Path to Service
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
First, I am giving my full obeisance to my Divine Master Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, all the godbrothers and godsisters, and all Guru-varga. I am very happy today because some Hari-katha lecture has been arranged today for all the devotees all over the world. This opportunity to hear Hari-katha and to speak Hari-katha does not come all the time.
জীবন অনিত্য জানহ সার
jivana anitya janaha sara
"Know that the main thing is that life is temporary and filled with all sorts of danger. Carefully take shelter of the Name and do your work."
(Gitavali, Arunadaya kirtan, 1.3, by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
Life is very short. All day and night busy with so many things, we do not get time to hear Hari-katha, do not get so much time for the good things: for our spiritual life, for our real benefit. That is our bad fortune.
Today, however, we are fortunate. A bad day is not the cloudy day; a bad day is the day when we cannot chant the Holy Name, the day when we cannot hear Krishna-katha, Hari-katha, spiritual things. It does not matter if it is a cloudy day as long as we can hear some Hari-katha, can get some real benefit through sravan and kirtan. That is the most important thing for us—getting spiritual benefit is our life.
When we were in our mother's womb, we promised, "O Lord, O Krishna, I will see Your divine form with my eyes! I will speak Krishna-katha with my mouth, and I will listen to Krishna-katha with my ears!" but when we were born, the illusory environment attacked us and we forgot it.
ব্রহ্মাণ্ড ভ্রমিতে কোন ভাগ্যবান্ জীব ।
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
Having travelled throughout the universe and got the mercy of Guru, Krishna, a fortunate soul receives a seed of the devotional creeper.
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.151)
Only fortunate souls get the opportunity to practise sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam. Before getting good association and being able to practise sravanam and kirtanam, some sukriti is necessary. There are two kinds of sukriti: ajnata and jnata sukriti. (We can give some sukriti to others by using everything for the service to the Lord, for the service to our Guru. We can engage in service every single thing—trees, plants, and so on.)
Through sukriti we then get some good association, sadhu-sanga. Through sadhu-sanga, we can start practising sravanam, kirtanam. Then, as a result of sravanam, kirtanam, all bad elements within us clear out, our heart becomes clean, and the bhakti-lata-bij comes to that clean heart.
We have got the devotional seed, the bhakti-lata-bij, from a bona fide Guru, but when you plant it, you must give it nourishment. Sometimes somebody takes initiation but does not practise properly and you can see that eventually they leave Krishna consciousness—it is only because of the lack of practice or because they do not practise properly. That is why sravanam, kirtanam—proper practice—is necessary.
We have got the great fortune—we have got the genuine seed, now it is necessary to water it with sravan and kirtan ("sravana-kirtana-jale karaye sechana", Cc, 2.19.152).
When you plant a flower, a mango tree or anything else, you put the seed in the soil, but if after that you do not water it, do not fertilise it, do not do anything, then the seed will die at any time. It is the same with us—if you get the bhakti-lata-bij, the devotional seed, from your Guru, but then you do not practise, you will not get the result.
If you practise properly, you will be attracted to chanting, you will feel happiness through chanting. When you get that ananda, pleasure, then you can think that your chanting is working. That pleasure comes from continuous chanting; if, however, you chant two-three rounds, and thinking, "Oh, my mind is not chanting," you give it up, it is not good. Chant, chant, chant, and chant more, then you will get the real benefit through chanting Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Chant, keep good association (sadhu-sanga), listen to Hari-katha (sravan), and practise (kirtan), then gradually you will get proper benefit through your chanting—then you will get the real service to your Guru.
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