One should engage in both activities of giving respect to and encouraging the glorification of sadhus in this world; God Himself makes such saints. He creates the tribe of saints and maintains their respect through society.
The next story revolves around this topic; People are impressed by saints and accept their extraordinary qualities. Gosvāmī Nabhaji wants to bring attention to and stress the respect of saints. Only generous persons can respect others. To serve is a good thing, but even better than seva is respect. If respect is not there then seva is useless.
As history shows, there was a great king Mansingh, who enabled Emperor Akbar and the Moguls to increase their kingdom all over India. He was a great warrior and without his help Akbar couldn’t have been as powerful as he was.
When Mansingh came to meet a great Hindu patriot, Rana Pratap, an opulent feast was there to welcome him. When he came to partake, Rana Pratap, instead of entertaining him, lay down and said, “I have a headache, I cannot eat, that’s why I am lying down.”
The aunt of Mansingh was married to Akhbar and his real sister was married to the son of Akbar, so this disgusted Rana Pratap, who thought, “Such a kṣatriya is useless.” Therefore because Mansingh was in alliance with the Moguls, he considered him an enemy. Therefore, he had him sit alone to take the feast and would not accompany him. Rana Pratap considered sitting together with this man a humiliation, Mansingh understood this therefore he did not honor the feast and went away.
Then Rana Pratap said to his servant, “I will have union by fighting my uncle in battle and then Mansingh can consider my humiliation.” He then thought, “Alright I understand now what is my headache and the best remedy is to fight with Mansingh on the battlefield!”
From that day onwards, so many calamities came upon Rana Pratap; day and night He tried to defeat Mansingh. Simply for the reason of not paying respect, all calamities came about, the whole country was affected: Rana Pratap had so many forts but he lost all of them. But still, he would not surrender. He would not bow down before the Moguls.
Eventually, he was forced to live in the forest of Jagara in Rājasthan with his wife and children, and was safeguarded by some of the forest wild persons. This jungle was very dangerous. At night they could not sleep for fear of wild animals.
Even to this day, one can find the protective iron instruments fixed in the trees, and there Rana Pratap would dwell and could only eat chapatis made from grass; So much hardship he had to tolerate, but he would not surrender to the Moguls.
It is written in the Bhaktamal, that one time his daughter was eating a grass chapati and a wild animal came and took it from her and she could not eat. Rana Pratap was so distressed seeing this that he wrote a letter to Akbar in surrender. So many years had passed living in the forest with no proper food and always on the run, because the army was chasing him, trying to catch him. Therefore he wrote to Akbar seeking relief.
When the letter of Rana Pratap arrived there was a great poet there named Patriraja, he was a great patriarch of Akbar and a great devotee also. Akbar said, “This is a letter from Pratap, an agreement and peace proposal”, and Patriraja replied that this letter has not come from Rana Pratap; “It must be false, even if the sun rises from the west, even Rana Pratap can not write a letter for an agreement peace proposal.”
In a hidden way he wrote Akbar a message in prose. Then Akbar wrote a letter back to Pratap; “The sun of India has set now, how is this the glory of a kṣatriya?” He prodded at Pratap’s kṣatriya pride. After reading that letter Pratap once again became determined never to bow down to the Moguls. Instead he adopted the same tactic that Subhas Candra Bose did in later years in India.
Subash Candra Bose was able to defeat the Britishers in an alliance with Japan and Germany, and in that way formed an army. I remember in 1942 when Japan attacked Calcutta.
By the help of Japan, Subhash Candra Bose attacked and frightened the British. From that time, the British and Americans united and used an atom bomb upon Japan, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The plan was that if Japan could be broken away, then India could be saved for the Britishers. By the help of Japan, and Hitler in Germany, the British were on the defensive.
With the downfall of Japan, the power of Subhasa Candra Bose was also destroyed. Even today, no one knows how Subhasa Candra Bose died. Some said that he had become a sadhu, others were convinced of different scenarios.
Just as Subhasa Candra Bose made his alliance by going outside of India, Pratap used the same method. There was one was an influential minister to Rana Pratap, named Dharmashaya who was searching for him. When he found him, he asked; “Where are you going?” Pratap said “I’m going outside of India.”
