How the spirit of sacrifice is measured in devotion.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Golden Mongoose

Sriman Mahaprabhu says:

naham vipro na cha nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na cha grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 13.80)

“I do not care to think of Myself as a brahmachari, sannyasi, or grhastha. I am a servant of Krishna. Wherever I may be posted, as a king or as the poorest man, My duty will be to serve Krishna, with whatever I have got near about My hand.”

To serve, that is necessary, and a poor man may also give more than a rich man.

Once in a church affair, so much money was given to build a church. Then, someone asked Christ, “Who has given the most?”

Christ pointed to a beggar, “He has given the highest gift.”


“He is a beggar, and whatever he could collect throughout the whole day, he has given wholesale for this purpose. Another man may have given a lakh, but he has got a few lakhs and given only one.”

So, through wholesale atma-nivedana [self-surrender], a poor man can give more than a rich man. It depends on the quality.

We are also told that after the Rajasuya-yajna [the coronation of Maharaj Yudhisthir], a mongoose came and started rolling over the yajna-vedi, the altar. Then, when this was found, the questions came, “What is the matter? Why is this mongoose rolling on the altar?”

Krishna said, “Yes, you may enquire.”

We are told that in those days there were experts who knew the languages of different beasts. So, anyhow, the communication went through, and they came to know what the mongoose said.

“I heard that a great sacrifice has been made here, so I have come here to try to turn my tail golden. But, I don’t find any improvement.”

“Then, what is the matter? And how did you get this golden colour on your body?”

“Once, in ancient times, there was a great famine, and the king managed for a ration. A brahman family used to get their weekly ration, and once when they had just gotten their weekly ration, a guest came, an old brahman, and said, ‘I am very, very hungry. Please give me some food and save me.’

“Then the family, the brahman, his wife, his son, and his daughter, asked the guest to take his seat. Then, there was a quarrel. The brahman said, ‘I should give my portion to him.’

“The wife said, ‘No, no, no. I am your saha-dharmini [partner in dharma]. If you die, the whole family will starve, but if I die, there is no harm. So, my portion should be given to the brahman.’

“The son said, ‘It is the duty of the son to serve the parents, and if you die, then what duty will I be able to do? So, my portion should be given.’

“The daughter said, ‘Soon you will have to send me to another house. So, if I die, it is no harm to your family. So, my portion should be given to him.’

“Anyhow, the brahman said, ‘I am the householder, and it is my duty to serve the guest, so my portion will be given.’

“His portion was given but the brahman guest was unsatisfied; he was still hungry: ‘I want more food.’

“Then the wife, then the son, and at last the daughter’s portions were given. When the whole meal had been consumed, the brahman guest came out in his own real figure, ‘I have come here to test you, your religious temperament. I am satisfied. Now your store will be full.’

“I had the chance to roll on the leaf where that brahman took this meal, and I found that my whole body became golden. Only my tail is left. So, I am trying here and there. Wherever I hear of a good sacrifice, I go and rub my tail there, but still it has not taken on a golden colour. I heard that this Rajasuya-yajna has been conducted under the guidance of Lord Krishna, so a great sacrifice must have been performed. I thought that if I go and rub my tail here it will surely turn golden. But I am rubbing it so much, and I can’t detect whether it has become golden or not.”

It was Krishna’s will. Perhaps there was some who thought, “Such a great sacrifice as this Rajasuya-yajna has not been conducted in the history of the world.” Some sort of pride may have been there for some. So, to do away with that, this was Krishna’s diplomacy.

But sacrifice: whether one is a poor man or uneducated, or in any way low, is not the consideration. The consideration is the degree of affinity towards Krishna, the degree of attraction towards Krishna, towards the Centre, towards the beauty, the beautiful. How much intense attraction is there for Him? We shall try in that way. That is wealth—bhakti. Bhakti is above all. We are to understand that.

Bhakti means service, surrender, wholesale sacrifice. And that sacrifice is dynamic and ultimately takes some form as santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, or madhura. In each of these formations there are peculiar types of services, and satisfaction is rendered to Krishna. That is the higher thing and to be discussed here more.


Spoken on 8 August 1983.

Listen to the original audio recording here.