by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Die to live means sacrifice or seva (service). Seva means death. Seva means to give one’s own self for a particular cause, for Krishna. That this mad, mundane concocted self should be saved is not a very laudable thing. It is a mortal thing, and the depot of many reactions. So one should get rid of this centre as soon as possible, and enter into the land of confidence, goodness, fairness and sweetness. Try to enter that land with a sincere attitude. Your campaign must be partial. Taking one step forward and three steps back won’t do. There should be no such hesitation. You are finite and you want to get the advantage of the infinite? You are so small, and do you think that by sacrificing only a part of your smallness your aspiration for the whole can be fulfilled? Is it reasonable to expect such? No, it is not so easy.
Our own tendency for exploitation and renunciation creates so many units of this plane, like so much dust to blind our eyes so we cannot see Him. Kanaka pasyanti kamini mayayo jagat. Those who are lustful try to find out where is a beautiful lady. Pasyanti dhana mayo jagat. The greedy people always busy their minds with the thought. “Oh, there is Birla, there is Tata, there is Ford,” who are the moneyed men in this world. They only think about moneyed men because they love wealth the most. Dhara mayo jagat and khira prayanti narayano jagat.
Those who are liberated from the outer external influences may find, “Oh, I am in the kingdom of Narayan, who is the support and guardian of the whole world. We see His hand everywhere. Without His direction nothing can move.” They may boast that, “I have got such power, I have got such beauty, I have got wealth,” but it is all a false show. The real backing spirit is Narayan, the all pervading, all knowing, all good principle. And the temporary external plane is the killing aspect of existence. It is only our prejudices of so many types that have captured us.
So by whatever process we approach the Lord the tenor of our movement should be, if we want a guarantee that it will actually be for the satisfaction of Krishna, that my whole effort depends upon the genuine character of the agent through whom I am rendering my services. If the agent is a false man then my whole energy is wasted. But if he is a real agent then I must be the gainer through him. If I connect with Vaikuntha through him then my actions will be valued.
Otherwise we may be the loser, aparadha (offender). Nama aparadha, seva aparadha, archana apradha – there are so many aparadhas. It is also written in the scriptures that if service is not done properly, then we are sure to commit some offences against the Deity. Either we will get satisfaction or trouble. Aradhana is the proper thing, and the hateful handling of the holy things is aparadha. It all depends on the satisfaction of whom it is we are serving. So we must be careful.
We must not be overconfident of our previous acquisition – so much I have acquired, my progress is so much. I must not be satisfied with my self-certificate, self-satisfaction, the certificate of my own making. Mahaprabhu Himself said, “I am taking the name, I am showing so many tears in the name of Krishna. But why? It is all a false show na prema gandho ‘sti. My crying is only a show to canvas others to see what a great devotee I am.” So much you are to disbelieve your own self that you are a devotee. In this way we must be very careful, very, very careful!
Kotis vapi maha mune. Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami and Narottam Das Thakura were seeing, “The whole world is absolved from sin, but I am neglected, I am left as the only exception. I am so low and ill fated that I am rejected from that most benevolent infinite lila. I alone am rejected. I could not utilize this great fortunate wave.” This should be the real tendency of a genuine vaisnava who has actually come in relation with the infinite. Whenever the finite comes in touch with the infinite his temperament cannot be otherwise. “I am empty, I don’t get anything”, that should be the temperament.
I feel emptiness within me. I can’t get the goal. My life is frustrated. Neither do I get a drop of grace from the Lord, and the World, of course, I have left. So both sides gone. I have no alternative. O Lord. If you don’t accept me then I am undone. Please, just make me the servant of the servant of the servant. Give the remotest connection to me. Graciously give the most distant connection of Yourself to me. Don’t leave me, My Lord. I cannot tolerate the craving for You. This heart-felt, heart rendering prayer must come to the vaisnava devotee of the Lord. Onlookers will find that he has got a peep of the fortune. The charm for the world outside is fully eliminated for that person, from the core of his heart, and in the near future his heart will be filled with the nectar of the grace of Krsna.
Bhukti, mukti spriha yavat pisaci na nivartate. The desire for enjoyment, and also for renunciation or mukti, no engagement, are compared to two ghosts (pisaci). So how do you dare to express that bhakti, real love for Krishna, will descend in your heart? Those two demons are there, and do you think the noble lady of devotion will come and sit on the same bench with those demons? How can you expect that? Have you freed yourself from all those nasty things that you dare to invite the lady of Krsna bhakti to come?
Krishna bhajan is independent of any external form of life. Mahaprabhu says, na ‘ham vipro na ca narapati na vaisya na sudro …. Gopi bhartu pada kamalayor dasa dasanu dasa. Varnashrama dharma is just the beginning, then gradually improving we are to go up to the absolute service of Krishna. Without consideration of any law or form, thinking only of service, whatever we do or think or speak, everything should be done for the service of Krsna. That is the standard of real devotion. And mere form may be a little favourable, but not always. The spirit, even crossing every formality, is what is required of us. Our absolute attraction for the service, the beauty does not allow law to have any status. In the beginning they have got some sort of utility.
But when a little advanced they do not care for anything. Only sadhu sanga, adherence to the saint of similar type and a little better. Those who are on the path of raga bhajana, divine love and attraction, find that the only way, the only thing which can guide us is spontaneous desire, laulyam atram mulyam ekalam. The only price is earnest desire and nothing else. Krsna bhakti rasabavita mati, murti kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate. Ramananda Raya says to Mahaprabhu, “Anywhere you find it, try to purchase it at any price.” The pure inclination towards the service of Krishna, the innermost tendency to want Krishna, to get Him, the earnest desire to have Him – a drop of that desire for the divine attraction, anywhere you find it, one must try to purchase it at any price. You may acquire it anywhere. It may be from a brahmana or from anyone. It does not matter about the form.
Kiba ivpra kiba nyasi sudra keno haya, yei krsna tattva vetti sei guru haya. Wherever there is a drop of that divine love, try to get it. And what is the price? Earnest desire for it. No other price but earnest desire, laulyam. It is not to be purchased by any money, or anything else which is acquired by so many formal practices in crores of births. Substance is necessary and not form. Form may be adopted only as much as it may connect me with that higher thing. So, sarva dharman parityajya all phases of duty you perceive as perfect, give up. At once try to jump in Me, into the ocean of nectar. I am the ocean of nectar.” Try to jump. That is the direct teaching. So our addiction to this or that, to vanaprastha, sannyas, or grhastha has got very negligent value. But the earnest desire, that is to be acquired by any means. That is bhakti proper.
Others try to know about Krishna from the scriptures (sastra). Ramakrishna once remarked that in the almanac it is written that this year so much rain is expected. But it does not mean that if we please the almanac a drop of water will ooze out of it. So the sastra is something like that. The sastras say do this and do that. But that does not mean the sastra will give us the result, too. They give direction, and as much as we practice we get.
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