As the incarnation of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord teaches us the cardinal virtue of humility- of respecting others and not expecting any respect for oneself.
At Jagannath Puri the Lord bestowed His blessings upon the great minister and scholar Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Sarvabhauma was grateful and realizing the exalted position of Lord Chaitanya, he suggested the Lord meet Ramananada Raya during his travels of south India.
Ramananda Raya, the governor of Madras Province belonged to the shudra, a socially lower caste whereas Lord Chaitanya was not only an exalted sannyasi, a renunciant, He was also born in a high brahmana caste, the topmost social order. Generally the higher caste Brahmins wouldn’t mix with lower caste people. However when Lord Chaitanya saw Ramananda Raya for the first time, their natural love for each other gushed forth in their hearts, and they rushed to embrace each other. Tears streamed from both of their eyes, as they chanted Krishna’s Holy Names while their bodies shivered in ecstasy. This was a great reunion of God and His dear most devotee.
While other high caste Brahmins accompanying Ramananda Raya stood bewildered nearby, wondering why is a great sannyasi embracing a low shudra, Lord Chaitanya held back His ecstasies, realizing that these Brahmins were unable to appreciate this exchange. Lord Chaitanya declared these fellow Brahmins to be ‘outsiders’ whereas He felt Ramananda Raya to be his own caste. Thus the Lord showed how He didn’t discriminate anyone by birth; anyone who was a sincere devotee was exalted in the eyes of the Lord.
And what made Ramananda Raya so exalted? That was revealed immediately as they exchanged heart-felt greetings. Lord Chaitanya first confessed how He had been instructed by Sarvabhauma to meet him, and now at last He feels purified. Ramananda immediately corrected the Lord, saying it was he who felt purified because he belonged to a lower caste, and yet the Lord out of his compassion embraced him. He attributed this blessing to the fact that Sarvabhauma was a great devotee of the Lord and due to his devotion, even he got benefit. Besides, this confirmed that Sarvabhauma was the master and Ramananda his servant, and a genuine master always thinks of the welfare of his servant and hence although he was far away, Sarvabhauma had thought of Ramananda’s wellbeing and sent the Lord to bless him. This way Ramananda didn’t forget the blessing of Sarvabhauma upon him and didn’t get carried away despite being the fortunate recipient of the Lord’s mercy. When fortune swings our way, it’s easy to think of ourselves as qualified or exalted, yet Ramananda Raya immediately gave credit to another devotee. He also expressed how thousands of men accompanying him were also attracted by Lord Chaitanya’s effulgence and power.
And the Lord too displayed exemplary humility by immediately saying that all of Ramananda Raya’s assistants were ecstatic because they were connected to him, and he was a great devotee. Declaring this meeting to be Sarvabhauma’s blessing upon Him, Lord Chaitanya said He was a hard-hearted impersonalist sannyasi and lacked any devotion. Therefore Sarvabhauma had been kind to suggest He meet Ramananda Raya and learn about the intricacies of Bhakti. This way even the Lord gave credit to His devotee. Earlier Sarvabhauma had suggested this meeting to the Lord because he thought of serving the Lord and Ramananda Raya by connecting them to each other. And that’s because he was convinced Ramananda Raya was a real devotee whom the Lord would be pleased to meet. However both of them now glorified Sarvabhauma as their ‘saviour’ and ‘well-wisher’. Also they glorified each other’s wonderful qualities, and took a lower position for self.
What followed after this exchange is considered as the topmost subject of discussion in Bhakti circles. Both of them spoke in length on ‘Love for Krishna’ and interestingly it was Ramananda Raya who was ‘instructing’ the Lord on the science of pure love for Krishna. He confessed that he was a puppet and was simply playing to the tunes of the Lord who was using him to speak this subject. The author of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj says this is like a cloud pouring rain on the ocean. The cloud collects rain water from the ocean, and then pours it back on the ocean, similarly Ramananda Raya had been empowered by the Lord Himself and he then spoke in length to the Lord about the science of pure love and gave immense transcendental pleasure to the Lord.
This instance reveals the culture of Krishna consciousness and the mood of the Lord and His devotee. For us to please the Lord, beyond the externals of our activities, we need to meditate on inculcating these qualities of offering a higher position to others and taking a lower position for self. This alone takes our Bhakti to the spiritual platform.