No competition in spirituality!
Sage Narada carrying oil pot with Lord Narayana watching!
How the Lord humbled the pride of Narada?
In worldly life, people try to excel others in all fields. In sports, every body want to win the top slot. In education, the scenery is same. In business practices, there is cut throat competition. In spirituality, there need not be any competition at all since each one is a pilgrim in the spiritual path and each one attains the goal at his own pace according to the refinement of his conscious. First of all there is no time limit to reach the finish line as existing in athletics. God has given man complete freedom, either to choose the mundane life or the spiritual life. Man has got the freedom to pursue spiritual goals even while living in a family with wife and children. He may be employed in any profession or he may be a business man. Yet, he can follow the spiritual path which in no way will obstruct his mundane pursuits. In fact, a spiritually awakened man will shine well in mundane life also.
The Bagawat Gita contains many instructions which can be practiced by a house holder. In fact, the house holder meets more challenges in family and profession than a sage in hermitage. The sages live in forests practicing their meditation, avoiding desires. In a hermitage, the chances for senses are very little. In fact, the sage do not hanker for tasty meal. He is satisfied with leaves, tubers and simple fruits etc., to assuage his hunger. His attention is solely on the spiritual regime. A house holder in contrast lives amid many attractions of family life. He is prone to commit mistakes if he is not wary. The attractions of senses are not easy to discard. Hence, there is full play for all the senses to entice the individual in a family. When he practices his spiritual activities amid such distracting circumstances, we can always place the house holder in a higher rung of ladder when compared to a sage in forest.
The duties of house holder is manifold. In addition to looking after the needs of the family, he has to care for the relatives and guests who frequent his home. In addition he has to take care of the mendicants who pass through the villages in pilgrimage. He has to accommodate them in the night, giving food and water and taking care of his needs. When the house holder is able to think about God amid his varied activities, he is really fortunate. Once a sage named Narada was going round the three worlds. He was always reciting the name "OM Namo Narayanaya continuously. In the middle of trip, Lord Narayana himself manifested en route and enquired Narada about his welfare. Narada prostrated before the Lord and said he is happy by the grace of the Lord. But Narada has developed conceit that he is more devoted to the Lord than others since he used to repeat the name of the Lord continuously. He posed a question to the Lord about the best devotee in the world. Lord Narayana told Narada to visit a particular home in a distant village and observe the house holder for a day.
Narada set out the expedition. He came to the village and observed the man unnoticed.The man got up from bed and said, "Narayana" once. Then he started attending his duties. He was a farmer and he had lot of work to attend at his land, tending the cattle, looking after the crops, watering, manuring and removing weeds. In the evening he came back, rested for a while. In the night, he took meals and before retiring for the night, repeated once again "Narayana". Narada was amused and he could not find a valid reason why the Lord deputed him to observe the life of a simple farmer who repeated the name of God only twice a day. Here, he was continually repeating it. He came back to the Lord and told his observation and said, Oh Lord! that simple house holder repeats your name only twice a day! Lord Narayana smiled at him and gave him one small cup filled up with oil upto the brim. He told Narada, take the cup and see not a drop of oil spill. Go round the place once and come back to me. Narada was careful not to spill a drop of oil. He was moving slowly keeping his attention on the cup full of oil. With great difficulty, he completed the task and reported to the Lord.
Then Lord Narayana asked him, Narada! how many times, you have remembered by name? Narada told Lord Narayana, "Lord! My entire attention was on the oil cup. With great difficulty, i moved around without spilling! How i can remember your name? Then the Lord quipped, "You have observed the house holder. In spite of his heavy work schedule and family responsibilities, the farmer remembered my name twice. Hence, he is a real devotee. He is really a best devotee! Thus Narada's pride was humbled!