Potato, Egg or Tea-leaf ?

Potato, Egg or Tea-leaf ?

Sudarshana devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.8.29, Kunti Maharani prays

na veda kashcid bhagavams cikirshitam
tavehamaanasya nrnaam vidambanam
na yasya kashcid daityo 'sti karhicid
dveshyas ca yasmin vishamaa matir nrnaam

"O Lord, no one can understand Your transcendental pastimes, which appear to be human and are so misleading. You have no specific object of favor, nor do You have any object of envy. People only imagine that You are partial."

Lord is equally merciful to all. But many times when we are caught up in the modes and keep facing one adverse situation after another, we start whether Krishna really loves us or not. We think that He is partial and is favouring everyone else except us. Srila Prabhupada very nicely mentions in the purport to above verse, "The Lord's mercy upon the fallen souls is equally distributed. He has no one as the specific object of hostility." He further says how Lord's mercy is like sun, which gives light to all people without any discrimination. "By utilizing the sun rays, sometimes even the stones become valuable, whereas a blind man cannot see the sun, although there are enough sun rays before him. Darkness and light are two opposite conceptions, but this does not mean that the sun is partial in distributing its rays. The sun rays are open to everyone, but the capacities of the receptacles differ."

His Divine Grace further explains about three categories of people - pure devotees, mixed devotees and those who are atheists. "Those who are completely against the service of the Lord are considered to be in abject darkness, those who ask for the Lord's favor only at the time of necessity are partial recipients of the mercy of the Lord, and those who are cent percent engaged in the service of the Lord are full recipients of the mercy of the Lord. Such partiality in receiving the Lord's mercy is relative to the recipient, and it is not due to the partiality of the all-merciful Lord."

In this context we came across a short-story wherein a young girl Devi, approaches her father for help. She told him how she found it difficult to continuously face one problem after another. She was frustrated, angry and sad with the way the things were going in her life. Her father consoled her and took her to kitchen and asked her to boil potato, tea and eggs in separate containers. Not finding proper response from her father, Devi was irritated. But her dad asked her to be patient for sometime. After 15 minutes her dad asked her to check the contents of each container. The eggs were hard, potatoes had become soft and weak. Tea leaves had changed the colour and aroma of the water in which they were boiling. When Devi looked at her father, not understanding what he was trying to convey, he said, 

"Each object responded differently to water. That is how you have to be? Each object was put under the same kind of circumstance, faced similar adversity, but reacted differently. The potato, when put in boiling water, became very weak. The crumbled egg became very hard, when we put in boiling water. And the tea leaves are unique. It changed the water itself, giving it unique flavour and aroma! It gave something new." The father told her, "In times of adversities, how do you want to react - A potato or egg or a tea leaf". 

So the lesson we can learn from this story is that, at times of adversity if we reject devotional service then we will become weak like the potatoes. If we take shelter of Lord, then we become strong like eggs. But we should not become so hard-hearted that we later forget the Lord's mercy and be ungrateful to Him. Irrespective of adversities, if we always lovingly engage in service of the Lord, then like the tea leaves, adversities will not have negative impact on us. And by Krishna's grace, we will be able to inspire others also to lotus feet of Krishna. We might not be able to become pure devotees over night. But constant hammering of these truths through the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam will keep us sane. As our beloved spiritial master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj says -"Don't think that, "somebody has intimate relationship and I don't have any." No. But the efforts are less. That is the thing. So don't think that, "somebody has intimate relationship and I don't have any." No. But the efforts are less. That is the thing. Please, please, please, you should NEVER leave Bhagavatam. Never...That is the way to develop intimate relationship with Krishna, because Bhagavatam is non-different from Him."

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Sudarshana devi dasi.