Devotee: There is a verse by Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati:
vancito ‘smi vancito ‘smi, vancito ‘smi na samsayah visvam gaura-rase magnam, sparso ‘pi mama nabhavat
“Deceived, deceived, no doubt, deceived am I! The whole universe became flooded with love of Sri Gauranga, but alas, my fate was not to get even the slightest touch of it.”
Srila Guru Maharaj: That is a clear thing and it expresses the very nature of the devotee. That is, as much conception of the infinite as one has, he must feel within himself that he is insignificant to the same degree. It is the infinite conception from the view of relativity. It is a question of relativity. When you can see a bigger thing then relatively you cannot but think that you are very infinitesimal. When you look at a great thing, in comparison with that you are the smallest. Do you concede this? When you see the ocean you can perceive how tiny you are in relation to that great magnitude of water. In comparison you are very insignificant, is it not? So apply that principle in this instance also. One who looks at a great thing, whether in size, or knowledge or love, when standing at the verge of a great thing, from the consideration of relativity he shall think, “I am very poor and very low.”
Purisera kita haite muni se laghistha: Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami says of himself, “I am so mean, lower even than the worm in stool.” When one has seen such pure and higher things, in comparison with that he must have such feelings. Mahaprabhu Himself says, “I am as insignificant as an insect but still I continue my life. My life is like an insect’s.”
na prema-gandho ‘sti darapi me harau
krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum
vibharmmi yat prana-patangakan vrtha
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 2.45)
“Such a pure and merciful ocean of love I see spread before Me but I am so unqualified that I do not receive even a drop of it. Why? Because I am a hypocrite. I really do not want it, so I don’t deserve it. I don’t want it, and so My life is unfulfilled. I have come near such a vast and beautiful thing but I am not allowed to even touch or receive a drop of it. I am so low, so unqualified. Why? Because I am a hypocrite. But still I think I am great, that I have importance, pratistha. Despite all of this I cannot leave my vanity, my false vanity. I want to display that I have some great achievement of Krsna-prema and therefore I shed tears. But these tears are not real, for still I am addicted to My lower self, I am self-centred. My self-centredness has not been dissolved. I am a seeker of My own fame, so I am not being allowed to partake of that ocean of nectar.”
So, seeing such ocean of nectar one must gradually come to see himself as the meanest of the mean. As much as one comes in connection and consciousness of the higher reality then relatively he is compelled to think himself to be the meanest of the mean. That is the truth. That is the law of nature.
Therefore devotees of the higher order are seen always to say, “Everyone has the chance but not I. I cannot avail myself of this ocean.”
Narottama dasa Thakur said, “Jagai and Madhai were such great culprits but they were released and received the nectar, but it seems that only I, Narottama, am barred and cannot touch it.”
It is the nature of one who appreciates the highest that he will think himself to be in the lower position. We find this in the practices and sayings of the great men. It is a question of trnad api sumcena, taror api sahisnuna, and this is a necessary qualification of a devotee. We must have that sort of qualification, that sort of heart. That must not be an artificial thing but if we are not ready to think ourselves lower, we cannot come in connection with the higher.
trnad api sunicena, taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena, kirttaniyah sada harih
Your attitude towards the search will be such that you are almost unfit to search for such a goal, yet you sincerely want to begin your new life. To feel you are so unqualified is the qualification for the finite to approach the Infinite. If you think that you are something, that is a disqualification in your search for the Infinite.