The following is an excerpt from the book Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Society Without Envy by Śrīla Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja, published by Tattva Vicara Publications (Tvpbooks.com)
Because Arjuna received transcendental knowledge, jñāna, directly from the lips of Kṛṣṇa, he developed some pride; “I am a great jñānī now”.
The battle ended and because the Paṇḍavas were victorious they were all happy. Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa were in the chariot travelling along the banks of the Yamunā. Passing through some nice gardens, upavanas, the two friends were happily talking. In his heart Arjuna had developed some pride that, “I am a great jñānī. I received transcendental knowledge from Kṛṣṇa”. Kṛṣṇa is the all-knowing personality; He is in the heart as the Supersoul. Kṛṣṇa knows very well what you are whispering in your heart. Immediately Kṛṣṇa could understand that Arjuna had developed some pride.
This is Kṛṣṇa’s līlā. At that time they saw a jambuka, a jackal. A jackal was moving around the dead human body lying on the ground, just smelling the body, not eating it. Arjuna laughed, “O, jambuka mūrkha, this jackal is mūrkha, so foolish. He is moving around that dead body, not eating it. He is such an ajñānī, bereft of knowledge. If two greyhounds come now he will run away in fear.”
Upon hearing this Kṛṣṇa stopped the chariot and called the jackal, “Hey jambuka, come here”. The jackal came forward, paid obeisances and sat down with folded hands. Then Kṛṣṇa asked, “O jambuka, this dead body is your food but you are not eating it. Why are you just smelling and moving around it?” The jackal said with much humility, “O my Lord, You are the all-knowing Lord. I am bereft of knowledge, I have no jñāna, I am a mūrkha. I am an animal with a very, very low consciousness, covered consciousness. Though this is my food still there are some things I consider before eating”.
Kṛṣṇa asked, “What type of consideration does a jackal have?”
The jackal said, “O my Lord, You know everything, but since You are asking I must tell You. By smelling that body I can understand if this person has ever been to Puruṣottama-dhāma or Vṛndāvana-dhāma or Māyāpura, Navadvīpa-dhāma and made dhāma-parikramā, circumambulated the dhāma with his legs, or not. By smelling I can understand it. By smelling his hands I can understand if this person has ever offered pūjā, worship to Bhagavān or not. By smelling his eyes I can understand whether or not this person has ever seen the deity in the temple, or had darśana of sādhu Vaiṣṇavas with his eyes or not. By smelling his head I can understand if this person has ever bowed down before a sādhu Vaiṣṇava or before the deity or not. By smelling his ears I can understand whether or not he has ever heard kṛṣṇa-kathā, bhāgavata-kathā during his lifetime. By smelling I can understand all these things. If he has not done any of these things then I won’t eat such impure food.
O Lord, we are paśu, beasts, animals. We have no knowledge nor do we have the right to do any dharma, śubha-karma, or anything because we are animals, our consciousness is degraded, covered and shrunken. We have no opportunity to perform any dharma. Only in our eating can some piety be there. If one or more of a dead person’s limbs, a hand, a leg, or an ear has performed some devotional act, then I will eat only that portion. Otherwise I will not eat it. It is impure food”.
Kṛṣṇa said, “O jambuka, you are My devotee. You are a great jñānī and a great bhakta”.
When he heard the words of the jackal, Arjuna became amazed. “O, this jambuka has such jñāna? I was thinking myself to be a great jñānī and a great bhakta, but this jambuka is greater than I am! Such jñāna, such bhakti he has”. Arjuna had developed that abhimāna, “No one has jñāna like I do because I heard directly from the lips of Kṛṣṇa”. Kṛṣṇa, in a very wonderful way, crushed Arjuna’s pride because he is His dear devotee, nija-jana-smaya-dhvaṁsana.
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