Bhakti Begins With Service
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.09.21-23 - Bhakti Begins With Service (download mp3), (download flv) and (download mp4)
by Sankirtan Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
nayam sukhapo bhagavan
yatha bhaktimatam iha
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the son of mother Yasoda, is accessible to devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the son of mother Yasoda, is very easily available to devotees, but not to tapasvis, yogis, jñanis and others who have a bodily concept of life. Although they may sometimes be called santa-bhaktas, real bhakti begins with dasya-rasa. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (4.11):
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
“As living entities surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha.” Everyone is seeking Krsna, for He is the Supersoul of all individual souls. Everyone loves his body and wants to protect it because he is within the body as the soul, and everyone loves the soul because the soul is part and parcel of the Supersoul. Therefore, everyone is actually seeking to achieve happiness by reviving his relationship with the Supersoul. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: “By all the Vedas, it is I who am to be known.” Therefore, the karmis, jñanis, yogis and saintly persons are all seeking Krsna. But by following in the footsteps of devotees who are in a direct relationship with Krsna, especially the inhabitants of Vrndavana, one can reach the supreme position of associating with Krsna. As it is said, vrndavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati: Krsna does not leave Vrndavana even for a moment. The vrndavana-vasis — mother Yasoda, Krsna’s friends and Krsna’s conjugal lovers, the younger gopis with whom He dances — have very intimate relationships with Krsna, and if one follows in the footsteps of these devotees, Krsna is available. Although the nitya-siddha expansions of Krsna always remain with Krsna, if those engaged in sadhana-siddhi follow in the footsteps of Krsna’s nitya-siddha associates, such sadhana-siddhas also can easily attain Krsna without difficulty. But there are those who are attached to bodily concepts of life. Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, for example, have very prestigious positions, and thus they have the sense of being very exalted isvaras. In other words, because Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are guna-avataras and have exalted positions, they have some small sense of being like Krsna. But the pure devotees who inhabit Vrndavana do not possess any bodily conception. They are fully dedicated to the service of the Lord in sublime affection, prema. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore recommended, prema pum-artho mahan: the highest perfection of life is prema, pure love in relationship with Krsna. And mother Yasoda appears to be the topmost of devotees who have attained this perfection.
kṛṣṇas tu gṛha-kṛtyeṣu
vyagrāyāṁ mātari prabhuḥ
adrākṣīd arjunau pūrvaṁ
While mother Yaśodā was very busy with household affairs, the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, observed twin trees known as yamala-arjuna, which in a former millennium had been the demigod sons of Kuvera.
vrksatam prapitau madat
iti khyatau sriyanvitau
In their former birth, these two sons, known as Nalakuvara and Manigriva, were extremely opulent and fortunate. But because of pride and false prestige, they did not care about anyone, and thus Narada Muni cursed them to become trees.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, Ninth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “Mother Yasoda Binds Lord Krsna.”