Develop Genuine Humility

Any kind of hatred for any person, community , institution turn us away from God . It is the most difficult task to love everyone. Only uttama adhikaris can do it . But everyone should aim to achieve such adhikaar by staying away from any kind of ninda and doing bhajan according to one’s capacity.

Chaitanya mahaprabhu vowed to deliver even the drunkards but not the offenders. It is here we get stuck . Almost all of us become offenders somehow . Be it proving one’s superiority , other’s inferiority, philosophical differences , personal grudge on some devotees criticizing us or our sampradaya or our process . Thus we miss the opportunity to get the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The process to get delivered is easy one but the trap(offense) easily grabs us.
It is like you are allowed to hang pictures on the wall by the landlord but you are not allowed to prick nails on the wall to hang the pictures.

Hari Bhakti Vilas by Srila Sanatana  Goswami states :- If we beat, criticize, disrespect, get angry with, do not express pleasure on seeing, do not pay obeisance and do not glorify a Vaishnav we commit Vaishnav-aparadh.” 

Oh my God! How many of us really care about these things ? It is very bad as can’t we become angry even if anyone has offended me ? How can I express pleasure on seeing someone who condemns my parampara ? can’t I criticize on the back of that person ? No you can’t.

Many devotees will justify criticism as rectification process but it is simply not done. It is very tempting but this attitude is to be given up if one wish to attain prema . We can chose to stay away from such person but when we face them we need to give them proper respect else it will counted as an offence. Ok so we need to act isn’t it ? No, acting will not help us to get rid of offences unless we become humble from deep  inside our heart . It is not said that one commits offence only if one displays the anger on any vaishnava  . It is simply said above by Sanatana Goswami that one commits offense if one simply becomes angry on a vaishnava . So mental offence counts. That is why acting will not help much. Difficult ? Yes . Impossible ? No. So did Mahaprabhu betray us ?  Didn’t he provide any solution to get out of this trap of offense ?  Yes he did but that process is also not easy as we the jivas are full of ego:

Mahaprabhu instructed in the Sikshastakam verse 3  :
trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

The holy name of Lord Hari should always be chanted in great humility. One should think oneself to be lower than a blade of grass, one should be as tolerant as a tree, one must offer all honour to others and one should never expect any honour for oneself.

One can be delivered if one can have this attitude.We read and understand the above verse but fail to apply this in our life due to self ego which makes us suffer . We need to go deep into the meaning and significance of this verse and what we really miss if we can’t imbibe its essence . We forget that if we are not humble and continue offences we miss the chance to get prema even if we chant and follow all rules of bhakti  for various lifetimes. Those devotees who find it difficult to imbibe may do whatever they like but must remember whatever they are sacrificing to get Krishna will simply go in vain as “A vaishnav-aparadh is like an intoxicated elephant. It uproots the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti and its leaves dry up.” – (C.C.)

Commentary by Radhakund Mahanta Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj on Sikshastakam verse 3 :-

Before revealing this third verse of the Sikshastakam, Sriman Mahaprabhu, the descension who purifies the age of quarrel (kaliyuga pävanävatära), told Sri Svarüpa Dämodara and Rämänanda Räya:
ye rüpe loile näma prema upajäya
tähära lakñaëa suno svarüpa räma räya
“O Svarüpa and Räma Räya! Listen to the means by which the holy name can awaken prema!”
The holy name of Lord Hari should always be chanted in great humility. One should think oneself to be lower than a blade of grass, one should be as tolerant as a tree, one must offer all honour to others and one should never expect any honour for oneself. At the end of the Adi-lila of Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Srila Krishna Dasa
Kaviraja Gosvami writes the following verse:
ürdhva bähu kori suno sarva loka
näma sütre gänthi poro kanthe ei sloka

“Raise your arms, all you people, and listen: string this verse on a thread and wear it around your neck!”

