Humbler than the grass

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 3

Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught that one should be humbler than the grass on the street and more tolerant than the tree. One should not be proud or falsely puffed up.
SB 3.29.18, Purport:

A devotee should not be proud of his acquisitions. The symptoms of a devotee are meekness and humility. Although spiritually very advanced, he will always remain meek and humble, as Kavirāja Gosvāmī and all the other Vaiṣṇavas have taught us by personal example. Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught that one should be humbler than the grass on the street and more tolerant than the tree. One should not be proud or falsely puffed up. In this way one will surely advance in spiritual life.

SB Canto 4

Lord Caitanya therefore says that one has to be humbler than the grass and, He recommends, more tolerant than the tree to execute devotional service.
SB 4.9.45, Translation and Purport:

Then Dhruva Mahārāja, the foremost of all nobles, first of all offered his obeisances at the feet of his father and was honored by his father with various questions. He then bowed his head at the feet of his two mothers.

It may be questioned why Dhruva Mahārāja offered his respect not only to his mother but also to his stepmother, due to whose insults he had to leave home. The answer is that after achieving perfection by self-realization and seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face, Dhruva Mahārāja was completely freed from all contamination of material desire. Feelings of insult or honor in this material world are never perceived by a devotee. Lord Caitanya therefore says that one has to be humbler than the grass and, He recommends, more tolerant than the tree to execute devotional service. Dhruva Mahārāja, therefore, has in this verse been described as saj-janāgraṇīḥ, the foremost of noble men. The pure devotee is the noblest of all, and he has no feelings of animosity towards anyone. Duality due to animosity is a creation of this material world. There is no such thing in the spiritual world, which is the absolute reality.

SB Canto 6

Those engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree; then they can preach the glories of the Lord without difficulty.
SB 6.4.5, Purport:

A sādhu, a devotee, is never angry. Actually the real feature of devotees who undergo tapasya, austerity, is forgiveness. Although a Vaiṣṇava has sufficient power in tapasya, he does not become angry when put into difficulty. If one undergoes tapasya but does not become a Vaiṣṇava, however, one does not develop good qualities. For example, Hiraṇyakaśipu and Rāvaṇa also performed great austerities, but they did so to demonstrate their demoniac tendencies. Vaiṣṇavas must meet many opponents while preaching the glories of the Lord, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that they not become angry while preaching. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given this formula: tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā/ amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (CC Adi 17.31). "One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself 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." Those engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree; then they can preach the glories of the Lord without difficulty.

Following the orders of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one who preaches the glories of the Lord all over the world or all over the universe should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree because a preacher cannot live an easygoing life.
SB 6.5.44, Purport:

Because Nārada Muni is the most elevated of sādhus, devotees, to deliver Prajāpati Dakṣa he silently tolerated the curse. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught this principle to all His devotees:

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself 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 respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Following the orders of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one who preaches the glories of the Lord all over the world or all over the universe should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree because a preacher cannot live an easygoing life. Indeed, a preacher must face many impediments.

SB Canto 7

A devotee can very peacefully chant the holy name of the Lord by behaving more humbly than the grass, being tolerant like a tree and offering respects to everyone, without expecting honor from anyone else.
SB 7.5.23-24, Purport:

A devotee can very peacefully chant the holy name of the Lord by behaving more humbly than the grass, being tolerant like a tree and offering respects to everyone, without expecting honor from anyone else. Such qualifications make it easier to chant the holy name of the Lord. The process of transcendental chanting can be easily performed by anyone. Even if one is physically unfit, classified lower than others, devoid of material qualifications or not at all elevated in terms of pious activities, the chanting of the holy name is beneficial.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed all devotees of the Lord to be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than trees; otherwise there will always be disturbances to their execution of devotional service.
SB 7.5.37, Purport:

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed all devotees of the Lord to be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than trees; otherwise there will always be disturbances to their execution of devotional service. Here is a vivid example of how a devotee is disturbed by a nondevotee, even though the nondevotee is an affectionate father. The material world is such that a nondevotee father becomes an enemy of a devotee son. Having determined to kill even his son, Hiraṇyakaśipu gave the example of amputating a part of one's body that has become septic and therefore injurious to the rest of the body. The same example, of course, may also be applied to nondevotees. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita advises, tyaja durjana-saṁsargaṁ bhaja sādhu-samāgamam. Devotees actually serious about advancing in spiritual life should give up the company of nondevotees and always keep company with devotees. To be too attached to material existence is ignorance because material existence is temporary and miserable. Therefore devotees who are determined to perform tapasya (penances and austerities) to realize the self, and who are determined to become advanced in spiritual consciousness, must give up the company of atheistic nondevotees. Prahlāda Mahārāja maintained an attitude of noncooperation with the philosophy of his father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, yet he was tolerant and humble. Hiraṇyakaśipu, however, being a nondevotee, was so polluted that he was even prepared to kill his own son. He justified this by putting forward the logic of amputation.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

One can hear or speak about Vedānta philosophy through the disciplic succession. One must be very humble and meek, more tolerant than a tree and more humble than the grass. One should not claim respect for himself but should be prepared to give all respect to others. One must have these qualifications to be eligible to understand Vedic knowledge.
CC Adi 7.68, Translation and Purport:

“You are a sannyāsī. Why then do You indulge in chanting and dancing, engaging in Your saṅkīrtana movement in the company of fanatics?"

This is a challenge by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the object of Vedānta philosophical research, has very kindly determined who is an appropriate candidate for study of Vedānta philosophy. The first qualification of such a candidate is expressed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭaka:

tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

This statement indicates that one can hear or speak about Vedānta philosophy through the disciplic succession. One must be very humble and meek, more tolerant than a tree and more humble than the grass. One should not claim respect for himself but should be prepared to give all respect to others. One must have these qualifications to be eligible to understand Vedic knowledge.

If one takes shelter of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda, follows Their instructions to become more tolerant than the tree and humbler than the grass, and in this way chants the holy name of the Lord, very soon he achieves the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord.
CC Adi 8.31, Translation and Purport:

But if one only chants, with some slight faith, the holy names of Lord Caitanya and Nityānanda, very quickly he is cleansed of all offenses. Thus as soon as he chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that if one takes shelter of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda, follows Their instructions to become more tolerant than the tree and humbler than the grass, and in this way chants the holy name of the Lord, very soon he achieves the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord, and tears appear in his eyes. There are offenses to be considered in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but there are no such considerations in chanting the names of Gaura-Nityānanda. Therefore, if one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra but his life is still full of sinful activities, it will be very difficult for him to achieve the platform of loving service to the Lord. But if in spite of being an offender one chants the holy names of Gaura-Nityānanda, he is very quickly freed from the reactions to his offenses. Therefore, one should first approach Lord Caitanya and Nityānanda, or worship Guru-Gaurāṅga, and then come to the stage of worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.

