The monkey way or the cat way?

One morning Prabhupāda arrived in the park, stepped out of his car, and waited for the devotees who had come in another car to join him. Līlāvatī had difficulty getting out of the car because she had her baby, Subhadrā, in a carrier on her back. When she finally did get out of the car, Prabhupāda turned and laughed at her, saying, “Ah, burden of affection.” “Yes, Swamiji,” Līlāvatī replied. They all began to walk together along the path.

“So there are two ways to carry a baby,” Prabhupāda said, tapping his cane on the ground in time with his regular stride. “There is the monkey way and the cat way. Do you know this?”

“No, Swamiji,” said Līlāvatī.

“Well, which way do you think is better?” Prabhupāda asked her. “The monkey way or the cat way?” She couldn’t understand or imagine what he meant. Prabhupāda continued, “The monkey baby climbs on the back of the mother and holds on, and this is the way he travels. And the kitten is carried in the teeth of the mother. So which is better?”

Līlāvatī could still not understand which way could be better; they both sounded very difficult to her.

“Well,” Prabhupāda said, “the monkey baby is very small and very weak, and he is holding on to the mother by his own strength. But the kitten is being supported by the strength of the mother. So which way do you think is better?”

And then she understood. “The cat way is better.”

Yes,” Prabhupāda said, “that is the difference between the yogī and the devotee. The yogī is trying to climb on the back of the Absolute Truth by his own strength, but he is very weak, so he will fall. But a devotee, he cries out for Krishna” – and as he spoke the word Krishna, Prabhupāda held his arms up high and looked up at the clear morning sky – “A devotee cries out for Krishna, and Krishna picks him up.”

( Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, chapter 56)

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa