Published on June 20th, 2022 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Old Woman in the Woods

There is that story that one old woman, she was suffering. And she had to collect woods from the forest and sell in the market. So one day, how do you say, she was praying to Krsna, or God, that “Kindly help me. I am in very poverty-stricken.” So one day, she was carrying that load of fuel. It fell down. . .

[Selected excerpt from a morning walk with AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada March 6, 1974, Mayapura]

Prabhupada: . . .But everyone thinking that “If I could become like this, I would have been happy.” So Krsna gives all chance. “All right, you become this.” This is transmigration. This is transmigration. [break] …yathandhair upa… We are thinking something like that, and Krsna is giving us chance, ‘All right, you take this chance; you become like this.” Ye yatha mam prapadyante. But it will not make you happy. Therefore ultimately says, sarva-dharman. ‘You give up all this rascaldom. What I speak, you can accept. That is your dharma.” Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam… [Bg. 18.66]. That will be beneficial for you, the most confidential instruction.

There is that story that one old woman, she was suffering. And she had to collect woods from the forest and sell in the market. So one day, how do you say, she was praying to Krsna, or God, that ‘Kindly help me. I am in very poverty-stricken.” So one day, she was carrying that load of fuel. It fell down. So nobody was there to help her. So she began to cry, ‘Who will help me?” So she began to pray to God ‘Kindly help me.” And God came: ‘What do you want?” ‘Who are you, Sir?” ‘I am God.” ‘Kindly help me to take this burden on my head.” Yes. ‘All right.” From God, she’s asking, ‘Please help me to get this burden on my head.” That’s all.

So everyone is going on, ‘Let family be very happy, my son be married. He may… Let him pass MA examination.” But it is the same thing, ‘Give me the burden on my head.” This is the prayer. Mudhah. Na mam prapadyante mudhah [Bg. 7.15]. The life was meant for understanding Krsna and worship Him, and she’s asking, ‘Give me the burden on my head.” Therefore mudha, rascal, fool. She’s asking something which will never make her happy, even by merging into the effulgence, Brahman effulgence. It will never make her happy. But she does not know. Therefore she’s mudha, rascal.

Siddha-svarupananda: That’s a very clear example.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Siddha-svarupananda: Very clear.
Prabhupada: Yes. Everyone is asking, ‘Please help me to get this burden on my head.” Everyone is asking. [break] Krsna mantra means asking nothing from Krsna, but only praying, ‘Please engage me in Your service.” This is Hare Krsna. Now let him engage, whatever service He likes. I don’t dictate that ‘Give me this service.” That is also sense gratification. As soon as I’ll say that ‘Engage me in this type of service,” that is also sense gratification. When one surrenders fully that ‘Engage me in Your service in whatever way You like,” that is pure devotion. You cannot dictate Krsna. Because He wants, sarva-dharman… ‘First of all surrender, then I will give you. I will allot what kind of service you can do.” Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam, aham tvam sarva… [Bg. 18.66].

But if I dictate, then Krsna will be…, ‘All right, you take this.” Then you again become unhappy. Don’t dictate Krsna. Be dictated. That is happiness. But everyone is dictating, ‘Please give me this. Give me this. Give me that. Give me that. Give me this.” Why should you dictate Krsna? As soon as I dictate, that is my sense gratification. That is not pure devotion. Anyabhilasita-sunyam. Anyabhilasita-sunyam [BRS 1.1.11]. Make zero all your desires. It doesn’t matter, this desire or that desire. Any kind of desire. Whatever you desire, that is material. Anyabhilasita-sunyam [Madhya 19.167]. That is pure devotee.
Devotee: That takes practice.
Prabhupada: Eh?
Devotee: That takes practice, to stop desiring for oneself.
Prabhupada: Yes. And therefore…
Devotee: You have to practice…
Prabhupada: …the practice is that you should simply desire what your spiritual master says. Don’t desire yourself. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah **. If you fulfill the desires of your spiritual master, then Krsna will be pleased.” Because he’s the representative, the immediate representative, boss, if you satisfy him, the master, supreme master, is also satisfied. If he gives report, ‘This clerk is doing nice,” that is sufficient. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah **. This is the injunction.
Jayapataka: So human life was no advantage. Only because you have come, now it can be advantage.
Prabhupada: Eh?
Jayapataka: Human life is no special advantage. Only if you come, the spiritual master comes, then it can be some advantage.
Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore Vedic injunction is gurum eva abhigacchet: ‘You must go to a bona fide spiritual master if you want to make your life perfect.” There is no question whether I shall go or not. ‘You must!” That is the beginning of human life. Otherwise animal life. He has no spiritual master. He’s not going to obey anyone. He’s working in his own whims. That is animal life. Real life here begins.
tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
[MU 1.2.12]

This is the Vedic injunction. You cannot do anything without abiding the orders of spiritual master. That is surrender. How nice water it is. [break] And there are many thousands, you’ll find. And we are thinking, ‘Oh, if I go away, who will feed my son? Who will feed my daughter?” He’ll never think that ‘If so many animals are fed by the Supreme,” eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman, ‘He’s supplying all the necessity why not for me or for my other children?” It is maya that one thinks that ‘Without me…,” Just like Gandhi was thinking. Unless he was killed… He was always thinking, ‘Without me, India will be spoiled.” India will be spoiled. It was spoiled. Therefore you wanted sva-rajya… And after his death, it is also spoiled. So India’s karma will have to suffer, either Gandhi’s there or not there. Prakrteh kriya… Prakrteh: Everything is being done by the material nature. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih, by, dictated by different modes of nature. Ahankara-vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate: [Bg. 3.27] The rascal, being bewildered by, he’s thinking, ‘Without me, everything will be spoiled. I am the director. I am the director!” So I requested Gandhi, ‘Now you come out of this turmoil, politics. Just preach Bhagavad-gita.” No. He’ll be killed. That’s all. This is the way. Going on. Even a Gandhi commits mistake, what to speak of others. What is the effect of this sva-rajya. The effect of sva-rajya is that people are starving. That’s all. At least, British government would not allow like this. That’s a fact.


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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

2 Responses to The Old Woman in the Woods

  1. purusottam madhav das says:

    how can I avoid false ego

  2. purusottam madhav das says:

    how can I avoid stress

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