The followers of Lord Caitanya must execute His will with heart and soul, being more tolerant than the trees and humbler than the straw in the street.
CC Adi 9.47, Purport:

It is the desire of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu that the benevolent activities of the saṅkīrtana movement, which was inaugurated five hundred years ago in Navadvīpa, be spread all over the world for the benefit of all human beings. Unfortunately, there are many so-called followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu who are satisfied simply to construct a temple, make a show of the Deities, collect some funds and utilize them for eating and sleeping. There is no question of their preaching the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu all over the world. But even though they are unable to do so, if anyone else does it they become envious. This is the condition of the modern followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The Age of Kali is so strong that it affects even the so-called followers of Lord Caitanya. At least the followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu must come out of India to preach His cult all over the world, for this is the mission of Lord Caitanya. The followers of Lord Caitanya must execute His will with heart and soul, being more tolerant than the trees and humbler than the straw in the street.

CC Adi 17.26, Translation:

“To chant the holy name always, one should be humbler than the grass in the street and devoid of all desire for personal honor, but one should offer others all respectful obeisances."

One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.
CC Adi 17.31, Translation and Purport:

"One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord."

The grass is specifically mentioned in this verse because everyone tramples upon it yet the grass never protests. This example indicates that a spiritual master or leader should not be proud of his position; being always humbler than an ordinary common man, he should go on preaching the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

When one thoroughly understands that he is not the material body but a spiritual soul, he is even humbler than a man of the lower castes, for he is spiritually elevated. Such humility, in which one thinks himself lower than the grass, is called su-nīcatva.
CC Adi 17.44, Purport:

When Lord Caitanya declares tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā, He indicates that one must be above the material conception of life. When one thoroughly understands that he is not the material body but a spiritual soul, he is even humbler than a man of the lower castes, for he is spiritually elevated. Such humility, in which one thinks himself lower than the grass, is called su-nīcatva, and being more tolerant than a tree is called sahiṣṇutva, forbearance. Being situated in devotional service, not caring for the material conception of life, is called amānitva, indifference to material respect; yet a devotee thus situated is called māna-da, for he is prepared to give honor to others without hesitation.

CC Antya-lila

A pure devotee, free from the reactions of the material modes of nature, executes devotional service with tolerance like that of a tree. He also feels humbler than the grass.
CC Antya 1.202, Purport:

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu informed Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya that he and Sanātana Gosvāmī had engaged equally in devotional service after giving up all relationships with material activity. Such renunciation is a symptom of an unalloyed devotee engaged in the service of the Lord with no tinge of material contamination. According to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, this is the position of tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā. A pure devotee, free from the reactions of the material modes of nature, executes devotional service with tolerance like that of a tree. He also feels humbler than the grass. Such a devotee, who is called niṣkiñcana, or free from all material possessions, is always absorbed in emotional love of Godhead. He is reluctant to perform any kind of sense gratification. In other words, such a devotee is free from all material bondage, but he engages in Kṛṣṇa conscious activities. Such expert devotional service is performed without hypocrisy. Humility, renunciation and learned scholarship were combined in Sanātana Gosvāmī, the ideal pure devotee, who was on the same level of understanding as Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya. Like Rāmānanda Rāya, Sanātana Gosvāmī was a fully cognizant expert in the conclusions of devotional service and was therefore able to describe such transcendental knowledge.

A Vaiṣṇava strictly follows this principle of being humbler than the grass and more tolerant than a tree, expecting no honor from others but offering honor to everyone. In this way, a Vaiṣṇava is simply interested in chanting about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and glorifying Him.
CC Antya 3.213, Translation and Purport:

A characteristic of a pure devotee is that he excuses any offense by an ignorant rascal. A characteristic of Kṛṣṇa, however, is that He cannot tolerate blasphemy of His devotees.

The characteristic of a Vaiṣṇava and the characteristic of the Lord mentioned in this verse are very significant. In His Śikṣāṣṭaka (3) Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught the characteristics of a Vaiṣṇava:

tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

A Vaiṣṇava strictly follows this principle of being humbler than the grass and more tolerant than a tree, expecting no honor from others but offering honor to everyone. In this way, a Vaiṣṇava is simply interested in chanting about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and glorifying Him. Haridāsa Ṭhākura epitomized this foremost order of Vaiṣṇavism.

CC Antya 20.21, Translation:

“'One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor but is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.'"

CC Antya 20.22, Translation:

“These are the symptoms of one who chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Although he is very exalted, he thinks himself lower than the grass on the ground, and like a tree, he tolerates everything in two ways."

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Teachings of Lord Caitanya

In His Śikṣāṣṭaka, Lord Caitanya said that one should be in a humble state of mind, should think himself lower than the grass on the street, should be more tolerant than a tree, and should be devoid of all sense of prestige and ready to offer all kinds of respects to others.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 18:

Actually Lord Caitanya was neither foolish nor ignorant of the principles of Vedānta. His purpose was to demonstrate to modern society that fools who have no history of penance and austerity should not try to study Vedānta just for some recreational purpose. In His Śikṣāṣṭaka, Lord Caitanya said that one should be in a humble state of mind, should think himself lower than the grass on the street, should be more tolerant than a tree, and should be devoid of all sense of prestige and ready to offer all kinds of respects to others. In such a state of mind, one can chant the Vedānta philosophy or the holy name of God constantly.

Nectar of Instruction

"One should be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree." One may then ask why the Lord exhibited His anger. The point is that one should be ready to tolerate all insults to one's own self, but when Kṛṣṇa or His pure devotee is blasphemed, a genuine devotee becomes angry and acts like fire against the offenders.
Nectar of Instruction 1, Purport:

Similarly, anger can be controlled. We cannot stop anger altogether, but if we simply become angry with those who blaspheme the Lord or the devotees of the Lord, we control our anger in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu became angry with the miscreant brothers Jagāi and Mādhāi, who blasphemed and struck Nityānanda Prabhu. In His Śikṣāṣṭaka Lord Caitanya wrote, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā: "One should be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree." One may then ask why the Lord exhibited His anger. The point is that one should be ready to tolerate all insults to one's own self, but when Kṛṣṇa or His pure devotee is blasphemed, a genuine devotee becomes angry and acts like fire against the offenders. Krodha, anger, cannot be stopped, but it can be applied rightly.

