His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Those who serve Maya, who serve mundane things, who serve or always accumulate jada-vidya (mundane knowledge, mundane education) will go to a dark place. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur also says,
জড়বিদ্যা যয়, মায়ার বৈভব,
jada-vidya yata, mayara vaibhava,
"All mundane learning is an exhibition of maya and an obstacle to Your service. It brings about infatuation for the temporary world and makes an ass of the soul."
What we need is para-vidya (transcendental knowledge), whereas jada-vidya always takes us to a dark place. We can get education or some knowledge, but you must use that knowledge for the service of the Lord. This is the main thing. You have got everything you have from your Guru, from the Lord, and you must understand that you must use everything for the service of the Lord. Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita also says that only those who have got the mercy of the Lord can understand this—only they can understand the Lord. It is necessary to have mercy.
ঈশ্বরের কৃপা-লেশ হয় ত' যাহারে ।
isvarera krpa-lesa haya ta' yahare
"Only those who receive even a trace of the Lord's mercy, can understand the Lord."
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 6.83)
Those who can understand this, will never be enjoyers, exploiters or even renunciates—they will always be servitors. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur also says the same thing—we have not come to this world to be renunciates or enjoyers, our mood is that we will always be servitors. It is necessary to have a servitor's mood. Srimad Bhagavad-gita supports this too. Krishna Himself says, "If someone serves Me with devotion, with love and affection, I give them pure devotion, and they will be getting pleasure and happiness from their service."
tesam satata-yuktanam, bhajatam priti-purvakam
To those devotees who are always lovingly engaged in My service, I give the divine inspiration by which they can come to Me.
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 10.10)
"I give pure devotion to those who serve Me with eternal devotion, with love and affection, and they will feel a great pleasure, paramananda."
Who is a devotee? What is the character of a devotee?
mach-chitta mad-gata-prana, bodhayantah parasparam
Always thinking of Me, those surrendered souls converse about Me, enlightening one another with the nectar of their devotional realizations, ever content and ecstatic in their divine natures.
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 10.9)
A devotee's heart, their life, mind, everything is surrendered to the Lord, and they always listen to Hari-katha, Hari-kirtan—they always spend their life in sravanam, kirtanam, and they always derive pleasure from it.
yat karosi yad asnasi, yaj juhosi dadasi yat
"O Kaunteya, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give and whatever vow you may keep-do everything as an offering unto Me."
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
Sri Krishna says to Arjuna, "Whatever duty you have, whatever you do, whatever you want to enjoy or steal, whatever donation or sacrifice you want to make, do everything for Me. You must do everything for My pleasure!" This is possible for those who have a great devotion. What is the highest devotion (uttam bhakti)? Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu told,
অন্যাভিলাষিতা-শূন্যং জ্ঞান-কর্ম্মাদ্যনাবৃতম্ ।
anyabhilasita sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtam
"The highest devotion is that which satisfies Lord Krsna, free from the coverings of any pursuits such as action, knowledge."
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh, 1.1.11)
If you practise what is favourable to devotion, that is uttam bhakti, the highest devotion, and there should be no other desires, no other wishes except for service to Krishna, service to the Lord, service to the Absolute. What do such devotees do every day? They do everything for the Lord—they do arati, mangal arati, Tulasi parikrama, temple parikrama, chant bhajans, kirtans, they cook, etc.—they do everything for the Lord. That is called 'anyabhilasita sunyam' (being free from any other desires). Srimad Bhagavatam says the same thing, and Sri Prahlad Maharaj also says the same thing,
sravanam kirttanam visnoh
iti pumsarpita visnau
Prahlada Maharaj said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental Holy Name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24)
Leave everything (jnana, karma, yoga, etc.) and only surrender to the Supreme Lord Vishnu. Practise properly sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, etc. There are nine kinds of devotion. When we do Sri Nabadwip Dham Parikrama, we visit the nine islands of Nabadwip, and all these nine kinds of devotion exist within the nine islands of Sri Nabadwip. When we go there, we always speak about it.
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