The world encourages us to lead a lifestyle centred on being a big accomplisher. All our family and friends constantly goad us to achieve great heights. However as a practising spiritualist we attract God’s grace when we desire to be small and meek. This is not to lose one’s self respect or sense of worth. The smallness refers to constant feeling of dependence on God’s mercy. The ill informed people of materialistic society may condemn this spiritual principle of smallness. However as Jesus Christ said, “it’s the meek and humble that shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
When a Bhakti Yogi cultivates the mood of being dependent on God, he’s protected from being distracted from the path of spiritual progress. Radhanath Swami narrates the story of a mouse that was chased by the cat. The mouse sought shelter of a sage and the sage using his mystic powers turned the mouse into a cat. The former mouse expressed gratitude to the sage and carried on with this daily business in the body of a cat. One day however a dog chased this cat, and again he turned to the sage. The kind hearted sage now helped the cat become a dog. The threat was gone. Later a tiger attacked the dog and once again by the intervention of the compassionate sage, the dog became a tiger. Now the tiger roamed the jungle fearlessly. One day he felt hungry and saw no food available. His eyes turned to the same sage who had been his benefactor till now. “Why search elsewhere when this sage will be a good lunch for me”, thought the tiger. The sage could understand the evil intentions of the tiger, and immediately he sprinkled some water on the tiger and chanted a spell, ‘Punah Musika bhava’, ‘may you once again become a mouse’. In a moment the tiger squealed into a mouse, and was humbled and deprived of all his glory.
Radhanath Swami has often narrated this story to highlight how we progress in spiritual life only due to the mercy of devotees and Krishna. Initially we are infants and tiny like a mouse, in spiritual life. However over a period of time we progress and become like tigers; we grow and influence many others in their spiritual progress. However, if we do not consciously cultivate the mood of being dependent on God for our services, over a period of time we forget the grace of Lord upon us. We think we are special and don’t realize the source of our spiritual strength. We take senior positions and possessions and subtly even defy God. At that time, the Lord through his various energies, humbles us and makes us into a mouse once again. This is done through the trappings of the illusory energy, called as maya which lures a Bhakti Yogi away from his path by offering many enjoyable distractions. Therefore it’s imperative for a Krishna yoga practitioner to always remain humble and meek.
Radhanath Swami’s summing up is poetic, catchy and profound: “The great like to see greatness in others, and the smallness in themselves. The small on the other hand see smallness in others and greatness in themselves. That’s how you know whether you are small or great.”