“Oh, My Lord, O Krishna, son of Maharaja Nanda, I am Your eternal servant, but because of My own fruitive acts, I have fallen in this horrible ocean of nescience. Now please be causelessly merciful to Me. Consider Me a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.” (Lord Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 20.32)
The mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is causeless. There is apparently no reason for it, because God is never compelled to do anything. One may petition Him for this thing or that. During an ancient time, there was a powerful king named Kamsa who was terrorizing the innocent on earth. The demigods petitioned Lord Narayana, the source of all men, to help. He agreed, promising to descend to earth in His original form of Krishna.
Yet this does not mean that Krishna appeared on earth because of Lord Brahma or any of the other demigods. Previous to that, when He appeared on earth as Lord Ramachandra, again it was out of His causeless mercy. Ravana’s nefarious acts did not necessitate Rama’s advent. If that were the case, then any fiend could go on a killing spree in the hopes of seeing God face to face.
Lord Chaitanya gives us a hint into how that causeless mercy can come our way. The attitude is key. Nothing is guaranteed, but in the right mindset, there is the chance that God will take notice. Lord Chaitanya asks that Krishna consider Him to be a particle of dust at His lotus feet. The particle is small in size. Especially in comparison to the incredibly large Supreme Lord, the particle is nothing.
Dust is also on the ground, referencing stature. When one considers themselves to be low, they have a chance at receiving God’s mercy. Indeed, this is the attitude necessary when approaching the bona fide spiritual master, who is Krishna’s representative on earth. The mercy first flows through the guru, who looks for humble submission in the disciple.
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.34)
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s request is noteworthy because the attitude is usually the opposite. Amongst other living entities, each is looking to be considered the best. They want to be more than a tiny particle, and they want to be higher than the tree. The business mogul wants to have the most profits in the land. The administrator wants to reach the position which wields the most authority. The radio personality wants the largest audience. The athlete wants the most championship trophies and the academic wants the most advanced degree possible.
None of these disqualify one from receiving the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord, but in comparison to Him everyone is small. If that awareness exists, then there is every chance of receiving that coveted gift. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself. He is a combined incarnation of Radha and Krishna, or the energy of God and God Himself. There is no difference between Chaitanya and Radha and Krishna.
“Lord Chaitanya is Krishna with the feelings of Radharani; in other words, He is a combination of Radha and Krishna. It is therefore said, shri-krishna-chaitanya radha-krishna nahe anya. By worshiping Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu alone, one can relish the loving affairs of Radha and Krishna together.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 13.43)
What results from receiving that causeless mercy? What happens when we truly consider ourselves to be a particle of dust at the lotus feet of God? There is already mercy from mother nature received on a daily basis. We easily could be seriously harmed on our way to work in the morning. There is no guarantee that the plane flight we’re taking tonight will land safely. There is every possibility of contracting a disease, becoming overly stressed by daily pressures, or making the wrong decisions. As we’re able to survive, it is due to nature’s mercy.
The mercy of Krishna is much better. With nature’s blessings, we continue in this temporary life. But that does not mean we will be happy in that life. It does not mean that we will find an engagement that invigorates us, that makes us want to get out of bed every morning. In many respects, the longer we continue to live, the more miserable we become. As an adult we could never imagine getting up so early and spending so many hours in a classroom, yet as children we did precisely that. As a senior citizen, we have little desire to travel or get out of the house, but as young adults we had so much more energy to explore the world.
The causeless mercy of Krishna brings Krishna. He is all-attractive. His features are inexhaustible. This means that if you have Him with you, you can contemplate His beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation for hours and hours. After you go to sleep and again wake up, the same glorification continues. It goes beyond the present life as well, as bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, is the soul’s eternal occupation.
Reentry into that occupation is not difficult. The first step is the required humility, beautifully expressed by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In fact, Mahaprabhu explains every requirement, so that from start to finish we’ll be guaranteed of getting Krishna’s mercy. With that gift, nothing else is needed, as the devotee relishes the opportunity to daily chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
To be graced with causeless mercy’s flow,
Must truly consider yourself to be low.
Like on the ground particle of dust,
In supremacy of God to trust.
When that mercy to receive,
To find enthusiasm you can’t believe.
To continue day after day,
When holy names always you say.