Then Dharmashaya gave money to Rana Pratap. He gave him all his inheritance for the service of the country. It was a huge quantity. By that money, he again organized his army with so many weapons and he returned to India. Then through the power of his army, he regained his lost forts, over 30 strongholds.
This is a very interesting incident; I told this story to illustrate the principle of respect; respect is the topmost quality.
If there is respect behind offering food, then the receiver will be satisfied. As Goswami Nabhaji has written; The devotees who respect a saint are very rare. Upon those devotees, who give respect to others, a great mercy is bestowed.
This is the quality that Caitanya Mahaprabhuji emphasized. He said that all devotees should develop this quality. But materialistic persons like us, we have the hunger to receive respect, and we have created divisions in society, and the Hindu arena is degraded because of this.
By the hunger of our own respect there is degradation; there is a lack of honorific respect. There is such jealousy to see others being honored.
That’s why Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s encouraged this humble devotion, where materialistic fidelity cannot take root. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said this in His famous śloka:
tṛṇād api sunīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāniṇā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
amāniṇā; One who has no desire for respect. mānadena; He is gives all respect to others. Persons who have these two qualities attain the mercy and the full power of the holy name. It happens only when a person is more humble than a straw and he sees himself lower than the grass.
If a person has attachment and hatred, the main cause is false ego. If someone hates, criticizes, or humiliates another, the main reasons are because of five things. Just like five fingers becomes like a fist, in the same way Kṛṣṇa says when one man hates another, or criticizes another, then five faults are manifest.
These five faults are explained in the Gita 16.18:
ahaṅkāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ
kāmaṁ krodhaṁ ca saṁśritāḥ
Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demons become envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in their own bodies and in the bodies of others, and blaspheme against the real religion.
The first fault is false ego, ahaṅkāra; one is fearful of offenses to devotees. Second is strength, balaṁ; he is considering himself as powerful. Then pride, darpaṁ; he holds onto arrogance; if you point out his fault, he will not accept. He will think that he is right and the other person is wrong. This drama goes on 24 hours a day, then lust, kāma, and anger, krodha, totaling five faults are there. A person may see himself as powerful, a scholar, and be feeling very proud, but then lust and anger must follow.
Devotion cannot manifest in the heart of a person who has these qualities. These faults cause hatred to manifest in individuals and they can become demons that degrade society.
Kṛṣṇa then goes on to say that He throws such people into demoniac species:
tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, I perpetually cast into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.
They go into lower positions and never rise:
āsurīṁ yonim āpannā
mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya
tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim
Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, O son of Kuntī, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.
Kṛṣṇa places them into inanimate species like trees and plants. Otherwise in higher forms they would simply spread hatred in society.
Mahāprabhuji has stated in His ‘tṛṇād api sunīcena’ verse, if only this one sloka comes in the life of a person then they will become a devotee, developing the qualities of humility and respect, and then there will be all success. When someone walks on grass, the grass does not protest or object in any way and having been trampled upon, it again comes back up.
Mahāprabhu says that we should be more humble than the grass. We should look up to everyone and see everyone as Kṛṣṇa, His part and parcel.
As Krsna says in the Bg 7.19; vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti; everywhere the mahatma sees the Lord:
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
As Gosvāmī Tulsi dasji says; to such persons who understand Krsna to be behind everything, faults cannot come. Therefore after millions of births one may finally gain humility. And when real humility comes, then one can see the Lord in every living entity.
tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
trnad api sunīcena; When real humility is there, then like a tree, one will always give fruit not considering one’s own interest; taror api sahiṣṇunā.
So a person with genuine respect in his heart will never feel hatred towards anyone. If there is humility, there will be tolerance; If you kick him, he will be concerned that you have been hurt.
Just as the sage Bhrigu kicked Lord Viṣṇu on the chest, the Lord said that; “Your foot must be hurt by My very hard chest.”
When I was a child, I would laugh to listen to this story. I would hear this pastime in various kathās, I loved it so much, but couldn’t understand it properly. I was thinking, “That my hand was very strong and how might it be harmed by pressing in the same way?” I was very small, and thinking in this way, would just laugh after these descriptions, but by the association of saints I can now understand these truths, the nature of humility and tolerance.
If someone throws a stone at a tree it doesn’t protest. It is very easy understand this principle, but on a practical level, it is very difficult to practice.
