Extending Ourselves

11th Jan 2009
Sajjana Priya Krishna das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble pranams! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva!

We were reading from First Canto Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 8 entitled "Prayers of Queen Kunti". It was really a wonderful chapter with so much nectarean verses spoken by Kunti Maharani and transcendental purport given by Srila Prabhupada. It is the outpouring of a sincere soul from the core of her heart. The main reason for her pure devotion is due to her unflinching faith and willingness to accept the calamities again and again. At the end of the prayers there was a wonderful verse spoken by her which is good for us to meditate and apply in our lives. This verse talks about her broadmindedness.  SB 1.8.41 this says,

atha viśveśa viśvātman viśva-mūrte svakeṣu me
sneha-pāśam imaṁ chindhi dṛḍhaṁ pāṇḍuṣu vṛṣṇiṣu

O Lord of the universe, soul of the universe, O personality of the form of the universe, please, therefore, sever my tie of affection for my kinsmen, the Pandavas and the Vrshnis.

Prabhupada in his nectarean purport states that, "To cut off all family affection means to broaden the field of activities. Without doing this, no one can be qualified as a brahmana, king, a public leader, or a devotee of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead, as an ideal king, showed this by example. Sri Ramacandra cut off the tie of affection for His beloved wife to manifest the qualities of an ideal king. Such personalities as a brahmana, a devotee, a king or a public leader must be very broadminded in discharging their respective duties. Srimati Kuntidevi was conscious of this fact, and being weak she prayed to be free from such bondage of family affection."

In the word to word equivalents Prabhupada has mentioned that: visva isa - Lord of the universe, vishvatman - Soul of the universe and vishva murte - Personality of the form of universe

In essence Kunti Maharani says, "O' Lord you have broadened yourself by becoming the entire universe whereas I have narrowed myself with the tie of affection for Vrsnis and Pandavas. It is very imperative that since I am an unflinching servitor please grant me the power to broaden my field of activities by severing the tie of family affection and extend myself to this universe."

Prabhupada supplements the point very nicely in the purport glorifying the Goswamis who left everything in order to complete the mission of the Lord Chaitanya. They were extending themselves for the welfare of the general mass. We see, how do we stand in this process of extending ourselves. I have broadly categorised those extensions as follows.

Extending ourselves in preaching:
But we do not want to extend ourselves at all. We are so much attached to our family, body and ourselves and we do not want to broaden the field of activities. We don't look for new people to preach and extend ourselves. We want always to be in the comfort zone and does not want to sacrifice for the sake of the Lords mission. But however, the Lord should shower all His knowledge, realization and material opulence with our krpana or narrow mentality. It is like giving a rotten lemon to the Lord and asking for the Moon from Him. This is our tendency. This is called grabbing tendency and Maharaj says this will never make us achieve the loving service to the Lord at all.

But Prabhupada and even our own Guru Maharaj who have voluntarily extend themselves for the sake of all the conditioned souls, if they have not broadened their field of activities we would be loitering in the shopping malls and restaurant and waste our life. It is very essential that we should extend our time, energy, wealth and words for the sake of the Lord and He will definitely reciprocate to us by giving us time, energy, knowledge and opulence.

Extending ourselves in serving prasadam and other services:
After the program is over we immediately jump into the prasadam plate and start waiting for somebody to serve and after finishing our prasadam we want to go home and take care of our sleep and our children. We do not care for the devotee who has allowed us to have the program and at least extend ourselves like cleaning, washing vessels etc and serve other devotees.

We don't want to voluntarily do any service and Prabhupada writes in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam, "Voluntary service is the only way for perfection". If we find somebody is doing service then why to exert ourselves, our mind, body, and words. Let him do it and let us enjoy comfortably without straining ourselves. 

Extending ourselves in attending programs:
We have got hundreds and thousands of excuses (nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ) in not able to attend all programs and hear Krishna katha. We give reasons that I have to take care of my husband, children, and Friday is the only day holiday and I have to be with family and enjoy life. We do not want to extend ourselves at all and then we expect Krishna to reciprocate. We don't want to give our valuable time to the Lord, but the Lord should spend His valuable time in thinking of our welfare. 

Extending ourselves in voluntarily contributing to the person who is broadening the field of devotional activities:
At least if we cannot do any of the above, we can at least help in the form of financial contribution in this broadening field of activities of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord thereby giving opportunities to construct wonderful temple for the Lordship and thereby the burning attention of the non devotees can be extinguished and reawakening of the lost relationship with the Supreme can be established. This also we think, "What will happen if I give money to Krishna?", "Who will maintain my children and my family?". On the other hand, we go to the extent of finding faults that this mission of giving for temple construction is a waste and it should be directed towards humanitarian help only. They fail to understand the deficient conditioned souls can take advantage of those temples and can recognize the authority of the Lord by hearing about Him through authorities in such holy places and can raise their spiritual attributes.

I therefore pray to the Supreme Lord, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev to shower their causeless mercy on this Krpana mentality (miserly soul) to develop this broad-mindedness and extend myself in this mission by which, provide a chance for engaging in this ultimate transcendental mission.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sajjana Priya Krishna das
Abu Dhabi.