Attaining Sanctity by Devotional Service

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

While explaining the glories of Maharaj Ambarish to Parikshit Maharaj, Sukadeva Goswami says in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 9.4.26:

sa itthaṁ bhakti-yogena tapo-yuktena pārthivaḥ
sva-dharmeṇa hariṁ prīṇan sarvān kāmān śanair jahau

The king of this planet, Maharaja Ambarisha, thus performed devotional service to the Lord and in this endeavor practiced severe austerity. Always satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his constitutional activities, he gradually gave up all material desires.

Maharaja Ambarish was king of the whole planet. But still, he took pleasure in personally serving the Deities, serving the devotees, cleaning the altar, etc. There would have been so many servants at his disposal. But still, he underwent severe austerities and satisfied the Supreme Lord by his activities. Our beloved spiritual master, H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj says that if we ask servant to clean the temple and serve the Deity, then the servant will go back to Godhead and we will be staying back. Indeed Maharaj practised what he preached. Even at the age of 88 years, when his body was not co-operating, Maharaj used to wipe the window panes of the temple hall in Sri Sri Radha Neel Madhav Dham, Rajkot, without waiting for anyone else to join. He also says that we should recite scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord and should not employ professional reciters or recorded tapes for the same. So as far as our body and health allow us, we should try to do whatever service we can for the Lord, without any lethargy.

Madhavendra Puri, after receiving transcendental orders from his beloved Gopala Deity, traveled thousands of miles just to collect sandalwood by begging. Although Madhavendra Puri was hungry, he would not beg food to eat. This renounced person carried a load of sandalwood for the sake of Sri Gopala. Without considering his personal comforts, Madhavendra Puri carried about 35 kgs of sandalwood and eight ounces of camphor to smear over the body of Gopala. This transcendental pleasure was sufficient for him.

The words 'sarvaan kaamaan shanair jahau' in the above verse means 'to gradually give up all varieties of material desires'. It is practically very difficult to give up material desires on our own. But devotional service is such a sublime process that even if we have many anarthas in us, simply by performing the devotional service, we will be purified without any other extraneous endeavor. In the purport to verses 1.16.26-30 of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada very nicely glorifies the process of devotional service - "The transcendental service of the Lord is itself a transcendental benefit for the devotee, and therefore the devotee has nothing to expect from the Lord."

So we should be very thankful to Guru and Krishna for whatever service They are bestowing us and should serve them to the best of our ability, without being complacent or lethargic.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.