If you beat someone your hand will be hurt but now if someone has humility, there is no passionate emotion, he will only offer respect to others.
Gosvāmī Nabhaji says that those devotees that give respect to all; God has created such saints. We ourselves cannot be like this; again we are hungry for respect.
A person who is able to give respect to all attains the mercy of the Lord; amanena manadena.
Lord Rama says in the Ramacaritamanas; “O Bharata, you are more dear to me than my life.”
(Baba starts singing a bhajan)
Lord Kapila has also said that people may do so much worship, serving Thakuraji twenty-four hours; somebody is chanting constantly, day and night for twenty hours, and someone is constantly meditating on the Lord, but all that sādhana, all that worship becomes useless, like offering oblations into ashes, if there is hatred towards others. All one’s sādhana is destroyed.
yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
santam ātmānam īśvaram
hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauḍhyād
bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ
One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramātmā, is situated in every living entity’s heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.
One considers that I have done so much bhajan and becomes proud. Lord Kapila explains this in four slokas in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; in the first sloka, it describes that one’s worship is hypocrisy if there is neglect or insulting of others. If one disregards other living entities, such a person is very foolish, he maybe doing so many things, he is serving Me, doing sacrifice, getting ashes, all his bhajan, japa, austerity, and knowledge becomes useless if he is neglecting or insulting another.
ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
tam avajñāya māṁ martyaḥ
I am present in every living entity as the Supersoul. If someone neglects or disregards that Supersoul everywhere and engages himself in the worship of the Deity in the temple, that is simply imitation.
If in one’s heart there is hatred for someone, he can never be peaceful. He may be worshiping the Deity day and night, offering 64 items of bhoga, but if he is neglectful of others, then Kṛṣṇa will never be satisfied with his worship.
Not only in the Gauḍīya sampradāya, but in all sampradāyas this principle is taught by the ācāryas. I’ll give an example from the Vallabha sampradāya; When Gosvāmī Vittal Nāthajī was going from Jetipura, Govardhana to Gokula, He would come by horse and cart, travelling at a very fast pace like a car.
In this sampradāya, Gosvāmī Vittalji is considered to be an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. He was driving the cart of Śrī Nāthajī.
Back then there were no hand pumps, only wells, people would sometimes die because of thirst. I have read in the history that when the Muslim armies were invading, there were incidents where people were so thirsty, they would just fall into the well, and one entire army died due to lack of water.
At the time when Gosvāmīji was coming from Gokula, there was a Muslim lady lying on the street dying from thirst. She was motioning with her hand, crying out for water. Gosvāmīji saw her and stopped his horse. He said to his servants that were with him; “Give that lady some water.”
They said, “This is a special lota with water for Thakuraji only, not for human beings. How can we give it to a Muslim lady?” Gosvāmīji said, “Don’t be so foolish, we can get another pot for Thakuraji. This woman is dying!” They said “But she is a Muslim woman!” Gosvāmīji said, “Kṛṣṇa is in the heart of all, she is dying and should be given water.”
So in all sampradāyas, this principle of respect for others is followed. But foolish persons like us, thinking only in terms of rules and regulations, consistently commit offenses to other devotees. This kind of bhajan is like offering ashes into the fire, there is no benefit, and everything becomes zero.
In this way Lord Kapila says that if one is trying to worship the Lord but is not paying respect to other living entities, his worship is useless, it is destroyed.
One who gives true respect to others is very rare in this world; Gosvāmī Nabhaji says that such saints are personally empowered by the Lord.
We tend to hanker for our own respect, like a doubly hungry person who wants attention. How can such a person give respect to others when he himself wants respect?
The Lord has created very special devotees who are able to offer proper veneration to other souls. These are the real devotees, the pure devotees who are especially chosen by the Lord, they always give respect to others. They never desire their own glorification, even in dreams. In reference to such devotees, Kṛṣṇa says:
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me—such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.
“My devotee has friendship with all persons, My devotees treat other living entities with such love and compassion.”
We do not have such love, compassion or mood of friendship. We are simply concerned about our own bhajan. Most people will just close their doors not wanting their bhajan to be interrupted. They hate other living entities. Great intelligence is required for this bhajan. Nobody should be insulted, hated, or neglected.
