Be humbler even than a blade of grass

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By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura

The holy command of Shri Guru has been that we shall serve Godhead in
association with one another. By the word ‘we’ he did not mean any one individual.
There are many persons who are very selfish, indeed. They say, ‘I alone shall
serve. It is incumbent on me alone. No one else has any claim to join me in my
service of Godhead.’ But the kind heart of Shri Gurudeva says, ‘Come, let all
of us jointly worship Godhead by giving up malice.’ The service of Godhead is
the highest of all functions. My Gurudeva does not say that others will be
unable to do the work because it happens to be the highest. Neither does he say
that he will not allow any other person to serve Godhead, on the ground that
it is the highest of all functions. The chant of Hari-Nama that is performed
jointly by all persons is Sankirtana. ‘That Kirtana which is performed by many
jointly is alone Sankirtana.’ Prayer, praising Godhead, is included in
Puja or worship is a reverential submission performed by one in favour of
another in the shape of service. The suppliant approaches the Revered with fear
arising from high respect or what may be termed respectful awe expressed in his
words and visible in his body and mind. Verbal adoration, corporal
prostration and mental humiliation are the contributory parts of the Puja inviting good
wishes of the respected being. In the Puja a higher platform is always offered
to the worshipped, and generally in the act of worship, touching the lowest
part of his limb (his feet), the offering of delightful encomiums and the
cherishing of reverential feelings on the part of a worshipper are involved. When a
respected entity can be had directly through our senses, we can render direct
service to him without any intervention; but in the case of a distantly
located object, we have to transmit our services through symbolized sounds, through
lips and scripts only. In both the cases Puja can be conducted by a
worshipper with gross articles, as well as through the subtle medium of sound and
through a submissive mentality which makes the worshipper consider himself situated
in a lower office as a Laghu or less weighty being, while the Guru or heavy
objects is in an upper office in comparison to himself; but the case becomes
quite different, when the mundane plane is changed for the transcendental one,
which has quite distinctive feature.
In this mundane plane, Puja is often performed with an eye on personal gain,
when we are desirous of having something in return for our reverential act.
Puja may be also conducted for the attainment of our salvation, where we want to
annihilate all our desires, and even to become identical with the Object of
worship, thereby attaining full impersonality; but no desire whatsoever is
traceable in the actual annihilation, nor any gain sought for the Positive Entity
of Godhead in the shape of service. So all these Pujas effect the merging of
one’s self as well as the Gurudeva, and the personality of Godhead in one
neutral position where their different entities are not traceable. These sorts of
temporal services should never be confused with the Eternal Servitude or Love.
Nor should the Puja, raised even to the most dignified position, ever be
confused with the true confidential service. So Paramarthic Puja and Paramarthic
Guru are quite different from the activities of pseudo-worshippers who have some
other ulterior selfish and personal motive in their acts of submission.
A real Spiritual Preceptor is defined as one who dispels the darkness of
ignorance of our relative plane and opens our blind eyes by his prevailing
influence. He is the one well-wisher without a second to help us to concentrate our
scattered activities in the Personal Absolute. So he has no standpoint which
deviates in the least from the Prime Cause of evolution, sustenance and
dissolution. He is that true and perfect guide to show us the transcendental track to
approach the Eternal Full-Knowledge and Incessant Bliss, as well as the
undisturbed all-engrossing acme of magnitude, ignoring all sorts of gradation of
relativity. His position will not permit a bona fide approacher, if the latter is
not insincere and apathetic, to be a possessor of a partial entity merely,
hankering after the supplying of his own personal or selfish needs by means of
perishable objects, full of contamination of ignorance and of uncertain
factors. His Eternal Personality is never to be ignored by means of any unethical
principles which do not register a thorough affection for his disciple while
considering all the stages and aspects of his ward’s progress.