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

As instructed by Lord Caitanya, one should be humbler than the grass on the ground and more tolerant than the tree.
Krsna Book 22:

Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead walked on the bank of the Yamunā, touching the leaves of the trees and their fruits, flowers and twigs and praising their glorious welfare activities. Different people may accept certain welfare activities to be beneficial for human society, according to their own views, but the welfare activity that can be rendered to people in general, for eternal benefit, is the spreading of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Everyone should be prepared to propagate this movement. As instructed by Lord Caitanya, one should be humbler than the grass on the ground and more tolerant than the tree. The toleration of the tree is explained by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, and those who are engaged in the preaching of Kṛṣṇa consciousness should learn lessons from the teachings of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya through Their direct disciplic succession.

One should be as tolerant as a tree and as humble and meek as the straw in the street, but certainly he must engage himself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Krsna Book 90:

Following in the footsteps of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and all the ācāryas in disciplic succession, the whole population of the world should glorify Lord Kṛṣṇa, and for their best interest they should take to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The process is easy and helpful. It is simply to chant the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Lord Caitanya has therefore recommended that one be callous to the material ups and downs. Material life is temporary, and so the ups and downs of life may come and go. When they come, one should be as tolerant as a tree and as humble and meek as the straw in the street, but certainly he must engage himself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Tṛṇād api sunīcena: "Just you become humbler than the grass." Just like one grass so many people are trampling over. It does not protest.
Lecture on BG 2.14 -- Mexico, February 14, 1975:

We have to learn how to tolerate. Therefore Kṛṣṇa advises, tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata: "My dear Arjuna, the good descendant of Bharata Mahārāja, you try to tolerate this." Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised, therefore, just to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, how one should be tolerant. He has said, tṛṇād api sunīcena: "Just you become humbler than the grass." Just like one grass so many people are trampling over. It does not protest. Tṛṇād api sunī..., taror api sahiṣṇunā: "And tolerant more than the tree..." Just like tree. Somebody is taking his branches, somebody is snatching its fruit, sometimes cutting it, but still, the tree is giving you shelter, fruit, and leaves and fruits and flowers. Very good example. So anyone who is desiring to go back to home, back to Godhead, he has to learn to be tolerant and forbearing. That is the instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena: "For himself, one should always think that he has no respect. He doesn't require to command any respect. But all respects he offer to others." In this way, if we become practiced, then we become fit for going back to Godhead, back to home.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that one has to become humbler than the grass or straw in the street, tolerant than the tree, and amāninā, and refusing all kinds of respectful addresses from others, but offering all respect to others.
Lecture on BG 4.9 -- Montreal, June 19, 1968:

You know the trees are very much tolerant. They are giving you shelter, they are giving you shadow, and they are giving you protection from birds(?) and so many things, giving you fruits. You are taking woods, leaves, flowers, but the trees do not make any protest. They are standing silently. Therefore they are very tolerant. The example of toleration is trees. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that one has to become humbler than the grass or straw in the street, tolerant than the tree, and amāninā, and refusing all kinds of respectful addresses from others, but offering all respect to others. He's not prepared to accept any respect from others, but he is prepared to give all respect to others.

If I am smaller than the grass then if somebody says that "You are lower than the grass," or "You are smaller than the grass," that's a fact. So sometimes this insulting words may come from others but if you are self-realized you know that I am not this body. So let him insult. Let me tolerate.
Lecture on BG 5.26-29 -- Los Angeles, February 12, 1969:

Self-realization you have heard so many times. What is that self-realization? Self-realization means I am not this body, I am spirit soul. That is self-realization. So if I am smaller than the grass then if somebody says that "You are lower than the grass," or "You are smaller than the grass," that's a fact. So sometimes this insulting words may come from others but if you are self-realized you know that I am not this body. So let him insult. Let me tolerate. Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches that taror api sahiṣṇunā. Toleration like the tree. Best example. You cannot find any tolerant living entity than a tree because it is standing day and night in scorching heat, in severe cold, there is wind, there is rainfall, it does not not make any protest—standing tolerant. People are taking leaves, flowers, fruits, cutting, and never protests. This is a symbol of toleration. Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that you become tolerant than the tree and smaller than the small grass on the street and you give all honor to others and don't expect any honor. Because people do not know how to honor me. Real honor is that you are servant of Kṛṣṇa. That is real honor. And if I say, "Your majesty, your honor, your lordship," they are all false. Real honor is when I call you that you are servant of God or servant of Kṛṣṇa. That is real honor.

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was informed this statement of Brahmā, that one should give up the speculative method, that he can create something... These nonsense habits should be given up. He must become very humble. Humbler than the grass.
Lecture on BG 7.1 -- San Diego, July 1, 1972:

Brahmā's experience... He's the topmost living creature within this universe. He said that "When a person will give up this nonsense habit of speculation..." Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya. He must become submissive. One should not pose himself that he knows something, he can speculate something, he can invent something. Just like the so-called scientists, they are simply speculating and wasting labor. Nothing can be done by you. Everything is already arranged. You cannot change. You can simply see how the law is working; so much you can do. But neither you can change the law, you can make a better facility for the law. No. That you cannot do. Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā (BG 7.14). Duratyayā means it is very difficult. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was informed this statement of Brahmā, that one should give up the speculative method, that he can create something... These nonsense habits should be given up. He must become very humble. Humbler than the grass. Just like we trample over the grass; it does not protest. "All right, sir, you go." That type of humble. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. Taru means tree. Tree is so much forbearing.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that tṛṇād api sahiṣṇunā: one should be tolerant. One should be humbler than the straw in the street.
Lecture on BG 13.6-7 -- Montreal, October 25, 1968:

Adambhitvam means one should not think... Suppose I am very much advanced in spiritual knowledge, but I should not be very much proud of it. Generally, in this age people want false, I mean to say, designations, that "I am very religious. I know everything. I am God." So many things. These are false pride. So actual knowledge is that "I am smaller than the straw in the street." That is the instruction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that tṛṇād api sahiṣṇunā: one should be tolerant. One should be humbler than the straw in the street. Sunīcena. One should think himself as smaller than the grasses on the street. And tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. And one should be tolerant like the tree. Amāninā, without claiming any respect from others. Amāninā mānadena, but one should give all respect to others. Mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (CC Adi 17.31). In that stage one can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa very nicely. Of course, it is very difficult, but Kṛṣṇa will help us.

