THE LOVE THAT FREELY GIVETH IS THE HIGHEST

PRIDE once entered into the heart of Arjuna, the beloved friend of Sri Krishna. Arjuna thought that none equalled ''him in love and devotion to his Lord and Friend. The omniscient Lord, Sri Krishna, reading the heart of His friend, took him one day for a walk. They had not proceeded far when Arjuna saw a strange brahmana eating dry grass as food, but nevertheless had a sword dangling at his side. Arjuna at once knew him to be a holy and pious devotee of Vishnu, one whose highest religious duty was to injure no being. As even grass has life, he would not eat it green but sustained his life by eating it dry and lifeless. Yet he carried a sword.

Arjuna, wondering at the incongruity, turned towards the Lord and said: "How is this? Here is a man who has renounced all ideas of injuring any living being - down to the meanest blade of grass; yet he carries with him a sword, the symbol oF death and hatred!" The Lord said, "You had better ask the man yourself^". Arjuna then went up to the brahmana and said; "Sir, you injure no living being, and you live upon dry grass. Why then do you carry this sharp sword?"

The brahmana: It is to punish four persons if 1 chance to meet them.

Arjuna: Who are they?

The brahmana: The first is the wretch Narada.

Arjuna: Why, what has he done?

The brahmana: Why, look at the audacity of that fellow; he is perpetually keeping ray Lord awake with^ his songs and music. He has no consideration whatsoever for the comfort of the Lord. Day and night, in and out of season, he disturbs the peace of the Lord by his prayers and praises.

Arjuna: Who is the second person?

The brahmana: The impudent Draupadi!

Arjuna: What is her fault?

The brahmana: Look at the inconsiderate audacity of the woman! She was so rash as to call my beloved Lord just at the moment He was going to dine. He had to give up His dinner and go to the Kamyaka Yana to save the Pandavas from the curse of Durvasa. And her presumption went so far that she even caused my beloved Lord to eat the impure remnant of her own food.

Arjuna: Who is the third?

The brahmana: It is the heartless Prahlada. He was so cruel that he did not hesitate for a moment to ask my Lord to enter the boiling cauldron of oil, to be trodden under the heavy feet of the elephants and to break through an adamantine pillar.

Arjuna: Who is the fourth?

The brahmana: The wretch Arjuna.

Arjuna: Why, what fault has he committed?

The brahmana: Look at his felony, he made my beloved Lord take the mean office of a charioteer of his car in the great wars of Kurukshetra.

Arjuna was amazed at the depth of the poor brahmana's devotion and love, and from that moment his pride vanished, and he gave up thinking that he was the best devotee of the Lord. (77)