Mature Service Life
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
ব্রহ্মাণ্ড ভ্রমিতে কোন ভাগ্যবান্ জীব ।
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
"Having travelled throughout the universe and got the mercy of Guru, Krishna, a fortunate soul receives a seed of the devotional creeper."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.151)
We come and go, come and go, but those who are fortunate souls can get the holy seeds of devotion, bhakti-lata-bij. When we get a devotional seed from our spiritual master, we must take care of it properly through sravan (hearing), kirtan (chanting), through smaran (remembering), through pada-sevanam (serving the lotus feet of Guru, Vaishnavs and the Lord), dasya (serving in the mood of a servant), sakhya (serving in the mood of a friend), atma-nivedanam (self-surrender), sadhu-sanga (good association), nama-sankirtan (chanting the Holy Name), Bhagavat-sravan (listening to Bhagavatam), Mathura-vas (residing in Mathura), sraddhaya sri-murti-seva (serving the Deities with faith). If you protect your seed properly in this way and take care of it, then the seed will slowly, slowly grow into a tree (bhakti-lata vriksa). Sometimes, some unwanted branches will also appear on this tree—that is bhukti-, mukti-, siddhi-kami (desire for enjoyment, liberation and material perfections). You must cut them. Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami gives this example in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. When such branches appear on the tree, that is in your devotional life, it means some obstacle, some problem comes up, but all such unwanted elements can be removed through proper sravanam and kirtanam (hearing and chanting, listening and practising) and through proper service. Sometimes you do something and you unconsciously make some offence or commit some sin, but that too can be removed through service and through Nama-sankirtan. These are the main things.
You must give time for service, chanting and the Lord. This is our practising life, and this is how we must practise. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains all this properly to Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (in His Sanatana-Siksa, teachings to Srila Sanatan Goswami). You can read this chapter and learn from it. Everything is explained very nicely there—what is bhajana-kriya (practice) and how to do it, how we must spend each day of our life in the service of the Lord.
"Maya-mugdha jivera nahi krsna-srti-jnana: charmed by maya, the conditioned soul has no knowledge or remembrance of Krishna." I have just told this. Those who always enjoy, who are always attached with the illusory environment, cannot always remember Krishna.
Vedas, Puranas, and other scriptures are created by the mercy of the Lord. By the mercy of Krishna, we have got a sadhu, we got a bona fide Guru, we got the association of great Vaishnavs, we have got scriptures, Vedas, Puranas—Krishna has given us everything.
কোন ভাগ্যে কোন জীবের ‘শ্রদ্ধা’ যদি হয় ।
kona bhagye kona jivera 'sraddha' yadi haya
"If, by some fortune, a soul gets faith, they then begin to associate with devotees. Having got good association, the soul then practises listening and chanting (sravan, kirtan), and, as a result of such daily practice, all unwanted elements (anarthas) disappear. When the offences are removed, you become steady and firm (nistha) in your practice. From this steadiness and by hearing the words of sadhus, taste awakens within you."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 23.9-11)
Through sravan and kirtan (hearing and chanting; listening and practising), all your bad elements will go away—after that, you will get attachment to doing your service properly every day. If you have some anarthas or you are attacked by some bad elements, you will not get taste through your practice or your service. That is why it is necessary to have attachment to your service. Gurudev also always told that everybody does some service, but not everybody has service attachment. Somebody may do some service for one day, two days, three days, four days, five days, seven days, ten days, but after that they forget that service. We must try to have attachment to our service. Attachment comes by doing and doing service. However, if some other things come to you as a result of your service, then your service can run away from you. This is called offence to service (seva-aparadh). That is why we must be steady and firm (dhira). If you practise every moment and every day, then it will be good for you—in this way, your devotional life will go the proper way and to the proper place.
"We must not become hopeless thinking that we do not have sufficient
sukriti, so we will just resign, sit and do nothing—even if Maya Devi comes
at this time to advise you and whispers into your ear that you should indulge
in such laziness and sluggishness, you must untiringly, constantly remember
to humbly pray to Krishna and the lotus feet of a bona fide guru to fully
surrender in the association of bona fide devotees. How will I be able to
accumulate sukriti if we do not keep the sacrificial fire of hankering always
bright aflame within my heart? If you wait for sukriti to come on its own
while the boat of your life is floating in the waters of bad fortune, it is
virtually impossible to attain any auspiciousness."
(From Guidance 3)
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