The Hare Krishna chanter cultivates humility while practising Bhakti Yoga. Only when our chanting is accompanied by humble petitions to the Lord, do we have any hope to realize the Supreme Lord.
The science of Bhakti Yoga teaches us the method to know the unlimited Absolute Truth. We are limited and the only way we can know and realize the unlimited is when the unlimited decides to reveal Himself to the limited. In other words all our spiritual endeavours are to attract the grace of unlimited God so that He bestows His mercy and allows us to realize Him in our hearts.
With all our sincere endeavours how much can we figure out the unlimited; how much knowledge and depth of the Supremely unlimited be accommodated in the finite minds of a fallible living entity? It’s like attempting to put all the water of the Arabian sea into a small tea spoon. A tea spoon, if it could argue, would happily announce its ability to accommodate two drops of the ocean water. Another tea spoon may argue, “well, that’s nothing, I can take in six drops!” Yet another spoon- a real big one- might accommodate 108 drops. All other tea spoons may marvel at the capacity of this spoon to fit in so many drops of the ocean water. Yet how big is the spoon really in relation to the vast, expansive ocean? Similarly even if we could chant the whole day or memorize all the scriptural verses or perform herculean tasks, or years of painful austerities or intense meditation for hours, how much of the Absolute Truth can we really understand?
All our external endeavours have nothing to do with God, Krishna, revealing Himself to us. We may try for perfection in our attempts; however independent of that, the Lord has to agree to reveal Himself to us. He is supremely independent and of his own accord when He decides to favour the spiritual practitioner, revelation takes place. Thus all our spiritual activities are performed in a humble mood to petition the Lord to be kind upon us. And we beg the Lord to recognize our sincerity, and being pleased He may kindly reveal Himself.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in His manifest pastimes five hundred years ago revealed the power of grace in the episode of Narayani. Narayani was a five year old girl; she wasn’t a great scholar or yogi, yet when the Lord asked her to chant the Holy Names of Krishna and cry in ecstasy, she exhibited unparalleled devotion to God. She chanted, and cried in great joy; all other devotees were wonderstruck to see the depth of devotion and love in little Narayani. It was obvious to all that she was the fortunate recipient of the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Thus Lord taught that there are no material qualifications to access His mercy.
In contrast to Narayani, the Srimad Bhagavatam narrates the example of Lord Brahma, the most intelligent being in the material creation, being bewildered and unable to understand Krishna.
Brahma had been witnessing Lord Krishna’s childhood pastimes in Vrindavan and in an attempt to rationalize the loving exchanges of Krishna with His devotees, Brahma got bewildered. To test Krishna, he kidnapped all of His calves and friends. However, Krishna wanted to teach Brahma a lesson that he would never forget; Krishna expanded Himself as an exact replica of all the calves and friends. If this wasn’t enough, Krishna then showed Brahma His unlimited four handed Vishnu forms, each form being worshipped by many sages. This totally bewildered Brahma, and each of his four heads reeling in confusion, he realized he has to humble himself to understand Krishna. Only in this state of complete humility and submission, Brahma could understand the nature of Vrindavan Krishna, the Lord who performs sweet loving exchanges with His intimate devotees.
This pastime reveals that even the most intelligent person in the material creation has to be humble to understand Krishna. We have to be humble and beg for this mercy, as we chant our prescribed rounds of Hare Krishna daily. Only in this state of humility, when our hearts are softened by favourable emotions for Krishna, can we hope to attract the Lord towards us. It’s only then that the unlimited is purchased by the limited.