A story on Faith: Narada Muni, The Cobbler and The Brahmana

Hari Om

Once a very learned Brahmana met Narada Muni, and asked : “Oh, you are going to meet the Lord in Vaikuntha? Will you please ask Him when I’m going to get my moksha?”

“All right,” Narada Muni agreed. “I shall ask Him.”

As Narada proceeded, he met a cobbler who was sitting under a tree repairing shoes, and the cobbler similarly asked Narada, “Oh, you are going to see God? Will you please inquire of Him when my moksha will come?”

When Narada Muni went to the planet Vaikuntha, he remembered their request promptly and in order to fulfill asked Srimad Narayana (God) about the moksha (liberation) of the brahmana and the cobbler, and the Lord Narayana replied, “After leaving this body, the cobbler shall come to Vaikuntha to attain me.”

“What about the brahmana?” sage asked.

“He will have to remain there for a number of births. I do not know when he is reaching Vaikuntha, my abode to meet me.”

Narada Muni was astonished, and he finally said, “I can’t understand the mystery of this.”

“That you will understand soon,” Lord Narayana said and the Lord further said, “When they ask you what I am doing in here in Vaikuntha, My abode, tell them that I am threading the eye of a needle with an elephant.”

After some days, Narada returned to earth and approached the brahmana, the brahmana said, “Oh, you have seen the Lord? What was He doing?”

“He was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle,” Narada answered.

“I don’t believe such nonsense,” the brahmana replied. Narada could immediately make out that the man had no real faith and that he was simply a reader of books.

Narada then left and went to meet the cobbler, who asked him, “Oh, you have seen the Lord? Tell me, what was He doing?”

“He was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle,” Narada replied.

The cobbler began to weep and said, “Oh, my Narayana (God) is so wonderful, He can do anything.”

“Do you really believe that the Lord can push an elephant through the hole of a needle?” Narada asked.

“Why not?” the cobbler said, “Of course I believe it.”

“How is that?” Asked the sage.

“You can see that I am sitting under this old banyan tree,” the cobbler answered, “and you can see that so many fruits are falling daily, and in each seed there is a banyan tree like this one. If, within a small seed there can be a big tree like this, is it difficult to accept that the Lord is pushing an elephant through the eye of a needle?”

Moral of the story:

So, from this story of Srimad Bhagavatam, we can learn that Faith is not a question of blindly believing. There is always a sound logic behind such belief. If Lord Krishna can put a large tree within so many little seeds, is it so astounding that He is keeping all the planetary systems floating in space through His energy?

Although scientists may think and assume that the planets are being held in space simply by nature alone, behind nature there is the Supreme Lord (the creator). Nature is acting under His guidance. As Sri Bhagwan Krishna states:

mayadhyaksena prakrtih

suyate sa-caracaram

hetunanena kaunteya

jagad viparivartate

“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and brings into being all animate (moving) and inanimate (unmoving) brings or forms. By its rule this manifestation is being created and annihilated again and again.” (Bg. 9.10)

Mayadhyaksena means “under My supervision.”

Material nature cannot act so wonderfully and independently unless the Lord’s hand (energy) is behind it. We cannot give any example of material things automatically working. Matter is inert, and without the spiritual touch of the Lord there is no possibility of its acting. Matter cannot act independently or by itself. Machines may be very wonderfully built, but unless a man touches or operates on that machine, it cannot work. And what is that man? He is a spiritual spark. Without spiritual touch, nothing can move; therefore everything is resting on Lord Krishna’ impersonal energy. Krishna’ energy is impersonal, but He is a person. We often hear of persons performing wonderful actions, yet despite their energetic accomplishments, they still remain persons. If this is possible for normal human beings, why isn’t it possible for the Supreme Lord? We are all persons, but we are all dependent upon Krishna, the Supreme Person.

We notice in the pictures of Atlas, a stout man symbolically bearing a large planet on his shoulders and struggling very hard to hold it up. We may think that because Lord Krishna is maintaining the universe, He is also struggling under its burden like Atlas. But this is not true.

For the Lord nothing is a burden. Science can give facts based on measurements and observations and possible deductions satisfying a set of conditions or a particular configuration but only spirituality can let one know the Truth. Facts will keep changing but Truth will ever remain same.

We need science probably to nourish our body and spirituality certainly to nourish our mind and eventually to fulfil our soul. Let us not choose either of them, instead let us integrate both (Science and Spirituality) for keeping the body-mind complex healthy.

GF’ Blessings…..🙏😊✋️