Tṛṇād api sunīcena, "I am lower than the grass. I am lower than the grass"... Why I should be pride? What is this pride? When one man is unnecessarily proud, that means it is due to ignorance.
Lecture on BG 16.4 -- Hawaii, January 30, 1975:

So we are the cause of material bondage and freedom from material world. We are, ourself, the cause. There is no other cause. Simply we have to develop either this demonic characteristic or the divine characteristic. So human life is meant for developing divine characteristic, not this demonic char... Demonic characteristic is already there. Just like dambhaḥ. A dog has also pride: "I am this dog, grr." (laughter) "I am fox terrier. I am this. I am that." So dambhaḥ is there even in the dog, even in the lower animal, even in the cat. But the divine characteristic, "Oh, I am so low," Tṛṇād api sunīcena, "I am lower than the grass. I am lower than the grass"... This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's teaching. What is this dambhaḥ? Why I should be pride? What is this pride? So that is ignorance, due to ignorance. When one man is unnecessarily proud, that means it is due to ignorance.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

One should be tolerant than the trees and humbler than the grass to make progress in spiritual life. Because there will be so many disturbances.
Lecture on SB 1.8.20 -- New York, April 12, 1973:

That is, Kuntīdevī is humbly submitting. Although is womanly body, she is a devotee. She is not like ordinary woman, less intelligent. She is the most in... She has recognized Kṛṣṇa, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. "Although He has come to me, materially, as my nephew, to offer me respect, but He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." There in the previous verse she said, alakṣyaṁ sarva-bhūtānām antar bahir avasthitam: (SB 1.8.18) "You are not seen by ordinary men, although You are inside and outside." In another verse also, na lakṣyase mūḍha-dṛśā: (SB 1.8.19) "Fools and rascals cannot see You." That means Kuntī sees Him. Unless she sees Kṛṣṇa as He is, how she can say, mūḍha-dṛśā na lakṣyase? And (s)he says, prakṛteḥ param: "You are transcendental to this material creation."

So here also she continues her humbleness. This humbleness is very good in devotional service. Therefore Caitanya, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches us: tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. One should be tolerant than the trees and humbler than the grass to make progress in spiritual life. Because there will be so many disturbances.

If one is interested to advance by chanting, then Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises that you should be humbler than the straw or grass and tolerant than the tree.
Lecture on SB 3.25.30 -- Bombay, November 30, 1974:

The process of understanding transcendental subject matter is not by challenge but by submission. The whole bhakti process is submission. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's preaching.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

If one is interested to advance by chanting, then Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises that you should be humbler than the straw or grass and tolerant than the tree. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā: Without feeling oneself becoming very proud of intelligence, he should give respect to others and in this way one can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra offenselessly.

Tṛṇād api sunīcena. Sunīcena means lower than the grass. Just like we trample over the grass; they do not protest. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣnunā. And tolerant, humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree.
Lecture on SB 5.5.1 -- Vrndavana, October 23, 1976:

One has to become very humble. That is the first qualification. Tṛṇād api sunīcena. Sunīcena means lower than the grass. Just like we trample over the grass; they do not protest. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣnunā. And tolerant, humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. A tree gives us all benefit, but in return we give the tree so much trouble. We snatch away the twigs, we snatch away the leaves. Sometimes for our fuel we cut down. But there is no protest. So these things have been taught by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣnunā amāninā mānadena. Nobody should think himself that he is very prestigious person, falsely. Nobody is prestigious. Everyone should be humble.

If one fights like cats and dogs, he becomes cats and dogs. Nature's law is very strict. Therefore we should be very careful not to become like cats and dogs but to become very humble—humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree.
Lecture on SB 5.5.1 -- Vrndavana, October 23, 1976:

So this life should be engaged for that purpose, not to fight like cats and dogs. That is not very credit. Credit means ruining one's life. If one fights like cats and dogs, he becomes cats and dogs. Nature's law is very strict. Therefore we should be very careful not to become like cats and dogs but to become very humble—humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. Amāninā. Everyone wants that "I am very honorable man, prestigious man. And you should respect me." That is our material disease. "I do not want to respect you, but you should offer me respect." This is the position. Therefore our system is to call another Vaiṣṇava as prabhu. "Sir, you are prabhu, you are master." But we call prabhu, but I think, "No, you are not prabhu; I am prabhu. You are servant." This cheating process will not help us. Actually, we should believe that he is prabhu. "He is servant of Kṛṣṇa; therefore he is my prabhu." This is Vaiṣṇava mentality.

"Just become humbler than the straw in the street or grass." To become religious means... Lord Jesus Christ also, he taught like that—"The humble and meek will attain the kingdom of God."
Lecture on SB 6.1.40 -- Surat, December 22, 1970:

Prabhupāda: In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find: amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavam (BG 13.8). These are the different steps of progressing in knowledge and religion. The first thing is amānitvam. Amānitvam means very humble. Very humble. And therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches that tṛṇād api sunīcena, "Just become humbler than the straw in the street or grass." To become religious means... Lord Jesus Christ also, he taught like that—"The humble and meek will attain the kingdom of God." Is it not said like that?

Haṁsadūta: He said, "The greatest amongst you shall be the last..."

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: "...and the servant of all."

Prabhupāda: So this is taught also in the Bhagavad-gītā. Amānitvam adambhitvam. No false pride. Then ahiṁsā. Unless one is prideless, unless one is humble, it is not possible to become nonviolent.

Humbler than the grass and tolerant more than the tree. We have to give all respect to everyone.
Lecture on SB 6.2.24-25 -- Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971:

...humbler than the grass and tolerant more than the tree. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena. We have to give all respect to everyone. Even one has no respect, he should be also offered respect. In this attitude one can make advancement by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

Be tolerant just like a tree and be humble just like a grass. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. Don't be afraid of our enemies because Kṛṣṇa will protect you, but in order to stop more misunderstanding, better become tolerant.
Lecture on SB 6.3.16-17 -- Gorakhpur, February 10, 1971:

Just like Prahlāda Maharaja. He was a five-years'-old boy only, child. His father became enemy because the only disqualification Prahlāda Mahārāja had, that he was a great devotee. His father became enemy, what to speak of others? Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said, taror api sahiṣṇunā. You will have many enemies, many envious persons, when you become pure devotee, but you should tolerate. Taror api sahiṣṇunā. Be tolerant just like a tree and be humble just like a grass. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. Don't be afraid of our enemies because Kṛṣṇa will protect you, but in order to stop more misunderstanding, better become tolerant, as Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that... Envious persons, automatically... Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu's time, Śrīvāsa. Śrīvāsa was chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and his neighborers became enemies. They wanted to insult him in so many ways. These are described in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. So that is natural. But we should always remember that "Let there be enemies. Let there be envious persons. I will be protected by Kṛṣṇa and His associates." And even I am not so accustomed, so I should learn to tolerate.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā...

