Krishna, the widow and her cow

Sometimes when we are in utter difficulty, the Grace of God acts in a very peculiar way. We feel that God becomes more cruel when we are in difficulties and sufferings. Let me illustrate this to you with a story. Sri Krishna and Arjuna once were guests of a widow. The widow had no children, nobody. She was all alone. But she had a cow. This cow was her only means of support. She used to sell milk, and by selling milk she used to maintain her life. She was a great devotee of Sri Krishna. When Sri Krishna and Arjuna went to visit her in disguise, incognito, she was so happy to see these two divine guests. She fed them with whatever she had in her house. Sri Krishna was extremely pleased with her surrendering attitude and her devotion. On their way back, Arjuna said to Krishna, “You were so pleased with her. Why didn’t you grant her a boon? Why didn’t you tell her that she would be prosperous soon, now that you are pleased with her? ”

“I have already granted her the boon that her cow must die tomorrow.”

“What? Her only means of support? She has only the cow, and nothing else. Without the cow how can she live on earth?”

Krishna answered, “You don’t understand me. She always thinks of the cow. The cow has to be fed, has to be milked, has to be bathed and so forth. I want her only to think of me, and when the cow is gone, she will think of me all the time, twenty-four hours. Then soon the time will be right for me to take her away from this world, and after a few years I will give her a better and more fulfilling incarnation. When she has nobody on earth, not even the cow, she will try and spend all her time, day and night, in devoting herself to me. Otherwise, this way she will linger on earth and constantly think of the cow and not of me.” So Sri Krishna’s ways are inscrutable.