09.13 – How the small soul becomes great…
We usually long to prove our greatness to the world.
Gita wisdom seems, at first sight, to repress this ambition for greatness; it informs us that we as souls are immeasurably small and are eternally servants of Krishna. If we are less than microscopic and are always servitors, then how can we ever become great?
Curiously, the same Bhagavad-gita that declares the soul to be tiny also addresses (09.13) some souls as great souls (mahatma). Obviously, the soul doesn’t morph like a computer image. Then why does this verse refer to smalls souls as great souls?
The answer is found in the next line: these great souls live sheltered by the divine nature (daivim prakrtim ashritah). This divine nature is the grace of Krishna, manifested as Shrimati Radharani, the supreme mediatrix. By bestowing devotion, she enables the small soul to connect with the greatest soul, Krishna, and thereby become great – not in size, but in influence. Krishna uses the souls devoted to him as instruments for his infinite power, wisdom and compassion to appear and act in this world. When these souls become thus divinely empowered, they perform great deeds as they do the highest spiritual welfare for all living beings: helping everyone attain the supreme treasure of eternal life and divine love. Due to their great deeds, the Gita rightly acclaims them as great souls. Significantly, though, these great souls never feel themselves as great; they live constantly in the light of the supreme greatness of Krishna and find therein a fulfillment far greater than that obtained by dwelling on their own greatness.
Thus, Gita wisdom doesn’t repress our ambition for greatness, but redirects it spiritually, thereby enabling us to transcend it, while also productively utilizing it for the service of Krishna and all his children.