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This is a very beautiful song by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He is very kindly revealing his mind to us. He is revealing his deep love and utmost humility. Sometimes we try to be humble in our mind, but that humility does not go very deep, next moment we become proud and angry again. But a really humble person can never become proud and angry because that is the nature of real humility. So here we study some of the symptoms of a truly humble person and how that mentality could become the cure for all our diseases. First he starts:

"Oh when, Oh when will the soul chant in Gauras forest on the banks of the river Ganges the Holy names Radha and Krishna renouncing all the bodies joys and drenched with all the tears I have wept amidst the herbs beneath the tree. When will actually tears come in my eyes upon seeing my wretched condition, upon seeing the mercy which has come down to me by causeless grace. When will I actually be touched so much that all the care for my bodily comforts and joys will disappear. "

Like we are easily attracted by the transcendental philosophy, but when it comes to our bodily comforts then we become very preoccupied and com in a defensive mood: Oh, no, no, no, you don't touch that, my comforts are my comforts, I always have to protect them. " The difference of a bhajan kutir and a five star hotel, what is the difference ? The bhajan kutir is not supposed to have any bodily comforts. Hot water ? Cmon, a sadhu with hot water ? A sadhu he will pray, a sadhu he will be satisfied with anything simple, because he cares for the deep feelings, and he don't consider that for his own comfort any energy should be spent. Comfortable dresses, palatable foodstuffs, all that is not very important to him if he is actually in the mood which Bhaktivinode Thakur is revealing here. If he is crying about his spiritual scarcities then he will not cry: "Oh, why my dhoti has a spot, or anything like that in this material conditioning" But now the next verse is much more significan't, because the first one is just dealing with ones own comforts and bodily joys. Of course to give them up is very difficult. Practically from the very moment we get up in the morning to the last moment we close our eyes at night we are always looking: "Is my pillow nice ? Is the condition for getting up soothing to my physical well being ?" Always we are looking for comfort, comfort, comfort. But now the next one is a mental case:

" When at some outcasts home shall I give up all thoughts of cast and beg to share with him humble prasadam and drink the water of the Saraswati. Along the banks, along the banks my voice choked with my ecstacy, I ll chant Krishna in great delight."

