Steadiness in Devotional Service - Part 1

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

Dhruva Maharaj is known for his steady and firm determination. He was blessed with a wonderful mother like Suniti who instructed him that without thinking anything inauspicious for his step-mother Suruchi, he has to go to forest and do penance to see Supreme Lord. Without any fear, Dhruva started to the forest, fully determined to see the Lord face to face. All merciful Lord blessed him with the opportunity to meet the ideal spiritual master Devarshi Narada Muni, from whom he further learnt the process of devotional service. Even though he was a small child, he sincerely followed the instructions of his mother and spiritual master and with fixed determination, performed devotional service and obtained the perfection of life. There are many great devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam who have offered wonderful prayers to Supreme Lord - Devotees like Kunti, Bhishmadev, Sukadev Goswami, Prahlad Maharaj, Dhruva Maharaj and so many others. Among these most of us could relate our situation to that of Dhruva Maharaj as we approach Supreme Lord mainly to fulfill our material desires. But unfortunately for us due to these material hankerings, mind keeps wavering and there is no steadiness in our devotional service. So let us take shelter of Sri Narada Muni, Dhruva Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev and learn from them as to how we can become steady in devotional service.

When Narada Muni first meets Dhruva Maharaj, he tries to convince him to go back to his home as it would be difficult for him to undergo austerities at such an young age. But Dhruva Maharaj honestly replies to Narada Muni, that being a kshatriya, he is unable to forget the insulting words of his step-mother. So he requested him to teach the way by which he could meet Supreme Lord and request Him to give a position more exalted than his father and grand-father. Pleased with his determination, Narada Muni begins to instruct him. Our love for a person sprouts and becomes firm when we come to know about the person's features, qualities and activities. So as an ideal spiritual master Narada Muni, before giving Dhruva Maharaj the mantra to meditate, begins to explain the glorious features and qualities of the Lord. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 4.8.46 he says,

taruṇaṁ ramaṇīyāṅgam aruṇoṣṭhekṣaṇādharam
praṇatāśrayaṇaṁ nṛmṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ karuṇārṇavam

Narada Muni continued: The Lord's form is always youthful. Every limb and every part of His body is properly formed, free from defect. His eyes and lips are pinkish like the rising sun. He is always prepared to give shelter to the surrendered soul, and anyone so fortunate as to look upon Him feels all satisfaction. The Lord is always worthy to be the master of the surrendered soul, for He is the ocean of mercy.

In the first two lines, Narada Muni explains about the bodily features of the Lord. In the last couple of lines he describes the glorious qualities of the Lord.

nṛmṇaṁ means transcendentally pleasing and karuṇārṇavam means ocean of mercy. Only when a person is merciful and pleasing we feel like surrendering to that person. śaraṇyaṁ means the person unto whom it is just worthy to surrender. praṇatāśrayaṇaṁ means He is always prepared to give shelter. Lord is so merciful that He is always ready to protect His devotees who are surrendered to Him. He is available for us all the time because He knows that in this material world there is danger at every step for us and that we are like persons who need emergency care in the hospital. So unless the hospital and doctors are available 24*7, the patients are bound to suffer. So the Lord being Supreme loving father keeps Himself available all the time.

In case of Prahlad Maharaj, Narasimhadev was inside every pillar in the assembly of Hiranyakashipu, so that He can immediately jump out from the pillar and save His devotee. In his wonderful purport to verse 2.2.6 of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada gives a very nice example of how Lord helped Srila Haridas Thakura. "Haridasa Thakura, a great devotee of Lord Sri Caitanya, used to live in such a cave, and by chance a great venomous snake was a co-partner of the cave. Some admirer of Thakura Haridasa who had to visit the Thakura every day feared the snake and suggested that the Thakura leave that place. Because his devotees were afraid of the snake and they were regularly visiting the cave, Thakura Haridasa agreed to the proposal on their account. But as soon as this was settled, the snake actually crawled out of its hole in the cave and left the cave for good before everyone present. By the dictation of the Lord, who lived also within the heart of the snake, the snake gave preference to Haridasa and decided to leave the place and not disturb him. So this is a tangible example of how the Lord gives protection to a bona fide devotee like Thakura Haridasa."

So the first important lesson we learn from these great souls is that we should surrender unto the Supreme Lord in all situations and fully depend on Him for protection.

Krishna willing we will try to meditate on other verses spoken by Narada Muni in the subsequent offerings.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.