The Mouse Merchant - Part 2

18th Feb 2023
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

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

This is in continuation of the previous mail offering, "The Mouse merchant", wherein we were seeing about the quality of the Vaishyas as described by Srila Prabhupada referring to a Calcutta businessman Nandi who just started from a very insignificant dead mouse and grew to be a big businessman. I recently came across a similar story and was just awestruck at the similarities and I share herewith the story.  

There was an intelligent royal advisor. One day, on seeing a dead mouse in the street he said, "If somebody tries he can earn even from this dead mouse." These wise words fell in the ears of a local lad. He picked up the dead mouse to try making money from it. After going some blocks he found a merchant who was looking for a dead mouse for his pet cat. The boy earned two copper coins in the deal. With those copper coins he purchased some puddings and sat on the roadside. He was waiting for flower sellers. He knew that they would be hungry since they start early in the morning. When the flower pickers came, he bartered those puddings for some garlands. After selling those garlands he once again set the shop for sweet puddings. This became a routine for sometime. 

This helped him to save some money. One day after a thunderstorm the royal garden became a mess. The boy offered the lazy gardener that he would clean the garden for free, if he were allowed to take all the wood in lieu of that. The gardener happily agreed. The boy sold firewood to the local potter who wanted them for his baking oven. He paid a heavy price because it was difficult to find wood after the storm. With his savings, he opened a small eatery. One day he heard that a horse dealer was coming to the city to sell his 500 horses. He made a plan to grab that opportunity. He gave a free treat to local grass mowers at his eatery. They were surprised. He requested them to sell their grass to him only. Once the horse trader came he could sell all grass at high profit. After sometime elapsed, he heard that a ship from some foreign country was coming for trade. He went to one of his friends who was a jeweler. He borrowed a ruby studded gold ring from him. He had definite information that the country, the ship was coming from, was not having gold or ruby. He went to meet the captain of the ship and gave him the gold ring as advance commission. 

Later the captain would bring all the merchants to that guy and he in turn, would take them to his friends’ shop. Thus he became a successful broker. He became a rich man. He wanted to pay his obeisance to the man, who taught him to start making money by a dead mouse. He went to meet the royal advisor and gifted him 100,000 gold coins. On being asked he told the whole story right from the dead mouse. The royal advisor was impressed by this young man. He married off his daughter to that young man. 

Our beloved Gurudev HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj used to say that if so much endeavor is required materially, then how much more is required spiritually? Maharaj always referred to the following verse from Sri Brahma Samhita 5.59 

pramāṇais tat-sad-ācārais tad-abhyāsair nirantaram
bodhayan ātmanātmānaṁ bhaktim apy uttamāṁ labhet 

The highest devotion is attained by slow degrees by the method of constant endeavour for self-realization with the help of scriptural evidence, theistic conduct and perseverance in practice. 

The man in the story was always looking for opportunities and utilizing them in the best possible manner with great alertness. If so much of endeavor is required to earn something materially and which we are bound to lose at one point or the other, we should understand that to progress spiritually we require constant endeavor and perseverance under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master. If only we have the same insatiable greed which the man in the story had to increase his business, to increase our love for Guru and  Krishna, and to be always alert in all situations to look out for opportunities to serve Them in whatever possible way, then that would be our ultimate gain and success.

As  Srila Prabhupada says, our only business in the human form of life is to understand how to serve God. Hence we may be born in any of the varnas, but all of us are vaishyas or businessmen in the sense, that we have to be responsibly busily engaged in devotional service, which is the only business in the human form of life. 

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