Here Gurudeva Bhaktivinoda Thakur is combining the joy of ecstatic chanting with the humility which only comes if you are not caste conscious. Like for me it is very easy not to be caste conscious because I am not coming from any caste. Then if I am not coming from any caste why should I be caste conscious ? Mleccha caste conscious ? Oh, I am coming from the non-vedic culture. So, but if you are born in a brahmin-family, or you have kshatriya gotra (family-line) then you will think: "Oh, I am very special, I have a very lucky birth and therefore I am more high than others. As a matter of fact, your shade cannot touch my body. " That is what is a real pakka (means) smarta. He will not like that your shade touches him, so much caste consciousness is there. Of course it was defeated by Mahaprabhu, it was defeated by Haridas Thakur, it was defeated in many occasions, but still it is there, still it is prominent, caste consciousness. And of course in our western societies we are incredible caste conscious, only we will call it racism. We will not call it caste conscious, even though in our own western structures we have so many castes. Usually the caste goes by how much money you have. If you have allot of money you are in a high class, you can go to the high class clubs. And if you have no money, or no beauty....In the west there are clubs, you can only enter if you are physically very handsome. They have somebody in the door and he looks at you, and if you do not look very, very handsome they say: "Out, cannot come in here, this is a club for beautiful people". Or another one is a club for rich people: "You don't have much money ? you don't come in here". So it is not something of India to be caste conscious, if anybody thinks that he is just a fool. Caste conscious means the pride of being better then the other. Whoever prides himself to be better then somebody else he cannot chant the names of Krishna in ecstacy. He is always concerned with: "Me and you". And always when you say: "Me and you" either I am better then you or I am envious of you. In some way anyhow I have a sick mentality. Caste consciousness, racism, that is a sick mentality, and that mentality is very deep ingrained. Specifically in the west it is very much connected with the colour of the skin. If your skin is not white, already they will say: "Oh this is low class". If your face does not have a certain feature, if you have curly hair, already you are under suspicion. If you have any physical formation of any ethnic, specific form, immediately you are being looked down upon. It is crazy to the maximum degree. Of course nowadays there is so much of a blend, so much of a mixing of nations that you can hardly see that clear distinction, increasingly less. But that caste consciousness is not going down, it is just sliding from one type of consideration to another type of consideration. Maybe now you can even accept somebody from India as being high class if he comes in a Rolls Roice, but if don't comes in a Rolls Roice then he is disqualified, this is very strong. And in India, Bhaktivinoda Thakur is talking about India, he is talking: "When will I eat humble prasad with an outcaste on the bank of the river Saraswati ?". Now he is talking about Bengal, he is talking about the Jalangi. He is talking about his house, he is living in a house on the bank of the Jalangi, overlooking the Yoga-pith on the other side. And at his time there were many outcastes also. You know there are so many muslims in Bengal, so many people who are harijans, or whatever you may call them. So and Bhaktivinoda Thakur was from a well known family, owners of villages, so they were landholders, zamindars. So they were so called, high class. But Bhaktivinoda Thakur says: "This is not a good consciousness". So to think that you are better then somebody else because you are born in this or that family, your ecstacy of Krishnas names will dissapear. That is the meaning here. And we have heard it again and again: "kibra sudra kiba vipra nyasi kene naya, yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya" We have heard the most extreme statements from the shastras in this regard, that even the lowest caste if he knows the science of Krishna, can even become guru. And the highest brahmin if he do not know the science of Krishna cannot become guru. Of course we have to understand one thing about the castes. Society is naturally devided by quality. Krishna Himself has created that system: "catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah tasya kartaram api mam viddy akartaram avyayam", by quality and by work society is devided in different ways, but even though you may be the king, if you do not love the low born, poor people, you are disqualified from being a real king. And if you are a brahmin and you are not kind to those who are not well educated, then you are not really brahminical, you loose your potency. So Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the most highest qualified person, he is desiring to take humble prasad with an outcast, with a very, very simple person who has not been able to yet come into a system of recognition in this world. Like when we come from the west, we are so disqualified in many aspects. But the people here they do not know what to think, because even though he may be a mleccha, but he has money. So you are mleccha with money, and brahmin who has no money. Then what type of relationship you will have amongst the two, very strange relationship. So in this material world, you always have a good reason to be humble, you should be humble. The vedas give us a good reason to be humble, the vedas give a good reason to be humble for woman, the vedas will say so many bad things about woman, and the vedas will say so many bad things about man as well. The vedas will say so many bad things about sudras, and they will say so many good things about sudras also, and they will say so many good things about woman and so many good things about brahmins, but it will also say so many bad things about brahmins if they don't behave properly. So you will find the vedas they will talk bad about everybody and good about everybody. Now what you are going to take from that ? Very easy, when you look upon others you consider the good things, when you look upon yourself you look at the bad things, then you get the right idea. Not that the vedas give you a reason to be proud what it says about you and to think bad about the others because of what it says about them, then you get it exactly the opposite way. So if you are a woman you have many reasons to be humble by reading the vedas, and if you are a mleccha you have many reasons to be humble by reading what it says about mlecchas, and if you are a man you also have many reasons to be humble by seeing what it says about male vanity. Woman maybe bad, but man in this world are already born bad, because they have a male vanity body which is not very auspicious, they wanted to be man, they wanted to enjoy, they wanted to be proprietors, they wanted to overlord, they wanted to have all this powerful position of the strong sex. And thats why they got this male body and they have this male vanity, and it is a disease. And woman, specifically today, they have the same disease, they also have male vanity, even though they have a female body, they still want to control, they still want to enjoy, they still want to be the proprietors, they want to be the center, so they want to be like man. As a matter of fact, nobody wants to be like a woman, except the gopis, they are quite happy, they are quite happy to please Krishna, so they don't seem to have any trouble with male vanity, they just want to please their beloved Lord. And then we hear from our scriptures, like Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur concludes this song, he says:

