CHEATING A BLACKSMITH WITH INFERIOR STEEL
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
Chapter 86 of Upākhyāne Upadeśa
Upākhyāne Upadeśa is a collection of short stories with explanations that were commonly used by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Compiled by Sri Sundarananda Prabhu, a prominent disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, it was first published in 1940.
There was once a tradesman who considered himself very intelligent. He was very cunning and adept at fooling others. Once by his trickery he managed to get some coconuts. He then wanted a sharp chopper to break them open. Eventually he found a very old and rusty chopper in the corner of his room. Taking it to a blacksmith, he asked him to reshape it and make it first class again. The blacksmith told him that he could forge a very good chopper if good quality steel was given to him. The clever tradesmen decided to trick the blacksmith. He told him, “I am a steel merchant and I have some excellent quality steel in my stock. Could you forge a chopper for me using that steel? After making the chopper you can keep whatever extra steel is left over for your labor charge. I assure you that nowhere in India can you find such excellent steel like I will send you. It is very costly.”
After speaking in such a flowery and deceitful way, the tradesmen sent a condemned third-class sheet of iron through his son to the blacksmith. Just glancing at the piece of iron the blacksmith realized that it was not steel but only a piece of useless iron. The blacksmith made a chopper out of it and then had it sent to the tradesmen. Finding the chopper to be ineffective and practically useless, the angry tradesman came back to the blacksmith and started threatening and shouting at him. The blacksmith only replied, “By cheating a blacksmith with inferior steel one will only obtain such a chopper.”
Those who make any attempt to deceive their spiritual master and the vaishnavas in their rendering of devotional service will certainly end up with something spurious. Attempts at deception in the field of devotional service are simply self-deception. They pull one down into the clutches of the illusory energy, without giving any benefit. Persons with ulterior motives think that those who have surrendered everything to the Lord are only deceived, and that those who play double roles of devotional service and simultaneous self-gratification actually gain more. Attempting such double roles is tantamount to deceiving a blacksmith by supplying him with an inferior quality of iron while asking him to prepare a good quality steel chopper. No one can ever deceive the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is never possible to conquer the domain of the Lord by any sort of deception and quackery. Only one who has candidly surrendered everything unto the lotus feet of the Lord is eligible for achieving all good.
– An expert from Sri Krishna-kathamrta Bindu, a free bi-monthly magazine service provided by Gopal Jiu Publications.