THE FROG BURSTS
The folly of considering oneself or one’s knowledge absolute.
Adapted from a fable by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur
Once upon a time, a mother frog was living in a watering hole. One day, her son went to a nearby pond and saw an elephant. He came back to his mother and eagerly said, “Mom, today I saw a very big animal!”
His mother asked, “How big was it?”
The boy replied, “Much bigger than you.”
The mother frog (puffing up her body): “This big?”
The boy: “Oh much bigger!”
The mother (puffing up her body further): “This big?”
The boy: “Much bigger than that.”
As the mother continued to puff up her body, the boy continued to say, “Much bigger. Much bigger.” Thinking nothing could be bigger than her puffed up body, she pushed herself to puff up more and more, and finally her belly burst with a bang.
The mother frog represents persons who think they can know the Infinite with their finite mind, those who think themselves to be realised souls when in fact they are fledgling practitioners, and those who imagine themselves to be equal to the Supreme Being.
“Pride goes before the fall.” As the mother frog was puffed up first with pride, then with air, and eventually burst, so immature spiritual aspirants meet with egotism, setbacks, and failure on the path because of pride in their own supposed capacity or achievements.
The primary characteristic of those who progress on the path is humility: (1) considering the Infinite unknowable and approachable only through faith and devotion, (2) considering oneself wholly dependent on the guidance of higher practitioners and realised souls, and (3) heartily embracing the role of an eternal servant.
As the boy frog was filled with delight by the greatness of the elephant, so let us avoid puffing ourselves up with pride in our present position like the mother frog and instead be eager to appreciate the greatness of Divinity.