Great Advantage of Guru-Seva
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
What did Prahlad Maharaj say? How should one practise Krishna consciousness? Do you remember what we sing in 'Bhajahu re mana Sri Nanda-nandana'? "Sravana, kirtana, smarana, vandana pada-sevana, dasya re, pujana, sakhi-jana, atma-nivedana: hearing, chanting, remembering, offering obeisance, serving the Lord's lotus feet, serving as a servant, worshipping, serving as a friend, and self-surrender." Sravanam, kirtanam are the foremost practices here.
আদৌশ্রদ্ধা ততঃ সাধুসঙ্গোঽথ ভজনক্রিয়া ।
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
"In the beginning there is faith, then good association, then practising life. After that, the offences gradually go away, faith becomes stronger, taste comes, then attachment, then there arises affection and love. This is how love to God comes to those who practise Krsna consciousness."
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh, 1.4.15-16)
There are sixty-four devotional practices, so many, and Prahlad Maharaj said among all those devotional practices Guru-seva has more importance. You must listen to what I am saying carefully. Remember it.
[His Divine Grace then reads from a book.]
It says here that there are unwanted habits and elements (anarathas) within you and if you chant the Holy Name in such a state even during ten million lifetimes, you will never be able to get relief from maya (illusion) and from all the illusory desires for material happiness that bind you. However, if you can just serve your Guru with sincerity and unswervingly for even ten-fifteen years, then you can quickly attain the Lord. Do you understand? Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said this.
All anarathas do not leave at once, but they go away through service to one's Guru. There is a separate remedy for destroying each single drop of anartha. It is the same as there is no single remedy for all diseases—there are different medicines depending on one's disease. So, there is one remedy, or medicine, for removing lust; there is another medicine for removing anger; there is yet another medicine for removing greed, and so on.
Do you know how to remove greed? It can be greed for eating, greed for money, etc., but the remedy is to take prasad. Do you not chant this in the kirtan?
sarira avidya-jala jadendriya tahe kala
"The body is a net of illusion, and the material senses are the enemies; they throw the soul into the ocean of mundanity. Among the senses, the tongue is the most greedy and wicked. It is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world."
krsna bada dayamaya karibare jihva jaya
"O brothers! Krsna is very merciful: to conquer the tongue He has given us His remnants! Accept this nectarean food, sing the glories of Radha-Krsna, and with love call out, 'Chaitanya! Nitai!'"
Greed goes away by taking prasadam.
Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu says that one may have much of a particular anartha and it may not go away no matter what you do, however even such anartha goes away through the service to one's Guru. The anarathas that do not go away through sravan and kirtan can be destroyed through Guru-seva. When we chant kirtans, our mind does not follow the kirtan, we do not feel taste for chanting, we do not feel joy chanting kirtan, but through the service to one's Guru such anarathas go away and we can feel the taste.
However, if one does not stay at the temple, if one does not take shelter of a bona fide Guru, there is no way by which such person's anarathas can be removed. Remember this. If there is no arrangement for Guru-seva in some place, then going to such places or programmes will not help you remove your anarathas. You do not get such kind of service from any and every Guru—such service is available only from a bona fide, great Guru. There are many types of service, but except for a bona fide Guru nobody can use you in true service. Can the Lord engage you in His service? Some say, "Oh, Krishna is my Guru!" But can Krishna engage you in His service? He cannot, but Gurudev can.
If anarthas are not removed, you can never fulfil the purpose of your life. When anarthas do not go away by chanting the Holy Name or by worshiping a Deity, the only remedy then is service to one's Guru. This is the great advantage of taking shelter of a Guru and serving him.
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