"The true nature of the Lords abode will manifest it'self to my eyes, and I will become a maidservant of Srimati Radharani",

he wants to become a female attendant of Srimati Radhika in Goloka, that is his ambition. You know, Mahesh Gopeshwara he wanted to come to see Krishna in Vrindavan, and he was rejected: "No, you cannot come here, look you are a male ! No male can come in here", and then Shiva was so unhappy: "You know, just because I have a male body I have no chance to go ?", "No, no cance". Only when he got the mercy of Vrinda-devi, he could give up his male vanity and become the Gopi Gopeshwar, then he was allowed to meet Krishna in the rasa-lila. No male is allowed around there. So the male are disqualified for dancing in rasa, what a condemnation. So what about our male pride ? Having a male body you are disqualified of having rasa-lila, you have no right, you cannot even look at it: "Go work, go somewhere else !" (speaking to the male trying to enter). So there is a deep meaning in all that. don't think that these details are not significan't. They are the sum and substance of our material condition, male, female, rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, high-class, low-class, and we all fall into the trap, yes ! I have seen many indian devotees beeing proud: "We are indian devotees, we are not like western devotees", but in their own life, they cannot live up to the standards of Srila Shukadeva Goswami, they cannot live up to the standards of surrender. You know, there are some high devotees and there are many rupee and chapati devotees, those you find many. But high devotees who give everything to Krishna, who give up fame, name, money, sexual pleasures, they give that up just to please their guru, that type of devotee is very rare to find anywhere, it does not matter what birth they have, very rare to find such a person. But it's not that they do not exist, yes they do exist, there are some devotees like that. I know some devotees in the west, they are so surrendered, it is very surprising, it is completely surprising how somebody can be so sincere and so surrendered to the pleasure of Krishna. Surrender is not a thing of six months, maybe anybody can become surrendered for six months. Like in the west we have something called military service. So for sometime you are bound to submit to the military commander and you do selfless service for this country, you don't get hardly any money for it and you have to work hard and people have to do that. But then the military service is over and then everybody goes and does what they like. So somebody can be a surrendered person for a while, but for five years ? Surrendered for 10 years, 20 years ? That is very rearly found. Usually after a few years of tapasya people want to enjoy the results of the tapasya. They accumulated some sukriti some piety and then they want to trade it in for some enjoyment. It is true when you are doing tapasya you accumulate shakti, you accumulate some positive energy. And you can ask for the return, it is possible, it is not a nice mentality, it is something like a fruitive activity, but it is possible. We have seen that sometimes great devotees they have been offered liberation, they have been offered swarga, and they have said: "Oh no, I am not interested in that", "Oh you can go and live with Indra, you can have heavenly pleasures", "Sorry not for me", "Oh you want to get mystic powers", "Sorry, not interested in mystic powers","Oh, you want to become realized in brahman, mukti","No sorry, no time for that","Oh, you want to go to Vaikuntha and have a personal body like Lord Vishnu", "Not really what I want","Or you want to have sarsti, samipya, sarupya, you want to get one of those liberations in Vaikuntha","No, also not","Then what do you want ?, whats happening to you? "Nrshingadeva is asking Prahlada Maharaja: "Do you want something?","No I don't want anything","Please you tell me something, I want to give you something","But I have no desire, by seeing You I am perfectly satisfied and there is nothing I want more". Who is rich ? Rich is the person who is not in want of something, rich is not the person who has many things. Rich is the person who is not in want, who is not dying to get something. Then Prahlada says: "Oh my Lord you are insisting that I ask something, then I will ask something, you know my father he was rascal, but he is my father, could you be so kind and forgive him for all the offences he has made". What a request, to forgive Hiranyakashipu, who destroyed deities, who killed brahmins, what did he not do this rascal. But Prahlada says: "Oh my Lord, can you forgive this rascal". So in this way devotees they don't want to have any bhoga, tyaga mentality. Tyaga means I renounce everything and after sometime of renunciation then I go: "Oh, now I like to enjoy it again" And then you get hit on the nose by the nonsense enjoyment and then you say: "No, I tyaga again, I again renounce everything" Then some years go by of tyaga, then some opportunity of bhoga comes and you say: "Oh, now I can try again, it is so long ago that I did not have any pleasures, now I can try it a little bit again", and then again you become bhoga, tyaga, bhoga, tyaga, this is the mentality of this material world. Of course some people they just want bhoga, they don't want tyaga. But then the kala comes, the time, and makes them renounce everything, because you loose everything in this material world.

