We must always be humble. Maya will give many tests but we must try to tolerate everything and realise why such things are happening. Furthermore, if we want to remain peacefully we must give honour to others. If we do not disturb others but give honour to them, they will not disturb us. They will think, “This person is very innocent. He is not against me, furthermore he nourishes me by giving me respect, so I must not disturb him.”
Mahaprabhu always wants that His devotees have peace in order to practise spiritual life. Such peace is only possible if the devotees are humble and tolerant, and if they give honour to others. The devotee will think, “I do not want to see whether someone is an honourable person or not, but I know my own position is that of an insignificant soul who is aspiring to be a servant of the servants of the servants of Krishna. So if someone wants any honour from me I must immediately give it to him and not give him any chance to think me to be an enemy.”
We can see an example in the Pastimes of Srila Rupa Goswami who was approached by a digvijaya pandit, a big world-renowned scholar. Hearing of Rupa Goswami’s name and fame he went to him and challenged: “If you cannot defeat me then give me your certificate by signing a statement that you have been defeated by me.”
Rupa Goswami thought, “I have no time to talk with that man.” He therefore asked, “Where is your paper? I shall sign it.” He then wrote to the effect that, “This man is a great pandit and I have been defeated by him,” and he signed it. This is the nature of the pure devotees, they do not want to cause disturbance or trouble to others. They are well aware that everything here is a passing show. People think that what they have is their wealth, but we neither know when we shall die nor where we shall go after death. Our duty is to prepare ourselves for the service of Krishna, and *that* is the real wealth of our lives. Our only shelter is to serve Krishna, therefore we do not want to waste our time with worldly affairs.
This is one mood of the devotees, and another is shown by Jiva Goswami Prabhu. He wanted to rectify that digvijay pandit, and therefore chastised him: “You went to see Rupa Goswami but you do not know who he is. You think yourself to be a great pandit, but now I consider you to be very foolish. You went to the ocean of ecstasy but you did not receive even one drop of that ecstasy. You went there but came back empty handed, therefore I consider you to be very foolish. You do not know who Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami really are, therefore you went to defeat them. You have made a great offence to them. I am their disciple and if you want to examine me then go ahead, by which you may understand something of their greatness.” Anyhow, that digvijay pandit received the mercy of Jiva Goswami and was defeated by him within a few minutes. He could understand he had made much offence to Rupa and Sanatan, and, by Jiva Goswami’s mercy, he left his ego. The pandit immediately returned to Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami and, apologising, took shelter of them. Jiva Goswami was happy that he was able to do some service to his Guru by rescuing this digvijay pandit from illusion.
Following this incident, Rupa Goswami, in order to teach us, showed some unhappiness towards Jiva Goswami: “You have come here to Vrndavan but now it seems through this incident that you want to acquire mundane fame.” This, however, was not the desire of Jiva Goswami, his intention was to glorify his Guru, correct the digvijay pandit, and bestow mercy upon him. This lesson is from one of the many incidents in the lives of our Acharyas.
Excerpt from Dignity of the Divine Servitor, compiled from the talks of Srila Gurudev.