Engaging our Senses in Bhakti - Part 3

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna. Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
 
In continuation of the mail on "Engaging our Senses in Bhakti",  let us learn from pure devotees like Maharaj Ambarisha and Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev as to how we can use our hands in Krishna's service. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 9.4.18-20 Sukadeva Goswami has said that Ambarish Maharaj used his hands in cleansing the Lord's temple.
 
karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu-  Hands in cleansing the Lord's Temple.  
 
Hands are wonderful gifts given to us by Krishna. The value of certain gifts can be well appreciated only when we realise how it will be if we are deprived of the same. Few days back, we met a person whose right hand was amputated due to some accident. How difficult it is to survive without hands?  What to speak of losing our hands completely, even a small injury in our fingers will make our lives so difficult. We would be forced to depend on others for even basic activities like  brushing our teeth, taking bath, lifting items from one place to another, combing, dressing, cooking, eating, washing vessels, washing clothes, cleaning house, typing etc. Apart from bodily activities, even in devotional service without hands we would not be able to chant on our beads, perform arathi for Lord, cook bhoga for the Lord, stitch dress for Deities, make garlands for the Lord, clean His temple, hold on to scriptures and study them, play kartals or drums or even clap our hands during kirtans - and the list goes on.
 
Maharaj Ambarisha being very dear devotee of the Lord very well knew that Krishna is Hrshikesha and that all the senses needs to be used in His service. That is why in spite of being King of the whole planet, he didn't consider cleansing the Lord's temple as a menial service which does not befit his position. He did not delegate these services to his guards and servants.

1. The lesson to be learnt from Maharaj Ambarish is that we should voluntarily and lovingly use our hands in service of Lord - be it cleaning the temple or cleaning the toilets. When emperor of the whole planet cleansed the temple with his own hands, how can insignificant people like us delegate the cleaning service to others?

2. Cleanliness is not restricted to Temple alone.  Srila Prabhupada has told that cleanliness of a house can be checked by simply checking how clean the kitchen and toilets are maintained. Krishna is omnipresent. So being conscious of this truth we should endeavour to keep our surroundings clean.

3. The beauty of cleaning process is that it not only purifies our surroundings, but also our mind. The more we clean, the more we would like to keep everything clean. Suppose we are washing a dirty cloth, once it becomes clean, the next time if we find even a speck of dirt in the cloth, we will ensure to remove that dirt also. On the other hand, if we are negligent of the dirt's then we get accustomed to it and dirty surroundings will become normal thing for us. This not only applies to our body, clothes and surroundings. Our heart is also temple of Krishna. Since Krishna resides in our hearts, we should take utmost care to keep it clean. The anarthas like envy, lust, anger and greed should be removed completely from our hearts. If we don't pay proper attention and care to remove them completely, then we will start considering those anarthas also as normal part of our life. As our Gurudev insists - "Cleanliness Is Godliness.  We should carry Bhagavatam in one hand and duster in the other."  Bhagavatam cleanses our mind and we should use the duster to keep our surroundings clean. In fact, "ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam" is indeed "karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu."

4. Any service we do - be it household activities like cooking, washing, cleaning or whatever we are doing using our hands, we should do it with the consciousness that we are doing it for Krishna and so it has to be done immaculately perfect and clean - This is also "karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu".
 
In Srimad Bhagavatam Shaunaka Muni says in verse 2.3.21 

śāvau karau no kurute saparyāṁ harer lasat-kāñcana-kaṅkaṇau vā

And the hands, though decorated with glittering bangles, are like those of a dead man if not engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead Hari.
 
In this world where-in miseries are increasing day by day, we never know when we would lose our health and there is no point regretting later. So, at present when our hands are in good conditions, let us use them to the best of our capability in service of the Lord.
  
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.