The semitic ideas entertained by a section of so-called intelligent people in
fixing preceptorship on as [sic] individual of a particular time and place on
the basis of ultra-metempsychosis show no cogent ratiocination by which the
audience could be dissuaded from accepting the undeviated position of the
Personal Absolute Truth. The futility of such speculation of the Absolute position
will be apparent when we consider the fluctuations of different mentalities of
intransigent sects or persons wrought by unforeseen conditions which have
disclosed in detail that their assertive statements are merely cogenial to a
particular locality and fulfill only a temporal purpose.
The deadened mentality produced by an association with insentients and less
sentiments cannot be enlivened, if a wrong interpretation prevails upon them to
post themselves in an incredulous position. As we are located in such a
situation, all our final decisive conclusions are but products of a particular
angle of vision. This hinges on associative reflex actions ef [sic] fallen souls.
In order to set us, fallen souls, free from this perverted position, we should
crave the help of a transcendental agent who can vouchsafe our march free
from the chains of those four-fold agents of irregularities. A bona fide
regulator should be sought in order to obtain eternal relief from the maladies by
praying to the Fountainhead.
The Prime Cause of all effects should not be mutilated or manufactured
through the agency of our unblossomed prerogatives. We are limited entities, but the
Unlimited Infinity minus our infinitesimality would give us, as a result, an
almost infinite gulf. We are earnestly called upon to search for and establish
a tie between us and the Unlimited Entity. And in fact the Agent of that tie
is neither an obstacle to the harmony nor a contending entity, but the most
kind-hearted personality. We cannot expect to tide over difficulties or pitfalls
in our crossing the ocean of Samsara, by catching the tails of puppies as we
say colloquially, that is by depending on the supply of our mundane desires.
We are no doubt eligible to receive mercy from the All Merciful, when we in our
prayer show a clean heart, free from all encumbrances of selfish or personal
desires, and cultivate the spirit of unconditional surrender.
Our own personality should not incorporate any outside material to obstruct
the full vision of the Personal Absolute, but can seek regulation from the
Personality of the Absolute Who is always willing to disclose His own Person when
we are actually not prone to be overpowered by anything in our communion with
Him. The Absolute will no doubt send an agent to communicate His Personality
to our unalloyed personality, thought it may be susceptible to foreign
This Transcendental mediator or Shri Guru Deva is a loving Agent of the
All-love, and so will be kind to us who are seeking for a tie of love with the
All-love. This Embodiment of Love will gradually lead our loving mood to that One
Who is the Fountainhead and mainstay of all aspects of eternal Love. This
messenger is the pioneer leader of Love, the courier of the All-love, the
establisher of all relations of Divine love and the regulator and modifier of all our
non-loving principles. If we ignore this fundamental principle we will be
taking too much responsibility on ourselves.
The Harmonising Energy of the All-love can shower His blessings personally or
through his Agents. Our perception of numerous units in this misguided world
has given rise to a desire to lord it over others but that act itself is the
result of a wrong perspective which engenders apathy towards concentrating our
unconditional activities in and for the All-love. If we have a devotional
attitude towards the Preceptor, we are sure to get at our Final Goal through him
who liberates us by changing our wrong mentality by two processes.
The Deluding Energy of the All-love that is fully opposed to our eternal
interest of love towards the Absolute shows a pair of pincers or shafts in order
to grip us in her clutches, viz., that of dislocating and that of enwrapping
his disciples by means of his kind but sure treatment. So the sincere activities
of the Spiritual Guru always tend to give permanent relief to his disciples
from those two-fold clutches of maya which have given rise to the worldly
measuring mood of disciples. The Guru aims at extending their knowledge of the
Absolute and removing the foreign obstacles of double layers of dirt that cover
A mere flatterer’s role of lulling and encouraging the wrong aptitudes of a
disciple should never be aimed at in the selection of a real and true Guru. A
submissive temper with unconditional surrender on the part of a disciple to the
All-love will invoke His mercy and He will condescend to fulfill our prayer.
