One tennis player told me a story about one of the highlights of his tennis career. This experience is far more sacred and precious in his memory than all the championships he won. It’s a memory about a match that he lost. It was a championship tournament final match. Millions of people were watching on television, tens and thousands were present in the stadium. It was the last serve. He told me, ‘Where you position yourself, is going to determine whether you win or lose.’ So he saw the perfect position where he knew he could beat his opponent, but he happened to see some ants crawling in that place, so he positioned himself a distance away. Everyone in the stands and everyone in the television were thinking, ‘What is he doing? He is going to lose. Why is he standing there?’
Then sure enough, the ball came to him and it was out of his reach. He lost the championship tournament in front of millions of people, because he did not want to stamp on an ant. This is one of the highlights of his tennis career. He said, ‘I do not regret that; I felt that I pleased my spiritual master. That was more important than winning the tournament.’ That is compassion.
By Radhanath Swami