Kīrtanīyaḥ. If you want to make advancement in the chanting process, then you should be tolerant than the tree and humbler than the grass. And anyone who hasn't got any respect, give him all respect: "Oh, you are so wonderful," and go on with your business, "Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma..." (chuckles)

Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us that "You become tolerant than the tree and humble than the grass." But when Jagāi-Mādhāi insulted Lord Nityānanda, oh, He immediately became so angry, "Oh, bring My cakra. I shall kill these persons."
Lecture on SB 7.9.8 -- Hawaii, March 21, 1969:

When devotee is insulted, we should be very much angry. But if somebody insults me, I don't be angry. "All right, he insulted. I tolerate." But when you speak against God, when you say, "I am God," I shall beat you with shoes. I shall be so much angry. You see. That should be attitude of the devotee also. As God is angry for his devotee, similarly, our anger should be also utilized for God. Just try to understand. It is not that we shall not be angry. Yes, we shall be angry, but in suitable place, where God is insulted. When a rascal is claiming that he is God and deceiving others, you must be very much angry, "You rascal, what you are doing?" Somebody may say, "Oh, you are devotee? Why you have become so angry?" Now, why not? Here is the question of God and His devotee. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us that "You become tolerant than the tree and humble than the grass." But when Jagāi-Mādhāi insulted Lord Nityānanda, oh, He immediately became so angry, "Oh, bring My cakra. I shall kill these persons." Did He become a tolerant like the tree, "All right, Nityānanda insulted. Let Me become tolerant"? (laughs) No, no. Try to understand. You see? We should not be impotent. Arjuna, he was declining to fight, not that he was impotent, he could not fight. He was a great warrior. But he was refusing, "Oh, what for this personal interest is to kill them?" But when he saw that "Kṛṣṇa wants this," oh, he showed his potency.

One has to become humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. Then he can become perfect Vaiṣṇava. Because as soon as you become a Vaiṣṇava, your father will be your enemy. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja.
Lecture on SB 7.9.8 -- Mayapur, February 15, 1976:

Prahlāda Mahārāja, although born of a demonic father, he was completely pure. He was completely on the transcendental stage. Therefore he could offer prayers to the Lord; others cannot. So a Vaiṣṇava is very humble. He... Although everyone has admitted that he is on the stage of prema, but he is a Vaiṣṇava. He's thinking that "I am the son of Hiraṇyakaśipu. How I can offer?" This is Vaiṣṇava humbleness. That is the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

One has to become humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. Then he can become perfect Vaiṣṇava. Because as soon as you become a Vaiṣṇava, your father will be your enemy. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja. What was his fault? Five-years-old boy. Simply he became a Vaiṣṇava, Kṛṣṇa conscious, and his father became enemy. This is the position.

One shall be meek and humble more than the grass. These things will happen. In one life if we execute our Kṛṣṇa consciousness attitude, even there is suffering little, don't mind. Go on with Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Lecture on SB 7.9.8 -- Mayapur, February 28, 1977:

So there are these snakelike persons. They are envious about our movement, and they are opposing. That is the nature. Prahlāda Mahārāja also was opposed by his father, what to speak of others. These things will happen, but we should not be disappointed, as Prahlāda Mahārāja never became disappointed although he was teased in so many ways. He was also served with poison, he was thrown amongst the serpents and he was thrown from the hill, he was put under the feet of elephant. In so many ways put... Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed us that "Do not be disappointed. Kindly forbear." Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. Be tolerant more than the tree. I mean to say, one shall be meek and humble more than the grass. These things will happen. In one life if we execute our Kṛṣṇa consciousness attitude, even there is suffering little, don't mind. Go on with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Don't be disappointed or hopeless, even there is some trouble. That is encouraged by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā: āgamāpāyino 'nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata: "My dear Arjuna, even if you feel some pain, this bodily pain, it comes and goes. Nothing is permanent, so don't care for these things. Go on with your duty." This is the instruction of Kṛṣṇa. Prahlāda Mahārāja is the practical example, and our duty is to follow the footprints of such person like Prahlāda Mahārāja.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

So you'll have enemies. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu gives us, warning us: "You just become humbler than the grass."
Lecture on CC Adi-lila 7.4 -- Mayapur, March 4, 1974:

So you'll have enemies. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu gives us, warning us, that tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā: "You just become humbler than the grass." Just (as) you trample over the grasses, it does not protest. Not only you, so many people are going on the grasses, but they tolerate. So tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. And He has given the example, "tolerant than the trees." The trees are standing in one place. Scorching heat and cold and rains, they are all suffering, and the people taking their leaves, taking their branches, woods, cutting them, taking fruit, and still, the trees give you shelter. This is the example of tolerance. So tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena. Everyone in this material world is very much fond of getting honor. Although he's not honorable, still, he wants to get honor. Although he is unfit, still, he wants. That is the material propensity. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that "You give them honor. Don't ask for yourself any honor, respect, but others, you give them." That is the process of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's preaching.

Festival Lectures

You have to become humbler than the grass. Grass, it is lying on the street. Everyone is trampling down. Never protests.
Sri Gaura-Purnima Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.38 -- Mayapur, March 16, 1976:

But our process is to submit. Unless we submit, there is no hope of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's teaching.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

If you want to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then you have to take this principle, tṛṇād api sunīcena. You have to become humbler than the grass. Grass, it is lying on the street. Everyone is trampling down. Never protests. In the lawn you are... Everyone is trampling the grass. There is no protest.

General Lectures

Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that tolerate. How toleration? Tṛṇād api sunīcena, humbler than the straw on the street or grass. Everyone is walking over the grass, but it does not protest. Tolerates.
Pandal Lecture -- November 14, 1971, Delhi:

There will be disturbances. One who is going to engage himself in devotional service, he may be disturbed because that is the way of this material world. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that tolerate. How toleration? Tṛṇād api sunīcena, humbler than the straw on the street or grass. Everyone is walking over the grass, but it does not protest. Tolerates. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇuna. Prahlāda Mahārāja was typical example of this Caitanya Mahāprabhu's śikṣā. This Hiraṇyakaśipu father tortured Prahlāda Mahārāja in so many ways, but he tolerated. He tolerated. There are many other examples.