The cogent but loving potency of the All-love will then be operating on us to
pacify the turmoil arising out of our baneful activities. The Preceptor will
never let us fall into the extensive snare of maya as he has no ulterior motive
to dissuade us from having a sure access to the Transcendental treasures. He
will show us for our inspection or examination a comparative chart of the
magnitude of time, space and entity. When we submit to measurement, we see no
necessity of any outside help; but when we consider him to be our most intimate
friend coming down to us out of causeless mercy, and at the same time to be the
bona fide and sure healer of our present maladies we find that he is identical
in his activities with the All-love and that he is not only superior to us in
every respect but he ever remains in the same direction with Godhead
possessed of a transparent pure entity to approach the Absolute; whereas, other
so-called preceptors have always an impure opacity, with which they impede our
impressions of the Eternity, Full Knowledge and Incessant Bliss of the All-love.
Our own eternal function is to associate ourselves with the Eternal, to sever
our connection with everything temporal, to engage ourselves in
All-Knowledge, to dispel all darkness of ignorance as well as to develop and progress with
our inherent enthusiasm for the transcendental.
I myself have individual business with the Integral All-love. I do not
require any second person (you) who have got some other position than my Object,
viz., the All-love. I need not trouble myself with the company of ‘him’ who has
no true kindness to me or who has no whole-hearted love for the All-love. So
the Personality has a singular significance quite distinct from such
Impersonation as we have here, owing to our apathy to the Personality of Godhead, which
is improper in itself and which is, in other words, a contamination with
incompatible concomitants. I myself should not be polluted by that discord which is
always found in the plurality of this miserable manifestation, but I have
every inclination to make my friends quite compatible with the All-love, provided
you or they count me as one of you or them. I will then be in a position to
accept comradeship in that plurality, as all of us shall there have one aim and
object and no conflicting discord due to our mutual rivalries. I will be all
the more pleased if I find that another competes in my line to serve my
All-love in a better way perhaps than I can. This lower gradation of myself will not
harm or prejudice me in the least, but will develop and augment the cause of
my unalloyed devotion to and love for Him; I will rather regulate and
conciliate my wrong elements harmoniously and count my co-sharer’s singular service in
the proper light of my Guru. My co-sharer, by rendering closer service to the
All-love from than my humble devotion, must needs draw more love from my
Guru, and on my part I should please my Guru by not interfering with the greater
facility of closer service rendered by my co-sharer. My friends who have
greater aptitude of love for the All-love Krishna would not then despise me, but
will kindly count me as their humble friend by graciously allowing me to be
blessed with an unalloyed devotion to and love for my own Guru who is identically
the same with the Predominated Counter-Whole of the Predominating Aspect of the
All-love. I will ‘therefore’ never be hostile and apathetic to those who
have a tendency to be devoted to the All-love, but I will reckon them as
confidential members whom I should serve with all intimacy and love for their close
services to Him in a plane where I have also got a humble position.
Here are the words spoken by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself: ‘It is
necessary to be humbler than a blade of grass if one is really anxious to take the
Name of Godhead.’ One never supplicates another unless one realizes his own
littleness. When we pray for the help of other persons we consider ourselves
helpless. A certain work cannot be done by myself; it is, therefore, necessary to
take the help of others, if I want to do the work at all. Any work that can be
done only by five persons acting together is not possible to be performed by
one’s own un-aided efforts. Shri Gaursundar has told us to take the Name of
Godhead. These tidings flow to us from the lotus feet of Shri Gurudeva. Shri
Gaursundar has told us to call upon the Name of Godhead, which means that he also
told us to be humbler than a blade of grass when we call upon the Name of
Godhead. If we call upon Godhead for converting Him into our servant or want to
take His help for doing any work on our own account we cannot preserve the
quality of humility greater than that of the blade of grass. External exhibition
of humility is not that quality of lowliness which makes one humbler than the
blade of grass. Mere show of humility is nothing but insincerity or hypocrisy.
That manner of calling which is responded to by one’s subordinate does not
reach Godhead. Because He is the Supreme Independent, Perfect, Self-conscious
Entity Who is subject to none. It is necessary to fully establish one’s
individuality in the state of guileless humility. If this is not done one’s prayer does
not reach the Perfect Autocrat.

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