Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to South India and visited many holy places to propagate Bhakthi and disseminate the values of devotional practice. During his visit to Sri Ranganatha temple, Srirangam, He saw near the temple one brahmana reading Bhagavad-gita.
And he also saw some people joking with the Brahmana saying, “Oh, Mr. Brahmana, how are you reading Bhagavad-gita?”
These people were neighbors who knew that this brahmana was not qualified or educated to study Bhagavad-gita. So they were joking.
But the brahmana ignored their criticisms and was not caring about them.
He continued to keep the book on his lap and in his own style he was reading.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu noticing this incident, came closer to the brahmana.
He asked with affection the brahmana, “Oh Brahmin, what you are reading?”
The brahmana immediately could understand that – this person (Chaitanya) seems to be a compassionate sage and is not joking with me; he is serious in his asking.
So the Brahmin explained, “My dear respected gentleman, I am reading Bhagavad-gita. Unfortunately, I am not a Sanskrit scholar or a illiterate. I do not know even the alphabets or grrammar.”
“Why you are reading Bhagavad-gita?” Asked Mahaprabhu.
The brahmana said, “My spiritual master knows that I am an illiterate, but still, he advised me to read Bhagavad-gita regularly. So
Therefore I have taken this Bhagavad-gita book. I am just glancing the pictures as I do not know how to read.”
Chaitanya said to Brahmana, “Oh, that’s fine. You can’t read. But I notice that you are crying. How you are crying, if you are not actually reading?”
“Yes, I am crying but there is cause for my crying.”
“What is the cause?”
“As soon as I take this Bhagavad-gita book, I remember Lord Krishna. Krishna is sitting as driver and Arjuna is hearing what Krishna says. I go through from the begining to the end of the book and then i am simply crying every time I look at pictures of Arjuna and Krishna.
I cry recalling how Supreme Lord loved his devotees. How the Lord has become a servant of his devotee. Is not that something wonderful and astounding ?
I know the story as have heard from other learned scholars. I know something of the instruction but cannot read. So as soon as I take this book, this picture of Lord Krishna with Arjuna comes before me and I simply think how Lord Krishna is compassionate that He has become a charioteer of His devotee. He is so great. Still, He has accepted a menial service of His devotee. This gives me so much pleasure and I cry.”
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lovingly embraced the Brahmana and said, “Your Bhagavad-gita reading is perfectly OK. You have taken and grasped the ultimate essence.”
What we learn from this Story?
“If you simply remember how Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna and Arjuna is hearing—if you simply remember the picture—that is sufficient.
We don’t have to become a learned scholar to argue with another learned one.
Simply if we remember and retain this picture, that is perfection.We have to simply think of the Lord with supreme devotion. We think of the Lord in any way with Love and one pointedness, that is our perfection of Bhakthi.
Smartavyah satatam visnuh [Padma Purana]. This is the injunction.
We have to think of Visnu always. This is Bhakthi; this is Mukti; this is samadhi; this is meditation; this is yoga siddhi, perfection or maturity of yoga.
“One who has learned to think of of the Lord always, he is in the final stage towards perfection.
As stated in the Nārada Pañcarātra:
ārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim
nārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim
antar bahir yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim
nāntar bahir yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim
“If one is worshipping Lord Hari (Vishnu), what is the point or use of severe austerities or penances? And if one is not worshiping Lord Hari, what is the use of severe penances? If one can understand that Lord Hari is all-pervading, what is the use of severe austerities or penances? And if one cannot understand that Lord Hari is all-pervading, what is the use of severe penances?”
If a devotee has come to this stage, just to understand Lord Krishna to be the ultimate reality and one and only Supreme Personality of Godhead, then that devotee is surrendered perfect soul: “Krishna, whatever You want You do. I am surrendered.” This is real worship and Then he does not need to practice any other rituals, austerities or penance. His everything is finished. And if he does not come to this stage, his so-called scholarship, learned argument, this or that—all nonsense, crap and useless. One has to come to this stage. Therefore Lord Chaitanya embraced the brahmana: “Yes, your study of Bhagavad-gita is perfect.”
Because one has to come to this stage, thinking of Lord Krishna always.
What Gopis of Vrindhavan practiced was devotion of perfection. They were cowherd girls. Their parents, kith and kin and others were only ordinary illiterate village people, keeping cows. That’s all. What was their education? They were not Vedic scholars or Vedantists. But they learned to love exclusively Krishna. That was their qualification.
And Chaitanya Mahaprabhu certifies,
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita:
“Oh, there is no better worship (devotional practice) than that which was contemplated and practiced by the gopis.”
They did not know what is Krishna, but they loved Krishna. That’s all. They did not love Krishna Because Krsna was God or Krsna was something great? No. Their natural affection and love were for the Lord. They could not stay even for a moment without seeing Krishna. That was their qualification. This is Supreme (Prem Bhakti) consciousness.
Shri krishna govind hare murari
Hey nath narayan vasudeva
Let us celebrate and rejoice the practice of presence of the Lord every moment with exclusive devotion (First Love) for Lord Krishna and attain parabhakthi through selfless service, loving and serving all living beings.