Sincerity in Service
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
We must understand what is favourable to devotion and accept it, and we must reject what is unfavourable to devotion. We know what the offences to the Holy Name are, we know what sadhu-ninda (criticism of sadhus) is, and we must be always careful with this. We know what can happen to those who criticise the sadhu, it is very dangerous. Gurudev and Vaishnavs can protect us if we make some mistake, but who will help us if we criticise Gurudev and Vaishnavs? We must understand this. You know what Ambarish Maharaj did and what Durvasa Muni did, and you know what happened (it is described in Srimad Bhagavatam).
Our life is very short. What did Khatvanga Maharaj do when he learned that he had only forty-eight minutes left in his life? He did not spend that time on gossiping or listening to gossips. We must also ignore such things: this is how we must manage the temple and manage our service. It is important to understand this.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur also says, "Amara jivana sada pape rata nahika punyera lesa...: my life is always full of sin, there is nothing in it except sin. I give so much stress and anxiety to others!" It is not good to be like this.
Sriman Mahaprabhu shows us what sincerity is. Sincerity, nistha, means when you do something, you must do it properly and do it regularly. You eat every day, you sleep every day, you go to work every day—in the same way, you must sometimes give time to your Guru, to the Lord. You can make a family, but that family must be Krishna's family. You can run and live in Krishna's family, but instead you are wasting time on doing nonsense and on talking nonsense. It is not good for you.
I am telling all the devotees: you must wake up for mangal arati, make an offering to the Deities (first offer some balya bhog, then your wife can cook and offer the bhog to the Deities), take prasadam, take something with you for lunch, and when you come home from work in the evening, sing some kirtans. Do not waste your time on other things. If you follow this and practise like this, it is called sincerity.
Mahaprabhu's servitor named Govinda Das showed what sincerity is. Govinda was actually a disciple of Ishwar Puri, but he became a servitor of Mahaprabhu. Once, having chanted and danced the whole day, Mahaprabhu came to His room in Gambhira and fell asleep in the doorway. Govinda would come every day to massage His feet, but that day he could not enter the room because Mahaprabhu was lying in the doorway and it was impossible to enter without crossing Mahaprabhu's body. Govinda asked Mahaprabhu,
"Prabhu, could You move a little?"
"No, I am very tired," said Mahaprabhu. "I cannot move."
"But I do this service every day..."
"That is your matter. Whether you do it or not, it is up to you. You will think about it."
Govinda thought, "For His service, I will have to cross Him"—then, put his cloth on Mahaprabhu's body and entered the room, crossing Him. After he massaged Mahaprabhu's feet, Mahaprabhu got a good rest.
At midnight, Mahaprabhu woke up and saw Govinda in the room. He asked him,
"Govinda, you are still here? Did you not go to take prasadam? Why did you not go to sleep?"
Govinda replied, "Prabhu, how will I come out crossing You?"
"How did you come in then? You crossed Me when you came in."
"Prabhu, I came here for service—I came to massage Your feet; but I cannot cross Your body for my atmendriya tarpan, for my own interest (to take food, prasadam, or to sleep). I cannot do that."
Then you can think that for the service to the Guru, for the service to the Lord, you can make any offence, you can accept it. Gurudev told me also, "If I tell you I have much pain in my shoulder and ask you to hit me, this is not beating—it is seva." You will think, "Oh, I am beating my Guru!" but this is not so—if your Guru says he has pain and tells you to hit him, this is seva and you can do that. The main thing is that you cannot use your Guru for your own interest, for your own enjoyment—you must serve your Guru. If Gurudev says something, you cannot argue with him—if Gurudev says anything, it is Veda-vakya (instruction of the Vedas), and we must follow this.
Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj believed in my Gurudev. I remember one story that Gurudev told me. When he just came to the temple, Srila Sridhar Maharaj told him, "Gaurendu, do not follow what your mind tells you. You must follow what I tell you." At that time, there was not so much money in the temple, and when there was some prasadam left in the evening, everybody would take it in the morning the next day. One day, there were some rice and dal leftovers, but the dal had not been covered at night, so when they served that dal to Gurudev, he saw there were insects in it. At first, Gurudev thought, "There are insects in the dal!" but then he quickly realised, "Oh, my mind is telling this to me, but I should take it!" and he took the insects out and took the dal. Srila Sridhar Maharaj was walking nearby, chanting the Holy Name, and saw what Gaurendu did. He said to Gurudev, "Gaurendu, come to me after you finish taking prasadam." Gurudev came to Param Guru Maharaj, paid his dandavat and asked, "Did you call me? What service can I do?" Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said, "I saw when you were taking prasadam you seemed not to like the dal, but you still took it—why?" Gurudev replied, "Because you told me not to follow my mind. My mind was telling me not to take it because there were insects, but you always say that we must not throw prasadam away, we must take it. That is why I took prasadam. I must follow my Guru's instruction." Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj was very happy to hear it.
So, for your service, for the Deities, for the Guru, you can make an offence, but you cannot make any offence, you cannot do anything for your own interest. Do not use your Guru for your own enjoyment, for your own interest. That is my message today.
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