by Swami B. R. Sridhar Maharaja

Oh Govinda. What can I do? There is not a single offender like myself. My Lord, I am ashamed to take my offenses before You and have them forgiven. It is shameful even to point out before You that I am so heinous, that I am such an offender.

I feel ashamed to recollect my own bad deeds. I feel ashamed that I shall take them to You and pray for their forgiveness. I am ashamed. Such a class of sinner I am. What more  shall I say to You, My Lord? I am such a sinner.”

This is the nature of the high class devotees: they think themselves unfit for service. What is the way? What is our destination? Progress towards this side, the negative, submissive side. Our place is there, at the farthest end of the negative side, the smallest of the small, the lowest of the low.

Where do we cast our glance, our look? What should we do? Our goal is this, to reach that negative side, sincerely; self-abnegation to the extreme. This is the measurement, to become the lowest of the low. The goal is to realize our proper position there: lowest of the low. Is it possible at all? Is it imaginary, an imaginary quantity? For what purification may we aspire? Self-abnegation.

Analyze, analyze, and discard. Analyze and throw out all egoistic and assertive tendencies: “I am something; I am someone, I have something to be proud of.” These have to be eliminated, and eliminated completely. It is not an easy thing. To become big is easy, but it is all false, like racketeering. To say, “I am a big man,” is very easy. But to say, “I am nothing,” to accept this creed in its true color, its true nature, that is very difficult. “I am no one; I am nothing!” It is very difficult.

Vaisnava haite hara mane jiru sadha, trnad-api sloke tripure gelo hara.

There is a familiar saying in Bengal: “ I had a great aspiration to become a Vaisnava, but when I came across the verse api sahisnuna, I was disappointed. It is not possible to be humbler than a blade of grass, and more tolerant than a tree.”

Amanina manadena. Give honor to everyone, but don’t aspire after honor. In this attitude we should take the Name of the Lord, of Krsna. Then our desire will be fulfilled. We have to take the Name of Krsna with such an attitude. We must be humbler than a blade of grass and more tolerate the a tree. When the tree is cut down, it still gives shade to the logger. And it doesn’t beg anyone for water. Such forbearance! In this way we have to take the name of Krsna, and we shall find His help at once, in no time. The standard, the qualification for taking the holy name, has been recommended thus.

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna,amanina manadena kiraniyah sada harih

            “One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”Siksastaka 3

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has explained that we are actually lower than the straw in the street , because in our present existence we are vikrta, or deranged. But the straw is at least passive and maintaining its natural position. We have lost our proper function and become of negative value; we are lacking the positive value of straw because we are adverse to our natural position.

We are going against our own interest with our intelligence. We have intelligence, but it is misguided, opposed to the proper order of things. The straw is poised; it cannot move willfully. But we can move in a wrong way, so we are actually in a more heinous position than the straw. We use our assets willingly to misguide ourselves, But the straw maintains its fixed position without deviation.

In the worldly sense we may hold a position superior to that of a blade of grass or a tree, but what of that? All our credits are being misused for our selfishness. So we are lower than straw. We are armed, but armed for suicide. A madman should not possess a dagger. He is dangerous. He could stab himself at any moment. He is mad.