The Land of Earnestness

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes the plane of self-sacrifice on which Śrī Lalitā Devī serves Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda.

Fruit falling from the sky.” We shall try to reckon things in this way. Everything is connected with the Infinite, and we should learn to depend on the will of Kṛṣṇa, not so much on the calculation of our human brain, either individually or as a group. Generally, according to our understanding of the scripture and the practices of the great personages, we try to proceed, but as for the result, we should always be open to anything that may come.

karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadāchana
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.47)

[“Your right is to your duty, but never to the results.”] 

Engage yourself always, but don’t connect yourself with the consequences. Never go to connect yourself with the consequences. What will be is the result of so many things, and above all, the supreme will. That is the fact. So, don’t bother yourself uselessly and waste your energy. You should try to give your full attention to your duty and not to the aftereffect that will be acquired because of the duty. Duty itself cannot acquire any result, consequence, or fruit. Rather, you may be graced; you may receive prasādam. Whatever comes from the infinite wave should be considered grace, and we should act in the spirit of service, not with interest in the result—in treasury or trade.

na sa bhṛtyaḥ sa vai vaṇik
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 7.10.4)

[Prahlād says to the Lord: “One who wants boons from You is not a servant; he is a merchant.”] 

We shall do anything and everything with the aim of serving the Infinite. With clean hands, we shall go on doing work. “With clean hands” means with hands not contaminated by any consequence. Service and prasād correspond: what comes from the infinite environment is prasād, grace. I have no claim in that, and what I do, I also have no claim in, or application for, that—no expectation even. Simply, I am doing what has been assigned to me as my duty. I am not fixing anything for the future. That will be māyā. We should try to live under the sky: free. Then the heart will find relief.

asaṅkalpāj jayet kāmaṁ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 7.15.22)

[“Conquer lust through negative determination (asaṅkalpa).”]

Saṅkalpa means parikalpanā, planning. Something like a “five-year plan”.

Sometimes we may be allowed to make plans, but with a provision: full knowledge that whether it will reach its goal or not depends wholly on divine will. With that, we may plan. Suppose we try to organise a meeting at a particular place. We circulate notices: “There will be a meeting here, and persons will deliver lectures.” In this way we will go on, but with openness that any hindrance may come and stop it. Still, we shall go on with a sense of duty. It is my duty, and I am doing it. God willing, it will be successful. With God overhead, try to live in eternity, in the relativity of eternity. This is Vaikuṇṭha-vās [“residence in Vaikuṇṭha”].

Misconceptions come from the māyāvādī school. When everything depends on Him, then we have only our duty. The Vaiṣṇava school understands the conception of service. What is the nature of service? Without any definite result, one works with full energy. It is possible. The future is uncertain, and still, the Vaiṣṇava’s work is earnest. Their whole concentration is in their work, and not in the future result.

karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.47)

[“Your right is to your duty, but never to the results. Be neither motivated by the results of your duty nor inclined to give up your duty.”] 

Don’t be discouraged because you have no demand or right to the result. Don’t be discouraged. Mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi [“Do not be inclined to give up your duty”]. A great and necessary warning is given here. Everyone can be discouraged, “When we have no part to take in the consequence, why should we labour?” That is not a very small point. It is not an insignificant question. So, this immediate warning is there. “Mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi: may the misfortune of stopping your work not come down upon you. Go on working.”

In a cooperative system, so many labourers are engaged. They do their duty, and then the products go hither and thither. In time, remuneration comes to the worker in coin. He gives in the form of energy, and this comes back to him in coin at the proper time. “Karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadāchana: don’t be a miser and devote your energy to this system as you are at present.” Here the negative side has been told, but not the positive.

ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ bhoktā cha prabhur eva cha
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.24)

[“I alone am the enjoyer and rewarder of all sacrifices.”] 

