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The Essence of Devotional Service

Radhanath-Swamis-Guru-Srila-PrabhupadaService means to ask- how can I serve you. This is the essence of spiritual life. The ancient scripture Srimad Bhagavatam, assures us that our external situations don’t matter; one could be a student, householder, renunciant, retired person, teacher, house wife, administrator, businessman, farmer or a simple labourer, anyone can easily make the only goal of life as pure service to Krishna.

“It is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.13)

One of the simplest and most essential ways of putting this principle into practise is by following the instructions of Guru, who is the direct representative of Krishna (Bhagavad Gita 4.34). His instructions or orders are non- different from Krishna’s instructions. It does not matter how big or small the service given to us is; we just need to be grateful and accept it as mercy. By accepting guru’s mercy, we receive God’s mercy. We accept the service given to us by our guru as our life and soul, and with faith try to do our best to accomplish it. This will enable us to become obedient, humble and develop practical service attitude, which ultimately pleases Krishna and attracts His infinite, loving grace upon our hearts.

Radhanath swami beautifully elaborates this principle, “If we try doing our service with honesty, sincerity and faith, we will receive God’s mercy. Success and failure is in Krishna’s hands. He is the doer and He knows exactly how to reward us by giving success or purify us by giving failures. This understanding will make us humble and dependent on Krishna. The mood of the servant must be to carry out the service given to him irrespective of the consequence.”

Sometimes we see some practitioners are discouraged by the thoughts of not being able to do some service. At such times we need to remember that if we think we cannot do something, we are thinking of ourselves as doers. However a sincere spiritualist honestly believes that Krishna is the doer of everything, and with that faith he executes the orders for service.

This mood is real humility and dependence on Lord. Prahalad Maharaj showed us the example of being an unmotivated servant of the guru, which attracted the mercy of Lord Narsinghdev. He was offered everything in the universe by his father Hiranyakashipu; he was offered all the wealth in the universe, beautiful women, and followers like demigods as his servants. All he had to do was to follow his father. But he was instructed by his guru to preach about Krishna; so he did this without any consideration or ambition other than satisfying his guru and Krishna. In doing so he sacrificed all material comforts and he involved himself in treacherous persecutions and inconveniences imposed by his father. Finally Lord Narsinghdev, satisfied by his devotional service to his guru, killed his demoniac father along with his huge rakshasha army and made him the king of the planet, with all the opulence that his father would have given him.

Therefore, if with the simple faith in guru and Krishna, we render devotional service, Krishna will provide us all success and happiness.

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