tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
One who considers himself as insignificant as grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, who is without pride and shows respect unto others – he is always eligible to engage in hari-kīrtana.
(That Commentary Which Gives Bliss to the Devotees)
Humility born from indifference towards mundane things due to chanting hari-nāma offencelessly, non-enviousness embellished with compassion, a lack of false pride, and showing respect to all accordingly – these are the characteristics. Due to the appearance of śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāma, which is caitanya–rasa–vigraha (the embodiment of conscious rasa), one acquires detachment except for cid-rasa (divine mellows) and declares:
“I am intrinsically a finite conscious jīva who is a servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa! I have no objective in relation to those things comprised of matter! At present, I am in the unfortunate condition of being bound to matter due to the fault of being averse to Kṛṣṇa. By Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, as long as I am not free from saṁsāra, then I will use material objects in order to maintain life employing yukta-vairāgya (proper renunciation) with knowledge in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. I must inevitably experience and accept all the results of prārabdha-karma (previous activities) – miseries born from poverty, illness, sadness, old age etc. and those things stemming from joy such as good health, strength, knowledge etc. Considering my cit-svarūpa (spiritual nature), I have no necessity for material things and with absolute humility I will reside at home or in the forest while saying, ‘O Kṛṣṇa! O Gauracandra! O Lord of my life! When will I achieve pure servitorship?’ Although it is a material object, identifying oneself as grass is not contradictory. However, because my svarūpa has become perverted, my factual identity is incorrect. In actuality I am lower than grass.”
The phrase, taror api sahiṣṇunā (‘more tolerant than a tree’) denotes that a tree helps give shade and fruits even to the wood-cutter. From a higher inclination, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa shows mercy and benefits everyone – friends and enemies. Compassion embellished with non-enviousness is the second characteristic of those who chant hari-nāma.
Those who chant the Name without offences say, “O Lord! How will those jīvas in my company achieve attraction to Your Name? They are all blinded by māyā and aggrieved by the dualities of happiness and distress in relation to sons, wives, wealth, victory, defeat etc. They are not averse to mundane sense-objects which are full of anarthas (unnecessary tribulations). Bound by the chains of expectation, they search for meagre results of karma which end in misery, or nirbheda-jñāna (knowledge of the non-differentiated Brahman). How will their ruci (taste) for the correct philosophy concerning the self develop?” Then he will loudly sing:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
“Only the name of Hari, the name of Hari, the name of Hari – there is no other way, no other way, no other way in the age of Kali. There is no other way.” (Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa 3.8.126)
The word amāninā indicates the third characteristic of being devoid of false pride. This pride stems from the power of yoga, the power of sense-enjoyment, wealth, beauty, high birth, strength, fame, eligibility etc. in relation to both the gross and subtle body of the bound jīva. This is all false because it opposes the intrinsic nature of the jīva. Being devoid of pride means being devoid of such false pride. Even if there is cause for such pride, one should be free of false pride and decorated with the quality of tolerance, one should always engage in hari-nāma kīrtana. A devotee should focus his consciousness upon Kṛṣṇa and perform kṛṣṇa-nāma-kīrtana while remaining at home without the false ego of being a brāhmaṇa, or while residing in the forest, without the false ego of possessing the symbols of a renunciate.
The word mānada refers to showing respect to all accordingly and is the fourth characteristic. Knowing that all jīvas are kṛṣṇa-dāsa, he does not envy anyone or seek revenge. He satisfies all by his sweet words and activities which are beneficial to the world. He respects all with humility – the brāhmaṇas etc. who has achieved some qualification in this world, and Brahmā, Rudra etc. in the higher planets, praying to all of them for hari-bhakti. He serves those who are pure devotees in all respects.
Engaging in kṛṣṇa-nāma-kīrtana embellished with these four attributes is the means to attain the highest objective of human life. This is prescribed by Śrīman Mahāprabhu.