Service to Devotees is Service to Lord

Service to Devotees is Service to Lord

Date
Author
Manohar Krishna Das

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

In the pastime of Ambarish Maharaj and Durvasa muni, when Durvasa muni finally approaches Supreme Lord and asks for forgiveness for offending Maharaj Ambarish, an unalloyed devotee of the Lord, and protection from the life threatening Sudarshan chakra, Lord Krishna very nicely glorifies the greatness of His devotees through the following verses in Srimad Bhagavatam. (SB 9.4.63 through 67) 

aham bhakta-paradhino hy asvatantra iva dvija 
sadhubhir grasta-hrdayo 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." 

We very well know that Lord Krishna is abhijnaah - 'fully cognizant' and svaraat - 'fully independent'. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. But He says in the above verse that He is completely under the control of His devotees who perform unalloyed bhakti, without any motives. Pleased by their service, Lord not only loves them, but also those who devotedly serve such devotees. With my current impure state I cannot hope to see or understand the Lord, however, here Lord says, He can be pleased if someone serves His devotee or devotee of the devotee of the Lord. So, although it may not be possible to see the Lord directly, I could still please Him, by serving a devotee of His devotees. Lord is very merciful especially to His devotees. Lord is captured by a devotee's wholehearted attempt to serve Him with love. Lord Damodar was captured by the pure love of mother Yashoda and she was able to able to bind the Supreme Lord with ropes to the wooden mortar. Maharaj Ambarish being completely surrendered to the Lord, was protected by Lord's Sudarshan chakra. The Supreme Lord states in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 9.4.64: 

naaham aatmanam asase / mad-bhaktaih sadhubhir vinaa 
sriyam catyantikim brahman / yesam gatir aham para

"O best of the brahmanas, without saintly persons for whom I am the only destination, I do not desire to enjoy My transcendental bliss and My supreme opulences." 

He is aatmaaraam and purna-kaamaa - the fully satisfied and self-sufficient one. Srila Prabhupada says in the purport to the above verse, "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient, but to enjoy His transcendental bliss He requires the cooperation of His devotees. Although the Supreme Lord is full in six opulences, He does not feel transcendental bliss without His devotees... The science of transcendental bliss is known to the pure devotee. Therefore the pure devotee is always engaged in increasing the transcendental happiness of the Lord. " This verse tells us about the importance of preaching, inorder to increase Lord's pleasure, so that Lord's lost sons or servants like us may return to their father or master. In the purports of verses SB 9.4.63-67 Srila Prabhupada explains the qualities of a devotee. This can be explained as to 

1) How a devotee handles distress? A devotee is undisturbed is distress. Just like Ambarish Maharaj when attacked by demon released by Durvasa muni, was unmoved and praying to the Lord and depended on Him solely. On the other hand, Durvasa muni was in great fear, when Sudarshan chakra was after his life. 

2) What a devotee is attached to? A devotee is not attached to wealth, name and fame, family, friendship and society. He is only attached to serving the Lord with love. 

3) What a devotee considers as success? His success lies in providing uninterrupted and unmotivated loving service to the Lord. 

4) How a devotee deals with everyone else? A devotee is sama-darshinah. By virtue of true knowledge, they see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (BG 5.18). He is equal towards everyone. He is friendly and merciful to all living entities. He understands the happiness and distress of everyone. 

5) What is a devotee's chief concern? A devotee is concerned about serving Him with love. In order to please the Lord and to relieve other's misery, a devotee's chief concern is to liberate other less fortunate living entities and bring them to Krishna consciousness. 

Srila Prabhupada defines a devotee in the purport of Srimad Bhagavatam verse 9.4.63. A devotee has no material desires in his heart. His only desire is to think always of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how to serve Him best. As aspiring devotees we must learn how please the Lord following the footsteps of spiritual masters. Caitanya Mahaprabhu identified Himself as 'gopi bhartuh pada kamalayor dasa dasa anudasah' - Thus he instructed us to become not directly servants of Krishna, but servants of the servant of Krishna. Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarthi Thakura therefore says, 'yasya prasaadaad bhagavat-prasaado' if one very sincerely serves the spiritual master, Krishna certainly becomes favorable to such a devotee. Following the instructions of a devotee is more valuable than following the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly.

I pray unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada so that I remain focused in serving him and his pure devotees continuously with unalloyed love and spread his teachings to others after carefully understanding the same.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Manohar Krishna Das
Minneapolis