When a speaker wants to reach people who are far away from him he speaks outloud with raised hands, so that everyone will notice him and pay attention. In this way Srila Kaviraja Gosvami says to all chanters that they should wear this verse around a neck just like one’s neckbeads. If one does not follow this formula, it will be difficult to attain the results of nama-sankirtana.
In the previous verse it was discussed that there is nothing else but offenses that prevents the full power of the holy name to manifest itself. Here Sriman Mahaprabhu teaches all the people of the world that the only way to protect oneself from offenses is to chant the holy name with great humility. When He instructed Srila Rupa Gosvami, Sriman Mahaprabhu compared offenses committed against the devotees to a mad elephant which uproots the tender vine of one’s devotion from the heart. There is no other way than to fence off one’s vine-ofdevotion with the shield of humility:
yadi vaishnava aparadha uthe hathi mata
upade va chinde tara suki yay pata
tate mali yatna kori kore avarana
aparadha hasti yaiche na hoy udgama (Sri Caitanya Caritämåta)  It is also said:

dinatä mana dattadi sila klpta mahavrtih
bhakti kalpa nrbhih palya sravanadyambu secanaih
“One should build a strong wall of humility and protect one’s vine of devotion by giving honour to others around it, sprinkling the vine with the water of hearing and chanting.”

“Humility” means to naturally always consider oneself to be very unqualified. Srimad Sanatana Gosvami defined humility as follows in his Brhad Bhagavatamrita:
yenäsädharaëäçaktädhama buddhiù sadätmani
sarvotkarñäëvite’pi syäd budhais tad dainyam iñyate
yayä väcehayä dainyaà matyä ca sthairyam eti tat
täà yatnena bhajed vidväàs tad viruddhäni varjayet

“The wise men call humility that feeling which makes the most qualified person
consider oneself to be low and unqualified. Intelligent practising devotees should follow with their words, activities and intelligence in the footsteps of those in whose hearts this humility is fixed, and they should never act contrary to this.”

The above mentioned humility, which makes the most qualified person consider oneself to be low and unworthy, is not ordinary humility. It is the natural condition of a surrendered soul who has illuminated his spiritual self by returning to his constitutional position. When a fortunate person, who has surrendered to the Lord’s lotus feet by the mercy of a bonafide teacher, advances on the path of devotion, he will experience the authority of God more and more as the dense darkness of his false bodily consciousness vanishes and his real identification as God’s servant awakens. The practising devotee will ultimately give up all his own false authority, throwing it into the ocean of God’s authority by means of full surrender to the Lord’s feet, and thus becoming a liberated soul. As long as he is in his material body he will have to deal and speak with people of the world, but as soon as he senses even the slightest feeling of personal authority coming up in him, he feels greatly upset. An urge of humility will arise in his heart and he will at once give up his false feeling of authority. That is the natural humility of a devotee, and the valuable treasure of a devotee’s sädhana (spiritual practice). Srimat Sanatana Gosvami says that there is not much difference between humility and devotion. Both are impetuses for each other.

The holy name will be pleased with such humility of the devotee and in this way all offenses to the Vaisnavas will vanish. Thus humility attracts the mercy of the holy name. Our eyes are very tender, yet they are the most important of the knowledge-aquiring senses, and because even the slightest thing can cause great damage to them, the Lord has created our eyelids to always protect them. If, by chance, a speck of dust falls on the eye, the fine nerves in the eye immediately produce water to drive the dust out of the eye’s realm. In the same way, humility drives out the offenses that hamper our devotion and make our hearts free from them.

With this verse trinad api sunicena, Smiman Mahaprabhu teaches the practising devotees how to observe the limit of humility. Humility is the very lifeforce of the chanting of the holy name. Chanting without humility is lifeless, therefore the chanter must become specifically acquainted with these great words of Sriman Mahaprabhu.

The Lord said: trinad api sunicena – “The practising devotee should feel as humble as a blade of grass.” A blade of grass is a very insignificant thing, but it is still very important since it serves the cows as foodstuff and through that the cows give milk with which the Lord can be served. Roofs of houses and temples can also be made with grass. “But”, the devotee should think, “no service has ever been done through me.” In this way he considers himself to be even lower than a blade of grass. The devotee should humbly think: “When someone steps on a blade of grass, the grass will rise again after the foot has gone off him, but I never get up so unharmed and unoffended if someone kicks me with the foot.” Certainly these feelings of humility must be developed by the practising devotee. As long as one does not realize one’s lowness with one’s heart and mind, and only feigns humility on the outside, verbally for instance, the perfection of this trinad api sunicena-mood is not attained. Real humility is mental humility. There is no greater deceit than to feign humility through one’s gestures and words and being actually filled with false pride within one’s mind. Such false humility will never purify anyone’s heart.