The results of your work are at My disposal. They are mine. I enjoy your selfless work. It is for My enjoyment. Proportionally, it is distributed to any and every point separately existing all over the universe, but it is better for you to think that it is wholly Mine because even when I distribute the result of your work to you, you have not claim to that. It is pure distribution: grace. There is no reasoning, no justice, behind it. You should not try to bring these things there. You are to think of it as mercy. It is so free that you should consider it to be mercy. Don’t expect any justice that, ‘I am giving so much labour, and I must get the result of that.’ The law of justice ordains that, but you should give your energy for free, and what I shall give you in return will also be free. Then it will not be under the consideration of justice.”

Service and grace: this is open and clear. So, always keep your account clear: make no demands. Such transactions are freedom proper. The conception of real freedom is there: dynamic selflessness. It is not the static selflessness of a māyāvādī. Selflessness does not mean sound sleep or anything like that. Selflessness does not naturally end in self-effacement. It is of dynamic character. Selflessness means self-giving and self-surrendering. And towards what? The Centre: the Absolute. Such selflessness is what is demanded from every point—every worker, every labourer. Only there can the happiness of freedom exist. Labour and energy utilised by intelligence can produce something. Foolish labour may not. But dedication of our labour freely to the highest intelligence will fetch the most. So, without any miserly habit, we can dedicate ourselves, and we shall get in ample quality that which cannot even be imagined by us.

dāsa’ kari’ vetana more deha prema-dhana!
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 20.37)

O Lord! Please accept me as Your slave and give me a salary of love. Let me acquire real love for You, Your own, and everything that belongs to You. Give me love so that I can dedicate myself to You more and more. Give me a salary in the form of love.” Love means the spirit of giving—the spirit of self-distribution. “I want intense inspiration for self-distribution as my salary. I do not seek any comfort, but to become more dynamic. Such a salary I want: may my capacity for giving be increased. That should be my salary.”

Prema means self-giving, self-distribution: the tendency to distribute oneself. Self-surrender and self-distribution. On the basis of self-surrender, self-distribution begins.

dāsa’ kari’ vetana more deha prema-dhana!
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 20.37)

What does it mean to pray to get love (prema)? You want something, but what is that? If analysed, you find that it is intense inspiration to give yourself to Him. Mā phaleṣu kadāchana: now the fruit has been transformed into love, more and more interest to serve. That is not an ordinary fruit. The Vaiṣṇavas want service and more hankering for service. They want service, and they want the salary for service to be more worthiness and more earnestness for service.

This is the universe that the Vaiṣṇavas have discovered. It has been given to the experience of the senses of the Vaiṣṇavas from above through revelation. There is a domain of such conception, and if you like, you can come to it in this way. There is a domain, a country, where such persons live in such self-abnegation. If you would like to be a resident of that land, then come. Come!

Calculative devotion is found in the lower portion of Paravyoma [the spiritual world], and beyond calculation, automatic devotion is found in Goloka. There, it cannot be calculated how much one can sacrifice.

(Śrī Lalitāṣṭakam: 1)

A hint of that particular standard has been given in this verse. When Lalitā Devī finds a drop of sweat on the feet of Rādhā-Govinda, she furiously engages herself to remove that sweat: “How has it come here? We are circumambulating Them and seeing that not the least pain can enter Their domain to trouble Them. How, without our notice, has this sweat come here?” She furiously chastises herself and at once wants to take on 100,000 bodies to remove it. With such force, she comes to remove that drop of sweat from Their feet, with such eagerness, earnestness, and self-abuse. If the least difficulty is seen in the serving area, she cannot tolerate it in any way. With so much earnestness, she runs to serve.

sanātana, deha‑tyāge kṛṣṇa yadi pāiye
koṭi‑deha kṣaṇeke tabe chhāḍite pāriye
(Śrī Chaitanya‑charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 4.56)

Mahāprabhu said, “I am ready to die crores of times to attain the service of Kṛṣṇa.” This is the unit used in that domain: earnestness. Earnestness and eagerness for service. Self-dedication and self-distribution of such a high and noble type. It is inconceivable. Even self-sacrifice itself is nothing actually. It is only a unit, and on that highly developed plane, the structure is built upon it.


Spoken on 2 November 1981 in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām.

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