The Nature of the Guileless Servant of Sri Guru

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

(Portrait of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada)

Question 1: What is the nature of the guileless servant of sri guru?

Answer: Were a servant of sri guru truly selfless, he would consider sri guru to be devatatma – that is, he would consider him to be [non-different from] the Supreme Lord (devata) and the one person truly worthy of his love and affection (dear like his own atma). And he would always foster the conception, or belief, that “Srila Gurudeva is my eternal master, and I am his eternal servant.” Service to sri guru would be his very life; it would be his ornament and his existence.

He knows nothing but sri guru. Under all circumstances – while he is sleeping or dreaming or eating or engaged in bhajana – he is always thinking of sri gurudeva, taking his guidance and following in his footsteps. He knows that sri gurudeva, who is very dear to Sri Krsna, is completely independent and is isvara-vastu – an entity non-different from the Supreme Controller, Sri Bhagavan.

I pray that whether or not Srila Gurudeva accepts my service, as I am unqualified, I shall always remain present to render service exclusively to him by all means – through my mind, body and words. If he rejects me, I shall know that I am unqualified, but Srila Gurudeva is truth. So, my sole prayer is this: may temporary sensual pleasures never distract me from serving Srila Gurudeva, who is the eternal truth; may they not make me averse to serving him – not even for a second – may Srila Gurudeva mercifully accept my service; and may I never fall into bad association and thus be deprived of his association.

Although I am unqualified, my sole recourse is the fact that he is especially compassionate to those who are the most unqualified. Thus, with the hope of receiving his causeless compassion, my greed to engage in his service increases more and more.

Question 2: How can we gain genuine prosperity?

Answer: I only know that by keeping our mind and intelligence inclined towards Sri Bhagavan and calling out for Him, we can achieve complete welfare. My request is that all of you should do this.

Sri Bhagavan is the one and only Supreme controller, He who allots all the progress, comforts and discomforts in this world. We are thoroughly dependent on Him and surrendered to Him. Whatever He arranges for us we should accept with humility.

Question 3: Is loudly singing the holy names in the association of other devotees (nama-sankirtana) the easiest and the topmost means to achieve true spiritual welfare?

Answer: There is no path beyond that. Only those who understand that they have no other responsibility in this world besides nama-sankirtana are engaged in chanting the holy names. Nama-sankirtana alone is the path. It is the only path. Apart from this there is no other way to enter the realm of transcendence.

Nama-sankirtana is the only path to achieve the topmost goal – divine love (prema). There is no second path. This is why it is said in scripture:

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

There is no other way, no other way, no other way. It is repeated three times.

kalau tu nama-matrena pujyate bhagavan harih

In Kali-yuga, Sri Hari is worshipped through the chanting of His holy names alone.

Question 4: From whom should we hear sermons about the Supreme Lord Hari (hari-katha)?

Answer: One should hear – that is, perform sravana of – hari-katha from sri gurudeva. Thereafter, for the satisfaction and pleasure of our istadeva – the Lord about whom we have heard – the message we received from sri gurudeva should in turn be delivered – kirtana – to those who are ready to hear it with a submissive and service-oriented mood, but not to those who are unfaithful.

One must hear from sri gurudeva, not from atheists. If by mistake someone has accepted any non-devotee as guru, he must reject him and again accept the merciful shelter of a Vaisnava guru.

Question 5: What is the means to attain Sri Bhagavan?

Answer: To render loving service to Sri Bhagavan is the eternal, constitutional nature of the living entity, or jiva. Everything the jiva chases after in this world is subject to beginning, interim existence and finally destruction. A man meets a fate of suffering instead of experiencing happiness because he accepts that which is unreal as real, and that which is temporary as permanent.

However, when a person becomes intelligent, when he attains wisdom by hearing and seeing, then, in the association of saints, or sadhus, he offers his life in service to Sri Bhagavan, who is Himself the very basis of immortality and freedom from grief and fear. Service to Sri Sri Radha-Govinda is the ultimate purpose and eternal perfection (sadhya) of the jiva.

The combined form of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda – Sri Sri Gaurasundara – appeared in this world to bestow upon the jivas the beauty of service to Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. This mercy is attained only by accepting the shelter of sri nama; there is no other means.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation

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Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta is a compilation of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada’s instructions, in question-and-answer form.


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