Friday, May 25, 2007

Imitation & Humility:
Reflections on the 2nd Verse of Sri Siksastakam

Here in this verse, Mahaprabhu prays like a true devotee who feels he has no devotion for the object of his love. In the world of bhakti, smallness is great. Those who are humble about their own lack of love, have the highest capacity for that love. While those who pose themselves as great devotees, have very little love to offer.

In reality, none of us in this world are lovers. We talk about peace and love, or even we discuss the intimate details of Radharani's love, but we are pretenders. The real bhakta does not advertise himself as a great personality. Rather, he acknowledges his pretense and focuses on the generosity of the holy names. He knows that chanting the divine names can rectify him and give him the divine love he lacks.

The real bhakta also acknowledges his own indifference and resistance to the holy names. This humble awareness brings the bhakta to a healthy, sober condition where he can access the profound secrets of the holy names. Humility is the entrance to bhakti.

There are those who imitate bhakti and humility. They make an outward show of etiquette but within they are full of pride and false ego. That kind of show humility has no value. Actually it has negative value. By making a pretense of humility, the imitators mock the beauty and potency of real humility.

Here, the natural genuine humility of a bhakta is clearly expressed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is nami, the original personality of the holy name. We, the tiny jivas, are meant to follow in his footsteps, in this mood:

namnam akari bahudha nija sarva saktis
tatrapita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrisi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah

Your holy names appear in a variety of forms,
and you invest all your divine powers and love in them.
You make no restrictions of time or place
for remembering them.
But Bhagavan, while your mercy and generosity are awesome,
my condition is most unfortunate.
I have not become attached to your names!

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