śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 1 & 14, Number 4
Posted: 25 May 2008 & 31 May 2021

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

The Highest Vaisnava Sees Himself as the Lowest of All
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

Those who are fit possess an abundant power of devotion. They are strong. I should not apply myself to finding out the shortcomings of the Vaiṣṇavas, condemning service to Lord Viṣṇu or seeking to establish my own point of view by neglecting the method that may enable me to serve the Lord and His devotees. No language can describe the havoc that is wrought in human life by such arrogance. I make this submission with all humility: “Kindly refrain from merely imitating the conduct of the Vaiṣṇavas and please always follow their line of thought.” There is no relationship for us other than with the devotees of Viṣṇu. Relationship with other people can only aggravate the desire for sensuous gratification. 

Many years have now passed over me one by one. I at last realize that there is no other help for me than the mercy of the holy feet of the Vaiṣṇavas. Every one of my acts is worthy of contempt. Yet I pray to those who look upon me from above that, if they consider it allowable for me to follow their conduct and teachings, they enable me to no longer have a contemptible attitude. I pray to them to kindly impart to me the strength and fitness needed in order to communicate their power to those who are unintelligent, ignorant and devoid of all strength. 

He who serves Lord Hari counts himself as the least of all entities. He is lifted to the highest order of the Vaiṣṇavas when he can feel himself the last of all. He can then proclaim the message of the highest devotion to Lord Hari. 

“The best of all people deems himself to be less than all others.” Such is the great dictum. It is necessary for the best person to scrutinize his own ineligibility. Why should a person be anxious to pry into the defects of others when he does not seek to scrutinize his own conduct? Is this the disposition of a Vaiṣṇava? On the other hand, even those who are low in the scale of service may attain the higher level. Let us remember the verse: “What to speak of people who listen to and remember the instructions of the spiritual scriptures with care, even women, śūdras, Hūnas, Śavaras, and those who have attained the bodies of beasts and birds due to their sinful past lives can know God and prevail over His deluding power if they follow the conduct of the devoted servants of the Lord, who covers all the worlds by His wonderful strides” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 2.7.46). 

“The acts and expressions of the Vaiṣṇavas cannot be understood even by the wise.” The devotees are attached to the Lord, who pervades the worlds with His wonderful strides. Let us not be misled by appearances. Many people have been liable to mistake the pebble for the pearl, the snake for the rope and evil for good by relying on appearances and thus falling victim to delusion. It is only when a person allows himself to fall into the clutches of self-delusion that his senses show their eagerness to supply him with the cravings incidental to the phenomenal world because he supposes himself to be an inhabitant of the same. We should carefully consider how we will be delivered from being exploited like this by the deluding energy. Adopting the mentality of a lord in order to compensate for our present inadequacies will never bring us relief. Nor will it bring us relief to avoid what certain hasty observers have been pleased to dub “the slave mentality” of the devotees of God. Such modes of thinking accelerate our march towards the inferno by plunging us into the course of sensuous indulgence. 

Adapted from The Gaudiya Volume 24, Issue 7
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year 1, Number 4 by by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.