(Kadamba Kanana Swami, November 2011, Mayapur, India, Lecture: Caitanya Caritamrta Part 3)
A puzzling topic is that vaisnavas consider themselves as most fallen. They spend time in presenting themselves as having no qualifications and so on. But Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s song Bhakti-kalpataru basically clarifies the matter,
‘I have received this wish-fulfilling desire tree from my spiritual master but by my harsh behaviour, I’ve covered it’s potency and therefore, the full power is not manifested now from the tree. But the tree itself can be restored in the association of the devotees.’
This is a very important concept of seeing how on the one hand, we have received the mercy, how we have something to give, how a vaisnava has a valuable contribution to make to the world; and at the same time can see himself as being totally unqualified, as the most fallen, as a fool, as an ignorant child, as having no intelligence and all these things…
It all makes sense if you think, ‘Yes, I am absolutely not qualified but it is from the mercy of the Lord and my guru that gives me the most valuable jewel!’
This is a very important point about humility, about how vaisnava humility works. How one can see himself as the most fallen but still living in great happiness because of the great and unlimited mercy!