Service: Faith and Surrender
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: How can we get enthusiasm to serve our spiritual brothers? We often feel enthusiasm to serve the Deity and the temple but not the devotees...
How and what for are you going to do it? If a householder devotee cannot come to the temple, they live far away, what can you do if you live in the temple? If they need association they should come to the temple, hear the class, do service, etc.
Actually, if somebody has Gurudev's photo, the Deities' photo in their house, they can worship themselves—their house becomes a temple. Even though they cannot come to the temple, they should cook for the Deities and take prasad. Not all devotees may be doing it, but it is necessary.
You can see some examples of householder devotees who also did not come to the temple. For example, Mukunda and his wife had a Deity in their house and they served the Deity every day—cooking, etc.—but they did not believe that the Deity actually took the food. One day, however, their son, Raghunandan, offered the bhog to the Deity and the Deity ate it, then they believed it. They had been serving the Deity for so many years, yet they had no faith in the Deity, they did not believe that the Deity could eat...
Another example that Gurudev told is the story of Dhanur Das and his wife, Ramanuja Acharya's disciples, and how they maintained their family life. They were very poor, had no children, and also served the Deities in their house.
Every day they went begging to collect some bhoga: Dhanur Das went to one village and his wife went to another one. In the village where Dhanur Das' wife went, there was a bad man who always followed her. He wanted to have some bad relation with her. He would tell her, "Come to my house! You will not have to go house to house begging any more, I can give you so much food—rice, dahl, vegetables, subji! Come!" Every day he disturbed her and spoke to her like this, but she could understand that the man's character was not good and kept excusing herself, "Yes, yes, I will come, but another day. Do not worry, I will come. Wait." She replied like this and did nothing, her behaviour was good.
One day, she told her husband, "Go alone today. I have some work in the house, I must do your and my laundry. You go to collect, I will not go today." She stayed at home and was doing the laundry when suddenly she heard some noise coming from outside—somebody was knocking at the door. She thought it could be that bad man, "He knows my husband has gone for collection, maybe he thinks I am alone at home today! What if it is him?" She was very afraid, "What am I to do now? Shall I open the door or not?"
Then she thought of her Guru, "Gurudev, you will protect me. I will open the door." When she opened the door, she saw her Guru was standing and waiting in the door! She was surprised and immediately said, "O Gurudev, how can I serve you?" She gave him an old chair to sit down and brought some water, "Gurudev, please take some water, I am coming just now—I will bring some food for you."
There was no food in the house—nothing—and she did not know where to go to get something. Suddenly, she remembered the bad man and how he had always been inviting and offering her food. She decided to go to his house.
She came there and said, "I have come."
The man was so happy, "You have come! Sit down, sit down. Come, stay with me!"
"Yes, I will stay, but later. Every day you promise me that if I come to your house you will give me so much food, etc. My Guru is at my house and he is waiting for me now. Please give me something."
The man was surprised, "How much love and affection she has for her Guru!" He gave her so many things but she could not take it all home alone. She asked him, "How am I to carry it all alone? You have given me so many things. Please, help me to carry it, come with me to my house."
So, they came to the house, Dhanur Das's wife cut some fruit, gave it to her Guru and said to the man, "Please wait, I am going to cook now. Listen to some Hari-katha from my Guru now and later take prasad too." He listened to some Hari-katha, Krishna-katha while she was cooking, and when he took prasadam his mind changed—everything changed in him through that association.
This is called Guru service. Dhanur Das's wife did not even think that she could get into trouble—she thought, "My Guru will protect me." So, faith is necessary. When you lose faith, problems come. It all depends upon faith.
When Krishna described and told so many things to Arjuna, Arjuna said in the end, "I cannot do it! It is impossible for me to do what You have just told me." Krishna replied, "Yes, you are right—you cannot do it! But there is a process." What is that process?
দৈবী হ্যেষা গুণময়ী মম মায়া দুরত্যয়া ।
daivi hy esa gunamayi, mama maya duratyaya
Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 7.14
"If you surrender to Me, then you can do it."
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