There is a pastime in the Vedas about a caste Vaisnava (devotee of Krishna) learned scholar (jnani) who new all the workings of the universe and all the verses of the Vedas, he was very proud of his knowledge and universal understandings. Out side his room was a simple minded street sweeper who new nothing of the workings of the universe however, was always thinking of Krishna, serving His devotees and chanting His holey name’s 24 hours a day.
The great sage Narada-Muni asked Krishna:
“Who would be liberated first, the knowledgeable proud jnani or the humble street sweeper’.
Krishna told Narada to go to them both and tell them:
“I am threading an Elephant through the eye of needle”
Narada first went to the jnani and during the course of the conversation, told him Krishna was in Goloka-Vrindavan threading an elephant through the eye of a needle.
The jnani laughed and chastised Narada for talking nonsense,
“That is impossible”
The jnani proclaimed and added,
“I’m no sentimentalist, how can you expect me to believe such nonsense”
Narada then went to see the street sweeper and also told him Krishna was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle. The street sweeper was ecstatic and proclaimed:
“Krishna is the Supreme Personality Of Godhead, the creator of the Universe, how wonderful it is He can do anything He chooses, all glories to Lord Krishna the source of all our abilities and talents”
Narada then returned to Goloka-Vrindavan and told Krishna what had happened and again asked who would return back to Goloka-Vrindavan first, the scholar or the street sweeper? Krishna answered:
“The jnani (scholar) would spend an unknown number of lives, maybe a thousand, or 100,000 life times in the temporary world due to his pride and attachment to the title of Gosvami and the accumulating of knowledge. On the other hand, the street sweeper would be liberated at the end of his present body, and return back to my Personal abode because of his unconditional attachment to Me”.
Krishna further explained the jnani was more attached to his accumulation of knowledge and rituals than simple service to Krishna, where as the street sweeper was totally attached to the Lords Lotus Feet and always at the feet of other devotees.
Lord Krishna further added:
“The only objective that is important is for one to get out of both the cycle of birth and death and the temporary universe by simply being attached to My pure devotees and publicly chanting My names for the benefit of others, who are also entangled in the material world. This can be achieved no matter what ones occupation is”.
Maya or the illusory energy and forgetfulness has an eternal time span to train up and condition the jiva to possess any temporary body manifested simultaneously by the Maya’s energy and jivas desire.
Unfortunately karma (what goes around comes around or action and reaction) entangles the embodied jiva’s to what appears to be an eternity, all what they had previously desired becomes forgotten, restricted and squashed by the constant backlog of karma visiting the embodied jiva. In this way the jiva’s loose their way and ultimately forget what they previously wanted in the first place after leaving the Personal Kingdom of God due to the long, long ago association with the impermanent energy and the massive accumulation of reactions to the actions they have performed in their travels through so many human bodily identities and forms.
The embodied jivas become so covered by their own forgetfulness, they no longer know what they want other than eating, sleeping, mating and defending, they are now basically pushed around in the material universe like waves push around a boat at sea without a ruder.
However, if the embodied jiva can make it to Krishna’s Kingdom by holding tightly onto the feet of a pure devotee, that seemingly feeling of eternity in the impermanent universal ocean will only appear like the blink of an eye!