So to get rid of caste consciousness, that is very difficult, VERY DIFFICULT. I know sannyasis in name, totally caste consciouss, they think: "I am this, I am that", what type of sannyas you are ? You renounced the world to become a proud sannyasi ? Then why you renounced the world ? What type of renunciation was that ? Now you think that I am better then somebody else because I have taken sannyas ? You think that sannyas is the top caste ? Sannyas means the servant of the servant of the servant, he is totally dedicated to the pleasure of Krishna, that is the business of a sannyasi. And he should be completely kind with everybody. Now thats why Bhaktivinoda Thakuras song is very important, no ecstacy of the Holy names as long as you are in this consciousness of: "I am better then the others". Jhanava Mata also in Prema-vilas, she says: "Never think about other devotees as being less then you" don't do that, it will be very harmful for your bhakti if you think: "Oh, who are they ?". If you think: "I am better because I read the books". Like sometimes people they read a lot of scripture, and then the next thing you now is they become proud. Horrible !. They become proud because they think: "I know and you don't know". Just like if you are coming to the last moment of life, Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita: "Whatever you think of at the moment of death, that is the next stage you will reach". So lets say you are coming to the end of life and you say: "Yamaraja, I know all the songs by heart, I also have Bhagavad-gita memorized, so I am very qualified, I am very, very qualified", then you will not get anything. If you think in the face of death that you are qualified, you will not get anything. But if you cry, as a matter of fact there is a joke they are telling, I will tell you that joke. In the christian concept St. Peter he is guarding the door of heaven, he is deciding who goes into heaven and who goes to hell. So there the people were standing in line to go to heaven to talk to St. Peter. So there was a bus driver who all of his life was driving a bus, so the busdriver asked St. Peter: "Oh St. Peter can I go into heaven ?", St. Peter looked at the book of what he did: "Yes, you can go into heaven". After St. Peter came a priest, and he asked: "St. Peter can I go into heaven ?", and St. Peter looked in the book and says: "No, you cannot go to heaven", you have to go to hell. Then the priest said: "But I am protesting, how is it possible, you know this other guy he was just a busdriver and you let him go into heaven and I am all my life a priest and you say I cannot go ?", then St. Peter said: "Yes, because when he was driving, everybody in the bus was praying, but when you were preaching everybody was sleeping, so he is qualified, you are not qualified". Anyhow, this is a joke, but you see when we are proud of what we are doing, it is a big, big, big disqualification. So we are proud, that is the nature. The pujari is proud, the cook is proud, the treasurer is proud other person is proud because he is on computer: "I am computer bhakta, so I am very high class with computer". Another one is proud because he is managing the money: "I have the paisa, so I am the pakka (the real), pakka devotee", the other one is proud because guru gave a stick to him, now he is sannyasi: "I am a stick devotee, you don't have a stick, I have a stick, so who is better, who is better, with stick or without stick ?", "Oh no I am better because my sari has no colour, your sari colour, then I am better !","and the other devotee say: "My sari is better because my sari has colour and your sari not". Everybody finds some stupid reason to be proud, all nonsense reason. Then you cannot cry any tear in kirtan, in your chanting, no tear will come, only dirt comes in the eyes but no tears. Maybe some tears, sentimental tears for some nonsense, but not because of any prema for Krishna.

In this way Bhaktivinoda Thakur is sending out a very strong message here, If you are proud of anything, anything, does not matter, proud of your camera, just like when the western devotees came to india, I remember, we were running around like big elephants in Mayapur. Everybody with a big camera, click, click, click, click, and then you see some humble little Bengali Mataji, no shoes, torn old sari, and then you say: "Mhh, who is this one ?". And of course they always come in groups, you see 20 Matajis: "Who are these ? Anyway they are not devotees like we". But she is chanting Hare Krishna since she was small, she has done parikrama of all the holy places 50 times already. You are here the first time walking and already you have some blister in your foot: "Oh my holy foot". And you become proud, anybody who becomes proud of anything becomes disqualified. Even the gopis cannot become proud, even that Krishna does not like. Krishna is unconditional love, if you think yourself better than anybody else, thats disqualification. To eat prasadam with somebody, that is a form of showing your humility. You will find some high class persons, they will not eat anything with persons he considers lowclass, sitting together and taking food from such persons: "No, no not me, you don't know who I am, I am to big for that, I cannot sit here and eat with you, no cmon, I am very humble I have to eat somewhere else, I have to eat just bymyself so nobody can look at me when I take my 50 chappatis" (laugher). Highclass is highclass (joking).
Bhaktivinoda Thakur continues:

"And when will I bow down before a dhambhasi and beg from him a drop of mercy, when oh when will I smear my body with dust from a Vaishnavas holy feet and wear the avadhutas cloth".