Everyone is trampling over the grass. The grass does not protest. Therefore humbler than the grass. And tolerant than the tree.
Public Lecture -- Konigstein, Germany, June 19, 1974:

Our real business is to get out... I am not this body, but this human body is a chance how to get out of this body. That is my real business. So if we are disturbed by these bodily pains and pleasure very much, then I forget my real business. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised, taror api sahiṣṇunā.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

Tṛṇād api sunīcena. Just like grass. Everyone is trampling over the grass. The grass does not protest. Therefore humbler than the grass. And tolerant than the tree. In this way we shall have to keep our position in this material world and advance in spiritual consciousness. If we become disturbed, then we cannot make progress. Suppose we are prohibiting so many things. Especially in the Western world, this is very painful. But you have to tolerate. If you want to get out of this body, you have to tolerate. Actually it is not painful. If you are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is not difficult. It is very easy.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised that "Be humbler than the grass." The grass, we are trampling over the grass; there is no protest.
Lecture Excerpt -- London, July 25, 1976:

Especially at the present moment, Kali-yuga, the atheistic persons are almost everyone. They have been described as mandāḥ. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā (SB 1.1.10). By becoming manda... Manda means bad, very bad. In Bengali there are two words, bhāga, manda, good and bad. So the manda, this word, has come from manda, Sanskrit word. So not this... The general people, all manda-short-living, wretched, unfortunate, misguided. So mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā. They are not fortunate. Mostly they are wretched. You'll find on the street so many wretched. So this is the position of the Kali-yuga. And they are not living also very many days. Still, they are against Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the position. They are suffering, but still, they are... Dog's obstinacy. This is the position.

So still, we have to do our business. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised that "Be humbler than the grass." The grass, we are trampling over the grass; there is no protest—"All right, go on." And tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣ... And trees, very tolerant. You cut the tree, it will not protest. So you take fruits, flowers from the tree. Take all advantages and again cut. Just like they are taking last drop of milk from the cow and after exacting everything, then send to the slaughterhouse. So the whole world is engaged in sinful activities. You cannot expect from them any concession for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not possible. Therefore we have to become humbler, tolerant, because real Kṛṣṇa consciousness means good-bye to this material world. We are no more interested with your, these big, big street, big, big buses or anything, whatever you think that is improvement, advancement.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1971 Conversations and Morning Walks

Caitanya Mahāprabhu who advised that we should be humbler than the grass, but practically when Nityānanda Prabhu was insulted, He immediately wanted to kill Jagāi and Mādhāi.
Room Conversation with Mayor -- November 10, 1971, New Delhi:

Prabhupāda: Who sets fire in my home and who wants to kill me, they're called ātatāyinaḥ. So they should be immediately killed. There's no question of nonviolent. And if the Vaiṣṇava is insulted, he should be killed immediately. That is also, Caitanya Mahāprabhu who advised that we should be humbler than the grass, but practically when Nityānanda Prabhu was insulted, He immediately wanted to kill Jagāi and Mādhāi. So these messages...

Guest: This has touched people.

Prabhupāda: Ha, ha.

Guest (2): This is what they're worried about. Did you know last time there were these signals practicing black-out and all that sort of thing? So now whole country is full of it.

Prabhupāda: Lord Rāmacandra's father, Daśaratha Maharaja, about him it is written, samūla vartham nava dhṛt ariṁśca(?). There are many qualifications. Out of that, one qualification was samula avartham nava dhṛt hariṁś ca.(?) Enemy will come, then he will uproot the whole generation. Samula vartham nava dhṛt hariṁś ca(?).

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises, taror api sahiṣṇunā-tolerant, humbler than the grass.
Morning Walk -- October 28, 1975, Nairobi:

Prabhupāda: Argumentum vaculum? Hm? With fools and rascals, with animals, there is no logic. Take the stick and beat them. The dog, if he is a dog, what is the argument with him? Take the stick and beat him; then he will go away. That is called argumentum baculum. That is, Sanskrit logic, also said, murkhasya laṭau śādhi (?) "One who is a fool, his only remedy is beating him with stick." This is material. But we are not doing anything material. It is all spiritual. Therefore, especially in this age, Caitanya Mahāprabhu,

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ (sadā hariḥ)
(CC Adi 17.31)

So we should preach like this, any rascal, because anyone who has no information of Kṛṣṇa, who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious, he's a rascal. That's all. That we must know. That is definite. There is no mistaking it. But if you say that "You are rascal. There is no mistaking it," then you cannot preach. If you directly call a rascal a rascal, he'll be angry. Murkhāyopadeśo hi prakopāya na śanta...: To give good instruction to a fool rascal will increase his anger, that's all." Then you'll not be able to preach. So you have to become very humble, tṛṇād api sunīcena, humbler than the grass. Just like everyone is trampling over the grass. It doesn't protest, "Why you are going, keeping your leg on my head?" But that is the... Tṛṇād api sunīcena. Go on trampling. Hundreds' and hundreds' people are trampling over the grass; they don't protest. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. The tree is standing. You sit down. When there is scorching heat, you take pleasure by sitting down under the shade. But the reward is that you cut the branches. That is their reward. He gives you shelter, and you cut the branch. You cut the whole tree. This is your gratefulness. You see? Because we are rascals, we do not know what is gratefulness. They are taking milk from the cow and killing. This is our proposal. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises, taror api sahiṣṇunā-tolerant, humbler than the grass. Amāninā mānadena. Don't expect any honor for your person, but to the others give honor: "Oh, you are most exalted person," although he's a rascal. What can be done? Otherwise you cannot preach. If you call a rascal a rascal, immediately your preaching will be stopped. So you have to say that "You are the greatest intelligent man, sādhu, most honored. The only request is that you forget what you have learned. That's all. And take this." In this way preaching practical. Otherwise it is not possible.

Humbler than the grass.
Morning Walk -- October 28, 1975, Nairobi:

Prabhupāda: Everyone is thinking he is the most exalted personality, scientist, philosopher, great man. That is material disease. Actually he is being kicked every moment by the urges of the senses, and he is thinking he is very great man. Go-dāsa. Go means senses. He is always, I mean, curbed down by the sense urges, and he is thinking, "independent." Independent means servant of the senses. This is going on. So you have to understand the real position of the world, and if you want to preach, then you have to (be) humbler than the tree, humbler than the grass, tolerant than the tree and... We know everyone is rascal; still, you have to give him honor. Then it will be possible to say something. Otherwise it is very difficult. We have to deal with all rascals, fools, rogues, ruffians, all good qualificat..., like. This is... You must know these things. You are dealing with all rascals. So if we call them directly "rascal," they will be angry. Your preaching will not be successful. So follow the principles enunciated by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī and Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Humbler than the grass.
Morning Walk -- December 17, 1975, Bombay:

Dr. Patel: I myself, sir, we are all (indistinct) not like you, we are worthless, we people. Unless you understand your worth... We are really worthless.

