Upanishad | Stories
|Ke-2-Who is Greater|
Who is Greater
Once upon a time there was a great battle between the demigods and the demons. When the demigods finally defeated the demons, they were extremely jubilant. In truth, the demigods were only victorious over the demons because of the influence of Bhagavaan's Shakti, but the demigods forgot all about this. They forgot that their power was mercifully given to them by Bhagavaan, and within their minds they began to think that they had won the battle because of their own strength and expertise. Proud of their own worth, they began accepting the people’s respect and praise for the victory, for themselves.
Bhagavaan, who was well aware of
the foolishness the demigods were succumbing to, appeared before them in a
disguised form to remove their pride. And indeed, when the demigods saw Bhagavaan
standing before them in disguise, they had no idea who He was. Therefore, they
approached Agni, the god of fire.
So Agni approached the piece of straw and tried to use his power to burn it. But somehow, despite focusing all of his power on the lone piece of straw, he could not burn it. Agni returned to the other demigods and addressed them, "I cannot understand who this great personality is,” he admitted.
So the demigods next sent the
powerful god of wind, Vaayu, to find out who that great personality was. Vaayu
approached the stranger, who was actually Bhagavaan in disguise, and as before,
the stranger at once asked him, "Who are you?"
The demigods then sent Indra, their king, to learn the identity of that great personality. But when Indra approached him, the stranger disappeared. Suddenly, the supremely beautiful Umaa Devee appeared in the sky. When Indra saw her, he approached her and inquired, "Who was that great personality?" Uma Devi replied, "He was Parabrahm, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Your glorious victory over the demons was only possible because of His grandeur. His Shakti is the source of your Shakti. If He were to withdraw His power, all of you would become completely worthless. Whatever ability, expertise, valor or heroism you may possess, Parabrahm is the sole master and origin of all of it. He is the controller of everything and you are the controlled, the subordinate. Whenever you begin to believe that you are accomplishing everything by your own Shakti, He will immediately withdraw His Shakti."
If someone fails to recognize and honor the Shakti of Bhagavaan, and instead wants to steal the profit, worship and prestige that are truly and eternally meant for Him, then Shree Hari steals all of the skills that person possesses. Only when the Jeev engages all of his ability and expertise in serving Shree Hari does he become infused with the light of the profuse mercy of Shree Hari. On the other hand, when the Jeev engages his ability and expertise in nurturing his vanity or out of envy or malice towards Him, he inevitably guarantees his own, complete destruction. The sole, original support, or foundation, of all forms of Shakti is Parameshwar, the Supreme Lord. Therefore, all wealth, women, gain, worship and honor is meant for Him alone.
The moral of this story from the Upanishad is that one should renounce the arrogant conception of ‘bada ami ’ – the belief that 'I am Big', or 'I am Great'. In other words, one should renounce false ego, which causes one to believe 'I am the doer' and 'I am the enjoyer' of everything, and that 'I can accomplish everything by my own strength’. Instead, one should embrace true ego, or the genuine self-conception of 'bhaalo ami' – the belief that ‘I am well’. In other words, one should reflect as follows: “I am an insignificant living entity; the eternal servant of the servant of Shree Hari. His mercy alone is my strength. He is factually my operator, and I am simply His instrument."
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 02/13/13