Just like if I am sitting on a certain type of motorcar, does it mean I am that motorcar? If I am... Suppose I am sitting on a Rolls Royce motorcar. If I say, "I am Rolls Royce," is that my identification? No. Actually... And this is a fact. If a man is driving a very nice car, and if in his front there is a thela walla... I've seen it. The driver says, "He thela." As is if that man has become thela. And he has become motor. So actually, this is the fact. Piśācī pāile yena mati-cchanna haya. Neither he's thela, nor he's motorcar. He's living entity, pure living entity. Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā it is said, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). When one actually is self-realized, that "I am not American, not Indian, not Hindu, not Muslim, not man, not woman. I am spirit soul. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi," at that time, he does not lament. Na śocati na kāṅkṣati. We are fighting with one another, lamenting and hankering due to this misidentification of the self with this body.
- yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
- svadhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ
- yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
- (janeṣv abhijneṣu) sa eva go-kharaḥ
- (SB 10.84.13)
The Bhāgavata says that any person who is misidentifying himself with this body, kuṇape tri-dhātuke... Yasya ātma-buddhiḥ. This body is made of three dhātus, kapha pitta vāyu, and if we identify that "I, I am kapha pitta vāyu," then certainly he's a go-kharaḥ. He's nothing more than a cow and an ass. So bhakti, devotional service begins when one is actually self-realized. Before that, sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ. Anyone who has got the identification of this body, he is engaged in Deity worship, but he does not actually realize his self, he does not know who is a devotee, and he does not know his duty to other persons, he remains a prākṛta-bhakta. Prākṛta-bhakta means he's situated on the material platform, but under the direction of spiritual master, under the direction of the śāstras, he's trying to improve his condition of material existence. That is called prākṛta-bhakta, sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ.
So we should not remain perpetually a prākṛta bhakta. We must improve, madhyama-bhakta. Madhyama-bhakta means he knows what is God, what is Kṛṣṇa. He knows what is Kṛṣṇa's devotee. He knows the people in general, and he knows the atheistic persons. Four categories of persons manifest before him. It is not that the... Artificially, if we say that "In my view, everyone is the same..." That is, of course, higher stage. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ (BG 5.18). But we should not imitate that stage. Because we are in the neophyte stage, we should not imitate the vision of mahā-bhāgavata. Mahā-bhāgavata does not see anyone nondevotee. He sees everyone better devotee than himself. Just like Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. He writes in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta:
- jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
- purīṣera kīṭa muñi se lagiṣṭha
So he's not pretending. Actually, a mahā-bhāga, bhāgavata, thinks like that, that "I am the lowest." But he's the highest. One who thinks like that, humble...
- tṛṇād api sunīcena
- taror api sahiṣṇunā
- amāninā mānadena...
He wants to give respect to everyone, but he doesn't expect any respect for him, himself. That is mahā-bhāgavata. And if one wants respect for him, that means he's still in kaniṣṭha adhikārī. A mahā-bhāgavata is ready to give respect to, even to the ant. And for himself he doesn't any, want any respect. That is mahā-bhāgavata. As Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā. For himself, he doesn't require any respect. Mānadena. But he's ready to give respect to everyone, even to the ant. That is mahā-bhāgavata. So generally, we are in the lower stage of devotional service. Just like generally, people come to res..., offer respect to the Deities in the temple, but one does not know how to give respect to the devotee, how to help others to become devotee. They are in the lowest stage. A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching. Preaching.