Engaging our Senses in Bhakti - Part 13

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

We had so far seen how to engage all our senses and desires in the service of Krishna. This is the concluding mail of the series "Engaging our Senses in Bhakti". We will learn from pure devotees like Maharaj Ambarish, Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaj as to how we can increase our attachment to Krishna.

yathottamaśloka-janāśrayā ratiḥ If we take shelter of pure devotees such as Prahlada who are completely attached to serving the lotus feet of the Lord, we will be able to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.

Devotees like Ambarish Maharaj, Prahlad Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaj who are completely surrendered to Uttamashloka Krishna, engage all their senses perfectly in Lord's service. So even if we are not are able to use our senses in Lord's service all the time, simply by taking shelter of such pure devotees we will be able to increase our rati for Krishna. It is the special mercy of Krishna upon us that He is constantly giving us opportunity to associate with so many pure devotees from Srimad Bhagavatam such as Ambarish Maharaj, Prahlad Maharaj and so on. Apart from that, He is also sending acaryas such as Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaj (who are walking Bhagavatam) to move about in this planet during our lifetimes so that we can physically associate with them and learn from them. This mercy is really unfathomable, because unless we see all the qualities of a devotee being shown to us in practice through a pure devotee, it is very difficult for our dull minds to be convinced with the message of shastras.

We have seen and heard how Srila Prabhupada was engaging all his senses 24 hours in the service of Krishna. In his lecture in San Francisco on March 17, 1968, he says the following powerful words:

"All our students, they are simply anxious to be overloaded with work, Krishna consciousness. "Swamiji, what shall I do? What can I do?" They are actually doing. Nicely. Very nice. They don't feel tired. That is Krishna consciousness. In the material world, if you work for some time, then you'll feel tired. You'll require rest. Of course, I am not exaggerating myself. I am an old man of seventy-two years. Oh, I was ill. I went back to India. I have come again. I want to work! I want to work. Naturally, I would have retired from all these activities, but I don't feel... So far, I can do, I want work. I want to..., day and night. At night I work with dictaphone.  I become sorry if I cannot work. This is Krishna consciousness. One must be very much anxious to work. It is not that it is an idle society. No. We have got sufficient engagement. Just simply find out how Krishna conscious can be spread. This is practical."

Devotional service is the only occupation where there is no limit for engaging our senses in service. As Srila Prabhupada says, even when he was 80 years old, still he was working all day and night for Krishna. Till his last moment he was practically showing us how to engage all the senses in Krishna's service.

Maharaj always recommends that - "To prevent any of the senses from losing its normal capacity, we must keep them in constant use - specifically in use for Krishna". He would also say, "The more we use our senses in Krishna's service, the longer they will function properly. Because Krishna sees that we are using the senses given by Him for what they are meant to be used, He will prolong their lifespan."

"Practise before you preach" - This has always been Maharaj's way - Be it waking up for mangala-arati, offering dandavats to deities, chanting, study of scriptures or writing for Krishna - Maharaj always practises whatever he is preaching.

Iron rod, if left as it is, becomes rusty and is of no use to anyone. Whereas when the blacksmith heats it up in fire, it becomes malleable and useful instruments could be made out of it. Our senses also become useless if not constantly engaged in Lord's service. As the saying goes - 'Rolling stone gathers no moss'.  So, by fiery devotional service, our senses will also become useful instruments in the hands of Hṛṣīkeśa. If we don't use them now when they are in good condition, there is no way that we would be able to use them when we are old. We do not know how long our senses will be in working condition. We see so many people losing their eyesight, hearing ability etc very early in their lives. Unexpected accidents or bodily malfunction can lead to premature breakdown of our working senses too. It is only Krishna's mercy that all our senses are working somewhat normally so far. He is the master of all our senses - Hṛṣīkeśa. Remembering this always, we should try to engage our senses in His service as it is aptly said in Narada Pancaratra,

sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa- sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate

Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.

In conclusion, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to our dear Guru Maharaj who has been training us relentlessly all these years in engaging our senses in Krishna's service. Like wild children, we have been disobeying his instructions many times, but still, as our loving father, he has been patiently teaching us by personal guidance how to serve Krishna and His devotees. We do not even know how to speak a single word about Krishna. But by his purity, he is making us study Bhagavatam, speak and write on this śabda-avatāra of Lord Krishna. He is meticulously teaching us how to practice the instructions in Bhagavat-gita and Bhagavatam in our day-day life. He is the perfect example of uttama-śloka-jana because of his unflinching attachment towards other uttama-śloka-jana such as Srila Prabhupada and all other acaryas in the disciplic succession. We humbly pray at the lotus feet of all the Vaishnavas to bless us that somehow or other, we shall develop the attachment to take shelter and serve such pure devotees as Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaj.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das.