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"Service Is My Vow"

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Adhivas of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's appearance
Kolkata—Worldwide, 8 November 2020, part 4


namamisvaram sach-chid-ananda rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam

"To the Supreme Lord, whose form is the embodiment of eternal existence, knowledge, and bliss, whose shark-shaped earrings are swinging to and fro, who is beautifully shining in the divine realm of Gokula...."

ki sayane, ki bhojane, kiba jagarane
aharnisa chinta krsna, balaha vadane

"Whether you are sleeping, eating, or resting, always chant the Name of Krishna."

(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, Madhya-khanda, 28.28)

Even sleeping time is service to the Lord. When you go to the bathroom, you are also doing some service at this time. When you are going to the toilet, when you are going to rest, this is also service. In a devotee's life service is the vow, service is the life force, and service is the duty. That is called niyom-seva. I wrote in Guidance (Volume 4) a chapter called, "In a devotee's life service is the vow, service is life force, and service is the duty." I will read something from there, you can realise it. This is something that is necessary for our spiritual life.

Many people ask me, many people criticise me saying, "Oh, now is Damodar month, why is Maharaj taking sem [green beans vegetable], eggplant, tomatoes, etc.? Why is Maharaj taking everything?" I have no problem with this. I also do not grow beard. You know, I am thinking in Satya-yuga, so many rishis, munis were present at the assembly of Pariksit Maharaj. Sukadev Goswami came there and he had a shaven head, he was clean-faced, no beard, he even came naked, not wearing any clothes, and all the munis and rishis (Parasara, Vasistha Muni, Narad Muni, and many others) there had twelve feet, fifteen feet long beards, somebody had five feet long beards, somebody ten feet long, etc.. Yet, they all selected Sukadev Goswami—they all said, "Whatever Sukadev Goswami decides, that is final." All the rishis agreed on that. So, we see in this world also—for example, I went last week to Mayapur and saw many sadhus there are wearing big turbans, growing long beards, they are not shaving for four months, they are not taking so many things, following so many rules and regulations for this period, but I am a fallen soul, I only know what Gurudev told me—he told me, "Service is the vow, service is the life force, and service is the duty." This is what I am following.

In a devotee's life, service is the vow,
service is the life force, service is the duty

Good food, good clothes, good room or any sense- gratification represent desires for enjoyment, or cravings. The desire to enjoy is called a craving (bubhuksa). Those who have all these desires to enjoy engage in fruitive works. Cravings have a very close relationship with fruitive works. To satisfy your own senses, to satiate your thirst for pleasure, you must work, run some business or do farming. All this sense-gratification is unfavourable to devotion. Devotee practitioners know that the desire to enjoy goes against devotion, but many cannot understand, cannot grasp that the thirst for liberation also goes against devotion. This is a very subtle point. Liberation means you become free from bondage. We do not want to suffer from unhappiness, we do not want disturbances, troubles. These are called a thirst for liberation, or a desire for salvation (mumuksa). For a practitioner of pure devotion, this desire for salvation is extremely unfavourable to devotion. Many have this love for peace or luring attraction to peace. "It is not necessary to suffer from any problems," "Everything happens without any struggle"—this is called a thirst for liberation or seductive attraction to peace. Those who want to live in peace become pursuers of knowledge. Because they want peace, they live in a cave in the Himalayas. Those who want to practise devotion have to completely give up all their attraction to peace, love of peace, or dreams about liberation.

To feel lust or pleasure is condemnable for a practitioner of devotion. You can understand this easily. However, many cannot grasp that the love of peace is even more condemnable, it is a subtle obstacle on the path of devotion.

"I will not eat good food, I will not wear good clothes." This is easy to understand. However, if you want to live in peace, if you want to live an untroubled life, if you do not want any anxiety, harassment, struggle—such desires also obstruct the path of devotion. Many cannot understand it. I want to do that which can be done without any struggle, anxiety, harassment, or trouble. Such 'mood' or 'feeling' is typical for most practitioners of devotion. Such mentality is called desire for salvation (mumuksa). This is where the biggest difference between knowledge-seekers and devotees lies. Knowledge-seekers (jnanis) never set their foot in a place or do anything that involves any anxiety, disturbance, or problem. That is why they want to stay alone on the bank of a river, to live in seclusion in some cave in mountains. However, devotees are not afraid of any struggle. Just as they keep away from the thirst for pleasure, in the same way they keep away from easy life, attraction to peace, love of seclusion. Many think that when they stay at the temple they face the same disturbances, the same struggles that they had to suffer from at home. "I have come to the temple, but even here I could not live peacefully. Then what did I come here for? If I am to go to a peaceful, untroubled place, then I agree. I want to live in peace"—such mentality is a symptom of the desire for salvation. However, pure devotees, whose only vow in life, whose only goal, only ideal in life is pure service, do not want to avoid disturbances. Those who want to serve the Lord, continue serving even amidst problems. "My duty is service"—in devotees' life, service is their vow, service is their duty.

I do not want any happiness, I do not want peace, I do not want an easy life, I do not want a break, I only want continuous service. You do service and whatever problem comes, whatever unhappiness comes, whatever struggle comes—you must accept everything. This love of peace lingers in the minds of many practising devotees. Many think, "I had it good at home, but since I have come here, I have had to roam around so much just for the sake of two rupees, I work in the office so much that my pen has gone blunt. I have come here to practise devotion, but why are there so many problems?" Why take so much trouble, suffer so much anxiety for the sake of family life? Anxiety, disturbances, and struggle in the material life is the cause of bondage—it does not bring any benefit to your life. If you can accept all the disturbances, troubles, and misery for the Lord's service, you will get a great benefit—your misery is the price for the Lord's happiness. "Tomara sevaya, duhkha haya yata, seo ta' parama sukha. All the distress I encounter in Your service is also my greatest happiness." (Saranagati, 16.4) Seeing the Lord's happiness, the soul becomes even happier. That is its reward.


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The Guard and
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Ei-bara karuna kara
'Govinda always resides in your heart, and He says, 'My devotees are My heart.''
এইবার করুণা কর

What Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave us, what Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave us is exceptional,
inconceivable, and incomparable!