Stories shared by Srila Prabhupada during conversations and lectures.
Now, there is a story. It is very interesting. Visvamitra Muni, he was a great king, kshatriya, but his priest, Vasishtha Muni, he had great spiritual power. So he renounced his kingdom. He wanted to advance. He was kingly, royal order, but still, he wanted to advance in the spiritual order. So he adopted yoga process, meditation. That time it was possible for adopting this yoga process.
So he was meditating in such a way that the Indra, who was the king of heaven, he thought that, "This man is trying to occupy my post." As there is competition... Heaven means that is also material world. So this competition - no businessman wants another businessman go ahead. He wants to cut down. Competition of price, quality. Similarly, that Indra, he thought that, "This man is so strongly meditating, I may be deposed and he come to my seat." Then he arranged one of his society girls, Menaka, to go there and allure this muni.
So when Menaka approached that rishi, Visvamitra Rishi, he was meditating. And simply by the sound of her bangles, he could understand, "There is some woman." And as soon as he saw that is heavenly, celestial beauty, he was captivated. Then there was a result, Shakuntala. Perhaps some of you may know. There is a book made by Kalidasa, Shakuntala. This Shakuntala is supposed to be the most beautiful girl in the world, and she was born by this combination of Visvamitra Muni and Menaka.
So when this girl was born, then Visvamitra thought, "Oh, I was advancing in my spiritual culture, and again I have been entrapped." So he was going out. At the same time his wife, Menaka, brought this girl before her, and little child is always attractive. She showed that, "Oh, you have got such a nice girl, such beautiful girl, and you are going away? No, no. You should take care." So there is a picture, very nice. That is a very famous picture, that Menaka is showing Visvamitra Muni the girl, and the muni is like that, "No more show me." Then he went away.
So there are chances of failure. Just like a great sage like Visvamitra Muni, he also failed, failed for the time being. But Krishna says that this failure is not, I mean to say, unsuccessful. As we have sometimes the proverb that, "Failure is the pillar of success," especially in the spiritual life, this failure is not discouraging. So Krishna says that, "Even one fails in completing his spiritual course, still, there is no loss on his part."
Reference: Bhagavad-gita 6.40-43 - September 19, 1966, New York
I will recite one story in this connection, that one brahmana in South India, in Ranganatha temple, he was reading Bhagavad-gita. And he was illiterate. He did not know neither Sanskrit nor any letter. Illiterate. So the people, neighborhood, they knew that, "This man is illiterate, and he is reading Bhagavad-gita." He is opening the Bhagavad-gita, "Uh, uh," like that he was. So somebody was joking, "Well, brahmana, how you are reading Bhagavad-gita?" He could understand that, "This man is joking, because I am illiterate."
So in this way, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also happened to be that day in the Ranganatha temple, and He could understand that, "Here is a devotee." So He approached him and He asked, "My dear brahmana, what you are reading?" So he could also understand that, "This man is not joking." So he said, "Sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gita. I am trying to read Bhagavad-gita, but I am illiterate. So my Guru Maharaja said that, 'You must read eighteen chapters daily.' So I have no knowledge. I cannot read. Still, Guru Maharaja said, so I am just trying to carry out his order and opening the pages, and that's all. I do not know how to read it."
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that, "You are crying sometimes, I see." Then, "Yes, I am crying." "How you are crying if you cannot read?" "No, because when I take this Bhagavad-gita book, I see one picture, that Krishna is so kind that He has taken the chariot driver, sarathi, of Arjuna. He is His devotee. So Sri Krishna is so kind that He can accept the position of a servant because Arjuna was ordering, 'Keep my chariot here,' and Krishna was serving him. So Krishna is so kind. So when I see this picture within my mind, I am crying." So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately embraced him that, "You are reading Bhagavad-gita. Without any education, you are reading Bhagavad-gita." He embraced him.
So this is... How he was seeing the picture? Because he was a lover of Krishna. It doesn't matter he could read these shlokas or not, but he was absorbed in love of Krishna, and he was seeing Krishna was sitting there, and He was driving the chariot of Arjuna. This is required, not that education.