Actually the mood of the devotees is so humble, real devotee, not the proud devotee, not the caste conscious devotee, not the angry devotee who always goes: "Hrrrrhhh", angry is like monkey. You know how monkeys become angry ? (imitating monkey) (laugher). When devotee become angry is like monkey devotee and no devotee can become as angry as monkey. Even the most expert angry, monkey is more angry. They cannot copy. That is not very interesting either. We have to become very soft and humble, but strict in our own practices. Soft does not mean that you become lenient with everything, that you have no more principles. Like you may say: "Oh I am so humble, please do anything you want, oh you want to steal something from the temple ? Oh I am very sorry, just steal it", not like that, but softhearted means that you are always kind, you are always thinking about the welfare of others, and how they are feeling, you should be a sensible person, that is the meaning of bowing down begging the mercy of the Vaishnavas. When we come to Vrindavan it is interesting, because in Vrindavan you see so many people doing so many things. So are they dhambhasis ? Maybe yes, maybe not, but if they are living in Vrindavan don't criticize them it is not your business. You are not coming here to India to correct all the dhambhasis or all the people who live here in Vrindavan, and you are not coming here to think yourself better, you are not coming here to get upset because the Riksha-driver is charging to much. It is your foolishness, why didnt you settle the price before you get on the Riksha ? Everybody knows that. If you fight with the Riksha-driver over a rupee it is totally nonsense, or you go to the market and you discover somebody charges you 10 Rupees more, then you think: "Oh they are all cheaters here !" No, you should never think anything like that. You are not the one who is in charged to correct the people, you are not even incharged to correct your brother unless your brother requests you. Why the guru teaches the disciple ? Because the disciple requests the guru: "Please be so kind and correct me, please be so kind and do not ignore my shortcomings, I am now your surrendered disciple. And because I am now surrendered to you you please tell me if I am doing anything wrong. It is my only hope that you will tell me". Then the guru will say something, otherwise some disciples they are very proud also, even in front of the guru the guru will say nothing. Why shall he ? Is he going to start fighting with his disciple ?: "Hey you should do this !","No I don't want to do it",Ok, well then what ?. So the only one who is qualified to criticize and point out deficiencies in another person is the person who is requested to do so, otherwise this mentality: "These devotees are this, these devotees are that, they do this, they do that", that is all nonsense, that is not your business. Your business is to chant purely and do your service nicely, thats your only business, and whenever somebody does something else, well just harmonize. Vaishnavism means harmony and proper adjustment, adjust with everybody. That is the idea of transcendental consciousness. So in this way we can learn from Bhaktivinoda Thakur that we should become humble, totally humble. We should not entertain bad thoughts of others, we can preach the principle of dharma, like I am sitting here and I am talking about this material world and about this one and that one, that means to talk the philosophy, this is for the benefit for everybody. But it is not that I am attacking anybody individually and say: "Oh, why you do this, why you do that ?!". Everybody is going his way according to his advancement, according to what he is ready to do. If you are not ready to go high, well then stay where you are, thats your decision. Nobody is going to come and force you to make spiritual advancement. You can't force anybody, you cannot force a sudra to become a brahmin, it is impossible. Finally Bhaktivinoda Thakur concludes:

"Then I shall see no difference in the forest of Gauda and Vraja and I will be transformed into a residence of the dham. The true nature of the Lords abode will manifest it'self to my eyes and I will become a maidservant of Srimati Radharani",

it is a very short song, but it is loaded with spiritual meaning, loaded with valuable instructions. It is the sum and substance of a humble prayer of a devotee. This wonderful message of Bhaktivinoda Thakur, we should take it so much to our heart, he is telling us that Radha-dasyam is the goal, the highest goal of all considerations, to serve Srimati Radharani, to serve Her, to become a humble servant of the Vaishnavas, to be in the life, to serve the devotees, that is our only hope to get out of the world of maya. And we hopefully are going to serve the devotees all the way back to the last moment of our lifes, not only now in the beginning. The whole life we should keep serving the devotees of Lord Chaitanya. Thank you very much, Hare Krishna.

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