(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 October 2017, Melbourne, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 4.3.17)

As eternal servants of Krsna, our natural position is to render service. Our happiness lies not in any other endeavour, but only in service. As soon as we try to become the master ourselves, we are in an artificial position. Since we are not very good masters, we have to ‘pretend’ and start hiding our defects.

We start on the wrong footing. If we only started properly from an early stage in life, we would be strong. However, we do not. We pick up bad habits even before we are adults. Then, by the time we are grown up, we are thoroughly fixed in all kinds of nonsense.

Srila Prabhupada liked using the words ‘nonsense rascal.’ In India, this is a big thing to say this to someone. I saw a certain senior devotee once calling a bank manager ‘nonsense rascal’ and then that devotee had to change his bank – that was it and it could not be fixed. So, it is a big thing to call someone ‘nonsense rascal’ in India but it sums it up really nicely!

A rascal is inclined towards all kinds of activities that are not beneficial, inclined towards activities that will bring suffering upon themselves and others; therefore it is nonsense – his actions do not make sense.

So if one comes to the point where one can actually admit, “I am a nonsense rascal!” this is the beginning of becoming a devotee. I get the question asked a thousand times, “How do I become humble?” Well, today I am answering it in a way that I have never answered it before. I say, “Admit to yourself that you are a nonsense rascal.” Then it is up to us to also understand, “Yes, I have all these foolish attachments somehow. Foolish attachments I developed that I have no benefit for whatsoever.”

This is our situation – being addicted to many things that are in fact sinful; life after life this is our situation. It is not necessary to do anything in this life to develop this addiction to sinful activities; it is already there. Even children are not as innocent as they look and neither are we for that matter. Srila Prabhupada understood this and in one sense he was not shy to point it out by saying things like ‘nonsense rascal’. He was not shy to point out the defects and yet somehow, he was not rejecting anyone in the end. Rather, he was welcoming everyone. That is the essence of Lord Caitanya’s movement!

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