Sookti by Parama Pujya Swamiji
Jaya Guru Datta
akrtvāpara santāpaṃ agatvā khalanaṃ mṛtām
anusṛjya satām mārgam yatu svalpamapi tad bahu
Living without inconveniencing others, without being servile to the wicked and the sinful, without leaving the path of the pious, the person who even accomplishes a little will be considered as having accomplished a lot.
For life to be happy, joyous, and smooth, you do not only need to do a lot of meritorious deeds. If you give up sinful deeds, that bestows the fruit of doing big meritorious deeds. Scriptures teach us to do good even to those who harm us. Then, is it not a sin to trouble the mute creatures and the innocent people who cause us no harm at all? What can be worse than that? Many people, with their actions and words, trouble others for no reason. They even take pleasure in doing so. When the other person is hurt, they laugh and mock them and show off their intelligence.
In the Mahabharata, there is a small story about those who, without cause, trouble the mute and the innocent. The story of the Mahabharata begins and ends with a puppy dog. The last Parva - Svaragarohana Parva - has a puppy dog following the Pandavas on their final journey to heaven. Starting with Draupadi, each of the Pandavas falls to the ground lifeless as they undertake their final journey towards heaven, while Dharmaraja and the dog alone are left standing. The dog was a symbol of Dharma. The dogs next to Lord Datta and Lord Dakshnimoorti represent the Vedas.
The story of the Mahabharata started with a dog. The dog sought justice from a king by ringing the bell at the palace. The king asked the dog what injustice it faced. The dog presented to the king that a businessman beat it mercilessly with a big stick without cause even as the dog minded its own business walking on the main road. The dog said that it did not approach the businessman’s shop nor touch any of the objects in the shop. It prayed to the king to punish that wicked businessman. Immediately, the king ordered that the man be flogged one hundred times with a whip until his skin peeled off. The dog said that that punishment was inadequate and asked that the man be given more severe punishment. The king agreed to accept the dog’s suggestion. The dog asked that the businessman be made the treasurer at the temple so that he would sinfully eat god’s wealth and take birth as a dog next time. This story teaches us that we should never hurt anyone without cause.
Second, many seek refuge even with the wicked to accomplish their ends. They get insulted in the process. The Chataka bird, on the other hand, will not drink water on earth even if the water is pure and tasty, because it would fall sick and die from drinking the water on earth. The bird only prays to Indra for rain. It only drinks the water that falls from the sky before it falls on the ground. The life of the Chataka bird that seeks refuge with no one else but Indra is really exemplary. It never drinks dirty water.
So the meaning of this sookti is – rather than gain great results seeking refuge with the wicked, it is much better to seek refuge with the pious. Even if that result is small, it is considered exceedingly great, sacred, and excellent.