Favorable Service

Favorable Service

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Vaijayanti mala devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Once a Brahmin came to Srila Ramanujacharya and said, "I wish to purify myself by serving you, for you are the best of devotees. By such service I shall be freed from the influence of material nature." Yatiraja [Ramanuja, the best of sannyasis] accepted the request, saying, "What you have said is correct, for one can be liberated only by service. If you wish to serve me, then you must stay here and do whatever I ask of you."The Brahmin was very pleased by this reply, and said eagerly, "O master, tell me what is your desire. I will do anything you ask of me." Seeing the man’s sincerity, Ramanujacharya  then told him, "O Brahmin, I have resolved to purify myself by taking daily the water which has washed the feet of a pure-hearted Brahmin. Now, by the grace of the Lord, you have come here. My order is that you stay here, and every day give me the water that has washed your feet. Only if you do this will you be able to render real service to me." Although a very humble person by nature, the brahmin could not refuse this direct order. From that time on, every day when Yatiraja returned from taking his noon bath in the Kaveri, he would take upon his head some of the water that had washed the Brahmin’s feet.

One day, Ramanujacharya was invited to take prasadam at the home of one of his householder disciples, and he went there directly after bathing in the river. After they had eaten, all the devotees began to discuss the glories of Lord Narayana, putting various questions to Ramanujacarya and listening intently to the explanations he gave. So sweet were these discussions that the devotees became unaware of the passage of time. Thus, by the time Yatiraja rose to leave the house, it was very late at night. When they arrived back at the ashram, they found that the only person still awake was the pious Brahmin. "Why have you waited up so long for me?" asked Yatiraja. "Have you eaten yet?" "How could I think of eating?", replied the brahmin, smiling, "when I have not yet rendered my service to you?" At this, Yatiraja smiled broadly and embraced the man, saying, "You are a wonderful devotee, the perfect servant of the Lord. By being absorbed only in thoughts of service, you have attained perfection." Then he drank the water that had washed the Brahmin's feet and offered it to all his other disciples.  

Such is the mood of a first class disciple in serving the spiritual master favourably in the way the spiritual master wants. We may wonder how the Brahmin could allow Srila Ramanujacharya to wash his feet and take the water, but if we see the whole thing in the right perspective, there is no transgression, but deep dedication to serve the spiritual master in the way the guru wants. This is anukulyena krishnaanushilanam. Being favourably engaged in service.  We also read in Caitanya Caritamrita the pastime of Govinda, the personal servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu serving this way.

Once  Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after taking His lunch, would rest for a while, and Govinda would daily massage His feet. So one day Caitanya Mahaprabhu fell asleep very soon and kept His head on the threshold of the room. So while He was sleeping, Govinda came and crossed the body of Caitanya and massaged His feet. He sat there, and when Caitanya Mahaprabhu awoke, He saw Govinda was sitting there, although it was late. So He inquired, "Govinda, you have not taken your prasadam? Why are you sitting here?" So he replied, "Yes, I shall now go to take prasadam. I could not go on the other side because You were lying on the threshold." Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “How did you come in?” He flatly replied, "By crossing You"`

Then Caitanya inquired, "Why did you not go out by also crossing Me?"

Govinda thught, "That I cannot do. I crossed You to come inside the room for Your service, but I cannot go out crossing You to take my lunch; that would be for my sense gratification."

These are exalted examples of dedication to the service of the spiritual master. Recently we have been seeing that so many devotees who have not even had a single darshan of our beloved Gurudev HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj have been so generously contributing towards the completion of Sri Radha Neel Madhav Temple project. It evokes great intense feeling in our hearts of how much they have imbibed the sincerity and how earnestly they got attracted to the purity and genuine nature of Gurudev  just by hearing and studying his Vani. My dandavat pranams at the feet of all these sincere souls to bestow upon me a single particle of their sincerity and dedication.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi
Abu dhabi