A friend expressed pain at his struggles in office. “I am determined to remain loyal to my family values; I swear to remain chaste to my wife, yet the temptations are overwhelming”, he confessed. “I see many in my office have extra marital affairs and I often get distracted by the advances of my beautiful lady colleague in office, and I am also tempted by the lucrative financial deals I could make if only I compromised on the principles of honesty”, he went on. “It seems such a challenge to live with the materialistic people who have no sympathy for my Krishna consciousness. I need the job because I need the money to take care of my family, yet I fear getting close to them because their values conflict with mine”. He was desperate to know how he could work with people who challenged his Krishna conscious principles.
As he cried his tale of woe, I recalled a story I had read in school
The monkey and the crocodile had been friends for some time now. While the crocodile marvelled at his friends’ character, and spoke about him fondly to his wife, she was unimpressed. She turned cold and ignored her husband. “What’s the matter, dear” implored the crocodile repeatedly. “I want to taste the monkey’s heart” revealed the wife. “I have heard monkeys flesh is succulent and since this monkey is your friend, he would easily come home if you invite him for dinner. We could then feast on his heart.”
Desiring to please his wife, the crocodile set out to get his friend home. Gladly accepting the invitation, the monkey jumped on the crocodile’s back.
As they cheerfully swam across the river, the crocodile revealed to his friend the sinister motive of his wife. “She wants to feast on your heart, and my dear friend I am sorry for letting you down” The monkey realized he wasn’t really being invited for dinner rather he was going to be the feast. Quickly gathering his wits, he exclaimed, “Oh my dear friend, if only you had told me earlier, I’d have gladly parted with my heart. We monkeys keep our heart atop the trees. Fast, take me back to the bank of the river, I shall get my heart in a moment.” The crocodile was too simple to catch the monkey’s frantic bid to escape. He swam to the bank with the monkey on his back, and the monkey instantly jumped to the tree again.
While the crocodile waited patiently for his friend to return with his heart, the monkey threw a rotten fruit on the head of the crocodile, and bid him goodbye. “I made a mistake in trusting you, but now never shall I make friends with another crocodile”, expressed the monkey, “I shall always keep my heart here”
Just as the monkey kept his heart in the tree, a true devotee of Krishna keeps his ‘heart’ with the Lord. He always remembers Krishna and counts his blessings. Although externally he may appear to be working, managing a business or serving his boss, internally he nurtures a loving relationship with the Lord. His heart is with Krishna, and then at the end of his life, he is naturally qualified to go back to the kingdom of God.
This relationship with Krishna also helps a devotee experience a higher taste and this taste helps him tolerate temptations and distractions soberly.