Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
Trees have the nice quality of giving shade to all people without discrimination and also provides the various parts - like leaves, flowers, fruits, branches etc in service of others. Trees return fruits to people who even throw stones at them. We usually be kind to people who are kind to us or help us. But rivers, trees, mother earth all teach us this nice quality of helping all kinds of people. We find that in Srimad Bhagavatam Lord Krishna appreciates this nature of trees and how we can attain perfection in life, if we also imbibe this quality from the trees. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 10.22.35 Lord says,
etāvaj janma-sāphalyaṁ dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā śreya-ācaraṇaṁ sadā
It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.
The word janma-sāphalyaṁ means perfection of birth. Our birth in this material world is effective or perfect if and only if we engage in "śreya-ācaraṇaṁ sadā" - śreya means eternal fortune- when we always act for the eternal benefit of others, then we attain perfection of this birth. The eternal benefit which has been bestowed upon us by mercy of Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada is Krishna consciousness and we should use our prāṇa - life, artha - wealth, dhiyā - intelligence and vācā - words to share this gift of Krishna consciousness with others.
In one of the wonderful classes on Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.2.9 in Vrindavan in 1972, Srila Prabhupada while quoting the above verse mentions how we should dedicate our life in service of Krishna. "If you cannot dedicate your life immediately, then spend fifty percent of your income for Krishna. prāṇair arthair. If you think you have no money, then prāṇair arthair dhiyā, by your intelligence. If you have got some knowledge, write some books and spread it, Krishna consciousness. And if you have no education, no money and you cannot dedicate your life, then you can spend your vacana. vācā. prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā. What is the vācā? Chant Hare Krishna and tell everyone, "Please chant Hare Krishna." Where is the difficulty? You can serve Krishna in any condition of life. But don't be miser. If you think that you have got one crores of rupees, so Krishna says vācā. "Let the bank balance remain for my children, and I go to Vrindavana and chant Hare Krishna." No. That is called vitta-saartha. If you have got money, you must spend money. Not that "Money is for my children and wife, and I come to Vrindavana and chant Hare Krishna."
So we must be honest in our attempts in serving the Lord. While lack of wealth, intelligence is not a barrier for devotional service, we must also note that when we have any facility in surplus and out of miserliness or laziness we don't use whatever we have in Krishna's service - be it time, talent, wealth etc - then the day is bound to come when the same assets will become a source of burden and trouble for us. Just like how stagnant water becomes a breeding place of insects and unfit for consumption, how unused iron becomes rusty, our prāṇa, artha, dhiyā and vācā - will also lose value with time, if not engaged in Krishna's service.
So may we honestly engage whatever facility and ability Lord has provided us in this birth in His service.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.
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