Mutual Respect, Care And Concern - Part 1

Mutual Respect, Care And Concern - Part 1

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Vaijayanti mala devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

In the very recent Granthraj offering, HG Sharada devi dasi mathaji had very beautifully mentioned how the possessive nature of the Lord is our greatest boon and she had referred to the following verse from Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.63

shri-bhagavaan uvaaca
aham bhakta-paraadhino / hy asvatantra iva dvija

saadhubhir grasta-hṛdayo / bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyah

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brahmana: "I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me."

The bhakta-jana-priyah in word  to word meaning Srila Prabhupada translates it as — I am dependent not only on My devotee but also on My devotee's devotee (the devotee's devotee is extremely dear to Me).

Mataji had very wonderfully mentioned that this is one of the most soothing phrases in the entire literature of Srimad Bhagavatam - the Best discount that Lord has extended to all practising devotees.

By serving the devotees of the Lord's devotees we can please Lord. So how important it is to have genuine, care and friendly relationship with all of them? It is said that familiarity breeds contempt and this is very true as we many times don't realise the value of devotee association and take them for granted, and behave in a very neglectful manner. The following pastime from the life of Srila Ramanujacharya makes us understand the value of this.

Once Srila Ramanujacharya wanted to see the holy shrine of Sri Saila. So he set off with his disciples from Sri Rangam, all chanting the holy name of Lord Hari together. At the end of the first day of the journey, they stopped for the night in the town of Dehali. On the next day they walked as far as the village of Astasahasra. Here there lived two of Ramanuja's disciples, Yajnesh and Varadacharya. Intending to pass the night at the house of Yajnesh, who was a wealthy merchant, Yatiraj sent two of his followers ahead to convey the news of his imminent arrival. When he learned of this from them, Yajnesh was delighted and immediately began to see to all the arrangements necessary for receiving the party of pilgrims. However, so absorbed was he in all these activities that Yajnesh completely neglected to see to the comfort of the two tired messengers, who were left alone without being offered so much as a glass of water. Becoming unhappy at this mistreatment, they returned to Ramanujacharya and reported to him everything that had taken place. Being most displeased to hear how his disciple had failed to show proper respect to Vaishnava guests, Yatiraj decided he would go instead to the house of Varadacharya.

Having waited expectantly for Ramanuja's arrival, Yajnesh had eventually learned that the party of pilgrims had gone instead to the house of the poor Brahmin, Varadacharya. Thinking that he must have committed some grave offense and displeased his guru, he had gone there feeling depressed at heart. Gently and with affection, Yatiraj raised Yajnesh to his feet and said, "Is this unhappiness due to my not coming to your house? The reason for this was the offense that you made to two exalted Vaishnavas by neglecting them. There is no higher dharma than rendering service to the Vaishnavas, and in this you have failed." Being humbled by this chastisement from his spiritual master, Yajnesh replied in a voice choked with tears, "This thoughtless behavior of mine was not due to the vanity of wealth. Rather it was my exultation and eagerness to serve you that made me so neglectful." Ramanuja then consoled this repentant and simple-hearted devotee by promising to be his guest on a later occasion.

From this pastime, we understand how the spiritual master wants us to have mutually respectful dealings with each other and concern for each other.  

Krishna willing we shall continue to meditate more on this topic in the susbequent offering.

Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev

Vaijayanti mala devi dasi

Abu dhabi.