(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 2005)
When I first came to this movement, there was a black American devotee who was looking after me, and he was helping me in my spiritual life. I had jaundice so I could not eat so many things. No halwa, which was a disaster! You join and you cannot have halwa – so it was very serious! I was depressed to say the least, and at prasadam time I was seriously depressed. I had to let all that good stuff go!
So, he made some special banana bread for me, which was kind of very nice. He would just put it in my cupboard and then write a note for me, and he would sign it as:
“Your dog servant”.
And I thought:
“Oh my God! How can anyone in the world call himself your dog servant? It’s like its too much! If he had written your servant, than I could have gotten that. But your dog servant! It’s too much – its over the top!”
I really felt that it was over the top, but he would write things like that. When that bread was there, it was so good. It was not just bananas inside, but there was also dried fruit, figs and so many things. It was too good, and it was a big flat bread, that I would just break a piece off and eat it. One day he told me:
“You’re just eating like a mouse!”
Because, of the way I was eating the bread, that I looked like a mouse. It’s true actually….I felt caught out. He was calling himself my ‘dog servant’ and I could not understand how anyone could refer to himself as so low. This is too much, but now I understand better, that a vaisnava is looking at himself with a magnifying glass. He is very strict, and he is looking at himself and saying:
“ I have to grow…I have to grow and change. There is so many things in me that have to change! For so long I have been living in the wrong way, and for so long I have developed so many bad habits…and for so long I have just automatically let it go and I carry with me – bad habits from my last life. In this life I have picked up many more bad habits and some I picked up from my parents and so on. Here I am and full of bad habits, and now I have to deal with that. So, therefore I have to adjust and change!”
So he looks at himself with a magnifying glass to see where to make the changes, and he is always trying to make those changes. Therefore, he is trying to take the humble position:
“So whatever I am is not important.”
“However, if whatever I am is important, than I cannot change. How can I change? I am like this…..I have been like this my whole life! How can I change?”
But if one is humble than he would say:
“Yes I have been like this in so many lifetimes, because of my foolishness”.
So in the spirit of humility, one can even change their habits of many lifetimes, but in the spirit of pride, one cannot change their habit even in a few years. Therefore, humility is required if we want to bring about a change of heart, but it is a fact that if one gets too much into finding faults – by looking at ones own faults with a magnifying glass to make it worse. One might say:
“Well that’s depressing…that’s too depressing!”
And all day long they will say:
“I’m so fallen! I’m a rat…I’m a dog…I’m low. I can’t do anything. I’ve got two left hands. I’m going to jump off the bridge!”
This is what comes next. Therefore, with the combination that we realise that we have also got the mercy of the Supreme Lord, and because of the mercy of the Supreme Lord, I am becoming qualified…because the mercy of the Supreme Lord is such that it gives us the right activity, and if I simply take to this mercy of the Lord and do the right activity – the activity that is not destructive, but the one that is auspicious. With this activity, every step that I take, then I am coming closer to a perfect destination, and with my every action towards anyone, than that person is also coming closer to an ultimate better destination.
So in this spirit of embracing the mercy, one becomes very positive, and then one appreciates the greatness of Krishna! His kind mercy, and how we ourselves are not qualified!