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Story 2: The Exploded Frog

     The little son of a fat mother frog came hopping home to the pond in great excitement.

     "Mother, today I saw something wonderful!" he announced excitedly.

     Mother, who had been dozing in the sun on a big lily leaf, opened her eyes and with only faint interest asked, "What was that, son?"

     "Oh, it was such a huge animal--so big it is difficult to describe!"

     Mother chuckled indulgently. "And how big would you say it was, little fellow?"

     The child-frog's eyes widened with innocent wonder. "Til today, Mother, you were the biggest creature I'd ever seen. But this animal was much, much bigger than you!"

     Mother became a little indignant at this comparison. She puffed up her throat and asked, "Was the creature you saw as big as I am now?"

     "Mother, much bigger!"

     She puffed herself up even more. "What it so big?"

     "Mother, much much bigger!"

     "This big?"

     And so the mother frog kept inflating her body more and more, while the baby continued to cry, "Bigger, Mother, bigger!" Finally the poor mother frog burst with a bang.

     Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami used to say in connection to this story, "It is better to be a good one than a big one." Thinking oneself to be big--even in spiritual pur- suits--is the cause of falldown. "I am Brahman", "I am siddha", "I am self-realized", "I am a pundit", even "I am a Vaisnava" are all egotistical assertations. Rather, the serious aspirant for spiritual advancement should realize himself as an insignificant particle of dust under the lotus feet of his spiritual master and the Vaisnavas.

Story 3: Golden Stone-pot

     A wealthy landlord called upon a goldsmith in his village and, handing him a lump of pure gold, said, "I want you to make a nice pot with this amount of gold. But don't you dare corrupt this gold by mixing in another metal just to steal the excess!" Bowing and srcaping, the goldsmith readily agreed and took the gold into his workshop.

     He was sorely tempted by the great wealth that would fall into his hands if he just found a way to cheat the landlord. Sitting at his workbench, he thought to himself, "That man will immediately recognize gold alloy. He'll have me arrested, flogged and probably killed if I attempt to trick him in that way. But there must be another way to do it." Suddenly a plan that he was sure was foolproof popped into his head.

     A few days later the goldsmith delivered a gold-plated stone pot to the landlord. The rich man's eyebrows rose high in astonishment when he saw it. "Now what is that?" he demanded.

     The goldsmith replied, "My lord, this is the golden pot you ordered."

     The landlord stared at the goldsmith in amazement that was turning to anger. "Are you joking with me? Anyone can see that this is a stone-pot with a gold plating on it!"

     The goldsmith shook his head and grinned. "Oh no, my lord. I have made you a gold pot fashioned after a stone-pot. It is a golden stone-pot!"

     The moral is that just as it is a mockery to claim that one has made a golden stone-pot, or a mango-cake of jackfruit, it is a mockery to speak of brahmana Vaisnava, sudra Vaisnava, candala Vaisnava, yavana Vaisnava or Hindu Vaisnava. Either one is a Vaisnava or he has some other designation according to Varnasrama considerations. But when one is accepted as a Vaisnava, then mundane classifications simply do not apply.

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