Srimad Bhagavatam in one hand, Duster in the Other
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
HERE ENDS YOUR
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H.G Sajjana Priya Prabhuji, in yesterday's granthraj posting, brought up this very nice point of the service attitude of King Prataprudra in Caitanya Lila. He had mentioned me in the posting, but sincerely speaking, I am unworthy of such description, as my actions are self-motivated and impure. But I do know that our revered spiritual master H.H Mahavishnu Gosvami Maharaja is the ideal example of an exalted devotee with exalted service attitude. When I read Sudarshana Mataji's posting, and Prabhuji's, I too was reminded of the glories of King Prataparudra and also of a verse in Srimad Bhagavatam, describing the service attitude of Uddhava, a pure devotee of the Lord in Srimad Bhagavatam 3.2.3:
sa katham sevayaa tasya
kaalena jarasam gatah
prsto vaartaam pratibruyaad
bhartuh paadaav anusmaran
"Uddhava thus served the Lord continually from childhood, and in his old age that attitude of service never slackened. As soon as he was asked about the message of the Lord, he at once remembered all about Him."
From Uddhava, it can be learnt that if one serves the Lord continuously, from as early as possible, then even in old age, or senior age, that attitude and fire of service will never slacken and leave us. Srila Prabhupada explains, in his purport, that the reason for this is as follows:-
"Transcendental service to the Lord is not mundane. The service attitude of the devotee gradually increases and never becomes slackened. Generally, in old age a person is allowed retirement from mundane service. But in the transcendental service of the Lord there is no retirement at all; on the contrary, the service attitude increases more and more with the progress of age. In the transcendental service there is no satiation, and therefore there is no retirement. Materially, when a man becomes tired by rendering service in his physical body, he is allowed retirement, but in the transcendental service there is no feeling of fatigue because it is spiritual service and is not on the bodily plane. Service on the bodily plane dwindles as the body grows older, but the spirit is never old, and therefore on the spiritual plane the service is never tiresome."
Maharaja is the perfect example of tireless service to the Lord. From his childhood, Maharaja served his family deities of Laddu Gopal with great enthusiasm and love. In old age, at 87 years this year, Maharaja is still serving the Lord tirelessly. I remember in Dwaraka, a few years back, I saw Maharaja personally cleaning dust from the makeshift deity room of Their Lordships Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarakadish, bending down to pick loose flowers, despite enduring great difficulty in movement. That was when I realised the true import of this verse. As Srila Prabhupada further states: "Uddhava undoubtedly became old, but that does not mean that his spirit became old."
Maharaj, particularly last year, gave us the powerful slogan to please him and for success in devotional service - "In one hand, there should be Bhagavatam, in the other, there should be a duster to clean!". That in essence is why King Prataparudra gained the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Madhya Lila, the King desired to render service to the Lord, but Mahaprabhu stoutly refused to even grant him audience, as the King was purportedly the representative of all that is materialistic in this world. Great devotees like Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Ramananda Raya, Srinivas Acarya, Govinda and even Lord Nityananda Prabhu tried to intercede and begged the Lord to grant darshan and blessings to the King, but to no avail! Mahaprabhuji shut his ears and threatened to leave them if they spoke of the King again! Mahaprabhu even embraced the King's son in his garden and gave him benediction of darshan, but not the King! The King was definitely "holding" Bhagavatam in one hand, because he was very devoted and always chanting and remembering the Lord. But Mahaprabhu refused to yield, until the day when He saw the King "hold" a broom in his hand, and despite being the monarch of the land, he submissively and simply swept the floor infront of Lord Jagannath to walk by, like a mere sweeper. In Madhya Lila 13.18 and 13.19, Srila Prabhupada writes:-
"Although the King was the most exalted respectable person, still he accepted menial service for the Lord; he therefore became a suitable candidate for receiving the Lord’s mercy. Upon seeing the King engaged in such menial service, Caitanya Mahaprabhu became very happy. Simply by rendering this service, the King received the mercy of the Lord."
What is imperative to note is that it was only after the King performed menial service for the pleasure of the Lord, not for himself, nor for showing off, that the Lord granted him the opportunity to massage His legs and recite the prayers of the Gopis in 10th Canto 31st Chapter Srimad Bhagavatam.
Why Maharaja has emphasised, and practiced, menial service with serious study of Srimad Bhagavatam is explained very nicely in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta. So if we perform menial service readily, getting our hands and feet dirtied, exhausted and fatigued, and at whatever age we may be, but always under the direction of the spiritual master and side by side, seriously study Srimad Bhagavatam, by Guru's mercy, we will obtain devotional service.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.