prayed for Lord Rama to pierce my heart with his arrow. Now, Rama’s bow and arrow are not some little cupid baby toys – they are serious big friggin arrows! He could shoot an arrow and split ten tree trunks in two and then have his arrow turn around and return to him! His arrows could vanquish demons and win wars over evil! So, this was not some piddly little cherub arrow we were talking about. But I was courageous – or rather, I was too in love to be in fear, and I wanted my Valentine, Lord Rama, to pierce my heart wide open.
On Valentine’s day I had an outcall massage appointment for a lady who was home bound a half our into the countryside, so I was driving through the hills on my way out, chanting Jai Ram as usual. I drove by a small enclosure with a herd of goats grazing and as I glanced to the side of the road one particular goat caught my eye. He had big curled horns on the sides of his head – he was a ram. A what? Yes, a RAM, as in Jai Ram. In the split second my eyes fell upon this Ram at the side of the road my heart was exploded! It was Ram’s arrow piercing my heart, God answering my prayer.
All of a sudden, the whole world became a declaration of Ram’s love for me! The green grassy hills were screaming “I love you!” everywhere I looked. The trees were fervently flinging adoration on me as I drove by them, the flowers were passionately singing their love for me into the air, the sky was showering love down upon me. As I continued driving down the road (God is not like alcohol, you can operate heavy machinery while intoxicated with the Divine) the rolling hills on both sides would reach out to caress me with sweet tenderness as I passed by. My heart was bursting and expanding and overflowing and expanding again.
I noticed that even the road signs warning of sharp curves ahead seemed to be loving me just as ardently as the living greenery. The street signs didn’t contain mere names signifying geographical locations – they also contained, hidden within the names, syllables of God’s Eternal love. I don’t know why the road signs loving me seemed stranger than all of nature caressing me with love, but it did.
The experience lasted maybe a total of ten minutes but I felt filled with enough love to last me all of eternity. And it helped me realize that God is always declaring His/Her love for us in ALL of Creation – in goats and grassy hills, in sunshine and flowers, in birds and bees – even in road signs, even in innate man-made reflective yellow painted metal road signs. So, even though my heart is not quite so pierced every day of my life, my heart is forever changed and whenever I see a curvy road ahead, I remember…. God is Love.