In the first part of this series on the divine kirtan, “Tum Mere The Mere Ho Mere Rahoge”, we understood the nature of a devotee who has embarked upon the path of divine love. In this part, we shall ponder upon the following stanza, which will take us deeper into the journey of such a devotee. God and Guru might behave in a reverse manner from time to time to test the purity of devotees. There might be obstacles in the spiritual path, yet the devotee remains unaffected. When there is reason for love to get shattered, yet untarnished, that is the proof of selfless love. There is no need for any calculations for such a devotee. He has accepted God as his. He feels that no matter what God and Guru do, nothing will change his love for them. Once, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was asked, “Why do you do devotion?” Mahaprabhu answered: It's my nature.
Hence, devotees who practice selfless love, drown their mind and intellect in it. Such a devotee entreats the Lord in the second stanza:
दे दो ऐसी विरह वेदना,
मिटि जाये मम अहं चेतना ।
और अधिक चमकेगा सोना, पुनि पुनि अगिनि तपाने से ।।
तुम मेरे थे मेरे हो मेरे रहोगे, बहकूँ ना अब बहकाने से।।
Dē do aisi viraha vēdanā,
Miti jāyē mama ahaṁ chētanā
Aur adhik chaṁkēgā sonā, puni puni agini tapānē sē
Tum mērē thē mērē ho mērē rahogē, bahkūñ nā ab bahkānē sē
These lines may be translated as: “Give me the pain of separation (viraha vēdanā) which will destroy the ego (ahaṁ chētanā) within me. Just as when gold is placed on the fire, and its impurities burn away, similarly, when love is placed on the fire of separation, all impurities like selfishness, greed, and resentment burn away, and love becomes resplendent”.
In the last stanza, the devotee said- he had drowned his intellect in divine love. However, even beyond the intellect is the ego. It is the final stumbling block in the spiritual path. There is nothing wrong with the ego, provided it is taken in the right spirit. When a devotee identifies himself as a servant of God and His tiny part, there is no problem. But, caught in the clutches of Maya, a General of God, we erroneously identify ourselves with the body and mind. We nurture the illusions, “I'm beautiful, intelligent, learned, and prosperous”. These wrong assumptions, confusing the body with the self, give rise to pride. Pride engenders enemies of God, like resentment, envy, grudge, greed and so on.
Overcoming the Ego: Illuminating the Intellect with Devotion and Humility
How do we then get rid of the ahaṁ-I? Our intellect has to be illuminated with proper knowledge obtained from our Guru. The mind tries to mislead the intellect. There is a constant tug-of-war between the mind and intellect.
When the mind gets attached to an object or a habit, the intellect is drowned in it. Like a drunkard bound to his bottle, the human soul is chained by ego. Certain ascetics become proud of their austerities. Austerities cannot bind God but only by selfless devotion. Practising humility and repeating the thought that “I am a servant of God'' alone can deliver us from the evil of pride. Just like gold shines more and more when placed in fire, a devotee’s soul is purified by burning in the fire of separation. Then, one’s pride in one’s mind and body is effaced, and the devotee takes pride only in his master, the Lord, Shree Krishna.