Humility – What does humility have to do with japa?
Humility has everything to do with chanting according to Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu introduced this dharma, so he is the authority. He says humility is the first qualification for chanting properly. Humility means:
Humble state of mind
Feel lower than the straw in the street
Devoid of all sense of false prestige
Ready to offer respects to others.
This is one of the most important verses in our tradition. It is also found in Padyavali, in the Caitanya Caritamrita first in the Adi-lila. After Mahaprabhu took prasad prepared by Suklambara brahmacari, He recited hare nama, hare nama, hare name kalau nasty eva, kalau nasty eva, kalau nasty eva. This is his most recent instruction. Prabhupada said the most recent instruction is the most important, most relevant. This is the only process (medicine) that is potent enough to cure the disease of material existence in Kali yuga.
He concluded his instructions with the trinad api verse. And then He said string this verse on the thread of the holy name and wear it on your neck. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said wear this verse like a garland around your mind just like we wear Deities garlands. If we possess these qualities of humility, we will get the full benefit of the Holy Names. Once a Muslim was killed by a big and said ha rama, meaning horrible, and he got so much benefit, what to speak of a serious sadhaka who chants 16 good rounds every morning and thus we are protected, like Laskmana protected Sita.
On time Prabhupada was going down the stairs in the Bury place temple and saw a bead bag and said who’s bead bag is crying, meaning it needed some attention.
In anyta lila we find the trnad api verse in his instructions to Ragunatha Gosvami. These instructions are nice because KC means to be attached to Krsna and detached from everything else. Ragunatha had vast wealth and he renounced it all. He felt so much separation from Mahaprabhu that he decided to kill himself. But Rupa and Sanatana convinced him to stay and give Krsna to others.
Ragunatha was given bags of gold after he desired to excavate radha and syama kunda and he called Jiva Goswami and asked him to buy the land and excavate the kunds. And then Ragunatha continued with his bhajan. This shows how purity is the force. He has a desire and it was fulfilled and he remained renounced through it all. By instructing Ragunatha Goswami, Mahaprabhu was instructing all of us, just as when the water rises all the boats rise. Mahaprabhu further said, don’t talk village talk, don’t eat palatable food, do not dress nicely, do no expect honor but respect others, and always worship Radha Krsna in Vrndavana. After this instruction, he recited the trinad api verse.
The essence of this verse is that we have to chant in a humble state of mind. To understand humility, let’s talk about pride because if we get rid of pride we have humility. As we were falling into the material world, Krsna accompanied us for a short distance and begged us to stay. Our original sin manifests as pride. Pride manifests as being proud of:
- The body. We like to wear clothes that attract people to our bodies. When a man lustfully looks at a woman, her pious credits are diminished. Woman try to attract men physically, and this is the result they get. Vijnana means to realize I am not the body. How much time do we spend decorating our body? One store had mirrors in their store window and so many people would stop and look at themselves.
- Possessions. A beggar is proud of his penny. The real us is like the roots of a banyan tree. The roots extend further out than the branches. We are rooting deeply to the material world. We need to pull out the roots of our attachments.
- Deeds. We can be proud of what we have done. This is a great obstacle. At kumbha mela I was impressed with how renounced the babas were. We should pay respects to those who do it. Later I saw them on their elephants and they were proudly traveling down the road. The renounced woman but still couldn’t renounced the desire to be recognized. Devotees should be famous, but for Krsna’s service not for oneself. Krsna makes His devotees famous in order that they can do better service, so they will be taken seriously. Once a king was on his throne getting adored. And a mosquito landed on his lap and the mosquito thought everyone was glorify him and in his excitement he stung the king’s knees and the king slapped and killed the mosquito. I told Prabhupada you are the greatest preacher and Prabhupada said no, it’s all the mercy of my guru maharja. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta once spoke everyone glorified him and he made an isle to his guru who was in the back and said it is all due to my guru. If we take credit, we may again become a mouse (story of a mouse who eventually became a tiger and wanted to eat a yogi and the yogi made him again mouse).
The desire for acknowledgment is very dangerous. Oh mind, a shameless prostitute who eats dog meat is dancing in my heart in the form of desire for fame. How can I get love of Krsna when this is in my heart. Until I am crying when I am chanting, I have a lot of cleaning to do. I shouldn’t be proud on my bhakti. The flowers of bhakti can’t grow because there are so many weeds in my heart. We have to remind ourselves that we are just the instrument, not that we should take credit.
Let’s look at the example of great devotees. Don’t think that the teacher is also learning his a,b.c,’s. They act towards to teach us. Prabhupada told Bhavananda that I didn’t want to come to this nasty place. Krsna wanted me to come. I said I am not inclined to austerity. Krsna said come down and I will take care of everything.
Prabhupada wanted us to produce results so how do we deal with that. You can live in the palace but don’t forget you are not the king. But until you lose the desire to be king, be careful. We want to advance to be the instrument, not to be recognize. To do something wonderful and remain humble is a dynamic combination.
A nice example is Brahma who prayed to not be material affected by my work and thus not to think I am the creator, the doer.
We do this with the help of vaisnavas. Narottama says who has ever been helped without the association of devotees?
Krsna helps us not become proud. After the battle of Kurusektra Arjuna traveling with some gopis was attacked by some nomadic men and he lost the fight. He couldn’t protect the gopis. All his powers were taken away because Krsna wanted him to remain meek and humble. Janmaisvarya sruta sribhir you can be approached by those who are materially exhausted. Those who are proud can’t approach Krsna with sincere feeling.
BTW, those nomadic men were actually expansions of Krsna who stole the gopis.
How do we purge the heart of pride:
- Live a simple life. If you ain’t got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. Take what you need.
- Getting old helps because your body is no longer attractive. So devotees can look forward to old age for this reason.
- Serve others. By serving them you understand their wonderful qualities.
- Voluntarily put yourself in a position in which people see you as equal or less than them. Just like when we go on sankirtana this happens.
- Don’t think you are better than others. It is not us and them. We were them a second ago by calculation of cosmic time. We are not better than them, but we are more fortunate than them. If we share KC with them, the holy name purifies your heart and blesses you with advancement. The holy name blesses you when He is pleased with you. He is a person.
If we have the qualities describes in trnad api you chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.