Doing Our Duty
Sureshji, a lawyer from Aurangabad District in Bihar, is a great devotee of Baba. During the Emergency period, when Baba was imprisoned under false charges, he had the occasion of visiting Baba frequently in prison to discuss legal matters. Sureshji then looked after the legal affairs of Ananda Marga. At that time, no one was allowed to see Baba except for His lawyer. Ananda Marga was banned at that time by the Indian government and declared an illegal organization.
It was an extremely difficult time for all of us. All our humanitarian work was suddenly stopped. Nothing could be done. The government hunted down our monks and nuns to imprison them. Our future was bleak and hopeless. Like the rest of us, Sureshji also felt the utter hopelessness of the situation. One day during his routine visit to Baba's cell, he asked Baba, "Baba, what will happen to us? I have no hope for the organization. Please guide me. What can we do?"
Baba responded by telling him a story. Just before that, Baba asked him, "Do you know the story of Lord Krsna when He was young and living in Vrndavan?" Without waiting for an answer, Baba proceeded to narrate the story.
There lived a demon in Vrndavan at that time. It used to move during the daytime disguised as an animal, like a cow, donkey or horse. It killed and then robbed anyone who happened to come near it. The animal's powerful hind legs delivered the deadly blow to the victim. The inhabitants of Vrndavan lived in great fear of this demon. They realized that the only person who could help them was none other than Krsna. They collectively decided to approach Krsna for help and explained the desperate situation to Him. Upon hearing their story, Krsna assured them that He would help them by teaching the demon a good lesson.
In the meantime, there lived in Vrndavan an old widow, who was very devoted to Krsna. She survived by selling milk and milk products. The milk was obtained from a cow which lived with her. The cow was her only companion.
One day, while returning home from the market after selling milk, she came upon a cute kitten. The kitten was either lost or abandoned. Feeling pity for the kitchen, she took it home and nursed it. She fed it with milk everyday. Over time she grew very attached to it.
With each passing day, the kitchen grew larger and larger and more and more beautiful. In fact, it became so large that it no longer looked like a cat. It grew to a gigantic size and was really too big to be called a cat.
One day, Krsna asked His elder brother, Balaram, to bring His bamboo stick with which He used to tend His cows. Balaram fetched the stick and gave it to Krsna. Krsna then pointed it to a donkey grazing with the cows in the field. He instructed Balaram to chase the donkey and beat it with the bamboo stick. He, however, cautioned him to only strike the donkey at its side, and never to be behind it at any time.
He also told Balaram to strike the donkey repeatedly, without giving it a chance to catch its breath, and to ensure that it ran past the house of the old widow. He repeatedly asked Balaram whether he had understood everything. Balaram was puzzled and sought a clarification from Krsna regarding His strange instructions. Krsna, however, told him to do what he was told, and not to ask any question. Balaram then proceeded to carry out Krsna's instructions.
Just as Balaram left, Krsna too left for the house of the old woman. When He reached her house, He saw that the old lady was just about to leave for work. Krsna asked her whether He could take a rest in her house. She happily agreed to His request and entertained Him with a simple but delicious meal. She laid out the food before Him, and then left for work.
Meanwhile, Krsna played about with the big cat-like animal. The moment He touched it, it roared like a tiger. Indeed, it was a tiger, a real tiger. The tiger thought it was a cat and behaved like a pussy cat. It must have forgotten its wild and fierce nature under the loving care and affection of the old widow. It only awakened to its original identity, its raw ferocity, after Krsna's divine touch. Krsna then patted it on its back, taming it temporarily. Nobody else realized that the cat was really a tiger. Only Krsna knew this fact.
On the other side of the field, Balaram was busily chasing and beating the donkey with the bamboo stick, just as directed by Krsna. He remembered Krsna's repeated instruction not to stand behind the donkey, and to direct it towards the widow's house. The donkey, in a haste to escape Balaram's repeated blows, ran past the house of the old widow. Just then, Krsna prompted the tiger to jump on the donkey and bite its throat, killing it instantly.
Krsna then explained to Balaram that the donkey was in fact a demon in disguise. It had to be killed to save the people from further misery. He said that if the donkey was given an opportunity to catch its breath while it was being beaten, it would have assumed its original demonic form, making it very difficult to kill it.
Then, with a broad smile, Baba looked at Sureshji and said, "Now do you understand what your duty is? You have to do your duty just like Balaram. There is no need to ask why and what. You do your duty and let Parama Purusa do His duty. Everything will be all right in the course of time."
For me, and for other sadhakas, this story is highly instructive. One should not try to analyze the Guru's instructions. The Guru has a good reason for everything, which may or may not be obvious. A sadhaka, a devotee, should only obey His instructions and implement them without question. This is surrender. Our duty is to surrender to His will.