WHEN ONE SHOULD NOT BE HUMBLE AND MEEK

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Jiva Gosvami

A materialist who was very proud of his reputation as a great Sanskrit scholar and approached Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana to argue with them about the revealed scriptures. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, not wanting to waste their time, gave him a written statement that he had defeated them in a debate on the revealed scriptures. Taking this paper, the scholar approached Jīva Gosvāmī (the nephew of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis) for a similar certificate of defeat, but Jīva Gosvāmī did not agree to give him one. On the contrary, he argued with him regarding the scriptures and defeated him. Certainly it was right for Jīva Gosvāmī to stop such a dishonest scholar from advertising that he had defeated Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, but the sahajiyā class, due to their illiteracy, refers to this incident to accuse Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī of deviating from the principle of humility. They do not know, however, that humility and meekness are appropriate when one’s own honor is insulted but not when Lord Vishnu or the ācāryas are blasphemed. In such cases one should not be humble and meek but must act. One should follow the example given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Lord Caitanya says in His Śiksāstaka (3):

trnād api su-nīcena taror iva sahisnunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyah sadā harih
 [Cc. Ādi 17.31]

“One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”

Nevertheless, when the Lord was informed that Nityānanda Prabhu was injured by Jagāi and Mādhāi, He immediately went to the spot, angry like fire, wanting to kill them. Thus Lord Caitanya has explained His verse by the example of His own behavior. One should tolerate insults against oneself, but when there is blasphemy committed against superiors such as other Vaisnavas, one should be neither humble nor meek: one must take proper steps to counteract such blasphemy. This is the duty of a servant of a guru and Vaisnavas. Anyone who understands the principle of eternal servitude to the guru and Vaisnavas will appreciate the action of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī in connection with the so-called scholar’s victory over his gurus, Śrīla Rūpa and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.

[Bhaktivedanta Purport of the Chaitanya Charitamrita – Adi – 10.85]

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