This has been stated in so many places, Nāradaji also says this in SB 4.31.21:
na bhajati kumanīṣiṇāṁ sa ijyāṁ
harir adhanātma-dhana-priyo rasa-jñaḥ
śruta-dhana-kula-karmaṇāṁ madair ye
vidadhati pāpam akiñcaneṣu satsu
The Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes very dear to those devotees who have no material possessions but are fully happy in possessing the devotional service of the Lord. Indeed, the Lord relishes the devotional activities of such devotees. Those who are puffed up with material education, wealth, aristocracy and fruitive activity are very proud of possessing material things, and they often deride the devotees. Even if such people offer the Lord worship, the Lord never accepts them.
Nāradaji instructs the Pracetas, “Even if one does so much bhajan, performing great fasting or austerity, it is not accepted by God if we offend desire less devotees,” our bhajan simply goes to dust. Kṛṣṇa will not accept that.
Who can be a greater ṛṣi than Durvāsā Muni? Ambarish was a gṛhasta king, not a sādhu. Durvāsā had performed the greatest austerities, but for undermining such a great devotee, he was punished by the cakra of Lord Nārāyaṇa. We cannot imagine what great suffering that he had to undergo.
The cakra was burning and coming after Durvāsā, having the presence of millions of suns. Durvāsā tolerated it for one whole year, fleeing from the cakra, enduring such great miseries, and for that period Ambarish prayed to the Lord to free Durvāsā from this predicament.
yadi no bhagavān prīta ekaḥ sarva-guṇāśrayaḥ
sarva-bhūtātma-bhāvena dvijo bhavatu vijvaraḥ
If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second, who is the reservoir of all transcendental qualities, and who is the life and soul of all living entities, is pleased with us, we wish that this brāhmaṇa, Durvāsā Muni, be freed from the pain of being burned.
Lord Narayana said to Durvāsā; “I cannot forgive you. Somebody may be a great scholar, a great performer of austerities and have great knowledge and this benefits people, but these are more harmful also if we do not have humility of heart.”
Without humility, austerity can only increase one’s false ego. Then one can become angry and shout; “Get out”, and exhibit the qualities of a so-called sadhu. Here austerity becomes harmful.
Lord Nārāyaṇa said to Durvāsā; “I cannot help you and give you salvation. Only if you go back to Mahārāja Ambarish can you get relief from this affliction. When you approach Ambarish then you will attain peace.”
Durvāsā was burning with the heat of the cakra. It was not a normal fire. He was able to tolerate that heat, more than millions of suns for one year.
Durvāsā was running and travelling for that period, and eventually, Durvāsā came and fell down at the feet of Ambarish Mahārāja. Durvāsā was an incarnation of Lord Siva, Ambarish was a King, Brahma, and Viṣṇu, Mahesh, had taken birth in the asrama of Anasūyā. Siva became Durvāsā. Lord Viṣṇu became Dattatreya.
Ambarish Mahārāja felt so much shame that this great Ṛṣi Durvāsā was bowing down before him. Ambarish saw that the cakra was burning Durvāsā. He did not say anything to Durvāsā. He first prayed to the cakra for his relief. He could not worship Durvāsā whilst he was in so much agony. Ambarish prayed for his relief from the burning of the cakra. He began to glorify the Sudarśana cakra.
He recited so many slokas in His glorification; “You are the sun, You are everything, everywhere is Your energy.”
However, the cakra did not become pacified or cold, and Durvāsā continued to burn. At last Ambarish prayed; “If the Lord is satisfied with my devotion, then may Durvāsā be released from this burning heat of the Your fire.”
At that point the Sudarśana cakra immediately became cold and went away. Ambarish Mahārāja offered the strength of his own devotion for the safety of Durvāsā, saying “If I have performed any pious or meritorious activities then please give him relief.”
Then Durvāsāji said, “O today I have seen the level of tolerance of the devotees of the Lord. I had offended Ambarish so much.”
It is a very long topic, in this way I was relaying that Nabhaji has written that very special devotees are created by the Lord; who give respect to all; such devotees have no hunger for respect for themselves, but they give respect to all.
People like us are hungry for our own respect. How can one, hankering in this way, give respect to others?
Only the pure devotees can truly give respect to others.
(Baba starts singing)
Jaya Sri Radhe !