Then taror iva sahisnuna – The devotee should be as tolerant as a tree. Even when the tree is cut down, he will not say anything, but will silently tolerate it. He will not consider the cutter to be his enemy, but will even serve him by shading him and offering him his fruits. Chettuù pärçvagatäà chäyäà nopasaàharate drumaù. That is an example of the limit of humility. Srimad Bhagavata mentions the story of the brahmana-mendicant from Avantipura, and in Caitanya Bhagavata it is described how Srila Haridäsa Thakura tolerated the beatings of the Muslims in twenty-two market places. When the Muslims tried to beat him to death, Srila Haridasa Thakura prayed to the Lord for their welfare:
e sab jévere krishna koroho prasäda
mora drohe nahu e sabhära aparädha
“O Krishna! Be merciful upon all these people, so that they will not offend You by torturing me like this!”
Even if a tree dries up and dies because nobody sprinkles him with water, he will not ask anyone for water. Rather, he will serve everyone with his fruits, wood, leaves and resin. The tree patiently tolerates the scorching sunrays in the summer,
the pouring rain in the monsoon-time and the freezing cold in the winter. In the same way, the devotees should practise tolerance similar to that of the tree, serving even those who harrass, hurt and insult them without being angry with anyone. The devotee never asks anything from anyone, but rather donates whatever he can give to others, patiently tolerating all the pain they may give to him.

Amäninä mänadena – The devotee never expects any honour from anyone but he honours all other living entities at all times, knowing that his beloved Lord dwells in all of them. There is no-one in the world that he should disrespect.
Srimad Bhagavata states:
antar deheñu bhütänäm ätmas te harir éçvaraù
sarvaà taddhiñëyam ékñadhvam eva vas toñito hy asau
“Lord Hari dwells in the hearts of all living beings as their Supreme Self, and as they are His dwelling place, they should also be satisfied.”
Each body is the temple of Hari, because He dwells in everyone, therefore everyone is respectable for a devotee. The temple may be broken, misformed, uncultured or dirty, but it is still worshipable for the devotee. In the same way, according to worldy view some people are low or unimportant, but they are still respectable for the devotee. Therefore Srimad Bhagavata (11.29.16) states: praëamed daëòavad bhümäv açva caëòäla go kharam –
“One should offer prostrated obeisances even to the horses, the outcastes, the cows and the donkeys, knowing that the Supreme Self dwells in them.”
Brahmanadi candäla kukkura anta kori, dandavat koribek bahu manya dhari (Caitanya Bhägavata) –
“One should offer prostrated obeisances to the brahmanas, the outcastes and the dogs, giving them great honour.”

In such a humble state a devotee should always do hari kirtana. Such chanting will destroy all offenses committed in this life and in previous lives and will swiftly bless the devotee with the treasure of prema. kirtaniyah sada hari.

One may ask here: “Is it possible for any neophyte to be lower than a blade of grass and more tolerant as a tree? Why did Mahaprabhu mention such a difficult condition, whereas His path of devotion is supposed to be so easily practised?”

Certainly such a critical question may be asked, but we must consider that the goal of the path of devotion is only attainable by mercy. When the neophyte anxiously takes shelter of the holy name, in order to chant without offenses, then he will become qualified in all respects, simply by the grace of the holy name.

In this regard we have heard a true story from our most worshipable Sri Gurudeva, which occurred in Vraja. We could not control the desire to write that story down here on this occasion. Long ago one highly educated person came from Bengal to Vrindavana, desiring to live in Vraja and to receive instructions and initiation from a genuine Guru. He used to come regularly to a famous bhajananandi mahatma, (a great saint who loves to worship God) who understood from speaking with him that the aspirant was inwardly proud of his learning.
Although the aspirant had asked him for initiation and instruction, the mahatma did not lend an ear to the request. One day, when the aspirant came to him blubbering about initiation, the mahatma told him that he could get initiated if he brought him within seven days a person or an object that was in all respects inferior to him (the aspirant).

