You may have heard the story of Paramhansa Yogananda visiting a man who was complaining about his son and certain of his eternal damnation to hellfire. Well, in case you haven’t, basically, Yogananda tells the man to tie up his son and throw him in his oven next time he comes home drunk. After the man expresses his total outrage and disgust at the suggestion, Yogananda makes his point – if you, a human father couldn’t bear the thought of burning your son, how could our Heavenly Father, who is all love itself, damn any of His children to eternal hellfire?

Our little dog, Kali, has always been a “biter.” We’ve never quite understood why and we’ve never been able to break her of the habit. Perhaps it is from some trauma before she was rescued. Thankfully, she is so small and never actually tries to do harm, even though she makes herself sound incredibly vicious, she’s never even broken the skin. 

If you know Kali, you likely love her because although she can be a “mighty bitey,” as our nephew used to call her, she is adorable and extremely loving. And every time she “loses herself” and snaps at me or someone else, it’s hard to stay mad at her because she follows it up quickly with “I’m sorry licks.”

Aren’t we all “biters” at times – when our personalities just don’t quite hit the mark in terms of our spiritual aspirations? Here’s the difference though.

Kali doesn’t sit around afterward feeling guilty for being a bitch (literally); she just quickly asks for forgiveness with complete confidence that no one will remove their love from her for a simple mistake. Maybe she remembers more clearly than we do, the unconditional love of our Divine Mother.

Let us always remember, when we’ve made a mistake, that, as Yoganandaji said, “God doesn’t mind our faults, He only minds our indifference.” 

Let’s remember to get back up again quickly after a slip or fall and take Swami Sri Yukteswar’s words of encouragement to heart:

Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.”