Overpowered by Service

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Spoken on the holy disappearance day of
Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
8 April 2017, Sri Govardhan,
Translated from Bengali, part 3

 

As Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, "Service to the jiva souls brings benefit to the soul. Following the whims of your mind on the pretext of doing service is not service; following the Guru and Vaishnavs, serving them, satisfying them, is what is called service." If we cannot serve Gurudev properly, then what is there left in the world for us? We think, "Oh, it is his duty, it is his service, it is not my duty..."

In 1995, there was the centenary festival of Param Gurudev Srila Guru Maharaj, and Gurudev told me to go to Mayapur and bring two people from there, Bhakti Suhird Akinchan Maharaj and Pujyapad Bhakti Kumud Shanta Goswami Maharaj. That day, Shanta Maharaj spoke at the programme and I still remember what he said. He told this story:

Once, there were two servitors at one temple. One of them cooked and the other one did the puja, and above that they also served their Guru—they would massage him with oil, bathe him, and so on. The Guru was blind, so they did everything for him. Those two servitors fought every day. One of them said, "You do not do anything! I cook the bhog, I do everything and you just ring the bell!" One day, they started fighting in front of the Guru—the Guru could not see anything, but he could hear them fight. He asked, "What has happened?" Then, one of them said, "Prabhu, I do everything—I cook, I give you bath, I do so many things, and he just rings the bell, he does not help me!" The Guru said, "All right, I will divide the service between you then. You will massage my right leg, and he will massage my left leg." One day, the servitor who was supposed to massage the Guru's left leg could not come. The other disciple was massaging only the right leg of his Guru, and the Guru asked him, "Will you not massage the other one?" The disciple answered, "Why should I? It is his leg!" "Oh, it is his leg?!" said the Guru, "Then I will break it!"

Such is our service mood, "It is his duty," "it is his job," "I will not do more than I have to do." Jiva Goswamipad, Rupa Goswamipad served twenty-two and a half hours a day and only spent only one and a half hours on rest, prasadam, etc. It is actually not a question of big service or small service,

দীনেরে অধিক দয়া করে ভগবান্ ।
কুলীন, পণ্ডিত, ধনীর বড় অভিমান ॥

dinere adhika daya kare bhagavan
kulina, pandita, dhanira bada abhimana

"Those who have a high birth, knowledge and wealth are so proud of themselves, but the Lord is so merciful to those who are poor and needy."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 4.68)

You have seen in Jagannath Puri also that King Prataparudra tried to get Mahaprabhu's mercy so many times, he wanted to get the darshan of Mahaprabhu so much, but Mahaprabhu refused because he was a king; but when the king started sweeping the road, when he did this low service, then he got Mahaprabhu's mercy. When Narottam Das Thakur left Kheturi Dham, he would clean the place where Lokanath Goswami passed stool. Lokanath Goswami wondered, "Who cleans this place every day?" Before that, he had promised himself, "I will not take any disciples," and Narottam Das Thakur had promised himself, "I will take initiation from him!" In the end, Lokanath Goswami became overpowered by his service.

When Gurudev started cultivating the land at the temple, he would personally tend to the garden and would take the weeds out himself. When Nabadwip was flooded, Gurudev would make a bamboo raft (there was no money to get a boat at that time) and go all around the Math on that raft guarding the temple. This is how he served the Math. Sometimes, when he went to Kolkata, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj would immediately send someone to bring him back, "Go and bring Govinda Maharaj back. Tell him I have chest pain." The devotee would quickly go to fetch Gurudev saying, "Please come back, Guru Maharaj has chest pain." When Gurudev came back, he would be surprised, "Maharaj, I see that you are OK, what has happened?" Guru Maharaj would just say, "Yes, you have come back, and now I am OK."

Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj also composed the pranam-mantra of Gurudev ("Gurvvabhista-supurakam guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam..."). Have you ever heard that the Guru would compose the pranam-mantra of his disciple? Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj did it. Gurvvabhista-supurakam: Gurudev fulfilled the desires of his Guru. Guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam: he is adorned with the blessings of his Guru. Chintyachintya-samasta-veda-nipunam: he is expert of all conceivable and inconceivable knowledge, Vedas. His writings, his slokas, his poetry were very special. There is a [Bengali] book called Rochanamrita that contains Gurudev's poetry. Gurudev wrote poetry and slokas since he was seventeen-eighteen years old, and seeing those slokas, Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said, "He is far more qualified than me."

When Gurudev would come to the Math, Guru Maharaj ordered devotees to make alu bhaja (potato chips) fried in ghee for him, and for the Deities they would offer alu bhaja fried in mustard oil. One disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj asked him, "Why is alu bhaja fried in mustard oil for the Deities, and in ghee for Govinda Maharaj?" Guru Maharaj replied, "You will not understand it. Later you will understand..." Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj had so much affection for Gurudev, he loved him so much. He forgave all his faults and seated him on his throne making him a Visva-guru (a Guru of the entire universe). This is the power of the Guru's mercy.

You may have everything, but if you do not have mercy of your Guru, then you have nothing.

Gurudev could easily understand everything. One time, Gurudev got a phone call from abroad—a devotees was asking for permission to do something, but Gurudev said, "I already know that they have done it. They call me to ask for permission, but they have already done it and now they are calling me to ask for permission!" Such was his expert and judicious nature; he could easily understand everything.

Gurudev gave you all his blessings, and if we can serve him, then we will get supreme benefit. "Guru-mukha-padma-vakya chitete kariya aikya ara na kariha mane asa (গুরুমুখ-পদ্মবাক্য চিত্তেতে করিয়া ঐক্য আর না করিহ মনে আশা): Make the teachings from Sri Guru's lotus mouth one with your heart, and do not desire anything else within your heart." You must always live remembering Gurudev's words, remembering what Gurudev wanted to say. That is the meaning of sadhu-sanga. Sleeping together with the sadhu, eating with the sadhu from the same plate—mosquitoes do this, but do they practise good association? No, they only disturb. If we can properly listen to the sadhus and live in their association, then we can get supreme benefit.

 

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