Excerpt from Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja’s commentary on Śrī Dāmodarāṣṭakam, verse 4
tṛṇād api su-nīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka (3)
In every respect the sādhaka should see himself as lowlier and more helpless than the most insignificant, trampled blade of grass, and, becoming even more tolerant than a tree, expecting no honour for himself, he should give due respect to all. In this way, the sādhaka should always perform harināma-saṅkīrtana.
During His pastimes in Dvārakā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself exemplified this instruction of Śrī Gaurahari. In one incident in particular, His conduct exemplifies this instruction. That incident goes like this:
Once, Durvāsā Ṛṣi arrived in Dvārakā. Durvāsā literally means “he who subsists solely on the juice of durvā grass”. At that time, Śrī Kṛṣṇa was sitting in His palace. As soon as Durvāsā Ṛṣi arrived before Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he exclaimed, “I am very hungry. Make arrangements to feed me!” However, the moment his meal was ready, he went away. At midnight, he suddenly returned and asked for his meal, which was then served to him. When he had eaten only a little of it, he turned to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and said, “Smear this half-eaten sweet rice on Your body.” Silently, Śrī Kṛṣṇa smeared the half-eaten sweet rice over His entire body. He smeared it everywhere except on the soles of His feet. The residents of Dvārakā looked on infuriated, but they could not say a word.
“I want to ride around in a chariot pulled by Rukmiṇī,” said Durvāsā Ṛṣi. After Śrī Kṛṣṇa made the arrangements for this, Durvāsā Ṛṣi demanded that Śrī Kṛṣṇa become the charioteer. Śrī Rukmiṇī dragged the chariot along until, on the verge of fainting, she fell to the ground. Upon seeing this, the residents of Dvārakā were unable to tolerate any more, so Durvāsā Ṛṣi abruptly jumped from the chariot and fled. Śrī Kṛṣṇa began searching for him and calling out his name.
Durvāsā Ṛṣi again appeared. “O Dvārkādhīśa,” he said, “even among the demigods, I have never seen anyone so self-composed and tolerant. Surely You are the Lord and benefactor of the brāhmaṇas (brahmaṇya-deva). I have enacted this pastime just to establish Your honour throughout the three worlds. O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, on my order You smeared my half-eaten sweet rice all over Your body – everywhere except for the soles of Your feet. Your whole body has now become as strong as a thunderbolt, but the soles of Your feet are weak, and susceptible to being wounded.”
“O Rukmiṇī-devī,” he continued, “I am very pleased with you. Seeing your devotion for the Supreme Lord and your extreme tolerance, I am compelled to bless you.” Durvāsā Ṛṣī then blessed her saying, “You will be the most exalted of all the chaste ladies in the world, and you will have everlasting fortune.”
This pastime teaches the sādhaka the importance of tolerance and patience. Even the slightest mistake in one’s dealings can result in an offence to the Vaiṣṇavas and thus cause bhakti to disappear forever.
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