Hare Krishna Friends,
There is a famous quote that the grass appears greener on the other side. So we always have a tendency to compare our position with others and to imitate
to be like them. But the reality is when we try to imitate others, we would not be able to be sustain the show also for a long time.
In this regard there is a small story about a donkey and a dhobi (washerman). The donkey had to carry loads of clothes every day for his master. He was very bored
with his tiresome daily routine and always thought that the animals in the forest are very lucky as they were roaming freely all day and did not have
to do any hard work like him. He felt that among all the wild animals, animals like lions and tigers are the most luckiest as every other animal in
the forest are
afraid of them. He yearned to become a tiger. So one night when the dhobi was fast asleep, he left for the forest. As soon as he
entered the forest, he started enjoying the chill breeze and was very elated about his new life there. To his surprise he came across the skin of a dead
tiger. He considered himself very lucky and quickly got into that skin. And now as he walked in the forest, even the smaller animals started fleeing
away from him, thinking that he is a tiger. Pleased by this experience, the donkey decided to have some fun with the villagers and his master as well.
So he went back to the village and everyone, including the dhobi started running away as soon as they saw him. The donkey felt very happy and soon he
reached the master's house. The place and surroundings were very familiar to him and he felt 'at home'. Soon he saw the fresh juicy grass in the garden
and started relishing it. And out of joy he started braying
loudly. The dhobi realised that it was the sound of his lost donkey and when he peeped
out of his window, he was surprised to see tiger eating grass. Not realizing that he is being watched, the donkey brayed again and then the dhobi started
beating him with a stick and the tiger skin fell-off and the donkey got exposed.
The moral of the story is that we should not artificially try to be what we are not. Posing before others for cheap adoration and power is cheating.
Such pretension results in pain. So it is better to be ourselves than to pretend. In Bhagavad Gita verse 3.6 Lord Krishna says,
karmendriyaani samyamya / ya aaste manasaa smaran
indriyaarthaan vimudhaatma / mityaacarah sa ucyate
"One who restrains the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects certainly deludes
himself and is called a pretender."
In his wonderful purport to the above verse Srila Prabhupada says, "There are many pretenders who refuse to work in Krishna consciousness but make a
show of meditation, while actually dwelling within the mind upon sense enjoyment. Such pretenders may also speak on dry philosophy in order to
bluff sophisticated followers, but according to this verse these are the greatest cheaters."
Some people may be very good in Deity worship, some in cooking, some in distributing books. We cannot imitate everyone. But we should try to serve
the Lord to the best of our ability. When the sages in Naimisharanya request Suta Goswami to explain the glories of Supreme Lord, Suta Goswami very
humbly says in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.18.23 - "O Rshis, who are as powerfully pure as the sun, I shall try to describe to you the transcendental pastimes
of Vishnu as far as my knowledge is
concerned. As the birds fly in the sky as far as their capacity allows, so do the learned devotees describe the
Lord as far as their realization allows."
Mosquito flies to certain height. Sparrow flies more higher than mosquito. Eagles fly more higher than the sparrows. How much ever hard they try, a
mosquito cannot exceed a sparrow or sparrow cannot exceed a eagle. But they just fly as much as they can. Similarly each one of us is bestowed with
certain capacity by the Supreme Lord and He doesn't distinguish the service based on quantity or the end-result. In Ramayan we see that the squirrel's
attempt to help Lord Ram to build the bridge and the service done by Hanuman and other monkey soldiers of Sugriva in building the same were all
considered to be the same by the Supreme Lord. So we should not artificialy try to imitate others. The attitude to serve the Lord lovingly to the best
of our ability is
important than to imitate or pretend to be like others.