The Ultimate Fortress

The Ultimate Fortress

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Sudarshana devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Mathajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev.

When we face difficult situations at work, sometimes we get bewildered whether our devotional service would be hampered by carrying out the prescribed duties assigned to us. Bhagvatam provides us the proof of how devotees of Lord performed sincere devotional service, even amidst performing the prescribed house-hold duties. 

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 5 Chapter 1, the activities of Maharaj Priyavrata, the second son of Svayambhuva Manu are being discussed by Parikshit Maharaj and Sukadev Goswami. When Shukadev Goswami, informed Maharaj Parikshit that, Maharaj Priyavrata continued to engage in ruling the world and enjoyed material possesion, Parikshit Maharaj wondered how it is possible for one who is first detached from material enjoyment, to become attached after sometime and still later achieve the infallible perfection in Krishna consciousness.

Explaining how such contradictions or possible in the life of Lord's devotees, Shukadev Goswami explained him how Maharaj Priyavrata sincerely served the lotus feet of his spiritual master Narada Muni. When his father suggested him to rule the world, he refused his father's proposal  as he was concerned that this would affect his devotional service. Seeing his concern, Lord Brahma descended from Satyaloka and assured him compassionately that he would be able to continue his devotional service even after accepting household life. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 5.1.19, Lord Brahma advises him as follows,

tvam tv abja-naabhaanghri-saroja-kosha-
durgaashrito nirjita-shat-sapatnah
bhunkshveha bhogaan purushaatidishtaan
vimukta-sangah prakrtim bhajasva

"Lord Brahma continued: My dear Priyavrata, seek shelter inside the opening in the lotus of the feet of the Lord, whose navel is also like a lotus. Thus conquer the six sense organs [the mind and knowledge-acquiring senses]. Accept material enjoyment because the Lord, extraordinarily, has ordered you to do this. You will thus always be liberated from material association and be able to carry out the Lord's orders in your constitutional position." 

The Lord's lotus feet IS the only fortress which would save us from falling down into material whirl-pool of miseries. Lord Brahma confirmed that only by seeking that shelter, Priyavrata would be able to continue his devotional service. The power of this fortress is very nicely explained by Srila Prabhupada in his wonderful purport to the above verse as follows - "When a bumblebee enters the opening of a lotus flower and drinks its honey, it is fully protected by the petals of the lotus. The bee is undisturbed by sunshine and other external influences. Similarly, one who always seeks shelter at the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead is protected from all dangers."

The lesson to be learnt from Maharaj Priyavrata is that even in devotional service we should not be whimsical, but rather we should obey the orders of our superiors and sincerely serve our spiritual master.

In the purport to verse 5.1.10, Srila Prabhupada very nicely explains how it was possible for Priyavrata to remain in bhakti amidst household life - "By the blessings of a Vaishnava, everything is possible. This is described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu as krpaa-siddhi, or perfection attained simply by the blessings of a superior person. One usually becomes liberated and perfect by executing the regulative principles set down in the shaastras. Nonetheless, many persons have achieved perfection simply by the blessings of a spiritual master or superior."

I seek blessings of Gurudev and Lord Sri Damodara so that I give up my whimsical nature, hold on to His Lotus feet and perform my prescribed duties and devotional service for His pleasure.

Thankyou very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
Sudarshana devi dasi.