Prabhupāda: That is very good. /Tṛṇad api sunīcena/ taror api sahiṣṇunā/ amānin mānadena/ kīrtanīya sad hariḥ. That is the qualification for chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Humbler than the grass, tolerant than the tree, giving all respect to others, expecting no respect for oneself. These are the qualifications to become perfectly Kṛṣṇa conscious. Amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṁs kṣāntir ārjavam. Amanitva. Although he is very qualified, he says "No, no, no. I have no qualification."

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Let me become humbler than the grass.
Morning Walk -- June 21, 1976, Toronto:

Indian man (1): Prabhupāda, there's a very important question in my mind all the time. How a Godbrother should treat the Godbrother with great (indistinct) to produce more love of Godhead and to (indistinct) in them?

Prabhupāda: You show example. If other Godbrother is not treating you well, you treat him well. Then it will be right. Why you should deviate, that "This Godbrother is not treating me well, so I shall do also"? Āpani ācari' prabhu jīvera. You treat well. You show the example how to treat his Godbrother. (break) ...Mahāprabhu's teaching,

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(CC Adi 17.31)

So who is treating me good or bad, I don't want to bother about it. Let me become humbler than the grass, tolerant than the tree, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Correspondence

1967 Correspondence

Regarding your question about Lord Caitanya's thinking himself lower than the grass, it should be understood spiritually.
Letter to Brahmananda -- Vrindaban 4 August, 1967:

Regarding your question about Lord Caitanya's thinking himself lower than the grass, it should be understood spiritually. The dimension of the spirit soul is 1/10,000 part of the hair tip; so the spirit soul is certainly smaller than the grass. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was teaching us as a teacher, so he represented himself as an ordinary living entity; but as the Supreme Brahman he is greater than anything.

Lord Caitanya composed the verse that one should be humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree for chanting the Holy Name of Krishna, but the same Author learning the insult committed upon the person of Lord Nityananda became furious.
Letter to Brahmananda -- Calcutta 15 November, 1967:

Lord Caitanya composed the verse that one should be humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree for chanting the Holy Name of Krishna, but the same Author learning the insult committed upon the person of Lord Nityananda became furious and the Lord wanted to immediately kill the insulter. The idea is that personally, one should be very meek and humble even in the presence of greatest provocation, but a slight insult to Krishna and His Representative should at once be taken seriously and appropriate measures should be taken. We should never tolerate any insult or blasphemy to Krishna or His Representative. So your action was quite all right, but because we are in the public eyes we have to act cautiously so that people may not misunderstand.

1968 Correspondence

Lord Caitanya instructed us to be more humble than the grass on the street.
Letter to Hamsaduta -- Los Angeles 4 February, 1968:

I am so proud to have such spiritual sons and daughters like you, who are so humble in their dealings but who are so high in their spiritual understanding. Lord Caitanya instructed us to be more humble than the grass on the street, and more tolerant than the trees, and to offer all respects to all, demanding no respect for ourselves. All these nice qualifications make one worthy to chant Hare Krishna. Just try to follow these principles and keep staunch faith in Krishna and in Spiritual Master, and your life will be successful without any doubt.

1969 Correspondence

Lord Caitanya taught us to be humbler than the grass on the street and more tolerant than the tree.
Letter to Gargamuni -- Los Angeles 5 February, 1969:

Your humble repentance is just like a Vaisnava student, so I thank you very much for this humbleness. Lord Caitanya taught us to be humbler than the grass on the street and more tolerant than the tree. So these symptoms are Vaisnava symptoms. There is no question of rejection or dejection. I am always at your service, and you can question whenever there is any doubt, and I will try to answer them as far as possible.

Letter to Upendra -- Hawaii 11 March, 1969:

Yes, a new man may commit blunders in the beginning, but that does not mean we may be too impatient with him. After all, training means the man does not know, so you should train him nicely. A Vaisnava is expected to be humbler than the blade of grass, so when you train some new man you should not get agitated with him. After all, we are preachers, and we do not expect our audience or candidates completely respondent to our call.

Humbler than the grass on the street.
Letter to Satsvarupa -- Moundsville 31 May, 1969:

Try to keep nice peace with the police as far as possible, because our method is to be tolerant more than the tree and humbler than the grass on the street. We don't mind for so-called prestige. If keeping peaceful we can execute our Krishna Consciousness duties, that is all we want.

Becoming humbler than the grass.
Letter to Uttamasloka -- New Vrindaban 7 June, 1969:

We should not be greedy and we should not mix with persons not interested in Krishna. In this way, we can make steady progress and maintain our membership in Krishna's family. Thus, at the end of this life we will enter actually into the spiritual world. So your main business should be to spread Sankirtana, becoming tolerant as the tree and becoming humbler than the grass. If you have anytime any difficulty, please try to settle up in the above way, but do not leave the company of devotees. That will not help you, even though there may seem to be some difficulties.

If anyone becomes humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree, it is understood that he has accepted a Spiritual Master.
Letter to Jayagovinda -- Los Angeles 4 July, 1969:

You have inquired why Caitanya Mahaprabhu has not mentioned anything about accepting a Spiritual Master in His Siksastaka. But perhaps you have missed the point that He says amanina manadena kirtaniya sada hari. This means one has to chant the Holy Names of Krishna, becoming humbler than the straw, and more tolerant than the tree. So who can become humbler than the straw unless he accepts a Spiritual Master? The whole world is puffed up. Everyone wants to become the Lord of everything. Ultimately, the Mayavadi philosopher wants to become one with the Supreme Lord. This means that when one fails to become Lord of everything, he wants to mix up with the Supreme Lord and tries in that way to automatically become Lord of everything. What he can't perform by his own capacity he wants to have done by being merged into the Supreme Lord. That is the mentality of the general people. But if anyone becomes humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree, it is understood that he has accepted a Spiritual Master. Besides that, if we accept Sikshastak as authority given by Lord Caitanya, this means we accept Lord Caitanya as Spiritual Master. In the Bhagavad-gita it is openly mentioned that Arjuna accepted Krishna as the Spiritual Master. There is another mention in the Sikshastak, Lord Caitanya says "I do not want any wealth of this world, I do not want any following, neither do I want a beautiful wife. Simply I want to become a servant of the Lord." To become the servant of the Lord means to accept a Spiritual Master. Without accepting somebody as master, how can one become an expert servant? It is not that in every literature you will find the words that everyone has to accept a Spiritual Master, but we have to study things scrutinizingly. In the Caitanya Caritamrta there is mention guru krsna krpaya paya bhakti lata bija (CC Madhya 19.151). By the mercy of the Spiritual Master and Krishna one can get the seeds of bhakti lata, the plant of devotional service.

