The Highest Vaisnava Sees Himself as the Lowest of All
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada
Many years have now passed over me one by one. I at last realise that there is no other help for me than the mercy of the holy feet of the Vaisnavas. Every one of my acts is worthy of contempt. Yet I pray to those who look upon me from above that, if they consider it allowable for me to follow their conduct and teachings, they enable me to no longer have a contemptible attitude. I pray to them to kindly impart to me the strength and fitness needed in order to communicate their power to those who are unintelligent, ignorant and devoid of all strength.
He who serves Lord Hari counts himself as the least of all entities. He is lifted to the highest order of the Vaisnavas when he can feel himself the last of all. He can then proclaim the message of the highest devotion to Lord Hari.
"The best of all people deems himself to be less than all others." Such is the great dictum.
It is necessary for the best person to scrutinize his own ineligibility. Why should a person be anxious to pry into the defects of others when he does not seek to scrutinize his own conduct? Is this the disposition of a Vaisnava? On the other hand, even those who are low in the scale of service may attain the higher level. Let us remember the verse: "What to speak of people who listen to and remember the instructions of the spiritual scriptures with care, even women, sudras, hunas, savaras, and those who have attained the bodies of beasts and birds due to their sinful past lives can know God and prevail over His deluding power if they follow the conduct of the devoted servants of the Lord, who covers all the worlds by His wonderful strides." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.7.46).
"The acts and expressions of the Vaisnavas cannot be understood even by the wise." The devotees are attached to the Lord, who pervades the worlds with His wonderful strides. Let us not be misled by appearances. Many people have been liable to mistake the pebble for the pearl, the snake for the rope and evil for good by relying on appearances and thus falling victim to delusion. It is only when a person allows himself to fall into the clutches of self-delusion that his senses show their eagerness to supply him with the cravings incidental to the phenomenal world because he supposes himself to be an inhabitant of the same. We should carefully consider how we will be delivered from being exploited like this by the deluding energy. Adopting the mentality of a lord in order to compensate for our present inadequacies will never bring us relief. Nor will it bring us relief to avoid what certain hasty observers have been pleased to dub "the slave mentality" of the devotees of God. Such modes of thinking accelerate our march towards the inferno by plunging us into the course of sensuous indulgence.