Reference: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.26 - Bombay, November 26, 1974
Prabhupada: His name was Gopal Ban. And there was a king, Krishnacandra. So the kings would relax by joking words by the jokers. That was system formerly. So Gopal Ban was constructing a house. So the king advised another friend that, "If you go to his new house and evacuate..." Because the house is not yet opened, not yet established, "then I'll give you one thousand rupees."
So this man said, "Yes, I'll go and do it." So he came to Gopal Ban's house and began to say, "Gopal Ban! Oh! I am called by nature. Kindly show me where is your privy. I have to pass." So he could understand that, "Why this man has come here to evacuate?" So he, "Yes, yes. Come in, come in, come in." So he opened the new lavatory and brought a big stick. So he said, "Why you have brought the stick?" "Yes, you can pass, you can pass stool, but if you urine one drop, I'll kill you."
So, "How it is possible?" "If it is not possible, I cannot allow." So these foolish scientific men, "You can speak, but if you use microphone, then I'll kill you." Yes. The Gopal Ban's policy. They would not say, "Not allow," but in a different way.
Reference: Room Conversation - August 11, 1973, Paris
So today is the disappearance day of my Guru Maharaja. As I told you that sadhavo jiva va mara va. There was a nice story the other day I told you that a sage is giving different kinds of blessings to different types of persons. So to a king's son, a prince, he blessed, raja-putra ciram jiva: "You are a king's son, prince. You live forever." And muni-putra, the son of a saintly person, he blessed him, ma jiva ma jiva: "You don't live." Raja-putra ciram jiva muni-putra ma jiva. And sadhu, devotees, he blessed him, jiva va mara va: "Either you live or you die, as you like." And there was a butcher, he blessed him, ma jiva ma mara: "You don't die, don't live."
So these words are very significant. That I have already explained; still I am explaining. A prince, he's enjoying sense, that's all. He has got enough facility for sense enjoyment. So his next life is hellish. Because if you indulge in sex life, then Krishna will give you facility to have sex life three times in an hour. Just like the pigeons, the monkeys, the sparrows, they are very sexually strong. You have seen it. So the facility is given. So princely order, they are after sense enjoyment. So he's blessed that, "Better you live forever, because after your death, you do not know what is going to happen to you. You are going to get a hellish life. Better you live for some time, go on with your enjoyment."
And muni-putra ma jiva. Brahmacari, working under the guidance, under strict disciplinary guidance, of a spiritual master, he is blessed, ma jiva, "You better die. Because you are so trained to enter into the kingdom of God, so why should you take so much trouble? Better you die and go back to Godhead." Ma jiva. And a devotee he blessed, jiva va maro va: "My dear devotee, either you live or die, the same thing." And the butcher, he blessed him, ma jiva ma mara: "You don't live, don't die." What he's to do? His living condition is so abominable. From the morning, he has to slaughter so many animals, see the bloodstain, the ghastly scene. That is his livelihood. So what a horrible life this is. So, "Don't live. And don't die also." Because after death, oh, he is going to be in so much hellish condition, nobody can describe. So both lives, living condition and death, after death, his condition is very horrible.
Anyway, apart from others, the devotee, for him, appearance and disappearance the same thing.
Reference: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Disappearance Day Lecture - LA, December 9, 1968
There is a short story in this connection about a snake who became a devotee upon instruction by Narada, who instructed him not to bite anymore. Since ordinarily a snake's business is to fatally bite other living entities, as a devotee he was forbidden to do so. Unfortunately, people took advantage of this nonviolence on the part of the snake, especially the children, who began to throw stones at him. He did not bite anyone, however, because it was the instruction of his spiritual master.
After a while, when the snake met his spiritual master, Narada, he complained, "I have given up the bad habit of biting innocent living entities, but they are mistreating me by throwing stones at me." Upon hearing this, Narada Muni instructed him, "Don't bite, but do not forget to expand your hood as if you were going to bite. Then they will go away." Similarly, a devotee is always nonviolent; he is qualified with all good characteristics. But, in the common world, when there is mischief made by others, he should not forget to become angry, at least for the time being, in order to drive away the miscreants.
Reference: Srimad Bhagavatam 4.11.31 Purport