The Tenor of Divine Service

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the respect inherent in the proper approach to love divine.

Student: We feel we have to accept you as Mādhurī Rūpa [“beautiful Śrī Rūpa”].

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: Mādhurī Rūpa darśan karchhe ār ki [“They are seeing you as Mādhurī Rūpa”].

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: All rights are reserved by our Guru Mahārāj. It is his wealth: he may extend it and withdraw it. Everywhere, this is the very nature of Vaikuṇṭha-sampad—the wealth of Vaikuṇṭha: it is flickering. So, we must be very careful to keep up. “It is not mine. It belongs to my Gurudev.” If I can think in this way, then he will keep extending it to me. Otherwise, it may be withdrawn at any moment. So fine, so subtle, so sensitive. This sort of feeling, or conception, or experience, that you may have is very sensitive, very sensitive. So, the safe position is to think, “It does not belong to me. It belongs to my Gurudev, and he has extended it to me for the time being. I am to look after it.” This mentality is the key to keeping us in that position, to keeping us up in that level.

Our Guru Mahārāj said, “The highest form of service is discharged by our Guru Mahārāj, by Bābājī Mahārāj and Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. We are to follow their directions. We do not even venture to stay very near them. We shall do the service allotted to us, and then we shall come back and stay in some lower position.”

We cannot stay along with our Gurudev. Our Gurudev’s position is in the highest position—in Rādhā Kuṇḍa, and we must come to a little lower level but remain nearby because we have to attend to his commands. So, we must remain at an available distance nearby in Govardhan. We shall take our stand in Govardhan and always be eager for the call that may come at any moment from Rādhā Kuṇḍa to help with a particular service. We shall always select our position for living in a lower standard, not in the same plane as them. ‘Them’ means our Gurudev and the Vaiṣṇavas.

pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhāṅge

[“Worship the path of love in the posture of reverence.”] 

This is the key to success. Always keep the rāga-patha [“path of love”] at a respectable distance over our heads.

sakhyāya me namo ’stu
dāsyāya me raso ’stu
(Vilāpa-kusumañjali: 16)

I sincerely pray for the duty of a servant, not that for the confidential duty discharged by a friend.” We should understand the real purpose of this attitude. It is very plain business, a very practical solution.

pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhāṅge

This expression is very happy, very useful, and very, very sweet. The whole tenor of our Guru Mahārāj and the nature of his service is herein. And it is not only for him; he has extended it to all, “Come under the banner of such thought about divinity and your success is insured; your position will be safely secured.”

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj:

guru-jana-śire punaḥ śobhā pāya śata guṇa
(Gītā-mālā: 1.1.1)

[“Their feet shine a hundred times more atop the heads of my Gurus.”] 

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur says, “Where is the real position of the divine feet of Rādhā-Govinda, the sole object of our service? On the head of my Gurudev—just above the head of my Gurudev. Kṛṣṇa is nondifferent from Gurudev, and also inseparably connected with Gurudev. There are many conceptions of Guru. The māyāvādīs worship guru but not the Lord. There are also many who make too much of Guru, eliminating Gaurāṅga and others. Ours is the creed that the Divine Couple or Mahāprabhu are there on the head of Gurudev. He is the highest servitor: Mukunda-preṣṭha. The final conception of Guru is Mukunda-preṣṭha, Gaura-preṣṭha, Rādhā-preṣṭha [“He who is the favourite of Kṛṣṇa, the favourite of Gaurāṅga, the favourite of Rādhā”]. Kṛṣṇa is on the head of my Gurudev. He is very near and holding the respectable position. I can see only that Kṛṣṇa holds the highest position in him, or in her. I want to see that Kṛṣṇa. I do not want to see Kṛṣṇa without Rādhārāṇī, and I do not wish to see Kṛṣṇa or Rādhārāṇī without my Guru. Without Rūpa Mañjarī, I will not approach Rādhārāṇī, and without Rādhārāṇī, I will not approach Kṛṣṇa. That will be healthy thought for us: wholesome progress. Otherwise, very hazy and very hurried progress is no progress at all. We will have to return. We will be prey to retardation and misfire. We will miss the object of our adoration. So, very carefully, always with the guidance of our Gurudev on our head and heart, we shall try to move. Just as in Bhagavad-gītā, it is mentioned,

yuktāhāra-vihārasya yukta-cheṣṭasya karmasu
yukta-svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.17)

Don’t be too hurried and don’t be too slow in every case. Don’t take too much food or too little.”

This is the key to success. Not with haste, and not too slow either. That should be our motto in life.


Spoken 30 August 1981 in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām.

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