Most of us consider ourselves highly significant. I am not immune to this either. But when I put my own life in context with the world around me, the other souls, especially in relation with God, I begin to feel insignificant.
But then, in many of my personal interactions, I begin to find this feeling of super-significance show itself again. It manifests itself as pride, arrogance, impatience, intolerance, condescension, holier-than-thou, or obnoxious bossy behaviour. Most people can’t stand it when they see it in someone else. But most of us carefully cultivate the root cause of those traits.
Of course, it’s easy to think that we’re super-significant, after all, we came out of the spiritual world to feel that way, and the material world is designed to make us feel that way too.
It all started with the envy of God. Envy, not jealousy. What is the difference, one may ask. One very advanced spiritualist, Chakri Dasa, a disciple of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made it very clear in a class in Durban, South Africa, many years ago… He said “Jealousy means you don’t like that someone has what they have”, he continued “But Envy, that is different, it means, I don’t like that you have what you have. I wish that I had what you have. I wish that you didn’t have it, I wish you were dead and I could have that instead”.
So, envy of God means that we want God to be subservient to us (or dead), and instead that we would rather be God. This is actually the “Original Sin”.
This is why the spirit soul comes to the material world. God says, “well, you are you, and I am Me, but if you want, I can send you to a place where you can think that you are God”. And reluctantly He makes arrangements for us to come here, but comes along with us as the Super-Soul or Paramatma!
Therefore, we have the unfortunate situation where everyone in material consciousness is trying to dominate one another.
Is it any wonder then, that as a recovering atheist, I still have these feelings of super-significance! I came here to be God in the first place! 🙂
By now I know that I am not God, but this tendency to try to lord it over the material world, and all others stubbornly persists.
But what is incredible, truly incredible, is that God Himself does not consider Himself very significant, whereas He sees service done unto Him as highly valuable! I found that amazing, and thought you might too.
किञ्चित्करोत्युर्वपि यत् स्वदत्तं
सुहृत्कृतं फल्ग्वपि भूरिकारी ।
प्रत्यग्रहीत् प्रीतियुतो महात्मा ॥ ३५ ॥ kiñcit karoty urv api yat sva-dattaṁ
suhṛt-kṛtaṁ phalgv api bhūri-kārī
pratyagrahīt prīti-yuto mahātmā
The Lord considers even His greatest benedictions to be insignificant, while He magnifies even a small service rendered to Him by His well-wishing devotee. Thus with pleasure the Supreme Soul accepted a single palmful of the flat rice I brought Him.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/81/35/
In this chapter (and the previous one) of the Bhagavatam, there is an account of a saintly gentleman by the name of Sudama, who was a boyhood school friend of Krishna, in the school of Sandipani Muni.
While Krishna, as the husband of the Goddess of Fortune is Supremely Opulent, Sudama, as a simple spiritualist, was satisfied with whatever came of its own accord. When his wife, frustrated by the extreme poverty (bony bodies, torn clothes, starvation), persuaded Sudama to seek a favour from Krishna, his boyhood Friend, he reluctantly agreed, more joyful for the opportunity to meet Krishna than to ask for some benediction.
He joyfully went to see Krishna, taking a humble gift of 4 handfuls of flattened rice, begged by his wife from a neighbour. But when he saw the opulence of Krishna’s palace, he was too ashamed to give Krishna the humble gift.
He also forgot to ask Krishna for anything at all! He was just so happy to see Krishna, reminisce, etc.
Krishna of course, being the All-knowing Super Soul dwelling in everyone’s heart, knew everything, snatched the rag-parcel of flattened rice, and in return gave Sudama opulence equal to that of the king of heaven.
Sudama felt insignificant in front of Krishna. Krishna felt His gift of opulence insignificant in front of Sudama’s love.
अहो ब्रह्मण्यदेवस्य दृष्टा ब्रह्मण्यता मया ।
यद् दरिद्रतमो लक्ष्मीमाश्लिष्टो बिभ्रतोरसि ॥ १५ ॥ aho brahmaṇya-devasya
dṛṣṭā brahmaṇyatā mayā
yad daridratamo lakṣmīm
[Sudāmā thought:] Lord Kṛṣṇa is known to be devoted to the brāhmaṇas, and now I have personally seen this devotion. Indeed, He who carries the goddess of fortune on His chest has embraced the poorest beggar.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/81/15/
It is not possible for a person in material consciousness to feel that kind of humility. It is impossible to feign. Only a soul in pure spiritual consciousness, pure Allah/Christ/Yahweh/Adonai/Buddha/Krishna, consciousness can feel such deep humility…
Humility is a precious gift, and true humility comes from knowing and being in one’s own constitutional position as an infinitesimal fragmental part-and-parcel of our glorious emanator.
Oh! When will I feel the genuine insignificance felt by the pure spiritualist? When will I be free of my false pride? When will I actually recover from this horrible atheism I am afflicted with? Oh! My dear Krishna, how and why did I ever allow this horrible poisonous envy enter my heart?
2 thoughts on “Significance of the Feeling of Insignificance”
Dandvat mahabhagvat prabhu Ji…
very nicely expressed and motivating . I too heard Radha nath swami maharaj stressing so much on virtue of humility.
Dear Sriman Nikhil, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Gurudeva. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Hare Krishna! Thank you for your kind encouragement always. Radhanath Swami Maharaja is an advanced devotee who feels great humility genuinely. In my case though, that feeling of insignificance is all too fleeting. But my Guru Maharaja tells me to keep trying, by his mercy I may be successful one day. Hare Krishna!