By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
In the Bhagavad-gītā, it is said, bahūnām janmanām ante jnānavān mām prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. After many, many births, sufferings and cultivation of knowledge, when one comes to the right point, at that time he becomes vāsudeva parāyanāh (surrendered and devoted unto Vāsudeva Krishna, the son of Vasudeva-Ed.).
Vāsudevah sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhah. One who understands that “Vasudeva is everything; He is the cause of everything [sarva-kārana-kāranam (Bs. 5.1)]”, sa mahātmā su-durlabhah, that kind of mahatma (is very rare). You were asking yesterday about some mahātmā’s instruction. But we are talking of this mahātmā who is vāsudeva-parāyanāh. He is the perfect mahātmā. Similarly, vāsudeva parāyanāh means vāsudevah sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhah [Bg. 7.19]. One who has known perfectly well that Krishna, Vāsudeva, is the source of everything, such kind of mahātmā is very rare (sa mahātmā su-durlabhah).
You can find out so-called mahātmās with great beard, mustaches and… But that is different mahātmā. That is not mahātmā. They are sometimes durātmā, because they want to encroach on the rightful position of Krishna. They want to become one with Krishna.
Suppose if there is servant in your office, and if he tries to occupy your seat, would you like him, if you understand that, “This servant is trying to occupy my seat”? Similarly, any living entity who is trying to become God, he’s not very much liked by God. He cannot become God, but this very endeavor, to become God, to become a competitor of God, is not very much liked. Such a person is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā as dvisatah, envious. Tān aham dvisatah krūrān ksipāmy ajasram aśubhān asurīśv eva yonisu [Bg. 16.19]. Such persons, envious persons, are put into the hellish condition of life.
They are envious of God’s position. They want to occupy high position in this material world, and when they are frustrated, they think “Now I shall occupy the position of God.” But that will be also frustrated. Nobody can become God.
God is God, and living entity is living entity. He’s Supreme, He’s infinite; we are infinitesimal. Our position is to serve God. That is our perfect position. That will make us happy. Not otherwise. Not by imitating how to become God. That is impossible.
How can you become God? Yasyaika-niśvasita-kālam athāvalambya jīvanti loma-vilajā jagad-anda-nāthāh [Bs. 5.48]. There are innumerable universes, and within the breathing period of Mahā-Visnu so many universes are coming out by exhaling. And when He inhales, so many universes are dissolved within His body. So how can we become God? God is not so cheap.
Therefore sa mahātmā su-durlabhah, one who is actually advanced in knowledge, mahātmā, who has accepted Vāsudeva, Krishna, as the Supreme, exterminates all kinds of resultant reaction of sinful activity.
[An excerpt from a lecture given on the Brahma-samhita in Bombay on January 3, 1973]