Serving Attitude

Serving Attitude

25th Feb 2008
Tushta Krishna das

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

Once a Brahmana organized a big banquet at his residence to decide the difference between devotees and demons. And he sent out invitations to both the devotees and the demons. On the appointed day, a most lavish banquet was organized and hundreds of devotees and hundreds of demons arrived at the house. The demons were an impatient lot, disorganized and noisy. They asked the host that they wanted VIP (very important person) treatment, and therefore wanted to have their food served first to them and the devotees must eat last.

The host agreed to their request on one condition that the demons tie wooden planks to both hands when eating. The demons said that if the same condition was applied to the devotees as well then they had no objection to this condition. All the demons had wooden planks tied to both their hands and they immediately sat on the floor, seating one next to the other in one straight line. They were all very eager to be served with delicious food. The first course of food arrived. It was the best smelling soup in a bowl with spoon. Now when the demons got spoons filled with the soup, they realized that they could not bend their hands to bring the spoons to their mouths. They tried to lift their hands over their heads and tilt the spoons with their mouths wide open. They got the soup falling in their eyes and all over the face and also on their expensive garments. The demons got noisier, became angry and started swearing at the host. Some of the demons wanted to beat up the host. Some demons tried to restrain the other demons and they started fighting among themselves. The demons agreed that it was totally useless for them to remain at this banquet as it was not possible to eat the food without bending their hands. It was impossible to eat the food without messing up their beautiful and expensive garments. With angry words the demons left the banquet.

Now it was the turn of the devotees to eat. The devotees were of a peaceful nature. They also sat in a line on the floor. Both their hands were also tied with wooden planks. When the first course of food was served, which was the delicious soup, the devotees first recited the food prayer. The devotees realized that they could not bend their hands, and therefore it was impossible to eat the soup. Each of the devotee thought: "Never mind if I cannot eat the soup, but let me be of help to my fellow brother who is seated next to me." The devotees turned towards each other and started feeding each other. They thus enjoyed the most delicious soup. Then the next course of meal was served and they enjoyed that delicious meal. They went through five course meals and ate to their hearts content. They thanked the host, presented the host with gifts they had brought, and peacefully went back to their homes.

Brahmana saw that a major difference between the devotees and the demons was the difference in their attitude of 'Giving' and the attitude of 'Taking'. The demons thought only about their individual self-interest whereas the devotees thought about selflessly serving others. Krishna consciousness teaches us to develop serving attitude with love and devotion. When we open our heart and give selflessly, we receive also much more than we give. Our body must be used for serving others. It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words. This is the mission of life. One's own body and the bodies of his friends and relatives, as well as one's own riches and everything else one has, should be engaged for the benefit of others. Srimad Bhagavatam 6.10.10 states:

aho dainyam aho kaṣṭaṁ pārakyaiḥ kṣaṇa-bhaṅguraiḥ
yan nopakuryād asvārthair martyaḥ sva-jñāti-vigrahaiḥ

This body, which is eatable by jackals and dogs after death, does not actually do any good for me, the spirit soul. It is usable only for a short time and may perish at any moment. The body and its possessions, its riches and relatives, must all be engaged for the benefit of others, or else they will be sources of tribulation and misery.

Srila Prabhupada warns that persons those who are very materialistic, always hankering after material power and strength, are undoubtedly fools of the first order because they have no information of the living energy, and being ignorant of that supreme spiritual science, they are absorbed in material science, which ends with the end of the material body.

I sincerely pray to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev to bestow Their causeless mercy upon me so that I may develop serving attitude and spread the Krishna consciousness movement for the benefit of others in this life.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Tushta Krishna das and Suniti devi dasi