Stories shared by Srila Prabhupada during conversations and lectures.
It is a fact, not story. One man, he went out of his village, and after ten years, he came back, advertised himself that, "I have become successful in yoga practice." So naturally villagers surrounded him, "Oh, you have...? What yoga practice you have learned?" "I can walk on the water." "Oh?" Actually, even at the present moment, if somebody comes and says, "I can walk...," many people will come, thousands of men.
So when everything arrangement was that he'll cross the river, walking on the water, one old man came. He said, "Sir, it is very wonderful, but it is two paisa worth. Two paisa worth." "Why?" "Now, you will walk and go the other side; I'll take a boat, pay him two paisa, I'll do the same thing. So what is your credit?"
Reference: Morning Walk - December 9, 1973, Los Angeles
Prabhupada: So we have explained yesterday, buddhi-yoga. Buddhi-yoga means bhakti-yoga. So, svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Bhakti-yoga, begun, some way or other, it has got great effect.
There is story that in the Deity room, a lamp was burning. You know oil lamp has to be watched. Sometimes the wick has to be pushed. So the lamp was almost going to be extinguished. In the meantime, a rat came there. He thought that it is something eatable. So he touched with mouth the wick, and it became pushed. Simply by that action he got salvation. Just try to understand. Because he gave some service to the Deity.
So there are many instances. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Krishna consciousness business is so nice that whatever you do sincerely, it will never be lost.
Reference: Bhagavad-gita 2.40 - London, September 13, 1973
Srila Prabhupada sometimes told the following story to illustrate how one may mix with nondevotees and yet keep one's devotional integrity:
Once a crocodile invited a monkey in a tree to come and ride on his back. The foolish monkey jumped down from the tree and soon found himself clinging to the crocodile's back in the middle of the river.
The monkey asked the crocodile, "Where are we going?"
The crocodile replied, "I'm going to take you home, where my wife will cut out your heart and we will eat it for lunch!"
The monkey replied, "But I left my heart back on shore in the tree. Will you please let me get it?"
The crocodile thought this was a good proposal and allowed the monkey to touch shore. But the monkey jumped into his tree and refused to accept further invitations from the crocodile.
The moral of this story: You may associate with the nondevotee, but don't give him your heart.
Reference: Narada-bhakti-sutra 45 purport
Kaunteya pratijanihi. Pratijanihi: "My dear Arjuna, you can declare this to the world. You declare." Why Krishna is not declaring? Krishna is declaring through His devotee, because Krishna has a promise that, "I shall protect My devotee." If a promise is there by the devotee, that cannot be violated. Krishna can... Because He is God, He can violate His own promise because He is supreme. But He wants to protect His devotee; therefore He is trying to give the declaration through His devotee that, "It will be protected."
I will give you one example how Krishna sometimes breaks His promise. It is very nice story. Krishna, when He joined Arjuna, He promised from His own side that, "Because the fight is between your brothers, so it is not My duty... Because both of you are My relatives, so it is not My duty to join one party and not to join another. But because I have divided Myself - Myself one side, and other side, My soldiers - but Duryodhana has decided to take My soldiers, not Me, so I shall join you. But I shall not fight. I shall not fight. I may take some work which may assist you." So Arjuna offered, "Whatever work You like, You can take." So He said, "All right. I shall drive your chariot."
So Krishna's promise was that He will not fight. But at a time when Arjuna was perplexed by fighting with Bhishma... Bhishma was the greatest fighter, although he was very old man. Duryodhana incited him that, "Because the other side are your very pet grandsons, you are not fighting fully." That was the complaint of Duryodhana. So in order to encourage him, Bhishma said to Duryodhana, "All right, tomorrow I shall finish all these five brothers. Tomorrow I shall finish. And I have got now special arrows for killing these five chivalrous brothers."
So Duryodhana was very intelligent. He told, "All right, please keep these five arrows with me for the night. I shall deliver you tomorrow in the morning." "All right, you take it." And Krishna understood. Krishna is, everything knows, past, present and future. Krishna knew it that, "Bhishma has now promised. He will kill." So He asked Arjuna - this is also politics - that, "You go to Duryodhana. Do you remember that Duryodhana" - Duryodhana is elderly than Arjuna - "that he would keep some promise which he has offered to you?" Duryodhana told him, "Arjuna, whenever you want something, I shall give you." "Now this is the time. You can go." "And what is that?" "Now, he has got five arrows for killing you. You should take and come to Me."
So after fight, they were friends. So Arjuna went to the camp of Duryodhana, and he was well received. "Well, Arjuna, come on. What do you want? Come on. Sit down. Do you want anything from me? If you want, I can stop this fight. I can return you this..." Arjuna said, "No. I have not come to you for begging my kingdom. Fighting will go on. But I want... You promised something." "Yes. I know. I offer you. What do you want?" "Now, I want those five arrows." At once he delivered.
And this information was carried to, I mean to say, Bhishma. Bhishma knew that, "Krishna is very cunning also. He will save His devotee. So He has done this. All right, in spite of Krishna... He has broken my promise, and tomorrow I shall see. If Krishna does not break His promise, then His friend will be killed. I will fight in such a way." So he was fighting in such a way that Arjuna became almost dead. Then at that time, Krishna... The chariot was torn into pieces, and Arjuna fell down. And then Krishna took up one of the wheel of the chariot and came before: "Now, Bhishma, you stop this fighting; otherwise I will kill you." Bhishma at once gave up his arrow, and he offered, "All right. Kill me."
So thing is that because Bhishma promised that, "I shall kill Arjuna tomorrow," and Krishna also promised not to fight, just to save these two devotees, Arjuna and Bhishma - Bhishma also was a great devotee - just to show him that, "I am breaking My promise. Please stop..." He wanted that, "Either I shall break My promise or you shall kill Arjuna. So better see that I have broken My promise." So in this way, sometimes, for devotee, He sometimes breaks His own promise.
Reference: Bhagavad-gita 9.29-32 - New York, December 21, 1966
Just like you supply foodstuff to the stomach. That will be distributed. Suppose I have got very good cake. Now, the fingers holding the cake. Now, if the fingers think, "All right, it is a good cake. Why shall I supply to the stomach? Let us eat it," oh, the fingers cannot eat. That is improper.
There is a story in Sanskrit, udarendriyanam. Udarendriyanam. There was a meeting of all the parts of the senses, that, "We are working, and the stomach is sitting idly, and he is simply eating. So let us get into strike. We shall not work." Just like there is strike system now. Now, all the hands and legs and all parts of the body they, "No, no more we are going to work for the stomach." Now, what happened? Gradually the hand become weak, the fingers become, the eye could not see, the ear... Oh, they thought that, "What is happening this? We are becoming weaker, weaker, weaker." Then they decided, "It was a mistake not to supply foodstuff to the stomach. It was good for us."
Similarly, by establishing a godless civilization we are not happy. We are not happy, just like the same way, not supplying foodstuff to the stomach, we are thinking of becoming happy. No, that cannot be. If the senses of the body, parts of the body want to become happy, then he, the senses and the parts of the body, they have to supply foodstuff to the stomach. Similarly, if you want to be happy in this world, there is no alternative without, I mean to say, performing sacrifices. That is recommended here. Evam pravartitam cakram. The circle is described in the previous verses, that annad bhavanti bhutani [Bg 3.14].
Reference: Bhagavad-gita 3.16-17 - New York, May 25, 1966