Vaisnavas are taught by Lord Caitanya to become humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree.
Letter to Gopala Krsna -- Hamburg 3 September, 1969:

I thank you very much for your submissive mentality, and as it is stated in the Bible that God is for the humble and meek, similarly, Vaisnavas are taught by Lord Caitanya to become humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree. Thus one can seriously execute progress in Krishna Consciousness.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us to be humbler than the grass on the street and more tolerant than the tree.
Letter to Ranadhira -- Tittenhurst 8 October, 1969:

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September 28th, 1969, and your attitude of a humble devotee is very much appreciated. Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us to be humbler than the grass on the street and more tolerant than the tree, and thus chant Hare Krishna Maha Mantra without any impediments.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has advised a Vaishnava to be humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree.
Letter to Bali Mardan -- November 13, 1969:

You are a sincere devotee from the very beginning, coming from a very respectable family, intelligent, and your humbleness is a proof of your high parentage. Thank you very much for this Vaishnava quality. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has advised a Vaishnava to be humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree. Then he can become a perfect teacher. So Krishna is giving you intelligence from within how to become preacher in distant countries to fulfill the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

1970 Correspondence

A great soul in Krishna Consciousness becomes humbler than the grass.
Letter to Gajendra -- Los Angeles 27 January, 1970:

When a Krishna Conscious person is elevated to a responsible position, he never becomes puffed up. Just like a tree when overladen with fruits becomes humble and lower down; similarly, a great soul in Krishna Consciousness becomes humbler than the grass and bowed down like the fruitful trees because a Krishna Conscious person acts as the agent of Krishna, therefore he discharges his duty with great responsibility.

We have to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra regularly being humbler than the straw.
Letter to Dindayal -- Los Angeles 2 February, 1970:

Your initiated name is Dindayal das Brahmacari. Din means poor and dayal means merciful. Krishna is so very merciful to those who are very humble in their attitude engaged in the service of the Lord. Lord Caitanya advised, therefore, one should be humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree and thus be seriously engaged in glorifying the Lord. This world is very awful. Anyone is ready to create some disturbance, especially they are very much apt to disturb Krishna Consciousness persons because that is the way of demoniac life. So, in order to protect us from all dangerous elements, we have to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra regularly being humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree. Then Krishna, Who is Dindayal, will bestow His Mercy upon us.

Please, therefore, chant regularly sixteen rounds of beads daily, always be engaged in Krishna work in a humble state of mind, follow the regulative principles of no eating of meat, fish or eggs, no intoxicants, no illicit sex life and no gambling or mental speculation and study our literatures and be strictly trained up in Krishna Consciousness with the help and guidance of Jaya Pataka Prabhu.

You shall preach the Sankirtana movement, becoming humbler than the grass.
Letter to Acyutananda -- Los Angeles 15 March, 1970:

I have seen the rough diagram of the proposed Bhowanipur Temple, but I suggest that in some corner of the house there must be a garage, because in future I wish that you American boys should live elegantly to the tradition of your great country. But at the same time you shall preach the Sankirtana movement, becoming humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree as instructed by Lord Caitanya.

Lord Caitanya has advised to become more humble than the grass and more tolerant than the tree.
Letter to Hamsaduta -- Los Angeles 26 April, 1970:

Regarding what to do about local authorities checking your Sankirtana activities in the streets, just show to the police officer how peaceful we are. They should give us help to encourage such peaceful activities. We should not take any action in angry mood. Lord Caitanya has advised to become more humble than the grass and more tolerant than the tree, and be ready to offer all respects to others while not caring to accept any respects for oneself. As far as possible we will try to follow this principle, and Krsna will help us in all respects.

1971 Correspondence

Do not be agitated with the criticism of your friends because Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that one should be humbler that a blade of grass.
Letter to Niranjana -- Gorakhpur 22 February, 1971:

I am so glad that you are performing devotional service seriously by chanting 16 rounds daily. Do not be agitated with the criticism of your friends because Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that one should be humbler that a blade of grass and should be more tolerant than a tree for chanting Hare Krishna Mantra. So stick to the principle of chanting 16 rounds daily and reading our books regularly, and one day you will be a great preacher of this cult.

1972 Correspondence

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has already advised us to be tolerant more than the tree and humbler than the blade of grass.
Letter to Satsvarupa -- Mayapur 28 February, 1972:

There will be so many impediments in pushing on our movement, therefore Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has already advised us to be tolerant more than the tree and humbler than the blade of grass and give all respects to Karmis without expecting any respect. These instructions mean that pushing on this Krsna Consciousness movement is not very easy, but we have to face them and push on this movement.

1974 Correspondence

We have to become humbler than the blade of grass and more tolerant than the tree.
Letter to Caitya-guru -- Vrindaban 7 February, 1974:

I was always thinking of you and your letter of Jan. 26, 1974 gives me much relief. Why you should be sorry if someone says you are Indian, he is American, Indians are no good, Americans are good. Why be affected by bodily relationships? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has advised us—and as an older, grownup student you should know it—that we have to become humbler than the blade of grass and more tolerant than the tree, and then we can execute our service and chant Hare Krsna.

We must be tolerant like the tree and humble like the blade of grass.
Letter to Subala -- Bombay 25 November, 1974:

So far your health is concerned, so far the body is there the question of health and unhealth will always be there. Sometimes there will be complaints, and sometimes not. In the Gita Krishna says these things come and go like the seasonal changes. So we have to tolerate. Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises trnad api sunicena/taror api sahisnuna. We must be tolerant like the tree and humble like the blade of grass. Such persons can chant the Hare Krishna mantra and preach. In Bombay we are undergoing so many tribulations. What can be done?

Facts about "Humbler than the grass"RDF feed
Compiled bySahadeva +, Labangalatika +, MadhuGopaldas +, Douglas t + and Visnu Murti +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entry15 May 9 +
Date of last entry11 August 10 +
Total quotes65 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 6 +, CC: 10 +, OB: 4 +, Lec: 21 +, Conv: 5 + and Let: 19 +