By force Mira was married. Her mother gave her so many necklaces of precious gems. But Mirabai refused to accept them. She asked her mother, “What are you giving me? Don’t provide these necklaces of gems; give me my Thakuraji deity whom I worship.”
Her mother said, “You are in the palace. There is a great family here. There will be so many sisters in law, you can distribute to them, then your prestige will increase.”
Mirabai replies, “These Kings and royal family are simply like time and ultimate death to me.”
During that time Chittor was the glory and crest jewel of India. Rana Pratap has maintained this glory. So many Kings would come to Chittoor. Many prominent Kings would visit, but for Mira they represented the two eyes of time and death.
Because of this pure detached attitude of Mira, the Lord gave His personal darshan to her. She was not attached to necklaces and jewels. All these things are false.
SB 3.15.48 states:
nātyantikaḿ vigaṇayanty api te prasādaḿ
kimv anyad arpita-bhayaḿ bhruva unnayais te
ye ‘ńga tvad-ańghri-śaraṇā bhavataḥ kathāyāḥ
kīrtanya-tīrtha-yaśasaḥ kuśalā rasa-jñāḥ
Persons who are very expert and most intelligent in understanding things as they are engage in hearing narrations of the auspicious activities and pastimes of the Lord, which are worth chanting and worth hearing. Such persons do not care even for the highest material benediction, namely liberation, to say nothing of other less important benedictions like the material happiness of the heavenly kingdom.
Devotees consider liberation as nothing. But in this world, liberation is considered to be the greatest thing. Devotees consider liberation as insignificant. Not to speak of other material gains. They understand that time is like the eyebrow of the Lord. The three worlds are destroyed in a moment by the movement of the Lord’s eyebrows.
After Rāvaṇa was killed, Mandodhārī said;
“When you would walk the whole planet would shake, when you would stand up, the sun and moon would lose their effulgence. You became so heavy from the performance of austerities that Lord Śeṣa could not tolerate your burden. But now, your very same body is lying dead on the ground, covered with dust before me.
I used to tell you to give up your false ego and take shelter of Lord Rama. But controlled by time, you did not obey me.
All the rulers of the different planets could not stand before you. Varuna and Kuvera had no power to fight with you. You even challenged Yamarāja for battle; no-one had ever dared to before. Infront of you, Yamarāja’s weapon became useless.”
Brahmāji appeared before Yamarāja and told him; “By the strength of Rāvaṇa’s austerities you are unable to kill him, but in due course of time he will meet with destruction.” So Yamarāja’s weapon returned to him. This story is found in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa.
Brahmāji told Rāvaṇa; “Never before has Yamarāja’s weapon been made useless. Be satisfied with your victory.” Then Rāvaṇa and Yamarāja both went away.
So Rāvaṇa was able to defeat Yamarāja and also he defeated time.
In this way Mandodhārī said; “Previously you were so powerful, but now you are simply laying on the ground, dead. You had full power over the three planetary systems. You have been brought down, defeated like a helpless orphan.”
So according to SB 3.15.48: devotees consider liberation to be insignificant. Then what about other material gains like the post of a King, ruling an empire etc.? Devotees don’t desire any of these things because they know that time, the eyebrow of the Lord destroys everything in this world, however great one’s position may be.
So what do devotees want? They only want the Lord’s shelter. Under the Lord’s sanctuary there is no anxiety. Being absorbed twenty-four hours a day in chanting the Lord’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes in a mood of surrender, one attains the shelter of the Lord.
There is a great tendency of the mind to look and listen, like watching TV. The son of an Englishman learns to speak English before even going to school because he simply listens to others speaking English as he grows up. Similarly, the son of a Bengali learns to speak Bengali language without going to school. A Punjabi and a Gujarati son does so in the same way. Similarly, we can understand that so many saṁskāras, impressions in the mind, come from looking and listening.
Nowadays in every house there is a TV. Five or six days ago I heard a television playing here in Maan Garh. I ordered it to be stopped. Televisions should not be played in Maan Garh. This is māyā to watch TV in the āśrama. If you are watching a device that you are trying to ignore, then how can you attain the shelter of the Lord?
My mission is open, whether it is right or wrong. The day before yesterday I said to a girl named Gauri, who has no saṁskāras for materialistic activities and wears a white sari; “Leave your home and come live here in the āśrama and engage day and night in the arādhāna of the Lord. Eighty young girls stay here.”
She said; “My family members would not be happy if I did.” I said: “To attain the shelter of the Lord, you have to give up everything.”
Therefore Prahlāda Mahārāja recommended from early childhood one should engage in devotional service. He recommends as early as kumāra, five years old, one should perform devotional service. Why does he recommend this? As the body develops, evils come. The false ego increases and from this, lust and anger develop. As the false ego increases, all the evils of the world come to one.
Lord Kapila states this in SB 3.31.29:
saha dehena mānena
karoti vigrahaḿ kāmī
kāmiṣv antāya cātmanaḥ
With the growth of the body, the living entity, in order to vanquish his soul, increases his false prestige and anger and thereby creates enmity towards similarly lusty people.
As the body grows up, the false ego increases. If you slap a small child, within a short time he will come back unaffected. But as he grows up he will start to take offense. Even you hear of court cases between father and son because as he grows up more, neither does he obey his father nor mother.
When he is a small child he doesn’t know how to eat and drink and his mother will feed him. Even as babies we did not know how to even cover ourselves from the cold in winter. In the bed where we would sleep our mother would come and cover us. As babies we are so dependent. But when the baby grows up he becomes angry with the parents, because the demon of the false ego has increased so much.
So this śloka is stating that as the body grows, so the false ego increases. And because of that he becomes lustful and angry. He becomes like a black snake. If a black snake passes close to your leg; he will bite you.
To eradicate the false ego is to attain the Lord’s shelter.
We say that we are under the shelter of the Lord, but often it is still a false shelter we are under.
This is such a fine sloka in SB 11.5.41:
na kińkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaḿ śaraṇyaḿ
gato mukundaḿ parihṛtya kartam
O King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who offers shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one’s forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord’s service has no need to serve such persons separately.
One who has taken shelter of the Lord is freed from all debts and sins. There are these six debts, which we can never repay regardless of our status in life. Firstly, to the demigods, secondly to the ṛṣis and sages, to other living entities, to our parents, to elders in society, to our forefathers and to other human beings.
Upon each person is this burden of debts. Without the demigods, our senses cannot function. We study the Gītā and Bhāgavatam, which are composed by great sages and learn that other human beings are providing our needs. Someone has supplied us electricity, we don’t know his name, but we use the facilities he has provided for us. Someone has invented the motorcar and the train and we travel by these means. All these are debts. We drink the milk of the cow and buffalo. These are the debts of other living entities. We travel on the path and stumble and someone helps us. We’re indebted to that person. We go for madhukari and Brajabāsīs give us roṭis. We are indebted to them.
Everyone is carrying the burden of debts whether as a King or an ordinary person. This debt can never be repaid. The only means to become absolved is to come under the shelter of the Lord. And that requires giving up the false ego. If one goes to the temple, and due to material prestige thinks, “First I should be fed opulent prasāda by the pūjārī,” carrying this false ego, will not allow one to derive any benefit.
If one goes to the temple and one thinks, “For the first time ever, I have not been given prasāda,” then one has carried the demon of false ego with one into the temple.
The only way to obtain the Lord’s shelter is to give up the false ego. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu stressed humility. He said that we should become lower than a blade of grass:
Śikṣāṣṭakam Verse 3
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree who gives due honour to others without desiring honour for himself is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa.