Menial Service Attracts the Lord

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

We always say that devotional service means that we should be ready to do any type of menial service in order to attract the mercy of the Lord. Voluntary endeavour is the only way to attract the mercy of the Lord. In the corporate world if we tend to do menial work in office, we are considered to be fit to do only lower level jobs and not fit for doing top management job. But the spiritual world is completely opposite of the material world. The devotional service is absolute and there is no difference between one service and another. But we carry the wrong mentality of thinking that anybody who is preaching is senior and anybody doing pujari or cleaning service is lower. This mentality we inherit from our material life and carry it over to the spiritual life and therefore we judge devotees based on that. Anybody who is preaching in Vyasasana is considered to be elevated and anybody who is doing menial service of cleaning is considered to be low. This mentality of discrimination kills our devotional service. Srimad Bhagavatam 3.15.21, decimates this type of discriminating mentality and confirms that in order to attract the mercy or grace of the Lord even Goddess Lakshmi has to be engaged in menial service,

śrī rūpiṇī kvaṇayatī caraṇāravindaṁ
līlāmbujena hari-sadmani mukta-doṣā
saṁlakṣyate sphaṭika-kuḍya upeta-hemni
sammārjatīva yad-anugrahaṇe ’nya-yatnaḥ

The ladies in the Vaikuntha planets are as beautiful as the goddess of fortune herself. Such transcendentally beautiful ladies, their hands playing with lotuses and their leg bangles tinkling, are sometimes seen sweeping the marble walls, which are bedecked at intervals with golden borders, in order to receive the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The word yatnaḥ ("Very much careful") is very important to understand. The goddess of fortune is very careful in sweeping the floor even-though there are millions of servants in Vaikuntha planets. What to speak of Lakshmi, even the Lord as Varaha went inside the deep ocean of garbodhaka to take out the earth from the slush and He did not appoint 100 servants to take the earth from the slush. He did it on His own. It is very important that we should be ready to clean our own altar, our own house instead of delegating the service to others by justifying that we are engaging them in devotional service. But the Lord is very intelligent. He gives His extra mercy to the devotee who is doing the menial service and not to the one who is only engaging others in the service. If the situation is such that there are so many services to do and many devotees are available for service, then we can humbly request the interested devotees to perform certain services. At the same time, we should also make sure that we don't remain idle. When we are engaging others in different services, we should keep ourselves also engaged in some service or other. That way we can become source of inspiration to others. We can learn from the example of Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, when He was cleaning the Gundica temple. By seeing His intense desire to clean the residence of the Lord, everyone else also got the taste for cleansing and the result was a joyous combined service to the Lord.

Similarly, sometimes, we tend to think that our preaching is our mercy to the devotees but we fail to understand that our preaching service itself is the causeless mercy of the Lord bestowed upon us. If Krishna decides, He can stop our speech in a moment or stop the audience from hearing us. Devotional service is not only kīrtanaṁ that we think, "I will only preach and talk and everyone should do śravaṇaṁ." śravaṇaṁ is applicable for us also. That is the reason śravaṇaṁ comes first and then kirtanam next. Prahlad knew that this misconception will creep in and hence he is very careful in speaking in Srimad Bhagavatam as 'śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ' and not 'kīrtanaṁ śravaṇaṁ viṣṇoḥ.'

The main reason for engaging in the menial service of the Lord is to understand our insignificant position as the servant of the servant of the Lord and be humble. Humility is not to broadcast in public about being humble but we should be just humble in our behaviour. Rupa Goswami one of the topmost devotee exhibits his humility by submitting to Lord Chaitanya by holding straw in the teeth, then what is our position? Therefore it is very important as we become so called senior in terms of no. of years, to always understand and realize that we are nothing in front of our spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada and what to talk about the Supreme Lord.

Therefore I pray sincerely to the Supreme Lord, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev to make me understand my position as their insignificant servitor and digest in my life the wonderful verse spoken by King Kulashekara Alwar in Mukunda Mala strotra verse 25,

maj-janmanaḥ phalaḿ idaḿ madhu-kaitabhāre
mat-prārthanīya-mad-anugraha eṣa eva
bhṛtyasya bhṛtya iti māḿ smara loka-nātha

O enemy of Madhu and Kaitabha, O Lord of the universe, the perfection of my life and the most cherished mercy You could show me would be for You to consider me the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Your servant.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Sajjanapriya Krishna das
Abu Dhabi.