Remembering the Goal of our Activities

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble pranams! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

In any activity, whether it is spiritual or material, the success depends on how much we enjoy doing it. To enjoy an activity, especially in spiritual life, it is important to know why we are doing it, in other words, understand the goal of the activity.

Almost all of us know of the famous 'saṁsāradāva' (Gurvashtakam) prayer written by Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarthy Thakur. (for those who do not know, it is a prayer glorifying the spiritual master). The prayer contains 8 stanzas which the devotees sing regularly during mangala arati. The following stanza is the 9th and the last one. Although not usually sung along with the 8 stanzas, this last verse is very important to meditate upon.

śrīmad guror aṣtakam etad uccair
brāhme muhūrte paṭhati prayatnāt
yastena vṛndāvana nātha sākṣāt
sevaiva labhya januṣo’nta eva

One who, with great care and attention, loudly recites this beautiful prayer to the spiritual master during the brahma-muhurta obtains direct service to Krsna, the Lord of Vrndavana, at the time of his death.

This is technically called the 'Phala-shruti' or the benediction verse. In almost all the literary compositions, the author concludes with a benediction verse, that reveals the result one achieves by reciting that composition. In Gita too, Krsna gives such a benediction verse in the end of the 18th chapter:

BG 18.70
adhyeṣyate ca ya imam dharmyaṁ saṁvādam āvayoḥ
jñāna-yajñena tenāham iṣṭaḥ syām iti me matiḥ

And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.

One may enquire as to why are we giving importance to the results. After all we are supposed to perform spiritual activities without any motive isn't it? Srila Prabhupada gives a very nice answer to this question. He says, "Actually we cannot be desireless or motiveless. But if we desire for Krsna or if our motive is just to please Krsna, then our activity is considered desireless and unmotivated."

In fact when we understand the reason behind doing certain activities, we can perform that activity with more relish and enthusiasm. Almost all of us can definitely agree that the goal of our spiritual practices is to love and serve Krsna eternally. And that is exactly what Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarthy Thakur says in his benediction verse that if one sings this prayer to the spiritual master everyday early in the morning (brahma muhurta hours) with great care and attention, he will attain eternal service to Lord Krsna.

So if we always keep this goal (of pleasing Krsna or attaining service to Krsna) in our minds, then getting up early in the morning and singing the Gurvashtakam prayers will appear to be a relishing activity rather than a burden. Of course, while singing if we can remember the meaning of each stanza, it will help us appreciate the glory of the spiritual master who gives us this greatest benediction service to Krsna. The whole process will be a joyful experience.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Girivaradhari das
Abu Dhabi.