Srimad Bhagavatam 11.11.34-41 - Offer the Best to Krishna (download mp3)
by Rasikacharya Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
paricarya stutih prahva-
yatra bali-vidhanam ca
vaidiki tantriki diksa
svatah samhatya codyamah
dasa-vad yad amayaya
api dipavalokam me
yad yad istatamam loke
yac cati-priyam atmanah
tat tan nivedayen mahyam
tad anantyaya kalpate
My dear Uddhava, one can give up false pride and prestige by engaging in the following devotional activities. One may purify oneself by seeing, touching, worshiping, serving, and offering prayers of glorification and obeisances to My form as the Deity and to My pure devotees. One should also glorify My transcendental qualities and activities, hear with love and faith the narrations of My glories and constantly meditate on Me. One should offer to Me whatever one acquires, and accepting oneself as My eternal servant, one should give oneself completely to Me. One should always discuss My birth and activities and enjoy life by participating in festivals, such as Janmastami, which glorify My pastimes. In My temple, one should also participate in festivals and ceremonies by singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and discussing Me with other Vaisnavas. One should observe all the regularly celebrated annual festivals by attending ceremonies, pilgrimages and making offerings. One should also observe religious vows such as Ekadasi and take initiation by the procedures mentioned in the Vedas, Pañcaratra and other, similar literatures. One should faithfully and lovingly support the installation of My Deity, and individually or in cooperation with others one should work for the construction of Krsna conscious temples and cities as well as flower gardens, fruit gardens and special areas to celebrate My pastimes. One should consider oneself to be My humble servant, without duplicity, and thus should help to clean the temple, which is My home. First one should sweep and dust thoroughly, and then one should further cleanse with water and cow dung. Having dried the temple, one should sprinkle scented water and decorate the temple with mandalas. One should thus act just like My servant. A devotee should never advertise his devotional activities; therefore his service will not be the cause of false pride. One should never use lamps that are offered to Me for other purposes simply because there is need of illumination, and similarly, one should never offer to Me anything that has been offered to or used by others. Whatever is most desired by one within this material world, and whatever is most dear to oneself — one should offer that very thing to Me. Such an offering qualifies one for eternal life.
In these eight verses Lord Krsna ends His discussion of saintly qualities in general and describes the specific characteristics of the devotees of the Lord. Lord Krsna has clearly described both here and in Bhagavad-gita that the ultimate goal of life is to surrender fully to Him and become His pure devotee. Herein the Lord elaborately describes the process of devotional service. One should offer everything that one acquires to the Lord, thinking, “Lord Krsna has sent these things so that I may serve Him nicely.” One ultimately should understand that the minute spirit soul is part and parcel of Lord Krsna, and thus one should surrender one’s very self to the Lord. Just as an ordinary servant is meek and submissive to his master, similarly, a devotee should always be submissive to his spiritual master, who is a representative of Lord Krsna. He should realize how his body and mind are purified simply by his seeing the spiritual master or by accepting on his head the water offered to the spiritual master. It is emphasized in these verses that one should attend Vaisnava festivals. As far as possible, large festivals should be held all over the world so that people can gradually learn how to perfect human life. The words mamarca-sthapane sraddha are significant. Here Lord Krsna states that one should have faith in His Deity worship, since the Lord is personally present as the Deity. The words udyanopavanakrida-pura-mandira-karmani indicate that there should be a serious endeavor to construct beautiful temples and Vaisnava cities with ample parks, orchards and flower gardens. An outstanding example of such endeavors can be presently seen in India at the Mayapur Candrodaya Mandira.
The words dipavalokam me nopayuñjyan niveditam indicate that one may never use the Deity’s paraphernalia for sense gratification. If there is a shortage of electricity or lights, one may not use the Deity’s lamps, nor should one ever offer to Lord Krsna paraphernalia previously offered to or used by others. In these verses, the importance of Deity worship and Vaisnava festivals is emphasized in many ways. Lord Krsna promises that whoever sincerely performs these activities will certainly go back home, back to Godhead (tad anantyaya kalpate). One should offer his most dear possession to Lord Krsna, not that which is superfluous or unwanted. If one is most attached to his family, one should see that his family is engaged in Lord Krsna’s service. If one is most attached to money, that should be given for propagating Krsna consciousness. And if one considers one’s intelligence to be most valuable, he should preach Krsna consciousness with great logic and reason. If we offer our most valuable possessions to Lord Krsna, we will automatically become dear to the Lord and go back to Godhead.