His divine grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was a rasika acarya, an expert in relishing the mellows of pure devotion as taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Such capacity to relish hearing and chanting about Godhead’s transcendental name, form, attributes, and pastimes is uncommon.
The great Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.14.5) informs us:
muktanam api siddhanam
kotisv api maha-mune
“Out of thousands of perfected souls, it is very rare to find one that is a pure devotee of God.”
Perfection, or self-realization, is indeed a noteworthy accomplishment, yet it pales in comparison to unalloyed devotion. One need not fully surrender to God to achieve liberation from the flawed existence of material life. Any number of techniques may be employed in this attempt, but absolute humility of heart is not a requirement. Pure devotion, on the other hand, acknowledges no technique, while humility and absolute surrender are the stage on which the drama of divine love is eternally performed. His Divine Grace had such humility, such surrender, although he was at the same time often very demanding, insisting on a high standard from his disciples. Yet his assertiveness was all on behalf of Godhead and therefore justified. His assertiveness was an example of the dynamic face of humility, not an abstract, sterile humility, but the concrete and productive humility of doing God’s bidding.