At first the aspirant thought: “O, what’s so difficult about that? Almost everyone in this world is inferior to me! I can bring anyone along with me to my guru!” But by the grace of that mahatma the aspirant became more and more aware of his own faults and others’ qualities. After all, all of Lord Brahma’s creatures are a mixture of qualities and faults! Thinking like this, the aspirant could not find any human being inferior to himself. Then he began to look for an inferior being within the animal- and bird-world, but there also he was unsuccessful, because each animal and bird has some qualities which even human beings don’t have! Finally he searched amongst the trees and vines, but there he was also unsuccessful, because Mahaprabhu had instructed the Vaishnavas to be as tolerant as a tree (so trees were definitely superior to him). In this way he spent six days searching. There was only one day left, and if he could not find anyone inferior to him today, then he would not get initiated.
In the morning of the seventh day, the aspirant went out into the field to pass stool with a very agitated mind. It was, after all, his initiation-day. While he was passing stool, he thought: “Aw, this stool is inferior to me in all respects! Let me tell that to my Guru!” But by the grace of his teacher his intelligence had become so much trained in seeing others’ qualities and his own faults that he began to think: “Brother, just see! You say that this stool is inferior to you, but before this substance came in contact with you, it was divine prasada offered to the deity. Now, because you wanted to stay alive and you wanted to feed your body, it has become such a disgusting substance! Is there anybody lower than he who gives himself such a nice substance for feeding his own body and turns it into something so bad?” Thinking like this, the aspirant became startled and thought to himself: “No, no! This substance is also much better than me!”

Meanwhile a worm crawled into the stool and the aspirant thought: “Now I have it! This worm in the stool is inferior to me in every respect!” But then he began to think about the worm, saying to himself: “Brother! You have turned the Lord’s prasada into this stool and you cannot make it pure anymore, but this worm will ultimately make this stool merge with the earth again, and even that you cannot do! In that respect you are inferior!”

Although Srila KrsnaDasa Kaviraja Gosvämi is praiseworthy by the whole world, when he described the mercy of Srila Nityänanda Prabhu in Caitanya Caritämåta, he said:
jagai madhai hoite mui se päpistha
purisera kita hoite mui se laghistha
mora nama sune yei, tara punya-ksaya
mora nama loy yei, tara papa hoy
emon nirghrna more keba krpa kore
eka nityänanda vinu jagata bhitore?

“I am more sinful than Jagäi and Mädhäi and i am lower than a worm in stool. Anyone who hears my name loses his pious merit and anyone who pronounces my name commits a sin. Which non-envious person in the world other than Lord Nityänanda would bestow mercy on such a disgusting person?”

How can such a person, who is praised by the whole world, experience that he is inferior to a worm in stool? And if he only spoke humble words, and was not really humble within his heart, wouldn’t that be the greatest deceit? Therefore, this experience can only come to a great saint or to a fortunate soul who has received the mercy of a great soul. This can never be experienced by anyone else.

Anyway, the aspirant finished his bath and went to his master. The master asked him: “And, did you bring that which is inferior to you in all respects?” The aspirant offered his prostrated obeisances and said: “O master! By your mercy I have seen within these seven days that if there is any thoroughly low creature or substance in this world, then it is me! There is no lower creature in the whole world than me!” The mahatma laughed and embraced the candidate, saying: “You have brought yourself here after giving up your pride and accepting a humble mood. Now there is no more obstacle to your initiation!” By the mercy of that saint, the aspirant was then blessed with a life full of tasteful bhajana.

Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself explained this verse as follows:

uttama hoiyä äpanäke mäne trnadhama
dui prakäre sahisnuta kore vrksa sama
vrksa yeno kat-leo kichu na boloy
sukhaiya moile kare pani na magoy
yei ye magoye tare deya apana dhana
gharma vrsti sohe, anere koroye raksana
uttama hoiya vaishnava hobe nirabhimana
jive sammana dibe jani krsna adhisthana
ei mata hoiya yei krsna nama loy
çri krisha carane tara prema upajoy

“Although the devotee is the most elevated person, he considers himself to be lower than a blade of grass, and he tolerates everything in two ways, just like a tree. Even when a tree is cut, he does not say anything, and even when he dries up and dies, he does not ask anyone for water. Nevertheless, he gives his own wealth for free to anyone who may ask for it, protecting others while tolerating heat and rain. Although the Vaishnava is the greatest personality, he is devoid of pride and he honours all living beings, knowing that Krishna dwells in them. Whoever chants the name of Krishna in this way will attain love for Sri Krishna’s lotus feet.”

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